My Review of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 1 & 2

So I end up working from home a few weeks ago, and I brought up my Evernote to see what notes I could clean out. As I was doing so I saw an old note that said “Watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. I bring up Netflix, and both that film and it’s sequel are available to stream! I start the first one and let it play in the background while I start to work. As a computer programmer aka developer aka “engineer”, I have the luxury of being able to work and to get things done while I have a movie, music or an audiobook playing in the background.

The movie starts off with the premise of making a change in one’s life. Joe Cross, the director and main character starts the film being overweight and with some painful skin condition that requires a sizable dose of daily medication. He decides to do what he later coins a “Reboot” where he is going to eat nothing every day except for juices made from vegetables. He goes to the doctor before starting this juice-fast and gets his blood drawn to make sure he can go ahead with this experiment. As the movie progresses he travels the United States and meets random people and tells them what he is doing and encourages them to try a sip of his veggie juice. One of the people he encounters is a very obese trucker named Phil Staples, who happens to have the same skin condition which is afflicting Joe Cross. Phil takes down Joe’s contact information and tells him that “one day” he will try juicing. Long story short, Joe finishes his juice fast, which lasted 60 days, loses a lot of weight, has his skin condition go away, which also resulted in him being able to stop taking medication and goes back to Australia. Then one day he gets a phone call from Phil who says he wants to try this juice fast, and then the movie gets interesting… I don’t want to say any more because I do not want to spoil the movie for anyone. But to make a long story short, can an average guy make a change in his life?

Joe Cross is a very determined individual who stuck to his plan and has managed to keep his weight off after the movie, but can you do the same? Can I do the same? Well, if you read the “About Me” on this website, you will know that I used to weight 237 pounds, most of which was fat, and now I weigh 195 pounds and a lot that weight is muscle now when compared to before. How did I make this change? Well, I changed my diet one step at a time, and after looking back after many years, I see that I have a completely new set of habits, as well as an entirely new body. I am not on any medication, so I am “lucky” in that sense, but I tend to believe Obiwan Kenobi when he says “In my experience there is no such thing as luck.”

Anyway, if you go to the film’s website, you can watch both movies for free, I do recommend you do so because they are two great films that document how someone with a chronic medical condition that is deemed incurable by Big Pharma was able to get off of his medication. It makes you wonder, will Big Pharma fund any research on how doing a juice fast will make you lose weight or to heal yourself? Well, we know the answer… Of course not!

After you watch both films, which are now free to stream on http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/, come back to my website and read my review on the Omega 8006 juicer and see why I opted for that juicer over the other ones which I found online. Now don’t get me wrong, a Breville juicer was used in the film and if you want to support Breville, you should at the very least take a look at some of their juicers, but the Omega 8006 had some features that were better for me which may not necessarily be what you are looking for.

Anyway, until we meet again, watch these two films!

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Movie Poster

Eat Meat Once a Week… or Twice

Back in the day, in the United States of America, meat was produced the way it is supposed to be. That is with cows grazing in the fields, chickens poking their beaks in the mud, scratching the dirt, eating a pebble or two from time to time. This process resulted in high-quality meat, at high-quality prices. Ever hear the expression that nothing worth working for or fighting for is easy? Because it is true.

Now things have changed, and meat is mass-produced, cows no longer graze in the fields, chickens – although they may be labeled “cage-free” – are still living neck-in-neck with other chickens. Pigs can barely move in their pens. This is the result of big corporations making profit their number one priority, not quality and this also brings us very cheap meat. As a result, now we can afford to eat meat everyday, and what is the result? We are the sickest nation in the world.

Now go back to “back in the day” and tell me what was different? Meat was more expensive, a lot more expensive, so people just ate meat less frequently, and people were healthier, people were thinner, people were happier. That is because the human body was not made to eat meat every single day, it was made to eat meat once per week. Oh, and don’t forget the best part, the meat tasted good! You didn’t have to load it up with a bunch of sauces just so you could eat.

So switch to a plant-based diet, eat less meat, not no meat, but less and higher quality meat. If this sounds hard to you, that is because it is worth it. You will stop straining your stomach, if you have acid-reflux, obesity, or feel lethargic all the time, your body will start to heal itself and those problems will start to fade away. With all the money that you save, use it to buy higher quality meat. I like telling my friends the following analogy:

If you had Rolls Royce car, whenever you stopped at a gas station would you put the cheapest gas in the tank? Whenever you had to change the oil, would you put the cheapest oil in?

The answer is no… so your body is the equivalent of a Rolls Royce, so please tell me, why are you putting the cheapest meat in your body?

See the following infographic courtesy of Positive Health Wellness


Positive Health Wellness

The Warrior Diet/Intermittent Fasting

The Intermittent Fasting Diet says to eat whatever you want (healthy stuff of course) during any 8-hour window during each day. The Warrior Diet slightly modifies this and asks that you move this window to as late in the day as possible.

I have been following (or trying to follow) a combination of both of these diets for the past 4 months. When I wake up in the morning, I take some fresh squeezed lemon juice – about 1 ounce, then about 8 ounces or more of warm water, and I drink it with a straw. Lately I have also been adding some cayenne pepper. You can substitute the cayenne pepper with any herb or root vegetable juice that is good for your digestive system such as horseradish, ginger, peppermint oil, or mint. Sometimes I will add some Pink Himalayan Sea Salt into the mix as well. Not a lot of salt, but just a twist or two from the salt grinder. Then I go to work or go about my day. I will then eat my first meal at 1pm or later. Then after I get home from work or the gym, I will try to eat again as soon as possible. Then the next time I eat will be the next day. Do I feel hungry at all? No, never. In fact you are never supposed to “feel hungry,” your body is sending you signals for a reason whenever it is thirsty or hungry.

Many will say that they cannot “function” unless they have breakfast. I often reply to these people that what you eat at breakfast is not broken down by your digestive system and absorbed into your body for at least a couple of hours. Additionally, when your stomach is empty, your body does not take resources from the rest of your body which is what you need to function well, whether it be at your job, in school, or whatever else you are doing that day. During this time, your organs are also using these “idle cycles” to cleanse and detox itself. For example, your liver is busy all day long cleaning out junk from dirty food which you eat, when your liver is overwhelmed, it stores a lot of this junk or toxins. But when your liver is not busy dealing with a new supply of junk, it starts cleaning out the old junk. Same thing goes with other organs.

Anyway, I have noticed that ever since I stopped eating breakfast, I have been more awake and able to do a lot of things more effectively than before I started this diet. Of course, I have also lost some belly fat, which is also good… so do some reading and check these diets out.

SpeakIt! – Google Chrome Extension for Text-to-Speech

I have done some searching and testing, and there is a good Google Chrome Extension for Text-to-Speech (TTS) processing.  This one has a few cool voices (US Male English, UK Male English) and an nice interface.  Just select some text and click on the button which is added to the top right of your toolbar!

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/speakit/pgeolalilifpodheeocdmbhehgnkkbak

Local, Grass-Fed Beef (and other meat) in Astoria, Queens

So I was walking down Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens on my way to a coffee shop to meet some friends, and I glance inside a store front called “Natures Taste” which had lots of words such as “Organic,” “Grass-Fed,” and other words/phrases of interest to a guy like me.

I stop inside and ask a few questions, all of whose answers made me very happy.  This store has lots of frozen meats, and traditional Greek food such as Gyro’s, souvlakia and sheftalia (traditional Cypriot sausage).  They told me that all of their meat comes from their farm which is out in Long Island.  I asked them what the name of the farm is and they said “L.I. Ranch.”  I told them I would google it and come back after Greek Easter to try some of their excellent food.

Now, Greek’s celebrate Easter this year on Sunday, April 12th (2015), so tomorrow or some time next week I will stop in, take some pictures and buy some excellent meat and report on the quality!

In the meantime, see how they are listed on LocalHarvest:

http://www.localharvest.org/l-i-ranch-corp-M59300

and take a look at their Satellite photo on Google Maps here:

Now from that photo this place looks like an actual farm and not one of those CAFO operations.  For the newly educated people on health food, CAFO stands for Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation.  Notice how the Google satellite has some animals clearly shown walking around and grazing.  Also notice how the grass is not a “perfect green” that happens because animals actual walk around on graze on that grass.  Contrast this to Industrial Farms where the animals aren’t allowed to graze on the grass, but instead are kept inside a big hen house.

I honestly don’t know if this Bell & Evans video is intended to make one want to buy their food or not, but take a look at this video, although Bell & Evans is doing a much better job than the conventional Chicken farm, watching this video should serve as a warning as to what happens in places worse than Bell & Evans!

 

Addictive Properties of Sugar

So I have a new job at some high-tech Financial Firm based in Manhattan and they have several pantries that are stocked with loads of candy, “nutrition bars” and other junk.  I normally avoid all of this stuff but during my new-hire training, I was walking right by one of these pantries several times per day.  I ended up indulging more than once and I noticed that immediately after eating any of these sugar-rich snacks I ended up feeling horrible.  Then I wanted to go back and get some more.

So now I am no longer in training, and I sit at my desk and only pass by these pantries one, maybe two times per day.  I no longer grab any of the junks except for on special occasions.  Regardless, I found a study that was published some time ago that mentioned that Rats preferred water that contained sugar more than water which contained cocaine.  This even includes rats that were already addicted to Cocaine!

Does this mean that if I can avoid the snacks in the sugar pantry I have more will-power than a cocaine-addicted Wall Street Banker? I don’t know, and I don’t want to find out…  Anyway, stay away from sugar, not only is it bad for you, it is addictive, perhaps more addictive than Cocaine…

To access the full-text of the study click on this link:

http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000698

Paleo-Friendly Lentils – The Traditional Way

So I am big on traditional foods and the ways that they were prepared hundreds of years ago.  Often the only way to find this is by going back to the village and asking the oldest grandmother still alive how her grandmother used to prepare dishes. seo service company  Unfortunately, going to a village in the mountains of Crete, where I have perfect cell phone service, along with super-fast 4G mobile data, it is getting harder and harder to find out how our ancestors used to prepare lentil soup in Greece.

So, I did some digging on the internet and I found a very simple method:

  1. Take 2 cups of lukewarm water (slightly above room temperature) and place 1 cup of lentils and place them into a bowl.
  2. Add one and a half tablespoons of yogurt with live cultures in the bowl.
  3. Cover and repeat steps 1 & 2 every 12 hours.

Then cook your lentils as normal, and observe if it irritates your stomach.

Thanks and for those celebrating Clean Monday Happy Lent!

(Για αυτους που γιορτάζουν  την Καθαρά Δευτέρα, Καλη Σαρακοστή!)

IMAG0207 IMAG0208

Sources:

  1. http://eugenia.queru.com/2012/04/19/fermenting-lentils/
  2. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/fermenting-lentils-for-soup

SUGAR is bad, I repeat, SUGAR is bad! (and FAT is fine)

I have told almost every single person that is close to me repeatedly that it is not excess fat consumption that makes us fat, but it is the excess consumption of Sugar.  To back up my claim, I often reference a YouTube video of a professor giving a speech at the Harvard Law School Food Society that gives the best argument that Sugar is the culprit in the Western Worlds Obesity Epidemic.

After watching this video, there should be no reason for any reasonable person to believe that Fat is the culprit.  So I recommend you watch the video and I will make a list of things you should look out for.

If you do not have the time, I recommend you read this blog posting that goes over the major points of the video, I suggest you visit this page right now as it will change your life:

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/sugar-101-how-harmful-is-sugar-part-i

The person talking in the video, is a personal hero of mine and his name is Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

If you don’t have the time to even visit the web page above, just remember these two points from the video:

“Eat less sugar and more fiber”

The Paleolithic and Atkins diets have two things in common, they work and they are “low sugar, high fiber”

Otherwise, the video really is a pleasure to watch, the speaker is very good with his delivery of his analogies and everything, starting with the first one “people don’t choose to be fat” from a real perspective.

How To Make Kombucha

So I drink Kombucha on a pretty much regular/daily basis. In Queens, you can buy a regular-sized bottle of GT’s Kombucha for about $4.00, while in midtown Manhattan you can buy the same bottle for around $5.00. So if you are cost-conscious and want to prove to your friends that it doesn’t cost a fortune to eat and drink healthy foods, I have prepared some instructions for how to brew your own Kombucha in the privacy of your own home for a fraction of the cost of buying it in the supermarket.

Before you read the instructions, check out GT’s website to see how many flavors they have. My favorite flavor is Cherry Chia: http://synergydrinks.com/index.php/products#enlightened-synergy/enlightened-synergy-cherry-chia. Eventually you will be so good at brewing Kombucha that you too will start to flavor your own homemade brew as well.

Ingredients

  1. 1.5 liters of water
  2. 4 x Black Tea Bags (http://www.twoleavestea.com/organic-earl-grey)
  3. 1 x Kombucha Starter aka SCOBY (http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kombucha-tea-starter-culture.html)
  4. 1 x cup white vinegar
  5. 1/2 x cup organic white sugar
  6. 1 x glass mason jar
  7. 1 x rubber band
  8. 1 x cheese cloth or paper towel
Four Tea Bags that I used as my starter tea for brewing Kombucha

Four Tea Bags that I used as my starter tea for brewing Kombucha

I like using two leaves and a bud TEA COMPANY brand tea

I like using two leaves and a bud TEA COMPANY brand tea

Instructions

Step 1 – Boil 1.5 liters of water

Step 2 – Steep 4 tea bags for 3-5 minutes.

In order to avoid steeping the tea for too long and making your tea too strong, I take my tea bags and tie them to a big wooden spatula and use that to quickly insert and remove my tea bags.

Wooden Spoon with Tea Bags tied to it

Wooden Spoon with Tea Bags tied to it

Step 3 – Wait 5 minutes for water to slightly cool then add sugar

How I steep my tea

How I steep my tea

Step 4 – Allow tea to cool to room temperature.  This can take a while and the best part is that once the tea cools to room temperature it won’t get any colder!

Step 5 – Add SCOBY and 1 cup of white vinegar  (you can also use existing Kombucha, the vinegar is used to make the solution acidic to prevent molds and other bacteria from growing)

Add a SCOBY – Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.  This is a picture of my SCOBY from my last batch of brewing Kombucha.  After a while the SCOBY gets so big that a baby SCOBY comes off of it and you can then start to brew two batches of Kombucha at the same time!

 

This is my scoby, it was hard to take a picture of but it is pretty big.

This is my scoby, it was hard to take a picture of but it is pretty big.

What the jar looks like before covering it with a paper towel and rubber band

What the jar looks like before covering it with a paper towel and rubber band

Step 6 – Cover jar with paper towel and secure with a rubber band. Then let it sit somewhere for 7 to 28 days.  Check the kombucha by tasting it every few days or at your discretion. The best way to taste it is to stick a straw inside the jar and to then cover one end with your finger so that you avoid contaminating the kombucha with anything from the straw. After a few days you will notice that the Kombucha does not taste as sweet and its carbonation level will start to increase. Once the kombucha tastes satisfactory, remove it from the dark place and place it into the refrigerador to stop the fermenting process.

If you are lucky, you will also now have two kombucha scoby’s in your original jar. This usually does not happen during your first brew if you purchased a dehydrated one such as the one I referenced in the ingredients section above. That is how it happened for me and now I have 4 Kombucha SCOBYs! As a side note, if you know me personally and would like a Kombucha SCOBY please contact me and I would be more than happy to give it to you along with a mason jar so that you can get started with brewing your own Kombucha as well.  Have fun!