6 Quick healthy tips before the story….
(...and a video from a the first Crossfit competition in Medellin, in 2011)
1) POISON for your brain and stomach pre AND post workout?
This is a list of some of the added ingredients that almost all of top health experts AVOID when it comes to food, pre-worksouts and protein shakes. They iterally don’t cross the minds as something to put in the human body: aspartame, acesulfame-K, modified corn, silicon dioxide, non-organic soy, non-organic soy lecithin, fructose (added from unknown source) the list goes on and on and on… Unless you know the owner, the top dog, if it’s a multi-level marketing shake it’s probably utter shite.
TIP: RE-teach your body to be activated by organic black coffee by cutting all stimulants for a week and then trying black coffee.
2) Clean up your supplements and stimulants!
If you’re taking supplements such as protein or stimulants, know that you can probably find a cleaner version. I.e if it’s whey you could find one that is from healthy grass fed cows - both leaving a healthier footprint on the planet of probably doing your organs a favor too.
3) Sick cows and dying chickens.
We are all looking more deeply at the food, i.e a calorie is NOT a calorie. A GMO-corn fed cow is not the same as a grass fed cow. It has a different life and leaves a different impact on the planet. A truly free range farm raised chicken (and it’s eggs) is very different from a factory farm chicken and its eggs. Organic and non-organic or GMO foods leave a very different impact on the planet and may have a seriously detrimental affect on the health of your gut.
TIP: Choose the healthiest animals and foods as close to you as possible.
4) Farting and bloating.
Gut health and the digestive system are top priority for top health coaches. Eating probiotic FOODS (sauerkraut) and probiotic beverages (kombucha / jun) daily is common practice.
TIP: Make your own massive glass jar of sauerkraut.
5) Sit still.
Mindfulness in whatever way you enjoy is widely accepted as a huge part of health. For anyone regularly doing HIIT or Crossfit, I’m going to suggest that balancing the intensity with the opposite (silence and stillness) could be really beneficial short and long term.
TIP: Sit still for 5 minutes a day, close your eyes and feel the air breathing in and out of your nose.
6) F**k plastic bottles.
Crossfitters, I feel, are good at connecting and working together, something that is key in the health of each other and the planet. Thinking collectively in terms of local farms, the animals we choose to eat, the beekeepers, the homeless we walk past every day, the products we are buying (plastic bottles, synthetic clothing for example) all count. F**k plastic bottles. Really, it’s time to stop that shit.
TIP: Use glass bottles. Refill glass bottles, Go to FindASpring.com and nourish youself with local spring water.
I’ve written a smoothie ebook, it’s in English, called Exotic Possibilities that goes even deeper into some of the points above, and I’d love for you to read it. FUERZALOVE will get you 20% discount and the download comes instantly when you buy it. Thanks guys and girls, really looking forward to SMASHING a WOD with you soon!
It has been around 5 years since 2 of the greatest months of my life, training with the awesome people at Fuerza Crossfit in Medellin, Colombia! The WODs, the evening Muay Thai sessions, competitions, teamwork, team spirit, doing something that is often perceived to be a solitary experience - training!
Because I have been pretty much continuously traveling, researching health and writing since, then I have “officially" trained Crossfit just a handful of times though I have been to the Games in Los Angele twice now, enjoying that familiar feeling of excitement, support and togetherness.
The other day I was chatting with Luis, (Fuerza Crossfit Medellin and Manizales) about my blog Enrichd.Org/Blog and the book I have co-authored (BiteMeDieting.com) and we decided it would be great to share with you some of the health and nutrition learnings I’ve picked up during these years. All the good, the bad and the ugly!
3, 2, 1… VAMOS!
I was strict paleo for a good 2 years, and it worked, initially it really increased my energy levels, and my digestion improved a billions times (much less farting, which at the time was pretty chronic probably from an excess of fat free lactose containing foods) and I didn’t really drink alcohol so that part was actually a pretty easy transition too.
So, after a few weeks of great feedback from my body I was all in!
Fast forward 2 years, and I must have got a bit lost along the way, because I found myself eating a pound of almond butter every 2 days and bags of dates and fruit sweetened “paleo” bars (all organic of course). As well as that I was smashing it in my training and eating 3 huge meals per day - a different kind of animal at each sitting.
How wrong I got it because my digestion began to lose its power (loose, watery poop) and along with it, my energy levels were dipping - probably because I wasn’t assimilating the nutrients properly.
Moving to Venice Beach
When I moved to Venice Beach my apartment happened to be a couple of blocks away from one of the World’s most prestigious schools of Traditional Chinese Medicine (outside of China), and so many of the people I met (through Tea ceremonies actually) were studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Students of TCM often enjoy and need to practice their craft so as we became closer friends they offered to stick some needles in me to improve my digestion and balance my nervous system (turned out that because my digestion wasn’t working optimally I wasn’t recovering from my workouts properly either, but still training, pushing through, so my nervous system had taken a bit of a hit too.
The general TCM diagnosis of my situation was "Damp Heat”, which meant my body was damp and hot - on the inside, not a good thing. I have no idea what Western medicine would have said or done with this but the great news is that TCM looks at symptoms and gets to work on the root cause by using lifestyle changes, foods, herbs and acupuncture. I understood the objective to be to dry out the damp while cooling the heat in my system.
Acupuncture REALLY helped, and I am forever grateful to my TCM friends there (you know who you are :) it really seemed to get my insides communicating and connecting again (there is plenty of science backing that up too) and when I cut the dampening foods (excess almond butter, dates etc) and added in some herbs (prescribed to me by a practitioner of TCM) my energy levels literally rocketed through the roof again!
As well as those changes I added in organic white rice and began to chill-out about the rules I’d created for myself based on my misinterpretation of the Paleo diet. How bizarre. This is one of the ways our forthcoming book “Bit Me Dieting” came about.
Silence and Animals
Mid 2015 I found myself doing a 10 day silent meditation (Vipassana) no speaking, no eye contact, no phones, no computers, no exercise, sitting meditating, practicing the guided practices of Vipassana, and sleeping… The other thing that was not part of Vipassana was meat - we ate a vegetarian diet for 10 days. Coming from eating 3 different types of living creature per day to 10 days of vegetarianism was quite a problem, in my mind. I thought I needed that much animal. I didn’t.
I wonder if in the paleolithic time they would have had access to more than one type of animal in a day, even a week. More likely that they feasted on a catch/kill and then involuntarily fasted or ate plants / whatever else they found. Surely not Salmon for breakfast, chicken for lunch and steak for dinner?
The reality is I felt FANTASTIC eating a vegetarian diet for those 10 days, I felt great for not supporting as many deaths, and it inspired me to get more in touch with the reality of food and animals… I do still eat animals and animal products such as ghee and occasionally raw cheese from local farms, and of course local raw honey for many reasons, mainly because I feel very well doing so.
The meditation itself and giving myself the privilege of 10 days silence to myself is one of the most significant experiences I’ve ever had.
Why? Let me tell you…
On day 5 during breakfast in the morning for whatever reason (thoughts and past experiences most likely) I found myself feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, on the brink of breaking into tears I went outside, walked up the path and let go.. the tears and sobs came gushing out of my face and heart. It was both horrible and so deeply relieving…
That night during the evening meditation I began to feel some really pleasant feelings in my left leg (part of the meditation is body scanning for sensations and feelings). The stiller I stayed, the less I reacted and the more I observed, the more the pleasant feeling intensified, it actually felt like I was INSIDE my leg inside my cells, actually inside the atoms in there, buzzing. The pleasure increased, and increased, more and more, it felt so good, like 99% of an orgasm (just 99% of it… not all the way ;) ). As I began to calm and the meditation finished I walked outside with the most ridiculous smile on my face, a feeling of bliss that I’ve only had the privilege of feeling on that very day. But how? No drugs, no talking, no training, no coffee or tea, no mushrooms… just silence and stillness.
The key message? F**k Dieting.
If a human follows a strict diet prescribed by a book or a fad of the time then it may of course give them some HUGE benefits, initially, depending on their starting point, but if someone continues to dogmatically follow the “rules” without tuning into and acting on the messages their body is giving them, then they are destined for failure.
During these travels it has become more and more obvious that eating the foods that are local to you are often the wisest choice. The local honey is connected to the plants and air, the vegetables and fruits are seasonal and full of vitamins and minerals that may well be perfectly suited for humans for that EXACT season. And, if you eat them, the animals living on the same land as you, if treated well enough and given the opportunity to eat the food, they may very well provide a source of necessary nourishment too.
I’m not particularly in favor of one diet or another, I’d never t ell you to reduce your meat intake or dictate a way of eating. I simply invite you to question thoughts or resistance that you feel towards others opinions or ideas about food and health, or anything in life that causes a tension in you, because where there is resistance there is often an opportunity to explore more deeply.
Thanks for being here, I'm really happy you are!