Diet and Exercise

At 21 days into Whole 30 plus exercise and my blood sugar is back into normal human range. This mornings glucose readings showed that I am now at 83 mg/dl and my body weight has dropped down to 183.8.

This nothing short of amazing.

Real Food and Hard work seems to be the key to leading a healthy life. There are so many commercials we see on TV today selling this drug or that drug for hundreds of different medical conditions and mostly all we here the phrase, “When diet and exercise aren’t enough”. But what if diet and exercise are enough and what exactly does diet and exercise mean?

I have asked several doctors this same question and the answer is pretty much always the same. People really don’t want to change what they eat and rarely find the ambition to exercise. So the only other answer is through medications. But what if whole food dietitians and physical trainer were incorporated into the medical model and people actually were placed into a situation where they could actually start to feel the results after several weeks of just making a few minor changes in their lifestyles? Could you imagine the cost savings on healthcare? Of course no one could actually be forced into doing something they really don’t want to do, but even a small percentage would create positive results that would lead to peaking the interest of more people.

You would see commercials on TV for gyms, exercise equipment and local ranchers and farmers promoting products to fix medical issues rather than drug companies. I don’t think we will see this in our lifetimes because of the old money trail, but we may see the beginning stages. The medical industrial complex bases it’s success on sick people and when people aren’t sick there is simply no money to be made. It would be the same for the automobile industry if a vehicle was built to last 25 years. There would be fewer car sales and mechanics would be looking for a new career.

Like us, no vehicle lasts forever but by maintaining and caring for our automobiles we can see a greater life expectancy than if we fed it bad gas and never changed the oil. So too should we working on constant maintenance of our physical bodies and minds.

The bottom line is that the right combination of simply diet and exercise can make us both healthy and happy!

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Being human is being human

Whole 30 Day #19 and my blood sugar has balanced out at and average of 89 mg/dl for the last three days. Yes folks, I have once again cured type II diabetes through diet and exercise. Well not really cured, but have discovered a way to keep it completely in check.

Maybe, just maybe it is not T2B at all. It could be that I simply have an intolerance for foods that humans were never meant to eat. I know that for me I have discovered that eating from nature has brought about significant changes to not just my blood sugar but also many other area’s of my life. It wasn’t long ago that I would eat a ton of food only to realize that a few hours later I am starving and would start searching for food again. Now I can eat a small breakfast of just a couple of eggs with a few slices of bacon in the early morning and not feel those hunger pangs again until mid-day at lunch time.

What if it is as simple as eating the way many cultures have eaten through the centuries before us with a simple pot of meat and vegetables on the burner and freshly picked fruits which are in season locally? What if we had to walk for miles each day to hunt and gather the foods we need to survive?

The truth is that we live in a modern world where those things have given way to driving to the supermarket and popping something into the microwave. No we are not hunting and gathering or working the fields each day to earn our bounty of food to survive. Today we drive to the office, sit down all day and go home to relax.

As our belly’s grow over are belts we have forgotten those long historical lists of physical activities that no only brought us food but also kept our bodies in good shape and physically fit. Rarely do we actually sit down and eat the foods of are labor with an intense appreciation of just what it took to put that food on our plates. We have lost the ability to taste our food and rarely pay attention to the difference between what is fresh and what is processed.

We so these same things day after day and year after year and one day are surprised when our doctor lets us know just how unhealthy we actually are. The blood test does not lie.

The good news is that it doesn’t take long to begin the reversing process and allow our bodies and minds to become healthy once again. With just a change in attitude, a little exercise and eating the right foods it isn’t long before that light comes on as we realize that we are starting to feel better. Our energy levels are coming back to where they should have always been. We are human and we are eating human food and allowing our bodies to do human work. We go to bed at the end of the day and sleep all night in a deep relaxation that we know we have earned and deserve. We find a way to breakout of the darkness and start planning days out in the wonders of nature and allow the sun to shine upon our face.

All of the physical ailments we once have start vanishing one by one. My back isn’t sore anymore, I no longer have those issues with my belly, all of those blotches I had on my skin are slowly disappearing. I feel alive and wake up with vigor and am ready to take on anything that life throws at me today. Yes, I am a human and I will do all of those things which make me human because it is those things make me feel truly alive.

It doesn’t take much to start making these adjustments. Those foods that make us thrive are readily available to to us. All we have to do is purchase, cook and eat them. We don’t have to join a gym at first. All we have to do is get out there and start walking a few times each day. With the assistance of modern day machines like the treadmill and a bowflex machine I have been able to find a way to exercise each day in this rainy part of the world. There is no longer any excuse for humans to be any less than human.

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The Right things to eat at Easter Dinner

The table was spread with food as our family sat down to share an incredible dinner which my wife prepared for Easter Dinner and I feasted and filled my belly with these delicious treats. Yes, I went overboard and ate until I was fast the point of being full. All I kept thinking was that I was going to pay for this in the morning when I took my glucose reading. But much to my surprise my reading this morning was the lowest it had been for some time. How was this possible?

It turns out that all of the food I ate was Whole 30 approved. Yea, all of the foods I love to eat I ate and it was OK. Sharon made a standing rib roast in which I certainly indulged and although everyone else ate a baked potato I found that a sweet potato for me was perfect. Of course it’s hard to have prime rib without being complimented with red cabbage and horse radish so I made sure my plate was full of both. A side dish of carrots, onions and apple’s worked well with my appetite and the Kale salad was just the right combination of raw vegetables to increase the fiber input. We put out chips and salsa, guacamole and hummus before dinner but I found that by cutting up some carrots and celery I could enjoy all three dips without messing up the diet.

I ate and ate and ate again. After dinner I felt full but not the typical type of full you normally have after a large holiday dinner. No, I was full but not wanting to crash on the couch after dinner. It was perfect and with my blood sugar down to 90 mg/dl this morning I am quickly learning that by simply eating the right foods holiday dinners can be enjoyable.

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Three Whole Years – Smoke Free – Happy Easter

It is Easter Sunday, the day us Christians celebrate the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ, but today is also a very personal celebration day for me as well.

It was just three years ago that I made the decision to quit smoking. I hung the last empty cigarette pack on the wall in my gym on Easter morning in 2014 to remind me each day that I am a non smoker. So today I can scream out to the world “I have been smoke free for 3 whole years”.

When I look back on those smoking years it amazes me that I allowed this addiction to go on for so long. Although I am now in a very healthy pattern with life I still pray each day that the damage I caused all of those years don’t come back to haunt me in the form of some medical problem.

Although throughout those years I tried so many different types of solutions to my nicotine addiction, which all failed terribly, I found that by replacing the nicotine with a healthier form was the answer. For some reason I just couldn’t cold turkey and when I tried my mind would fight me so hard that it made life unbearable. I turned to vaping and although I know that even this form of nicotine addiction is not healthy, it still was an answer that I was looking forward to.

Some people have the ability to go cold turkey and other’s don’t. I even know people who smoke just one cigarette a day after dinner and are OK with that. But for me one cigarette lead to another and that’s what my life became.

Even after three years I still have this monkey on my back and still calm my nerves with nicotine in the form of vaping, but today my lungs are clear, I don’t cough when I get up and I rarely get out of breath. Besides health one of the other benefits I have enjoyed was using the same money that I spent on cigarettes to pay off debt. Today the only debt I have left is my mortgage and I continue to use that smoking money to continue to pay that down too.

People occasionally like to lecture me on the dangers of vaping, but that’s OK. I understand myself and how my mind and body operate,  and know that eventually I will give it up as well. But for today I simply celebrate the fact that I could find a way to give up smoking cigarettes. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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Sometimes we have to get back to simply being human

After just 14 days of changing my diet according to the Whole 30 standards and starting a workout program I have been able to reduce my morning blood sugars to under 100 mg/dl. That’s right! This mornings reading was 98 mg/dl. This means for me that I am able to change the direction of my health in just two weeks with just a few lifestyle changes. This is incredible!

I know that I wasn’t supposed to weigh in until I passed the last day of this 30 day challenge but I have to admit that I cheated. I couldn’t wait any longer, so I jumped on the scale to see that I am down to 186.6 which is 10 lbs. lighter than I was just 14 days ago.

Not only I am I feeling lighter but my clothing is fitting much better. Just when I thought I would have to move up to a 36″ waist and purchase new pants I am now discovering that the pants I own fit perfect.

What exactly am I doing to make all of these changes? Well, I am following the plan pretty well. I haven’t yet explored all of the delicious recipes in the book, but I am following a pattern of eating grass fed, free range meats and eggs and just healthy green and multi-colored vegetables. I eat nothing between meals other than a few bottles of water and I am working out each morning and challenging myself to perform just slightly better than the day before without going overboard.

I am creating a daily routine that pretty much looks like this:

4:00 AM – Wake up, Coffee, email, check finances.
4:30 AM – Treadmill – Strive for a minimum of two miles
5:30 AM – Shower and prepare for work
6:00 AM – Bacon and Eggs
6:30 AM – Drive to work
12:00 PM – Lunch – Leftovers from last nights dinner
5:30 PM – Return home
6:30 PM – Eat dinner – 1/3 meat, 2/3 vegetables
8:00 PM – Go to bed

I do this each day and the only thing that changes is that I alternate workouts every other day from treadmill/cardio to bowflex/strength. On my strength training days I am shooting for either more reps or higher weights. I follow this same routine on the weekends but of course rather than going to work I am doing tasks around the home, out food shopping or discovering recreational adventures like hiking or at times just spending quality time with my wife.

Most of us are creatures of habit and I am certainly no different. Once I fall into a pattern of bad habits I find that the only way to change this pattern is by seriously shaking things up. My single strongest motivator is simply survival. I know that if I don’t take care of my health, my health will certainly take care of me by guaranteeing me a life of pain and frustration along with piles of medications and eventually an early death.

Another area of my life which is changing is stress. I have made the decision that life simply happens and most things are out of my control. These things I must simply let go of and find a way to deal with them if they affect me and other things that don’t affect me can just be pushed aside with a smile. I try to limit my exposure to the news and have discovered the joy of baseball once again. Yea, I am one of those Yankee fans and for whatever reason I thought that I didn’t have time to watch sports, yet alone participate in playing them due to a lack of time. This is ridiculous. It has been a long time since I have participated in any sports, but I believe it is high time I rediscover the joys of playing. So I will be looking for a local softball league or even a golf partner to get out on an early Saturday morning to play a round. I used to love to play tennis and basketball but it seems that at my age it is difficult to find any one else who plays at my age.

One of the greatest stress relievers is simply working out each day. Either by pushing up heavy weights weights when I feel stress or just starting the day out with a good workout I find that things don’t bother me as much. Even at work when I am challenged with something new I find that on those days when I have worked out my mind works more creatively and I feel less stressed by the challenge. Along with this I have also discovered that it is the simple things like working in the garden and being closer to nature can change the way feel and make you realize that many things that bring about stress are very small compared to the complexity and wonder of nature itself.

We humans are designed to eat healthy foods provided from nature. Our bodies are creatively designed to work, we thrive in groups, we love to play and in these combinations we discover joy. Is it any wonder that life seems just grand with a BBQ after a softball game? Sometimes we just have to get back to being human.

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Which is better – Cardio or Weights?

Today I am moving into day #13 of the Whole 30 and I am really starting to feel good. The first week or so I noticed having a little bit of a headache but it has gone away about a day or two ago. Eating just three meals per day vs snacking in between has become a habit although I have found myself in the last two days snacking on dehydrated meats from the local meat market in the mid afternoon. This has to stop and I will try to increase my protein intake slightly at other meals.

One of the reason that I suspect my body is calling for more protein is that I have upped the morning workout routine with slightly heavier weights. In fact this is another pattern that I am seeing mixed results in. Although I don’t check my body weight and will leave that for the final day of the Whole 30, I do check my blood sugar each day. The good news is that I managed to get it down into close to normal range (100 mg/dl) on my 12th day. My current workout schedule consists of treadmill one day then the next. On the mornings after the treadmill exercise I notice that my blood sugar is just slightly higher than on my weight lifting days. I know that the treadmill is important for heart health but I sometimes wonder if the resistance exercises are more important for Type II Diabetes.

Maybe I should be concentrating on a weight lifting routine in the morning and save the treadmill for an after dinner walk each night. For now I will continue on my pattern of doing both cardio and resistance every other day until the end of this 30 period when I will analyze my results and maybe regroup my thoughts on making any changes.

I am continually reading article after article which confirms that strength training is superior to cardio when it comes to blood sugar management, yet there are those days where it just seems like I am fueled with extra energy after doing a cardio workout in the morning. It has to be the combination of both I know to find success, but only through experimentation can I discover and put into effect that right combination.

It will be through this combination of strength training and cardio that will help burn that excess body fat as I continue to eat low carb and allow by body to utilize this stored fat for fuel vs the converted sugar from carbs that I have used in the past. Although the exercise is important it is actually the diet that is key to fat burning and returning all biological body functions back to normal. Ah Yes, Homeostasis!

In the past I found great success with both cardio and weights but I never quite managed to get the diet completely under control. This year I am putting that final piece of the puzzle into the equation. This will be the year that I will finally be able to get the body fat composition into perspective and increase my body’s metabolic functions to make things a little closer to normal. Every day I will do all of things I need to do to be healthy and finally I will eat the right foods which are the key to the success I discover.

I will be relentless and unstoppable on my pursuit to become all I can be at 56 and create the right pattern that will keep me healthy well into my 90’s. A fit body and a sharp mind are no longer just for the young. It can be done and it will be done. There are trails out there that need to be hiked and mountains that need to be climbed.  I have seen my grandchildren born and I will see my great grandchildren born as well. Stand back, I am kicking ass and taking names.

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Feeling Alive this Sunday Morning

I am moving into Day #9 of the Whole 30 today and remain astonished at the results each day. I have followed through with the commitment to eat only healthy meats and vegetable and haven’t even thought about the processed crap I used to eat. My pants are going on a lot easier and my blood sugars still continue on a downward spiral. Any problems I used to suffer with IBS have disappeared, my skin is clearing up, my energy is at a high level, I am thinking better and my focus is clear.

I have discovered a renewed level of energy that has fueled my back to the world of exercise that I had left so many months ago. This to I have also committed to as I have returned to a routine of cardio and weight lifting. Although I am starting slow I am still making progress and know that before long I will find my way back to a comfortable routine. I am doing just 20 minutes per day on both the treadmill and the bowflex. What I decide to do with that 20 minutes as time progresses is up to me, but I know that I will never go back to an hour each day of over exercise.

As with the lifestyle I lead of simplicity I have found that the Whole 30 and my exercise routine follow the same pattern. Shopping and food preparation are simple because I am only eating meat, eggs and vegetables. With devices like a slow cooker there are days that seem a little too easy. And with the 20 minute workout each day my mornings still have enough time to do those other things I like to do in the morning before leaving for work.

Minimalism, or Simple Living as I call it when it comes to health doesn’t have to be complicated. The Whole 30 and a daily 20 minutes workout plan work seamlessly into this current lifestyle I lead. I work, I rest, I sleep well and continue to avoid all the noise and distractions that keep me from achieving those goals I have set out to conquer like paying off all debt. I spend time with family and friends and venture out into the natural world to discover all of the wonders it has to offer. The feelings of being sick, unhealthy or simply lacking the energy to achieve my goals simply does not sit well with the simple life.

Although I have tried so many other healthy ways of maintaining my own health it wasn’t until I read the book “It All Starts with Food” that I have truly understood exactly what I need to do on a daily basis to put all of this knowledge I have gained into a simple package that makes sense. I know that I am ranting here, but I don’t care. I am simply blown away so far and overwhelmed with excitement at the way I am feeling.

The one thing I have heard over and over again is that you cannot help anyone unless you first help yourself. If it is actually possible to cure most diseases simply by eating a certain way, why then is it not mainstream that we should all do it? I don’t know the answer to this but I do know that life can be pretty simple but as humans we continue to make it complicated.

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Eat Simple, Simply Eat

I am entering Day #5 of the 30 commitment I have made to the Whole 30 way of eating and I have to tell you that I am greatly impressed. In no way is this a hardship by any means. I am eating delicious foods each day, I never feel hungry and best of all my blood sugar has steadily been coming down. As far as my body weight is concerned I really don’t know as I will not weigh in for a few more weeks, but I can tell you that my pants are fitting more comfortably.

I actually wish I had more time each day to share all of the foods I have been eating, but with a busy schedule it just is not happening. As far as exercise is concerned I haven’t done much since Saturday when I started the plan. Sunday was finally a sunny day and I took advantage of it by spending 6 hours reconstructing my front garden. I haven’t worked that hard since last summer and my body has been feeling the aches and pains of waking up muscle groups that have laid dormant for so many months. I will be back on schedule this morning however with just 20 minutes on the treadmill and have decided to balance the workout out with light weights every other day.

With high glucose readings I started taking metformin again a few weeks ago but have already reduced the dose by half. Once I get back into normal range I will eliminate the meds altogether. It appears that everything I have read in “It Starts with Food” is true and the first key to good health really is the food that you put in your body.

Commitment, consistency and a positive attitude will get me through the next 25 days and maybe the rest of my life as every aspect of the results of living my life with vigor makes me feel alive. I sleep better, wake with more energy and have lost any feeling of grogginess I used to feel during my work day. Even my thinking patterns have improved and I don’t have those moments of forgetfulness I used to have.

Yes, those chains we create for ourselves can be broken and we can once again walk away from those patterns that keep us a slave to bad health. With all of the information we see or read each day about the things we should be doing to maintain good health we never take into account that the simple answer is just getting back to eating the foods that we are supposed to be eating that are and have always been provided from nature. Eat simple, simply eat.

Posted in body building, diabesity, diet, fitness, food, health, intermittent fasting, life, mindfulness, minimalist, nature, Oregon, paleo, primal, simple living, the whole 30, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Starting on Day #1 Whole 30

It’s four o’clock in the morning and I am tending to a little bit of a hangover as I give thoughts to the day ahead of me. Although I have been eating pretty darn close to the Whole 30 way of eating for the last 8 days, today marks the first day that I shoot for perfection.

Grass Fed, hormone free, pasture raised, local, organic, cage free, no antibiotics, and grass finished are words that I will becoming very familiar with as I start to build my diet. Absolutely nothing processed, no alcohol of any type, no sugar and only carbs from vegetables is a part of my life for the next 30 days.

Just 8 days ago I weighed 196.4 pounds and this morning I am down to 189.4, so I have already seen benefits from some moderate changes I have made. That number 189.4 is important because it will represent the last weigh in before I start this program. The next time I am allowed to step on the scale will be May 1st which happens to be the last day of the Whole 30.

I am committing to getting on the treadmill each morning for just 20 minutes or around a mile of walking before work every day. There will be no weight lifting at all. The reasons for this are simple: Exercise the heart, increase oxygen levels and reduce inflammation.

I will also be committed to taking vitamins each day to assist in the rebuilding of an optimum blood panel that will feed the mitochondria in each cell of my body to rebuild the immune system. One of the vitamins I have shown to be very low was vitamin D due to the long grey winter which I have endured for many months now. The weather is starting to change and I will finally be able to bring in vitamin D in it’s purest form – Sunshine.

I believe that I should benefit the most from simply removing beer from my diet. I do love to have a finely crafted IPA or two after work each day, but not for another 30 days will I even think about it.

It was just a few weeks ago when I realized blood sugar numbers, which I take each morning were teetering around 200. This of course is totally unacceptable and with some work I have been able to bring that number down to around 126 which is what I tested at this morning. I want to return to my norm of between 80-100 and highly suspect that I will be able to reach this single goal by the end of just 30 days of doing all of the right things.

Food planning is pretty darn simple as I will concentrate on just one meal per day. I will prepare dinner each night based on the rules associated with the Whole 30 and maybe even use some recipes right out the Whole 30 cookbook. This meal will be prepared in a size that should provide enough for 4 meals which means that my wife and I will eat half for dinner and the other half for lunch the next day. That’s two meals out of the way leaving only breakfast. For me breakfast is pretty simple. Two eggs cooked in ghee and two slices of bacon. I have found that this low carb breakfast carries enough punch to last all the way to lunchtime. I may prepare a frittata on the weekends when I have more time in the mornings. I already drink my coffee black and have discovered that I only need a cup or two in the morning so I have stopped bringing coffee to work with me, so this is not much of a challenge at all compared with someone who is still using cream and sugar.

The no dairy rule is also an easy one for me to master as I have taken dairy out of my diet many years ago. The only thing that I will miss is cheese as I do still use it on occasions especially in cooking.

I will try to post each day about the foods I am eating and maybe a picture or two but with limited time in the morning I can’t promise anything. But I will try.

Posted in adventures, body building, diabesity, diet, family, fitness, food, health, intermittent fasting, life, marriage, mindfulness, minimalist, Oregon, paleo, primal, simple living, the whole 30, type II diabetes, walking, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Preparing for the challenge of The Whole 30

I have drastically changed the types of food I am eating each day more towards a ketogenic type of eating. It has been around 6 days now and I am seeing things change pretty rapidly. April 1st is that day that I actually start my 30 days with the “The Whole 30” so I have been slowly prepping for the month.

For right now I am learning several things that may be vital for my success next month. The one thing is that lifting heavy weights brings about inflammation in my body and causes my weight to go up. This doesn’t mean that I am not going to lift weights, but it does mean that I will tone down the amount of weight I am throwing up. I have to start lifting for body movement verses muscle growth. As a type II diabetic I have also noticed that after a day of heavy lifting my blood sugar also rises slightly the next morning.

Another thing is that while I am quietly making progress on nutrition and allowing my body to utilize body fat for fuel, I am killing it with a few beers after work. The Whole 30 calls for the complete restriction of any alcohol so beer will come off the table.

I certainly plan to keep exercising during the whole 30 day period but I will even keep the treadmill at a comfortable minimum. If after the completion of the whole 30 program I see the results that I am looking for I may decide to increase the exercise just slightly.

At 56 years old I have learned throughout the years that nature moves at it’s own pace and we humans are certainly a part of the natural world. Any efforts to try to move things any quicker brings about problems. I am developing a plan for life and staying in balance with nature will result in positive changes. It’s so easy to get excited and push a little harder when we see positive results. Sometimes the ego likes to take over and visualize faster progress than time allows.

One of the things that I have starting is going back to taking certain vitamins each day. Although I have never been a strong believer of taking supplements as our food sources should be enough to fuel our bodies I have realized that after a long winter of eating the wrong foods I have to supply my body with the nutrition it has been lacking. This may change after adjusting my diet to whole foods, but for now I want to make sure they are in my body.

One of the tasks I will be taking on is food shopping. I will have to purchase those foods which are on the list of approved food sources and try to find both local and natural processes for both meats and vegetables. Nothing processed, nothing that has been factory farmed and nothing microwaved. I have to bring these foods into my home and start developing a way to make sure they are always available even while working and traveling 11 hours each day. I haven’t completed any of these tasks yet but Saturday I will eat bacon and eggs for breakfast then go out with a shopping list that will yield enough produce for the week. I will have do this each Saturday morning and as time goes by I believe that my creativity along with the Whole 30 cookbooks will inspire me to try different things.

I never like to look too far ahead, but I am scheduled for another blood test in June and it would be fantastic if I could keep the new eating lifestyle up until that time so I can see the actual results of what is going on inside my body.

Posted in body building, diabesity, diet, fitness, food, health, intermittent fasting, minimalist, nature, paleo, primal, simple living, the whole 30, type II diabetes, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments