10 Reasons to Eat Organically—and Locally

Guest Post by  Steve Edwards Team Beachbody 

“Think globally, act locally” isn’t just for bumper stickers anymore. This grassroots politics–type slogan has become an important way of thinking about where your next meal should come from. But the implications here are far more than political. Buying local—as well as organic—foods allows you to protect your family by feeding them in the safest way possible. Here are 10 reasons to add “visit the local farmers’ market” to the top of your to-do list each week.

Local foods are safer.

Or at least you can find out if they are. Organic food standards are high, but there are still companies out there attempting to cloud the rules. When you buy locally, it’s easier to check out what you’re buying, and you won’t have to hire Magnum, P.I. to do it. The great thing about local media is that they love to cover this stuff. If for any reason a local farm is mixed up in nefarious activities, there’s a good chance your paper has a reporter dreaming of a gig at The New York Times who’ll be on the job for you. Even if this isn’t the case, you can be inquisitive at the farmers’ markets—you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get up to date on the local scoop. Farmers who adhere to a strict code of ethics love to talk about others who do, and those who don’t.

Organic foods are safer.

Organic tomatoes

Organic certification standards are the public’s assurance that their food and products have been grown and handled according to sustainable procedures, without toxic, synthetic, irradiated, or genetically modified elements, including chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and other additives. At least that’s what the law says. But even though many companies still cheat the system, most of them play by the rules. These rules are in place to help both soil longevity and the health and safety of the consumer. Many Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Now, the EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides, and 30 percent of all insecticides, none of which meet organic criteria, to potentially cause cancer. You can’t always be certain you’re getting safe food, but eating organic foods stacks the odds in your favor.

Organic food tastes better.

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Many people would be amazed to taste the difference between garden-grown fruits and vegetables (and wild meat) and the offerings you find down at your local mega-grocery-mart. The main reason for this disparity has to do with something called trophic levels, which is determined by where plants and animals fall on the food chain. When food—even natural food—is manufactured, as when plants are grown in poor soil with some added nutrients, or animals are raised using drugs and a non-native diet, their physiological chemistry is altered. This doesn’t just change their nutrient content—it changes the way they taste.

Organic food is more nutritious

—which stands to reason, based on the whole trophic levels thing. When soils are depleted and then fertilized, only certain nutrients are added with fertilizers. This results in the loss of many of the plants’ original phytonutrients. While these lost phytonutrients aren’t necessarily a major component of any individual plant, they add up in your diet and become a major component of who you are. This lack of phytonutrients in the plants in our diets has a lot to do with many modern-day maladies. With regard to meat, it’s basically the same story. Animals that are fed a poor diet are, as you might imagine, less healthy to eat, because they’re also missing out on essential nutrients thanks to the trophic level paradigm—just like you are.

You won’t have to eat genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Researchers with Genetically Modified Corn

A GMO is a plant, animal, or microorganism whose genetic sequence has been modified to introduce genes from another species. Because the long-term impact of GMOs on our health isn’t known yet, they’re forbidden by the Soil Association Standards for Organic Food and Farming. Furthermore, in order to qualify as organic, animals can’t be fed GMOs, nor can they be fed antibiotics, added hormones, or other drugs. It is not currently required, however, that GMOs be mentioned on food labels, so it’s very likely that anything not certified organic contains some GMO ingredients.

Your drinking water will be safer.

The EPA estimates that pesticides contaminate groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country’s population. Because organic farmers practice water conservation and don’t use toxic chemicals that leach into your groundwater, organic farming leads to less waste intrusion into our aquifers, which helps keep your drinking water healthier.

Your kids will be healthier.

The toxicity of pesticide residue is determined not only by the chemicals used, but by our body weight in relation to how much we consume. This means that your children are even more at risk than you are. It’s estimated that the average child receives four times more exposure than the average adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. To try and minimize this risk, buy organic, but also make sure that your family eats a wide variety of foods.

To help farmers and farm communities.

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It’s estimated that the U.S. has lost more than 650,000 family farms since 1990. The USDA estimates that half of the U.S. farm production comes from only 1 percent of farms. Organic farming may be one of the few survival tactics left for the family farm and rural communities. The majority of organic farms are still small-scale operations, generally on fewer than 100 acres, and using an average of 70 percent less energy. Small farms use far more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices than large-scale farms do. For example, small farms use manure to fertilize soil, naturally recycling it to keep the land productive. Industrial farms produce so much manure that it’s a human health risk.

The overspill of manure has contaminated water wells with E. coli and other pathogens. This brings up another subject: Industrial farms still—though now illegally—feed animals the ground-up remnants of other animals that aren’t naturally part of their diet. This has led to pathogens like E. coli getting into our foods in the first place.Furthermore, farm workers are much safer on small farms. A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicides had six times more risk of contracting cancer than nonfarmers did. Due to their direct exposure, field workers on conventional farms are the most vulnerable to illness as a result of pesticide use. Organic farms eliminate that risk by eliminating harmful pesticides and other chemical inputs from their practices.

For more humane treatment of animals.

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Factory farms treat animals like commodities. They are usually kept in tightly confined pens or cages and often never move more than a few feet for their entire lives. They are also fed the cheapest foods available, no matter how it affects their—and then our—health. Besides the fact that a host of illnesses have entered our world as a direct result of this practice, it’s also just not nice. Animals on organic farms are far likelier to be raised without cruelty. They are also fed a diet much closer to what they would eat naturally, and studies tell us—surprise!—that these animals tend to be significantly healthier than their factory-raised counterparts.

To promote a vibrant economy.

Organic products only seem more expensive because people base their cost on their sticker price alone. However, retail price represents a mere fraction of their true cost. Market prices for conventionally grown foods don’t reflect the costs of federal subsidies to conventional agriculture, the cost of contaminated drinking water, loss of wildlife habitat and soil erosion, or the cost of the disposal and cleanup of hazardous wastes generated by the manufacturing of pesticides. Compared to local farms, there’s also transportation—and the pollutants that result from it—to consider. All of this means that essentially, you can pay now or pay later—just remember that you’re going to be charged interest, mainly in the form of a socially and ecologically diminished world to live in.

 What if you can’t find organic food?

One of our members, who lives in a rural area, went to her local market and requested healthier options. Now the store owner can’t keep them on the shelf. You can, with a little initiative, make a difference. After all, retail stores are in business to serve you. If this doesn’t work, hit the Internet. Since “organic” is the current buzzword of the food industry, there will be options. And of course there’s always your local farmers’ market.

For more information on organic and local produce, check out the Web site for the Organic Trade Association, or type “Community Supported Agriculture” into your favorite search engine.

7 Foods That Make You Smarter

Guest post by By Suzy Buglewicz  

These days, it seems like we’re all trying to stretch our dollars. If the new school year has you scrambling for tips on how to help your kids do better in class, or if you’re looking for ways to increase your own productivity, start by examining your diet. Studies have shown that certain foods serve as fuel for our brains, helping us increase concentration and memory function—they’ve even been shown to help slow down the mind’s natural aging process. The next time you really need to stay alert or pay attention, try to eat more of these 7 foods that have been shown to help improve brain function and increase our ability to focus. Combine this practice with other good habits, like working out (with ShredFat inc) and you’ll soon find yourself at the head of the class—at any age.

Organic Spinach

Spinach-MainAt only 40 calories a cup, a serving of spinach contains almost half your daily requirement of folic acid, an essential nutrient for cell growth, blood production, and preventing memory loss. And spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available—just 1 cup of spinach also contains all your body’s daily requirements of vitamins A and K, plus most of the folate and manganese you need each day too. These nutrients improve brain function and slow down the effects of premature aging by helping to prevent the negative effects of oxidation on the brain. Spinach is also rich in iron, as well as lutein, which helps promote healthy eyesight. Smart Tip: Try losing the iceberg lettuce and adding spinach leaves instead to your next dinner salad or add fresh spinach to an omelet!

Organic Oatmeal

oats_250As a good source of insoluble fiber, oatmeal provides a stable energy that helps your brain maintain consistent focus and concentration. Eating oatmeal can also slow down the digestion of starch, reducing the frequent spikes in blood sugar that can often occur after a big meal. The iron, magnesium, and zinc in oatmeal encourage cell growth and can help rev up the metabolism and regulate blood sugar. To get oatmeal’s maximum nutritional benefits, avoid the pre-flavored instant packets, which are loaded with sugar, and stick with the plain, slower-cooking kind that will still cook in the microwave in just 2 or 3 minutes.
Smart Tip: Turn up oatmeal’s flavor naturally by preparing it with topping it with fresh organic blueberries or banana slices.

Wild Caught Fish

wild-caught-seafood-heroXL_279129Many studies have shown that eating oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help boost memory, concentration, and mental acuity. Omega-3 acids also appear to strengthen the brain’s synapses that are directly related to learning and memorization. And if that’s not reason enough to eat more fish, the omega-3 fatty acids also help slow down cognitive decline. Smart Tip: When choosing fish, watch mercury levels, and consider wild salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel, which all contain omega-3s with minimal environmental contaminants.

Organic Walnuts

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Eating just a handful of these nuts every day can help prevent the decline of cognitive and motor function, increase brain resiliency, and improve cell function. Walnuts are loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids that help balance the unstable neurotransmitters that can contribute to depression and mood swings.
Smart Tip: Sprinkle a handful of chopped walnuts on salads, or fill a travel container for a healthy on-the-go snack. You’ll feel full longer, reducing the temptation to binge between meals.

Organic Berries

Organic berries Many types of berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, contain flavonoids, which have been linked to brain cell growth and improved memory. Berries with the darkest, richest colors generally offer the most nutritional value. Eat the real thing to reap the benefits, and avoid anything that contains “berry flavoring.” The antioxidants, vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory properties in berries have been shown to help preserve brain function and can be a helpful factor in battling the onset of dementia.
Smart Tip: Sprinkle berries on salads, cereal, or yogurt, or make yourself a fresh berry fruit smoothie.

Organic Full Fat Yogurt 

yogurtWidely known as a top calcium source for bone development and strength, yogurt also contains enough protein and carbohydrates in just one serving to help keep both the body and the brain energized throughout the day. Yogurt also contains amino acids that can encourage the production of neurotransmitters, and enough vitamin B to contribute—along with the protein—to the growth of brain tissue, while helping to slow down the aging process.
Smart Tip: Eat yogurt topped with berries for breakfast or lunch, or if you’re having a salad, nix the bottled dressing and make your own by mixing a quarter of a cup of plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt with fresh herbs. (Ben’s note; make sure it’s organic AND from grass fed cows)

Cage Free Organic Pastured Eggs

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These low-calorie, nutrient-dense wonders are rich in protein as well as choline, an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain and nervous system by acting as a messenger between muscles and nerves. If you’ve been avoiding eggs because you’re worried about your cholesterol, take note: Numerous research studies have indicated that eating eggs as part of a healthy diet has not been shown to be a contributing factor to heart disease. The nutrients in eggs also help increase memory development and aid in concentration. Another plus? Egg yolks contain lutein, which has been shown to help maintain and sometimes improve eye health.
Smart Tip: Enjoy an egg and spinach omelet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Click Here to discover the best way to shop for eggs.

4 Healthy Fats from Fruits

Guest post by Andrew Rice 

Fat . . . fruit. Fat . . . fruit. Let’s say that one more time: fat . . . fruit. Hardly rolls off the tongue, does it? Most fruits and vegetables have very little fat. But there are exceptions; some of the best sources of healthy fats are fruits. Working them into your diet can provide your body with healthy fat that actually lowers your bad cholesterol while raising the good cholesterol to help protect you from heart disease. Not only that, these healthy, fatty fruits provide an array of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, something a slab of bacon just can’t do.

But not all fruit and vegetable fats are created equal, so let’s take a look at some fatty produce and how to incorporate it into your healthy diet. (Ben’s note; remember to always buy organic)

The Avocado

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It’s hard to believe, really, that something so rich and buttery-tasting is a fruit. To me, an avocado is one of nature’s perfect foods, straight from the tree to you. It’s simple, packs a lot of energy, and satisfies your hunger.

Ounce for ounce, an avocado has as many total grams of fat as a Big Mac®, something that led to its being vilified during the “fat free” diet crazes of the past. Seventy-five percent of the calories in an avocado come from fat, whereas most fruits derive their calories from sugars. But ever since nutritionists sorted out the difference between bad and good monounsaturated fats, the avocado has been voted back onto the island.

Half a California avocado has an excellent overall nutrient profile: 114 calories, 2 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of fat, most of which (8 grams) is monounsaturated fat.

The monounsaturated fat found in avocados is mostly oleic acid, which, according to a 1996 study by researchers at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social in Mexico, may help lower cholesterol. This study found that after seven days of a diet rich in avocados, subjects saw significant decreases in both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as an 11 percent increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In other words, it showed that avocados raised good cholesterol levels while lowering the bad, a one-two punch against heart disease.

But good fats are not the only attractive side of this leathery-skinned green fruit. Avocados also have 60 percent more potassium than bananas, making them a great post-workout recovery food. They’re also rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants.

You’ll also find a large amount of omega-3s and omega-6s in avocados, excellent news for vegetarians and vegans who want to incorporate these beneficial fatty acids into their diet without consuming fish oil, poultry, or eggs.

Really, the only way you can go wrong eating avocados is if you eat so many of them that the excess calories make you overweight. But as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, bring on the avocados.

Cuckoo for Coconut

50-Benefits-of-Coconut-Oil

You can argue that a coconut isn’t a fruit. People will also argue that a tomato is a vegetable and that a peanut, which is really a legume, is a nut. Whatever. We eat them all. While the avocado is unabashedly awesome for your health, the health benefits of the coconut’s flesh, and particularly its milk, are less clear-cut.

This is because unlike the avocado, with its wonderfully healthy monounsaturated fats, which provide it with its silky flavor, the coconut is rich in saturated fats. However, different kinds of saturated fats have different chemical compositions, depending on the number of carbon atoms they contain. The saturated fat in coconut oil consists mainly of lauric acid and myristic acid, whereas red meat like beef contains mostly palmitic acid. Lauric acid has been shown to increase good cholesterol levels, and, along with myristic acide, may have antimicrobial/anti-acne properties. Consumption of palmitic acid, on the other hand, has been shown to increase risk of heart disease in humans.

According to researchers, consuming coconut flesh and/or coconut oil can raise your cholesterol levels, but since they raise your good cholesterol more than your bad cholesterol, things would seem to balance out. But here’s where the research gets complicated: When studying the nutritional properties of one food, it’s important to take into account the other foods it’s consumed with, especially in terms of regional dietary habits.

The Asia Pacific Health and Nutrition Centre at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, studies the eating habits of people in Indonesia and other Pacific island regions who consume diets rich in coconut. Coconut has long been a staple in this region, where there has traditionally been a very low incidence of heart disease. But because the percentage of coconut in the regional diet has been declining for decades as imported foods like red meat have become more available, the incidence of coronary heart disease among these people has increased.

The reason appears to be that Pacific islanders have traditionally consumed coconut along with large quantities of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish. (As a side note, the night before I finished this article, I had a traditional Thai dish that combined coconut, fish, and vegetables: squid curry.) So if coconut, coconut milk, and/or coconut oil encourage you to choose to cook a delicious meal of fresh vegetables and seafood, it’ll probably do you good. If you just like the taste of fresh coconut meat, it’s probably not doing you any harm. But frying your donuts in coconut oil isn’t going to turn them into anything resembling a healthy treat.

Olives

olives-cropped

The only fruit that can top the avocado for beneficial fats is the humble olive. Health researchers have been lauding the benefits of the olive and its oil for decades, and the olive rightfully holds a place of honor in the healthful Mediterranean diet.

The main type of fat found in all kinds of olives and olive oils is monounsaturated fatty acid, which helps to lower your total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels. According to Mayo Cinic researchers, monounsaturated fatty acids may also help normalize blood clotting, as well as benefitting insulin levels and helping to control blood sugar.

In my own experience, cured olives are also highly portable, keep well without refrigeration, and satisfy the same type of hunger that might otherwise have me reaching for a piece of cheese or salami, neither of which is going to lower my cholesterol. My primary salad dressing of choice is simply extra virgin olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Both good things. Trading in your overly processed bottled dressing for some self-mixed olive oil and vinegar is a great way to cut your intake of sugar and unhealthy fats with no loss of taste or enjoyment.

The weirdest fruit of all? The durian

Durian-Fruit-Thai

To be honest, I’m really only writing about the durian for its novelty factor. Unless you grew up in Southeast Asia, it might be hard to feel any love for this giant prickly fruit that, when it’s ready to eat, smells like an overripe armpit. (Yes, you read that right: It smells like B.O.)

But the durian doesn’t taste like it smells, and it’s a great source of beneficial fats. One 100-gram serving (a little more than a third of a cup of cubed pieces) contains 147 calories and 5 grams (or 8 percent of your daily requirement) of beneficial monounsaturated fat. And unlike olives, the durian is also a source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is known to increase seratonin levels in your brain, which can lift your mood. (Interestingly enough, avocados have fairly high tryptophan levels too.)

Finally, like many other tropical fruits, the durian is a good overall source of fiber and vitamins. So next time you’re in a Thai or Indonesian fruit market and get a whiff of something that smells like it needs to take a bath, consider giving the durian a chance.

As soon as I learn a recipe for a delicious durian-avocado-coconut-olive shake, you’ll be the first to hear. Until then, I’ll be putting my money where my mouth is and eating a lot of guacamole and olives to help my cholesterol. And I’ll leave the durians for you.

You Can Find Motivation Oddest Places

Music, as well as health/fitness, is a passion of mine. So when I found out the lead singer of one of my favorite bands Mikel Jollett (The Airborne Toxic Event) wrote an article for Men’s Health back in 2006 I was excited to read it! Mikel Jollett was a freelance writer prior to the band; I already knew he was ridiculously good at writing from his music, but this Men’s Health article is damn good! I’ve attached that article below. I relate to his article so much because as funny as this may sound,  while I was going through my weight loss transformation of 80lbs I was really motivated by the character Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) of the HBO series True Blood.

True Blood - S6E10 - Jason's Abs - 2

Jason had the exact body I always dreamed about since I was a little fat kid. After each episode of True Blood I felt like working out, haha! When I felt tempted to cheat on my diet, I would think of Jason Stackhouse, and as silly as it sounds this kept me on track with my diet. Motivation can come from the oddest places, but whatever that motivation may be, use it! Put up pictures around your house to keep reminding yourself. Constantly visit whatever motivates you, whether it’s a person, a thought, a feeling, a goal; use the heck out of it!

Here’s the article by Mikel

“Brad Pitt Whipped Me Into Shape”
By Mikel Jollett

I was a big fat slob. Then I went to the movies.

You can find the motivation to get in shape in the oddest places.

Some guys find it in a doctor’s office after a sobering chest exam or blood test or biopsy. Others find it at a high-school reunion when That Girl from 10th-grade biology doesnt recognize them through the haze of cheap vodka, male-pattern baldness, and so many forgotten years. As any good Russian novelist could tell you, life reaches a crossroads – and big changes follow – when sex seems less likely than death.

I found my motivation in the back of a movie theatre in Santa Monica, California. That’s where Brad Pitt comes in, but more about him later.

I was 25 years old, working a hundred hours a week in an office. I hadn’t really set out for that life, but you know how those things go. You’d trade a kidney for an extra zero at the end of your paycheck, and so on. My days were filled with 5-year plans, capital-amortization reports, key-performance indices – i.e., the tortured lexicon of the modern office. For the first time in my life, there wasn’t much time for exercise. Hell, there wasn’t much time for anything but sleep and work. And eating.

unhealthy-eating-86534618Why do so many office events involve food? The candy jar on the secretary’s desk. Doughnuts at morning budget meetings. Rubbery chicken lunches at the Yale Club. Steak dinners with board members. It’s like we’re trying to feed some existential hunger, trying to fill a dark void at the center of office life with caramels, Hershey’s Kisses, and muffin baskets. People eat at the office for the same reason they drink at a bar: to forget they’re there.

I don’t know exactly when it got away from me. In college, on the track team, I had been all-Pac 10 in the 10,000 meters, a svelte 148 pounds whipping around the oval at 70 seconds per quarter mile. At that age, those of us on the cross-country team, those of us who ran 12 to 15 miles a day and ate mountains of food at night, felt like wild beasts. Like we were born to leap boulders, like we were panting, pawing, screaming to run. It’s probably mixed up with some milk-toothed adolescent fantasy, but we really felt like we were pushing the limits of mortality. All that pain and strain and exhaustion and exhilaration. How far can we go? How fast can we run? How much can we take? Let’s find out.

But by age 25, after 3 years in office purgatory, 3 years of meetings and dinners and lunches and drinks, I was up to 225 pounds. Sitting there, listening to these middle-aged men make jokes about their wives over two-martini lunches, I felt caged, fenced in, trapped, old, tired, fat, bored.

I would find myself walking the fluorescent-lit corridors of that ungodly building with reams of green-and-white printout paper covered with endless rows of numbers, a big, round gut hanging over the 38-inch waistline of my green slacks, seething about the budget. “Have you seen these numbers, people?” Every now and then I’d catch a glimpse of my reflection in the office glass and wonder who the fat man was.

Then it happened. In that movie theater in Santa Monica. Fight Club. I know that sounds trite. I know it should have been the birth of my first child or something. But it was Fight Club that did it.

Brad-Pitt-fight-club-body

I remember seeing Marla Singer (played by Helena Bonham Carter), with that ragged eyeliner and waifish body. She was so trashy and dirty and hot and broke. And Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) lived in this abandoned house in the middle of nowhere with the anonymous narrator (Ed Norton). All they ever did was get in fights, wreak havoc, work out, and make fun of the automatons. Though it all ended miserably – but triumphantly! – with that Pixies song when those buildings blew up, God, my life just seemed so tame by comparison, so forgettable, so compliant. I thought, What the hell am I doing? I’m 25 years old.

I saw the movie four times in one week. And I cracked. I quit my job. I dumped my girlfriend. I started working out constantly. Running, swimming, lifting weights, drinking protein shakes, eating apples.

My routine was basic. I thought of it as a matter of simple physics: If I burn more than I consume, my body will metabolize fat. It has to. I figured that at my weight, with my metabolism, I burned about 2,500 calories a day. So I kept to a 2,000 calorie diet and worked out like mad. Four runs a week (100 calories per mile), three swims (100 calories per 15 minutes), four weight sessions (300 calories per hour, plus beach muscles). I made sure I never rang up more than a 7,000 calorie deficit (which equals 2 pounds of fat) in a given week, since your body freaks out when you do that.

It was tedious at first. The runs were painful, I was always sore, and it took so much damn time. I had to make a decision: The plan would come first – it was the only obligation I absolutely had to fulfill. Everything else in my life would have to fit in around it.

After about a month, after the initial shock had worn off, once my feet had calloused over and my hair had become ragged from the chlorine, the plan became something else. A dare. Not in the okay-tough-guy, No Fear, come-over-here-and-check-out-my-glutes kind of way. More like it was a daring thing to do.

Because if you think about it, it’s kind of absurd. Grown adults running through fields, unprompted, unchased, lifting heavy objects for no practical purpose, swimming back and forth repeatedly across a rectangle of water and heavy chemicals. It prompts a question in your mind, while you’re pursuing these senseless tasks: What sort of creature does this kind of thing, anyway?

Over time, the answer becomes obvious, even if it’s just something you feel in your bones: Because this is what I was born to do. This is what this body was made for.

As for the desk job, those hellishly vapid budget reports: Was I honestly made for that crap?

When the money that I’d saved ran out, I started working as a carpenter, walking around with a tool belt on all day, driving a 5-ton truck, familiarizing myself with the layout of Home Depot. It was good to be paid to sweat. The guys I worked with couldn’t quite understand why I was doing basic construction instead of the cushy office job I’d left. “Hey, Stanford U,” they’d say to me, “think you could nail this two-by-four in that frame over there? They teach you how to do that in school?”

The work itself had its benefits. At the end of the day, when my back hurt and my hands ached from pounding a hammer or wielding a screw gun for 8 hours, I felt as though I’d earned a drink. And anyway, there is a certain manful pride in knowing your way around a miter saw and a speed square. But it was mostly monotonous and nothing I had aspired to. I wasn’t in it for that.

I was in it for the sense of possibility. For the idea that you can shake your life up like a soda bottle and smack it against the wall. That whatever prisons we construct in our lives – whether it’s an awful job, a gut, an unhappy marriage, an addiction, the things in life that hem us in, that make us wake up in the morning in a cold sweat and think, How did I get like this? and How can I escape? – all these things are transient. For me, and maybe for anyone, the answer was, just leave. Tear the entire thing down.

In 6 months, I was down 55 pounds – to 170 – and had all the accoutrements that so famously go with exercise: more energy, more confidence, better sleep, less stress. In place of the gut, I had the six-pack I’d had in college. I was also broke and single and had squandered what I had once understood to be a promising future. I didn’t care.

I met a girl in Las Vegas. We exchanged phone numbers, and when I got back to Los Angeles, I called her. She invited me over to her place, a real dump in Culver City that was brimming with empty wine bottles and Liz Phair posters. When I walked in, she was sitting on the couch – skinny, big eyes, flat chested, her shirt half unbuttoned, dirty blonde hair, and lots of eyeliner. My own private Marla Singer. I nearly cried.

fight-club-soap

“Have you seen this movie?” she asked, pointing to the television. And I couldn’t even make this up: It was Fight Club – the scene where Ed Norton fakes a fight with his boss to get fired. In the process he destroys the office, cutting his hands and back and face on the shattered galss of a coffee table. He walks out, whistling, pushing a pile of office equipment in a cart, with a smile on his face and blood dripping down his shirt. Fantastic.

I know, I know. Sophomoric. It is, a bit. But whatever the motivation, once I started taking exercise seriously, I felt more alive. I felt that my life had possibilities. I felt stronger. There’s really nothing so basically transformative, nothing so regenerative, as getting in shape. Some of it is simple blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, and endorphins. Your high-school P.E. teacher could have told you that. But it’s also the sense that if you can change your body, you can change anything. You feel your muscles working beneath your clothes, you become aware of your heartbeat, and you remember that you’re an animal first and animals do not like to be fenced in.

The fact is, we’re going to be dead someday, and I don’t care how important we are or how much money we make, how refined our taste in wine, music, clothes, literature, art, women. Those things are great, but there’s just no escaping that your life begins and ends in your own body, your health, your ability to talk to That Girl with confidence, smile in the face of sobering news, senselessly lift heavy objects, swim great distances across various geometric figures, test your mortality, shatter some glass, eat an apple, tear across the plains, and run down a bloody gazelle.

It may be absurd, but honestly, you have to fill the void somehow, and you’re simply not going to do it with muffin baskets.

Shakeology Review From a Dietitian

If you are a regular reader of ours you know we LOVE the super shake, Shakeology. Here are several more reasons on the effectiveness of Shakeology.

A colleague of mine decided to have a Dietitian write a review on the “healthiest meal of the day”, Shakeology. This is what he had to say. Mind you, he’s a doctor that lives outside of the United States, so he’s NEVER heard of Shakeology.

Viral Diseases ——————– Vitamin D+ phosphorus.+ Zinc+ Copper. + Magnesium

Influenza, Fever, Cold———- Vitamin D+ phosphorus + Magnesium

Weakness of bones ————- Vitamin D+ phosphorus + Magnesium

Typhoid, Weakness of bones — Vitamin C + Vitamin D

Frequently urination————- Vitamin D + Vitamin C + Phosphorus + Folic acid

Short Sightedness ————— Vitamin D + Vitamin C + Phosphorus + Folic acid

Schizophrenia ——————— Vitamin D + Vitamin C + Phosphorus + Folic acid

Constipation ———————- Vitamin C + Calcium

Digestive system —————– Vitamin D+ Phosphorus + Zinc+ Copper + Magnesium

Neuralgic pain ——————– Vitamin C + Vitamin B + Copper

Pains of bones ——————- Vitamin D + Phosphorus + Zinc

Hormones (glands) ————– Vitamin E + Magnesium.

Muscles ————————— Phosphorus + Magnesium + Vitamin B6 + Vitamin B12

Blood circulation —————– Vitamin C +iron + Calcium

Appetizer ————————- Vitamin C+ Phosphorus+ Zinc+ Copper + Magnesium

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Shakeology has excellent prevention to viral diseases, influenza, fever, cold, typhoid, weakness of bones and have benefits for frequently urination, short sightedness, schizophrenia, constipation, digestive system, neuralgic pain, blood circulation and pains of bones. Shakeology provides a lot of energy and boost-up the nervous system, muscular system, and bones and also maintain the hormones. It’s price is very affordable as you cannot get many nutritional ingredients in this price.

Vitamin A ————– vision, motor nerves, brain

Vitamin C ————- vision, motor nerves, brain, teeth

Vitamin D ————- sensory nerves, brain, bones pains, joints

Vitamin E ———— hormones, sex, brain, acidity

Vitamin K1 ———— skin, mucus membranes, injuries, glands

Vitamin B1 ———— motor nerves, liver

Vitamin B2 ———— motor nerves, kidney

Vitamin B3 ———— motor nerves, bones

Vitamin B6 ———— motor nerves, brain

Folic acid ———— motor nerves, muscles, heart

Vitamin B12 ———– motor nerves, bladder, cartilage

Biotin ———— muscles, liver

Pantothenic acid —————glands, spleen

Calcium ———— bones, teeth, , bladder, blood, brain

Iron ———– oxygen, motor nerves, blood circulation, bone morrow

Phosphorous —————-liver, brain, sex, lungs

Iodine ———– thyroid gland, metabolism, glands

Magnesium ———–glands, muscles, acidity, brain

Zinc ———–sex glands, bones

Copper ———– skin, sex nerves

Manganese ————- muscles, heart

Chromium ———— blood vessels

Molybdenum ———— glands, blood vessels, pancreas

Cinnamon powder ———– vision, motor nerves, sex, heart, kidney

Gingko powder (leaf) ———- brain, bones, sensory nerves, sex, bladder

Maca powder ————— brain, bones, sensory nerves

Sacha inchi —————heart, liver, motor nerves

Yacon ————- heart, liver, muscles

Flax ———– heart, bones

Chia ———— kidney, muscles

Chlorella ———– glands, kidney

Astragalus powder (root) ———— glands,, nails, stomach

Blue green algae ———— bones, teeth

Spinach powder ———– glands

Ashwagandha powder (root) ———– sensory nerves, liver, sex

Barley grass ———— motor nerves, heart, sex

Kamut grass ————- glands

Oat grass ————- bones, vision

Wheat grass ———– muscles, brain, sex, swelling

Stevia ———– brain, bones, sensory nerves, sex, bladder

Amaranth ———– motor nerves, intestines

Grape seed ———– skin, hair, motor nerves, heart, nails

Green tea ———— stimulator

Holy basil ———— muscles, stomach, intestines

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Shakeology has a great amount of nutrition that can definitely help prevent and improve your health on many different levels. Unfortunately, because I do not live in the United States, I do not have access to this shake as I would recommend this to my patients who are under strict diets. Although the shake may seem like a hefty monthly investment, you are definitely getting a bang for your buck. The majority of people that work a regular 9 – 5 job end up going out for lunch 20 times a month and spending an average of $8 per meal. People are not careful with what they are consuming and because your body is not receiving the appropriate nutrients, it will ask you for more, and some people will continue to eat the wrong foods. This shake is only $119 for 30 days which averages to $3.97 per meal and it will fill you up because of all the nutrients in this shake.

If you would like to purchase Shakeology now, click below!