Tag Archives: health and fitness

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.

Advertisements

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 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.

Reinventing the Wheel

Life is getting to the point where functional fitness is not what i’m looking for.  I just want to look young again.  While that is impossible, I can look better than I do now, and age with integrity.  And that is where weightlifting comes in.

The way a real athlete gets in shape is by doing cardio and bodyweight calisthenics.  But I’m retired now, and I basically just want to improve my appearance.  And what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

So I’ve started to lift weights, with only two dumbbells in compound exercises like the squat, bench press, deadlift, and military press.  That is all one needs initially.  Compound exercises involve many different muscle groups, not just one or two, so more muscle fiber is recruited in the lift and more strength and proper proportion is built.

Remember that one shouldn’t overtrain, three times a week is enough for weightlifting, and that the low carb diet is important here.  Cardio should be light and regular, but it should be for everyone anyway.

The high protein, low sugar diet is best for bodybuilding.  Remember to moderate salt and fat too, and drink a lot of water.  That is all.

 

Too Much Salt

It seems like everything at the grocery store has too much salt in it.  This is not to mention restaurant food, which is way too salty.  Food merchants know that adding salt to everything makes it taste better and extends its shelf-life.  So they put it in everything.

If you are like me, and rely on ready-made food at the supermarket a lot,  than you are probably consuming too much salt and not enough water.  This is a big issue that affects many people.

The only way to reduce sodium content in your diet is to make as much food by yourself and not rely on ready-made food and restaurant food for your sustenance.  Look at labels too.

Electrolyte balance is important, and most people are consuming too little potassium and way too much sodium.  This will hurt you in the long run.  If you truly want to live a long time, eat less processed foods and more fresh foods, and cook more from scratch or avoid as many conveniences as possible.  The more layers of processing a food has, the more salt the manufacturers add in the process.

Salt is less harmful than other things like sugar and saturated/hydrogenated fats, but it is still overdone in western society, and you should do your best to eat as little salt as possible.

Putting Myself Out There

Besides my training and education in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and study of nutrition, I’ve also practiced martial arts and yoga all my life.  I’ve been doing grappling of some kind since 1998, and yoga since 2000.

I started my grappling training in the japanese martial art Shootfighting, which is similar to professional wrestling but practiced as a real sport.  It is the original MMA.  It involves punching, kicking, throwing, and grappling.  In late 2004, I began practicing judo, which is also a japanese martial art.  I’ve been practicing ever since, all though in recent years, my attendance policy has been somewhat inconsistent I must say.

During the first six months of 2008, I trained freestyle, sport, and Combat SAMBO and that was the best experience I’ve had in the martial arts.  It was a lot of fun to learn new things and excel at something.

In all my martial arts experiences, I learned the importance of conditioning, flexibility, fighting spirit, the will to win, ethics, attitude, and sportsmanship.  By now, I am an exercise physiologist, I’m not a novice.

I feel I should be teaching martial art and yoga by now, although this by no means that I am all-knowing and invincible.  I feel belt rank is an erroneous concept and so is the concept of self defense without weapons.  All good martial arts are physical education, and I am qualified to teach sport education.

So what I am trying to say is, I am available to teach lessons in the long island/queens area, and I will share my email so anyone who has questions can contact me if they feel.

I have a lot to teach, including matwork, aikido, yoga and flexibility, and even nutrition counseling.  I’m only here to do a good job and to get paid doing it.  My rates are negotiable based on your economic situation, but please feel free to contact via email (I will add my phone number next post).

I prefer to work with the younger crowd, like young adults in their 20’s and 30’s, or those who already are grapplers who want some extra training to round out their game.  I hope someone out there sees my value and contacts me, even if it’s only for advice.  Thanks.

By the way, the photo above is for illustration purposes only, that is not me in the picture.  I’m male, 38 years old, and I live on long island, new york.  To contact me, my email address is lavni90@gmail.com…thanks again.

Martial Exercise and Physical Culture

My blog is a blog about fitness and Taoist nutrition.  I’m getting to the point where I am tired of talking about protein and vegetables and I must resume exercising in order to really be in condition.

Tai Chi, it’s relative Qi Gong, Aikido and Yoga are all great physical arts for improving fitness, health, flexibility, and longevity.  There are harder martial arts out there for you to do, but they involve sparring and competition and getting knocked down.  Soft martial arts and yoga is the way to increase the circulation of blood and qi (breath/energy).

Dieting is not enough.  If you ate a perfect diet but didn’t exercise at all, you would be normal bodyweight but wouldn’t be fit.  And that’s not the way to be.  If you are physically active, not only do you get other health benefits from working out, but your metabolism gets faster and you burn off impurities in your diet with more efficiency.  Exercising a lot makes up for not eating perfect all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, dieting is the best way to lose weight, but there comes a point where you must start incorporating exercise into your routine.  I read in a book on conditioning for judo that the best exercise equipment you can use is a partner.  Working out in groups is a lot more fun than working out by yourself, and hence the fitness industry is doing well for itself.

That’s all I got to say for now about exercise, besides I need to exercise also.  And I’m at the point where student has become the master and I should be a teacher of martial art and sport culture, but this means an investment of every evening and weekend for a long, long time.  And that is a big commitment.

The Herbal Diet

At some point in time, you will get old.  I’m getting to the point where my hair is falling out, my posture is worse than ever, and I don’t exercise as often as I used to.  Things are changing, I’m shifting into a new phase of life.

Eating good should start from youth.  Educate the young on good nutrition so they won’t be confused when they get older.  Diet is 80% of fitness.  But there are other factors, like exercise, rest, hygiene, meditation, attitude, etc… And when you get sick or old, it’s time to begin the herbal diet.

Herbal medicine is very old.  Even animals know to medicate themselves with non-nutritive plants when they are sick or old.  Dogs eat onion grass when they are sick in order to cleanse their system.  No one had to teach them, they simply know.

Gorillas and chimps take certain herbs when they are sick, and even leaves decomposing in water makes a delicious tea from time to time.  Herbal medicine is natural, and the foundation of both eastern and western medicine.

It’s not a matter of synthetic versus natural cures.  It’s a matter of synthetic vs natural herbs.  Pharmaceuticals are herbs too, just synthetic ones formulized in a laboratory, not in the wild.  Natural medicine is about what you ingest from the natural world, whether it be food or herbs from the earth.

In fact, there is no need for western medicine, with it’s pharmaceuticals, surgery, chemo therapy, and radiation.  It is all bad for you and based on reductionist science.  The real way to be well is to not get sick in the first place, and to grow old with no need to be restored to perfection.

I know a little about herbal medicine, enough to know that ginseng of various kinds is good once your power begins to wane.  Red meat and bone broth is also good for vital power.   As I approach 40, I know what I got to do to continue to age skillfully and not become decrepit and useless.  I wish you well.

A Friendly Reminder

Protein is the most important nutrient.  Our bodies are made up of different proteins, and the word actually translates from Latin as ‘of primary importance’.  But did you know that animal foods are not the only source of protein?  There are dozens of ways of getting plant protein, and some of these foods are better than beef or milk!

Legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils, are packed with not just vegetable protein but also fiber and numerous other good things.  I particularly like lentils, since they can be cooked from dry without soaking overnight.  That makes them convenient.

Quinoa is a pseudograin that is often used as a substitute for rice.  The only difference between quinoa and brown rice is that quinoa has twice the protein ounce for ounce and more fiber with less starch.  Quinoa would be great for vegetarians who don’t want to eat animal flesh but still need high protein diets.

And not quite fitting into animal or plant protein, the egg of a chicken boasts of the most perfect protein for human nutrition.  The amino acid profile of the protein found in egg is the best for human health, and the gold standard by which all other proteins are measured.

Of course, there are trace amounts of protein in vegetables, and this source shouldn’t be underestimated.  Even broccoli and leafy greens are a good source of protein!

The point is, you could get protein from meat, eggs, and fish, or even lentils, peas, and quinoa and be doing great.  Protein is the most important nutrient, and should be the focus of the meal.  There are protein sources everywhere, so no one should say they are not eating enough protein.