My 2 Cents on Supplementation

Fish Oil

What supp?

Well, first thing’s first. What is considered a supplement?

In this context, I’m defining a supplement as any nutrition one gets that is not from whole foods.

Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They’re meant to supplement your diet (the real foods you eat). Nutrition from whole foods should come first and foremost. But it’s a well-known fact that the nutritional value of most food in the modernized western world just ain’t what it used to be. It’s much more difficult to obtain the ideal amount of vitamins and micronutrients in today’s world. So that means it’s a good idea to supplement our diet, even if we’re eating healthy. I’m not a huge fan of supplementation, but there are two supplements I never leave home without.

Greens Powder– This covers all nutritional grounds. It’s often referred to as “nutritional insurance,” ensuring that no nutritional deficiencies develop. Most high-quality greens powders contain the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals (in varied amounts), probiotics, herbal extracts, and condensed “superfoods” that promote optimum health.

Fish Oil– Reduces inflammation, joint health, exercise recovery, cognitive function, skeletal health…etc. The list of benefits from fish oil is so extensive that I CAN’T NOT take it. For me, I noticed a significant improvement in skin (never dry, and radiant) and joint health after taking fish oil. It’s a must have for everyone, especially people who exercise regularly.

Those are the only 2 supplements that I take consistently. Everything else I use gets cycled in and out depending on what I’m looking to accomplish at that specific time.

Other supplements I cycle:

Vitamin D– During times when I’m not getting enough sunlight or want to stay healthy during cold and flu season. Vitamin D is obtained through direct sunlight (without sunscreen) and in some foods. A deficiency in Vitamin D creates a whole host of health problems (see this report). Vitamin D supports healthy immune function, among many other things. I’m taking vitamin D daily right now, and enjoying perfect health while everyone is worrying about the flu.

Creatine– When I want to focus on gettin swole or increase performance in the gym.

Whey Protein– Same as creatine (I use grass-fed whey protein, gluten/soy-free, and look for brands that have the least amount of complex-sounding ingredients in them).

I don’t like including something as a part of my long-term routine unless I’m 100% sure that it’s beneficial for me. This is why I cycle supplements like Creatine and Whey Protein. Although I believe they’re not harmful (at least the brands I buy), it’s best to periodically give the body some rest.

*Remember; do your research before taking any supplement, and err on the side of caution with your dosage when you start out.

As with everything else in life, it’s good to try new things, as long as you’re not being stupid about it.

2

A Great Paradox of Our Age

We live in an age where everything we desire is available at the push of a button. We do not have to expend much effort to do anything. It’s comfortable. It’s safe. It’s a problem.

"What it must be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?"

“What it must be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?” (excerpt from The Hunger Games)

Isn’t it ironic that as everything is becoming easier for us, our mind and body, the two most fundamental facets of our lives (and the only things we have full control of), are becoming more and more difficult to maintain?

This is a result of giving our power away.

We no longer find and cook our own food, we allow others to do it for us. This disassociation from the food chain makes it oh so easy for companies to produce and sell us “food” that destroys health. It makes it easy for us to place the responsibility of our bodies in the hands the medical community. It makes it easy for “big pharma” to sell dangerous drugs to everyone with so much as a slight headache. Having food available at our beck and call 24/7 makes it easy for us to overeat. In terms of food, we view chicken not as the living animal, but as a chicken nugget. Our ignorance regarding this has made us vulnerable to a whole host of health problems. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and all other diseases associated with poor diet and lifestyle choices (key word) are rampant in modern society. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Knowledge is power, and applied knowledge is a powerful tool for change. We need to educate ourselves on health, learn to cook (create) for ourselves, and listen to our bodies. This empowers us, because being in control of our health creates an unshakeable foundation for success in all other aspects of life.

We no longer think for ourselves, we allow others to do it for us. Look around at all of the institutions in place that tell people how and what to think. The education system, the mainstream media, organized religion…etc. All of these institutions delimit free thinking. And what’s the result of this? So many people walk around with an underlying feeling of purposeless. The feeling that something is missing; that something is not quite right. Depression, fear, and anxiety are rampant in modern society. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Knowledge is power, and applied knowledge is a powerful tool for change. We need to start thinking for ourselves, keeping an open mind, being open to unlimited possibility, and letting our inherent creativity flow. It’s amazing how this creates a sense of empowerment and instills an enchanting purpose in everything we do.

Let’s take our power back, and hop in the driver’s seat of this ride we call life.

Shad

Today’s post is about music. Everybody knows music has the ability to instantaneously elevate moods. You not only hear music, but often FEEL IT on an intrinsic level.

So without further ado, I present you Shad aka the “Canadian rap sensation” (see “Yaa I Get It” below to “get it”).

You probably haven’t even heard of him, but “if you don’t know, now you know…”

Listening to Shad always puts a smile on my face. Wielding a masterful combination of technical rapping prowess, witty punchlines, uncanny wordplay,  positivity, music with a message, and relatable subject matter; Shad’s whole aura is a breathe of fresh (Canadian) air.

My favorite thing about Shad is that it always sounds like he’s smiling while rapping. A half-laughing, euphoric permasmirk. That kind of smile when you’re all giggly with infatuation around a newly intimate partner. Shad’s girl is hip-hop, and he’s having a grand ole time with her.

 

Some quotables from Shad (plus the songs they’re in):

  • “I’d rather live with these ups and downs than flat-line” -Wild
  • “Brainwashed, I’m still learning how to be me, worth millions, I’d rather be free” -Rock to It
  • “We’re breaking up, can’t hear what she’s saying but I get the tone” -Telephone
  • “I use to want to find the love of my life, now I’m trying to live a life of love, it’s not just a husband and wife” -Keep Shining
  • “You can’t be everything to everyone, so let me be anything to anyone” -Keep Shining
  • “If they treat you like a substitute teacher it’s probably because you’ve got no class” -Out of Love
  • “Know who the staff you roll with is, your staff can turn to snakes like Moses’ “-Now a Daze
  • “Ya’ll cowards couldn’t (w)rap this dope with a zig zag” -I Don’t Like To (now THAT’S a punchline)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He drops gems left and right. I’ll leave some for you to discover for yourself.

Must-watch videos: (Enjoy!)

Rose Garden (possibly my favorite video of all-time)

I Don’t Like To

Brother (Watching)

Yaa I Get It

And, in conclusion…

TSOL Outro (lyrics below, because it’s that good)

Lyrics:
“Yeah beautiful
Dangerous season the fall of youth
Souls wither like gold diggers we follow suit
The booth is starting to feel small
I should feel appalled
Instead I feel it all and can’t call it
My heroes have the heart to lose the life I wanna live
In the end I’m hoping that I take less than I give
We go through stages I ain’t talkin’ bout gigs
And I ain’t talkin bout famous when I talk about big
Prophetic poetics connect my life to my words
Some cause play-back pain right to the nerves
For me it’s hard to hear (that you’re hard of hearing)
Didn’t believe I was def till some checks started clearin
Now thats a different kind of clarity
And love for your brother
That’s a different kind of charity
Ya I rap fearlessly
But I act carelessly
When I’m busy on my grizzly
I’m a quarter bi-polar bear with me
The rarest breed
Naw I’m just a parakeet
I talk what I hear
I do as they do
And I hate what I fear you see
A simple animal sin is sincerity
But when I get carried away
You carry me, TSOL”

^Now that’s some put-a-smile-on-your-face kind of lyrical dexterity. And a good note to end on.

Keep shining.

-Stevie P

shad

3

Get Rid of All Preconceived Notions of What a “Spiritual” Person Should Be Like

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In mainstream Western society today, the keywords surrounding someone deemed as “spiritual” look something like this:

Emotional, feminine, hippy, vegetarian, vegan, yoga, meditation, tea, psychic, tofu, soy milk, passive, positive, pacifist, unique, in tuned, dreamer, unrealistic, out there, creative, artistic, New Age, free spirit…etc.

You get the idea.

Though some of these are great attributes, it paints the overall picture of something like an unemployed hippy chick with no sense of reality. Or a frail, overemotional man who lacks strength and vitality.

Is that not the stereotypical image that is conjured up when someone is described as “spiritual” in mainstream culture?

Well, fuck that (you gotta emphasize things sometimes haha). Let’s shift the paradigm.

Shatter those preconceived notions. Actually, shatter all preconceived notions. They do nothing but put the world you perceive in rigid little boxes. Don’t attach to a preconceived image of what something should be or look like.

But, before we go further, what is “spiritual”?

My definition of spiritual is being aware.

Being… Being in the moment… Simply being. And awareness… Being aware of the tranquil stillness deep inside… Being aware of infinite potential… Being aware.

Here’s another sign post pointing down the road of spirituality, courtesy of Bruce Lee. This is one of my favorite quotes of all-time.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to do yoga. A spiritual person can achieve the same body/mind connection by deadlifting the weight of a small car.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to sit cross-legged and meditate. A spiritual person can use any activity as meditation.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to be a vegetarian. A spiritual person can thank the animal that gave it’s life to provide sustenance for another being.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to be passive. A spiritual person can live through action!

So don’t judge anyone. And don’t judge yourself either.

DON’T PUT OTHERS, OR YOURSELF, IN A BOX.

Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you can’t express your emotions.

Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t be strong (physically and mentally).

Just because you’re a trucker doesn’t mean you can’t meditate.

Just because you look like you can pin a grizzly bear in a wrestling match doesn’t mean you can’t be spiritual.

Just because you work in the cubicle farms of the corporate world doesn’t mean you can’t be spiritual.

But, then again, we’re all spiritual beings anyway.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” -Teilhard de Chardin

Why Body Transformation is the Most Popular Form of Personal Improvement

 

When someone wants to change their life for the better, what’s the first thing they usually do?

That’s right, Musclebob Buffpants.

They focus on transforming their body. (aka makin’ all kindzzz of gains)

Why is this?

Well, it boils down to two things, CONTROL and TANGIBILITY.

There are only two things that we have full control of, our mind and body.

Everything else consists of either things we may be able to influence to certain degrees, or things we have no control over. Realizing this allows you to let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can.

You can’t control other people (although there’s some “powers that be” that believe otherwise). You can’t control the weather. You can’t control the score of the game you’re watching. Seriously, what’s the point of getting angry over a bad call by the ref during the Knicks game? You just lost a minute of your life in which you could’ve been happy. And did I mention you’ve been sitting on your ass eating chips for the last 2 hours? We need to take control of our lives.

The second aspect is tangibility. Unlike the mind and thoughts, the body is tangible. It is measurable. This is the reason why so many people strive to improve their physicality. You can literally see the results. You can’t measure positive thoughts. You can’t measure willpower. But you can clearly see and measure when you lose 50 lbs of fat. You can measure it when you deadlift 400 lbs.

Having such tangible, measurable progress is ridiculously empowering. It puts you in control of your life. It seeps its way into all aspects of life and creates a snowball effect of success.

You’ve mastered what you can control. You’re in the driver’s seat. You don’t fret about what is beyond your control. You do all that you can, and leave the rest up to the Universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it. Remember, “the universe tends to unfold as it should.”

Let’s evolve to become the best versions of our unique selves, and spread it. It’s contagious.

And, in conclusion, here’s a relevant Mr. T fact on a camper van…

There is no control key on Mr. T’s keyboard… Mr. T is always in control!

5

Flip the AM Motivational Switch

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I don’t know about you, but I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning during the winter. It’s cold outside, knuckle-drying cold. Cold beyond the comfort of your warm blankets. But we can’t stay in bed all day, because that ain’t living! We need to learn how to “flip the AM motivational switch” when we get thrown from the realm of dreams and land in bed. Here’s how I get ready to attack the day. These should be the very first things you do when waking up.

1. Chug a glass of water
This provides a whole host of benefits, especially after going 8 or so hours without water. You can add some squeezed lemon too if you like.

2. Pee (optional)

3. Bio-energizer Warm Up
This really gets me going in the morning. Check out my post about it HERE.

4. Take a cold shower
Sounds scary? Why? There’s really no consequences to taking a cold shower. It’s just cold. You’ll get over it. Then you’ll feel like a superhero. You’ll feel accomplished. And that feeling will be carried with you for the rest of the day. Plus cold showers are good for you.

Try this out, and you might just become a morning person.

The Balloon Technique

…Because counting sheep doesn’t work.

Letting-go

I recently came up with a technique to help myself fall asleep. And maybe it can help you as well. I call it the balloon technique. What I do is envision every thought that pops into my mind as a balloon, then I let go of it. Like a child letting go of a balloon and watching it float towards the heavens. Envision the thought as a balloon, and let it gracefully float away. So many people have trouble falling asleep because they let their minds run wild. Tame the beast. It’s bed time, you don’t need to preoccupy yourself with incessant thought patterns now.

How to implement the balloon technique:

Step 1: Be aware. Be still. Be the sky, with your thoughts being passing clouds.

Step 2: Envision your thought as a balloon.

Step 3: Picture letting it go and it floating up, up, and away.

Step 4: Repeat until no more thoughts pop up and you fall asleep.

Try this out. It works for me, and hopefully it’ll work for you.

Happy Holidays friends!

3

Good Reads: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

I recently finished reading “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” by Eben Alexander. It’s a great book, to say the least.

Front Cover

If you couldn’t guess what it’s about, it’s a (supposedly true) story about a neurosurgeon who falls into a coma for 7 days. While in a coma, he experiences “the afterlife” and comes back to tell about it.

What’s so interesting about Eben Alexander’s experience is it’s almost like the perfect storm of near-death experiences. First of all this guy was a rigid, scientific atheist. A true skeptic. When in a coma, he lost all neocortex (our higher level, human brain) function. This resulted in his experience being without the incessant filtering and constraints of the analytical mind. Dr. Alexander also made a miraculous full recovery, allowing him to share his story.

Eben Alexander’s experience reinforces a lot of ancient spiritual teachings and Eastern philosophy. He describes a higher state of existence, beyond the limitations of this reality. Overwhelming, unconditional love, feeling (as opposed to deciphering with our worldly senses), and the non-existence of time as we know it are described. He also states how words fall short in describing his experience. Eben Alexander’s story seems to be very credible in my opinion. It reinforces many spiritual concepts I’ve understood. And this isn’t just some hippy on an acid trip. He’s a friggin’ neurosurgeon! He also systematically debunks every other hypothesis of what could have caused his experience, leaving a very convincing argument to this being a genuine experience.

I’m not using a grading system for these book reviews. Just offering my opinion and sharing some intriguing information.

Now here’s some of my favorite excerpts from the book. Enjoy!

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6

Dietary Hodgepodge: Salsa & Almonds

Because peanut butter and jelly is so played out. Yeah, it’s good, but we gotta step outside the box and find some new awesome combinations. Introducing… Salsa & Almonds.

Salsa!

So how do I make this masterful mix?” You might ask (in a high-pitched, half-singing, British accent).

Ready for it?

Take a handful of almonds…………and throw it in some salsa.

It’s so easy a caveman can do it. And speaking of cavemen, I guess it’s Paleo too (if that’s your thing). You can eat it with a spoon (are spoons Paleo?), or if that’s not caveman enough for you, your bare hands.

I’ve been using Tequila Lime salsa (see the pic) and roasted almonds. But you can use any combination of salsa and probably any kind of nut as well. Get experimental with it. That’s the point. It makes for a great snack. Capping dinner off with this combo really hits the spot. Plus it’s “healthy” by most standards.

And I haven’t decided on a name for this. Salsalmonds? Almalsa? Salsanuts!?

Drop a name in the comments section if you like. I’d be happy to hear some suggestions.