Saturday, November 30, 2013

My sister the vegetarian... Transformed by paleo!

In this weekend following thanksgiving, I am noticing that I'm thankful for many things. One thing that truly makes me giddy with appreciation is my family.

Like all families, we have had our struggles from time to time. However, for the most part, we remain open to each other's ideas. We are constantly asking each other for support and advice...

 A couple of years ago, I got a call from my sister. She is a very intelligent, educated, and highly capable nurse midwife who unfortunately lives far away from me. To the best of my memory, the call went something like this:

"Hey, Mo... Which barefoot running book should I get?"

"Why?" I replied, "You don't run."

"Yeah," She agreed, "But I've been wearing the fivefingers for about a year and I'm wearing Soft Star's at work like you do. My feet and knees are feeling much better. However, I just turned 47... and I'm tired of getting fatter every year. I want to get in shape."

"If you want to get in shape, forget running," I said. "If you want to be fit and healthy, read 'The Paleo Solution' by Robb Wolf. I gotta warn you, though... He loves to pick on vegetarians."

I love my sister.
Like most vegetarians, she had come into it for all the right reasons:

She wanted to do the least possible damage and the most possible good to the planet.
She wanted to do the least possible damage and the most possible good to her body.
She wanted to be kind to animals.
She really wanted to enjoy a long and healthy life.

Luckily, She was open both to my suggestion and Robb Wolf's sarcastic wit. If we had the same conversation today, I'd probably recommend a different book like "It starts with food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig or "Practical Paleo"by Dianne Sanfilippo  Neither of these was available back then, but they both take a much less combative tone with those who don't eat critters.

About 6 months later, I got a text from my (formerly) vegetarian sister:
"I have some local grass-fed sirloin steaks. What should I do?"

Unable to contain my "snarky little brother" self, I replied:

She texted back:
"No, Seriously. I don't know what to do with such a thing."

This time I called her:
"You know that fancy, full-color cookbook with the 12-step process to turn tofu into something delicious? You can get rid of that. Those steaks are such high quality, you could probably eat them raw. Just throw the steak in a hot cast iron pan. Maybe add a little salt and pepper... Flip it over, and take it out when it's too raw. You can always cook it more if you need to."

An hour later, she sent another text:
"OMG, this is so GOOD!"

I replied:
"Welcome to the wonderful world of meat. :)"

On her 48th birthday, after about a year of eating paleo:

  •  she felt like a leaner, more muscular version of her 18 year old self.
  • she had to buy an entire new wardrobe 3 times in a year to fit her rapidly shrinking frame
  • she is now an amazing paleo cook, even making her own "bacon fat mayo"!
A last-minute addition directly from the happy, healthy woman herself:

 "Add in there somewhere that I went from 148 at 5'4" tall to holding at or below 125. But the BIG thing was that two weeks into it I was waking up without any aches and pains at all, and am more flexible than I was when I practiced yoga three times a week--which I don't do any more."

Here she is at 49... A glowing, vital human!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why I DON'T ice injuries.

Ice is for cocktails... NOT injuries!

Disclaimer: As with everything on this blog, I make no pretense of being a professional or "expert" on nutrition, foot health, exercise, etc. I'm a massage therapist, and a really good one (or so they tell me)... And I'd like to continue massaging people for years to come. Therefore, my scope of practice prevents me giving advice on what YOU should be doing. I'm merely sharing my own personal journey in health exploration.

Anyone who has had some training in sports medicine, first aid, or health care has heard the old "sprains and strains" acronym. RICE

  1. Rest
  2. Ice
  3. Compression
  4. Elevation

Personally, Though I heard this through so many of my trainings, I've never been a fan of icing injuries.

First of all:
 I don't like it. It feels awful to me. Perhaps I'm kinda selfish - I tend to avoid things I don't like.

Years ago, a good friend/teacher/mentor of mine explained that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) they believe icing an injury stops the flow of "Qi"  or "Chi" (vital life energy) to the injury. Since qi this is what brings healing, we don't want to stop it, but would rather encourage flow of qi.

About a year ago, I felt so very much relieved when I saw a humorous, yet  quite geeky video post from one of my "virtual mentors" Kelly Starrett.
He finally gave me a solid, western medicine, biological explanation that's hard to ignore.

This explanation meshes perfectly with the TCM explanation, and that makes me happy... I like when we can all get along!

So, here's my "Plain English" lowdown:

Say, for instance, You just sprained your ankle/worked out really hard/bruised your shin... What's going on?

INFLAMMATION! (lots of extra blood flow/aka"Qi" coming to the area)

Lately, many folks see inflammation as a bad thing.
I agree that CHRONIC inflammation can be a serious issue. That's another subject for another day.

In the case of such an acute injury, acute inflammation is a necessary part of your body's natural repair process.
Torn, damaged tissues need loads of resources to repair themselves. Your body is miraculously bringing in all the necessary nutrients for repair while also removing the debris of damaged tissues.
This is the purpose of inflammation.

As the video says, (and I very much agree.) "There can be inflammation without healing, but there can be no healing without inflammation."
Let me say that again slowly. YOU. CAN. NOT. HEAL. WITHOUT. INFLAMMATION.

The whole purpose of icing an injury is to "reduce inflammation"by decreasing the blood coming to the injury. As these fellas put quite bluntly: "Do you honestly think your body is making a mistake by bringing more blood to an injury?"

"Groceries in, Garbage out." is Kelly Starrett's little phrase for what your body is trying to accomplish. Therefore, the idea here is that if we want to speed healing, we should speed the process of blood LEAVING the injury, not slow it ENTERING. Of course, the brilliant man offering the explanation in the above video is selling a high-tech and high dollar machine to do this. If you play on an NFL, NHL or NBA team, you and your trainers are probably already using one of these awesome gadgets.

Fortunately for the rest of us, we can "walk it off". Or, better yet... Get a massage! I know a really good massage therapist in almost every part of the USA, and even a few in other countries... If you don't see me, see someone. OK?

Furthermore, Dr. Starrett (aka "KStar") has come up with a new acronym to replace "RICE"...

    Move safely when you can, what you can. Compress lymphatics and soft tissues (use bands, muscle contraction, clothing, normatec, etc.)  Elevate when you can.  MCE.

Now, to add further information for the biology geeks out there... a one-year later follow-up on the idea!

Tell me, fellow humans... What do you think?

OK, now go outside and play!  

                                                                                     Much love- Mo the human

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Attention Diabetics: I know nothing

I'll  admit it... When it comes to diabetes, and how to prevent and/or reverse it. I know nothing.

I have read LOADS of books and blogs on the biochemistry of hormones and glucose, taken numerous college courses on human anatomy and physiology, Worked as a teaching assistant for anatomy and physiology classes AND nutrition classes... Watched "FAT HEAD" by Tom Naughton, Read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes...

Yet, Since I myself am neither diabetic, nor certified by anyone to talk about such things, I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING about diabetes.

Luckily for all of us...

Steve Cooksey does! (AND he seems to have a growing number of "proper" dieticians supporting him now.)

This man lives in Charlotte, NC and is royally upsetting the ADA and many other folks who seem intent on NOT curing diabetes. Therefore, since I hope to not make any enemies, I'm asking you to keep taking drugs, and don't listen to anything this happy, healthy, used-to-be diabetic says.

Thanks, that is all.

Now go outside and play! Love, Mo the human.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Caramelized Sweet Potato Recipe

"Heat, Oil, and Neglect" are all you need for delicious sweet potatoes!

1 Preheat oven to 450 degrees while peeling and chopping sweet potatoes into cubes of about 1/2" to 3/4".

2 Spread cubes out single layer in large baking pan and toss a few spoonfuls of coconut oil on them (about 1 or 2 tablespoons per large sweet potato).

3 Put pan of cubes and oil in oven for 5 minutes to melt the oil.

4 Stir to coat all sides of cubes with oil, bake for 20 minutes.

5 Stir cubes again (scraping from pan with a stiff spatula), bake for 15 more minutes.

6 Scrape cubes from the pan as soon as you pull them out to prevent sticking... Watch your family devour the toasted marshmallowy, caramelized crunchy sweetness!

Enjoy! Love, Mo the human.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Go for it! (The joy of being wrong.)

Like most people, I like the satisfaction of being right and getting what I want.

However, I love being wrong... That's when the really cool stuff happens!

When I was in college I signed up for the free "UNCC karate club" so I could learn better fighting skills...
I got something far more valuable. I learned the ability to keep a cool head and avoid getting in fights.

I once made a horrible mistake while snowboarding. I thought for a brief yet eternal moment (as I flew through the air) that I'd never walk again. I did fracture my spine and experience the most severe pain I can imagine, but that day changed me in very positive ways. Also, I was snowboarding again 6 weeks later.

I decided to not date anyone for a while so I could focus on massage school.
The woman who changed my mind became my wife and my best friend...  and I'm still MADLY in love with her 15 years later.

I took a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class hoping to regain my ability to "keep a cool head and avoid getting in fights." Well, that actually worked... But I got something even better in discovering a community of intelligent, fun, creative people and a joyful sport that challenged me and changed me in numerous positive ways. The good folks of I trained with are forever family to me.

I took up barefoot walking and running in the hopes of helping my chronic foot and knee pain. I was thinking I'd probably run a marathon someday. I thought I might lose some "middle age fat gain" too. I lost zero pounds in 2 years. Now I'm thinking I'll probably never run a marathon, and that's OK... My pain is gone, my feet and knees are happy, and I can run whenever I want for the sheer joy of it!

I tried eating paleo for a month thinking it would be bland and boring and might help my joint aches.
I've never enjoyed food so much in my life! The joint aches took a full month to go away, but they did -along with all that middle aged fat gain! Even better, I discovered a huge community of intelligent and open-minded people who are quietly creating a revolution in human health.

The point of all this late-night rambling?

If you're thinking...

"Oh, I could never do that." (Whatever THAT might be...)

Well, you're probably right.

So long as you think you can't... You won't be proven wrong.

But maybe, just maybe, you're thinking, "Maybe I can?"

In that case, whatever it is... GO for it!

Maybe you'll get lucky! Maybe you can.

Or... if you're really lucky, maybe you'll be wrong,

and you will discover something even better.

OK, now go outside and play!  Love, Mo the human