Run Your Own Race

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)

I was listening to a podcast this morning with John Wellbourn, former NFL football player and founder of CrossFit Football, he was talking about running your own race and doing your own thing. About not being concerned about what others are doing. While he was speaking specifically to training, I was thinking how it also applies to life.

Over the years I have found myself struggling with this, not only in the gym, but in all aspects of my life. Worrying what others are doing and what others think about me. All the while I know full well that it really doesn’t matter. Who cares if someone can lift more than you, run faster, has more money, etc…

Live your life with integrity and do what is best for you.

Honor God

Love everyone, including yourself

Run your race!

SOFT & CHEWY DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Soft & Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies *Recipe from www.paleomg.com

Prep time10 mins

Cook time10 mins

Total time20 mins

Serves: 13-15

Ingredients

1 cup thick almond butter (I used Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter because it’s similar to thick nut butters. If you use too oily, the cookies won’t come together. You were warned.)
1 cup coconut sugar
1 egg, whisked
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
¼-1/2 cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together almond butter and coconut sugar using a large spoon. Then add egg and mix again until well combined.
Add ¼ cup of cocoa powder at a time. At this point, I used my hands to incorporate the cocoa powder into the dough. Add all the cocoa powder and completely combine.
Then add baking soda, vanilla, salt and chocolate chips and combined until everything is well mixed. This was all hands for me. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. (This should be a very thick dough at this point. If it’s not, you need a thicker almond butter like I said before).
Use a cookie scoop to scoop out around 2 tablespoons of dough and make into a round ball. Place on silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. This dough will create 13-15 cookies that size.
Once you’ve placed all the balled dough onto the baking sheet, use a fork to press the cookies down just slightly. No need to really flatten them out, just get them to look more cookie shape instead of ball shape. If you press them down too much, they’ll come apart when they bake so be careful.
Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes until removing from baking sheet to place on cooling rack. If you try to remove these from the baking sheet early, they will come apart. So don’t be stupid here. Patience is a virtue.
Eat up!

WHAT IS REAL FOOD?

I think sometimes that I am a bit naive in thinking that people understand what I am talking about when I refer to real food. I have always just assumed that the concept of real food was fairly simple. However, the more I talk with people about nutrition, the more I realize that most people really have no idea what they actually eat. They mostly rely on others to prepare “food” for them and when you talk to them about grocery shopping and cooking they are relatively clueless. We are a society that allows marketing and price to determine what we eat and we trust that they are telling us the truth. (McDonalds, Subway, Healthy Choice, etc…)
So, let’s talk about real food. It is food that is not processed, refined, or preserved. It has very few ingredients or better yet, doesn’t need to list ingredients because it is just what it says it is. (I.e. an apple) It is not food that has not been genetically modified like 80% of all corn and soybeans grown in the US nor, does it contain ingredients that you have to have a degree in chemistry to pronounce. Real food is just the stuff that God put on this earth for us to eat before science started jacking it all up.
How do you start eating real food again? Well, first you have to stop eating all that fast food as well as “TV” dinner style garbage. Yes, that includes all those “healthy” and “smart” dinners in the frozen section. Next, you have to learn how to cook. Don’t tell me that you don’t have time. My wife and I both work and run a business and we have three kids, 16, 13 and 2! You just have to schedule and prepare ahead of time. There are some fantastic resources online to provide you with healthy recipes and tips on how to prepare them. My suggestion is to find a few that are simple and fast and let them be your “go to” meals. Next, you will need to spend some time at the grocery store or local market learning how to shop. Real food tends to be on the perimeter of the store. (Produce, meat, and dairy) I typically avoid the center of the store except for items like olive oil and frozen veggies. Look for SEASONAL fruit and vegetables they tend to be more reasonably priced. Also, the local farmer’s market or local CSA’S are excellent places to find organically grown veggies and grass-fed and free range meat and poultry.
Finally, I have said this before but it bears repeating, don’t be afraid to question what you have been taught about nutrition and don’t get caught up in some fad diet. Nutrition is really simple; you just have to re-learn how to eat healthy. There was a time, in our grandparent’s or great grandparent’s generation, that it was just a normal way of life to eat a diet rich in local, seasonal fruits and vegetables and locally raised meats and poultry. We have simply forgotten how to eat that way. I say start now, choose real food.

Let’s Talk Fitness

Let’s Talk Fitness

(This was originally published in 2011 at trainingthefatkid.blogspot.com but, I think it is very relevant and a nice reminder so I decided to repost)

Why are we, as a society, so out of shape? Simple, we don’t get off our rear ends enough and move. A recent study revealed that 7 out 10 Americans don’t exercise enough despite the health benefits. Lack of physical activity contributes to some 300,000 deaths each year in the United States caused by heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions. We are not a society that works physically hard like our grand parents did. The majority of us sit behind a desk all day then go home and sit in front of the TV. All the while stuffing our faces with junk food.

So, how do we get fit and healthy? The simple answer is diet and exercise. Of course, if you have tried to change your diet and add exercise to your routine, that is easier said than done. A few things that I have learned over the years that have helped me:

Probably the most important thing is to set a goal for yourself. Sign up for a local 5k run or find yourself a partner that will hold you accountable if you don’t show up to exercise.
It takes about 21 day for something to become a habit. So, stick with it. Give it a few weeks and it will become your normal routine.
Take your time and don’t over do it. I am not suggesting that you go to the gym and creep along on the treadmill at at snails pace. I am a firm believer that the majority of people do not push themselves enough when it comes to exercise. So go hard and sweat like crazy. Just start off slow and build up as your conditioning improves.
Exercise does not have to be structured in a gym, track, etc.. Go to the park and play on the jungle gym, take a hike and use the woods as your gym. Climb a tree. Just find something that will get your heart rate up and will improve your conditioning. Just have fun.
Get out of your comfort zone. My whole family took a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class for a few months. We loved it. It showed me that I was capable of doing something that I really thought would kill me. (Jiu Jitsu, at my age? LOL) Now, I do all sorts of crazy stuff. (Handstands, flips on the jungle gym, tree climbing, etc…) So, don’t be afraid to try something.
Below is a quote from the Crossfit founder. This is the ‘philosophy’ that I have tried follow for about a year now and I am in best shape I have ever been in.

World-Class Fitness in 100 Words:Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.
~Greg Glassman

This goes along with my whole theory that diet and exercise is really simple. Just eat real food and find something that you enjoy to do that will improve your overall health. Keep it simple and have fun.

GMOS: THE CONTROVERSY

Hey guys,

This is a “guest” post. My daughter Madalyn has written a paper on genetically modified organisms and why it is a controversial topic. If you aren’t familiar with GMOs, this is a pretty good overview of some of the dangers.

GMOs: The Controversy

Dating back to the paleolithic era of American history, real food, believe it or not was actually being consumed. Cavemen ate off of the land, hunted, and grew their crops. In the “good ole days,” before the 19th century, an idea American’s have come to know and love over the years had not yet been implicated into society. This “idea” is now commonly known as processed food. Over time Americans have taken a step up in the food processing industry to a new concept, genetically modifying foods so as to transform the size and variation of the food. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are plants or animals that have undergone a process wherein scientists alter their genes with DNA from different species of living organisms, bacteria, or viruses to get desired traits such as resistance to disease or tolerance of pesticides. Due to the harmful effects that genetically modified foods inflict upon the environment and the human body, I strongly believe America should ban the use of GMOs.

According to a website that raises awareness about GMOs, today, roughly 85 percent of corn, 91 percent of soybeans, and 88 percent of cotton grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. Other common GMO foods include canola, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa. The argument pertaining to the genetic modification of such a large number of crops is in fact a valid argument. Some may argue the benefits of GMOs, stating that the number of crops being produced could have a significant effect on nutrition and hunger issues in the developing world.

Though it may be true that genetically modifying crops will produce significant amounts of food to aid in world hunger issues, how is feeding people chemicals going to solve any problems?

As mentioned earlier, when a crop is genetically modified, it is not only altered for sizing purposes. Chemical companies genetically engineer DNA from bacteria into food crops to enable them to survive high doses of the herbicides they sell. Overuse of certain pesticides has created “superweeds” and “superbugs,” resulting in GMO crops now being designed to withstand even more toxic herbicides. More toxic herbicides and pesticides being used on these crops results in more residue from these chemicals ending up on the plates of people all over the world. In a recent study done on GMO corn produced by Monsanto, (a leading chemical engineering company), research has discovered a new toxin is being produced that causes the stomachs of insects consuming the toxin to explode. With the resistance to this toxin by the plant constantly building up, more of the toxin will be consumed by humans. If this toxin, commonly known as the BT Toxin, explodes the stomachs of insects, eventually it could have the same affect on humans. In addition to digestive tract issues, the BT Toxin has recently been found in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, and in the now destroyed homes of monarch butterflies, whose population has already gone down 50% in the last nine years. The biggest harm GMOs inflict upon the environment and the human population of the world is the result of one word, PESTICIDES! Yet, there are still several people who believe planting these crops and dumping millions of pounds of pesticides on them are simply keeping bugs out of our crops.

Looking at genetically modified crops on global soil, there are many farmers who have major issues with chemical companies, such as Monsanto. Monsanto will sue any farmer who is supposedly using seeds or pesticides that is owned by the company and will literally confiscate the farm if ONE seed is found on property that does not belong to the company. This is where much controversy comes into play. It is common knowledge that when the wind blows, seeds travel through the air, as well as chemical residue. So if a family farm is located anywhere near a farm owned by Monsanto, it is at a much higher risk of being contaminated. There have been several instances in which family farms have been wrongfully taken over, thus adding more space for genetically modified crops to be grown. See the problem yet?

According to a website opposing GMOs, sixty countries around the world have already put restrictions or bans on GMO products, thus a new question has risen. If sixty countries have already regulated genetically modified crops, why won’t America follow the trend and take similar action? In a recent poll over labeling GMOs, 90% of the American population said they would like to know what they’re eating. There are currently many movements occurring in an attempt to get the United States to label which food products are using GMOs. However, to counter these movements, many corporations are paying whatever cost necessary in order to not have to label their foods. The logic behind not labeling GMO products is very simple; if people realize what they’re eating is genetically modified, they are less likely to spend their money on it.

Over the years, America has transformed from a society of farmers envisioned my Thomas Jefferson, to a society who, rather than eating real home-grown crops, mostly eats food that has been processed or genetically altered. Though beneficial to world hunger issues, genetically modifying crops in order to produce a larger quantity or different variation of the crop, to protect the crop from herbicides, or to simply keep pests away from the crop, has a much more negative impact on the environment and the people of the country than a positive impact. I will henceforth stick to my belief that America should place on ban on the genetic modification of our food.

Bibliography

“GMO Facts.” The NonGMO Project RSS. NonGmo Project, 2014. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.

Bello, Walden, and Foreign Policy In Focus. “Twenty-Six Countries Ban GMOs-Why Won’t the US?” The Nation. Foreign Policy in Focus, 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

Caldwell, Maggie. “5 Surprising Genetically Modified Foods.” Mother Jones. Environment, 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

Network, Jolie Lee. “What You Need to Know about GMOs.” USA Today. Gannett, 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.

“What Are We Eating?” LabelGMOs. Label GMOs, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

“What Are GMOs?” TakePart. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.