As people become more divided by technology – less willing or comfortable to make direct contact, the smile is given even more power. The unspoken action of goodwill, good intention, does not come so easily to many. And when two strangers meet, if only for a moment, it is the smile that extends intention, feeling, the initial moment of faith building. Even if that moment is fleeting and assumed to be gone just as fast as it came. This exchange builds warmth in the most distant and unlikely connections.
I moved to Boston when I started my first year of college. Until then I’d lived in Palo Alto my entire life. It was literally a move to the opposite side of the country and there were a lot of adjustments to make. Of all the things I’d read about Boston such as the heavy Massachusetts accent, the use of “pop” when ordering a soda (never actually experienced this), and of course the weather, the one I wasn’t prepared for was the shorter days in the winter. I recall stepping out of class at 5pm in early December, having been in a windowless room, and being surprised to see it was already practically nighttime.
Since then I’ve lived in other places with shorter daylight than in central California as well as Boston. Berlin, Germany however is by far the greatest stretch of this phenomenon of the late autumn and winter months. With less than 8 hours from the sunrise at 8am and the sunset before 4pm, it can get pretty dreary. Fortunately I’ve learned a number of coping mechanisms for this. Lack of daylight has some well known consequences like not getting enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure on the skin. But it also changes our circadian rhythms, the biological clock that controls our production of adenosine and melatonin, which tells the body when it’s time to wake up and time to go to sleep. Of course, with the invention electricity, and more recently of cell phones, tablets, laptops, and LED lights, humans have done their fair share of man handling the delicate system that regulates when to feel sleepy or alert.
Suffice to say I make an effort to stay on the good side of these natural influences. By trying to get as much light as possible from the sun and artificial sources in the morning and mid-day. As well as avoiding screens and bright lights in the evening when it’s time to wind down and get ready for some shut eye.
This video is a bit a peak at my days in Berlin, in early November when the shorter daylight is noticeable, and also how the daily routine looks.
Just remember this – cucumber is not a pointless garnish. It is not just something you throw into water in a hotel lobby to look chi chi.
- They have “high levels of bioactive phytochemicals such as cucurbitacins, lignans and flavonoids. Many of these compounds have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, painkilling, wound-healing and laxative properties, making cucumbers an ideal cure-all.”
- “cucurbitacins could block the signaling pathways that are essential for cancer cell growth and survival.”
- “Cucurbitacin B’s ability to inhibit tumor growth and induce cancer cell apoptosis may lead to new and efficient cancer treatments to fight pancreatic cancer.”
- “Cucumbers contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol and secoisolariciresino – three lignans associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several types of cancer. These include breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers.”
- “A 2010 study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, found that these three compounds could protect your heart by lowering vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.”
I want to be wealthy.
I want to be super filthy, Scrooge McDuck, swimming in money rich.
Only, it’s not money that I want.
Money alone clearly doesn’t add value to a person’s life. Don’t believe me? Google: “lottery winners lives ruined”, enough said. And if that seems like a cop out to you, just look around for stories of the complicated lives of billionaires. Sure money can help. Private jets are awesome (at least skipping TSA and baggage claim sounds nice). But wealth is not the happiness and great life in a jar it can be objectified as.
No. I want to be rich in what I’ll call “life assets”.
The life assets I want are: skills, stories, friends, family, memories, great meals, and health. You get the idea. I also believe that when you’re rich in those things, you will be successful in life. After all, happiness is probably the greatest measure of success in my book. If you are gaining all those things in your life, you’re bound to be happy.
Attributes in life as assets
So then, entertain this concept; if you can be rich with life assets, then can’t we say there is some unit of measure for those things? Perhaps no unit we’ll all agree on like we agree on the unit of $1, but at least, the idea that one can have many friends, or very few. If I speak three languages and you only speak two, would you then agree that I have a greater wealth in language than you? Or perhaps, you, on average, spend several hours a week with various friends, while I barely have time to see one. Maybe in that case I am lacking in friendship wealth, at least time with friends, compared to you.
Your life assets as investments
If that all still makes sense, I now propose one more concept to branch off the last. If you can have a surplus of these life assets, can’t you also invest in them? That’s easy to agree on, right? You can learn to cook a new meal, make a new friend at work. Get married! These are all investments in your life assets. Hell! They are investments in your life! And if you keep track of them, and watch them grow. Continue to feed them, just like a monetary asset, they will get greater and greater and pay dividends.
Investing in life assets as a way of life
I want to propose that we use this concept of investing in life assets, as a way of making good decisions. When trying to decide what to do with your time, be it work, sleep, exercise, eating, catch up with friends, consider each of them as assets. Think about which ones are lacking in the distribution of time you can give them that will in turn keep them healthy and make them grow. I think this method will make it easy to choose what is better, to go for a walk or call a relative, instead of say… watching TV 😉
Final thought: strong life assets tend to also mean longer life
You’ve probably heard of centenarians; people who live past 100 years old. National Geographic did a great profile of the three poster child communities. In Sardinia, Okinawa, and Loma Linda, California. If you look at the attributes of the people from those groups, they all share some commonalities; community and or close family. Daily exercise. Great diets (read: not dieting –they simply eat healthy food regularly, rather than as a way to lose weight). And they all have a sense of purpose (described as having a life worth living). These people all invest in their life assets daily, they maintain low levels of stress. They use their bodies and minds, and they have great nutrition. And that keeps their organs healthy and functioning.
From a different perspective, but not a different side of the coin. When a palliative nurse heard the thoughts of people on their death beds, their thoughts were eerily connected to this subject. They wished they’d focused more on being happy, worked less, spent more time with friends, and had more courage.
So, even if you aren’t the Warren Buffet among your peers. You probably have many valuable assets, that can make and give you happiness. That can give you more time with the people you love. Invest in those assets, they are probably a lot less volatile than the financial markets.
As a child I remember spending nights at my grandparents. In the morning I’d wake up very early to be at the kitchen counter to watch my Grandpa John make scrambled eggs with breakfast sausage. While the whites and yolks bonded together in the butter and sausage grease turning into a nice yellow color, and the aroma filled the kitchen air, Grandpa John would tell me stories of growing up during the depression;about working in the CCC’s, how he learned to box in barn houses as a teenager with other boys while growing up too quickly in Long Island during a scary time. Listening to his stories was better than the movies about those times, it was his life and I learned about it while being mesmerized over the frying pan.
Countless times I sat listening to his stories and watched him fry the eggs and sausage, practically drooling over them. Few memories of my grandparents are so profound. Mostly now, my love of eggs is not about these memories, and my personal dish is a bit more complex than Grandpa’s were.
Nearly every day I eat eggs for breakfast. Usually I throw in sautéed spinach/kale/chard or some other leafy green, olive oil (with the greens), butter, fresh ground black pepper, sea salt, salsa, black beans, hot sauce, and / or whatever other random mix in. That all makes things sound complex, forget them for now. I’m here to talk about eggs, and why I will probably eat at least one egg per day, 5-6 days a week for the rest of my life, except in extreme circumstances while traveling.
And just for clarification. I only eat “happy eggs” none of this hens house avian flu stuff. I expect the chickens producing my eggs to have walked around eating off the land throughout their life. I hope they watched the sun rise, and felt the breeze, and ate natural organic food living in a lot of ways, as I do. This life ensures their eggs contain all the nutrients and proteins I expect to get from them. When shopping for eggs, never buy anything less, the happy kind are much more expensive, but the extra $2-3 is the price you pay to be healthy and know your chickens are just as happy as you are. Anything less if basically an investment in an unsustainable world – a horrible life for chickens and eggs – which aren’t as good for you as they can be. Think happy eggs – happy egg eater 🙂
For more information on how to know what kind of life was lived by the chickens who laid your eggs visit this page on the Humane Society’s website.
Back to eating eggs… as I was saying I think they are perfect food, here’s why:
Name anything that should be in your diet, especially in the first meal of your day, and eggs probably contain some of it. And it’s all in the right portion of one egg. Not too big, not too little, and not too much of anything.
For starters they are full of nutrients including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B2
- Selenium (anyone worried about eating too much Kale benefits from this)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Trace Minerals
For protein, all essential eight can be found, in fact eggs have over 40 different proteins. Many of which end up helping your body to produce antioxidants.
As for fat, and whether you believe it or not, fat is important in your diet, and eggs contain all the right fat: poly and mono-unsaturated, along with and saturated fat all inside that little shell.
If you’re going low-carb, you can’t get much lower than an egg, you’ll have to eat some bread or drink some OJ should you want them, because a typical egg is about 1% carb (<2grams).
On an pure nutritional facts label basis, depending on the size of your egg, you can expect to find that all together one egg (lets say a 100 gram egg) contains round about 150 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 13 grams of protein, and 11 grams of those aforementioned healthy fats.
As for high cholesterol, some people may be stuck on the past, but the days of fearing the cholesterol in eggs are long gone. If you have high cholesterol, many studies have shown eating up to two eggs per day reduces your cholesterol, not increase. Remember that’s because there is good and bad cholesterol, eggs contain the good kind…
If you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes or burning fat / weight loss is on your agenda, eggs help with this too. A study found up to 4 eggs per week helped reduced risk of T2D. This is in part because eggs help your liver to metabolize glucose, thus producing less storage fat cells from the food you’re eating.
And with a satiaty index of 150%, eggs leave you feeling more full than yogurt, that means you will be less hungry after eating eggs compared to other common breakfast meals and eggs contain fewer calories. Kind of like having your egg and eating it too 😉
Last but not least, for avoiding the common cold and the harmful effects of free radicals, eggs offer a helping hand. A number of antioxidants can be sourced to the common chicken egg. A recent study even has found two specific nutrients Lutein and Zeaxanthin found in eggs will reduce risk of and counteract macular degeneration and cataracts.
A word of advice too, though some have turned to the slightly more convenient (and I can barely avoid cringing when I saying that) liquid eggs, steer back to the original version. Tests have proven some of these benefits are lost when the egg has been processed ahead of time. Eat the whole egg, from the shell!
Eggs also typically come in a cardboard carton, completely recyclable in most places of the world these days, and the shells are totally biodegradable. The same probably can’t be said for the plastic that most other breakfasts come in.
So there you have it, all of that, and we’re really just looking at the highlights. But isn’t it enough? Yes everything is best in moderation. I skip my daily eggs from time to time. But I always go back. You can buy them anywhere in the world, they are not expensive, even the happy kind. You can mix them into any number of other dishes for lunch, dinner, or dessert.
Give eggs a try, or try going back. You’ll feel better, you’ll be healthier. And they are nearly as easy to prepare as anything else.
Kale is everywhere these days, and I make sure to have some just about any place that I am staying at long enough to prepare a meal.
If you cruise health blogs on the inter-webs you have seen the craze for the wild stiff leafy green that has been heralded a superfood. While in LA last month, I noticed nearly every restaurant offered a kale salad, that is new, and not normal in other cities! But truth be told, kale is old news, in case you hadn’t noticed. Google trends shows a world wide spike mid 2014, and since then it’s popularity has fallen back 10% to mid 2013 levels. I suspect it could just be a decline in popularity for kale chips.
But since I eat kale almost daily, and have an addictive personality, if it’s possible to overdue kale, I’m probably on the speedway for kale poisoning. So I figured it was time to look this up and see if the dark days of kale have come.
As an idea of where the world stands with kale, there are presently 7.9 million web pages (according to google) mentioning “kale” and “kale benefits” (in 2012 it was 2.3 million). In 2013 and 2014 farmers and kale seed distributors claimed there would be a kale shortage. But when it comes to the dark side of kale, just 395,000 search results appear related to “Dangers of Kale” appear. While that is no scientific survey, it gives you a glimpse into that state of kale.
Looking into the nay sayers of kale; quite easily I discovered that since the hay day when kale could do no wrong circa December 2013, around January 2014 just in time to catch the wave of kale love, Dr Oz and the New York Times came out with an argument for why too much kale can become a bad thing. Apparently some studies found if you have an iodine deficiency, too much Kale or just about any leafy green and other foods can lead to production of goitrin which blocks thyroid hormone synthesis.
Of course you can find a study to make just about any claim you like. And if Dr Oz or NYT were trying to catch a popular keyword at the right time with some controversial news like “your kale juice is going to kill you” they certainly knew when to strike. But if nothing else it is just a small warning that even kale along with many other veggies can cause issues when you don’t change up your greens from time to time. So, I guess it’s time to learn to like a beet salad occasionally, or some sautéed zucchini. Lesson learned.
If you are worried about too much kale or iodine deficiency, the solutions are simple, though it’s still probably a good idea to mix up your meals from time to time (I can definitely work on that). To counter act the deficiency simply eat some iodine rich foods such as seaweed. Also the selenium in brazil nuts can support proper iodine levels.
And now that I’ve taken advantage of my own fear mongering, I wanted to just re-earn some kale karma, if you will. During my research of kale I didn’t actually see a complete description of what is so great about kale. So here is my own improvement on that.
So what does kale have? How about protein and omega 3 fatty acids? It contains vitamins A,C, and K, minerals phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc. When consumed raw it’s is considered to be a precursor of glutathione (the mother of antioxidants). It fills you up and is loaded with fiber and iron helping your blood and digestion. It wont hurt your low carb or low fat diet, it certainly isn’t going to add many calories if counting is your game. You can eat it raw, cook it, juice it, chop it up fine and add some sauce. Kale’s health benefits may prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Is that enough?
If you ask me, while there are many foods out there in the veggie family with similar benefits, kale takes first prize for availability, cost, and health benefits. Sure I’ll have to cut down to a few meals a week instead of a salad every day. But kale isn’t going anywhere for me. I’ll just make sure to eat some brazil nuts with it. 😉
One of my favorite books of all time is “Willpower – Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength“. This book is full of studies, and practical information relating to focus, productivity, motivation, and the science behind them, with very clear solutions for avoiding all the usually-simple pit falls that get in our way and prevent the satisfaction of being more effective, successful, and productive.
I expect to delve very deep into all of the great gems within it until every last person I know has read the book twice, but for now I’d just touch on one of the many great examples in daily life that it breaks down. That moment, where you think about something you’ve been meaning to do, perhaps an item on a written todo list, and then the moment after where you pass it off for something else, or just get distracted and move on without completing that thought.
Roy F. Baumeister breaks down from a psychological perspective what’s happening in that moment, and backs it up with studies. Essentially, when that moment happens, and we pass off the action required to pursue and execute the said todo task, it’s most likely because there is an unclear amount of sub-steps between the desired action and the current state we are in.
For example, perhaps a door in the house is squeaking, you know it needs something to make the squeaking go away, probably some general lubricant oil. Or perhaps even this basic solution isn’t known. Either way we can all agree on the desire to make it go away. Every time the door swings open, it squeaks and for that split second, the thought occurs “I want to fix that”. Just like looking in the mirror and thinking “I want to go workout today”. So what happens the next moment after that? Why does that motivation die?
Usually, Baumeister explains, there is another thought following the “I want to do X” thought, in which the very first sub-step to achieve and finish the over arching goal is identified, or attempted to be identified. And usually that sub-step actually has a subsequent step, in fact there probably several. Like, “to fix the squeak, I’ll have to find the oil” and then “I don’t know where the oil is”, or even “I know I don’t have oil, so I’ll go to the store”. That’s where the problem really lays. Because, this chain of mysterious steps, leads to even more steps, like “what kind of oil do I need?” and “is this the best price for the oil?”. It can go on an on, and usually the time, effort, and costs involved with each of these steps is much less minimal than my given example. It’s exhausting to think about, and as you probably already can relate, is too much to just do on the fly.
It’s these sub-steps that trip us up, unless we begin at the first sub-step, and focus on what comes after, we get lost in that moment, thinking about fixing the squeak, thinking about other things it requires, which make this tiny task seem like too much to deal with right now.
The solution to this problem, as outlined in Willpower, is to stop at that moment when you are focused on the issue, break down all the sub-steps, and write them down. This way, you outline a clear path to solving the problem. With this simple method, instead of thinking “I need to fix that squeak” each time you hear it, you will remember the list of steps to fixing the squeak, and if you haven’t already executed each one from #1 to completion, you’ll make a point to take the next sub-step – instead of getting lost in the indecision and fatigue that comes from having too many unknown variables packed into a tiny action. In most cases, just committing to doing the next sub-step, is an easy thing to do, and getting it done creates a feeling of satisfaction, now, there is just the next simple step, and then it’s finished, more feeling of accomplishment, and less things to think about doing. It works, try it.
Now – to make this oh so more relatable for everyone, let’s transfer this to working out. Unless you’re a personal trainer, someone who already loves exercising and has broken down all those sub-steps to make exercise a part of your life, or you’re one of the genetic-jackpot few who can eat anything and remain slim, and whose body becomes jacked after climbing a set of stairs; more likely you are one of the 75% of all humans (with an ectomorph or endomorph body type) who see’s their body in the mirror and thinks, I need to stay in shape or “man I have really let myself go these last weeks”.
I should mention that a new wave of lifestyle is on the rise where everything you do is essentially a work out, i.e. “movement”, but that is a topic for another time. And way too big of a leap for most people if they are even still following along with me in this post.
For now, let’s say, you consider a couple hours of playing some sports as your exercise, or going for a run with a friend. Maybe in your mind going to the gym is how to best get into shape for your preference. Are you doing this regularly? Maybe you realize it’s not enough, or something’s changed, you moved and you don’t know the nearest gym. Perhaps, your friends who you play sports with have all been too busy to play recently. Your work schedule could have changed and the time that you used to workout is gone, early morning is all you have and that is painful – trust me I’ve been there. I have a lot of friends who prefer to work out with a partner, and I hear frequently about said workout partner being unavailable, and this becomes an interruption for both peoples’ schedule. In any case, it’s easy to understand that once a routine is broken, making a new one doesn’t just happen while we sleep, and once again the door is squeaking…
Suddenly, the sub-steps to your workout are gone; you’re starting from square one. My biggest pet-peeve sub-step is needing to go to the gym. Most of the time, the hours in my day required to get to the gym, check in, change, use equipment that is shared with other gym members, then shower, and go home – is a huge whopping put down, it seems like a massive hassle for what may amount to be 30-60 minutes of exercise total. I just can’t deal with that much time wasted, at least in the past when free time was short, it was too much time to give up to be an acceptable option.
To make working out easier I started running. Running is great, for me the sub-steps are: free time, and running shoes. What changed in my life that made it hard was first A) having a full time job where suddenly I had to get used to running at the end of the day instead of lunch time, as I used to do when I worked from home, and then B) having a serious running related knee injury. My condition made it painful to even walk until I got through physical therapy and rehabilitated my knee back to a point where any kind of exercise, let alone walking, was possible without a shooting pain in my meniscus. Once again, I was back to square one. How could I exercise without injuring my knee again? I was terrified for years to even go for more than a short sprint, the pain from my knee injury, even after it was gone, had me convinced I may never run again (I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true) I just couldn’t imagine a life where I had to go through that again.
Initially, I was living in a building with a gym, so I started lifting weights, learned workout routines, and the use of machines which didn’t have impact on my knees (elliptical, stationary bikes, etc), but after I moved out of that building, for the next 16 months, I had no weights or machines, or nearby gyms to use. To make matters more complicated I was working at a new startup where as co-founder, exercising was not a planned part of my typically 12-14 hour days. Now I was sitting at a desk, for long periods of time, usually eating lunch at my desk, the only exercise was my walk to work in the morning, and back again at night. I gained a lot of weight.
Eventually I came to my senses and realized all those hours at work were no good if I felt like shit. Without energy, though I might have been very excited about the company we were building, over time the effects of my crappy physical lifestyle would catchup and take a toll on my ability to be effective at work too. Sleep, diet, mind, body, work. They are all connected, you cannot just deep dive into work and have a crappy diet, little sleep, and still expect your mind or body to keep up. Even in a start up, where things move super fast, you need to have a marathon mind. Sleep under your desk all you want, the best ideas come to those who have had a good nights sleep, I promise.
So, I’m 15 pounds over my “good weight”, still need to work from 10am – 9pm or 10pm daily, what was I to do? Weekend Warrior might come to mind, the type that just hits the gym hard on the weekends. But I’ve read enough fitness studies to know this is a fast road to sports injury, that was off the list. Going to the gym or running were not an option, didn’t want the injury, didn’t want a gym membership. That’s when I got creative, I found that for the price of one months gym membership, I could have a full set of weights to work out with at home. A bar bell, two dumbbells, a little creativity in use of my home space, and suddenly there were dozens of different ways to build muscle. It wasn’t cardiovascular, but it was something. And now the sub-steps to working out were make time to work out, go to livingroom, assemble weights, workout.
I ordered the weights, they came within a week. I started waking up 2.5 hours before I had to be at work, which gave me enough time to assemble the weights, work out for 30-40 minutes, then make breakfast, then shower and walk to work. It wasn’t totally ideal, but actually the results came fast. I started building muscle. Building muscle actually helps your body burn fat instead of storing it, so my waistline started to shrink and there was even a hint of muscles in my torso, which had been gone for a long time. I started feeling stronger and better about myself. I’ve always slept well so I can’t say this improved, though I’m sure my sleep cycles had a net improvement. I started getting into the habit of waking up early which seems impossible to many, I know, unless you’ve had children (or so I’m told) getting up early unless you have to be somewhere, is not fun, or seemingly unachievable. I started to be motivated to do other physical things that improved my condition including eating healthier, where before it seemed pointless to have some sort of a fitness oriented diet, seeing signs of improvement in my condition, helped edge me further to apply that healthy mindset to other parts of my life. The absolute most important thing though was I had lots more energy, my mood was improved, and I woke up with a positive feeling, which typically didn’t emerge out of my usual grumpy self until 10 or 11. Now it took a few minutes to open my eyes, decide to get up, start lifting weights and already I wanted to take on the world.
I’ve read Willpower nearly three times, I love to dive back in and reference things in it. That being said, the act of breaking down the arduous problem of being out of shape didn’t happen with pen and paper, but in my head, as I identified the problem and had too many mornings of looking in the mirror and seeing how unhealthy my body looked, I finally did what seemed ridiculous.
I never thought of myself as a weightlifter. I don’t want to have a huge neck, or big arms. But I knew there were health, work, and life benefits to come from being in shape, not to mention being happy about how I looked in the mirror. So I thought deeper into the over-arching goal of being in shape, and realized my sub steps. Here they are as I believe they came together:
- Step 1: I’m out of shape, I have to have a way to work out at home.
- Step 2: I have to identify something that allows me to work out at home.
- Step 3: I can buy a set of weights, and workout at home with those.
- Step 4: I should shop online for a affordable weights set that I could fit in my closet or somewhere that its presence isn’t a nuisance.
- Step 5: Wait for the weights to arrive, and assemble them.
- Step 6: Create a routine for using the weights, ideally 2 groups of muscles to workout, alternating 2 days a week.
- Step 7: Search on Youtube for some weight lifting routines I can do.
- Step 8: Look up the workouts I’m going to do and make sure I can do them without hurting myself. (Seriously consider meeting with a personal trainer before doing these things on your own folks)
- Step 9: Wake up an hour earlier twice a week, and work out.
- Step 10: Repeat step 9.
So, that’s it, as you can see, the thought “I need to work out” can easily break down into many smaller steps, and usually it’s step 2 or 3 where we get lost, distracted, and allow something else in our lives to become the new focus of the moment. But this is how you break the cycle of incomplete todos. It works. If you don’t believe me, read Willpower and start on the chapter about this phenomenon, the studies should be proof enough.
In summary, I want to go on and talk about all the other great things that came to my life. As a direct or indirect result of finding a new way to stay in shape (so many seriously wonderful things), most obvious of all though not least important, is that the muscles I built lifting weights at home, re-enabled me to go running again within a few months! The most important and only take away from this post I hope you have if it’s just one, is the extremely effective art of avoiding your own self destructive habits, and decision fatigue, by separating out the many unexpected steps within that one todo item on your list which keeps getting put off. It will change your life I promise. People who can get things done stand out from the others, since so many suffer from the problems associated with not getting things done. If you show of this simple skill at work, with friends, and other settings, you will be recognized and rewarded. It’s just too valuable to not to be.
Simply put garlic is great. I don’t think it gets enough love so I’m putting it out there. The “allium sativum” as an ingredient for food preparation is inexpensive, easy to grow, easy to find, and adds a great flavor to nearly anything it’s added to. Sure it takes a beating for giving bad breath, but that’s actually a very rare complaint to hear.
When preparing some food and no ideas of the end result, without even thinking, I usually turn on a burner, get some onions sautéing in olive oil, and before long I am adding garlic. Anywhere from 2-4 cloves sliced, chopped, or even halved will add a great flavor, make your kitchen smell amazing, and the remaining pieces in the final food your serve have a huge punch packed to liven up that dish. It’s so simple, fresh garlic doesn’t rot if it’s sat around too long, and the word on the streets is it fends off vampires too, just saying.
Even if you’re kind of “meh” about the flavor of garlic or having it in your food, its health benefits are like a never ending sunset, the more time passes the more we see.
- As an ingested food, fresh garlic offers a whole gambit of cancer prevention qualities, it decreases cholesterol and blood pressure, and should be considered as a method for preventing heart attacks.
- I’ve never tried it, but apparently as a topical gel containing ajoene (a chemical found in garlic) can fight off ring worm, jock itch and athlete’s foot.
The former uses & effects are a result of the organic chemicals sulfur, cysteine, and selenium which are found in garlic. All worth reading up on, too.
Another very interesting quality of garlic is it’s relationship to Glutathione. You don’t need to know what that is right now, but make a note to look it up later, as it’s a very important antioxidant in your body of which you should be keeping replete quantities. Glutathione literally escorts toxins from the body (and out through urine & bile); it improves the immune system, fights off free radicals, and detoxifies the liver. It’s the mother of all antioxidants. If you’ve been experiencing some fatigue, muscle pain, brain fog, or just feeling vulnerable to next common cold that sweeps through town, chances are your body has a glutathione deficiency. Normally the body produces glutathione naturally, but somewhere in our 40’s we stop producing as much. Regardless of how old you are if your body has been cleaning out toxins, from junk food, air pollution, pesticides in your vegetables or fruit, alcohol, tobacco, etc. you have to help produce more or you’re going to start feeling the pain.
Back to Garlic, our bodies use the cysteine in garlic in combination with glutamic acid and glycine to produce Glutathione. I’m aware this got very scientific very fast, but just take a moment, think about how much you eat garlic, think about how interested you are in avoiding cancels, and common illnesses, think about how much better it is to start your day with a fresh head. Now, if you aren’t eating enough garlic, let this be your calling to start. We’ll talk about the other things that will help with Glutathione production another time.
Taking it back a notch, before I wrap up this personal homage. I’d just like to say that garlic doesn’t taste good raw, and there is strong evidence that taking garlic pills offer the same benefits (disclosure I have tried that the body odor alone isn’t worth it). To have some garlic, you have to cook some garlic, and cooking is great. It’s a way to destress, to prepare something healthy to eat, and save a few bucks (or not if you’re eating out). Garlic is at the heart of all that. So next time you’re grocery shopping, think to yourself – “Where’s the garlic?”.
Does it wake at 7am, beginning the day with 10 minutes of yoga, drink a mug of green tea and then a short pause for meditation? After reading some poetry and making a simple healthy, sustainable breakfast, does it go for a hike, or climb a very tall tree… something similar to the quest of a hunter gatherer?
When it defecates, does it squat? To clean, if by shower will it only use cold water? Speaking of water, how does the human use water sustainably? Is all the water from the sink, toilet, and shower pipes recycled? How is its energy generated? Are there a super powerful solar panels on its roof that can absorb 200X more energy from sunlight than current photovoltaic solar panels?
How does it get exercise? Does it lift weights or go running? Or do resistance workouts? Does it ever sit down? Or is it always in motion?
Where is its social life coming from? Does it read books? Or listen to audio? Or perhaps communicate telepathically? How about sex life? Is it in a monogamous relationship? Does it live in a congested city or a spread out village? Perhaps completely alone in the wilderness?
How often does the perfect human eat? Is it even eating or does it take pills, and do jaw and digestion work outs to mimic the experience and loads on the body of eating and digesting food? Does the perfect human drive a car? Or ride a bike? Or use a public transportation system? Maybe it flies with a jetpack? Maybe it rarely leaves its home except when on foot, or longer journeys for regularly scheduled mental development outings.
Does it take care of it’s food production? Or spend time on a nearby farm supporting the local agriculture? Maybe the perfect human has invented means of food production that don’t have the same flaws that our current methods do, faster, cleaner.
Humans have come a long way from hunting animals and living in caves to survive. They’ve evolved as all other species beyond many flaws of the mammals they descended from. But along the way they got a little too comfortable, and made a lot of new processes and devices that are shortening how much longer they can sustain their own species, and making their time while alive less enjoyable, not to mention cramping the lives of thousands of other species in the process if not simply running them off the face of the earth all together.
A perfect human would in theory, not have a negative impact on the ecosystem it lived in. Its lifestyle would have a net positive result on its own physique, instead of deforming its body, it would be in constant state of equilibrium. The food it produced would be healthy, and not leave a scar on land and atmosphere.
Humans’ pursuit for life, liberty, and happiness, should include the pursuit of sustainable living for themselves and the environment around them. Everyone drop should drop their latte, turn off the TV, and start to look at life as a jigsaw puzzle, one that has been thoroughly scrambled, which only comes together solved when all the things we do, come from sustainable sources, and leave the planet better than it was before we were smart enough to muck it up.
Looking over what I picked up at the grocery store today in Kraków, it was a typical shopping trip. Similar to when I am living in one place, there are some things I have to pick up ever 3rd or 4th trip like a bottle of olive oil, bag of nuts, or coffee, or detergent. I also like to buy meat, but I’ve avoided that on this trip because I’m cutting down on meat, and also I’m nervous about asking for 400 grams or anything in polish 🙂 I’ll warm up to it soon…
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 2 Grapefruit
- 6 Mandarins
- 2 Russet Potatoes
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Cucumber
- 8 Eggs
- 1 Bag Chopped Spinach Frozen
- 5 liter bottle of water
- 500g block, butter (like 2 american sticks)
- 500g bag, black beans
Total cost: 49,31 zł (11€/$13)
That’s enough food to have breakfast everyday for a week, 3 – 4 lunches, and 1 – 2 dinners – all together (those possible options).
The rest of my meals will probably be out, but as each time I eat out will only cost roughly $5 on average, assuming I have ten of those meals, my total food cost this week is about $63.00. Which is a little more than three lunches or three dinners, or one three course dinner back home (Palo Alto, LA, Chicago, or New York).
I remember doing my taxes the year after living in NY. As I looked over all the restaurant and bar receipts, with taxes and tip, things really added up. Compared to my lifestyle in Germany (which was definitely on a tighter budget), I was living like a rich person.
In some weeks I’d spent $500 on food and drinks. To be fair, this isn’t an apples to apples comparison, I’m not drinking alcohol right now, and I’m probably not dining at places like The Diner in Williamsburg usually… but still it’s impressive to see how I can spend way less by factors of five or more if planned carefully and in the right country.