Taste Your Food

I stopped to pick some blackberries just bursting with juice and warm from the sun.

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I had just finished mowing the lawn and the sun was shining beautifully on the yard. I could smell the fresh cut grass and see the bugs and flowers living around me in these tiny little worlds, some of which I have planted. I stopped to pick some blackberries just bursting with juice and warm from the sun. I grabbed a bowl and picked them all. I was covered in sweat and grass, a few scratches from the tree I had trimmed, but I  washed these warm berries, toasted half a slice of wholesome bread, spread on peanut butter, layered it with the fresh berries, then drizzled it with local wildflower honey. I took my sandwich back outside, sat on my lounge chair and enjoyed every last bite. This was a slice of heaven in my own backyard. I took a picture to remind myself how good it tasted and how important is to taste my food and enjoy the moment.

 

food

Try Kayaking -It’s Easy!

I left rejuvenated, sort of baptized by the waters. I felt happy. I still feel happy thinking about that moment; –it’s a place I can escape to in my mind now.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried kayaking. It was amazing. I loved the feeling of being in the water, but staying mostly dry while paddling down the creek. My son and I rented a couple single kayaks at (http://www.trapperjohnscanoeing.com/) Trapper John’s in Grove City, Ohio spending about $30 total for the hour and a half excursion down a section of State and National Scenic Big Darby Creek. We mainly had the creek to ourselves as we paddled and floated along the beautiful and serene course. I saw little turtle families sun bathing on branches and rocks, listened to birds chirp and watched my nearly full-grown-teenage-son paddle and float and learn to steer his boat. We didn’t talk much except to warn of low water ahead. At one point he yelled to me to catch his shoe floating my way. The creek water was very low in spots so at times you had to step out and push the boat through the shallow waters. I understood the advice of strapped on shoes instead of flip-flops at several points along the way, but we avoided the loss of any shoes.

Leaving our phones back in the car meant no photo opportunities, no text messages, no Snap Chatting, no phone ringing and no distraction from the nature that was all around us completely encompassing our whole bodies and spirits with no effort on our part–we only needed to be present to benefit. Bursting with green foliage the banks gave way to trees that reached up to form a canopy that we traveled through. My mind drifted back to early settlers and how brave they had to be in the new world. I took long deep breaths as I floated along looking up at the blue skies and fragmented sunlight shining through the branches highlighting different scenes of the woods, the creek and our boats as we quietly paddled along.

I left rejuvenated, sort of baptized by the waters. I felt happy. I still feel happy thinking about that moment; –it’s a place I can escape to in my mind now.

A few nights ago my friend Ann asked me to come up and kayak after work. It was a beautiful day and we would have a couple hours before sunset. My first instinct is to think of a reason why I can’t. But I tried my best to dismiss those pesky thoughts and I said yes. I felt the same return to nature, but this time I brought my phone so I could capture a few shots of my new love of being out on the water. We talked and caught up like old friends do as we marveled at the beauty and enjoyed our kayaking into the sunset moment. Now, I have two experiences of kayaking that I can return to in my mind when I need a bit of peace.

The trip with Ann was a different spot in a cove of Hoover Reservoir in Westerville, Ohio. She lives in walking distance of the entryway with a little ramp for kayaks and small motorboats. The cove is a no-wake zone, so the waters felt safe and calm the whole time. I would say that overall kayaking is very easy and the benefits of being out on the water outweigh the minimal amount of effort it takes to paddle. It’s an activity you can approach with a huge amount of effort I am sure and obtain a great workout from, or you can just take it easy and go at a leisurely pace. It’s like riding a bike in that way there are several degrees of difficulty and starting at the easiest level is usually the best way to ease into a new activity.

 

Overall my lesson was clear from both days of kayaking: Say yes to new things!

 

kayaking

Enjoy Food Again

Fast food is a problem and perhaps that’s because we are so detached from the cooking, the source, and the enjoyment.

What if we slow it down a little? What if we think in the grocery store, hang out in the produce section, and see what’s new and fresh? What if we think about our next meal and plan it and cook it slowly while we think about the flavors and the ingredients? What if we sit down and savor each bite? What if we bake some cookies from scratch? What will it look like if we change the thought pattern about making food? (Michael Pollan has a documentary called Cooked, and it’s based on his book by the same name.) Here’s a link to view a preview of his Netflix series. He learns how to cook, bake and take time to enjoy the process as he explains the origin of cooking and really examines where we are right now as a food obsessed culture.

car-swivel-food-tray-0

The truth is so glaringly obvious that it’s hard not to see it when it comes to food. Fast food is a problem and perhaps that’s because we are so detached from the cooking, the source, and the enjoyment.  For example, I slam a burrito in the car (my food drug of choice) on the way to wherever I must be getting to and then I don’t feel full or satisfied, but that’s ok because there will be a snack bar, food truck and coffee bar every step of the way I am most likely going. Let’s say anywhere there will be people, even a soccer game that last less than an hour, will be met with food that Madeline’s mom packed in a cooler stuffed with enough to feed the pack for 3 months should a disaster strike the soccer field and leave everyone stranded. And who wants to go out for pizza after the game we just grazed our way through? Don’t worry about being hungry there will be more food at the next place and when I get home I will still be hungry because I haven’t really eaten any actual food all day. So, I open the fridge and look for something, I don’t know what I want, just something that is fast and delicious before I head to bed. It’s silly.

I’m saying it doesn’t have to be this way and of course I am not the first person to rant about it. But one thing leads to another and I am just observing my own habits and seeing that once I slow down and slice some vegetables and cook some meat I feel good about the meal I eat. I like to cook, but I have to stay home to do it and that’s the trick. Staying home for a couple hours and thinking about it, caring about the meal and the process is something that is ancient and instinctual for humans. Perhaps we have backed away from the ritual that made a meal sacred and something very spiritual and essential has been lost. And maybe that is why most meals are not filling the void that we have mindlessly created.

My practice for today will be to search for something sacred in the food I am eating and preparing. I want to enjoy the flavors and savor the moments that I am eating and see if I can get back to my ancestral roots of honoring the source of life that makes the meal possible. I might start saying Grace again, why not be thankful for every meal?

How to Use Coconut Oil to Wash Your Face

Rub a small amount of oil, –about the size of a quarter, in your hands. It will melt quickly. Apply the oil on your dry face, don’t add water.

Maybe we are beating a dead horse with this coconut oil craze, but it’s kinda worth the hype if you ask me! I think it’s funny when I tell people I wash my face with this oil and they sort of wince a little like it’s gross to put this pure ingredient on my face and skin. Relative to the big picture of what we put on and in our bodies, it’s ridiculous that this causes people to wrinkle up their noses. Pure coconut oil should be the gold standard for safe skin care. That being said I thought it was super weird to try as a face wash considering I have oily skin to begin with that is prone to breakouts.

BUT, I have read many times that giving your skin the oil it needs will balance things out and it won’t work overtime producing oils that cause the breakouts and blackheads. So, I gave it a try. This routine is more like a ritual that you can take your time with at the end of the day. Give yourself these 10 precious moments and you will be glad you did.

  • Rub a small amount of oil, –about the size of a quarter, in your hands. It will melt quickly. Apply the oil on your dry face, don’t add water. Take some time here to really massage your face and neck. This will remove your makeup too, so don’t worry about cleaning your face first.
  • Take a warm wash cloth, as hot as you can stand and lay it on your face over the oil and let the oils soak into your skin. After a few minutes gently wipe the oil off with the wash cloth removing any make-up along the way.
  • I finish up with an eye cream for overnight.

Just try it, you’ll love it! This whole jar is less than $5 bucks and you can use it to cook too.

 

coconut-oil1Coconut Oil from Aldi, $4.49

Fasting Post Pig-Out Session

https://toolsoftitans.com/

 

Having a holimages-water.jpgiday feast is fine and doesn’t have to end your diet goals or send you careening off the rails for weeks. I am taking the next day to fast back to ketosis as quickly as possible and get back on track. After eating to my heart’s content yesterday, I ended the night with a full glass of water and about an hour of stretching and some crunches. It wasn’t going to undo the binge-style eating, but it centered me and helped me sleep better perhaps.

I thought about my goal last night for today which is an attempt at fasting with only coffee, mct, and water. I am about to go for a long walk and then test my keto levels for any signs of progress.

As the day progressed I was back in ketosis quicker than I thought. I drank a green tea with MCT oil and butter to help ease into the evening without dinner, but it made really nauseous. I ended up drinking a protein shake with no sugar and about 100 calories. I sipped on water and fell asleep hungry. I am looking forward to food today. That was my first successful fasting test, usually I cave by lunch –so there’s that.

The term that is most commonly used is intermittent fasting and there are more ways than one to use this approach. Typically I like the one that works while I sleep. The trick is not eating past 6 o’clock then sleeping as long as possible,  and breaking the fast with a late breakfast like a normal human being. Some doctors and nutritionists swear by a monthly 3-5 day fast and there are always the more extreme ones as well. The important thing to remember is that the people fasting are doing so in an extremely controlled manner with careful attention paid to their supplements, electrolytes and water intake. Additionally, they test their ketone levels, blood, urine and whatever else these uber-obssessed types like to measure. It’s not just starvation and see what happens; fasting requires some level of research and the consultation of a doctor when you become more interested in the practice.

But for the average person a day to give your body a break and boost back to where you want to be on a keto diet seems harmless to me and something that I would only recommend post holiday diet crash. But hey, that’s just me and I like to eat. I do as a general rule try and have dinner before 6 and eat around 9 am after my morning bulletproof coffee which I have first thing. This is working really well when I don’t stray from the routine. 🙂

Find out more about fasting from Tim Ferriss in his book, “Tools of the Titans,” he interviews really smart and successful people on his podcast and then gives us the notes in this handy book.

Nature is the Answer

It’s a simple solution really and it’s free.

The world needs more time in nature if you ask me. I go there to think and clear my head. I work things out and release the negativity that has built up. I read once that nature, being an infinite source of positive energy, can absorb your negative energy and it’s gone. One exercise is to throw rocks into a creek or pond or whatever source of water you can find. Name your worry or thing you need to let go of and fill that rock with the pain, the disappointment, the problem whatever you can name and throw it. It’s this act of releasing the negative that will free your mind and let the natural world comfort you.

It’s a simple solution really and it’s free.

Covered-Bridge-Spring-2017.jpg
Covered Bridge -The Zeller-Smith Covered Bridge was reconstructed in Sycamore Creek Park, Pickerington, Ohio. Built in 1906, it is of Queenpost style and has a span of 73′. –More Covered Bridges in Fairfield County, Ohio

MCT Oil -What’s the Big Deal?

So, there are lots and lots of explanations about why and how MCT helps you and your brain. But the only proof that you need is the proof you will find yourself by using it

Medium-chain triglycerides are triglycerides whose fatty acids have an aliphatic tail of 6–12 carbon atoms. The fatty acids found in MCTs are called medium-chain fatty acids. Wikipedia
So, there are lots and lots of explanations about why and how MCT helps you and your brain. But the only proof that you need is the proof you will find yourself by using it. The easiest thing to do is to pour it into your coffee, tea or smoothie in the morning and see how you feel. I started with a tablespoon in my coffee and then increased as I got used to the dose and the effect.
It has no taste or smell so you can add it to virtually anything. You can cook with it too. It is basically super concentrated coconut oil, but it tastes like nothing. If you are trying for ketosis or the fat burning phase of a low carb ketogenic diet this will also help put you there and keep you there for longer periods which I believe will help lead to weight loss.
What does it do? It gives me an instant boost in the morning and clarity in my brain. I feel like I can think better and function at a high level for hours without breakfast as the fat acts like fuel and food. When coupled with caffeine the drink gives me a nice steady level of energy, less to no sugar cravings and no feeling of a crash before lunch when I am actually hungry and ready to eat.
All I suggest here is that you try it for yourself. This is a routine that I have stuck to for years and beyond brushing my teeth I can’t really say I have stuck with anything as loyally as the MCT supplement.