Something to Chew On!

31 01 2012

So much of what can be bought in our supermarket is completely over processed, nutrient deficient and made to sit on a store shelf for a long, long time without going bad. Have you read any labels recently? We can’t pronounce half of this stuff, many of which are chemicals made in a lab. It’s downright scary. Flame retardants in your chicken mcnuggets, sodas and energy drinks?? Chips with Olestra – causing anal leakage! Yuck! Carcinogens like Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Hydroxytoluene, Saccharine, Aspartame, nitrates, Potassium Bromate, Blue #2 are found in every thing from rolls, hot dogs, bacon, kids cereal, candy, bubble gum, soy sauce, stuffing mix, sugar substitutes and the list goes on and on and on. It’s downright scary. And so I continually find myself asking the question, why don’t we eat closer to the source? What is more natural than fruits and vegetables – especially organic ones?

As recommended by a recent Men’s Health online article – here are a few natural foods that provide enormous health benefits:

BOK CHOY – This is a great one to try if you’ve never had it. I’ve blogged about it before. It’s full of vitamins, a bone builder and a cancer fighter!

BANANAS – Good for your brain and nervous system, With tryptophan it calms you while the potassium helps you recover quickly from strenuous workouts. It’s also a great immunity booster.

KIWIS – Also packed with potassium. Contains lutein which is fantastic for your heart. And if you’re going organic you can even eat the nutrient rich skin. Who knew?

BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER, KALE, BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND CABBAGE – Loaded with calcium, minerals, vitamins and anti-cancer rich antioxidants.

SPINACH – In studies, it has actually killed cancer cells. It protects the liver, may ward off Alzheimer’s and is a fantastic way to help prevent osteoporosis. If you are experimenting with a plant based diet, Spinach is also a great way to get protein.

LEEKS – Great for your arteries, prevent against prostate cancer and supports healthy sexual functioning.

ARTICHOKES – Eating these daily can cut the risk of strokes. They contain more bone building material than any other vegetable. They are rich in fiber and help maintain the immune system.

CHILI PEPPERS – Anti-inflammatory, immunity booster, metabolism booster, anti-cancer properties, blood thinner and endorphin releaser. Wow!

GINGER – Immunity booster and powerful colon cancer suppressor.

BLUEBERRIES – The most antioxidant rich fruit known to man.

CINNAMON – Reduces blood sugar levels when taken regularly (cinnamon sticks in a glass of hot water is a good way to do this), prevents against blood clots and bacterial infections.

SWEET POTATO – Prevents against diabetes, enhances nutrient metabolism, boosts immunity and has anti cancer properties. Good for the heart and liver. Protects against Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons.

TOMATOES – Filled with lycopene, a potential cancer fighter that is good for your heart and boosts immunity.

FIGS – Gives your body the proper PH to fight off pathogens (I should be eating these like crazy). Reduces blood sugars and boosts immunity.

MUSHROOMS – Are a great cancer fighter. Sautéing them in red wine reportedly magnifies their immunity boosting power.

POMEGRANATES – The juice from the seeds of this fruit are cancer fighters. A recent UCLA study found that this fruit can slow prostate cancer cell growth up to six times it’s normal rate.

APPLES – One a day really does keep the doctor away. They have the highest source of anti-inflammatory properties found in fruit. Good for your heart and fights against a variety of diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Join me in incorporating some of these regularly into a daily diet.





Slow and Steady Wins the Race

30 01 2012

And so begins week 6 of a plant based diet.  I’m down an additional two pounds which makes the total loss so far 37 pounds+.  I was hoping to lose more this week but every ounce down is a step in the right direction, so I will take what I have gotten.  The last time I really seriously tried to lose weight, I shed 65 pounds in no time.  That was about 10 years ago.  It is true what they say about aging and metabolism.

More importantly than the weight loss is the way I feel.  I definitely feel healthier, have more energy and am comfortable continuing on this pace.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I’m in this for the long haul.  Mentally, I’m already there.  There was a switch that happened in my mind when I decided to go on this path and I can no longer envision myself living any other way.  There is no giving up or long term discouragement.  There is only faith in reaching the goal.  After many failures in the past, failure is no longer an option.  Sure I have and will stumble from time to time but I will pick myself up, dust myself off and proceed on.  I remain undeterred.

Yesterday I had to cut a new hole into my belt because the belts I have are now too big.  It won’t be long until I need the next size smaller pants.  These are good dilemmas.  Last night I dreamt of broccoli rabe.  This is my new normal.

Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space and love beyond my fear, and thus Walk in Balance with the passing of each glorious Sun.
~ Lakota Prayer

If you are in the midst of a major lifestyle change comment below or drop me a line: johnnysized@gmail.com

Also please notice that in the upper right hand corner of this page is an email sign-up so that you can be notified of all updates to this page.





McNasty!

28 01 2012

 

 

 





At the Risk of Name Dropping….

27 01 2012

Three days of stagnate weigh-ins.  Time to switch something up.  So today I boosted my fiber intake by about 300%.  I’m sure someone is going to tell me that this is a horrible idea and they will likely be right.  At this point I’m willing to do something half crazy to shock my system a bit and get the needle moving again.

I continue to receive very nice well wishes from friends and that is a great motivator.  As I’m typing this, another one has just come through and these really mean so much.  I also got an email today from Mike Watt.  If the name doesn’t ring a bell, he’s one of the best bass players on the planet and that is not an exaggeration – Punk Rock History  101 –  minutemen.  He influenced many great bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers (their album Blood Sugar Sex Magic was dedicated to him) and he was in one of my favorites bands for a spell – Porno for Pyros .   His email was very supportive and after reading it, I felt pretty fired up about seeing this thing through.  I think the world of Watt.  He motivates me artistically with the beautiful art he creates.   Through the person that he is, he also motivates me to be a better person.  I have a lot of respect and gratitude for him.  He is someone who appreciates life and is very giving.

When I’m not working, I really enjoy photography and making music with my band “the clubber lang gang” (I sing and make noise).  So here are some photos I snapped of Brother Watt and his band the Missingmen on their most recent tour as well as an mp3 of a song that we were extremely fortunate to have Watt onboard for.  This is the demo version.  It’s downloadable, put it on your mp3 player.  We can get back to the diet and health tomorrow.  It’s Friday, so Rock n Roll people!

 

Downloadable link:

for broken people (Demo) featuring Mike Watt

Mike’s music can be found at clenchedwrench.com or on itunes.  His new album “hyphenated-man” is fantastic.  Keep up with all things Watt at hootpage.com

 

the clubber lang gang’s music can be found on itunes or cdbaby.com among other online purveyors of fine music.  We also have about 1000 albums laying around so if you are local to northeastern, PA and want one, give me a shout.  We’ll have a new album on the way sometime in 2012.

the clubber lang gang space-folk appreciation club can be found on facebook.  Friend us.

Have a good one!

 





Too Big for a Small World

26 01 2012

Two years ago, Santa Claus brought us tickets to the happiest place on Earth – Disneyland.  Right away the anxiety started in.  I’m going to be too big for the rides I thought.  I fully expected a lot of down time at the parks while the rest of the family had fun.  And of course the trip started with having to get on the plane.  I’ve never been friends with flying.  Something as big as a jumbo jet does not belong leaving the ground.  But before even that, there is the fight to wedge yourself into the seat.  The seats are so small that people of average size are uncomfortable.  But for me, I just spill out all over in every direction.  My shoulders are very broad to begin with, my reach is long and my gut does not allow for the tray in front of me to come down.  Half of me is in the aisle, the other half is on top of the poor bastard next to me.  You’ve been the recipient of this at least once I’m sure (and I’m sorry).  It’s a complete train wreck.  And then there is the wrestling with the seatbelt.  If I’m able to get it buckled, it’s uncomfortable as all hell and I spend the rest of the flight not able to take a full breath.  If I can’t click it, I have to swallow my pride and ask a stewardess for a belt extension.  That’s done in a secretive, shameful, under the breath kind of way and is akin to feeling like you are in the midst of trying to score crack.  After the harrowing flight experience, it was off to the park.

One of the first rides I went on at the park was the tea cups.  These had always been fun.  But literally I had to wedge myself between the cart and the center wheel.  This was not a good confidence builder and I remember thinking that this would be my first and last ride during the vacation.  Luckily and unbeknownst to me, Disney had actually retrofitted many of their rides so that people of all sizes could comfortably ride them and I was able to enjoy virtually everything in the parks with the exception of roller coasters.  I’m not trusting any harness to keep all of me locked in.

After several days I had made peace with Disney and it looked like my fears had largely been misplaced until it was time to board the boat for It’s a Small World.  When we got ready to board, they held us up for several boats and waited for a group of small Asian folks to come to the front of the line.  I knew right away what was going on here.  They were putting tubby on the boat with the little people.  My family was shown to the front row of the boat.  The tactical error here was that I should have sat directly in the middle.  Instead I sat on the left and the entire boat began to rock to that side.  When the boat launched and was no longer on the conveyer belt, then the real lurching to my side began.  Women behind me began screaming as the boat rolled further to my side.  It seemed that the taking on of water would be imminent.  Children were crying, even mine.  I quickly moved to the middle and the boat started to right itself.  But the damage had already been done.  People sat behind me white knuckled.  I hung my head in shame as the animatronics gleefully sang their jolly song.  Indeed it was a small world after all.  Way too small of a world to be this big.

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
-Walt Disney

I look forward to getting down to the size I was when I was 14 -15 years old and a freshman in High School.  I look forward to being able to sit semi-comfortably in an airplane, buckle my seatbelt, put down my tray and relax a bit.  I even look forward to roller coasters.  But I don’t think you’ll ever catch me on It’s a Small World again.





Loving Me Some Quinoa

25 01 2012

Before switching to a plant based diet, I had never heard of the stuff.  I’m just learning to pronounce it now – Ki:nwa.  I came across this several weeks ago in a ready made microwavable bag.  I decided rather than microwave it, I would stuff peppers with it, add tomato sauce, onion and ground veggie crumble.  It was beyond fantastic!  I really enjoyed the taste and have come back to it several times since.  I figured I’d share it with some of you who may never of had the chance to try it.  Be brave!  It’s so worth it!  Find it in the health food aisle of your grocery store, next to the rice.

Quinoa is not a true grain although it looks like one.  It is more closely related to beets and spinach.  It has been consumed by people in south america for the last 3-4 thousand years and herding animals have eaten it for nearly twice as long.

It is reported that the Incas believed the crop to be sacred.  They referred to it as “chisaya mama” or the “mother of all grains”.  Spanish colonists forbade them from growing it though and Quinoa was nearly lost forever.

A friend recently sent me this Quinoa breakfast recipe and it looks fantastic.  I can’t wait to give it a try!

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Quinoa Protein Breasfast Bowl

1 C rinsed quinoa
¼ C toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ C toasted slivered almonds, walnuts or pecans
¼ C golden raisins or cranberries
2 T hemp seeds
1 t cinnamon
Pinch cardamom
1 T agave or maple syrup
Dash sea salt
Unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk

Cook 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a rice cooker or pot. When quinoa is cooked, add coconut, almonds, raisins, hemp seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, maple syrup or agave, and sea salt and mix together.

Top with almond or coconut milk to your liking.

This protein-rich breakfast is great for the whole family. Feel free to customize the ingredients. Add fresh berries, bananas, apples or applesauce, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dates, prunes, or whatever strikes your fancy.
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Had a monthly sushi lunch with my brother today.  Some plant based diet I’m on,  huh?  Meat lovers pizza on Saturday and all you can eat Sushi on Tuesday.  That’s right, all you can eat sushi for $20.  And its damn good quality for the price.  I started the meal off with two bowls of seaweed salad and a large bowl of vegetable udon soup.  This ensured that the sushi we ordered would not be followed by even more sushi (as is typically the case).  Two cheat meals in one week.  That should do me for a good month or so now.

There are some interesting things in store for this blog.  i’ll be looking forward to sharing them with you soon.
In the meantime, i can be reached here: johnnysized@gmail.com  or feel free to leave a comment.





A Strange World

24 01 2012

It’s a strange world when the Center for Disease Control authors a study that recommends mothers to consider delaying the breast feeding of their children during times of immunizations as a way to increase their potency. It’s a strange world when we are bombarded with commercials and advertisements of people who are so tired that they need a shot of “five hour energy” or any number of different energy drinks to make it through the day, yet when the sun sets they then need Lunesta to get some rest. It’s a strange world when the diabetes drug you take to control your glucose levels ends up making you vomit, causes internal bleeding and/or causes cancer. For all of humankind’s technological advances, are we really any better off when it comes to our health?

I think the power of the body to heal itself is vastly over looked. Our body is the most complex machine on Earth. We see with it. We hear with it. We use it to get from place to place. We make endless numbers of calculations with it every day. And it does all of this solely on food, water, oxygen and rest. But with the body you only get out of it, what you put into it.

For a long time, I abused my body. I made poor eating choices and paid for them instantly. How do you feel after eating a double quarter pounder with cheese and bacon? I would feel like wanting to go to sleep. My energy level would drop so incredibly fast. I’d often resort to having an energy drink but would rarely feel the bump from it. For a long time, I didn’t allow myself to get enough sleep. And still today this is something that I struggle with. I led a mostly sedentary lifestyle, sitting at a desk or driving in a car for most of the work week. I hated to have to walk anywhere. And honestly, lugging around a massive 400+ pound frame is no easy task. It’s completely exhausting. At night I’d want to just come home and crumple onto the floor. It was difficult to even play with my kids, which makes me feel ashamed. People at work would get the best parts of me and by the time I got home I was just a shell of a person.

In just four weeks of switching to a plant based diet a lot of these things have already begun changing. I’m eating a whole lot better. I haven’t had candy, soda or fast food in a long time. A lot of these things I started phasing out as my sickness progressed. I have replaced them with veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans. I do eat prepackaged vegan meals as well but I try to limit them and eat as close to the source as I can. As I have stated before the difference in my energy is amazing. I haven’t had to lay on the floor one night since changing my diet. No mid-day crashes, no stops at WAWA for an energy drink. Sure there are times when I get tired but I’m never exhausted like I used to be. I try to be active more during the day now. In the last two days, I’ve walked 4.5 miles. For me, that is amazing. I’m a guy that hates to walk to the mailbox. But as I lose weight and gain energy, I’m realizing that it is actually nice to walk. It feels freeing. For a long time, I’ve been a slave to my bad habits. I think of what a complete fool I have been to my body. In many ways I’m thankful for the wake up call. By the second or third week of February, I’ll be completely off antibiotics. I’m worried that the staph infection will come back. I think I see signs of it coming back every once in awhile. Perhaps I’m paranoid. Only time will tell. I know that one of the ways to fight it off is to get healthy. And I can not get healthy soon enough.








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