perspective is relative

The journey is about to begin

My last post talked about a goal I have set for this upcoming year, 2019. I’ve committed myself to this goal be it a good idea or a bad idea but I feel it’s time. It’s time I’ve challenged myself because without challenging yourself you don’t grow, you become stagnant, and that’s not good.

And I love a challenge. Years ago I went through basic training and spent 3 years in the military. During that time I volunteered and completed the ships diver course, an intensive physical course that has a drop out rate of 60%. I went back to school in my mid twenties to get  a degree in computer science, not an easy thing to do going back to school as a mature student. Took up running, running long distances but never in an official event. Started training in Karate and received my black belt in under 5 years. Went back to school sort of to become a certified personal trainer. Recently started my course on plant based nutrition from Cornell University. And now I’ve signed up for a marathon at the end of April, my first ‘official’ marathon.

Why?

I’ve been asking myself that question. It wasn’t a compulsive decision, sort of. Because of my roll at the dojo, teaching all ages and being in a somewhat of an influential position, be it that I bring this on myself or because it’s been bestowed onto me, I am a believer that if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk.

I don’t bring up my position on eating a whole foods plant based diet when I am teaching unless I’m asked for nutrition advice, or it somehow comes up otherwise for numerous reasons. But, I’ve been feeling that I’m not a good role model in this regard. I want to be that person that when someone comments that a whole foods plant based diet is incomplete, that you can’t perform at your best, that you ‘need meat’ I’ll prove them wrong. I’ll show them what can be done eating nothing but plants. But I need a point of reference.

But I’m not doing this for me. This isn’t to stroke my ego, not a fan of ribbons, this is to help people become more than they are, to become the best they can be. I can’t do that right now because for too long I’ve neglected the physical side of my training.

Now

I’ve completed all of my physical accomplishments before following a vegan lifestyle. At this point I have no reference for comparison. But that is about to change.15 weeks of training and than time to run 26 miles fueled exclusively from plants.

It’s going to be tough, it’s going to suck. I’m not going to lie and paint this as a walk in the park. I’m heavier than I should be,  too much heavier. Too much beer and potato chips have added the pounds to my frame. But I’ll do it. I have to.

I want to do something that can make a positive change in this world. I want to be leading the 5 mile run on May 4th for our next group of future black belts. I can’t influence everyone but if I can show a few people what eating only plants can do than maybe they’ll see through all the lies perpetuated by the media and society, that we can’t survive without killing animals and consuming them. I know this. More will find out. I’m going to draw a picture the size of a mountain.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Check back here frequently for updates on my progress. This just might become a mini story.

There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker

or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.

I think it’s time.

I first set out to do this back in 2013. I had planned to run a marathon later that year, October in fact. Then, I broke my foot. The break happened the Thursday of Easter weekend. How do I remember that? I remember because I had all of Friday to ice it. I didn’t know it was broken. I iced it through Friday and the weekend thinking it was only heavily bruised. Then Monday still having a large amount of bruising I thought it’d be best to go to the hospital. So I did and I was told of the break. I left the hospital with a removable cast. Did it stop me? Honestly, no. I still trained at the dojo with the cast, going through a couple. Saturday’s work outs were brutally hard being given ‘alternative’ exercises. When I wasn’t at the dojo I would go to the rec centre to get in some laps in the pool. I had to work hard. I was grading for my Nidan (2nd dan black belt) this year and I knew what I was in for.

So I had to do what had to be done to get ready. Didn’t bother me though. I actually kind of loved it. Never really felt like I had to drag my ass up to do these things. It’s just what I had to do and I was going to do it.

I graded and it went well. I went to Okinawa and graded again, and again it went well. But I never did run that marathon. I trained hard that year. A couple times running more than 23 miles at a time, almost a marathon, but not and it really doesn’t count unless there’s a ribbon, right? But I never did the marathon. I think breaking my foot scared me. It made me nervous about a future injury as this was my first break ever.

I haven’t been that Darryl for a while now. And I don’t know why, I really don’t. I can blame work. Work has been consuming a lot of my time, especially the last 2 and a half years. I’ve been teaching a lot more too, but I should be making up that lost time some other way. But right now I’m not the best role model for physical health, I’m not. But that’s changing. I’m going to become the lesson.

I mentioned that I have enrolled in Cornell University’s plant based nutrition certification course, right? I’ve already completed my first segment. So I’m really getting more serious about proper nutrition. I can talk the talk and soon will back it up with proper credentials.

But I want to walk the walk. I want to be that guy. Yeah, I want to be ‘that guy’ but in a good way. I want to the one that people look to and say ‘he’s a machine’ and then they will be even more amazed when they realize that I am doing incredible things AND EATING ONLY PLANTS! NO MEAT, DAIRY, EGGS, FISH.

Then ask the 5 year vegan where he gets his protein. Burpee challenge? I’m in and I’ll kick your ass.

I’m going to be that person who breaks the stereotypes.

Fragile and weak? Nope! No one will be able to tell me that a whole foods plant based diet, for me a vegan life, lacks what we need to be awesome!

ALL ON PLANTS, 100%. NO ANIMALS.

I’m gonna prove it. Watch me.

April 28, 2019 – RACE INFO: ST. JOHN AMBULANCE WATERLOO MARATHON AND ED WHITLOCK HALF MARATHON (ID: 19891)

 

I’m gonna change this world

 

the bridge came up short

Abdominals

Understanding how muscle contraction works can greatly help you in working the muscles you are trying to work. As an example let’s look at the bicep muscle. The bicep muscles (there are 2, hence bicep) originate at the coracoid process (part of the scapula, the shoulder blade) and has an insertion point of the radius bone in your lower arm. To work the bicep muscles we grab an appropriate weight be it a barbell or dumbbell and starting with our arm straight we then bend our arm, bringing the weight up towards our shoulder. Most muscles are worked this way. The muscles will typically cross a joint (the elbow in this example) and we work that muscle by using the joint it crosses. The same with the tricep muscles originating from the humerus (upper arm) and having an insertion point of the ulna (lower arm) crossing the elbow joint. We work the tricep muscles inversely to how we work the bicep muscles. Makes sense.

So knowing this can help in how you work the muscles as the primary movers or secondary movers or stabilizers. Our abdominal muscles are a good example of this. Our abdominal muscles are comprised of the rectus abdominis and the transversus abdominis. The rectus abdominis is what we all understand as our abs, this muscle group is what we see when we have an 8 pack (tough to get, most only achieve a 6 pack). The transversus abdominis we don’t notice that much as sits just below and beind the rectus abdominis but also behind the external and internal obliques. It sometimes is referred to as the girdle muscle as it wraps around transversely. Connected to our illiac crest (pubic area) and the cartilage of the lower ribs it does look like a girdle. With this large muscle having fibers running transversely it is a key component of the core. No joints being crossed.

The rectus abdominis originates at the pubis and inserts on the 5-7th costal cartilages (ribs), and on the xiphoid process of the sternum. No joints being crossed.

So here we have 2 muscle groups that don’t cross any joints in our body. How do we contract the muscles if they don’t cross a joint? Think of that when doing exercises such as leg raises. If the motion of raising and lowering our legs does not cause the concentric or eccentric contraction of our core muscles because those muscles are not connected to our femur (upper leg) bone then how is this an exercise for the core?

This is where it’s up to you. These abdominal muscles will play a stabilizer role in this exercise helping you to keep you core stable as you keep your back on the floor. But, you have to actively think of this, you have to focus on these core muscles engaging and stabilizing your body, your core. What also helps with this is using the isometric contraction to contract the muscles.

planking
planking comes in many ways

Isometric contraction is contracting the muscle without lengthening (eccentric contraction) or shortening (concentric contraction). How can you do this with the abs? Think of tightening your abs as if someone was going to punch you in the gut. The muscles are contracting but not lengthening or shortening. You can also do this: Suck in your abs drawing in your lower abdomen below your naval, and hold it. This is referred to as hollowing or vacuuming. You can do this, and isometric contractions anytime; sitting, standing, working, etc. Do this and hold it for 10 – 15 seconds to start, and be sure to continue to breathe. Then increase the time to 30 seconds, or a minute. Be sure to incorporate this into workouts when planking, etc.

Let’s look at some exercises we can do to strengthen these muscles:

  • Russian twist: Starting seated with knees together and bent, raise your feet about 6 inches off of the floor and lean back slightly. Twist from side to side keeping your core tight in that vacuum state and as you twist bring both hands over try to touch the ground.
  • Plank: Staring laying down on your belly lift your body up onto your elbows and toes. Keep you hips up imagining a line from your shoulders to your ankle and your hips intercepting that line. Keep the belly sucked in actively engaging the transversus abdominis. To add difficulty lift a hand up straight out ahead and to add even more difficulty do the same with a leg lifting the opposite foot off of the ground  keeping the leg straight.
  • Crunches: If is very important to keep a neutral spine while doing crunches. This means not pulling on your head and curving the spine while crunching. Most people do this because it makes it easier and makes us feel like we are being successful. Doing more of something that can hurt us is not being successful. Keeping your spine in a neutral position put your hands by your ears and look straight up. Now, bending at the hips, contracting your abs, lift your shoulders up off the ground. Now, lower back down but don’t let your shoulders touch the ground! Keeping the load on the abs by not letting your shoulders touch the ground thus eliminating the rest is really hard but this is what will get you a strong  transversus abdominis and will help prevent back injuries and will also help in giving you that flat stomach most people are looking for. Technique is key as always

Working muscles that don’t cross a joint is harder as it requires much more concentration and focus since it’s not as easy as moving a limb. YOU HAVE TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE THE MUSCLES BY ISOMETRIC CONTRACTION OR BY HOLLOWING. Not doing these things will result in putting in lots of time but not getting the results you want and need.

This post is just the beginning of building a strong core. My plan is to break it down even further in upcoming posts. But this should get you started and covers enough to give you a strong back supporting core.

And remember, if a muscle does not bridge a joint, bending a joint does not work it directly.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Those who never retract their opinions

It may not be needed but with it, life is so much better. It’s never really talked about when people discuss what they eat. Our good friend fiber.

It isn’t needed. It’s not an essential nutrient like water, carbohydrates, or protein. We don’t need it to sustain life but with it everything just runs so much better. And you run better. Someone asks you where do you get your protein? Ask them, where do you get your fiber.

What

Dietary fiber is a plant based carbohydrate but unlike other carbs it cannot be broken down into sugar molecules. Therefore, fiber passes though us relatively intact. And as it passes through our body it does some great things.

  • Normalizes bowel movements: Basically fiber increases the size of the stool making it easier to pass and it also softens it.
  • Maintain bowel health: Studies have shown it lowers risk of colorectal cancer. Also, having good bowel health also means less time in the bathroom sitting possibly resulting in hemorrhoids.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels: Eating beans, oats and other foods high in soluble fiber may help lower cholesterol by lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol.
  • Helps you live longer: Some studies have shown the a high fiber diet may reduce risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. More on this below.

 

Some Details

Let’s look a little deeper into how having a diet high in cholesterol can help us live longer and disease free longer. We live during a time where we are exposed to a lot of chemicals. The stuff we put on and in our body: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, anti-persperant, makeup. The air we breathe full of toxic chemicals. Maybe you’ve heard about the recent VW emissions scandal where they where convicted of using a cheating device on their emissions tests. It’s so bad even a VW executive is going to jail for it! The clean diesel they were selling…not so clean. The same with coal, clean coal is a lie from the coal lobby so coal will continue to be used as a source of energy. Then there’s the food we eat: fast food and prepared foods loaded with chemicals so they last longer and don’t spoil. Chemicals put in to replicate flavours instead of using the actual product that has the flavour they are trying to replicate. Why use the actual product, that would be too expensive and companies – share holders, wouldn’t make as much money.

We can do things to limit our exposure to chemicals. Change what we eat, use shampoos that don’t have chemicals as examples. I recently purchased vegan all natural deodorant. Made 100% from natural products – no toxic chemicals at all. Even the packaging the deodorant itself comes in is made toxic chemical free. And this shit works!

But ultimately we cannot eliminate exposure to all toxic chemicals in our lives. It’s pretty much impossible. The world just isn’t that big anymore. And if you live in a large urban area you are even at a greater exposure. But this is where fiber comes in. As mentioned earlier fiber is a carbohydrate but does not break down into a sugar molecule, it maintains it’s roughness so to speak. And as fiber passes through our intestinal track it picks up the toxic waste our body’s liver processed and wants to get rid of. The toxic waste adheres to the fiber and is eventually excreted from our body. But, if there isn’t any fiber there for the toxic waste to cling too, the toxic chemicals are absorbed back into our body.

But what else does fiber remove from our body? Hormones. Hormones that come from the foods we eat. What’s that? You eat meat that has not been fed hormones so you are ok, right? Not really. Consumption of beef, chicken, pork has shown to increase the amount of estrogen in individuals. Trying to start a family and not having any luck? Hmm…maybe read this. And if you consume dairy you are also including estrogen into your diet. Think about it, diary is made by mom cows who just had a baby (yep, cows make milk for their newborn baby, not there 16 year old baby, and not for us) and most times are impregnated shortly again and that milk is made up of stuff to get that baby cow up to 500 lbs as quickly as possible, usually within a year. It’s funny how people will argue eating meat is natural, we’ve always done it but ignore ‘natural’ or nature when it comes to the fact that we are the only species that continue to consume dairy after being weaned well into our old age and fuck, we drink milk from another animal!!! Offer that person a glass of human milk and they would call it gross, disgusting. But continue to drink cows milk, and eat meat because natural tho.

That’s right, animal products – meat, milk, etc. have no fiber at all. None. Zilch. Nada. On the flip side a whole foods plant based diet will give you more than enough fiber, every day! Fuck yeah!

Do I need to say more? Do I really need to make a list of foods high in fiber? No. I don’t. It should be clear up to this point. Animal products: Fiber score=0%. Whole foods plant based diet: Fiber score = > 100%.

Don’t be one of those people who don’t learn from other’s mistakes. Don’t be that person who lost a love one to cancer and doesn’t want to go through that shit but continues to do the things that don’t help prevent cancer but in fact sets up the ideal environment for cancer promotion.

You wanna use the hashtag #fuckcancer than actually do it, fuckcancer. Reduce or eliminate the foods that harm us and increase the whole plant foods increasing your fiber.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing

Beware of this trap.

Water, the life substance. We cannot live long without water. We need it to survive and we need it throughout our day to maintain proper body functions but in excess it can be harmful. In fact it can actually kill you. Have you ever heard of someone dying while competing in an endurance race? I’ve heard of it happening close to where I live. The person (I’m assuming not well trained to complete in such a race) consumed too much water thus diluting the sodium in their body causing hyponatremia. Basically water moves from your blood to your cells, causing the cells to expand, and causing swelling of the brain.

Too much exercising and not enough recovery time can be detrimental to our health too. I guess the title of my post is a bit click baity but it’s to emphasize a point I’ll be making soon.

The Case

I’m going to take a look at a supplement, specifically magnesium, and what being deficient in magnesium can mean to us and also what having too much magnesium can also do.

What

Magnesium like a lot of minerals plays an important role in our well being. It is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions including energy metabolism and protein synthesis. It is also involved in muscle and nerve functions, energy production, and also plays a role in the transport of potassium and calcium ions. Basically it is an essential ion to the human body.

Not Enough

So what could you experience if you are not getting enough magnesium? Here’s a list of common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Elevated PMS symptoms
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Muscle weakness and cramps

Too Much

Now lets look at the opposite, what happens if you get too much magnesium from supplementing:

  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you noticed above I specifically stated from supplementing. This is because the body will naturally get rid of excess magnesium via the kidneys when consumed in the foods we eat.

Then what

Muscle weakness and cramping, these two things existing in both cases. How would you know the difference between too much or not enough? So what do we do? You are now thinking if you don’t supplement or if you do supplement you’ll still be in a bad place. You can’t win, right? But you can.

First, what I think is the most important thing you can do for your health is to adopt a whole foods plant based diet. Notice I’m not using the word vegan. There’s a reason for this. Following a vegan life style is just that, it’s a life style that goes beyond what you eat such as what you wear and buy. You can eat nothing but Oreo’s and still be vegan. Not a good choice though is it. A whole foods plant based diet is what is sounds like it is. Whole foods that are plants, not processed foods. Minimizing oils, salts, sugars. Sounds boring, right? But it’s not. Check out this book to see that there are a lot of exciting options when it comes to cooking with plants.

Without getting into it too deeply try to consume a variety of plants: onions, dark green leafy vegetables, potatoes, bright coloured peppers, whole grain unprocessed rice, seeds, nuts, avocados, tofu and so on. Prepare these foods not adding anything or if you like to add salt and oil but at a minimum. If you eat this way it is virtually impossible to eat too much and add unwanted fat to your body. Because these foods are whole foods, not processed, they are nutrient dense but caloric light unlike processed foods which are the inverse. Here’s what I mean; fat has 9 calories per gram where as protein and carbs have 4 calories. And because whole plant based foods are high in fiber you will feel full and satisfied without having to consume all those calories.

But what does this have to do with magnesium? By eating these foods you should be getting all the magnesium you need, naturally.

But

But if you aren’t sure and you think you might be deficient in magnesium visit your doctor for blood work and ask that magnesium be added to the tests. If the results come back that you are low in magnesium then talk to your doctor about options to address it.

Finally

I hope this helps make things clear. Supplementing should be our last option, our first option changing what we eat. Think of it as putting cheap fuel into your car and because of this your having to buy a higher grade of oil to combat engine wear. Why not just put better fuel into the car? The same goes for your body. And not having to supplement means not having to spend money on expensive pills.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Shiver and say the words

I’m on my way

 

Finally, after a couple years of pondering.

I’m on my way to a nutrition certificate. A plant based nutrition certificate from Cornell University. I’ll be able to provide the full solution to you health needs. I’ve always strived my best to do this, but now I can.

I’ve wanted to be certified in nutrition for a couple years now and I finally made the decision to commit to the course. Of course I decided to be certified in plant based nutrition because that is really the only option when it comes to nutrition. And of course I am taking the course offered by Dr. T. Collin Campbell, the author of The China Study, the most comprehensive study of nutrition.

I’ll no longer have to amend my posts with ‘I am not certified in nutrition…’.

I will now certifiably be your one place to go to for your health needs.

Wish me luck.

Yours in health,

Darryl