Tag Archives: health

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

The Real Culprit

The worst food for human health is not meat, eggs, or fish.  It’s not even dairy, because there are dairy products that aren’t bad.  It’s starchy junk.  Starchy foods like beans and grains actually feed disease in the body, and shorten lifespan.  You may ask, why did people start hybridizing and cultivating starch in the past?  And the answer would be economics.

Beans and grains are cheap filler and are useful for feeding a growing population.  It’s not poison, it’s just fodder, and if you know what’s best for you, you’ll eat high quality food not fodder.

The best food for human consumption is vegetables of all kinds.  The best are the low-starch green vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, green bean, and kale.  Animal protein does not cause obesity or disease, at least not in moderate amounts, and there are both native american tribes who ate a lot of animals and lived in perfect health, and some who were vegetarian.

The low carb, high fat diet is by far the best for human health.  Atkins didn’t invent it, he just took credit for it in the modern era.  In the absence of carbohydrate, the body burns both dietary fat and adipose tissue for fuel rather than sugar.  If one does go on a low carb, high fat diet, one should do carb cycling too.  Carb cycling is like a cheat day when you add a lot of sugar back to your diet temporarily.

But if you know what’s good, you’ll eat more greens and less grains, and not be afraid of animal foods.  There are vegetarian sources of protein, like seeds and nuts, but the main factor in the human race being superior to the animal kingdom lie in hunting and cooking food.  Chimps and gorillas, our closest animal species, are vegans who eat fruit and seed.  But what is often not mentioned is that they spend most of their hours every day chewing coarse fruit and bamboo.  It’s not a productive life.

I personally don’t believe in evolution, one species can’t mate with another and produce viable offspring.  Man was created, and some type of adaptive change is recorded in the mythology of the bible.  Man is not another species vying for survival, that is an erroneous belief.  Man is the pinnacle of creation, and every plant and animal is for man’s use.

Adam was created to be a steward of the land, not to manipulate his own descendants with greed and treachery.  All of our problems are rooted in economics, and there seems to be no earthly cure for this mess.  The real solution is for humanity is for sages to attain enlightenment and teach ordinary people the way to live.  The sage leads by example.  Some people are born with more talent than others, and it is the responsibility of the greater man to teach the lesser.

 

Priorities

It’s important in life to realize what’s important.  Get your priorities straight.  The wise man plots his course.

The first thing is health.  Without basic health and fitness or even being able-bodied, it is hard to enjoy other things.  And the Creator wants us to live in joy, not in suffering.  Make health your first priority.  Eat well, move around every day, sleep regularly, bathe yourself of your uncleanliness, meditate, do yoga and train your mind…

The next thing is money.  Money is a real issue.  There seems to be nothing for free.  Money is survival, and even Solomon in the bible talks about money and its significance.  While clinging to money can make you unhappy, pretending like it is no issue can be even worse.  Money isn’t just survival, it’s power, and living in society means dealing with others.  So be productive and be results-driven.

Once you got your health in order and are pulling down a livable income, then look for love to complete you.  Love and friendship gives us a reason to live, and makes us feel alive.  Sex is physical love, but really emotional love is the most important thing here.  Find someone who cares.

There are other things in life, but those are the top three.  Health, Money, and Love.  I wish you well.

Fluids are Fundamental

Mostly everyone should be drinking more water.  Many people in America are walking around dehydrated.  One way of getting more water in is to drink more fluid foods, like lemonade, soups, and smoothies.

These fluid foods are good for your health.  In China, even to this day, people drink hot broths in between meals and even in between servings.  It is important to consume a lot of fluids, not just to avoid dehydration, but to fill up on less calories during the day.  Less is more.

One important ingredient in all three dishes, that is, lemonade, soups, and smoothies is celtic sea salt.  Now you might think, who puts salt in lemonade or smoothies?  Well, some salts are better than others, and complete salt, as in from dehydrated ocean water, contains a lot of electrolytes within.  Adding a tiny amount of celtic sea salt to anything fluid makes it more re-hydrating, and is a good alternative to buying and consuming gatorade or the like.

Fluid foods are hydrating, low in calories, help you feel fuller longer, and they also cure bowel problems, so that both constipation and diarrhea are alleviated.  Remember, your fluid foods should be made using the same principles as solid food.  And that would include protein, vegetables, fat, and a bit of low sugar fruit, while avoiding dairy, sugar, and gluten.  This diet makes sense.

In the future, I will be recording videos of me in the kitchen, and uploading them to youtube and this blog.  I hope people out there see my cooking techniques and perhaps are inspired to make changes in their lives too.

 

Nutrition is the Best Hobby

Everyone should be educated on the subject of nutrition.  It is the most fundamental knowledge.  You are what you eat, your body is literally reconstituted nutrients from the soil, but your mind and spirit are made of other things.  There shouldn’t be so many overweight and sick people in a country where food scarcity is hardly an issue to most.

Most people bring about their own destruction.  Benjamin Franklin said, ‘nine in ten men are suicides.’  If you really valued your own life, you’d eat higher quality food and not mess around with the cheap stuff, like too much protein or too much sugar, dairy, and gluten.

If people were smarter, they’d dedicate some time every day to the production of their own food, and also some time to study nutrition.  Nutrition is all about finding out what is best for yourself.  Help yourself.

Of course, exercise is important too.  But diet is more important than exercise in the fitness equation.  If you really want to look and feel good, you have to exercise, but if you just want to be normal bodyweight and live nutrition is the first subject to learn.

I know people have day jobs, so eating home cooked food is not always an option.  But if people had more knowledge, they could make better food choices at restaurants and whatever.  It seems the West has exchanged one set of diseases for another.  Although more people are living to adulthood than in previous centuries, and infectious disease isn’t such a big threat in the developed world, people aren’t living the quality of life that is optimal.

Just educate yourself, and all things will fall into place.