Monday, March 25, 2013

The Perfect Food

What do you imagine is the perfect food?  Surely, there must be one with all of the talk of super foods.. Right? Wrong.

The press (newspapers and TV talking heads) like to trumpet any type of "research" that seems exciting or new and improved.  Take the innocent acai berry for instance.  We've been told that it cures everything from  heart disease to ugliness to bunion but it doesn't.  I'm certain that it has some great qualities but it is only a piece of the puzzle.  Nothing more - nothing less.  If it were indeed magical why would people want to sell it?

Our bodies were designed by our Creator to thrive on plants.  We don't need to mix and match at certain times of the day. We simply need to eat a variety of them and our bodies will sort everything out. 

Yes, you might have heard that spinach is awesome - and it is but our bodies need more than spinach.  The truth is there is not one perfect food.  Yes, you may prefer the taste of thing to another but we need purple & red berries, orange roots and starches, green and white cruciferous plants, black and red beans, brown rice, yellow & red peppers, quinoa, walnuts & almonds, leafy greens such as bok choy, turnips, oranges, grapes...well I think you get the picture.

Don't let anyone talk you into the latest and greatest eating fad.  Simply eat copious amounts of fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, and beans and you will be just fine.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vegan Chili and Christian Rock

I'm a paradox.  Most vegans are not disciples of Christ and most disciples of Christ are not vegan but full blown carnivores bent on filling their arteries with saturated fats and cholesterol.  I happen to be both (and to top it off, I'm a libertarian!).  Okay, I guess I'm really not a vegan (as I've said before) but I do follow a plant-strong diet, I don't eat meat, dairy, fish, eggs or any animal products.  I'm closer to vegan than not vegan...anyway I digress.

When I first began following Christ I was "not in the choir" if you know what I mean.  One of my favorite past times was listening to music and going to concerts.  My musical tastes evolved (or I guess devolved depending on who is judging) but I never listened to gospel type music prior to following Christ.  Now I listen to and enjoy both. I was just never exposed to good gospel music.  (I'm looking at you Israel Houghton, Jesus Culture, Rock and Roll Worship Circus, Chris Falson, and Third Day, thanks for the tons of good tunes!)

My first concert was Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. I've seen dozens of bands including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Dio, Ozzy, Motley Crue, Queensryche...well you get the picture.  Music was a big part of my life and still is.  Music written and performed by Christians has improved DRAMATICALLY over the years.  In the early 90's it was TERRIBLE.  When a good band came around such as Tourniquet inevitably this type of conversation would ensure:

"Man, this song rocks! Who is it?"

"It's Tourniquet.  The song is Vanishing Lessons."

"Wow, it's great.  I wonder why haven't I ever heard this before?"

"You really like it?

"Yea, dude is phenomonal!" 

Then the hammer would drop in kind of a self-righteous, pharisaical way, "It's Christian."


Now as I've turned into a (ahem) vegan I see the same kind of thing happening. 

"Do you like those cupcakes?"

"Yea, they're great!" (just like Tony the Tiger)

Cue smirk and self-righteous tone...."They're vegan."

When can we get over this?  Skillet is music.  Switichfoot is music.  U2 is music.  The Black Keys - music.  My chili, paella, jambalaya, gumbo, fajitas, gnocchi, minestrone, burritos, enchilada, cream of any type of soup, stir fry, and anything else I cook is F.O.O.D.

Please stop saying "pass the vegetarian nachos" or "mmm could I have some more of your vegan tomato bisque soup?" Pass the nachos or could I have more soup is just fine. 

If you have dietary restrictions and you're asking for clarification that is different.  Can we stop sounding self-righteous and pretentious and just enjoy some food?

Before you go would you please crank up that aweome Christian screamo death metal and top off my vegan chai tea though?

Peace Out!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Don't Curse the Darkness - Light a Candle

I am STILL in my prerequisite sprint triathlon training.  As a neophyte in the water portion, swimming is my biggest concern.  I've going to the YMCA on Mondays and Wednesdays and swimming about 500 yards during open swim time (9:10 - 9:40 PM).  Lap swim is early in the A.M. and I still don't feel sufficiently confident to swim during that time.  Moreover, I am still resting between 50 yard sets so I don't want to be a pain to real swimmers.  Typically during late evening open swim time there are 2-3 of us doing laps.  At times there will be a few others but not usually. Until last night!

The pool was set up last night with one large lane (actually 3 lanes) and there were people doing laps there.  There were 3 young kids (ages 9-11) on the other side and they were swimming the width rather than the length (sigh) plus occasionally jumping off the diving board. 

FURTHERMORE there was a young couple with a friend and a baby playing in the water.  You know how that is, right? The baby is having a blast in the water and they are spinning around cooing and giggling.  I remember those times and it's a blast but do you really need to spin across 3 lanes? 

So here I am attempting to dodge kids swimming the width and circumventing parents playing ring-around-the-rosy with their infant! The lifeguard was new (my first time seeing her) and she didn't really intervene sufficiently to help.  The issue with the 3 kids was that their parents were the ones swimming on the "reserved lanes"!  REALLY?? Get control of your kids!

I was home early but finished my laps in record time. I probably could have gone longer but wanted to get out of the pool and get relief from the chaos.  When I arrived home my wife asked, "How did your swimming go?"

I replied, "It was the best of times and the worst of times."

"Why so," she pried.

I explained the chaotic pool mess but mentioned I was able to get my laps done in my best time yet.

Her reply as only a wife can do, "Well what do you think it's going to be like during your sprint triathlon?  Probably chaotic, right?"

Instead of allowing me to curse the darkness she simply lit the candle for me.  Hopefully those kids will be in bed on Wednesday night though!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ready to Bike!

I finally bit the bullet and purchased a bike to ride for my sprint triathlon that is scheduled for July.  I didn't go too high-end on the purchase but spent enough to get me started.  I went with the Trek FX 7.2 which is an entry-level hybrid bike.

It's still a bit cold to ride - at least for me but I have it and now have made a firm financial commitment to train and complete the triathlon.  Real training begins April 1st.

I'm satisfied with my purchase but really don't have any baseline comparison.  I know others spend thousands more than me but I just want to finish the race.  Now it's time to get busy!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Healthy Breakfast?

I read many different blogs, websites, and books.  It's dangerous to ALWAYS agree with EVERYTHING someone says.  At times I read things just to keep my brain hopping despite my contempt for the author and subject matter.  Group Think is unhealthy.  Typically I can find a glimmer of truth or agreement on almost everything. Conversely, I can also find some BS in things I typically enjoy reading.  Case in point: THE HEALTHY BREAKFAST.

This is a quote from a blog I really enjoy reading. No, it's not a vegan or plant based food blog but they're bringing food and healthy eating into the equation.  I don't typically confront writers in the comment section of their blogs on things I disagree with because I think it is ill-mannered and tacky.  I'd never "shout someone down" if I heard them speaking in public so I believe it is cowardly to hide behind a keyboard and do it online.  Just my opinion.  HOWEVER... :)

Okay, seriously, here is the quote: "After your morning workout, try this healthy breakfast:"
  • 2-4 whole eggs
  • 1 cup assorted berries
  • 4 slices bacon (or turkey bacon)
Breakfast Benefits:
  • Having meat in your first meal will slow the rise of blood sugar, helping your energy levels slowly increase steadily throughout the day
  • The good fats found in eggs help raise testosterone levels, and also promote healthy brain function.
  • Dark berries – like raspberries – are low on the glycemic index, they’re also high in healthy fiber. Raspberries have also been shown to lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone).
Seriosly, 2-4 whole eggs.  That is the cholesterol equivalent of 2-4 Big Macs! Plus, bacon on top of it.  At least the dark berries are mentioned.  My guess is the writer is  Paleo because there are lots of protein and no breads (good thing). 

So, there are many people out there claiming many different things for health and well-being.  There are some extremely smart Paleos and some extremely smart plant-based eaters.  It's really up to an individual choice as to how we eat.  Never, ever follow someone blindly without conducting your own unbiased research.

My research was done on myself.  I tried many different things to get my lipids in line.  When I first began P90X I'd eat copious amounts of eggs, bacon and red meat to get "bigger".  I also saw my cholesterl numbers skyrocket.  I gave the plant-based diet a  60 day test run and it worked beautifully and I haven't looked back.  So it works for me. 

Find what works for you!