Refined Foods and Refined ‘tudes

While on a boot run in the George D. Aiken Wilderness in Woodford, Vermont, I had some thoughts about the current squabbles in the raw world.

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Response to Matt Monarch – The Elephant in the Room

A few days ago Matt Monarch posted a video on his TheRawFoodWorld channel on YouTube, asking the leaders of the ‘Raw Movement’ to come together. These are my thoughts on the matter.

This is Matt’s video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGMQtlRblno
Here is a link to Henry Mancini’s ‘Baby Elephant Walk’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qei_ccdgTMU

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Cancer Causing Carbohydrates

Did you know that toxic compounds form when carbohydrates are heated at high temperatures? Which means that any time you bake, broil, fry, roast, grill, or sauté fruits, grains or starches you produce a cancer causing substance called acrylamide.

Acrylamide is a known carcinogen. It is formed when the amino acid arginine bonds with glucose. This occurs when carbohydrates are heated at high temperatures, but not when they are boiled or steamed.

The FDA is well aware of acrylamide formation in cooked foods and includes a list of these foods and acrylamide content on their website.

Here is a link to the FDA’s page about acrylamide – Acrylamide in Common Foods

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A Vegetarian Diet Slashes Heart Disease Risk – New Study

Vegetarians beat heart disease

A new study out of the UK shows that a vegetarian diet can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease

In this episode of Health News, I want to talk about a new study that just came out in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study looked at vegetarian diets and heart disease risk.

This study (known as the EPIC study), conducted by scientists at Oxford University in England, looked at the diets of nearly 45,000 people – 34% of which were vegetarian – and compared heart disease risk (as well as other markers of health).

What they found was that the vegetarians had 32% less risk of heart disease than did their non-vegetarian counterparts in the study.

While most vegetarians and vegans are already aware that health improves upon switching to a plant-based diet, the rest of the country has their doubts. This study is one more straw of evidence on the camel’s back.

What I find most interesting is that this 35% reduction in heart disease risk was achieved on a standard vegetarian diet – which might include lots of refined sugars, refined grain products, heated and processed fats, and very little fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. It would be interesting to see this same study conducted with subsets of vegetarians, i.e. vegans, raw vegans, etc.

The study can be found here: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/01/30/ajcn.112.044073.abstract?sid=06d590b1-1a92-4906-8e23-5de4baefa433

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Can Running Cure Depression?

Can running cure depression

Tim Van Orden speaking at Arnold’s Way in Lansdale, PA about running and it’s effect on mental health.

While speaking at Arnold’s Way in Lansdale, PA, I went on a riff about running and the effect that it’s had on my intelligence, mental health and depression.

Recent research confirms my experience that running is a very powerful anti-depressant. Many studies have shown that running or other types of endurance exercise are just as good if not better than ani-depressant medication, without the negative side effects.

But not only does running help to give one mental clarity, and alleviate depression, it also increases cognitive abilities, intelligence and creativity. Most of my research is done while I’m running. The vast majority of my lectures are created while I’m running. Not only does running put me in a better mood and keep depression at bay, but it allows me to align the hemispheres of my brain and gain new insight.

Running, especially on trails, is one of the best ways to align the right brain and left brain hemispheres. Not only are you usually both sides of the body equally while running, but you are also making thousands of calculations per second to keep balance. This effect is increased even further on trails where there are even more decisions, in more dimensions to be made every second – over bumps, around corners, avoiding roots, rocks and downed trees. As I has experienced, trail running, dramatically increases intelligence and creativity.

So the next time you are feeling depressed or are stuck on a mental problem, why not give running at try.

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New Year’s Resolutions Part III – Making Change Fun and Easy

Moose Tracks in Woodford, Vermont

Moose leave some pretty large tracks, and so do behaviors that we enjoy.

This is part 3 of my series on New Year’s Resolutions. In this piece, I tackle values and how they apply to making changes in our lives.

We have been culturally conditioned to believe that we should value certain things, and condemn others. Every January 1st, many of us adopt the belief that we should suddenly value our health, a proper diet and sufficient exercise. So we resolve to engage in these more ‘valuable’ habits. But there’s a big problem with this type of thinking or conditioning. We don’t REALLY value our health and the habits that bring about good health. If we did, we would have engaged these healthy behaviors all along. What we truly value are the things that we think about and do most of the time – Our so-called ‘bad habits.’ Which is why procrastination is such a common behavior.

I’m not saying that healthy habits should not be valued, but that the vast majority of our brain LOVES our bad habits and puts a very high value on them. It’s only the tiny little film that grows on the outside of our cognitive mind (the little angel placed on our shoulder by our cultural inheritance) that labels our values as bad habits and tries to guilt us into changing them. It tells us that we should value certain things more than others. It rejects our consistent nature and shoulds all over us. As most of you have experienced by January 16th, this is a recipe for failure. Our real values usually win out. Their gravity is stronger. The path created by our consistent action towards them is deep and well worn. It’s very hard to stray into the briars and brambles of ‘healthier’ values.

So what is one to do? Is resistance futile? I think it is. But don’t lose faith, there is a back door. The trick is to take something that you currently value and enjoy, and apply it to something that you think you should do but don’t value strongly enough yet to actually follow through on. My adventure in this video is a perfect example – I no longer value training for races and I find it extremely difficult to do so. Instead of fighting myself and forcing myself to do it (creating anxiety and overwhelm a.k.a. ego depletion), I engage in something that I do value – exploring the woods – that also happens to involve physical activity. It’s kind of like how congress will picky-back one bill on top of another to get it passed. They find a large bill that everyone is likely to support and they attach a little bill that’s not so enthusiastically embraced and they get it passed on the back of the first bill.

So rather than making yourself wrong for your entrenched values, engage in them while piggy-backing a ‘should do’ value. The enjoyment of your true value activity will leak into your should activity and make it a much more pleasant experience. It’s a great way to start clearing a new path that leads you towards actually valuing beneficial activities and habits.

Just like the moose tracks that I happen across in this video while traipsing about in Woodford, Vermont. Make some big tracks that are easy to follow.

Here’s Part II – New Year’s Resolutions – Fail or Follow Through
Here’s Part I – New Year’s Resolutions – Warming To The Cold

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Seeing into the future

Sledding in the dark.

If you’ve spent enough time building your path, there is no reason to fear the dark.

At one point in my Los Angeles adventures I purchased a season’s pass to Disneyland. Every few weeks I’d head down with a friend and enjoy the rides. My favorite was Space Mountain – a futuristic, indoor, steel roller coaster. As far as roller coasters go it’s not exceptional, but what really makes it stand out is that you ride it in the dark. You don’t know when the ups, downs or sharp turns are coming. They catch you by surprise. It’s both frightening and exhilarating. But even though you are racing into the blackness at 60 miles per hour, it never becomes terrifying. Because we know that many highly intelligent and skilled people build the track with plenty of light to guide them. What’s unknown to us, was painstakingly determined and engineered by others for our enjoyment.

The future is always unknown. It is always dark. That’s it’s nature. But the nature of our mind is to re-engineer the liquidity of the future into something more solid and certain. To see light in the darkness. To predict, project and prophesize. It is extremely difficult to overcome this wiring and see the future exactly as it is – a dark sea of probabilities and possibilities. Unpredictable and unknown. Instead, we see our past projected in front of us like a movie screen. Our past experiences and conclusions made (however inaccurate), like candles, illuminate the dark spaces in our minds, revealing likely outcomes and giving us temporary comfort. As long as we play it safe and take little or no action, we can live in this delusion with little to contradict our foretelling. But the moment we step into the game, or onto the track, we risk shattering those delusions and coming face to face with our fears. Face to face with the reality of our lives.

People often say that ‘practice makes perfect.’ But I disagree. In my understanding, practice makes the path. Practice build the track. Practice ensures a degree of safety while on the ride. Practice grinds down the stones beneath your feet into a fine sand, softening any obstacles that you may encounter. But ultimately, when practice is done and the time comes to run full out on this path, you cannot guarantee safety. You cannot determine the outcome. Just like riding a roller coaster in the dark. There will always be surprises and hidden dangers. But the more time and care you’ve put into your path (practice), the better the chance that you will get through the darkness without being harmed and with new opportunities at your feet.

So after a day of path building on the hill behind my house, my family celebrated New Year’s Eve by sledding through the woods in the dark. Endless possibility awaits you in 2013. So don’t be afraid of the dark.

This video is a follow up to my video about Finding Direction in Life.

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Soda Consumption Linked to Depression

Life is less sweet when you consume sweetened drinks.

Life is less sweet when you consume sweetened drinks.

This may come as no surprise to most of you, but a new study just released by the National Institute of Health (NIH), shows that the consumption of sweetened beverages (sodas, iced teas and fruit ‘juices’) leads to an increased risk for developing depression. For the real surprise, diet drinks had the largest depressive effect in the study.

There are still quite a few people in the dark when it comes to understanding diet and it’s effects on physical health. But an even greater majority of people fail to see the link between diet and mental health. So this study is of great importance.

If you know anyone who regularly consumes diet soda, regular soda, sweetened iced teas and so called fruit ‘juices’, you should pass this video along. Knowledge is power.

Here is a link to the study: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/aaon-htd010313.php

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New Year’s Resolutions Part II – Follow Through

This year, resolve to make incremental changes instead of massive New Year's Resolutions.

This year, resolve to make incremental changes instead of massive New Year’s Resolutions.

Do you have trouble keeping on course with your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you end up backsliding a few weeks into the new year?

In this video, which is the second part of my series on New Year’s Resolutions, I explain the right and wrong way to make a New Year’s Resolution. The title of this video is ‘No Year’s Resolutions’, because I believe that New Year’s Resolutions do more harm than good in most cases. They can cause a backlash of negative feelings, beliefs and behaviors, and they set most people up for failure.

So I’ve outlined my methods for making real changes, without the negative backlash.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

Here’s Part I – New Year’s Resolutions – Warming To The Cold

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New Year’s Resolutions – Part I – Warming To The Cold

Winter Exercise Tips

We all have excuses for not getting motivated to exercise when it’s cold outside.

The beginning of a new year always gets people to think about fresh starts and new beginnings. Feeling the accumulated burden of a year’s worth of not so great decisions, many people vow to take back their life in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. The majority of Americans will make a New Year’s Resolution, but only a tiny minority of them will actually follow through and honor their resolution. We can all come up with a million reasons, excuses and justifications for putting our resolutions off until tomorrow, or not seeing them to completion.

So I’ve decided to make a two part video series about New Year’s Resolutions, to help people better understand the mechanisms that underlie them.

In this first video, I talk about one of the biggest excuses for not following through or getting into action this Winter – The cold.

I know this excuse well, because it screams at me every day. But I’ve developed some tools for getting into action, even when it’s below zero outside and the snow is thigh deep.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

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