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Establish good rapport with those guys selling you produce because…

then they give you free mangos! I think they like the vegan glutton 🙂

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For breakfast– a smoothie from strawberries, blueberries, mango (!!!), spinach, mint, lemon, almonds, and flaxseed. The color turned out unexpectedly chocolatey; the mint added a fresh kick. An alphabet of vitamins, plus fiber, carbs, and essential amino acids. Go Vegan 🙂

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Animal companionship

Today my saint bernard Bruno had a grand mal seizure. Since December of last year, he has been having seizures and was soon diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. His enormous body’s weight leads to regular contusions, albeit mild, when the convulsions happen. He is terrified and disoriented , usually unable to walk properly or stand for minutes after.

But now I am used to it. I know soon before a seizure is about to begin. I position myself around him strategically and hold him to prevent him for hurting himself. We get through it, I hug him when it’s over – in part to comfort him, and in part to keep him from moving around and falling. I talk to him gently and rub his ears. I always tell him it’s ok.

But today the seizure was especially bad. Long and powerful. Eventually, his trachea collapsed. He stopped breathing. I saw it and stared at it. The chest not moving. No breath. At this moment I felt as if I was not inhabiting my body. I could not feel my body. I could not feel my legs, my hands, my face–I wasn’t there. I had a passing thought: so this is how it happens and it happens now?? I know I thought it, knowing it’s a possibility, but I still didn’t believe it; almost as if I had left the tangible facets of living and now had no basis for believing highly probable events. It was too destructive: he cannot be dead. I felt consuming fear: what if I can’t save him?

As I was sitting in the ER lobby of the vet hospital, crying, waiting, I thought what it would feel like to know he had died. I felt I knew him so well, really well. He is in my life. I love him deeply. And while, as I think is more often the case with humans, there is never a state of non-conflicting emotions even about our loved ones, it’s easier for an animal to be experienced as pure good. And this is how I experience him. Without the conflict of ambiguous emotions that somehow sustains you during grief, this was a simple case–something purely good and sweet and trusting would be lost from my life. I felt sick.

They saved him. Intubated and got him to breathe again. Hours later I took him home, crying over him, holding him, treating him as if he had never been treated like gold before. I loved him so much–I love him so much. I would miss him so much. Pure good; kind heart; my darling love. Animal companion. I am still crying.

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Strength training for distance running

If there is one benefit to this year’s admittedly moody weather, it’s the unique training conditions. In endurance sports, challenges arise especially during severe weather conditions, be it extreme cold or sudden, unexpected heat. This is especially true for those like me who are not born runners. I am far from someone you’d typically associate with great athleticism or a knack for the sport I enjoy most frequently: endurance running. I am heavy-footed, I have low lung capacity, and, even though petite when compared to the national average, I am still somewhat heavy for someone who trains for ultra distances. Like most of us, I lose shape quickly, struggle with mechanics, and, although I have been running steadily for 3 years now, am still learning about the running style that best suits my physique and capacity. I have had my fair share of injuries, and have found that strength training, along with common sense, which sometimes eludes me, is an effective way to build the musculature to support prolonged effort.

One of the many challenges endurance runners face has to do with efficiency. Efficiency pertains to compact, smart mechanics, maximally high low weight to sustain speed and duration of effort, and nutrition managed to accommodate increasingly lasting work outs. Of these, mechanics efficiency has been the greatest predictor of injuries in my life. My range of lateral motion tends to be exaggerated; my midfoot strike is easily replaced by a mindless heel strike, and, as a result, my bursae and tendons suffer.

I have therefore spent a fair amount of time focusing on areas of physical shortcomings that to a great degree permit this mechanical inefficiency. Surprisingly. I now tend to think of occasional failures at endurance running as indicative of upper body and core weakness rather than instability in my quads and calves. ALthough all muscle groups benefit greatly from measured strength training in endurance running, my legs tend to be naturally strong. The shoulder, neck, and arm fatigue that so often plagued my runs had to do with inadequate muscle building in torso.

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These days, I make sure that I lift at least 4 times a week. And while bulk inhibits motion and additional weight is hard to carry around for miles, well-adjusted weight training is key to building strength and stability during motion. Today’s workout involved 5 miles of heat training (running) in 86 degrees (just the beginning of heat training and barely fitting the standard!), followed by extensive core, shoulder, biceps, triceps, back, and chest weight training. The weights routine was time consuming (about 2.5 hours), but I allotted time for increased breaks between sets as the weight increased.

 

Critically, muscle mass can be naturally built on a vegan diet. Mind you, my protein intake is probably below what one might say it needs to be given my levels of activity. And yet, I feel strong, energetic, I have developed greater stability and linearity in motion, and am looking forward to even better progress as I am getting back into a regular routine.

 

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Back to basics

Back after about a year of distancing myself from “distractions,” although I have probably simply replaced some distractions with others. As always, I return to writing with a reason, and, also as always, the reason is to regain clarity and focus, to become once again introspective through articulating what is emotionally confusing but linguistically accessible, with the hope to shed the clutter of stress, vanity, hastiness, that have made their way into my life again after months of no time to think. I expect that this time this blog may take on a richer, yet somewhat narrower perspective. Of course, it will remain true to the objective of preserving and advancing health–mental, or physical (to me they are largely the same thing) through simple, basic, whole nutrition, mostly raw and always vegan. But it will do more than that; it will at times focus on the many aspects of my life in which I find and invest value; the reasons for my work and aspirations, a summary of motives that drive me to continue to become my best self and live my best life. I will perhaps at times do things I have never done– discover and define wants and needs, the reasons to act and the reasons for beliefs.

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I start this new way of writing within a broader frame of returning to a simpler lifestyle. I feel a strong need to be minimalist, too see without complication, although not without complexity. I impose this on my diet as well, and begin the day with a liquidy mix of fresh, raw, nutritiously rich ingredients my body can readily absorb and utilize. A vegan smoothie from carrots, kale, blackberries, lime, and spinach for vitamins, iron, antioxidants, fiber, and carbohydrates. The texture is foamy and multi-colored, beautiful and pinkish-orange. Lovely.

 

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Restoring simplicity

Back after about a year of distancing myself from “distractions,” although I have probably simply replaced some distractions with others. As always, I return to writing with a reason, and, also as always, the reason is to regain clarity and focus, to become once again introspective through articulating what is emotionally confusing but linguistically accessible, with the hope to shed the clutter of stress, vanity, hastiness, that have made their way into my life again after months of no time to think. I expect that this time this blog may take on a richer, yet somewhat narrower perspective. Of course, it will remain true to the objective of preserving and advancing health–mental, or physical (to me they are largely the same thing) through simple, basic, whole nutrition, mostly raw and always vegan. But it will do more than that; it will at times focus on the many aspects of my life in which I find and invest value; the reasons for my work and aspirations, a summary of motives that drive me to continue to become my best self and live my best life. I will perhaps at times do things I have never done– discover and define wants and needs, the reasons to act and the reasons for beliefs.

I start this new way of writing within a broader frame of returning to a simpler lifestyle. I feel a strong need to be minimalist, too see without complication, although not without complexity. I impose this on my diet as well, and begin the day with a liquidy mix of fresh, raw, nutritiously rich ingredients my body can readily absorb and utilize. A vegan smoothie from carrots, kale, blackberries, lime, and spinach for vitamins, iron, antioxidants, fiber, and carbohydrates. The texture is foamy and multi-colored, beautiful and pinkish-orange. Lovely.

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Restoring simplicity

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Amino acids, Beauty, Carbohydrates, drinks, fiber, Health, potassium, Raw, Smoothies, Uncategorized

Drinks, anyone? :)

One aspect of raw veganism that I especially like is the beauty of just about anything you can prepare. And it’s not enough that blending all the gorgeous natural colors and flavors of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts gives you delicious medley of aroma and texture; in those colors live unaltered nutrients ready to fuel a healthy, fit, happy lifestyle.

And on this Friday night, I thought what better thing to do than share some of this beauty in the festive mood of the upcoming weekend.

Just to boost the joyous spirit a bit, I offer you a shot. Greenish, sweet, very aromatic, rich in vitamins C, A, K, as well as iron, water, fiber, and some carbohydrates. For this beauty, take about 3 cups of kale, 1 large kiwi, and a large slice of water melon. Add some mint for even more flavor and…enjoy!

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If, however, you are in the mood for a more girly kind of drink, I think a pinkish, sweet, rich cocktail just might do the trick.

This cocktail is bursting with vitamin A, amino acids, and antioxidants, is quite fruity, with a hint of fresh lime.

Blend together a mixture of cherries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries.

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Add a cup of chopped up mango, a cup of almond milk, a little bit of kale, and the juice from one fresh lime.

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The perfect refreshing deliciousness in PINK!

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Finally, one of my favorites–quite the filling, potassium and fiber – rich, creamy treat. Add one banana to 4-5 cups of kale, 1/2 cup of ground almonds, a pinch of flaxseed, 1 cup of almond milk, and 1 cup of spinach. I would have this nutritious smoothie before, as well as after a strength work out any day.

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I hope you are enjoying a lovely Friday night and looking forward to a great weekend. Cheers!

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Food labels, Health, Science-based nutrition, Uncategorized, Well being

Nutrition and child brain function: why rave about simple, raw foods

An illuminating and rich read on the impact of improper nutrition on child behavioral and psychiatric health. A young mother recently told me that her son’s friend, still in middle school, eats a bag of skittles and a diet coke for lunch–packed by his parents.

It’s critical to know what goes into our bodies and in the bodies of our loved ones; pharmacology alone is not a proper response to the multitude of symptoms children are being diagnosed with.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22928358

a propos of dyes, artificial additives, and killer lunches, here’s Skittles:

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http://www.dyediet.com/2011/06/12/candy-and-snacks/skittles-taste-the-rainbow-of-dyes/

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