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Tough Mudder is Here!

That video gets you pumped up, doesn’t it!?  Or you may think it’s just crazy.  Either way, I’ve been looking forward to trying out the Tough Mudder (wiki) ever since the July 2012 announcement that one was coming to Buffalo in 2013.  When registration opened in September 2012, I signed up the first day.  I don’t know what it is about the Mudder, but it’s drawn me in from the beginning.  Being in my mid-30s and never having been a person who does really crazy things, I feel I have a void to fill, I guess.  I still play competitive soccer and run 5ks, but the Mudder takes competition to a whole new level.  But that’s not accurate either because it’s not a timed race.  It’s meant to be a team-building event as well as a personal challenge.  The competition is within yourself and your preparation, determination, and grit.  I guess my biggest motivating factor is proving to myself that I can do it!

Tough Mudder Buffalo 2013

Tough Mudder Buffalo 2013

The Course

This whole thing became real when they published the official “Spectator Map” which shows the layout of the course as well as what particular obstacles they’ve chosen to include.  Click on the image to the right to see a full pdf of the map!

You’re not reading it wrong – over 11 miles through Andover, NY with 15+ obstacles in the way.  Scroll down to the second page of the map to see photos and names of each of the obstacles we’ll be challenged with.  To see even more, searching for the obstacle names on Google returns a ton of videos.  For instance, check out the Arctic Enema, Boa Constrictor, Funky Monkey, or Everest, to see some of the more famous ones.

My family knows how much I’ve been looking forward to this because I’ve talked about it for months.  But, now that it’s finally approaching and I’m seeing the map and watching videos – I’m getting nervous!  But, the good news is, the Mudder is best done with a team and it sounds like I’ll have a good one.  I’m going with 3 of my co-workers and we’re teaming up with a friend of one of theirs as well as 14 others.  My co-worker’s friend is the father of Army Spc. Blake D. Whipple, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.  We’re all running in his honor and will have shirts with “Blake’s Buddies” on them.  I think it’s a little added motivation, plus it should be great to have such a large team to keep everyone entertained and motivated for the 4+ hours we’ll be on the course!

If anyone has any last-minute advice or well-wishes, I’d be glad to hear it!  Otherwise, I’m sure I’ll be writing another blog post after the race to recap the craziness.  Think of me this Saturday (7/27/2013) starting at 8:40am!

Stay muddy, my friends!

P.S.  Yet another great video that gets me excited for this: Tough Mudder 2013

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Categories: Entertainment, Health Tags:

Why is wheat bad for you?

25 October 2012 Leave a comment

I wanted to pass along a great article from Mark Sisson’s blog, Mark’s Daily Apple. As usual, he provides great detail backed up with numerous links to supporting articles.

I also found this article interesting because my wife has been experimenting with making her own sourdough which she’s used to make pancakes and breads. So far it’s been great!

Here’s the article I think you should check out: The Problems with Modern Wheat

Categories: Paleo Tags: , , ,

Can a Gluten-Free Lifestyle Help Defy Aging?

3 October 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve mentioned him numerous times on my blog.  Paleo poster-boy, superstar blogger, and all-around health / fitness stud, Mark Sisson, will be on Brian William’s Rock Center tomorrow night (Thursday, 10/4/2012 10pm EST) on NBC.  If this one minute preview is any indication, it should be a very interesting and informative interview.

Mark talks about how cutting out gluten (and going Paleo) eliminated his arthritis and seasonal allergies.  And it goes without saying it’s given him more energy and a pretty impressive physique (for a 59 year old!).

“Gluten is poison.”  – Mark Sisson

"Grains are just beige blob that don't taste that great. They're just a cheap source of calories that converts to glucose. Gluten is poison."

Eating Healthy: Where Do I Start?

21 September 2012 2 comments

Recently, I’ve had a number of people ask for more information regarding the food choices my family makes.  I’ve made many posts here with tips and articles, but I have yet to give a simple game plan for someone who’s starting from scratch.  I’ll do that now!

Why Should I Change What I’m Eating?

If you’re eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), odds are you’re experiencing some of the common side effects: digestive issues, joint pain, skin issues, lethargy, anxiety, depression, etc, etc.  Some people think these are just the “pains of getting older”.  Others will go to the doctor, who will prescribe you pills to lessen those symptoms, but that won’t address the cause.  Changing your diet likely will.  Either way, it’s certainly worth a shot to try!

But I’m Already Eating Healthy!

I used to think that too.  Orange juice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, pasta, low fat salad dressing, Gatorade, skim milk, peanut butter.  Those were some of my favorite foods and I thought I was doing great!  But, the truth is many of those foods are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients.  And the low fat foods combat the simple fact that fat is actually good for you!  But, the worst offender may be the grains.  Grains (bread, pasta, corn, beer, etc) cause many digestive problems and wreck havoc on our bodies.

So Where Do I Go From Here?

Click on the image for a larger view

I know most of my food posts relate to Paleo; however, we’ve recently been leaning more towards The Perfect Health Diet.  It’s very similar to Paleo, but there’s a bigger emphasis on carbs.  We’ve (I keep saying “we” because my wife is the brains behind this operation and does an insane amount of research) read numerous articles – and even seen it in ourselves – that low-carb eating doesn’t work long-term.

Most people don’t have the time and/or the inclination to do a ton of research on changing the way they eat.  So, my simple suggestion is read this one page on The Perfect Health Diet and try it out.  Give it a few weeks before you form an opinion.  Sometimes a few days is all it takes before you start feeling really good.  Many of the aforementioned problems will start to magically disappear – joints won’t hurt, skin will clear up, your mind will feel clearer, your mood will improve, and hopefully more.  It sounds too good to be true, but it’s all related to what you put in your body.

What If I Want to Read More?

It’s great to take my word for it, but there are so many good resources out there to help you understand what’s going on in your body as well as motivate you to keep at it!

  • The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf – the book we read to get us going down this path;  it’s great!  Minus the few heavy biological chapters, it was funny and informative.
  • The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson – I haven’t read this or any of his other books, but I’ve read an innumerable amount of his blog posts.  He’s a great writer who backs up everything he says.  Plus, wouldn’t you want to look like him when you’re 58!?
  • Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet – Admittedly, I haven’t read this, but their diet is spot on with what we believe, so I’m sure the book is great.

Give It To Me In Simpler Terms

I’m trying to keep this simple, but if you’re still wondering what foods to buy, let’s try this.  Each meal you should have some of each of the 3 macro-nutrients.  Here they are with some example foods:

  • Protein
    • Grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, free-range chicken and eggs, bacon, etc*
  • Fat
    • Grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, almond butter, macadamia nuts, lard, beef tallow, etc
  • Carbohydrates
    • Any veggies, fruits, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white rice

* -Keep in mind that whatever animal products you eat, you’re also eating whatever that animal ate.  Thus, the emphasis on free-range chicken and grass-fed beef.  Same goes with eggs and pork – if you’re able to get them from a local farm or somewhere where the animals are cared for and fed properly (aka no grains), you’re better off.  However, that’s not an option for everyone, so do what you can!

Sample Meals

Below are some sample meal ideas to get you off an running.  Or here are some more.  Once you get used to this, it becomes easier and easier.  Try experimenting with herbs and spices (especially fresh ones).  Look online for Paleo recipes or check out the many great recipe books.

  • Breakfast
    • I posted about this a few times because it’s difficult!  But, you can’t go wrong with bacon and eggs with a fruit smoothie
  • Lunch
    • Hamburger (sans bun, of course!), salad w/olive oil, sweet potato
  • Dinner
    • Chicken, veggie, white rice stir fry

It’s a big change when you go to the store as you stay only on the outside wall where the produce and meat departments are.  You very rarely need to venture through the aisles because that’s mostly processed foods!  There are a few processed foods that are okay, but you’re best to stay away as much as you can.  For instance, potato chips seem simple enough because the ingredients are potatoes, oil, and salt.  However, 99.9% of the time, the oil is one of the awful varieties (sunflower, safflower, peanut, etc), so you’ll want to avoid them.  Luckily, we’ve recently found (at Ollie’s, of all places) Olive Oil Potato Chips.  These are a decent option if you have kids and are looking for an quick carb option.

The only other processed foods we like are GoGo SqueeZ Applesauce and Bare Fruit Apple Chips.  They each have exactly ONE ingredient: apples.  Also, I’ve kept a running list of packaged foods we like – including olive oil, butter, and coconut milk – on this Pinterest Page.

In Summary

  • Okay to eat
    • Meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, starch, healthy fats, nuts / seeds
  • Avoid
    • Processed foods, sugars, grains, dairy, legumes, vegetable and seed oils

I rarely write 1,000 word blog posts, so hopefully this was helpful!  As usual, I’d love to hear your comments whether you post them here or write me personally.

Good luck!

Simplifying What Food You Should Eat

17 September 2012 Leave a comment

My family and I have mainly been eating Paleo over the past 18 months and have been impressed by its results.  Plus, there are so many wonderful success stories online of people who have eliminated allergies or stomach problems or mental issues, as well as cleared up their skin or lost weight or increased strength.  It sounds like a magic pill, but its not.  The focus is simple: eat the foods your body is intended to eat.

Although I feel like Paleo is starting to pick up momentum in the online world, I’m also seeing more and more posts and videos online to support health movements that are very similar.  I wanted to share two I recently came across as they take different, but good, approaches to how we should be eating in order to optimize the way we look and feel.

My Simple (Not Easy) Fat Loss & Health Enhancement Hierarchy

I recently came across Nate’s work when he posted a very interesting article on Livestrong called 4 Reasons To Eat More Calories (And Carbs) At Night.  I read more on his blog and like what he has to say.  This article I’m referencing on his Fat Loss Hierarchy is important because he keeps his advice so simple and concise.  This says it all:

…cutting out processed, man-made foods; and returning to our evolutionary, ancestral, or cultural pasts by eating more real, natural foods (wild animals and plants) will take you 90% of the way in achieving your goals…

He also writes about the way you structure your meal plan is entirely up to you (Should I fast?  3 meals a day?  6 meals?  etc).  Everyone is different and a little experimentation may help you find what works best.  Check out more of his site as he’s also got some great workout tips and videos to go along with numerous health articles.

The Beyond Diet

A friend shared this video on Facebook and although I’m not supporting the product they’re selling, I think the video they’ve made does a fantastic job of explaining some details on what foods we should and shouldn’t be eating.  Admittedly, the first few minutes are a little slow (and unfortunately you can’t fast forward), but I do think it’s worth waiting it out.

Watch this video to learn about what foods are causing you to keep on extra weight (and feel crummy) as well as what foods you should be focusing on: The Beyond Diet.

I hope that article and video can help everyone realize that eating healthy isn’t as hard as they think.  But, more importantly, “eating healthy” isn’t what most of us thought!  I know I used to think I was eating healthy because every day I’d have orange juice, whole wheat bread, no-fat salad dressings, skim milk, and many of the other “you should have these” foods.  But, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

Pardon my pun, but the proof is in the pudding.  Just try these changes for a few weeks and see how you feel.  I did and I’m not looking back.  What about you?  I’d love to know of people who try and what results they see!

Battling Inflammation

Everyone knows when they sprain an ankle or bump their head that there’s going to be pain and swelling to follow. Typically we take an anti-inflammatory pill and maybe use ice to make it feel better. That we can all agree on. (Although the use of drugs here could be debated. The body uses inflammation as a defense mechanism to help heal itself. Trying to counter the inflammation certainly helps the pain factor, but also inhibits the healing. Just food for thought.)

Another point to be made in these cases is the injury usually can’t be prevented. Trips and falls are part of life and simply have to be dealt with. The reason I state this obvious observation will make sense later in this post.

However, there’s growing evidence of other types of inflammation that’s harming us. This type of inflammation is avoidable and yet we keep doing it to ourselves – typically without even realizing it.  It’s frustrating that more people (especially doctors) aren’t aware of this and no one educates us.  Of course, that’s why I’m writing this: to spread the word!

GrainsI’ve written about it in this blog before but I’m writing about it again because I think it’s extremely important.  I want everyone to educate themselves as best as possible on how to live a better, more pain free life. Plus I’ve come across two outside blog posts which break down the crux of this problem with much better details than I can provide.  Once again, the problem I’m writing about is what we eat.  More specifically… grains.

But first, I’d like to digress with a disclaimer…

I’m never quite sure how my writing comes across to others, but let me state it for the record here that in no way am I belittling anyone or judging their lifestyles.  A lot of the things I believe and practice are relatively new to me because I’m always tweaking and experimenting with what works.  That’s the important part here – educate yourself as much as you can to make the best decisions for you and your family.  What works best for me may not be best for you, but the only way you know is if you learn about it and try it.  Now then…

Despite your thoughts on Paleo, you should check out these articles.  Many of you will think these posts are crazy, but try to have an open mind.  What if they’re right?  What if you tried out what they’re suggesting?  What if your changes worked and you felt better and/or looked better as a result?  Only one way to find out!

Here are the two blog posts I keep referring to:

I know I’ve seen a number of positive changes in myself and my family since going primarily grain-free.  Otherwise, why would I be so passionate about sharing with you?!

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts and results if you’ve tried cutting grains!

Banana Sandwiches

Loaded Banana Sandwich

Here’s my family’s latest obsession for breakfast: banana sandwiches! They’re a great source of carbs and can have a lot of healthy toppings.  Plus they’re fun for the kids. Here’s what I like:

Banana Sandwich

Another tasty option is to take the same above ingredients (except use frozen bananas) and blend them into a smoothie.

 

* – Blanched almonds have been peeled, thus they’re much easier on the stomach and better for people with food sensitivities
** – Raw honey (not the typical honey from the store that’s loaded with sugar) has many great properties including seasonal allergy prevention.  Your best bet to find some is your local farmer’s market or a bakery like Five Points.

Categories: Health Tags: ,