Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31st, 2011 - Day 22 of 60

Hot day today.  I got a bit of shopping finished early and gathered a few supplies for the Fall planting in the next few weeks.  Got some yoga in and generally tried to relax.  I feel I've come to a place in my life where I can relax when I want.  My child is married and living down the road.  Most of my family lives nearby.  Most of my wife's family is nearby as well.  That makes for an interesting dynamic.  I've always felt like a light bulb and everyone I know is a bug.  I know that sounds egotistical, but the facts bear me out.  I know I am nothing special.  I'm just a guy.  But I'm a guy who is an introvert and a guy who enjoys many hobbies and interests.  I work hard and I like my solitude.  Today was just like most days.  My in-laws are visiting for a few weeks.  That is always nice.  They are fine people.  But, they are always asking me to help them with things.  As a human being I feel it is my obligation to help others, so I try to do so with joy.  My daughter will pop in whenever with the grandkids.  It is always lovely to see the grandkids.  They are as dear and anything on earth.  My dad always pops in whenever.  He did so today. He's my dad and I love him.   I'm happy to have him around.  My brother-in-law and his wife came by unannounced to use the pool.  They like popping by around dinner time.  Everyone is always welcome here.  My wife is the world's greatest hostess and has a heart as large as the outdoors.  I'm a lucky guy.

Is there a downside to this sappy scenario (which is 100% true, not confabulated for dramatic effect)?  Are there various interpretations of this situation?  One interpretation is that I'm a very lucky person and I should be thankful each day for family that cares to come by.  That is an accurate interpretation.  But, there is also this interpretation: People feel their right to come see me is greater than my right to be given some space.  Harsher interpretation, I know, but still accurate.  I could be an ass and tell people I'm busy, but that isn't how I roll.    If you and I were friends, one thing you could always count on was that I'd call before I came by.  To me, that is only common courtesy.  I don't feel I have the right to barge in to your life.  Life and time are precious.  I am not so important that I should be thanked for inserting myself into each moment of your life unannounced.  Am I out of line here?  You see, just typing these words makes me feel like a bad person.  I am not a bad person.  I am a person who loves life and has a lot to do in it.

When someone rolls into your life unannounced, what they are saying is, "I am here.  Stop whatever it is you are doing and pay attention to me."  Or, they might be saying, "I have nothing going on in my life of any interest, so let me share what you have as it seems much more interesting."   On both counts I feel like a creep for saying it, but what else is there?  Of course they love me and my wife.  Of course they want to visit with us.  It is just that I feel some folks are afraid of being alone in their own skin?  Doesn't anyone spend time learning to do things?  Don't people paint or garden or play music or write or study or do yoga or anything at all but work, eat, Facebook and talk, talk, talk?  I think I am strange.  So be it.

When it comes to your Reboot, don't let this happen to you.  Don't let it happen to you!  People cannot insert themselves into your Reboot.  It is your decision, not theirs.  If you are being reasonable and not demanding special attention or consideration and no one else has to suffer, then everyone should just leave you alone.  This is for YOU.  You deserve good health, don't you?  Why should someone whose entire understanding of nutrition comes from remembering a commercial that said, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" tell you how to live?  You know your body.  Sure, constructive criticism and advice are fine, but we both know what I mean.  Yes, your spouse has a say.  What they should say, in the end, is, "I love you and will support you as best as I am able.  I want you to be happy and healthy."   If you go off the deep end, they certainly have the right to say, "If you look at your ideal weight in medical charts, you are a bit under that.  Perhaps we can talk about it?"  But when everyone is constantly on you about this and that... ugh!  Don't people have lives?  Don't you have anything better to do than try to drag me down or talk about this private thing I am doing?  Damn people, the freaking world is falling apart before our very eyes, certainly something of greater substance can be discussed!

You have the right to some things for yourself.  If I had my way, my wife would be doing this with me.  She isn't.  I think she'd like to but she can't.  She's not mentally ready.  Maybe in the Fall.  But she is being more supportive this time (that is another story).    I am appreciative of that.  I am not going to allow anyone to derail this Reboot except me.  I am the only one who gets grace when and if things go wrong.  YOU have the right to fall down once in a while.  You have the right to get up, dust yourself off, look at yourself in the mirror and say, "It's alright.  Sometimes you fall when you are moving forward."

I may need to show kindness to my family when they intrude on my time.  They don't look at it as intruding.  I understand that.  I try to give compassion in those circumstances.  But when it comes to my Reboot, I will give them compassion from speaking from selfishness or misguided caring or misunderstanding or even jealousy, but I will also show compassion to myself and not allow anyone to take me off this path.

My pal Diana and I are both going to give great compassion to ourselves and stay on this Reboot until we are finished, regardless of when that might be.  But, it will be when WE are finished.  In the meantime we will love those around us and ourselves, knowing that in the end we will all be better for this.

Crap, is that the doorbell?

I am 35% through the 60 days.

Weight: 150.8 lbs.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30th, 2011 - Day 21 of 60

When I was a young chap, my grandfather would take me to the stock car races.  We'd make the 40 minute trip, often stopping at the donut shop on the way.  I will always remember the feeling of those old wooden bleachers on my butt, the smell of the spent fuel, the smoke that would linger in the air, and the ear-splitting sound of all that horsepower mingled with the screams from the crowd.  There was the wonderfully terrible food:  walkaway sundae, candy apple, Pepsi-Cola, etc.  All of those sensory stimuli creating a melange of memory.  Mostly, it was about being with my grandfather.  It was always a treat to see him and be with him.  Wish he lived longer.  Still, even though I am not quite the demographic for NASCAR, I still smile when I see a stock car race and think of him.

With that in mind, I'd like to make my short post about the supermarket.  We all have to go and we mostly dread it.  The whole place is a consumer trap designed to get you to part with your precious funds.  They love to put things in odd places that are right in your way so you have to look at them.  They'll stick "banana hangers" right in the midst of the cereal aisle.  The put some things in multiple places.  The thing you want is never in the logical place.  For example, cotton swabs are nowhere to be found in the "Health and Beauty" section of my store.  You'd think they'd be right next to the cotton balls.  Nope.  They are only in the "Baby" aisle, as if only a baby can use them.  Makes no sense to me.  It also makes no sense why there needs to be an entire aisle for soft drinks, an entire aisle for breakfast cereals, an entire aisle for snack chips, etc.  I guess choice is what we are about, but that is really a lot of choice.  Of course, I am confident there is a reason for the way the store is setup.  We live in a modern world where business moves at the speed of thought.  Real-time facts and figures are the norm.  Inventories are updated by the second.  Trends are spotted and marketing research never ends.  And all I want to do is buy food.  You can't do that at most grocery stores today.  There are more products than you can name, all struggling to get your attention.  You are not a person, you are a "customer", but not in the real sense of the word.  You are the target for marketing.  You behavior is watched, studied and evaluated.  Those "Bonus" cards you get at the store (you know, the one where you can't get the best price unless you use it?) keep track of what you buy and what you may buy.  It is all brilliant.  Then, at the end, when you pay your $280 dollars (after you just came in to get milk, bread and a frozen dinner) you get a few coupons spit out at you.  You just shopped and they are already planting the seed for your next adventure.  Those coupons are printed just for you, based on your spending habits.  They offer 10% off razor blades or half-off tampons and $3 off Purina Baboon Chow.  You know the drill. 

Alright, here is where I say the things that make you stop furrowing your brow:  All machines and medicines work best when you operate them by the rules.  There are guidelines, best practices and how-to guides.  My suggestion for "operating" the modern supermarket is to use the "NASCAR method."  People always chide stock car racing as a bunch of guys going around in a circle.  My usual reply is that they'd crap their pants if they were "just" going around in a circle at 200 miles an hour a scant six inches or less from a few other guys doing likewise.  Still, we need not be that dramatic.  As "boring" as going around in a circle really fast might be, it is a good example for modern shopping.  As you know, we want to eat "food".  We want stuff as near as it comes out of the ground, off the tree, from the vine, etc.  The less processing, refining, fortifying and adulterating, the better.  In order to do that, you need to drive your shopping cart like a NASCAR driver: go in a circle.  Stay to the outside of the store in the big loop.  In general, until they change the design after reading this blog post, most supermarkets still stick to the tried and true design.  You'll usually find the produce, deli, meat, fish, dairy, frozen foods and bakery in the "outer ring".  Some stores may change that, but most seem to be that way.  Many stores have multi-aisle frozen foods, but most of that isn't "food".  If you are lucky, your outer-ring frozen foods are the veggies, fruits and meats.  By sticking to the outer ring, you will find most of what you need.  Now, of course, there are times when you need cleaning products, mustard and a votive candle.  Then you must make a "pit stop" to the proper location.  But, you shouldn't drive into the "pits" without a purpose.  You'll lose laps and lose the race.  We all want to win this race.  So, stick to the track, only veer into the pits when it is planned and only for what you need and then get back out there racing!  You'll probably bring home less crap, save money and enjoy the process more.  And, in the end, when they give you those coupons, I'll bet you they'll never give you one for organic apples, organic greens or organic nuts.  Maybe if you go to one of those upscale stores, but probably not.  The race they are in is the race for profit.  We're not in that race.  We are in the race for health.  And, after it is over, we all bring home the checkered flag.

Next lesson: How to perform drafting with your shopping cart and not get dirty looks.

See you at the track.

I am 35% percent through the 60 days.

Weight:  151.6 lbs.
Big jump.  Not sure why.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29th, 2011 - Day 20 of 60

I thought I'd give my bile ducts a break today and make my post non-controversial.  Even thought I am on my 20th day of smoothies I am really not all that tempted by solid food (good food or junk food).  Yeah, I have a few twinges now and then, but they usually pass as quickly as they come.  I think having a full mental resolve going into this helped a great deal.  I knew I was going to do this and it was settled in my mind and my spirit.  I didn't give myself hard rules to follow and that flexibility may have helped as well.  The idea going in was 30 days of juice/smoothies and 30 days of raw vegan food.  That was flexible based on how it went each day, but that is the idea. After that is anyone's guess.  My smoothie regiment changes a little each day based on what is available and what comes to mind.  A few of you have asked about my smoothies so I thought I'd give you a brief overview of what I do each day.  For most of the regiment to this point I've made two batches per day.  I'd make a full batch in the morning which would make somewhere around five smoothies:  four for me and one for my wife (she is not doing this completely, just lending moral support.  She's awesome.)  One batch is really a tad more than 64 ounces, so some servings would be a bit more or less depending on how I poured them.  I'd then make another, maybe a bit smaller, batch for me to have one and my wife to have one.  I'd store the rest and then start cycling through them as needed.  Lately I've been doing one batch and having four a day.  I may or may not continue that way.   So, here is how I prefer to do my smoothies...

As you know by now I use a Vita-Mix.  I don't own stock in the company or work for them in any way.  I wish I did, though, as this product kicks serious butt.  I've had it for a few years and it has never let me down.  I use it very, very often.   I think this thing would juice a tugboat if you tried.  My local vegan restaurant uses the exact model I have for their smoothie bar.  It is a real workhorse.  There is also a model by Blendtec which I have heard much about.  Now, the first question is, can you do a smoothie with a standard kitchen blender?  If we are talking a fruit smoothie, I think that is not too much of an issue.  Obviously, everyone's blender is different and your mileage may vary.  If possible I would highly recommend a Vita-Mix.  It simply pulverizes everything (including seeds) and there are no chunks (unless you want them).  But, if you want to save up to get one first, I've purchased blenders at yard sales that did a pretty good job.  It can't hurt to try, right?  Now when it comes to veggies rather than fruits, and specifically greens, I am not sure how that will go in a blender.  Most blenders can't get greens and some veggies right.  You may have to first blend everything juicy into a nice liquid and then try small amounts of greens and veggies at a time.  Again, try it out and see.  It can't hurt.

I try to use a lot of greens.  I mean a LOT.  Greens are the thing.  Greens are the deal.  Greens are all that.  I'd recommend you mix up your greens to get the best balance of nutrients.  Don't just use spinach all the time.  Don't ever use Iceberg lettuce. :)  And, if your produce comes from your garden or the farmer's market, be sure to wash it well.  Some things are dirtier than others.  The dirt won't kill you, but it is not a pleasant texture.  Here is phase one:

What we have above is the large "wet blade" container FULL of the following: 2 cups of water as my liquid base, one quarter cup of hemp seed (Nutiva brand.  Anything works.), three handfuls of kale (mine is chopped to save room), one half a red pepper (I'd do a whole one but I'm out), three large Bok Choy leaves with stalks, and one large handful of spinach.  Can you imagine trying to chew all that?   Good grief my teeth would go on strike.  I know it seems like a lot of veg, but you'll see that it works out nicely.  Turn on the power (low/manual), adjust the blade speed as needed and get it choppped up fine, but not too much.

What you see above is the result of a mild burst from the Vita-Mix.  Just a few seconds to get it broken down.  That leaves me some room for some fruit:

Yikes!  She's stuffed again!  This time I have about a pound (one of those larger acrylic packages that are the next size up from a pint) of fresh strawberries.  You don't have to cut the tops off if you don't want to, but I do.  After that are two peaches and an apple.  Again, you can throw the apple in whole if you want (probably the peaches too, but why?) but seeds have trace amounts of toxins that don't interest me.  I'll tamp it down toward the bottom and give it another mild burst with the blade so it breaks up.

You'll notice that the vivid green color has been subdued from the red of the berries and the orange of the peaches.  We now have to use up the remaining space at the top.  I like to wait to see the amount of space I have left to determine where to go from here.

I like to finish off with some frozen fruit to make the smoothie cold and thick.  Today I decided on frozen bananas.  I also added some celery.   If you don't want to use frozen fruit, throw in some ice cubes if you want it cold.  You might consider making a smoothie and putting that into an ice cube tray and use that to make it cold and thick.  Now, the final phase is important!  Before putting in your frozen fruit I'd suggest first tasting the mixture.  If you think you could drink that down without making a face, then you can go with a moderately-sweet frozen fruit (maybe peaches).  If it is already too sweet, you might consider berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) as they are not too sweet.  They add nutrition without adding too much sweetness. Be warned!  Blackberry seeds and some raspberry seeds might need a longer mixing.  They are nasty buggers.  If your mixture tastes like battery acid and in need of serious sweetening, pineapple, cherries and bananas are good.  Now my mix wasn't too bad but I put in some bananas as there wasn't as much room left as I thought.  I buy double bananas most weeks and freeze half after they've ripened all the way (brown spotted). If I didn't put in the three stalks of celery (I usually add four stalks but ran out) I may have used a bag of frozen peaches or mangoes instead.  But, I have two fresh mangoes waiting to go in to tomorrow's mix and some fresh pineapple sitting in the refrigerator, so I opted for bananas.  Now, all that is left is to mix well on high speed for a bit and...

And... Tada!  The standard Frank Black smoothie that you've seen over these last weeks.  I've been doing green smoothies for many years, so the whole recipe vibe is easy.  I know what will work most of the time.  Sometimes you get a surprise if something is VERY fresh from my garden, but that is it.  I'll often add a few sprigs of parsley that I have growing outside.  One might consider adding whole flax seeds as well (but only in a Vita-Mix or Blendtec).  They can be kept in the freezer for a long time and purchased very cheaply at the health food store.  Another thing to consider adding is sprouts.  Sprouts are very nutritious and taste wonderful.  I would recommend you grow your own sprouts.  It is easy and is much cheaper than buying them.  Plus, you know they are fresh.  The day they are finished just throw in a bunch.  And, as you know, anything from my garden is fair game.  I like cucumbers in smoothies a lot and throw them in peel and all, but I peel those not from my garden or the farmer's market.

In the end, the only thing holding you back from a good smoothie experience is your imagination.  There are dozens of common fruits and vegetables that one can use easily in smoothies.  There are many additives to make them more nutritious and interesting.  You can put liquid or powdered vitamins in there if you take them.  You can even give yourself a naughty treat occasionally.  I made my own almond milk last year (it is a lot of work) and would mix it with raw cacao nibs, fresh vanilla bean pods, sweet dates and coconut.  Man... makes you want to slap yo' mama!  Just be sure you use a lot of veggies and particularly greens, along with the fruit.  I don't use much dairy, but some people like a bit of unsweetened yogurt.  It all works.

This is one man's way of doing things.  It isn't science and it isn't religion.  It is a little art, but art is subjective.  I know I love these things and it allows me to consume vastly higher quantities of fruits and vegetables than I would normally.  The added bonus is that "cooking time" is around fifteen minutes and clean-up is about five minutes, give or day.  My day's meals are made, stored and cleaned up in under thirty minutes.

My non-scientific observation is that this has helped me a great deal and I feel wonderful.  I'll continue on with green smoothies even when I start eating food that hasn't been pre-chewed for me.  This part of my diet is for pure nutrition.  Still, there is no reason I can't enjoy my medicine.

I am 30% through the 60 days.

Weight: 153.3 lbs.
Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed
"Yeah, Frank, they saw me earlier."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28th, 2011 - Day 19 of 60

I have a friend who, at an age that is under 50, had a heart attack.  I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television, but I do know that his doctors claim his diet was atrocious and he need to get some things in order or he might not be so lucky next time.  His diet is mainly junk food. He didn't get a lot of exercise.  He has a high-stress job.  He was on medications.  All red flags waving together.  Now, this is an intelligent man.  He is an artisan and is very literate.  He watches little TV.  This isn't a man who you'd think is prone to coercion by Madison Avenue.  Still, he somehow found himself locked into a diet that was unsound with any interpretation.  How can this be?

I don't know the answer to that question.  I really wish I did.  There is a mechanism within us that allows us to either delude or pacify ourselves.  I know there is a school of psychology that tells us that if danger isn't imminent we can allow ourselves to be complacent.  Once the danger is at the door, we jump into action.  But, once we feel the immediate danger is past, we can allow ourselves to relax somewhat.  Who doesn't like to relax?  A prime example was another co-worker who, again, had all the classic lifestyle issues that pointed toward a heart attack:  smoking, overweight, poor diet, stress and lack of exercise.  After her heart attack she went on a very strict regiment.  If what she told me was true, it was a remarkable thing.  She'd tell me the foods she'd cook and how long she was on the treadmill, etc. But, after a while, she let her guard down.  The weight she lost started to come back.  Fortunately, she did make some good changes.  She stopped smoking and moved in with her daughter out West in a nice, quiet area.  That, I am sure, would help.  But I can't stop wondering how, in the back of her mind, she didn't take the heart attack more seriously.  Now, when I question the actions of these people, it isn't out of some sanctimonious, judgmental, superior place.  These are people with whom I formed a bond and cared for.  I actually wonder what goes through their mind.  It must be torturous.  They know they are doing something wrong, yet they are powerless to do anything.  Sounds almost like they are on drugs.  Or, maybe they are?

In the past, I'd imagine the picture that came to someone's mind when the word "refined" was used was someone of excellent breeding and manners.  If not that, perhaps a factory that worked with metal ores.  Now, I'm sure the first thing that comes to mind is food.  When you refine, the dictionary says you "free from impurities."  That, in relation to food, is laughable.  Modern science has become masters of taking something, putting it through a process and then commodifying it.  They change it, make a demand for it and then sell it.  They take wheat, remove nutritional components and then sell the result.  That is then used in a commodity such as snack foods, etc. and sold for huge profits.  Sometimes they even "enrich" the product.  For example, bread.  Take wheat, grind it, remove the germ and the bran, make a fine white powder, add a few ingredients, add back some vitamins and such that you just took out, bake, package, profit.  Why would they do that?  Well, there is no doubt that refined foods are such that some find them delicious.  Fine cakes, pastries, etc. are tantalizing.  But, mostly, it is good for business.  You make bread by grinding flour and adding a few items, bake and sell it, you'll find it starts to go off quickly.  If you can't get it to market before it starts to spoil, how can you sell it?  But, remove the germ and fiber, add some stabilizers and preservatives, you've got yourself a product.  We've come a long way over the years and bread is better in some ways.  The fiber and germ can be added back or left in due to chemical preservatives. But don't be fooled, it is still refined.   They are whole grains refined down to a white powder.

Hmmm... what else is refined down into a white powder?  Flour.  Sugar.  Salt.  Caffeine. Heroin.  Cocaine.  Do I see a trend?  Am I being intentionally sensationalist?  Yes! :)  Am I saying that any white powder is dangerous.  Not in so many words.  What I am saying is that it appears that "refined" things that are REALLY refined end up as piles of white powder that later end up in our food that later end up in us that later cause our doctors to say, "Don't do that!"  When you refine something, you bring out the purity of one component.  Sometimes the purity can be a bit of a strain on the body.  Eat a piece of fruit that is sweet but has fiber and other nutrients within it and you don't feel the effects the same way.  Your blood sugar will not rise in the same way that it would if you just ate pure sugar.  Drink a cup of tea and you will feel the effects of caffeine, but probably not in the same way as if you took a "No-Doze" kind of pill.  Take some whole wheat kernels, cook them and eat them.  Maybe not your thing, but it can be done.  If you do that the glycemic index of the food with be half that of bread made out of them (that is whole wheat bread). Even our lovely juice is refined.  It removes the more fibrous elements and leaves the juice.  Now, is that juice good?  I think it can be.  It is a modestly compressed dose of nutrition. It isn't cooked, Pasturized, stored for a long period of time, shipped or adulterated.  Far, far less refined.  You will notice a glycemic increase in juice, but nutritionally your fresh juice is sound.  Better than eating the fruit whole?  That is up for debate.  Some refined products are necessary in a crisis.  Many of us are in the place where we are in a health or nutrition crisis. No one would likely turn away medicine for pain.  A shot of morphine when needed used to be the thing to do.  That is some pretty refined stuff. You wouldn't want to do that each day, but it has its place.

I am not saying one should never eat a refined product.  Everyone is different and can handle things in a different way.  My mom could drink a cup of coffee before bed and sleep.  If I had a cup of coffee I'd be up for two days.  What I am saying is that many refined products are a staple of our lives, but the result is more of a drug effect than a food effect.  Look at the foods you really, really crave.  Most are likely heavily refined.  Bread, cheese, alcohol, chips, cake and sweets, etc.  If you have to add nutrition after refining, something is wrong.  While I don't have any scientific evidence handy to support my claims (there must be some out there) I do have anecdotal evidence regarding highly refined products. Ever see how some people act if they don't get their coffee and pastry in the morning?  It isn't pretty.  And I am of the mind that we are just starting to understand the nature of whole-food nutrition.  I think there are unknown nutrients and catalysts that we'll one day see were needed in that food to make them work better.  On paper, refining can look good.  Refined things store better.  When you want to stave off starvation, you might refine something or somehow change it to keep it around. A bag of Combos (tm) will sit around for quite a while.  I understand that.  But what I am discussing is the extreme to which we've gone.  As you walk through the store, what percentage of foods do you reckon are "refined" vs. "whole".  And, don't be fooled.  Just because something is "whole grain" doesn't mean it is not refined.  Bread is refined.  A delicious whole-grain bread you baked at home after grinding the flour yourself is still refined and then it is processed.  It will be a lot more nutritious and a lot less refined and processed than many store-bought breads, but it is still refined and processed.  I think keeping an emphasis on whole foods is certainly an excellent first step in a sane nutritional plan.  Save the refined products for a treat or a small side-dish, but keep the whole foods for the main course.  Try to use less-refined products (dates for sweetening) than heavily refined products (table sugar for sweetening) if you can't avoid them.

If I could only find a way to juice potato chips.  There is a refined food that must have some good in it somewhere.

I am 30% through the 60 days.

Weight: 153.8 lbs.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed
Just 4 smoothies today, so only 1 photo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27th, 2011 - Day 18 of 60

I honestly don't want to open a can of worms.  I don't like to foment discord in the ranks.  But what I like to do is ask questions.  I like to make people consider alternatives.  I want to get people to ask, "Why?"  We are a people who seem to love to follow someone with a good idea. We like to abdicate our own personal authority and give it to others.  It is so much easier. I mean, if it works for them, then why not?  I was brought up in an age that demanded we question authority.  We needed to examine the motives of people.  We needed to think it was alright to check the veracity of individuals.

The reason I do that is because my journey, even though it sprung from the fertile soil of radical change in the 60's and 70's, had many twists and turns.  While I was always the sympathetic liberal, a mixture of adult influences and my own nature led me down various roads.  I did this, mainly, because I really felt there was little guile in my own life.  And, until we actually learn lessons empirically, we have no other choice than to trust those around us for input.  Meaning, if you know in your heart you deal honestly with people and strive for their good, you assume everyone is like that.  But, as we learn by experience, we find things are never quite as easy as we imagine.  You don't know a fire is hot until you burn your hand.  You may believe you know it is hot, but until the flame touches your skin, you don't.  Once you do, you never forget it, do you? 

I don't want to go into a biography as that really isn't the point here.  But, again, one must write what they know.  Suffice it to say that I went through a massive loss of trust in my early life in all the main sectors of our culture (teachers and education, religious figures, adults, government and other authority figures, military, institutions, etc.).  Each catalyzing event peeled away a layer of blind trust in those institutions we are told from our youth are sound and trustworthy.  Each revelation and experience caused some distress, but that distress later gave way to a joyful understanding that this thing called "experience" really does work.  Each scar left later became a memento of a lesson learned.

This is not a post designed to challenge anyone's personal belief systems.  We are all free to make up our minds on our own.  My question is mainly, "How did you arrive at this belief system?"  Was your belief in a particular subject formed by experience?  Did it come into being by intellectual inquiry?  Did you establish your ideas based on the influence of others (teachers, adults, clergy, etc.)?  Peer pressure, advertising, authority, the state, your own mind: all have a role.

All this drivel to come to this:  How did your ideas, beliefs and practices regarding food come into being?  Now, I understand that food is a very personal, culture-driven and downright mystical thing.  Have you ever sat down and really wondered about why you eat what you eat?  Have you given consideration to the possibility that your food choices and not only wrong, but damned wrong?  When you put something into your mouth, do you ever question the need for it?  When you walk around a store, do you wonder how they come to offer the items you see on the shelves?

These are the sorts of things I wonder.  I wonder this because we all know something is terribly, terribly wrong with our world regarding food.  As an American I know that things are beyond insane when it comes to food.  We are in the midst of some of the most difficult economic times in our nation's and world's history.  Political revolution has sprung up all over the planet.  Things are difficult in many ways.  The good side of these things, if there can be such a thing, is that it gets people talking.  We give our opinion on all these subjects.  We may feel we have little control over these events, but we openly and candidly and passionately discuss them.  Still, when it comes to the very thing we have the most control over, putting things into our bodies, we balk.  We talk about what we like and what we shouldn't do, but we really don't discuss food policy.  We don't ask why things are even allowed to be sold.  We don't wonder how some things can even be called "food".  I liken this to the discussion of marijuana legalization.  Everyone has an opinion on one side or the other, and that is fine.  But I don't often hear people say that alcohol should be made a drug in the same category.  I don't hear many people saying that cigarettes should be given the same classification as marijuana.  It is documented proof that alcohol is killer of great proportions.  More people die due to alcohol in two weeks than we lost in the attacks of 9/11.  No outrage is offered.  For tobacco it is worse: every two and a half days.  Yet the government still allows the sale of tobacco.  If we really looked at how food and food choices influenced disease and death, where would that number fall?  It may be even higher than tobacco if obesity, heart disease, hypertension, some cancers and other potentially food-influenced issues were counted.  Where is the outrage?  Where is the outrage that it is hard to afford quality organic produce, yet farmers get subsidies to grow "food" to make ethanol?
In the end, not asking questions can lead to dire consequences, be they war and death or poor food choices and sickness.  Thinking is still allowed.  We all need to do it.  Think, wonder, ask, ponder, investigate and research.  One way to do all this better is to keep on with the Reboot!  Nothing will clear your head any better than that.  Nothing will give you the experience you need to understand that maybe we've been sold a bill of goods.

More on this later.

I am 30% through the 60 days.

Weight:  154.1 lbs.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed
Just did four again today, so only one picture.

Bonus Photo:
Picked this A.M. 1 in my smoothie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26th, 2011 - Day 17 0f 60

I'm totally dragging today.  Went back to work and, as is the norm when anyone goes back to work after some time off, I was greeted with an avalanche of work.  That is our punishment for daring to want a life.  Getting up early isn't an issue as I do that most days regardless.  Packing my smoothies and water is a chore (I don't trust the water at work).  Two 1 liter bottles plus a smaller steel drink bottle.  That is quite a bit of weight when one is walking up a steep hill.  I am not tired and I feel really good.  I am likely not getting enough calories to keep myself going, but I've not done the math.  Work prevented me from taking my 9:30 drink, so it was skipped and saved for dinner.  Perhaps that is a signal that I should drop down to four a day?  I'll play it by ear.

All this hubbub over our work lives brings food and food preparation firmly into the fore of our minds.  I have no children at home to manage, so my situation is light-years ahead of most of yours.  My only concern is making my thick elixir and cleaning up after myself.  No dishes lingering in the sink when I eat.  Nothing needing any scrubbing to remove baked-on fat or sugars.  Nothing needs to be long-simmered or rendered down.  No sink full of pots for the various courses. It is really a wonderful time saver.  I recall reading one of the books by Scott and Helen Nearing and this concept was mentioned.  For those who are not familiar with those names, the Nearings were among the earliest pioneers of the "back to the land" movement, which dovetailed into the "simple living" and "self-sufficiency" movements.  Helen wrote, I believe, of often just "grazing" on the produce they grew or purchased.  No cooking or even place settings.  Grab a carrot, an apple or some greens.  It is amazing how much of our time is consumed with our consuming.  For me, shopping is a fairly brief affair even when one eats in a traditional fashion.  With this plan my shopping is blessedly briefer. Other than the things on the list for others, I make my dash through the produce aisle and I am done.  I do, however, have to make a few extra trips to the store to restock my coffers.  Still, I look forward to the trips as I can see what might be new at a Farmer's Market or on sale.  Maybe something new will catch my eye?  Even with the extra trips to the store, it is all so much easier.  It isn't just a time savings, but an economic savings as well.  No eating out, no junk, no snacks, no beer.  No concerning myself with a variety of things.  So easy and economical.  The big savings that we may not see is the savings in stress.  I know many of you may be furrowing your brows and wondering who this idiot might be?  For some the Reboot is more stressful as you have to see to your own nutrition and that of your family.  You have to clean up after yourself AND everyone else.  Yes, that is a killer.  For many, however, it is one less thing about which one must think.  I liken it to wearing the same clothes each day (meaning you have ten sets of the same shirt, pants, etc., not that you never change).  One less thing to fret over each day.  That is a nice feeling.  No wonder religious people like costumes.

All that extra time can be a blessing, or one could start going crazy.  I've got more things to do than time, so I don't mind.   Hopefully it will be filled with constructive things, like how we will manage our eating habits once the Reboot is complete.  Eating and food take up way too much time in our lives.  If this process has done nothing else, the understanding of that fact, I hope, will stay with me.  Who would imagine that Rebooting could make me see eating in the same way as I see TV, the Internet or video games?  Nothing wrong with it in general, but is always taking too much time.   Still, following that line of thinking too closely and one can make a case for take-out food and Twinkies.  Time at the expense of quality is a poor choice, but getting back time and health is win/win.

Speaking of time, I'll not waste any more of yours today.

I am 25% through the 60 days.

Weight: 154.7 lbs

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed
Only one photo today as I had just four smoothies.

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25th, 2011 - Day 16 of 60

"When I was a young kid growing up we were so poor I couldn't even afford to pay attention."

Just finished up my yoga for the day.  It is still hard, but I am pretty much sailing through it.  That means I am going to have to give myself a couple more weeks and then start upping the intensity.  Most yoga classes will go for about ninety minutes to allow easing into things, taking care of business and then easing out again.  For those who have never done yoga, it appears to be nothing more than people twisting themselves into a pretzel and out again.  While that is certainly a part of it, the various postures (or "asanas") used can also be exhausting.  Yoga is many things to many people and I am not here to be an evangelist for the practice.  We all need to do what works for us.  But, since I need illustrations to make my points, I have to write what I know.  The word "yoga" (योग) is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means "yoke", as in what you'd place on an ox.  The broader meaning relates to the harnessing of the mind and body in a union.  It also means to bring the mind into some form of discipline so it does not wander.  Those who understand the use of the farm yoke know that it is a wonderful analogy.  We use a yoke on an pair of oxen or bulls or whatever animals to enable them to pull along a plow and till the soil.  The yoke allows them to work together for a common purpose.  The two work as one.  But, it can also ensure they do not wander as they walk.  Rather, they proceed straight ahead to ensure even rows under the gentle (hopefully gentle) guidance of the farmer.  Our mind, as many might have noticed, can tend to wander.  When it wanders, it likely amuses itself, or frets or daydreams or is somewhere else entirely.  If we can manage to focus our minds more, we will notice more things and begin to see things a bit more clearly.   "What on earth does twisting yourself into a pretzel have to do with focusing your mind?"  Anyone who is over thirty starts to understand fatigue in a meaningful way.  As we become employees, parents, citizens and care-givers we also understand stress in a meaningful way.  When this reality is combined with a world which moves at a mercilessly blistering pace, we start to know what it is like to get run-down.  Combine those facts with poor diet and no exercise and we ever-so-slowly begin to lose control of our bodies and our minds.  We are pulled along by currents not of our own choosing.  We do what is expedient because it takes less effort.  We wonder how we can get through the day with the incessant demands placed upon us.  Before long, we stop paying attention in a meaningful way and just do what needs to be done.  We dust the cabinet without removing the little knick-knacks.  And, when we lose track of our minds and our bodies, our spirit comes along for the ride as well.  One day we turn around and we don't know where we are or how we got here.  Ever do that driving?  You are half-way to work and you don't remember anything in between?  Yoga seeks to remedy that (as well as other many other things using many, many methods).  For my purposes here, we'll just discuss this one narrow aspect of yoga.

In a nutshell, this about getting you to pay attention.  Back in the old days, yoga-types liked to use meditation, breathing exercises and study to gain peace and wisdom. Very often they found they were physically challenged by long-term sitting for their lessons due to poor fitness.  The yoga postures came along at some point and gave the meditators much better physical health. The stronger their bodies, the better they found their meditation and lessons and mind to be.  The postures are accompanied with breathing techniques.  All of these are linked together to ensure concentration and focus.  You watch your breath as a point of focus.  You constantly examine your body.  How do you feel when you do this posture as opposed to this other posture?  Which posture to you like?  Which posture do you dislike?  Can I bend more?  Can I stretch more?  Am I tired?  Am I stronger today than I was last month?  What is my body saying?  Always come back to the breath.

After a while you really understand what it means to pay attention.  This attention is not just limited to your body, but it bleeds into all aspects of your life.  You pay attention mentally.  You pay attention to the world around you.  You pay attention to what you do because you know, from experience with yoga, that when you do something it affects something else.

Finally and mercifully, I come to my point:  We all need to pay attention.  Many of us have ended up in a place with our bodies and we don't know how we got here (much like the morning drive to work).  We went to bed at 18, fit, strong and healthy.  We woke soft, weak and ill.  We look in the mirror and have no idea who that person is staring back at us.  We lost focus when we were in school, raising kids, starting a career and dealing with the ten-thousand things which distract us.  For our purposes in this group, we need to start paying attention to the food we eat and we need to pay attention to how that food affects us.  Do I feel well after eating this?  Am I full now?  Am I satisfied?  Do I feel differently when I combine this food with something else?  Do I really want this food right now or am I just eating because I think I should or because I am bored?  Why am I eating this particular food?  Will this food make me healthier?  What quality is this food?  Where is this food from? 

When you are on the Reboot you are probably paying better attention because you are out of your routine.  Like your morning commute, if you get to ride with someone and find yourself in a passenger's seat, you see the world in a completely different way.  I'll bet if you get someone to drive you to work and you just sit and observe things on the way in both directions, you'll likly see something you've never seen before.  It doesn't matter how long you've driven the route, you'll probably see things differently.  You tend to pay attention when things are new and fresh.  You don't want to do things wrong.  You are just learning.  As time goes on, you start to disengage the mind as it isn't as necessary as it once was.  When you lose the moment, when you disengage, you lose some control.  In meditation, when you notice your mind wandering, all you do it gently and non-critically bring it back.  We've done that with our diet and with our lives in general.  We need to make it new again.  We need to pay attention.

You don't need to do yoga to pay attention.  There are many ways you can cause that to occur.  What is most important is that you are present in each moment of your life.  This isn't just the moments when you are eating, but other moments as well.  For now, we'll worry about your food and your eating.  Watch what you are eating.  Pay attention to how you eat.  Examine how your body feels.  Many overeat because they are not listening to their body tell them they are full.  Sometimes the body doesn't tell you it is full when you know you should be.  These are all things that would be better managed if we slow down and pay attention.

That is all I have to say on that.  Have you been paying attention?

I am 25% through the 60 days.

Weight: 155.4 lbs.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed
Got this one when I took mom out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24th, 2011 - Day 15 of 60

This morning my weight, according to my scale, was 156.2 lbs.  Yesterday I was told the weight was 157.6 lbs.  The day before that was 158.5 lbs.  The day before that was 158.0 lbs.  The day before that was 159.7 lbs.  A generally downward slope, but I don't like the increments.  Given my activity level, my consumption and other factors, I wouldn't imagine I'd lose weight this quickly.  Wild swings in both directions make me suspicious. I'm starting to blame my scale.  It is a strange device purchased by my wife some years ago.  The only time I would pay attention to it was if it was occupying space I needed or when I was feeling particularly bad about myself and needed some confirmation.  I am beginning to doubt its ability to accurately report my gravitational effect on the earth.  As it is digital and electronic rather than analog and mechanical, I realize that it is probably very accurate when working properly.  Still, as a person who makes their living in the technology field, I also realize that something as simple as a weak battery can drastically skew the results.  I may see about changing the battery or I may not worry.  Besides, I know that weight is only one of many components that go into tracking one's relative health and one's Reboot.  It is a useful number, but only as it relates to all factors of your health.  For example, take another tracking statistic: Body Mass Index (BMI).  I've never been too keen on that number as over most of my adult life I was someone who lifted weights. Now, I never was a bodybuilder, per se, but I did manage to add enough muscle to alter anyones interpretation of BMI to make me seem way off kilter.  As BMI takes just raw numbers, a male who has 30% body fat could be interpreted as being more fit than I, given the right circumstances.  I lean toward lean body mass percentage in conjunction with weight and other numbers to more accurately gauge potential fitness.  In the end, it is how you feel and your freedom from pain, disease and stress that would more accurately determine your health.  If you are twenty pounds overweight (per current standards) but had no disease, no fatigue, no stress and no pain I'd say you were in good shape.  We can all fudge numbers but we can't fool ourselves.  We know our relative fitness level without the aid of expensive technology.  That isn't to say that such technology isn't helpful.  Just as the invention of the telescope aided the naked eye in locating distant land masses, advancing troops, incoming storms and all manner of calamity, so too the modern blood test, body scan and EKG can warn us of potential issues.  It does no one any good to discover something is wrong when it is too late.  And, unlike our eyes, (which can be fooled, interpretive and judgmental) cold, hard numbers can help us gain perspective.  A few numbers on a chart can signal the need for a slight course change.  A little less saturated fat, a bit more exercise or maybe some extra sunlight exposure.  Depending upon what they are and who is interpreting them, a few stray numbers can effect how you live your life.

Technology, the main collector and arbiter of those stray numbers, is a wonderful tool for these sorts of statistics.  It is also indispensable for creating juice, smoothies, cleaning up and gaining support.  Imagine, if you will, the amount of labor required to make juice without your juicer technology?  Oh sure, it could be accomplished, but I don't want to even consider the amount of labor required or amount of wasted food.  Smoothies would be a bit easier, but still formidable.  I am so spoiled by my appliances that I can't even entertain the thought of living without them.  Pure juice.  Smoothies as smooth as velvet.  Hot water heaters and pumps and plumbing to give me endless hot water to make cleanup effortless.  My refrigerator stores and cools my produce to ensure its ripening is slowed or stopped so I don't have to shop each day.  I can connect to the Internet to gain information, encouragement and support from all of you wonderful people.  It is, truly, a miracle and a blessing.

My grandfather (maybe your grandfather as well) was alive when electricity wasn't ubiquitous.  Many who lived outside of the major metropolitan areas and their gravitational pull had electricity later in their lives, but not always.  Much of the work performed by technology and fossil fuels today was performed by animals and humans.  We did a lot of physical labor back then.  Our bodies probably ached and didn't resemble the fleshy objects of worship we've made them today.  They were harder, darker, drier, sorer and much, much leaner.  They might not have looked or smelled the way we consider normal, either. A small, wiry chap back at the turn of the 20th century would probably be considered as strong as an ox today.  Incessant labor does that.  Do you think they thought about Reboots back then?  Probably not.  They wanted a good job, enough food and a simple home.  No cell phones, no computers, no cars, no air conditioning, no TV, and not even a radio.  Lots of walking, lots of bread kneading, lots of beating carpets.  No wonder they were lean.  Makes my back hurt just thinking about it.  Makes my heart hurt not having some of it.

Each day when I step on the scale and look into that digital readout for facts, I am seeing more than numbers.  Each digit that rolls by tells me a story about myself and my culture.  It tells me all the things I no longer need to do to survive.  It tells me all the things I possess that few, in the broad scope of human history, ever imagined having.  Each clicking figure reminds me of the insane technological advances made which make me wealthier than any king who lived in days of old. The fluttering numbers tell a story of blessing, surplus, relative ease and accrued knowledge.  The symbols tell me of things lost: simplicity, wholesomeness, connection with environment and true thankfulness.  The readings tell the story of an age where superficiality necessitated the creation of hundreds of styles of home bathroom scales.  Ticking decimals speak of a culture where the natural order of health and healing has been lost in a sea of consumption, commodity, adulteration and selfishness.  Each time my bare feet touch that cool surface I am reminded that we have machines that fly and sail around the world to gather resources for my benefit.  The daily readings speak to me of technology that promises me a better life, but also shows the limits of what it can promise.  This daily ritual isn't only a gathering of facts, it is a reminder of how far our civilization has come and how far we have to go.

Who would have thought that a few numbers could mean so much and so little at the same time?

I am 25% through the 60 days.

Weight: 156.2 lbs

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothies With Hemp Seed

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23rd, 2011 - Day 14 of 60

Driving around today I saw a small RV for sale in someone's front yard.  There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the mobile domicile other than the fact it reminded me of something from many years ago.  I was camping with friends (in a tent) and we were walking around the camp grounds.  Before long we came to a section for RVs.  When I saw several of the cushy behemoths, I was struck with a moment of sadness.  Now, everyone was happy, had dressed up their camp ground and formed a real community.  These are truly, mobile homes.  But as we examined all these beauties lined up I told him, "Take a good look at these.  By the time we retire these things will probably be a memory, or at least an oddity."  He looked at me strangely, but that didn't slow me down as that is the de facto look I see in public.  "People just won't have the income for these sorts of things before too long.  Combine that with climbing fuel prices and they'll just be too expensive."  I mean, just go look online at these things.  For the size we were seeing at the camp ground over ten years ago it is a MINIMUM of $100,000.  Several of the top models are well over $200,000.  Add maintenance, insurance and fuel and you've got one hell of a price tag.  Sure, there are lots of folks who can afford that, but the sort who have that kind of money are not the kind who buy RVs.   

Why do I bring up RVs on the Rebooting site?  I do so because RVs and Rebooting, along with suburbs, airline travel, Las Vegas, McMansions, the U.S. economy and our way of life are all going to be affected in some way by the looming energy crisis.  While I may be wearing a tin foil hat right now, it has nothing to do with what I am writing.  The fact is that the world, at some point in our lifetime, will begin to experience the effects of peak oil.  That is, the time at which we can no longer extract more oil than we can right now.  That time when the cheap and easy oil is taken and all that is left is the lower-quality and harder-to-access oil.  When you combine our inability to produce more oil with an ever-growing population and emerging economies like China, India and Brazil, it is a recipe for disaster.  China and India and Brazil and everyone else want to live as we do: large house, three kids, two SUVs, long commute to work, piles of consumer goods and more food in the refrigerator than some African villages.  That take petroleum and lots of it.  It has been a wonderful run for the U.S.A.  We perfected the consumer society.  We were the envy of the planet.  Sadly, we are less than 5% of the world population, but use about 25% of the energy.  Do the math.  That means one of two things: 1) Few, if any, other nations of substance will live the lifestyle of a modern American.  Or, 2) Americans (and all industrialized societies) will have to scale back on our lifestyle.  This isn't politics or insanity, just simple math and science.  We live in a finite world with finite resources.

So... (as you all slowly back for the door) what does this have to do with my juice?  Well, check your produce.  Luckily, at this time of year, if you live in the U.S., most of it is probably from down the road or close by, or even from this country.  But what about your apples?  Apples are not in season.  They are likely coming from New Zealand.  Juicing a pineapple?  Probably not from your neighborhood unless you are Hawaiian.  What about in December?  What about March? Where will your produce come from?  Even if it doesn't come from another nation, it will probably come from the south or California.  Should you care?  Yes, you should.  That is because, on average, an American meal's components have traveled 1500 miles to get to the plate before those last inches to your stomach.  They didn't teleport, they were transported (most likely in a truck).  Driving that truck is getting expensive and more so by the day.  I am old enough to remember, vividly, the effect of the oil crisis of the 70's.  Back then, no one even thought of peak oil.  Well, we had a President who wore a sweater during a pretty famous speech to the American people regarding the importance of energy and our future.  Everyone just laughed.  We also remember sitting in line for fuel on odd days.  But that was an embargo, this is going to be far worse.  Sure, there have always been political ramifications to oil (and I'm not going to get into that), but this is going to be a shortage.  The U.S. isn't rolling in money like we once were, we are rolling in debt.  China has money.  Other countries have money.  They'll be able to pay the outrageous prices for oil that will come upon us one day.  What happens when the cost of shipping cucumbers and melons doubles or triples or more?  Will you be able to afford it?  Or, even worse, consider this:  10 calories of petroleum energy is required to produce each calorie of food you eat.  Petroleum is in the fertilizer, farm machinery, lights, shipping, cold storage, pesticides, wrapping/packaging and all the vehicles used by all the people who make it, transport it, buy it and sell it.  It is staggering. 

What to do?  Well, if you are lucky enough to have a patch of ground facing the sun, I'd strongly suggest you learn to grow a few things.  No, you probably won't be able to grow all you need, but you'll start to learn how to grow things and you'd be surprised how much you can get from a small garden.  There are lots of strategies that can be used, even by urban dwellers.  Get together with others in your community and start a garden on public land.  Start or support existing CSA farms (Community Supported Agriculture).  Talk to your friends and neighbors about your food.  In the end, it is near the top of the things we need to survive and right at the top of the list for things we need to Reboot!  :)  By getting involved you'll not only build community and have access to abundant, clean food, you'll have conquered 75% of the issues you might face in the future.  It is win/win. Food and food policy in this country are inextricably linked to petroleum.  Take a look at a graph showing petroleum use since the end of the 1800's to today.  Then take a look at a world population graph.  We can feed so many people because petroleum does a LOT of work. 

A bit of preparation now can make you ready at some time in the future when some of this starts to rumble.  As for me, my garden is large (too large), but nowhere near large enough to sate my appetite for juice and smoothies for a year.  And, believe me, if I could buy that RV, I'd pack my computer, guitar, juicer, Vita-Mix and probably my wife (if there is room) and we'd head off somewhere quiet while all that goes down.  For now I'll just have to dream of that as I take my next sip.

I am 20% through the 60 days.

Weight: 157.6 lbs

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothies With Hemp Seed

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22nd, 2011 - Day 13 of 60

It has been so hot these last few days that I don't want to do anything.  In fact, I am only writing this post to delay doing yoga.  Today not withstanding, I've been feeling very good over the course of the Reboot.  And what I mean by that is I am not feeling the effect of junk food, over-eating, alcohol and all that goes with them.  I was up very early today so I could water the garden before it gets too hot.  I normally water in the evening, which is not preferred, but is alright.  With this heat I wanted to be sure the plants were given something to get them through the day.  I water with cans as I can't afford elaborate watering systems and my garden is a good 100 feet or so from the house.  I could use a hose but that is a pain and can cause issues.  My plan is to, one day, install a usable watering system once I have the garden somewhat permanently configured.  Right now I change things a bit each year and I've been expanding, so it is always in a state of flux.  As I was watering today and proudly looking at most things growing, I was taken by the fact that my garden and I are both on a liquid diet.  Now, in reality, we are, sort of, always on a liquid diet.  From the moment we pop something in our mouth, the human body works hard to render that foodstuff down to its most basic components in order to reap their nutritional benefits.  That donut hole or sausage starts on its journey by being torn, punctured, mashed, pressed and pulverized.  All that occurs while it is bathed in chemicals designed to wear it down more.  Once it gets into our stomach, the situation just gets worse.  Strong acids break down the food further and by the time it goes to the next leg of its journey, the small intestine, things are pretty much liquid.  Nutritionally, this is where most of the action occurs (or so I'm told) and where most of the nutrition for our body is absorbed.  After that is all that potty talk and I'm just not going to get into that.  So, as I am pouring water on my plants and thinking about poopies, er, digestion, I am also thinking about liquid vs. solid foods.  A benefit of using juice as the main component of one's diet is to reduce the effort needed to break down our food and allow the body to use its energy to deploy those nutrients effectively and to repair the damage we've inflicted over time. That point sounds good and in some way it is true, but I don't know the full scoop on it.  The main benefit of a liquid diet is the astronomical increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, which is woefully inadequate in the modern diet.  Now, honestly, I'd like to see some real scientific data regarding the advantages of juice fasting on energy levels, etc.  I take most of this information as anecdotal and leave it at that.  But, regardless of the effect on my energy levels via digestion, I know I am getting a superior level of micronutrients.  While I can't point to a study (and someone out there might know one) that states the energy saved from digestion of juice vs. solid food is used by the body to achieve repairs, etc., I can infer things from something called the "Thermic Effect" of food.  That is, the energy required to digest some foods is greater than others.  We all know this by experience.  Eat a salad and an apple for lunch and you don't feel weighed down or crippled by it.  Eat a large steak and you need to lay down.  In general, protein will need about 30% of the food's energy to digest it, while carbohydrates only need about 10% or 15%.  Fats, surprisingly, only need about 5%.  Another thing to consider in your Reboot is the fact that by liquefying the food ahead of time, we've made available many of the nutrients that are difficult to access.  The great benefit of eating raw fruits and vegetables is that none of their nutrients are destroyed by heat.  When you cook food, some nutrients (mainly vitamins) are lost.  Since most nutrition literature meant for mass consumption speaks in terms of protein, carbohydrates and fats (along with fiber and vitamins), they never discuss phytonutrients or some of the more esoteric aspects.  I will say that the whole idea of cooking food has a lot of disagreement with good arguments on both sides.  It is certainly a good idea to cook any meats you eat to avoid parasites or other issues.  E-coli can ruin a perfectly good meal.  Many nutrients are not affected by cooking.  What bothers me about mainstream discussion of nutrition (in addition to lack of discussion over phytonutrients/micronutrients) is they don't discuss the fact that these foods are already in a dire strait nutritionally.  The commercially grown produce we buy is from massive industrial farms.  There is no organic production, in general.  This produce comes from a massive farm that uses chemical fertilizers over and over and over and over on soil that is pretty much bankrupt of nutrients.  And, the fertilizers they use are generally the big three: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.  Sadly, they don't discuss the fact that healthy soil contains another 50 or so minerals needed for healthy growth.  When soil is created naturally via compost, green manure, etc., these nutrients are all available in abundance.  Not so with modern agriculture.  So, we are already starting from behind in that way.  Modern meat... don't get me started.  Hormones, antibiotics, genetic modification, and, worst of all, cruelty.  In my head I think it best to eat things as close to their original state as possible, but as I've discussed in this short rant, we sometimes need to "release" nutrients via cooking or we'd not get them.  So, depending on the food, one has a quandary.  Cooking may destroy some nutrients, but given their complex storage in fibers, cell walls, etc. we can't get to them properly without cooking or chewing really, really, really well. Juicing and smoothies help this as they remove that issue.  Think of them as teeth that work better than your own.  I don't think there is anything wrong, in general, with cooking some foods.  I think we eat far too little fresh produce and that would tend to make us go whole hog to the extreme.  I do think it interesting that only humans (you can let me know if I am wrong on this) cook their food, but then again, only humans would come up with "American Idol".

After my watering stint, I came inside and poured the last of my smoothie from a bottle kept in the refrigerator.  It was a particularly foul-looking thing whose tan color reminded me of paint meant for a military barracks.  It was a tad sweet (fresh pineapple) so I noted to cut back next time.  After I drank all 16 ounces I was on to the next thing.  I didn't feel loaded down or groggy.  I didn't feel like I wanted a nap.  In the short-term I think this has worked out very well. I am not a walking scientific experiment, but I do feel better and I do have more energy.  If I could always feel this good I'm sure I'd stick with it. But, my vegetable garden will soon be yielding some nice things and I'll have to switch to my manually-operated masticating juicer. ;)   Once I do go back to eating with some chewing involved, I'll probably end up eating about the same number of calories.  It is easy to throw a head of lettuce into a Vita-Mix, but hard to chew it.  I am sure I'll continue on with smoothies each day to ensure my servings of produce are high.  I will try to hang on with raw vegan eating until the 60 days are over, but will add nuts and seeds to the mix.  For now, I am forging ahead with liquid only.  The most important thing for all of us is to just eat FOOD.  You know, the stuff that grows out there in the world?  Fresh, quality food that is processed and refined as little as possible before we process it in out bodies.  The Reboot is the perfect way to come to terms with your diet and your environment. Not only does it help us back to better nutrition, is mentally shows us that we can deal with less snacking, junk food and processed food.  It shows us we can really do this.  Whether liquid or solid, your food is better.  That makes your health better.  That makes you better.

I am 20% through the 60 days.

Weight: 158.5lbs
I have no idea why I gained half a pound.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21st, 2011 - Day 12 of 60

Things have been going pretty well on my reboot.  If you've been reading along for a while you'll know that I am not so much doing this for weight loss as I am to feel better and get some control back in my life.  Yes, there is some weight loss and I certainly will not complain about it, but feeling so good  after such a period of time absent from that feeling is a true gift.  I've been able to go through my complete yoga routine for several days straight, only occasionally wishing I was a bit younger.  It has been pretty good.  In that spirit, I wanted to share something that might help those who are looking at the juice as a chore or a necessary evil.  This is not an original thought, just a new spin on an old idea.  Yes, it may feel a bit weird (of course it is, this is Frank Black typing), but trust me, it will make your juicing a new experience.  When you have some time (and by "some time" I mean a good half hour or so) during your day and you are going to juice, perhaps you can think about this...

Before you juice your produce, place it all on the counter along with your juicer.  Look at the produce.  Consider the miracle it is.  Consider how fortunate you are to have access to it and have the means to purchase it. 

Look at your juicer.  Consider the wonder of its technology.  Imagine how someone one hundred years ago would have reacted to owning it.  Think of the work it saves you and the possibilities it opens.

When you are washing your produce, consider your good fortune in having clean running water. 

When you hold the produce in your hand, take a moment to think about its journey.  Think about it growing on a tree, vine or in the ground.  Think about the sun's rays that brought the necessary energy from 93 million miles away and to your piece of produce.  Think of the rain falling so far to just land on your piece of produce.  Think of the bees that may have pollinated it if it required that.  Think of the soil and all the life that lives in that soil that gave it a home and nutrients.

When you hold your produce, really feel it.  Roll it around in your hand.  Look at it.  Examine it.  Appreciate what a miracle it is.  How does one piece feel different from another?

When you see your produce, consider all the people required to get it to you.  Think of the people who planted it.  Think of the people who tended it.  Think of the people who harvested it.  Think of the people who created all the tools and infrastructure to support those who produced it.  Think of the people who sorted, cleaned, packaged and trucked it from nearby or far away.  Think of the miles it traveled.  Think of the people who sold it to you and the people with whom you share it.  Think of all those people together.  They made that piece of produce possible.  Send them a smile of gratitude.

As you peel, cut and prepare your produce, feel the knife on each piece.  Feel how the flesh or skins yield to your hands.  Listen to the sound they make.  Look at the juices as they flow from the open slices and sections.  Feel the juices as they touch your hands.

As you prepare to juice the produce, consider all the people who went into making your juicer, just as you did for your produce.

As the first piece of produce is inserted into the juicer, listen for the sound.  Hear the first drop of juice being expelled.  Wait for the fragrance of the juice as it is lifted into your nostrils.  Look at the color and quality of the juice.

As you continue to juice your produce, examine how different types of produce interact with your senses and the juice.  Notice how colors blend.  Notice the froth.  Listen to the differences in sounds when juicing and when the juice falls.  Notice how the aromas merge.

When you are finished juicing and begin cleaning up, pay attention to what you are doing.  Enjoy the process of clean-up rather than thinking about drinking the juice.  Clean up with gratitude.

Before you drink your juice, find a place where you can spend a few quiet minutes.  Sit and take a moment to just examine the juice in the glass.  Look closely and see if you can find pulp, fiber or flecks of skin or seed. 

Hold the glass up to your ear.  Do you hear anything?  Any popping froth bubbles?

Take a moment again to consider all the people and all the resources that were required to bring that juice to you.

Lean in closely and smell the juice.  Really smell it.  Take it in.  Taste it with your nose.  Spend a few moments  Doing that.

Gently dip the tip of your finger into the juice.  Note how it feels.  Note how it looks.

Gently dip the tip of your finger into the juice again, this time touching your finger to the tip of your tongue.  Pay attention to the taste and feel.  Take a moment to savor it.

Take your glass or cup into your hands.  Is it warm or cool?  Is it heavy?

As you slowly bring the glass up to your lips, take a moment to feel the first touch of froth or juice.

Make your first sip a small one that sits on your tongue for a moment and do not swallow immediately.  Feel its consistency.  Move it around a bit on your tongue. Does it taste the same on all portions of your tongue?  If you draw in a bit of air from your lips, can you taste it differently?

Take another sip, paying attention to the whole process of it going through the lips, touching your tongue, teeth and throat.  Feel it going down into your stomach.  Pay attention to how it feels in there.

As you drink your juice, try to savor each sip with attention and appreciation.

When the juice is gone, look at the glass or cup and examine what is left.  That is the juice that almost made it.  It came a long way but didn't quite make it in.  That is a noble thing.

As you go on with your day, consider how the juice is now racing to your cells and bringing you nourishment and healing.  Be grateful for it.

No, you are not crazy (maybe I am), you are aware of and engaged with your food.  You understand how wonderful it is to have that food.  You appreciate all the energy, time and resources that brought it to you.  When you are grateful for things you act differently.  When you start to act differently, you are on the road to change.  And that, my dear Rebooters, is what this is all about.

I am 20% through the 60 days.

Weight: 158.0 lbs.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed