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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 3 What are the rules?

TONS of people are asking me how they can participate in the challenge!  But a couple questions  keep being asked.  Here’s the scoop!

What is “natural” fitness anyway?

Someone asked me yesterday what I mean by “natural fitness” challenge.

I struggled a bit with what to call this thing I’m trying to do, and settled on alternating between “90 straight days of exercise” & “90 day natural fitness challenge.”

Ninety straight days of exercise is pretty self-explanatory.  Most modern peeps don’t do some form of exercise every day.  Many haven’t exercised in 90 days!  So my plan is to get moving every day for three months.

The reason I chose to use the word natural in conjunction with fitness is that much of the fitness world has nothing to do with health.

Looking back…

In the eighties it was assumed the two words (health & fitness) were synonymous…

  • Remember when everyone was obsessed with eating low fat and sugar free?
  • Remember when endless cardio sessions and massive bowls of low fat pasta and bread were the hallmarks of health and fitness?
  • Not to mention the massive amounts of supplements people were taking!  Vitamins, minerals, protein powders, ginseng, memory aids, sleep aids, super dieters tea…
  • And the one that cracks me up the most is remembering how cool & “healthy” we thought we looked with a cold diet coke in our hand!

A lot of that mentality is still around, and most of it can be found in gyms.  Have you seen how massive some of the tubs of whey & soy protein powders are that they have for sale at gyms?  And yes, people are still popping creatine and testosterone pre-cursors like candy.

I did all that.  Years ago I completed a 12 week fitness challenge called “body for life” sponsored by EAS (a huge supplement company).  I looked damn good after that 12 weeks.  I also spent well over $1500 on body building supplements.  Including fat burners, creatine, whey, and HMB.  It was effective, but not necessarily about health.

2010 and beyond!

After eating only raw foods for the last two months of 2009–and losing over 33 pounds–I now have the motivation and desire to get incredibly fit! But I am not interested in anything other than a natural approach to doing so…

No way am I going to embrace an artificial, chemical, fear-based approach to fitness.  We all want to look great naked–no doubt about that–but NOT at the cost of our health.

I believe we can do both.  And I believe that journey will take people mostly out of the gym and into nature.  I think the fitness revolution of the coming decade will happen in yoga studios, in the ocean, and on mountain tops!

I think fitness can be the way we actively meditate, the way we give back to ourselves, and a way to share and connect with the people we are closest to.

What are the rules?

The next question I am being asked is, “so what are the rules of the 90 day challenge?”

Rules are a funny thing.  We need guidelines and even full-blown rules sometimes.  But for the most part they aren’t really the thing that’s important…it’s just that we feel uncomfortable without having them.

When people start eating raw as an example they are often hyper concerned with the “rules.”  Is tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) raw?  Can I eat these olives?  Is it ok to have a glass of wine on a raw diet?  After time you begin to realize that what you are after isn’t some prize, or to be able to label yourself a raw foodist, but health, energy, LIFE!

Food

I am very comfortable with how I eat now.  I did a ton of research and experimentation during my raw challenge and I believe I have found what is best for me:

  • 2/3 or more of my diet is raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  • I do not eat refined sugars.  When I have “sweets” the sugar comes from dates, raw honey, agave, etc.
  • I literally almost never eat “white” processed flour, i.e., pasta, bagels, bread.
  • I avoid foods cooked in oil, while I liberally use cold-pressed oils and avocados in my daily intake.
  • I eat no artificial ANYTHING!  No artificial sweeteners or preservatives.  Nothing that says diet, sugar-free, low-fat.  None of that.  And that includes supposedly healthy processed soy products or other “fake” meats, etc.  I only eat real food.  If I have a veggie burger its made of veggies and legumes, not texturized soy protein isolates or seitan (wheat gluten).
  • Very rarely will I have beer or hard liquor.  I have 2-5 glasses of organic red wine a week.
  • I love raw superfoods like cacao (chocolate), maca, and spirulina–but they aren’t a huge part of my diet and I don’t spend a lot of money on them.
  • I eat very little meat or dairy, and when I do I am committed to only eating grain-fed, hormone/antibiotic/and confinement free beef, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
  • Most days start with a simple green smoothie followed by snacking on fresh fruit throughout the day.  Some days I make a cool raw dinner and have a 100% raw day.  Other days I make a healthy cooked meal or go out to one of few places I know I can purchase REAL food.
  • Greens are a BIG part of my intake each and every day.  I support local farmers and purchase most of my produce at my local farmers market.  Some of it is organic, all of it is at the very least pesticide-free.

Is this the only way to be healthy? Of course not.  Is this the right way for you to eat?  I have no idea.

This is just where I am at and I feel really good about it.  Maybe you will find these guidelines helpful.

I will say that I think most people will never really get the raw thing without committing to being 100% raw for a period of time (at least two weeks, and preferably a full month).

It is very empowering, illusion-shattering, and awareness-inducing to eat 100% raw for a time.  If you want to commit to it, get in touch with me and I will help you any way I can!

The bottom line though is this…in order to benefit from this 90 day natural fitness challenge you need to be eating what you consider to be a healthy, natural diet!

Exercise

The rules of the challenge are more clear cut when it comes to exercise–do it EVERY day!

A note about rest.  Rest is critical in order to “recover.”  Recovery is when your body repairs and grows new muscle.  So you need one day a week where you give yourself a break.  But that doesn’t mean you lay on the couch all day.  It just means you take a long walk and smell the roses, or ride your beach cruiser around the boardwalk.  Rest by moving.

The other six days show no mercy!  Seriously.  Six days a week of intense exercise.  It can be in a gym.  But it doesn’t have to be…

Maybe you have a favorite workout DVD you like to pop in.  Maybe you do Pilates or yoga (just make sure it is real hatha yoga and that it is intense).  Maybe you get up early and run/walk around a lake or hike straight up your favorite climb for 60-90 minutes.  Whatever it is–PUSH!  Really truly push and get your heart pounding and your ass shaking.

Thirty minutes of intense exercise is the BARE MINIMUM, and if you are only exercising 30 minutes you better be sweating like crazy after.  Most days you should be shooting for a solid hour of exertion.

If you are out of shape like I am, don’t use it as an excuse.  Instead take heart knowing that your fat ass will be easily taxed by almost any form of movement or resistance!  That’s right!  It’s actually easier for out of shape people to do this challenge!  Have you noticed I haven’t said one thing about how far you should run or bike?  This isn’t about distance if you are using this to get in shape.  This is about getting in shape.

The pose that eludes Annie...the Pigeon...LOL!

The people who have it toughest are those who are already fit but want to use the 90 day challenge as  a way to go further.

As an example my girlfriend, a Bikram Yoga teacher who already eats very healthily and exercises six to seven times a week, EVERY week, is doing the 90 day challenge along with me.

Her unique challenge involves attending a once weekly advanced Bikram class.  In addition to her daily exercise she is now going to once a week put herself through a 5  hour session of hellish and uber-intense advanced hot yoga.  A process that is an extreme physical and mental challenge.  Makes me feel like I’m getting away with something…

I think it will be fascinating to see what people come up with.  Maybe some snow-bound people will be cross country skiing, maybe there are people who are ready to train for their 1st triathlon or amateur mountain bike race…

So the bottom line is that in order to participate in this challenge you must commit to 90 straight days of exercise!  There are no make up days, this is meant to be tough.

So how do I start?

The rest of this is optional but highly recommended:

  1. Let me know what your start date is! I would love to stay in touch throughout the process and it will motivate me & others to know you are doing the challenge.
  2. Take before pics. Trust me, you will be glad you did.  Nothing is more motivating then comparing before and AFTER pics of yourself side by side!  If you are thrilled with your results and are open to it, I would love to post them on a blog and tell everyone about your personal experience with the 90 day challenge!
  3. Get an initial weight and any other measurement that you think are key: waist, dress size, bicep measurements, resting heart rate, blood pressure.  After you take these initial measurements DO NOT take them again for another 30 days!  Once every 30 days retake the measurements and record them.
  4. Tell other people. Let your Facebook, Twitter, and (gasp) even people you actually see in person each day know that you are doing this and you are pumped about it.  Feel free to include a link to my blog any time you like. Maybe you will get some 90 day workout partners!
  5. Write stuff down. Every single day record what you ate and what you did that qualifies as intense exercise.  I don’t know why writing stuff down makes such a big difference when it comes to accomplishing things–but it does.  That’s the whole reason behind this blog…it’s a way for me to write it down.
  6. Enjoy yourself and be your own best friend. This is about feeling healthier, looking great, and enjoying life.  It’s tough to enjoy life if you don’t like yourself.  So be a true friend and thank yourself at least as hard as you are pushing yourself!  It’s not the 90 day challenge that actually matters, so don’t ever get discouraged.  What matters is you!

I truly hope this is something that will continue to spread and benefit people.  It may seem far-fetched, but I truly believe that anyone can completely reinvent themselves in just 12 weeks!  It’s one of the coolest things about being human, this capacity we each have to change…

——————————————————————————————–

What I did on my 3rd day of the challenge:

  1. Slept in and missed my chance to do Bikram today.
  2. Drank 3 glasses of water.
  3. Juiced 2 grapefruits & 2 oranges.  Blended w/ spinach & spirulina for a green breakfast.
  4. Road my bike and did errands (including buying tickets for Palm Springs Film Festival screenings!).
  5. Did an hour long “training” ride on my fixed gear bike.  Fixed gears only have one speed, are geared pretty high, and don’t “coast.”  That means if I ride for an hour I am literally pedaling for an hour.  I like to find hills and race up them until my heart feels like it will explode, then ride steady until I am breathing normal again, and then repeat over and over for an hour or more.
  6. Drank 2 glasses of water.
  7. RAW superfood energy chocolate shake:  almond butter, maca powder, cacao powder, cacao nibs, raw honey, and raw hemp seeds (great protein) all belended with some water and ice! Delicious, full of antioxidants, and gives me tons of energy.
  8. Snacked on a couple tangerines at work and probably drank another quart or more of water.
  9. Tossed brown rice noodles with homemade pesto (raw walnuts/basil/cold-pressed olive oil/garlic cloves/sea salt/lemon squeeze), some diced fresh tomato, and some raw goats milk cheese.  Enjoyed with a glass of organic wine.
  10. Drinking more water as I type this before bed.  I may sneak in another one of those Uli Mana raw chocolate truffles!

Tomorrow I am taking Annie’s Bikram class fershizzel my wizzles!

Cheers to everyone and I look forward to hearing about your 90 day challenges!

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Laugh your ass off while using two basic raw food kitchen tools…the ubiquitous Vitamix & a “spiralizer.”

As the effects of eating raw are changing how I look and act (I’m one happy hyper dude lately), more people are asking me about what I’m doing and how it all works.

The “what the hell do you EAT?” question is harder to answer than you might think. At least the first few times someone asks…

I try and answer by focusing on BASICS that anyone can do, whether they are a diabetic who is considering going 100% raw Dr. Gabriel Cousens style, or just someone that wants to replace some of their meals with raw nutritious foods.

All Hail The Vitamix

To me, SMOOTHIES are the most basic thing anyone who wants to eat more raw fruits, seeds, and vegetables (especially GREENS) can do.  Check out my Naked Smoothies page for dessert level raw “shakes” that are a great way for someone to transition over to raw…

What’s the single best tool for doing smoothies, green drinks, etc.?  The Vitamix.

That's why I don't have kids..

Sadly, I do not own one.  I am a broke ass right now and am making due with an eager but under powered (gasp) blender.  The blender and I have an abusive relationship, but we manage.

If you’ve got the money, do not pass go before buying yourself the Cadillac of “blenders”; which also acts as a juicer, dry flour grinder, nut butterer, and even ice cream maker!

Dare you to call it a blender!

I am very familiar with the Vitamix because I use them all the time.  Where?  EVERY bar/restaurant I’ve ever worked in has one.  The main reason being they can crush ice better than a gristle ice trucker, and they are REALLY REALLY reliable.  So, a Vitamix is an investment level appliance we’re talking about here people!

I start my day with a nice stiff (get your naughty minds out of the gutter…) green drink.  Here’s my favorite one right now…

“I am what I am” morning drink

Did you know canned spinach looks like that?

  • Juice 2 sweet grapefruits by hand (I also don’t own a juicer).
  • Pretty much fill the blender up with spinach.
  • Blend.
  • Drink down the crazy.

Now if I had a Vitamix, I’d probably juice one of the grapefruits, and put the other one in peeled.  The Vitamix can pulverize whole fruit (and the seeds) down to “juice.”  That has a bunch of advantages..

  1. It’s WAY easier than juicing (which is a chore and a half).
  2. Less waste (why throw the grapefruits fleshy wonders in the compost?)
  3. More fiber…especially important for people with insulin issues.

Also, my blender can handle spinach, but it hates kale, beets and other hard core veggies.  The Vitamix and a good recipe can turn those ruffians into something you’ll actually WANT to drink.  When you start buying mostly raw food this is a huge advantage because a lot of the stuff you buy (beets/carrots/etc.) have greens ATTACHED to them.  They are like BONUS greens IF you have a way to make them appetizing…

Bonus Greens

My New Favorite Toy

shame shame

Wow! You all need to stop looking at so much porn!  I’m talking about my Spiralizer…

What’s a spiralizer?  It’s this little magic slicer dicer that turns zucchini and other unmentionables into PASTA!  I love this tool.  Think about it…once you have the canvas (zucchini noodles)…you are ready to enter into a realm of Bohemian enticements (raw sauces!).

And unlike Vitamix’s and Excalibur Food Dehydrators this little spiralizer is cheap!  Top the veggie noodles with my “meaty sauce” or some fresh walnut pesto and you are asking for savory overload.

MEATY sauce

Ignore the bread

  • soak 12 sun dried tomatoes (real ones-not from a jar or in oil) and10 sun dried olives in hot tap water (set aside)
  • roughly dice up 1 large fresh tomato, 1 large red pepper, 1 stalk of celery, and 1 clove of garlic.
  • Put all the diced items in a blender/processor/or Vitamix
  • Add a tbs or some really good cold-processed olive oil, a small handful of fresh basil leaves, and sea salt IF the tomatoes or olives aren’t salted already.
  • Blend just until mixed.
  • Now…drain the warm water from the sun dried ingredients and add them to the blender.

    ironic farm animal plates not included

  • Blend to the consistency you like.  This last step is going to make the sauce really rich and “meaty.”  The sauce is also going to be nice and WARM–a real treat for people who eat 100% raw!
  • Pour or Ladel over your awesome zucchini noodles!
  • Top with Rawmesan to get really old school!

You can buy both of these kitchen equipment items and other “Raw Kitchen Essentials” from the beautiful Kristen Suzanne (click the link and scroll down) or do a quick Google/eBay search for deals.  I just did a quick search on the spiralizer I use (Saladacco Metro) and found a bunch of them on sale here.

I don’t make any money off these links.  So order a second Vitamix for me!  Or at least share your sauce and smoothie recipes with me…

Cheers!


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60 day raw food log: day 23 the raw food & vegan scene is bumping in Santa Monica!

Hung out today by the beach in Santa Monica and Venice Beach.  Gorgeous sunset, great people watching…and that’s all to be expected from this place…although it’s not every day you are sitting in a cool raw food restaurant where Harvey Keitel’s getting takeout!

I only have time for a super fast update since I am staying with a friend and minus my laptop.  But let me say this…the raw food scene is insane here!  When I get back to Palm Springs I will give a full report on the delicious stuff I ate here and the cool people I met.

It’s a crying shame I can’t stay longer and check out some of the other raw eateries…but I have a girlfriend with Midnight movie tickets for New Moon and, oh yeah *&^%$ work!

What I ate today:

  • a big juicy pineapple (yup, a whole pineapple)
  • tangerines
  • carrot/apple/orange juice
  • LARA bar
  • drank the juice out of a coconut
  • watermelon juice (JUICE PLACES EVERYWHERE HERE! COULDN’T RESIST!
  • Sampled some raw ice cream
  • A big messy raw burger called a “BIG MATT”
  • Sun dried durian dipped in chocolate
  • tangerines

Start planning your raw vacation to Santa Monica!  You’re gonna wish your bags were already packed after you read about what I found here.  Good thing I only live 2 hrs away! Good night. Details coming soon…


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60 days raw food log:day 12 Eating Raw Can Be Confusing.

What happened to the simple raw food concepts I was introduced to a couple years back when I was first exposed to live foods?

It was so simple.  Listen to David Wolfe jump up and down raving about what a natural high raw foods were and treat myself to gourmet raw food at Cafe Gratitude on the weekend while during the week relishing abundance and enjoying two avocados a day…

Now I keep hearing new terms like “high raw” which sometimes seems to simply refer to trying to eat a higher percentage of raw foods daily and at other times some kind of designation for those who do raw to the highest greenest extremes? Then there are people (Doctors) throwing around optimal macro percentages to eat like 80/10/10…

I thought all that stuff was for the regular dieting masses who want to get in the “zone” and who are plagued by the evils of cooked foods? When I eat raw, I feel like I naturally & rapidly notice anything I’m not doing right and change it.  Why have such distinct rules?  Why not focus on just eating raw? (I really want to know.  These aren’t rhetorical questions.  So if you have comments please share them with me!!!)

As an example.  I don’t feel like I’m eating enough succulent watery fruits & veggies. I need to find a good farmers market and do more of my shopping there.  But to worry about whether I just poured 1 tbs or was it 2 tbs of cold-processed hemp oil onto my salad?  Seriously?

I want to research and write more about this.  I also want to get better about making this blog a resource for the best recipes I come across.  Soon I will be adding a Raw Restaurant Review tab & a Recipes tab.  For today, check out these awesome pics and recipes for raw comfort foods I found on a blog that I’m not sure is current, but there are these really decadent recipes in the archives including “mayo” and “mashed potatoes & turkey.” Just in time for Thanksgiving!

mashed potaoes and turkey raw

Raw Thanksgiving

What I ate today:

  • Double portion of watermelon juice
  • Raw pistachios
  • RAW bar
  • Apple
  • Spinach Salad w/ olives, avocado, olive oil, lemon & black pepper w/ rawmesan.