Category Archives: Healthy Food

Really Straight Forward Diet Advice Part 1: Meat or no meat?

When making choices about your diet you need to know what it is you want. Lose weight? Build muscle? Respect the Earth and the animals? Nurture your spiritual sense of being? By any of these choices also be clear that you want to be vibrant and healthy! In this series of articles I’m going to avoid talking about those often gimmicky diet theories that try to pigeon hole everyone and just appeal to common sense and how we feel about eating, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Question 1…Meat or no meat?

Metabolism

Let’s start with what is probably the largest issue for some people. Should humans eat meat? Well, in our theorized “known” time on planet earth, a large proportion of our ancestors depended on meat in their diet for survival. While we do have digestive tracts that resemble those of other herbivores the digestive systems of many people have seemed to evolved to be equally efficient at metabolizing nutrition and energy from meat. In one of my favorite books, The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity, Daniel P. Ried says about 50% of humans have a balanced digestive system that can adapt equally well to “vegetarian” or “carnivorous” diets. The other 50% is split between those who are better at one or the other.  You can check where you fall by eating a whole chicken or very large quantity of protein with a light salad and if you are energetic and mentally alert feeling afterwards, than most likely you metabolize meat/proteins well.  Carnivorous types burn sugar and carbohydrates rapidly, to the the point of agitation, overstimulation and sugar crashes, so should eat very little of these foods. Vegetarian types burn slowly and will be challenged to digest meat efficiently. The speed at which we move food through the body is also very important. Meat, compared to other foods, even for “carnivorous” types, does take longer to digest and thus has greater potential for decomposing before the body can absorb it’s nutrients. This makes it especially important to eat food in proper combinations that don’t hinder digestion. Protein foods combine best with vegetables and combine poorly with starchy carbohydrates. For some info on that you can check my previous post My Yoga Diet for Internal Hygiene and High Prana

The Earth and the Farm

Let’s just look at the obvious points. Virtually all foods, seem to be more nutritious and healthier for us when they are allowed to grow in a natural way. If it’s non-GMO and organic plants on the farm those veggies aren’t going to notice a big difference. In fact, if they could, they might consider how sweet of a spot they landed out in nature and with such a good and mysterious caretaker.(Actually, if you’ve ever read the Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan you would learn of his speculation that the plants evolved with the intention for us to eat them and thus protect and propagate them.)  Now when we look at the case for animals on the farm I think the worst thing right off the bat is the over crowded conditions in which many of them are raised. This makes them prone to illness, unless they are given antibiotics. Also many of them are fed a mono diet of the wrong food! Animals that live in the wild forage and eat all kinds of things and there meat is much more nutritious. Finally, there is the very large amount of resources used for a relatively small return of real food, especially with raising the larger animals like cow. Compared to producing vegetables and fruits the livestock industry is amazingly destructive and wasteful to Earth’s environments and ecosystems. Basically I would recommend that if your going to eat meat, find a wild source or quality farm you can trust doesn’t use unnatural practices.

Lightness of Being

Ayurveda divides all experiential forms into three qualities, trigunas. They are, in my own English interpretation, stagnation, stimulation, and equanimity. Basically everything exist in one of these three qualities or combination of, and the foods we eat can have one of these affects upon us. Meat is always considered in ayurveda to be tamasic, what causes stagnation. Dead, cooked. I wonder what they think about sashimi? In subtle energy terms you are adding the vibrational residue of whatever your food “experienced”. In terms of animals, man, a lot of them don’t have a good time, at all. The negative feelings experienced by the animals may be taken on into your subtle body. Many people claim meditation to be easier or more clear minded when they are not eating meat. Sattvic, the equinimity foods,  are fresh fruits and vegetables, organic milk, ghee to name the basics. If you want to eat meat combine it with sattvic foods, for more sattvic than tamasic networth. For example, eat a large salad or steamed veggies with a small portion of meat.

So, what if you are a born proteinivore but your ethics have you vegetarian? What if you’re a man and worried about soy and estrogen?

It’s not too much harder to still get lots of high protein meals as a vegetarian. Perhaps if you are travelling and don’t do your own cooking it could be a challenge here and there. Especially if you’re not a tofu eater. Here are some key foods.

Leafy Greens

Kale    Spinach    Brocolli    Watercress    Collard Greens   etc.

Legumes

Learn to make your own Dhal, a delicious indian food made from lentils, hummus from chick peas, vegetarian chili with kidney beans, or cook any kind of beans and blend with zucchini and spices to make dips for veggies.

Nuts

Almonds    Walnuts    Cashews    Pistachios    Pecans    Macadamias

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How to Make Dairy Free Pro-Biotic Coconut Yogurt

Today I’m going to show you how to make a really healthy, really sour coconut yogurt. This is likely one of the healthiest pro-biotic, intestinal flora providing, living foods you can possibly eat and it’s super simple to make as long as you have a magic ingredient to get your yogurt colony going…

You will need…

About 10 Young Coconuts (preferrably shaved)

If you can not get fresh coconuts you can do this with coconut milk and a thickener, such as tapioca.

 

A really serious, hefty chopping knife

Or a piece of paper with a toilet handle attached…

 

 

A good blender

…with or without iPhone (ok without)

 

 

The Magic Ingredient

EM – Pro is a pro-biotic supplement from Japanese technology that can be used for making yogurts and the like. It’s has a spectrum of different flora and boasts powerful healing qualities. You can order it from ThaiOrganicLife, or search for other Probiotic or yogurt starters.

The rest is standard kitchen fare…bowls, spoons, and a big enough tupperware for your coconut meat. Speaking of which….

How to do it…

  1. Drain your coconuts – Place the coconut on a stable surface or in your palm if you don’t even need to read how to do this. Strike the top at about a 45ฺ angle. Do it in 3 or 4 chops to open it. Unless you got some friends with you to have a coconut drinking marathon, pour some of your coconuts into pitchers to keep in the fridge. It’s good for about two days. Or, add 1/2 teaspoon of your EM-Pro and let sit for about 12 hours for Coconut Kefir.When it’s fermented store in the fridge for up to a week.
  2. Chop like a Samurai – Hold your knife in both hands and give a strong, confident swing right down the middle, burying the knife.My method next was to use a thick mat on my balcony and just bang the coconut a few times until the split was deep enough to pull it apart easily. I did it this way for the few times the knife went all the way through, harmlessly to the mat instead of my counter top.
  3. Harvest – Now, once all your coconuts are split, scoop out the meat with as little of the brown skin from the shell coming along as possible. Wash or scrape off most of what might. this is just for texture so it’s not a big deal.
  4. Purée – Blend all your coconut meat with just enough of the juice you saved to make it submit easily into puréed oblivion. Add one half teaspoon of EM – Pro or your starter. Now pour it into a closed, but not completely air tight, sealed container.
  5. Let it sit – You need to keep your starter somewhere warm for it to grow. At least around 85ฺF or 29ฺC. This may mean you will have to incubate it in something. Don’t sit on your yogurt. This first batch takes about 24 hours.
  6. When it’s done it will have risen considerably and be quite sour. Anytime you want to make more take about 2 or 3 tablespoons from this and add it to the puree you make the next time. Because this one has quite active flora already it will be ready in 4-6 hours depending on heat. Now, you might want to try something like this with your super yogurt…Dragon fruit with yogurt, soaked goji berries, cinnamon, and honey..Mm

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How to Break a Fast with Juice, Fruit, and Probiotics – Day 8

The long awaited day has finally arrived! It’s funny too because through the latter half of the 7th day and waking up this morning I felt terrific, as if I could have gone on for a few more days actually. Well, there’s always next time. This morning I got up to an amazing sunrise and managed to practice pranayama without falter, wavering focus, or energy dipping so low I need to lay down. It was just easy and beautiful with an amazingly clear intention set during the last antar kumbhaka(retention of inhalation).

“Love, Happiness, and Health are my nature and expanding in all directions”

After practice I cleaned myself up and got everything ready for my debut back in public. My prime objective: to return to Vikasa Yoga and make juice! I brought with me something I made last night to aid in friendly flora love returning to my digestive tract. A weakly fermented coconut juice. I used the meat, the juice, another 50% water, and about one teaspoon of a special probiotic product from Japan called EM Probiotics(which smells delicious!) It has a large variety of healthy bacteria stabilized in molasses. This was the first thing I had this morning, mixed with another 50% water. The leftovers of this blend is also for making my first coconut “cheese” later!

It’s a rose quartz, yea.

I let it set in and moved to the real deal. Juice. I think most juice concoctions have been invented but I seem to have come up with this one independently. A lot of cucumber, some aloe vera, not too much pineapple, and a little bit of mint. I also added more fermented coconut water. The first day breaking a fast is a delicate matter. You should avoid strong concentrations of sweetness and keep everything soft. Mostly green juices mixed with a little bit of fruit and probiotics throughout the day are ideal. Then go to soft fruits. The flavor explosion was ecstasy. I sat in a chair, reveling in the mint and pineapple twist, cooled by the cucumber, while I munched thoroughly on the un-blended aloe chunks and looked into the trees and greens around me. Did everything look this bright and colorful ever before? I must admit I probably looked funny. That aside, success! No “pit” feeling in my stomach and only a slight sugar high. I lay around and talked with Vikasa friends for about an hour before making my next juice. The day continued on like this and my power quickly soared. I went out to do errands, set up work projects and practiced a few Asana.

Preparing one tasty juice!

Delicious CUcumber, Pineapple, Aloe, and Mint

Today’s Intake:

8:30                     Fermented coconut water, aforementioned juice
9:30                     Cucumber and Orange juice 60%/40%
11:00-12:00    Coconut Oil Massage
1:00-2:00 2x   Carrot, Parsley, Celery, and Orange juice then a spoonful of coconut yoghurt 4:00                     1 Shot of Wheat grass with an orange slice(first solid thing requiring chewing!)
5:00-6:00        2 Dragonfruit with fresh lime juice
6:45                     1 Orange
7:30                    1/2 glass carrot juice and Coconut Milk soup rich with lemongrass, Kaffir Lime leaves and Carrot, little bit of chili powder!(couldn’t resist!)
7:45                    1 spoon of cashew “cheese”

On Carrot Juice and Vitamin A or β-Carotene…

While having dinner I talked with Stan and Catherine, mostly about fasting. Both of them informed me having either too much Vitamin A or beta-Carotene after a fast is bad for the liver. I had never heard of this so last night I checked it out. Thanks guys. Like many things, moderation is best. It turns out that these beneficial nutrients can be harmful in excess. While Vitamin A is detoxifying for the liver, in excess it itself is toxic. Beta-Carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A. The duodenum uses a special enzyme to split in half making…Vitamin A. So, you were both right! The question here is how present is the enzyme after a fast? Beta-Carotene does not seem to be toxic in excess since the body stores it in the skin to no ill effect, but it will make you turn orange. Moderation again. Most sources I checked said no more than 8-24 ounces of carrot juice a day for normal diets. For fasters and breaking fasts I’d recommend two 6-12 ounces mixed with green juice twice a day.

What would I do different?

Next time I need to bulk up more, especially if I want to do a 10 day water fast as I’m intending. This has always been a challenge for me as I’m a very active and Yoga seems to turn anyone who practices lithe and lean. I didn’t have a scale around to measure the weight differences but I got really skinny in 7 days. It’s also difficult because healthy eating does not put on fat easily.

So…how will I do it? I’ll keep researching but I plan on keeping this coconut yogurt and cheese in my life. A week before  I’ll eat a lot of nuts and avocados, and alternate dinners between fatty fish and hearty pasta or grains.

Take more Bentonite clay during the fast. I had never used this substance before so I was using it modestly. Some people recommend taking 1-2 tablespoons mixed in water every morning. It seemed like a lot of clay to me. I slowly built up to a full teaspoon by my last day and now think the full tablespoon is a good idea to get maximum effectiveness.

After this carrot juice lesson I think I’ll drink less carrot juice as well when I break a fast. I didn’t exceed 24 ounces and my body felt fine drinking it but I did have a lot and again for dinner, lots of carrot. So, little less next time for moderation sake. Feeling great and looking forward to tomorrow!

Namaste 🙂

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Filed under Fasting, Health, Healthy Food, Yoga

My Yoga Diet for Internal Hygiene and High Prana

Hello! The trip to Mui Ne was amazing! Thank you if you were part of my experience there. I really enjoyed being with each and everyone of you. Lee and Quyen will be organizing more retreats in Vietnam so I’ll keep you all posted up about it!

Well, I’m going to share with you my diet. For yoga practice it’s a big part of your development through body, mind, and soul. There’s also just so many problems you’ll never have with the right diet! When you keep your insides clean with fresh food, your energy and the immune system become a serious force to be reckoned with. You’ll rarely get sick and your friends will wonder why you’re practically inexhaustible. Sound good!?

Ok. Step 1 Fruit for Breakfast

Fruit is fast, clean energy that hydrates and gets you turned on with it’s sweetness. It’s also practically free energy. It doesn’t take long to reach the intestines and nourish, as long as nothing else is in the stomach already. This makes it perfect for breakfast. I eat only fruit until lunch time usually. Eat a variety of fruit for as long as you want. Even if it just starts as one piece  before your “normal” breakfast.  If you want to go back to fruit after those normal meals you should wait 2-3 hours or it will ferment on top. Especially if you’ve been eating starchy carbohydrates. Melons are also eaten as mono edible. Don’t occupy the stomach with melon and other types of fruit. Once you are empty go for next thing. This is one of the biggest secrets to healthy eating. The stomach likes it simple.

Step 2. Raw and Fresh

Make  much of the rest of your meals raw leafy greens with other vegetables and the heartier vegetable-like fruits such as peppers or tomatoes. Add in avocados, nuts, herbs, etc. Bring around snacks of carrots and celery and nuts for the day. A lot of people get an afternoon slump in energy and it’s usually because too much of their energy went to digesting a heavy lunch. Salad for lunch is perfect. I really enjoy a big bowl of spinach, celery, bok choy, with coriander, basil, and mint, topped with tomatos, avocado, walnuts, ground sesame and flax seeds with a few limes squeezed on top. Satisfying and you still feel light and energetic.

Step 3 Food Combinations

I’ve done periods of months eating 99% raw foods. I had a very tight schedule with little opportunity for temptations to sneak in. Now, living in bangkok I have loads of temptation but I still eat a mostly raw diet. Really as much as possible, unless I’m out to eat with friends somewhere without a good option or I have a craving for some incredible thai dish. Dinner is a good time to listen to your body and make your own decision. Diet changes have to happen slowly, especially for the strong dinner time habits. So, dinner, more raw food or a cooked meal. If you move to the cooked meal keep the above chart in mind. The “poor” combinations produce toxicity and slow the digestive process, wasting your energy. For myself the options I’d allow are rice or hearty bread with vegetables, or vegetables with seafood. Or just some stir fried veggies in coconut oil, Mm! Sometimes a nicely prepared piece of fish just seems like what my body needs. Listen to your body. If you have dinner early enough you can even treat yourself to a piece of fruit before bed. I’ve been loving 10pm mango! Keep experimenting with raw and see how far you can take it because the cleaner you eat, the better you feel, and the more the love can shine through.

The Review

Fruit for Breakfast                                Raw over Cooked                                No Meat & Starch

Salad for Lunch                                   Vegetarian over Non                    Eat a lot but don’t Stuff

Smart Dinner                                     Whole over Processed                           Drink lots of water

The Logic

Here’s the image I always think about when considering why this is so good for you. Just imagine what the food turns into as it’s traveling through your body and check it out on the other side. Eat the foods that are going to turn into a cleansing sponge of fiber and nutrient infused H20 wash for your intestines. You should be doing your #two 2-3 times a day and it should be a pleasant and easy experience. When your intestines are clean, you are clean. I started eating like this about six months after beginning my yoga practice and it made flexibility come easier and meditation more accessible.

This guy is awesome. The Life Regenerator on YouTube

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