its in the street getting under my feet

Food for survival thought

It’s a long weekend here in Canada. We are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. Yes, a very young country we are.

So, what do you do on a long weekend? Write a post of course.

But not this one in particular. Over the next couple days I’m going to do my best to put together everything I need for a post to clear up the fog of misinformation and do my best to help people achieve what it is they are attempting to achieve. From working out to nutrition. From sleeping to training for an event I hope to cover most everything people are unclear about.

My goal is to make the definitive article to get people onto the correct track in getting their health back.

 

What do you think. Is this something you might want to read? Anything you like to have covered that I might have not thought of?

 

Let me know. I’m always open for suggestions on what people are looking for from this blog. And don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings. I can take the criticism.

Yours in health,

Darryl

The only thing that’s real

Why?

I find I’m asking myself that question the last while. Why run, why press, why strike. Why? Getting through the winter months this year was tough. Dark skies, cold, cloudiness, and just dark, all the time. Going to work during the dark, heading home during the dark.

When I started karate almost 10 years ago I was really motivated. I was finally doing what I have wanted to for years but never did, for many reasons. I was starting the journey to become a black belt. A lofty goal it seemed because not everyone makes it. Many fail on the journey to achieve this goal. But I wasn’t going to. It’s not in me. It wasn’t always that way.

I’ve done many things in my life so far. I don’t think I’ve backed away from anything that I had the opportunity to do. I enlisted in the Canadian Navy years ago and was always at the top of my class. I was the first person in 8 years to make a cross lap joint out of rough lumber to a finished product with all sides perfectly square, and all angles at a perfect 90 degrees. All done by hand, no power tools. This joint I made was put into a cabinet to remain there forever. It might even still be there. Who knows.

I had the opportunity to become a ships diver, a member of an elite group with a drop out rate of 70%. I remember being accepted for the course and being scared sh*tless. I heard so many stories some of them true and I’m sure some of them not. I came close to not going. So many questions in my head, so much fear. But that was not me. I told myself I have to do it. I trained for about 8 months to get ready for this course. A good friend of my at the time, George, helped me to get into better shape for this course. I new I had to be prepared.

And I did. I learned a lot about myself during that course. I learned what I was able to accomplish. 2 mile swim every morning, followed by a 5 mile run. Diving during the day, diving at night. More running, more swimming. I finished the course at the top of my class. I was asked if I would switch from my regular trade that I entered the Navy as to become a full time diver, a commercial diver in a sense. I still remember standing there and listening to my instructors boss asking me to change careers and become a full time diver. I think it was at that point I knew I could do anything I put my mind to. I realized that things you feel are unattainable are not if you prepare, if you work hard enough. I dedicated myself to that course. It’s probably the second hardest I have ever trained, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

There wasn’t much that came up after that that really challenged me. I would bike many miles a week when I lived in the country. My brother was a big biker, inspired by the movie Breaking Away. I think I caught some of that passion for biking as I would bike for miles and miles every other day. The country was great for that. Long roads with no intersecting streets to slow you down. You could literally ride for 5 miles without having to stop.

Then I discovered running. I wanted to run a marathon. Why not, right? Who doesn’t. Training was going great. I would run for 2 – 3 hours on a tread mill at the Y. Crazy isn’t it. Got up to the point where my longest run was 23 miles. It doesn’t get any more boring than that. But I was focused again on a goal, running that marathon. And it all came crashing down. While training at the dojo a student fell on the side of my foot and it broke. Broken foot, 6 – 8 weeks recovery and there it is.

But it wasn’t a big deal. My broken foot was just before my trip to Okinawa and I was to grade for my rank of Nidan (second level black belt). A new focus. A new goal.

My role at the dojo has changed over the last few years. Expectedly. As a Sandan (third level black belt) my role is more teaching when at the dojo. I love it. I love the time I get with the kids especially. I am fortunate that our student are amazing kids, they are the future leaders of our communities, of our world. But with this change in roles also came a change in focus.

It’s been tough to find the motivation to drive me forward. I still do things but I don’t think I do them how I used to.

And I guess this is the purpose of this post. What drives you? Is there something driving you?

I hope so. We need that. I’ve realized over the years that we need that to keep getting up. To keep moving forward. You can’t keep going to the gym, the studio, the dojo if you don’t have the motivation. It’s hard work as it is but if you don’t have that goal to push you through it, it can be almost impossible.

Unless you love it.

The motivation is inherent when the love is there. If you have this you are truly blessed. You have found it, Nirvana, the Zenith of your mind and body.

If you have that goal, remind yourself of it when you are tired, exhausted, wanting to quit. Draw a picture of it, a picture of you achieving your goal. Because you can. I know that. I’m of average physical abilities. Average build. Average height. Below average coordination. Just an average dude. You can do it because I did. I had nothing going for me but my mind. My believing that I will. You will.

 

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

 

all that I can b…

12

Pretty cheesy, right? So you have guessed the topic of this post, vitamin B12, or also scientifically known as cobalamin. There, you have learned something new today.

I’m writing about B12 for a couple of reasons; 1, being vegan I know I have to supplement B12 since people get B12 by eating animal products. Animals get B12 by grazing in fields where they are interacting with dirt. Yes, animals don’t produce B12. No living being does. 2nd, animals no longer graze and therefore are the largest consumer of B12 supplements due to practices of modern day farming.

So, do we need to eat animal products to get B12? No. If animals are being given supplements because they no longer get the B12 they need, then why not cut out the middle man and find another way? You many not believe me because there is so much misinformation out there that we have to eat animals, or animal products to get B12, calcium, protein, etc. It’s not true. In fact, research has shown that eating those products cause more harm than good. Heart disease, high blood pressure, Endometriosis, calcium deficiency, that can result in osteoporosis (the 5 countries that are the largest consumers of dairy also have the largest rate of osteoporosis). Not true.

But let me get into why B12

This may be all you need: B12 is responsible for the function of your brain and nervous system. How quick, on the ball, mentally alert you are, and other things are impacted by your intake of B12.

It is also involved in the metabolism of every cell in your body and also affects DNA synthesis. Think of that. The synthesis of your DNA. That’s important.

Now for some heavy stuff. What if you don’t get enough B12? This:

A B12 deficiency  can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. At levels only slightly lower than normal, a range of symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, depression, poor memory, breathlessness, headaches, and pale skin, among others. 

I’m not being an alarmist by any means. Other things can cause the same problems. But, keep this in mind. You cannot take too much B12. It’s water soluble and non toxic. And it’s readily available in supplement form. I’ll talk about that soon.

How

So how do you get B12 if you aren’t eating animal products? Many foods are fortified with B12. Of course you can get to the bacteria that causes the formation of B12 in your gut by eating some natural dirt if you like. But that’s a lot of work.

If you want to play it on the safe side and add B12 to your daily intake, go the supplement route.

One word: Methylcobalamin. Unlike Cyanocobalamin, Methylcobalamin converts the amino acid homocysteine to the amino acid methionine. Easily absorbed and the most bioavailable (degree to which a substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration). This means it requires little to no conversion in the body. The most common way to take this is a 1000 mcg daily supplement.

Another B12 supplement is Cyanocobalamin. It’s cheaper, but created in the lab made in the presence of a cyanide molecule. They say the amount of cyanide isn’t dangerous, but it’s more work for the body to convert this to a usable form of B12 and the body has to get rid of the cyanide.

So, lesson learned, cheaper isn’t always better.

Finally

I’m a proponent of supplementing with vitamins and minerals. But, it’s expensive. First and foremost eat properly. Learn these 4 letters – WFPB. Whole food plant based diet. Live the four letters and you will be putting the best fuel in your body for performance and for disease reduction.

But if I were to recommend one vitamin supplement B12 would be it. You can’t have too much and relatively speaking, it’s inexpensive. A quick search on Amazon Canada shows a 100 day supply of 1000 mcg Methylcobalamin B12 for $15 delivered. That’s about $60 a year for your B12. Shop around too as B12 commonly goes on sale. And if you are someone like me who is more likely to be deficient, the peace of mind that comes with it knowing that you are getting your B12 and you have eliminated something that could be impacting your physical and mental health is worth it.

Here’s a tip: buy two smaller bottles and keep one at work, and one at home. That way when you are rushing about in the morning and forget to take your B12, you’ll know it’s waiting for you at work.

Yours in health,

Darryl

wash away the rain…

Dedicated to an amazing artist

Today is the Monday following an amazing 4 days with people I train with on a regular basis and people I have trained with over the years in Okinawa Japan, the United States and so on. The reason for this was our 2nd annual Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan camp up here in Canada. An amazing camp and amazing people. Before I get into the heart of this post I want to say the following: I have never met and I don’t think I will ever meet people more special and incredible than people in the Shorinkan. I have had 3 trips to Okinawa with these people where you are spending about 18 hours a day with each other, in the extreme heat, tired most times, hungry sometimes and it’s never been a bad experience. I’ve had people I don’t even know stay in my house, have left my car with someone I met for the first time, have been in various states of inebriation and have always made it home safe and sound. Words cannot express it well enough but I had to say it.

Ok, now onto the post. As with all of our karate camps, there is lots of soreness, bruises, muscle strains from the intense training. You cannot go through the lessons lightly otherwise you will never understand the techniques and how effective they are. It’s not applying techniques at 100% but at a rate that you know the technique has been done to you. And if you are lucky you get to have a technique applied from a Kyoshi who knows the technique very well. I was fortunate this weekend and my right quad is still a little tender. The technique dropped me like a rock but from having that applied I will never forget it.

So what can we do to help heal these pains or just ease the stiffness and soreness? Keep reading to find out.

  • H2O – The preventive measure is to drink plenty of water. Your body is made up of water and not having enough water in your body will prevent the process of removing waste and providing nutrients from and to your muscles running from running efficiently. What colour is your pee? If it’s darker than straw you are not getting enough water.
  • Heat – As long as there isn’t any swelling, apply heat. Heat will help the blood flow to the damaged area and speed up recovery and healing. Apply heat for 15 minutes, than remove heat for 30 minutes. Follow this process for about a few hours. Caution: Keep the level of heat bearable. Too hot of heat can damage your skin and possibly burn you.
  • Epsom salts – Put about 2 cups of Epsom salts into a hot bath and soak for at least 15 minutes or longer if you like. The warm bath will feel soothing and relaxing and will also speed up healing by increasing blood flow to the damaged areas. The adding of Epsom salts to the water breaks down the Epsom salts into Magnesium and Sulfate which is believed to then be absorbed by the body and aid in healing. It hasn’t been proven but who cares, the warm bath in itself is quite relaxing on it’s own and it feels great. Add some essential oils to the bath to add a calming sent. I guarantee you will feel better as the calming sent also calms the mind.
  • Rest – The body needs to recover and rebuild following the abuse you just gave it. Rest helps with this process of rebuilding injured areas. It’s not always easy to get the time to rest but don’t let yourself feel guilty by sleeping in. It’s about balance. If you are someone who trains hard, abuses your body through that hard work and other things such as kumite you have to sleep to recover. If you don’t sleep, you risk over training and all that comes with that. You even risk injury.
  • Avoid Alcohol – Not always easy to do. Who doesn’t want a few beers after a long day of training? That’s when they taste the best and usually after a long day of training is a long night of socializing (there goes the sleep you need). There isn’t anything good alcohol has for our body. Basically it’s a poison. Hops are barely are great for us, right? Ok, I’m trying to justify it as best as I can but even though beer has some great things in it (especially Guinness – lots of heartiness in that stout) it just doesn’t out way the negatives. If you do drink, do it in moderation. Your body will thank you.

Closing

That’s about it. I’m sure there are other options out there but I tried to keep the list short and also keep it to natural remedies. The more reading/research I do the more I’m stepping away from chemicals, things that can hurt us more than heal us. Call me a hippie. I’m ok with that.

One final note. This post takes me to just over 190 posts! I’ve had periods where the posts where almost writing themselves, sometimes posting 4 times a week. And I have periods where I haven’t posted in a month’s period.

When I see that I’ve written this many articles it’s hard for me to believe. I’ve never considered myself a writer, never thought I would have a blog and never thought I’d be able to write this many articles. I guess sometimes we don’t know what we are capable of.

Funny how all this started from a Coracobrachialis muscle…

Yours in health,

Darryl