Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fowl Play: Pumped and Plumped Meat

Fowl Play: Pumped and Plumped Meat

I would keep chickens in my backyard, but it's illegal in Atlantic Beach. I could however have a pot-belly pig, or a pygmy goat. No heirloom chickens.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Mentawai

This is an absolutely breathtaking view into the lives of a remote tribe in Indonesia filmed by a young Rock and Roll videographer and a young photographer. I'll let the video speak for itself.

The Mentawai, Behind the Scenes Documentary from Joey L on Vimeo.

Here is the website for the Videograher, Cale Glendening:

And here are the links to the specific Blog posts about the trip. It truly is an amazing adventure to be able to experience this amazing, dying culture.

And here is a link to Joey L., the photographer shown in the video neck deep in the stream taking pictures. I had a chance to peruse through his work, and it's absolutely breathtaking.
And the link to his story about the Mentawai adventure:

Both these guys have an amazing body of work already. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

*photos by Joey L.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perception: A Manifesto

I have come to a couple realizations about living this "extreme diet fringe lifestyle." Even though myself and thousands of other people have adopted the ideas of eating Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Clean Meats, and Seeds; removing wheat and other grains, legumes (beans), Dairy (optional), and processed foods from their diet; and including a healthy amount of functional fitness into their lives -- WE ARE STILL VIEWED AS OUTSIDERS AND CRAZIES. Now, most diet plans are some variation on a theme, and the majority of them call for copious amounts of fresh produce, so no fringe mentality there. However if you wave the Bullshit Flag on the fat-o-phobic Conventional Wisdom Dogma, and opt for lots of protein and ::GASP:: Fat(!!!), you are looked at like you are going to drop dead from a coronary event right in the living room. If you call out the fitness industry for wanting you to stay fat so they can keep shoving supplements, protein shakes and gimmicky exercise equipment in your solar plexus, then you are viewed as crazy. I am sorry if I like to lift heavy, and run on the ground in my bare feet. How did we as a species ever survive for millenia without polyurethane protecting our tender soles? This country, and the majority of the developed world is steeped in Conventional Wisdom perpetuated by the ad industry, fitness industry, pharmaceutical industry, and the talk box with babbling idiots like Oprah and Fox News CNN, and The View.

A little background before I continue on a rant: I have always been into sports and fitness. I played multiple sports as a kid, and focused on the Pole Vault in High school competing in 2 State Tournaments. I foolishly decided not to carry it over to college athletics while attending The Ohio State University, and filled that void with water-skiing and wake boarding. It's cold for a large part of the year in Ohio, so the partying took a larger role than the skiing. I didn't do a lot of working out, to say the least. I gained some weight do to the copious amounts of cheep beer and high carb load of the cafeteria which then carried over to late-night pizza, gyros, fries, etc. After running out of money, and losing focus on my school work, I went into the United States Navy as an Aviation Rescue Swimmer and Aircrewman. Luckily all my college weight was worked off, and I was leaner and meaner. In our community, the emphasis on fitness was top priority due to the nature of the work. We were making sure that we would have the endurance to be able to jump out of a helicopter and fight the ocean to pull someone back from the cold grip of death at a moments notice. So Others May Live. Hooyah! This is the beginning of the adventure.
Well, after being in and around the military for a while surrounded by fitness minded individuals, the logical progression of the day is to spend quite a bit of time in the gym, and reading the magazines and guzzling protein shakes so you can have the beach body to go pick up ladies (the Navy is usually based on the coast, fyi.), and maintain the fitness levels required to do the job. Regular PT was simply not enough to maintain the level required. This is when I started falling into the body builder trap of split days and focussed muscle groups. Combined with ridiculous supplements to give me SICK ABZZZZZZZ and HYOOOGE BICEPS LOLZZZ!!! I noticed my fitness levels dropping. My run times were slower, my scale numbers were climbing, and I just disliked going to the gym to hang out with all the D-bags in little tank-tops staring the mirror covered in back-ne putting their swurv on some little bimbo actively trying NOT to break a sweat because it would mess up her make-up. The days of long runs through the woods and on the beach up and over the dunes were over, and the days of zombie running, push-ups, sit-ups, and the occasional pull-ups were standard. The wing banned Log PT for the new students going through SAR week (one of the most challenging, awesome team building activities for students), and the Navy decided it would crack down on the fat bodies skating through the bi-annual Physical Fitness Assessment.
Skip ahead a few years. I got out of active duty and was a reservist. The physical requirements are still there, but even less activity due to returning to school, working, drill, and flight training along with being a "starving artist" playing music every chance I got for beer. I worked a few jobs, but the weight started accumulating from all the beer and "healthy" sandwiches. After working in a warehouse for a while I jumped over a pallet and rolled my ankle BAD. I should have gone to a doctor, but had no insurance, and had to work. I never rehabbed it properly, and it greatly attributed to the lack of exercise. The only activity outside of the military every few weeks up to this point had been surfing and skate boarding. This injury pretty much removed everything for a few months. I hit an all time weight high of 230# at 5'10". I decided it was time for a change.

I discovered Crossfit through some like minded individuals at my squadron who had mentioned it a few times, but hadn't gotten around to trying it out yet. We found the Crossfit Jax website and found the directions to gym. I had heard stories about how hardcore Crossfit was, and how a buddy of a buddy had used it to get prepared for BUD/S and become a Navy Seal. Sounded like what I needed to whip my lard-ass into shape! It turned out one of the trainers was also an instructor at the Surface SAR Swimmer School. Bonus! It was definitely my cup of kool-aid. I found the gym in the ghetto, which coincidently was right up the skreet from the Half Moon Bay warehouse I was working at. Sweet! I gave them a call, and started the next day with "Cindy": a workout consisting of 5 pull-ups, 10 Push-ups. and 15 Squats for as many rounds as you can finish in 20 minutes. Something that sounds so simple brought so much pain. Something that changed my life PERMANENTLY.

Now this brings me to the point I was inevitable going to get to: The Fringe. Even with the explosion of programs like Crossfit that incorporate High Intensity and varied functional movements, people are scared. The Navy, still, is holding out on the idea that crossfit training is dangerous despite the early adoption of the program by the Special Forces communities, and the change in Marine Corps fitness tests to emulate real world functional situations. Crossfit has a whole series of workouts devoted to "Heroes" who were killed in the line of duty and were Crossfit practitioners. It also has a workout named "The Chief" after all the new chief selectees of 2008. Regular run-of-the-mill Joe and Joan Six-pack look something as "crazy" as Crossfit, and run for the hills. The same thing goes for the Paleo Diet. It is regarded as extreme because it kicks to the curb all the things that detrimental to Human Health like Gluten.

"You mean whole grains are bad!?" this must be extreme.

The Mercantilist policies of the USDA and FDA, combined with the non-stop babble of Television and Print media and skewed by idealist mantras from misguided vegetarian ideals have confused and indoctrinated the American public into believing every marketing buzzword and Bullshit study funded by the very companies that stand to profit by the Bullshit they spew. We have the fattest population on the planet. We are led to believe eating more corn, wheat, soy, and processed franken-foods will fix all our ails, only to find out we are sicker in the long run. Here comes the pharmaceutical industry to the rescue! They have a pill for every made-up condition or syndrome ever imagined. Restless leg syndrome!? Nevermind running off that excess energy -- Here's a pill. Irrritable Bowel Syndrome? Nevermind celiac disease. Here's a pill! Now go eat your whole grains. It's no wonder the public is scared of something so easy a caveman can do it. They are conditioned. WE are conditioned. WE are brainwashed. The thought police aren't a division of Big Brother, they are a division of Monsanto. The ministry of Truth is the USDA -- A subsidiary of CONagra, Archer Daniels Midland, YumFoods, Tyson, and Monsanto. It's no wonder I am looked at like a circus show.

I had a moment of clarity the other day. I started this blog to vent out all the vitriol that accumulates when sitting around idle waiting to save the day. My poor wife can only take so much of my ranting and raving before she loses it, so I am making a direct effort in putting it down here and on message boards, rather than pollute her airspace with noise. She hasn't had more than a sip of the kool-aid yet despite my efforts. I have been on the Mark's Daily Apple forum a lot lately due to not having any like-minded individuals to discuss this with. I have sought out others with similar experiences, as is Human Nature, I believe. In the days of the internet, community is only a click away. I don't have to feel so much like a freak. I responded in a thread about "Primal Haters":
I just this minute came to the realization I frequent this forum more often because I don't have very many people to talk about this lifestyle with. Most people are so brainwashed by fat-o-phobe dogma, or CW pushed by the Gub'ment Dietary Pyramid that the idea of eating like the guy in the Geico Commercials is offensive. I can only rant to my wife for so long before she gets aggravated, and while at work I am surrounded by the Cajun culture of FriedMargarineSaltBread Po'boys and Walmart Specials. This is where I can discuss Primal/ Paleo issues in a grown-up, civilized manner without all the quiet judging and alienation of my peers.

Hooray for the internerd!

I have to look at it from an outside perspective, though. I mean if you had never heard anything about the Primal Blueprint, Paleo, Crossfit, HIIT, or any other of the crazy stuff floating around, and all you have to go by is what you hear second hand through your co-workers and family about whatever the new thing Dr. Oz is spouting out on Oprah, or the 3 second sound bite of The biggest loser, then the crazy tattooed guy doing muscle-ups in the liveoak tree and eating chickens with his bare hands after skipping breakfast AND lunch might seem a little weird.

I guess it's not their fault for giving me the stink eye

When looking at things from an outside perspective, we are on the fringes of society. We are radicals. We are EXACTLY what the Establishment doesn't want. A large group of independent, healthy, freedom-minded individuals. This is a movement as important as any other before it or after. I see the Paleo Diet, The Primal Blueprint or Good Calories Bad Calories and The Omnivore's Dillema as our centuries The Jungle. People are waking up. There is more information available to the average person than ever before, and people are capable of making their own informed decisions about everything without a filter by a so-called Expert. The information age is upon us.

So Vote with your dollars. Buy REAL FOOD. Make Educated Decisions. Be an indivual. Go against the grain: Be Healthy and Independent. The more the people start makeing smart decisions, the more the Establishment will fight back. The raids on farmer's stores, and the tightening legislation disguised as "food safety" are evident of that. The snake is in the corner and striking. Buy from farmer's markets. Seek out heirloom breeds and varieties. Buy Buffalo. Buy Grassfed Beef, Pastured Pork, and Free Roaming Chickens and chicken eggs. Don't fall into the hype of Crap shows like The Biggest Loser, or whatever program Dr. Oz is blowing hot air on. Find out for yourself. Read the success stories of countless people who have saved their lives through nutrition choices. We are on the fringe now, but soon we'll be the mainstream, and some other group will be out there trying to change the world.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adventures in Paleo 2

Yesterday marked the first week down in my Strict Paleo+Intermittent Fasting Experiment. In honor of the occasion, I fasted for 24 hours. I was 16 hours into the fast yesterday when I was writing, with the full intention to go a full 24 hours. I have gone this long without eating before, but never intentionally or for reasons under my own control. The longest I can remember ever going without eating was in SERE School, but that was to simulate survival in the winter after being shot down over hostile territory. THAT was the hungriest I have ever been. Yesterday was nothing. I had notions of going longer, but once I smelled the chicken roasting in the oven stuffed with mirepoix, that notion went away pretty quickly. Real hunger is contemplating chasing down a snowshoe hair in three feet of snow because it's the first edible thing you have seen in days. Real Hunger is picking carrot and celery pieces out of the snow, and boiling more snow with some pine needles -- just to pretend you can get some nutrients out of it, and have a hot meal. Skipping Breakfast and Lunch is not hungry.

I have noticed some things about this fasted state that are totally different than I was expecting. The mental clarity during a fast is amazing. It actually seems like my vision is clearer. It may have been the increased blood flow from the Ball-Buster of a workout, but I couldn't say. I have noticed at about 14 hours I feel cold, and definitely colder in the hands and feet. I have been drinking twice as much water as normal to keep the hunger pains away. I will cut up a lemon in the afternoon, and put it in my water bottle. It actually makes me drink more, believe it or not. You wouldn't think sugar free watered down lemonade would be all that good, but I like it. I have been troubled with some bad heartburn during fasts previously, but I think the small rations of Dark Chocolate and Lemon help. I also have to drink decent coffee or I burn up, so I have been drinking Mello Joy, which I can't get at home. Louisiana has some really good perks if applied correctly. I have noticed the workouts do NOT suffer. I haven't gone on a distance run fasted yet due to heartburn issues, but I plan on hitting that later this week. I am recovering faster than ever, and still getting things done. I have been getting very creative with a pair of 5gal. water jugs. On the negative side, I have had to deal with what some in the more holistic sections of the health industry would categorize as "Cleansing Movements," which I have been correlating to higher quantities of H2O in my system combined with 64oz of black coffee on an entirely empty stomach, but it has been unpredictable. Sometimes it's after eating, sometimes it's after drinking. I think it may be a pressure relief mechanism or something. I don't know.

The Biggest complaint I have had throughout the fasting thing is not in the fast itself, but in the days I am NOT fasting. On the days I eat the standard three squares, and have a green light to eat whatever I want within the constraints of Paleo, I feel like crap! I am foggy, and sleepy. I have the yawns all day. I don't get it. Is this reverse carb flu? I have maintained a fairly low-carb approach to everything the first week, and have definitely not upped my carb intake at all. I just don't get it? Why would the refeed days be foggier than the fasting days? I woke up today not feeling terribly awful, wasn't groggy, contemplated skipping breakfast, but decided it better to eat because I only had one real meal yesterday. (I ended my fast at 8 PM and went to bed at 11) I had my three squares today. I snuck in a little fruit. I made a killer braised country style ribs with baby carrots that was so filling I haven't been hungry since 5pm, but I have been in a funk all day. I couldn't "get right" all day. I planned a 5k Run, but could never get the motivation to go. My work environment was bothering me more than normal. I couldn't seem to get the energy to do anything. AND I have had a small annoying headache all day. The same thing happened after my last non-fast.
I just don't get it. Now don't get me wrong. I thought about the possibility of over training, and not having a good ammount of (x) Nutrient, but that is just not the case. I am not sore at all. I have been working out LESS than normal due to the fasting, and I am still getting plenty of vegetables. I am eating so many vegetables, in fact, that i have had to go the store to replenish my supply three times now. I have killed 3 Bags of carrots in 10 days. I should be developing an orange tan and shitting carotene bricks! It just doesn't logically add up.

So on to the results so far. I am visibly smaller. My Dickies, which are terribly honest to a waist size, and usually tight, fit perfectly right now. I can feel my belly fat melting away as I am regaining the leanness of my youth. The stubborn fat that refuses to die seems to have finally found it's kryptonite. I can put up with the occasional bouts of explosive espresso shots out of my nether regions to get results. At least it isn't as painful as a bodybuilder's supplement rejection. Protein shakes aren't in my version of Paleo.

**I just remembered. I ran out of my Green&Black's chocolate today, so I went back to my old stand-by Lindt's Lindor truffles 60% Dark. Unfortunately I didn't think about it, but the ganache on the inside of these beautiful, delectable, amazingly silky smooth explosions of chocolate on your tongue creations have dairy in them. Challenge FAIL. I could not make it two weeks. I am not changing the game plan from here on out, however. The results are speaking for themselves. It is a matter of principle when you are trying to challenge yourself and the rules are broken, you fail. Did the walls come crashing down on my head? Did the world stop on it's axis and change polarity? no. And I will keep going as if they do not have dairy in them. Because as was stated in an earlier post, There are more benefits than negatives in these amazing little things.

Why Can't Chuck Get His Business Off the Ground?

Just some examples of how Bureaucracies stifle entrepreneurship.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There is no such thing as a vegan

There is no such thing as a vegan

Thank You John Durant!

Adventures in Strict Paleo

Peace out Dairy

Today marks a week into a new diet approach I am embarking on as an experiment. I have been on a small roller-coaster of weight loss in the last 9 months. The battle against sympathy weight has been a winning one, but I hit a sticking point. I wouldn't call it a plateau, but more like a landing on a staircase. While on shift, I am on call 24 hours a day for 14 days. This creates an environment of 0 Alcohol for 14 Days, 100% control of the food I ingest as I am responsible for my meals(groceries), and ample down time waiting for a cal to be able to workout. This has been very beneficial to my overall goals, and I have been very successful... while at work. I typically lose 5 pounds or more a shift, only to gain 5 back as soon as I get home. I know the alcohol has a huge effect on my weight, but I like my whisky. Beer has gotten to the point of making me feel like crap, so I typically eschew beer in favor of Maker's Mark. But I have determined the whisky is not the ONLY cause of weight gain while home. Time constraints are always tighter when i get home, and it always seems like there are 3 places to be at the same time. This leads to eating from a restaurant. I try to make the best decisions I can when we get take-out food, but there is no 100% compliance at a restaurant (in my particular case). I know you can pull the meat out of the bun, order extra veggies, etc. However the social pressures when I am home are usually too great for me to pass.

Until three weeks ago.

I made a specific point to eat right and fast more. My family hasn't accepted the breadless approach, and a few people are still stuck in low-fat no man's land. It's very difficult to be polite and be picky. I hate being the guy picking through his food. I have to be selective of what I pick through or what i put on my plate. The last time off was a family based 2 weeks. I was very active, and more selective. On average i gain 5 pounds back of what I lost on shift, but this time I managed to stay at the same weight. I am proud of this. This means I can continue losing, and get leaner, faster, and stronger all while maintaining a healthy balance of family and rest. SOOO....

I decided to go super strict on this hitch. This will give me a solid 14 day experiment on how my body reacts to a specific pattern. This means No Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats, Legumes, or DAIRY. I have been relatively grain free for 6 moths at least (with the occasional cheats and rice), but this means NO cheating. I have also been slow to try out the no dairy approach due partly to my Midwestern upbringing, and partly to my love of good butter and cheese. I was never a big milk drinker, but butter and cheese have been staples. The lack of butter has proven challenging. I have also been incorporating 16-18 hour fasts (skipping breakfast) into most days. This is also an experiment in combining the methods for optimum results. I have fasted 5 of the 7 days. My goal is 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I started at 212.

To mark the occasion, I am extending my fast today. At the time I am writing this I am 16 hours in, and I want to see how far I can go. It's usually about this time that I notice cold hands and feet and greater clarity. The stomach grumblings also usually stop. Through some of the blogs around the net (specifically Leangains and Eat Stop Eat) that after an extended fast you may notice cold hands and fingers due to blood flow opening up in your fat cells to move fat out of the fat cells to mobilize fat to be converted to energy in the liver. I have been noticing cold hands and feet around hour 13 and beyond. So much so, that I timed my workout so that I could warm up. Coincidently working out fasted actually kills the hunger your brain says you have. AND before anyone says "oh you're starving yourself!" cough cough.. mom.. cough... I am STILL getting more food than I probably need a day, it's just in a smaller window of time. I'm actually eating BETTER than I would anywhere else due to the dense nutrients I am getting from all the veggies I eat. I have gone through 2 bags of carrots in the last week alone. Using the 5 colors approach, really makes for a healthy and tasty mix of vegetables in your meals.

I have to stipulate my exceptions to the Strictness. Some paleo folks, when talking about strict, i.e. the Whole 9 crew cut out honey and dark chocolate due to the sugar. I have been ok with small ammounts of Honey in my coconut fruit bowls, and I find that a GOOD dark chocolate in small pieces takes the edge off the bile taste that sometimes creeps into the back of your mouth. I enjoy the Green&Black's 70% Organic Dark Chocolate. I let a small piece melt on my tongue usually with black coffee somewhere in the near vicinity. The endorphin rush in itself is great. I see they have an espresso infused version I will DEFINITELY be trying in the near future.

So far the results have already been speaking for themselves. I wake up in the morning with less of the "trailer hangover" I get from living in the company trailers (mold and dust?), and the recovery time from my workouts is nil. I find I can workout hard on one day, and the soreness is barely there the next day. I can jump right back into another difficult workout the next day without problems. I may be moving a little slower than usual, but not sore. Sunday was my first real "re-feed" non-fasting day since starting, and I have to say, I woke up feeling like crappety crappola yesterday. It nagged me allllll day. I felt sluggish and puffy all day. I don't know if the Ham I baked for dinner had too much salt in it or what, but i just couldn't get right. I was chugging water, and eating clean, but I couldn't get right. Hopefully this doesn't happen next time.

So as far as my thoughts on this way of eating, I will definitely be incorporating more regular fasting. I feel good. The dairy thing, I am not so sure of. I know I will be limiting my intake after this 2 week thing is over( might try for a month as per Robb Wolf), but I'm not sure I can give up Organic Grass-fed Butter. There are a few things that have more benefit than detriment. Local Honey, for example, has been shown to help with seasonal allergies and is a perfectly Paleo sweetener in small doses. I am not going to be drinking it out of the bear, but to add it to coconut and cinnamon is pretty dang tasty. same with a dash on celery and sunbutter. Dark Chocolate is another. The benefits outweigh the detriment. There is minimal Dairy in a good dark chocolate bar as well as minimal sugar when you only eat a square inch at a time. Again, I am not advocating gorging on chocolate and honey, but used in minimal amounts makes things a hell of a lot more bearable and less restrictive feeling. The hardest part of a "diet" is the restriction and deprivation of things you like. If you can benefit from something you like that isn't bad for you in the long run, then use it. Sure it can be considered a cheat, but it's all up to the individual. I find it makes things better, so I will keep it up. Here's to a week down!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

1st Redfish... Finally.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3

Thank you Terry. After 9(!) years in Florida, I finally got to catch one of these guys.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Lunch

Extra thick porkchops braised in citrus and rum; rotel Brussels sprouts.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.2

The Importance of Rest and Family

I have been known to multi-task and over-extend myself at times. These last few months of work, reserves, travel, work, reserves, repeat have been taxing on my home life for my family as well as my soul. I have responsibilities and obligations just like the next middle-class white American male, but my responsibilities involve me travelling more miles than the norm, and separating myself from what matters to me more than I should have to explain. I need some time with my family, and I only value my time with them more while I am gone.
I am fortunate enough to have 7 days to spend with my immediate family, and my out of town family in-law. I can't wait. I am already disappointed that it will end and I will have to go back to work. I never knew I would be such a family man, but i think my wife did. I think my Mom did. I didn't. I am surprised everyday at how awesome this whole DAD thing is, and how beautiful my daughter is. 5 years ago I never expected I would be married at 30 (or Ever), and that kids would be in the plans. I absolutely love the turns that have been in my particular creek of life these last few years, and I wouldn't have them any other way. I live for the adventure of teaching my beautiful little daughter how to be an outstanding grown woman one day. I work at a job I love to do so that my amazing wife can continue to raise our little girl in the best home possible, and I serve in the reserves to make ends meet while doing something I can be proud of.
I have to sit back and look at all the things I am doing objectively sometimes just to keep a perspective. I hate being gone, but I couldn't support my family otherwise. I like my job(s) for the most part, and the benefits outweigh the faults. I have to make sure to step back and take a break every once in a while and do nothing but spend time with my family. I hate that my daughter associates the computer with Dada. I spend every moment I can with her while I'm home because I never want her to not know her father. My life has definitely made the transition from me to US.

I have gotten off topic after "freestyling" for a few paragraphs. Maker's Mark has a way of loosening my literary fingers. The moral of my blog post is: Get rest while you can, and make sure you spend as much time as possible with your family. I don't feel as though I Rest enough or spend enough time with my family, but I do what I can, and I am working hard to be able to spend more.