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90 day Natural Fitness Challenge: days 9 & 10 This is hard sometimes!

So I’m 10 days into my 90 straight days of exercise and it’s been pretty damn hard the last couple days to stay motivated…

WORK


I realized today that like most people my work is physically draining and exhausting and feels like…yup…EXERCISE!

But you know what?  It ISN’T!  It’s just physically demanding and sometimes horrible and a physical & mental drain.  But is IS NOT in anyway shape or form exercise.

So when I get home “I’m beat” and hungry and I feel like I did more than my fair share of physical activity for the day…sound familiar?

And if someone eats poorly work is even worse and more of a drain/stress load on you…but that only means we need real genuine sustained exercise even MORE!

HABIT


That’s why it has to become habit–it has to just be the way you live your life.  Several people have said they don’t like the idea of having to do exercise every single day-that we all deserve at least one day a week to do absolutely nothing.  I get that.

But…most of the people reading this blog and thinking about challenging themselves physically and making dietary changes need to completely OVERHAUL this aspect of their life.

That’s why even on my “rest day”, which we definitely need to allow our muscles to repair and to not overstress our immune systems; I still get out and do something physical. A casual bike ride, a long walk through the neighborhood…I want my mind and body to understand that this is who I am now..an active person.  Do I seriously need a day every week where I don’t move at all?  Am I convalescing?

TWO INVENTIVE DAYS

Yesterday I had to go on a midnight 45 minute balls-out bike ride in the pitch dark after I got out off from the bar in order to fit in my days exercise.  It was a blast!  I forgot how much I miss mountain biking and the thrill of making perfectly timed gear shifts and rapid decisions about where to point my bike!  With only a thin stream of light shining off my little handlebar light it was a crazy and swervy ride through the night that I gaspingly enjoyed and want to do again soon!

Today was my “rest” day and I took a long walk through a neighborhood I hadn’t explored on the south end of Palm Springs.  The Jetson inspired architecture was bitchin and the day was beyond spectacular–72 degrees and a clarity that just POPPED!

Each day I am attending film screenings for the film festival and I realized a couple things…

  1. It’s way more time-consuming than I originally thought!
  2. There are SO MANY movies!
  3. People love to beat people’s brains in in movies–like EVERY movie I’ve seen.

So the festival is taking up my time for one more week and it’s very difficult to fit in exercise and blogging but I wanted you all to know that no matter what I’m doing this!  If you have joined me in the challenge (or your thinking about it) please know that I am there every step of the way with you and will soon be back with more detailed posts!

Cheers!

-Ken


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 5 Meet some of the other “challengers!”

So far about a dozen people in the Twitter, Facebook, and blog world have told me they are on board with the 90 day challenge in one form or another.  Not sure how many will share their info and photos with me for this blog, but I’d like to feature as many people’s transformation stories here that I can!

I will start with  three people who I know well and who responded positively to the challenge immediately;  my aunt Carrie (she’s more like a big sister and only a few years older than me), my brother Mike, and my girlfriend Annie.

Carrie (In her own words)

I am turning 40 in about five months, and I want to feel the healthiest ever! Seriously…

I am as you know a mommy of two beautiful little ladies, and a stay home mommy and wife at that. I work my tail off and have always seemed to put myself last health wise.

I do the yo-yo diet thing, work out here and there, but since having our girls have not held to it as I did before. Clearly my fault, as I was thinking it was selfish of me to spend time taking care of me. NOW I view this far differently, and know the better healthier way to see this is to take care of myself, so I can take care of my family.

Keep in mind that while I admit to being overweight, I am muscular too from working out with weights.  I love LOVE working out, but as I said have felt guilt over it.  As you know it is very time consuming to do it all the right way.

I love being a mommy and a wife…

My goals are to lose inches, over all lose some pounds, and feel healthy. I want a clean diet and I want to learn how to stay off of this destructive yo-yo diet & working out thing I have done for the last 11 years since having my kiddos.

My plan is to work out with light weights and do high reps , with TONS of cardio, as much as I can possibly handle. I am doing a diet as of today that is known as the Sacred Heart Diet {it’s primarily a soup diet], which has worked before for me as a way to kick start weight loss.

I am open to doing the raw diet after I have time to gain enough insight to do it wisely AND I am open to any and all constructive advice you may have as time goes on. I want to complete this with a good success, so I can not only say I did it, but be able to see quality results.

I have also committed to absolutely no soda for the next 90 days, and and no fake sugars in my coffee, which is the only time I use them. I will drink it black for the next 90 days…

-Carrie

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Carrie forwarded me her starting stats including her weight and some measurements.  I told her I would keep those a secret until we complete the first 30 days together and have our first set of “after” pics to compare with the “before” pics none of us are dying to share just yet!

Thanks Carrie for writing this and I know you are going to have insane results and discover some cool new things about yourself now that you are open to giving yourself the attention you deserve!

More about Carrie in the weeks to come, for now you can find her on facebook.

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Annie

What can I say about Annie? She’s a funny girl who has a unique way of approaching everything.  And her diet is no exception.

Annie is a strict vegetarian who also eats no gluten or refined sugars.  She is one of the healthiest eaters I know, and one of the things I like best about her eating style is that she NEVER diets.

Annie teaches Bikram Yoga classes, practices Bikram herself everyday, and is a full time student.  Annie works, plays, and eats hard!

One thing Annie does most days is eat “raw until dinner.”

Each day starts with her massive signature smoothie and then she snacks throughout the day on mostly raw foods (we buy lots of LARA bars and tangerines).  She chows down on a big healthy vegetarian dinner (which I usually make) each night.  Usually it’s Mexican food or something like brown rice pasta with fresh pesto & tomatoes.

Tonight I’m experimenting and we are having a big pot of oven roasted veggies (potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, leeks, carrots, and garlic bulbs) marinated in olive oil, herbs, organic red wine, sea salt and pepper.  The veggies will be the star of the show and will be served with a side of lentils cooked with red onion.

So why does Annie, who already eats extremely well and who exercises every day already, want to do the 90 day challenge?

Because that’s the kinda hairpin she is…

Actually Annie is challenging herself by adding a once per week grueling advanced yoga class to her existing daily exercise routine.  Once a week for 12 weeks she will be spending 4 hours total in a heated room attempting to learn poses that have strange names and make me wince just thinking about them.  I admire Annie for challenging herself this way because I happen to know she really dislikes these classes and is making a real sacrifice to do them.

I snapped some “before” pics of Annie attempting to do postures she now finds impossible, and at the end of the 12 weeks I’ll take some new pics so we can see how much further she can bend…

More about Annie later, she can also be found on facebook.

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Mike

Mike says he wants to do this challenge because “it’s time.”  I feel you Mike.

Mike is frustrated with his low paying job (Mike drives a city bus), and tired of yo-yo dieting.

Mike and I have actually dieted together many times, one of the more famous attempts being when he and I ate only one bean burrito from El Poll Loco, and one 200 calorie “lean cuisine” TV dinner each night for several months.

Broke and living in Las Vegas together, we would get so hungry that all we could do was laugh. The one night each week we were allowed to “cheat” turned into these grotesque glutton fests.  We did lose a lot of weight…

Mike has always wanted to run in some kind of competitive amateur race or event.  His goal is to go from being overweight and totally sedentary to being able to run the distance of 10 miles at the end of the challenge.  My advice to Mike was to limit his running to no more than 4 days in the beginning and to spend the other 3 days doing resistance training, yoga, or cycling.  That way he will lower the risk of injury (running can be very hard on your body).

Mike eats pretty bad.  I say that with love as his brother.  He told me he is going to watch his overall calorie intake for the next 90 days while also making small incremental moves toward eating healthier.

Mike’s in search of a sustainable approach to food that will help him get off the diet merry-go-round for good.  He also wants to make being active integral to his new life.  My other suggestion to Mike was to keep it very simple, for example having a nutritious raw green smoothie for breakfast so he at least knows he’s getting a baseline of daily nutrients.

Mike is a huge music fan and travels the state to catch his favorite band Slightly Stoopid.  Mike has one of the funniest self-deprecating styles of humor i’ve ever encountered.  He and I both want to take some long-ass road trips in the near future…

More about Mike and his attempts to overhaul his life by taking control of diet & exercise in the weeks to come.  For now you can find him on facebook.

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I will have Mike, Annie, and Carrie’s full stories to share with you in the weeks to come. Hopefully I will also have some other people willing to share their personal transformations with you as we go forward.  If you are curious read more about the 90 day Natural Fitness Challenge here.

What I did for my Day 5:

I am still suffering from this sudden-onset sinus infection and am trying a variety of natural remedies to get rid of it as fast as possible.  Fortunately I have tonight off from work.

  1. Slept in until noon–badly needed.
  2. Drank 16 0z. of water with 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar (purported to clear the sinuses).
  3. Drank a green drink made of fresh squeezed OJ and grapefruits blended with spinach.
  4. Drank another 16 0z. of water.
  5. Took a 45 min slow hike almost straight uphill–some pics below.  My goal for today was just to get my heart rate up, feel my legs burn a little, and get some clean fresh air.
  6. My post workout meal was my favorite raw dessert, a slice of cheesecake from Earth Cafe.  Raw/Gluten and Dairy Free/No refined sugar/OUTSTANDING!
  7. More water with ACV.
  8. Dinner will be the big oven roasted veggie feast I described and some lentils with red onion.  Trying to eat extra clean today in hopes it will help me get over this damn sinus thing.
  9. Tons of water with lemon juice to follow…

you have to park down the road and walk up the road to base of mountains...

great views of coachella valley below

god i wish annie would keep up with me 😉

your supposed to strike that pose on top the mountain...


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60 day raw food log: Day 37 Am I in California? Why Palm Springs might surprise you…

No matter what brand of politics float your boat, you’d probably agree that California is “progressive.”  This is where the hippies, potheads, vegans, homosexuals, Scientologists, surfers, health nuts, and out of work actors roost.  Californians can’t wait to plug their cars in, or even trade them in for bamboo beach cruisers that they valet at the Farmers Market. Right?

NOT in Palm Springs.

There are a lot of gay men here…but other than that I feel like I’m anywhere BUT California.

Smoking–Rat Pack style

One example is smoking.  California is famous for leading the country with it’s tough public & workplace smoking bans.

I grew up in San Luis Obispo–one of the very first places to go smoke-free.  I remember as a kid all the restaurant and bar owners bitching about it, and wondering just how the hell they were going to stay in business if people couldn’t smoke in their establishments.  Go to San Luis Obispo today and you will find one of the nation’s few thriving economies, a beautiful downtown packed with pubs and bars that Cal Poly students frequent, and lots of people eating out in some great locally owned restaurants.

San Luis Obispo’s ridiculously vibrant Thur night Farmer’s Market!

Because of the smoking legislation, California is a different place today.  Less people smoke, and people who do, smoke less. Except here in Palm Springs.

Go to the downtown PS Starbucks, grab a frappucino and find a seat outside on the patio. Now start coughing.  Spastic coughing fits perhaps.  I can’t tell you how long it had been since I’d seen an ASHTRAY on a patio table in California.  Cigarette butts overflowing from the trash can top onto the ground almost everywhere I go…

GROSS!

Palm Springs seems to be emulating Euro-style around the clock smoke-athons. Maybe that’s not shocking where you live, but for me it was like  finding out the place I just moved to doesn’t have running water.

When I go to a house party, or am getting smashed with friends in Vegas, I really don’t care that people around me are smoking.  It truly is their prerogative.  Get me drunk enough, I might even ask for a puff or two.

One of my favorite things about hanging out in Tijuana is this famous little cigar shop on the main drag.  My buddy and I always start our day there (usually around 2pm) with some fresh espresso and a cigar chosen by one of the pretty and friendly shop girls.  But when I’m at a frickin’ Starbucks in GD California? Doesn’t make any sense.

Palm Springs is REALLY hurting financially.  This is a seasonal place that makes oodles of moolah IF the rest of the country (and Canada) is raking it in.  Business owners here are lamenting the lackluster tourist turnout so far this year (Palm Springs “High-Season” is roughly Halloween through April).  And the visitors who are making the trip are spending very little.  Pure speculation here–and YES I know there are other factors–but I can’t help wonder how this place would be different if they started promoting Palm Springs (a place that used to be a SPA destination) as a healthy vacation Mecca…

Hate bikes and people who ride them?

Then move to Palm Springs!  I’m exaggerating a tad, but compared to the the rest of SoCal, the Central Coast, and practically ALL of NorCal; Palm Springs is ass backwards when it comes to bikes.

There is a “bike trail” here that is supposed to loop bikers around town.  It’s 100% RECREATIONAL and it’s mostly on sidewalks.  That’s not biking.  Trying to ride my bike to Farmers Market this morning was a logistical mess.  The official “bike routes” don’t lead to anywhere I’m trying to get to (Sad considering the Farmers Market is in the MALL’S parking lot).

Routing bikes onto sidewalk routes is dangerous. Sidewalks and bikes just don’t mix.  Not only is it unsafe and unnerving for other pedestrians, the cyclist is in danger every time the sidewalk intersects with driveways and the road.  Any concept that bikes have the right of way is lost and instead bikes on sidewalks reinforces the idea that bicycles are marginal and even maligned transportation.

I’ve been in Palm Springs for a little over three months now and I have only seen one die-hard bike commuter.  She rides a bright pink 10-speed all over the place and even does so during the SUMMER!  Good on you whoever you are.

The newer and very popular ACE hotel in Palm Springs is one of the first signs of possible renaissance here.  They turned the old Denny’s into a hip organic gourmet diner, Wealthy Orange County Dad’s bring their families to hang out for a weekend, and young L.A. hipsters wear skinny jeans even by the pool.

And ACE bless their hearts thought it would be cool to offer groovy beach cruisers for their guests to ride around Palm Springs on.  I’m literally embarrassed when I see these poor tourist trying to make their way from the hotel to the downtown area.  You can see the terror in their eyes as they are forced onto sidewalks, almost run over by weaving snowbirds, and buffaloed by impatient locals.  It could be such a neat addition to this beautiful place where you can ride around in shorts on Christmas day. But instead it’s a joke and definitely not cool.

Like inferior produce?

You’re a match for Palm Springs!

Until I found the Farmers Market I was literally aghast at how bad the produce is here.  This is CALIFORNIA dammit.  A place overflowing with great food.  Order a salad in most Palm Springs eateries and prepare yourself for lackluster greens, tossed with inferior oily dressings, and topped with nearly translucent cherry tomatoes.  A travesty.

Vintage Los Angeles Farmer's Market...Very Sexy!

Walk into the grocery stores and find not ripe for another month citrus, sad little (or non-existent) organic sections with even less ripe avocados and fruit [it’s like the store manager says “if we’re gonna order this here expensive organic shit we best get it green as hell so it lasts till we sells it].  There is no Whole Foods in the entire extended area. My local health food store carries almost no produce, and when they do it’s only for 1/2 the year!  Even though the store OPERATES a cafe & juice bar requiring fresh organic produce–INSANITY.

And the worst part?  So much healthy-beautiful-delicious produce is grown right here and in the surrounding communities!

What Palm Springs needs

I’ve thought about this almost every day since moving here.  Writing about the negatives of Palm Springs isn’t meant to detract from what makes this place so cool.  But, it’s light years behind the rest of California, and I think I know why…

Palm Springs needs more young people.

Sinatra's Palm Springs House Which You Can Rent! See The Piano Shaped Pool!

The old rat pack crowd living here is awesome.  I find them endlessly fascinating.

The gay men who have turned Palm Springs into their own Mecca have done a lot to bolster Palm Springs economy and make it a better place to live.  The working class who live here (that’s me) are the glue for the whole thing.  Almost everyone I’ve met here is friendly, personable, and fun.  They are also attracted to this PLACE and want to be here. But…

There are VERY FEW young people.  The average age here is forty four.

A lot goes into making a place that attracts young artists and thinker types (jobs/venues/etc.), I know that.  But simple things like getting this place healthier, more progressive, and accessible would go a long way.

The best case scenario I could see for Palm Springs would be adding a University (UCR has an extension campus in Palm Desert and there is a sad dilapidated but very popular community college there as well–but Palm Desert is another world away from Palm Springs even though they are so close) .  Even a small college would really balance out Palm Springs culture and business.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians own much of the Palm Springs area and operate profitable gaming establishments including a large casino smack in the middle of downtown.  It would be interesting to see them invest in the community (which they do in other ways) by investing in a totally new kind of University.  Think of the possibilities for tribal promotion, grants, scholarships, etc.

The Coachella Valley is loaded with the very rich.  It’s hard to convey how much wealth is hidden away in the canyons and country clubs here.  And a lot of those individuals would be eager to have some campus buildings named after them I’m sure.

Thanks for reading my unsubstantiated, pulled from my ass, and probably way too long rant about my new home town!  If you live in the Palm Springs area, or have visited, please share your take!

Tomorrow I’m going to share with you some new ideas I’m having about the best way for me to continue eating raw after I finish my 60 day 100% raw-food challenge.

I think it may be very helpful for a lot of other people too, who are trying to figure out a simple way to have more raw foods in their life, and maybe even eat mostly raw…


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Raw Food Thanksgiving: In just 30 days I’ve gone from zero to MY hero.

Today I want to thank myself for seriously committing to change.

My 3oth straight day raw was actually yesterday, but it’s timely to post my first set of before & after pictures today; a day we all pull our heads out of our asses and attempt to give thanks for the bounty that is existence.

 

What I’m thankful for today

I am thankful for my body’s insane resiliency; its capacity to bounce back and regenerate itself is incredible.

One month ago today I was sitting here at this same spot (my kitchen table) drinking continuous triple measured gin gimlets and eating massive quantities of nutrient deficient, fat laden, coma inducing food.  How the hell do I remember what I was doing a month ago?  That’s what I did every day.

The almost manic levels of energy I am experiencing (after getting past a couple difficult weeks) is making me want to explore so many things.  I have way less time than energy now–the INVERSE of  my life just one short month ago–where time lagged and I didn’t give a shit about anything.  I certainly had never blogged before, let alone about raw foods!  Now I have this daily-growing list of topics I want to explore, people I want to meet, stuff I want to try, recipes I cant wait to make, and places I’m dying to travel to…

 

A real load off

Weighed myself Tuesday and am proud to announce that I lost exactly 20 lbs in less than 30 days–eating only 100% raw food (raw fruits/uncooked veggies/raw nuts &eeds/raw honey & agave).

It takes a lot to post pics like these.  It’s weird to have strangers inspect your face and gut.  When I look at the picture from one month ago I’m disgusted.  How could I let myself get to that place? And while I am partly referring to the physical, please understand I am mostly referring to my mental/emotional state.

 

Here goes:

One month ago -- 254 big ones!

TODAY! 30 DAYS RAW! 234 LBS!

When I look at the “after” picture, I feel excited.  This is just the start.

It took 30 days just to figure out WTF was going on, get used to not drinking myself into a stupor, and find my way back into my own skin.

If you are considering making a change like this, please try to be compassionate with yourself and don’t expect too much at once. It’s a lot to just commit to a new way of eating.  The first month I kind of went into hiding, this blog my one connector to the outside world.

 

Exercise

I really didn’t exercise the first month.  But now I have too much energy NOT too! Isn’t that a nice problem to have?

Tuesday I dug out some of those funny 1980’s style resistance bands that I bought and never used and did a crude upper body workout.  Go ahead and laugh, these bands actually work. I used them in an EMS academy years ago that was taught boot camp style.  We all (guys and girls) got ripped and experienced massive strength gains using only the bands and calisthenics during our three month academy.

Yesterday I pumped up the sadly flat tires on my neglected fixed gear and took her for a long ride.  I ride my other bike to work each day, but it’s less than 2 miles and not a work out. Nothing like only having one steep gear to reanimate my long dormant legs and ass!

Just how she should be...Simple & Hot!

Struggling up a small hill, completely anaerobic, it was tough for me to believe I used to ride my bike over 50 miles a day as a bike messenger in NYC!

 

Climbing Mountains

Today just before dusk I rode over to the base of a popular—extremely steep—hiking trail.  Locked my bike to the trail sign and headed straight up for about 45 minutes.  The view is staggering. Other than the big hunk of cross-sectioned moon, alone on the mountain, it REALLY hit me:  I’m doing this.  I remember this feeling. I feel incredible…