Fat Kid Suit


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Back On The Wild Wagon Ride Into Uncertainty

 

What Surprised Me About THE GREAT HEALTH DEBATE
Kevin Gianni

The Great Health Debate hosted by Kevin Gianni was more enlightening than I anticipated.

The “debate” didn’t really follow a debate format. It was actually a series of  interviews with various nutritional heavies.  While there were some interesting ideas presented, I can’t say it necessarily taught me a lot in regards to nutrition.

In fact the “experts” conflicting data was in many ways more confusing than clarifying…

But in an odd way, listening to so many gurus and so much info in one concentrated week freed me! I now see this diet world and all its associated conflict for what is–further evidence that life is unknowable and full of seeming contradiction. It seems that many want to hear stated something that can’t be–unassailable truth. It just doesn’t exist for diet, or anything else.

That realization–more like something I forgot again–was the extra push I needed to crawl back in the red Radio Flyer I tumbled out of a year ago, and really start living again. Whether you are hurrying by mirrors denying the degree of ill health you are in, self medicating your unhappiness with booze and pills, or even denying the sometimes scary awareness of just how uncertain all things are–denial is a powerful thing.

My Favorite Part Of The Debate

I especially enjoyed the perspectives shared on the evening David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis were interviewed by Kevin Gianni.

A quick note: I think these two interviews illustrate what a shame it is that the debate wasn’t a true verbal exchange between the participants.  Much is lost when there isn’t a direct interchange, and I believe Kevin is not only an awesome interviewer but also an excellent moderator more than capable of keeping the discussions, and even arguments, on track.

Wolfe

Why I especially enjoyed Wolfe and Vitalis had less to do with their nutritional insights than their incredible openness and general take on life. Both refused  to talk about people, food, and nutrition in a simplified reductionist light; a path they both admit to once being on.

Vitalis

 

Both men–regardless of how you feel about their advice–strike me as individuals who find things out for themselves, and then share their experience more than their opinions.

As I said in yesterdays post RE opinions, this experential approach to life, which is less about judgement and knowing than direct experience appeals to me. Coming to any table vested in winning an argument means you are not really their to share info or listen to what others have to say.

What Now?

Immediately following the interviews with both David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis I felt inspired to begin yet again on my very personal journey toward healthful eating.  I also felt empowered to do this in small ways, to do it without labels, and without subscribing to any particular guru’s unique approach.

For me that has meant being blatantly honest about which foods I know intuitively after 37 years on the planet do nothing for me nutritionally and in some cases cause harm to my organism.

At my current very low level of personal health and well-being it is clear to me the following  foods have to be eliminated from my diet:

  • All commercial dairy products and all cow dairy regardless of its source.
  • All gluten, all processed grains in any form other than whole, and very little if any of those.
  • Refined sugar in its myriad disguises.
  • Factory farmed anything.
  • Artificial anything.
  • Genetically Modified produce grown with pesticides.
  • Coffee.  Probably the most difficult to give up on this list, but a food that I have a long negative history with.
  • All foods cooked or fried in oil.
  • Added salt.

 

What Does That Leave TO Eat?

A lot actually.  The issue in some ways may actually be less about what to eat, than where to eat it, and where it came from?

During the debate there was a ton of discussion about what humans did or didn’t eat 10,000 years ago.  Most of this was centered around whether humans did, and whether we currently should, eat meat.  This being the primary item debated struck me as strange and limiting.

 

When 'To Eat or Not To Eat?' was the food question of the day...

While Kevin Gianni was extremely fair with all  participants, not once did I hear him try and sway the debates, it was obvious that the debates were the brainchild of a non meat eater, because every question was eventually reduced to one, “should we or shouldn’t we eat meat?”  Not an irrelevant question, and definitely juicy with controversy, but still a question that invariably limited the scope and depth of a discussion about health.

Who Should We Really Be Arguing With?

I can’t help but feel, and here I am proffering my opinion, which I am trying to do less of, that a true debate about health in our time would center much more on the merits of industrialized food VS non-industrial local sources of food.

Healthy meat VS unhealthy.  Healthy vegetables VS unhealthy.  Yes there will always be room to debate percentages and quantities of macro-nutrients.  There will always be a philosophical debate about  killing or using animals for food. But the carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, and fruitarians are all in the same boat when it comes to the industrialization of our food to the point that it barely resembles food. Have you walked through a modern supermarket lately?  It is frightening.

"cheese" puffs and pepsi

AISLE 9 - Corn Syrup - Aspartame - Phosphoric Acid

Look back at my hit list of foods I want to eliminate from my life.  It is essentially a  list of industrial food.

For me to avoid the foods on that list, it would be difficult to eat in most restaurants, and impossible to eat in many.  For me to source quality fruit, vegetables, eggs, whole grains and meat (if I choose to eat meat again in the future) would require finding a source other than the giant corporate markets.

 

 

 

Mono-crop agriculture and factory farms are the same thing.  A very bad response to ever growing numbers of humans who aren’t prepared psychologically, politically, and technologically to feed the next generation.   Mad Science and greed have taken only 40-50 years to bring us humans down to a frightening level of disease and ill health. Obviously there are healthy people who eat meat.  Obviously there are healthy people who eat no meat.  To argue otherwise is asinine.

 

While we argue (in an arguably entertaining fashion) about how much if any of our diets should come from animals, the state of all of our food is worsening.  Our options are lessening.  Our inherent right to grow food and share it with each other is being stripped away; perhaps irreversibly.

Maybe “You are what you eat” has less to do with which kingdom it came from than whether or not what you eat–plant or animal–was healthy before you ate it?

Will we start arguing with the companies and governments who are ruining our food supply?  Can we channel some of  the energy we use debating food philosophy and branded versions of health into effective change both in our back yards and through legislation?  Because somewhere in our current debate is a form of denial about the real elephant in the room.  And that can’t be healthy.

Either way, thanks Kevin Gianni for doing something!  You obviously worked extremely hard on this project, and in my own way, I benefited greatly from it. The last several days I have taken some concrete steps to better my health, which I will be sharing soon.

Cheers!

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60 day raw food log: day 21 Weighing the cost of a raw food diet…is it worth it? (part 3)

 

WHAT IN THE WORLD DO I HAVE TO GAIN FROM EATING THIS WAY?


Energy

Sun Power!

Serious—power a small city, build bigger pyramids, apply for the “HELP WANTED: SUPERHERO” position advertised on craigslist, kind of energy. I have never felt lighter or freer…EVER!

You’ve heard raw food zealots talk about it, try it for yourself and see why so many athletes are turning to a diet high in raw foods to give them a competitive edge.  ULTRA-MARATHONERS are eating this way! When was the last time you ran 100 miles?

 

Mental Clarity

I don’t know that I can convey how clear my thinking becomes eating this way.  There’s a precision and depth to my thoughts that I DO NOT experience when eating cooked foods.  Some might even refer to it as

Whose more "in the moment"? Kids or dogs...

spiritual.  I’ll skip that label and just say raw foods are very expansive…

 

Addicted No More

Three weeks ago I was addicted to food, alcohol, and caffeine.  No other way to call it.  I was.  I don’t necessarily mean in the “I better get to a 12-step meeting” kind of way.  I mean how most of us are addicted to these things that should enhance our lives but for many don’t.

Having a couple beers with your friends is nice.  Sitting alone and spending your insomniacal hours working on a case of beer isn’t.

A glass of wine with your pasta dinner can be a beautiful thing.  Eating whole pizzas because your bored and drinking 50, 75, 100, or more drinks per WEEK…not so pretty.

The simplest, fastest, most effective way to break your food/booze/caffeine cravings is to go 100% raw with a focus on green foods. Doesn’t have to be forever, but give your body the break it deserves.  You will be surprised by how effective green foods are at combating your addictions.

 

Transcendence

It feels kinda cool to transcend food.  Best analogy I can think of is the totally in-control bartender who doesn’t drink himself…

So much of modern life can feel out of our control.  And it sucks to feel like you are always letting yourself down and breaking your own promises.  I gotta admit that I feel a sense of power being able to go to work in an Italian resaturant and bar and only eat tangerines on my shift while everyone else is eating pizza and getting drunk.

One man–a diabetic–comes in every night and drinks two or three bourbons while chowing down on minestrone, a caesar salad, a basket of garlic bread, a heaping plate of chicken alfredo, and some cheesecake.  All while lamenting how cursed he is to have diabetes!  It feels good not to be that guy.

 

Healthier Every Day

I remember literally feeling like every day I woke up my health was deteriorating markedly.  It really blows to be only 36 years old and huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs.

So many of the ailments people “come down with”, “contract”, or “suffer from”, are 100% avoidable.  Please don’t take me as some kind of jerk who is going to insist that all sickness is self-made.  I don’t think that at all.  But most of the everyday “conditions” we live with are.  The guy I mentioned who comes into my bar every night…he CHOOSES to be a diabetic.  One month eating raw and he’d be a different person and he would NOT be a diabetic.

Another example of the health benefits of eating raw is how totally it covers all the bases.  I was in the health food store the other day waiting for my fresh watermelon juice to be made.  So I decided to walk around and look at the shelves.  Two thirds of the stores shelves contain vitamins, powders, supplements, tonics, etc.  TWO THIRDS!  I had a funny reaction–literally–and started laughing out loud.  It all seemed so ridiculous.  None of those pills are going to fix anything. Total waste of time and money.  Let alone pharmaceuticals…

 

Natural Weight Control

Oprah and Ricky can talk all they want about the need for heavy people to accept themselves and the evils of a society obsessed with being thin…it doesn’t change the fact that none of us want to be fat!

If you read my Fat Kid Suit story you know I grew up being a fat kid in a fat family.  It sucked!  You know why I think people dislike being fat the most?  Because all those layers are proof that you are hiding shit and that your thoughts aren’t your own.

Have you watched the Biggest Loser?  Ever see people cry that much?  Even for reality TV these “losers” are shedding more tears than I thought humanly possible.

Being fat is not congruent with any kind of personal authenticity.  When I’m fat I start avoiding eye contact.  It’s a terrible terrible way to be and while I’m all empathy about how hard it is to make up your mind to change it, it’s 100% on you.  Eating raw has helped me quickly realize that, and I no longer want to abdicate my responsibility to and for myself.

If you haven’t tried eating 100% (or at least mostly) raw yet, you may not believe me when I tell you that eating raw is NOT a diet.  And I hope you know that I don’t mean that in some cheese-ball marketing sense.  It simply isn’t a diet.  I’ve lost a lot of weight already, and I have NEVER ONCE thought about a calorie, a carb, or wondered how many fat grams I was eating.  NEVER EVER do I tell myself I shouldn’t have seconds or thirds of anything.

I pour the olive oil on THICK!  I eat a whole avocado as a snack. I lick honey off of spoons.  The other day I got a massive pineapple and ate the whole thing for lunch.  You know those a-holes who say that drinking fruit juice is the same as drinking soda?  I drank a quart of fresh pressed seasonal apples juiced into a cloudy lover of a concoction that zinged in my mouth and sweetened my soul like no other…yeah it was that good.  My body SOAKED it all up into my cells which collectively broke out in song.  And guess what?  It wasn’t the Coke song.

 

Sex

Oh, NOW you’re paying attention!  Yeah sex.  That thing you try and squeeze in between cocktail dreardoms and buffet bellyaches.  Only a very small group of fetishists find belching and food induced comas to be a turn on.

You know what’s really sexy?  FRUIT!  Farmer’s markets are the new sex shops.  I don’t mean you have to use the fruit that way, just eat it.   And then let all that stored solar stuff of life bump up against some other radiant beings overflow.  In other words, sex is better the more raw foods you eat.

NO idea who this guy is, but HE'S got the right idea!

Having that youthful raw foods “glow” and lightness of being make you FEEL sexy at any age.  That kind of confidence and feeling of self-worth is the only real aphrodisiac…

 

The Environment & Animals Everywhere Will Thank You

This one is obvious to most people.  I’m not going to get all science right now.  There are tons of great resources out there regarding the undeniable connection between what we eat and the environment.  If anything, I’m sick of the words “green,” “sustainable,” “vegan,” and “carbon footprint.”  These are becoming marketing buzz words, overused, and to me they are often elitist terms with very little real world application for the majority of the worlds population.

I wasn’t attracted to raw foods for ethical reasons.  If anything I’m a borderline Nihilist who is completely A-political.  But, what we do most of the time makes the largest impact in our personal lives and on the human family as a whole.  Eating less meat and dairy has a far greater impact than driving a Prius does…

I’m not an “animal lover,” but the more raw foods I eat the more empathy I feel for animals, other people, and myself.  Having apparently turned my hatred toward plants, I’m now regularly butchering papayas the size of infant children and braining coconuts to get at their sweet innards.  You can’t please every species all of the time I guess.  Besides, the other day when I drove by a small farm, the chickens waved.

 

My Conclusions

I’m sure there are heaps more benefits that I don’t even know about yet.  I’m only just beginning with all of this.  Three weeks in I’m loving the results and wanting more.

Can I do this 100% of the time?  Probably not.  And I don’t think that’s what matters anyways.  But I can see myself mostly raw from here forward.

 

Your Input

What are some benefits to eating raw that you have experienced and that I failed to mention?  What percentage (roughly) of your diet comes from raw foods?  What do you like/dislike about the raw food movement?

PLEASE comment and join in on the discussion!

 

P.S.

Tomorrow I weigh myself and will post the result of week three’s weight loss.  All while NOT dieting.  So please check back for that and more!

Thanks!


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60 day raw food log: day 16 Weighing the cost of a raw food diet…is it worth it?

Most people are concerned about money right now.

I am in need of an IV drip connected to a money bag myself.  The place where I bartend is only scheduling me for 3-4 shifts a week, and like many restaurants, is struggling.

So one part of determining if raw food eating is “worth” it is the dollars spent. I’ll do my best to give a dollars & cents breakdown on what eating this way is costing me and how it compares to when I ate a “normal” American diet.

Another price to pay for eating raw is taking an honest look at the things you give up to do so.  Pizza delivery and cheap beer.  Pitchers of mojitos to wash down some gourmet Cuban cuisine.  Street food (especially TACO TRUCKS!)  BBQ joints…did I mention Taco Trucks?

CIMG3610

I knew my moto was back in Cali when I came across this taco truck on a cold night just south of the border. The Oregon border!

Finally, anytime you examine somethings true cost you have to figure out just what the hell you’re getting out of it.  AKA…what are the benefits?

So is it worth it? I’m no expert and I can’t answer this (or any other question) for you.  But let you inside my abnormally large head and show you exactly how I feel at this juncture about the costs of eating raw…

Today (part 1) will focus on the monetary cost.  Tomorrow (part 2) will look at the cost of giving up things you love and are used to…like taco trucks.  And in (part 3) I’ll wrap it up with a snazzy cost/benefits analysis (sorry no charts or Excel spreadsheets) that attempts to explore the sometimes measurable, sometimes intangible benefits of a raw food life.

Part One

IS EATING RAW MORE EXPENSIVE THAN COOKED?

First few times you walk over to the raw “section” at the health food store (you know you’ve become a radical marginal member of society when you are shopping in a specialized section of a specialty store) two things will probably jump to your attention…

My first thought was “This is a really tiny section.  Not really a section actually, more like an end-cap.”

My second thought was, “Holy shit!  $14 for peanut butter!?”

Bulk Items

To make matters worse, a lot of the things you “need” to get started are bulk items. These types of items will probably last you a month, but they require payment in full today.

As an example, I bought a big bottle of spirulina for $43.  Two weeks later I’m only halfway through it.  But when I

swamp2

Spirulina bringing someone else back from the dead...

was standing there in the store trying to imagine how bad something that grows on top of a swamp might taste, and ruminating on the sad fact that lately I don’t even make $43 some nights, well lets just say it wasn’t easy to hand over the green required to buy the green. (Spirulinas really more blue-green).

My conclusion? These items aren’t in actuality expensive and can actually make raw eating more economical in some instances. At $1.4o per serving, roughly the price of a Coke, instead of corn syrup, chemicals, and an ingredient list that reads more like toilet bowl cleaner than beverage; you get the most concentrated bio-available protein on the planet.

So, score one for the spirulina and other bulk raw items you might want like cacao nibs, hemp oil, and raw honey.

Pre-packaged stuff VS. Produce

When you are new and trying to “adjust” to raw  for the first time you will naturally gravitate to the expensive pre-packaged raw items because they sorta look like what you think foods supposed to look like.

realhomerI stood there having a Homer Simpson style conversation with myself that went something like this… “Ahhhh…crackers!  I know what crackers are! This is a peculiarly small little bag with only 6 crackers in it…not exactly a Costco size box of Wheat Thins…but it says here…sun-dried tomato crackers…mmm…sounds yummy…and they are only…let me just turn this little package over and find the price….$9!  WTF!”

I bought them anyways.  Because I was scared of not having what I refer to as “food-food.”  And you know what allows you to psychologically pay NINE BUCKS for SIX CRACKERS?  The little sticker on the package that says “raw.”  And do you know what those crackers taste like, I’ll give you a hint…it’s a 4 letter word…start’s with an “S”…and it’s not sun dried tomatoes!

I’ve been reading a lot of other raw foodists blogs and watching their You Tube channels and tweeting with them and I’m starting to get the feeling that the longer one eats raw, the more likely they are to do almost all of their shopping at a Farmer’s Market, or in a good organic produce section.

My conclusion? Go ahead and buy the pre-packaged stuff.  Try it.  See what you like and what you don’t.  Soon you will save the dehydrated breads and little $4 baggies of superfood trail mix for when you need the convenience or the comfort.  Spend the bulk of your dough on fruits & veggies that are pound for pound, yes even at organic prices, the best value for your food dollar.

11/14 UPDATE!  Went to Farmer’s Market today and loaded up on fresh veggies/greens/and fruit.  I even bought a big jar of raw wildflower honey.  Grand Total = $40  Because I’m 100% raw I also got “free” breakfast out of the deal just walking around enjoying all the samples being handed out.  When I came home I took everything out and put it on the table so I could see what all I bought.  I had to take a picture…amazing isn’t it?  The honey will last a couple weeks and I’m sharing this with my girlfriend, so the real cost to me for the week I estimate to be closer to$25!!!

DSCN1435

How Much Are You NOT Spending?check-into-booze

This is really fair question to ask, and the one that pushed me over the edge on the money issue.  Do this little exercise yourself, and be brutally honest about it.

I added up what I spent each week on:

  • Coffee. Up to 2 weeks ago I was spending over $6 per day at Starbucks.
  • Booze. I’m talking drinks out (w/ tips), drinks in, wine, beer, all of it! For me drinking on the cheap was still costing  me over $70 per week. And that’s with a job where I can have a drink or two for free.
  • Cooked food groceries. I love to cook.  Shop pretty smart at Trader Joe’s.  My share of weekly groceries is about $40 per week.
  • Eating out. Make sure you include any fast food, lunches out, frozen yogurts, movie popcorn, brunch, all that!  I had really cut back lately.  In the past my girlfriend and I would grab sushi or Mexican food at least 3x per week. But due to lack of work and recently moving, I’m gonna say I was spending about $25 per week eating out.
  • Cigarettes. I don’t smoke cigarettes, so this wasn’t an issue with me.  But if you do smoke, we’re talking big bucks here, and you ARE going to stop smoking if you go 100% raw.  Maybe not immediately, but soon.
  • Other drugs including prescriptions. In one way or another, to quote Weezer, “We are ALL on drugs.”  I like to party, and think recreational substances have their place. But for arguments sake assume you won’t be spending money on that after you get hooked up to nature’s crack–raw food.  Also include most (not all, like I don’t think eating raw is going to do anything in the contraceptive department) pharmaceuticals.  Especially meds for cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux (my GERD is 100% GONE), etc.

So for me…about $200 per week.  What’s your total?

So that’s $200 per week that I can apply to eating 100% raw food, drinking fresh-squeezed vibrant juices, and even eating out every so often in a little raw cafe or gourmet raw eatery.  $200 is A LOT of vegetables and fruit.

Another aspect of how much it really costs to eat raw vegan organic foods that I hadn’t thought of until I read Derek Markham’s blog today…is all the money not spent at the Doctors office.  In his case he acknowledges that as a father he chooses to spend a large portion of his families income on fresh organic food.  Derek says, “Our kids deserve the best fuel for their minds and bodies, and eating this way is our ‘health insurance’.” That blew me away.

What I’m NOT suggesting is that you cancel your health insurance (if you have health insurance) and count that as potential savings if you go raw.  But imagine the money you, your family, and the country would save by having less sick days, co-pays, depression, and chronic illness…

My conclusion? Money should have nothing to do with whether or not someone chooses to go raw.  If anything, I am spending a little less money each week to give my body an abundance of nutrients and delicious food.

Tune in tomorrow if you want to read about some of my misgivings about going (and staying raw long-term), as well as a candid lament about things I’m not sure I can live without (or want to).