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Living in Harmony

The way to last a long time is to not wear out.  And you do that by doing whats required of you at the right time.  Do a little bit every day, that is the Taoist way.  Excess leads to disease and disaster.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘if you would be happy, you would do what you should, not what you want.’  That means do what is right for you to do, not necessarily what is most indulgent or gratifying.  I myself like to neglect exercise and eat too much, and in the short run this feels good, but in the end it will bear bitter fruit.

To be happy, think about how the present moment will influence the future.  Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  If you work harder now, the future will be easier, and if you are lazy now, the future will be very difficult.

A lot of the diseases we suffer from are diseases of neglect.  Falling into a good routine or habit is actually a good thing.  Wake up the same time every morning, eat at the same times every day, do your job with zeal, and spend quality time at home during the proper times.  Don’t become obsessed with one particular thing.

One of my problems are, and you may notice this if you read my blog, is that I obsess about the perfect diet too much.  And the causality is quite clear.  Diet is the one thing I seem to have complete control over in my life, and food gives me great pleasure.  But obsessing about which foods to eat is pointless in the end, and a grave waste of time.  As long as you have enough to eat you are doing fine.  I’m not thin but i’m not morbidly obese either.  I can sit, stand, and walk, and praise Jah.

So when it comes to being physically healthy, and living in harmony, examine your own habits.  Diet and exercise is a big part of it.  This is something you have control over.  Don’t blame genetics, environment, or chance completely, take responsibility for your state of health.

When you have an illness, there are only two possible outcomes, either you will cure yourself of the disease, or you will die from it.  Sometimes just learning to be healthy and living with whatever problems you have is good enough.

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Comparing Different Starches

I learned a long time ago that every part of the world lives off of a different grain or staple (a source of starch eaten every day).  In TCM literature, it says, ‘of the five grains, the bean is the most nutritious.’  Beans are a humble food that provide a lot of protein, fiber, and starch.  They are a powerhouse of nutrition.

A lot of people around the world live off of rice, the majority white rice, the minority eat brown rice.  While it is popular and it does sustain life, it is rather high glycemic and not particularly dense in nutrition.

I once read in an old book, ‘the main foodstuff of the African is the sweet potato.’  This tuber is a good source of starch, and you could easily eat them everyday to good result.

Wheat products, like bread and pasta, are a big problem.  While the middle east and Europe have been living off bread for centuries upon centuries, it is not the best crop or staple.  Gluten, the protein found in wheat is allergenic to many, and the wheat itself absorbs a lot of toxins from the environment.

Corn is special.  Some call it a grain while others call it a starchy vegetable.  While not being particularly dense in nutrition, it is a good source of starch and fiber, and it was the mainstay of the native american diet.

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is really a flower seed.  It is a lot like brown rice, except it has more fiber and twice the protein content.  It used to be grown in Bolivia and Peru, where it was called ‘the mother grain’.  The protein in quinoa is just as good as any animal protein, balanced in all 8 essential amino acids, and it’s increasing popularity is not without merit.

Potatoes also grow in abundant varieties in the mountains of Peru.  There are over 80 varieties there.  While one does best to avoid idaho russet potatoes, since they are a nightshade, there are other varieties which are much healthier.  Red potato is my favorite.  Yukon Gold is good too.

There are other lesser known staples out there.  But the reason I wrote this post is to remind people that complex carbohydrates, or starch as it is known in its pejorative term, are actually quite important, and one can’t live off of protein and vegetables for very long.  I know sugar restriction is useful for short term weight loss and reordering a bad diet into a healthy diet, but starch will always be the main source of fuel for the human body, and living off of ketone bodies for the rest of your life is not a good idea.

It’s an alarming trend to see Americans cling to low carb dieting without really understanding human history, physiology, nutrition, and the importance of the ecology.  There is a good way to do dieting and there is a wrong way.  Don’t look for quick fixes or slimness in a bottle or Paleo Pie.  They don’t exist.  Human nutrition hasn’t changed in thousands of years, yet science, agriculture, and the media want to lead you astray.

People living outside the West are suffering from food shortages, have no need for nutrition lessons, eat a lot more fiber, and have to walk to get anything for themselves.  The American man doesn’t realize how good he has it, and I hope those who read my blog gain something from my philosophy.

 

Comparing Different Proteins

Protein is of primary importance.  While no one who eats regularly is really deficient in protein, the more you eat protein, the stronger and more energetic you feel.  In this essay, I will try to give my view on the best protein.

Beans, peas, and lentils, and other legumes like peanut, are actually really good.  They’re vegan, so no one was injured in their production, they’re cheap, and they’re easy to store.  The downsides are the gasiness one might get from eating too much of them, and the general boredom from getting all your protein from them.

Seeds are a good source of vegetarian protein, but it’s not wise to eat more than a small amount per day, since they’re loaded with fat and calories too.

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is actually a flower seed but cooked and eaten like rice.  Quinoa is the best plant protein, containing an optimal balance of all 8 essential amino acids.  The problem is it doesn’t taste like anything.

Then you have the mighty chicken egg.  This is the optimal protein, the best one for human nutrition.  Even vegans sometimes don’t mind compromising their standards and eating an egg or two.  They’re that good.

Then you have dairy, like milk, cheese, and yogurt.  I find that these aren’t the best proteins in the world for a slew of reasons.  For starters, cheese is loaded with salt and fat.  Milk has lactose in it, a sugar that causes digestive discomfort and diarrhea.  Yogurt is good protein, can be found in low fat versions, and has less sugar in it because the fermenting bacteria have eaten away most of the lactose.  But i’ve come to the conclusion that the egg is superior to the dairy product in most respects.  There’s no downside to eating eggs, besides animal rights you might say, but there are tremendous downsides to eating milk/cheese/yogurt.  Some science indicates cheese has opiate effects and is therefore addictive.  Other scientists say that the protein in milk is inflammatory and can lead to autoimmune disease.

The fish is the best animal to eat.  I’ve never seen an old fish.  The reason why fish never get fat, old, and wrinkly, is because they are constantly swimming, eat a sea vegetable and smaller fish diet, and the fat underneath their skin is fluid, not solid like lard.  That makes for a healthy animal and a healthy dinner.

Then you have meat, and it doesn’t matter if it’s chicken, duck, cow, pig, sheep, or goat, or anything else.  Meat can be really good or really bad depending on how the animal lived and how strong and healthy it was.

So really, there’s no point in writing this essay, it’s all common information.  My suggestion is to always go lower down on the food chain rather than higher up.  This is better for everyone, you included.  Animals are above birds, birds are above fish, fish are above unfertilized eggs, eggs are above beans and seeds and quinoa and so on.  The lower down it is, the less toxic it is.  The most toxic animal is the human being, because we are the apex predator.

Human beings in the western world often have a choice about what they’re eating.  With a proper education, one can live quite well.

Philosophy, Religion, and Diet

In this era, anything goes.  But some people still adhere to dietary laws as entailed by their religious views.  Observant Jews don’t eat pork, shellfish, or meat and dairy together.  Muslims don’t eat pork or drink alcohol.  And most of the religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent advocate a lactovegetarian diet.

Veganism is growing in the USA.  The biggest reason people do it is because of sympathy for the animals and also environmental concerns.  Veganism is not a religion.   But if one examines history, it is the Ancient Hebrews who first considered vegetarianism a lifestyle choice.

Kosher vegetarianism is a very sane, moderate view of diet.  Meat symbolizes death and decay, while milk and dairy products symbolizes life and growth.  Fish and Eggs are considered Parve, or spiritually neutral.  A kosher vegetarian eats plant foods, dairy products, and is not against eating fish or egg.

In the east, amongst people like the Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains, lactovegetarian is reccomended.  Some Bengali vegetarians consider fish and seafood to be ‘fruit of the sea’ and therefore still eat it.

And amongst the Taoists, no food is taboo.  It’s about eating the right portions and proportions of food relative to each other.  Christians too say any food is clean to eat.

My view is to do what is best for yourself.  Don’t tell people about your eating habits and don’t bore them with your list of abstentions.  I like dairy products, so I’m not giving them up.  I do what is best for myself.

I believe meat, fish, and eggs was originally natural and good, but capitalism, consumerism, and overpopulation ruined everything.  Applying the factory line production method to agriculture was a grave mistake by humanity.  Animals are not machines, every animal, from insect, to cow, to dog, to monkey, to man has sentience.

In this era, it’s not hard to go to a supermarket and get anything you need, all year round.  I live in a part of the USA where there are few natural disasters.   Veganism and Vegetarianism is a vote for the environment, for animal rights, and reverses many diseases.  Only in this country is it easier to get restaurant food with animal foods in it than without.  I’ve decided to stop going to restaurants, unless its for a slice of pizza or vegetarian sushi.

I think kosher vegetarianism is the most sane way to go as far as diet.  Dairy is very nourishing, in some cases too nourishing, and fish and eggs should be an option for people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare their own food.  The main thing is to eat what’s available and not obsess about diet.  But in this crazy society, even the nutrition textbooks are wrong, let alone the media and public perception.

At the end of the day, gaining or losing weight is about calories in and calories out.  But also at the end of the day, looks and weight don’t matter so much.  You don’t need the body of a bodybuilder to be healthy.  And a six pack of abs means nothing.  Judge your health by how you feel, how long you live, and the state of health you’re in.

As an aside, remember that years upon years of weight fluctuation on the atkins/paleo/ketogenic diet causes insulin resistance and liver derangement.  A doctor can’t invent a crash diet that violates everything we know about nutrition and get away with it.  Bodybuilders and boxers use the low carb approach before contest because it causes a rapid decrease in water weight.  Don’t think the atkins diet is a lifelong diet.  No one in Asia, Africa, or South America is adhering to this philosophy, because they have no obesity problem.  They eat a lot of fiber and walk a lot.

 

Progress Update

I have made significant changes recently in my own health journey.  I’ve decided the ketogenic diet is not for me.  While low carb, high fat does give you short term results, one invariably adds sugar and starch back to the diet and weight fluctuates.

I’ve become pretty much vegan, and I find this diet helps keep the blood sugar low and the weight in check.  I’ve come to the conclusion that starchy foods are the BEST foods not the WORST foods.  Things like beans, sweet potato, corn, carrot, pea, lentil, quinoa are actually the best foods because they contain fiber as well as starch and vitamins and minerals.

Beans are the humblest food, and yet, still the best.  They combine vegetarian protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates in the same food, and there is an endless variety of them.  Beans are a way cleaner fuel source than meat.

I still eat some rice, but I’ve learned that both brown and white rice are high glycemic foods (compared to the above foods).  The glycemic impact of the rice is mitigated by eating other things with the rice.

I am not completely vegan, I still love dairy products like ghee and yogurt, and I’m not against the concept of fish or egg every now and then.  I’m opportunistic and realistic and pragmatic.

It is much cheaper and more convenient to live this way.  Beans are much cheaper protein than any type of meat, and it’s easier to clean up after yourself as vegan.  When you buy meat or fish at a supermarket, you have to cook it before it goes bad.  This is constant stress and labor.  And eating meat in a restaurant, one never knows what quality of meat they use or how it was handled in kitchen.

Ultimately, any food is good food.  That’s what Jesus said, and it’s pretty logical too.  If it’s organic material, it’s food for another species.  Eating living tissue is called vivisection.  All food, whether it be plant or animal in origin, is dead.  The more plant food you eat and the less animal food you eat, the better your health will be.

Shamanic Culture

The Tao is not something intrinsic to China or the far east.  It is universal.  Since life began in one common place, a universal origin for all mankind, we are all the same human race.  The only reason I borrow my ideas from Tao and Zen is because the east Asians preserved shamanic culture from antiquity to the present day.

The word ‘shaman’ comes from a Mongolian word which means ‘wandering monk’.  Aboriginal society was led by shamans, the shaman was the leader.  In this society, politicians are the leaders, and success is measured in money.  Even with artificial power and artificial wealth, the medical doctor is still the most revered profession in America.  It shows you not much has really changed internally, we are all sick and want to be cured of old age, sickness, and death.  In the modern era, we have simply created a division between state, religion, and medicine, when in antiquity it was all one.

Every shamanic master, psychic healer, and mystic is somewhat schizophrenic.  They are out of touch with our shared reality, and in touch with something deeper.  What we call reality is just a shared delusion.  However, not every schizophrenic is a healer or genius.  It’s like the difference between sex and masturbation, sex involves an interplay between two beings, masturbation is when you are by yourself.

The psychic healer is crazy, because he perceives things ordinary people can’t.  The mentally ill loser is just by himself in delusion.  The healer is not always right, but then again, neither is the ordinary man.

The mental health system and psychiatry in general is barbaric, and some day we the human race will look back on this type of ‘medicine’ and shake their heads at how bad and wrong we were.  There are other types of treatment for those who see the world differently than psychotropic medication and cognitive therapy.

The world of men is corrupt, and in an insane world, only the insane are sane.  Money is not even backed by gold anymore, and all the computer work people do in an office every day essentially amounts to nothing.  The world is being manipulated by the elite, and there’s not much you can do about it.

My suggestion to you is to be in the world but not of it.  Material wealth is an illusion, so is success.  Survive by making enough money to live beneath your means.  Eat simple food, mostly vegetables, wear simple clothing, and live in a simple house.  Drive a reliable vehicle or take public transportation.  Life has no purpose, we live not live for.  Survival and procreation are the two driving forces of existence, and everything else is just philosophy.

In conclusion, shamanic culture was better than capitalistic culture.  At least wealth back then was measured in something real, like who had the most fruitful land and the most successful hunters.  The world is coming to a climax, a point when we as a a human race can either learn the right way to live in harmony, or destroy ourselves in ignorance, bias and hatred.  You really have no power to change others, you only have power to change yourself.

I will try to be as positive a human being as I can.

Don’t Neglect the External

This may seem like obvious advice for someone living in America and talking to a primarily American audience.  But for a long time, I’ve been eating a good diet, meditating, breathing properly, and yet, not exercising enough.  That is not balanced and not good.

Internal exercise includes meditation, breathing exercises, qi gong, and yoga.  External exercise runs the whole gamut from running, swimming, and weightlifting to sports like boxing, tennis, and soccer.  As you live and work and foster children, don’t neglect the external.

It seems like exercise is the first thing to go when people are short on time, or are just plain lazy.  The Taoist sages are all hunchbacks, not because being a hunchback gives you more wisdom and leadership ability, but because wise men tend to neglect the physical in preference for the spirit.

As a human being, it is wise to make time for exercise every day.  Don’t neglect it.  People these days work infront of a computer all day, then go home and eat starch and take their kids to their extracurricular activities.  And that’s if they’re lucky and from a middle class family.  This lifestyle isn’t natural, and it just leaves you a worn out wreck in the end.

The real way to live is to do what you enjoy for work, take care of your responsibilities and offspring with grace and ease, and grow old gracefully.  Not many people are truly rich.  Tao teaches you to have a balanced view and a balanced practice of life, and the first thing people neglect is physical exercise.

Don’t neglect the External.

The Controversy of Gender

It says in the bible in two parts in the early part of Genesis, ‘male and female he created them, in God’s image.’  It also says, ‘that is why a man must leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, so they become one flesh.’

So there you have it.  The meaning of life in a nutshell.

What is the meaning of truth, God, and life?  Lovingkindness.  Every Christian knows, God is Love.  Love should not be confused with sex or sexual activity, you can love baseball but not make love to it.  Desire drives the cosmos.  God is the desire to be.

God is both your mother and father in heaven, and the crux of life is for a man to find a woman and procreate.  In this era, sex, gender, identity, and the moral order are all in a flux.  The ordinary people seem confused and angry.

Homosexuality and transgenderism is on the rise in the West.  Gender roles are being blurred.  These are evil omens.

One should know that sex is merely the transfer of genetic information, from giver to receiver, and the only two genders are male and female.  Gender is determined by genetics, and every human egg begins with the X chromosome.  If at some point you acquire a Y chromosome, then you are born male.

Homosexuality and transgenderism isn’t inherently bad.  According to most spiritual traditions of the East, adultery and group sex is the only fornication.  And in this day and age, there is no concept of fornication.  Anything goes.

But spiritual people know that the conservation of essence, sperm, or jing preserves youth and vital power, and the reckless expenditure of it leads to early old age and death.  There is no moral reasoning in Tao, it’s not a religion.  You can worship the Gods but you cannot worship the Tao.

The way to stay healthy and young for a man is to moderate how many ejaculations he has and have more sex, and the way for a woman is to choose good partners.  This is not folk mythology, it turns out the Ancient Chinese were right!

In Egyptian myth, Osiris was a hermaphrodite male who was the descendent of the Sun God.  In India, Manu was the original Man who possessed the divine within.  And according to the bible, Adam was male and female, created in God’s image.  Eve was later formed out of his rib.  And according to native american lore, the androgyn male is the ideal shaman (medicine man).

You may ask, what does religion and mythology have to do with sex and gender?  Well, myth and religion is merely a perspective on reality, and everybody knows for themselves how strong the urge to procreate is.

The meaning of life is joy, and the only joy in life is to be loved.  End of story.

The Easy Way to Be Fit

Better than weight training and a low carb diet, which just inflates your muscles and doesn’t build functional strength and doesn’t last as soon as you go off this regimen, is something much better.

And that would be intermittent fasting.  In the end, it’s not so much about what you eat or whether it is organic, free range, or all that nonsense.  It’s about how much you eat and how often.

Most people in America don’t go more than 4 hours without eating, and some ‘graze’ all day or eat a meal every two hours.  This is not good for your digestive organs, hormonal balance, insulin levels, teeth, and a whole slew of other things.

There are many ways to break up the day into periods of eating and not eating.  But the theory is, when the body has a chance to rest from food, insulin levels drop and the organs of digestion get to rest.  The best is to skip breakfast, eat your first meal at 10am, then wait four hours, eat again, wait another four hours, and eat your last meal of the day.  You can snack a little before 8pm, and that’s it.  Nothing fancy.

Fasting before and after sleep is a powerful tonic.  The body gets to rest from digesting food all the time and nourish the brain and organs instead.  It might be necessary to drink black coffee when you wake up to help you get going, but I suggest skipping breakfast and not snacking after dinner.  In addition, don’t graze or snack in between meals.  This is the easiest way to stay fit.

If you do intermittent fasting, the quality of the food you eat is less important.  You can eat meat, sugar, bread, milk, anything in moderation as long as you are not eating too much or too often.  That’s why I call it the easy way to get fit, it’s a no brainer.

Of course, it takes discipline and restraint from snacking all day.  I suggest eating protein with every meal and replacing some of the carbs with fat.  Good fats are good foods.

In general, one should eat to live not live to eat.  Don’t see food as a reward for good behavior.  You’re not a kid anymore.  See food as fuel for your body and lifestyle.  Eat what you need to eat, not what is most tasty and exciting.

Intermittent fasting plus ketogenic diet is the real caveman diet.  Cavemen didn’t graze on sugar and starch all day because they couldn’t afford to.  They went through periods of feast and famine, and were lucky to eat one piece of fruit per summer.  Wheat and all starchy grains were an invention of the agriculturist later on in human development, which doesn’t make them inherently bad, just unnatural.  Brown rice is the most harmless and energetic grain, the starchy fruit of a grass species.

The less often you eat, the more hunger you have for the food and the better it tastes.  This is the original way to live, enjoying the bare minimum with zeal, not sitting around the TV munching on cheetos and soda.

Good Carbs

Not all carbs are bad.  That should be clear.  In fact, one could live off of starch if one had too, it’s been done before.  But in the short term, sugar restriction is the best way to lose weight.

Some of my favorite foods are carbs, and I eat them every day.  Things like brown rice, apples, oats, lemons, bananas, etc… are all good carbs.  The real trick is to eat wholesome, unprocessed foods and not man made garbage.  Just eat natural food and your health will return.

Since the low carb diet is popular now, that is how athletes and bodybuilders get ripped in the short run, people are avoiding carbs entirely.  But that is not smart.  Carbs like whole grain and fruit are actually full of fiber and antioxidants, and since grain is cheap, it is easy to sustain yourself on very little money.

It is a precarious balance, between ingesting sugar/starch and burning it off through cardiovascular exercise.  It is important to get in enough water too so you are not low energy and sluggish.

Ultimately, it’s about calories in and calories out, and fat has the most calories per gram.  The low carb fad will die out, and people will realize that any natural food is good food, and all these restrictions are just academic in the end.