It’s still Raining and I have a Cold

While I am making great progress and have been sticking to the principles of eating The Whole 30 diet and practicing a daily exercise regimen I find myself suffering from a cold. Today will mark day number three where I am not working out to allow my body to clear up whatever foreign invader that is trying to reproduce in my body.

It is typical that when I get sick I see an increase in my glucose readings in the morning and although it has gone up slightly I have managed to maintain numbers under 100 mg/dl.

It certainly doesn’t help that we are still experiencing winter like temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest while the rain continues to fall without any relief in site. It has been this way since October and most folks, along with myself are getting tired of it.

I want to take care of my gardens and prepare them for planting season and check out my local farmers market for those specialized heirloom vegetable starters to get into the ground. Well, no of that is happening yet and I pray for the rain to end. According to news sources this is the worst winter ever here and we broke records for 5 months in a row for the amount of rainfall.

I am hoping to see the weather patterns change soon and when they do I intend on getting out to mountains to hike and witness the incredible power of all of this moisture in the form of rapid, rushing waterfalls. There is a unique beauty when water is rushing through our mountains as it flows down into the rivers. These visions of the glory of nature are those things that keep me mindful of the prize that waits while paying the price of suffering the rainy season.

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The Art of Building Muscle and Recovery

So yesterday was shoulder day and I decided that it was high time I brought my workout routine up to the next level. I increased the weight on all circuits and brought each set to the maximum I could do. It felt great and although I knew that I would suffer for it the next day I just didn’t care. I wanted to feel the adrenaline running through my veins as I pushed that last rep to it’s very limits. It was a great workout.

As predicted here I am now the next morning after the workout feeling not only the aches and pains associated with the workout but also that feeling of being sick. My body is in super repair mode as my immune system is aggressively working to repair all of the damaged muscle tissue. Of course this is simply the art of building muscle but the body recognizes these worked muscles as injuries and is treating those area’s of my body where I have ripped and torn muscle tissue as an injury.

So, this morning as much as I want to push forward into my scheduled chest routine and give it all I can, I know deep inside that I must allow my immune system uninterrupted time to heal those muscles. Going through another intense routine could be a setup for disaster and we simply cannot have that. No, it would be smart to just elect to take the day off from weight lifting and re-assess tomorrow morning.

So for today I will go to work and stay active but will be mindful that my body is in healing mode and I will allow it the time needed for this process.

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Winter kicked my Ass

Day #23 Whole 30

Blood Sugar has gone down once again to 80 mg/dl and body weight is down to 182.4 lbs. I am starting to lift heavy weights once again and I believe it is making a significant difference in where my blood sugars are. Where I am burning energy to lift these heavy weights it is causing my body to demand more from my blood thus reducing the amount of sugar in my blood stream. It is this along with walking 2 1/2 miles every other day and of course reducing my carbohydrate intake that is leading to such rapid success.

The tough question is can I keep this up the rest of my life? I was in a good position last year when the weather was nice, but it seemed too easy to get into a rut as the weather turned colder. I know that we as humans naturally slow down during the winter months but for someone with Type II Diabetes slowing down too much might not seem like an option.

As we all know our bodies go through changes in the winter. We want to pack on extra fat to help us get through the tough winter and our ambitions to stay active seem to diminish as the winter progresses. As we age it gets harder and harder to avoid adding too much weight on our frames and giving way to reduced activity leads to too much time on the couch. So how do we battle this problem.

I have come up with several solutions and although it is only April I am starting to plan ahead for October.

It seems that as the seasons change so too is access to natural sunlight. It is for this reason that I am researching sunlamps that give off uv rays that are similar to natural sunlight. I plan on mounting several of these lights in my gym (aka garage). If I can spend just an hour each morning near these lights I may be able to trick my body into thinking that I have moved to a warmer region.



Along with sunlight temperature makes a huge difference in how our bodies know that the seasons are changing. Working out in a cold gym in the morning certainly doesn’t send the right signals that our bodies are comfortable. Being cold actually triggers those desires to eat things that we shouldn’t eat to pack on the extra pounds. I am looking to solve this problem with an electric garage heater with a wall mounted thermostat. Getting that gym nice and toasty in the morning should help to fight this battle. With this I believe that it is more important to dress warmly during the day, especially while working outdoors.

Exercise maintenance is essential during the winter months and by not doing any exercise at all it becomes to easy to not do other things like eating healthy. I must continue my workout routine in the winter even if it means reducing the weight that I am lifting or reducing my treadmill time down.

The last thing I need to do is learn to balance my diet where I am allowing a few extra carbs to enter my body while keeping up with those things specific to the Whole 30 way of eating. It is natural to put on an extra 10 pounds during the winter, but an extra 30 lbs is just not acceptable and soon gives way to health problems.

Another thing that I am working on is making my gym more attractive and welcoming. It has to be a room that I feel comfortable walking into each morning and actually look forward to. I will be slowly working on small projects during the summer and fall to create this atmosphere by putting down a floor rather than the cold hard cement. I will mount a large mirror that will allow me gaze at my body to remind me that a healthy body looks like a healthy body. I am sure I will come up with a few more things as I start this project but ultimately I want to be completely ready to take on next winter.

This winter was a total disaster and I am going to do everything I can possibly do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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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.

Posted in adventures, body building, debt, diabesity, diet, family, finances, fitness, food, fun, gardening, health, hiking, intermittent fasting, life, marriage, meditation, mindfulness, minimalist, nature, Oregon, paleo, permaculture, primal, simple living, stress, the whole 30, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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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