What is the difference between a dog and a cow?

For 23 years I ate meat before I became vegan over the course of about a month. What has struck me as fantastic is that I never really thought of meat as its true origin. Of course I knew the animals it came from, I come from the countryside, where a lot of people kill animals, but it never even struck me that it could be unethical until I became one. It’s really obvious the degree of paradigm-shift that one needs to go through to go from dogma to science. This is one of the best lectures I’ve ever seen explaining just how the meat-eating systems work.


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What sort of exercise should I do?

Usually when we get into fitness regimens we do so with some kind of purpose. Unless this purpose is to get better at this particular activity, it can often lead us to question what particular activity would be best for us. I’ve been there. I’ve trued going to the gym, running, swimming, lots of things to help me loose that backback on the front. The fact is that as long as it is an activity that exerts you it does not really matter what you do, you will get leaner in time. The most important aspect is consistency and for consistency there is one single thing that matter – do you enjoy this activity or not? If this activity makes you smile you will return to it in a couple of days, next week and next month. For me, this is bodyweight training. Going to the gym cannot compare with the fun (and results) I get out of doing some bodyweight calisthenics at home. And I’m seeing great results too. It needs to be progressive though, in other words get harder as you get strong. There is a book called Convict Conditioning which has very good explanations for these progressions for 6 major exercises. So far I can do 5 of them, not strong enough in my back to get up to a handstand.

So whatever activity you do make sure you enjoy it with a smile. That said we should try to do activities from a few different areas. There are 5 areas really: strength-, endurance-, cardiovascular respiratory-, flexibility- and what is known as neurological training or simply neuro training. I will be discussing my views of these in some following posts from material I have taken in so for now let us just focus on the first three. First off I do not necessarily obsess over the difference between strength and endurance. Yes, the standard view is that strength is built when you lift a weight no more than 6 times and the more you do above that is endurance training. I believe it’s true definitely, but not set in stone. Say a guy could do 6 one-arm pull-ups and he were to increase this to 15 one-arm pull-ups – is he just building endurance? I don’t think so, that is a massive Strength movement. In fact, the two are inseparably linked. Especially in progressivist bodyweight training that is based on a double progression. Since you cannot just increase your weight by adding 5 kilos, you increase the weight a LOT by changing the exercise a bit so you must work a lot at the range known as “endurance”, but of course it builds strength as well. If you cannot do 20 full pushups, the chances of you being able to do 10 repetitions of the next progression is slim.

So what about cardio, is it important? Yes. It is vital that you enjoy the activities, but the benefits from training differs a lot between “weights” and “cardio” activities and they are benefits we all sorely need so it is important that we get some mix of both. It does not need to take a lot of time either. I take 30-40 minutes ever second day to do calisthenics and the days in between I go for a bikeride (pacer recommended so you can objectively measure how you are doing, they are pretty cheap and sold at good bike shops). I’ve ended up doing this for about 6-7 days/week for the past couple of weeks (before I biked every day, which did not give enough recovery) which works very well for me. So to answer the question of which comes first, it doesn’t matter. Start with one activity to get the ball going. Once you have adapted to this activity so it is easier for you to do it than not then add the other type of activity. Always make sure it is one you enjoy. I find cycling a lot more enjoyable than running and it is low-impact so I can do it more often and a lot easier to perform if you are not lightweight. But if you enjoy running more and is fit enough to do it – go for it. Do the activities you enjoy with a smile and you will see improvements. We are in this for the long haul. Just as we did not get to where we are today in one day of not working out it will take a couple of years to become truly fit, but we will see some improvements along the way. It’s just important to bear this in mind and not get sucked into the short-term perspective that is so prevalent in our society.

Going to head out for a 14k bikeride after I finnish my water now. Have a great day 🙂

Potato dal or “How to make a sturdy vegan meal”

I remember once I was home when my mother said that we couldn’t eat a vegan meal that I cooked all together because my stepfather needed a sturdy meal. How curious then that, except the indigestion, I get at least as sturdy meals as a vegan than I did as a carnist. No, even more sturdy I would have to say. After I have been working a while I get ready to have a nice meal again. Today I decided to make a great sturdy dal. Today I used a variation of this recipe by Adriana, thanks a lot 🙂 – http://vegan-magic.blogspot.se/2012/03/aloo-chana.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+VeganMagicBlog+%28Vegan+Magic%29

500 grams of potatoes

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp powdered ginger

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1-2 tbsp turmeric (optional, but improves color)

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup black lentils

Note, I did not know this, but black lentils behave like black beans, i.e. you need to parboil them separately then transfer to the main dish, otherwise the entire thing will become black. I managed to save the color a bit, by using turmeric, but for future reference I will parboil them.

  1. Dice potatoes and put them in a pot with 1.5 cups of water and the spices (except turmeric)
  2. Lower heat and boil for 5-10 minutes
  3. Add lentils and 3-4 cups of water
  4. Lower heat and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. After about 10 minutes add in turmeric and tomato paste.
  6. Serve either as is or with brown rice.
  7. Enjoy 🙂

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Sciency, not science

As I was going through some reminders on my phone I remembered an article I had seen the headline of at a newsstand when I was travelling home from Sundsvall last time about EU regulations about healthy food so I googled the article to see what it was all about. It basically means that products can’t make claims that are scientifically unproven. I think this is a great idea, we could remove all the advertising for animal products in one swell swoop 😛 As if we would be that lucky…

        No, this is not recommendations to base our diets around whole foods. It will mostly hit supplement sellers. And they approved things that are either bad or from a perspective making it extremely problematic. Let us go through the list.

€ Vitamin-D is good for the immune system. Can be found in fat fish and eggs.

        - Vitamin-D is a super nutrient. It cleans the blood, disinfects the lymph (if you do not have too much fat as it only penetrates about 1-1.5 cm), is essential to avoiding osteoporosis, just so much great stuff. The problem is the assumption that every nutrient should be gotten from food (or what they call food). Vitamin-D is created by our bodies when we react to sunlight. Sitting just 20 minutes in the sun will create something like 20 000iU of vitamin-D. And this is how we should get it. If you do cannot get a nutrient properly, one needs to look for something that resembles this nutrient as close as possible. This is not from flesh products, which contains high doses of fat and cholesterol. To gamble with your health just to get one specific nutrient cannot be how nature intended things to be. And fish in particular, due to the pollution of our seas is now filled with heavy metals like mercury. No, vitamin-D is essential and if you cannot get enough sun you need to supplement. It should be from a plant-based source, either D2 or a D3 created from sunlight (not sure how they do it) or mushrooms.

€ Potassium is good for muscles, nerves and blood pressure. Can be found in potatoes and milk.

        - Potassium once again is essential. But dairy is extremely unhealthy. One of the most unhealthy foods on the planet. Extremely high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Been linked to many diseases like type-2 diabetes, a trigger for type-1 diabetes, lupus, cancer, heart disease, asthma, MS, so much it’s not funny. You can find potassium in basically any whole food, the best sources are fruit.

        Speaking of best sources I have a bone to pick with mainstream. They tend to confuse the best source with the highest source. If I ask for the highest source of carbohydrates, what would you answer? Well, the highest source will always be sugar in a bag. It’s refined sugar so there is nothing, but sugar in there. This does not mean it is the best source. The best source would be fruit. Similarly even if a single nutrient may be higher in some animal foods, it does not mean it is the best. When you buy a shirt you do not want the biggest shirt, but one that fits you well. In nutrition we are looking for the foods that closest mimics our nutritional needs.

€. Now in the interest of logic I will combine three of their recommendations.

        - The fiber Guar gum is good for cholesterol. Can be found in guar flour that is used as a thickener

        - The fibers arabinoxylan and beta-glucanos kan fight blood sugar spikes after a meal. Can be found in wheat, oat and barley.

        - The fiber chitosan is good for cholesterol levels. Can be found in shellfish.

        - rye fiber is good for the intestines. Can be found in some varieties of bread.

        This is just silly. I’m not campaigning against fiber, though it should be mostly the insoluble fiber found in fruit, compared to the insoluble fiber found in all of these things, because it actually scrapes the inner lining of our bodies, which cause some damage. But that is for another day other than consuming a lot of rye bread to help the intestines will not get the result you wish, at least if you are already on a healthy diet. What upsets me is the extreme compartmentalization of fibers they are putting this through. At the same time, they are giving insufficient information and complicating things, making sure that most people will be unable to understand the recommendations. If you eat whole foods you will get enough. And taking fiber to lower cholesterol? Well, I’m not saying it will not work, but if you had a wallet and there was a hole in it so money fell out and someone told you to take this other wallet that had a much smaller hole, it might improve the situation, but your reaction should be that you’d rather have a wallet with no hole in. To improve cholesterol levels there is a simple way – don’t eat it. It only exists in animal foods. We create our own cholesterol, any cholesterol added to that works to the detriment to our health.

        

€ Melatonin can relieve jet-lag. Can be found as pharmaceuticals.

        - this one might actually be reasonable. But melatonin is a hormone and should really not be messed around with. I would rather go out more in the light and maybe get a sunset alarm clock that will use natural sounds that existed alongside our sleep as we evolve, which stimulates our melatonin levels for falling asleep or waking up. Make sure it can do both sunset and sunrise though.

€ Meal replacements with less than 250 calories/portion can help with loosing weight.

        - More from the anorexic propaganda society. You can loose weight short-term like this, same as you can loose weight short-term by not eating anything. But this will not work long-term, because you can’t do the stuff you normally do with insufficient fuel. It’s like putting half the amount of gas in your gas tank and still expecting your car to go all the way. It will not happen. And even if you are into it for the short-term, you will set yourself up for a binge, undoing the effects and more. Trust me, I’ve been there. No, the true way to weight loss is eat as much as you want, but eat it from the right things. That means, no animal products, 10-15% of calories maximum coming from whole food fats (no oils), 80% minimum coming from carbohydrates (especially fruit). Then also do exercise 20-30 minutes/day on average and you will loose weight. Everything is so short-term in our society, but the truth is that it is not so. Health is long-term, both loosing it, maintaining it and gaining or regaining it.

€ Fructose is better than regular sugar for blood sugar levels. Can be found in fruit.

        - No comments, rather an applause from getting off the fruit-phobia. Wish they would have said there is no comparison, but it’s a start.

€ Post-workout recovery meals that contain glucose, sucrose and sodium helps to minimize fluid loss.

        - Two things. First if you want to minimize fluid loss you need to rehydrate. Taking a powder and thinking it’s going to rehydrate you is wishful thinking. And if you take it with sodium that will never happen, because sodium causes the body to retain more water weight.

€ The antioxidant polyphenol protects the cells of the body. Can be found in olive oil.

        - Plant foods are extremely rich in antioxidants, especially berries. There is no need to eat more fat (something our society already eats way too much off), especially from refined sources.

€ Caffein in moderate amounts (about 2 cups of coffee), gives increased alertness and performance. Yes it does, but this is not a good thing. If you slap my face I will get more alert too and I’ll probably work harder so you will not repeat the procedure, but that does not mean it’s good. Coffee dehydrates the body, it exhausts the adrenals, increases blood sugar levels, insomnia, reduces serotonin. There is so much bad with coffee and it is addictive. If you are not alert enough eat some fruit, that gives natural sugars. And sleep more. Fighting off the symptoms of a bad lifestyle with drugs is no solution.

€ Unsaturated fats is good for the cholesterol. Can be found in olive oils, corn oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil and walnuts.

        - Once again if you do not eat cholesterol you will not need to lower it. All whole foods contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in just the amounts needed, no need to eat extra. In a natural environment we would be able to eat whole food fats at most a couple of months each year, that is all the time they are in season. We can definitely enjoy some avocados, coconuts, walnuts and sesame seeds, but we do not need them. In addition rapeseed and corn is probably Genetically Modified and should not be eaten. Especially rapeseed, which is an industrial oil (and the source for mustard gas) that should exist, at best, in things like shampoo and not in our food. It’s just used because it is cheap.

That became longer than I though. Well anyways, I applaud the European Union for at least taking a first step, which is more than my country has done on these issues, we need more consideration and knowledge about nutrition. But their science board is a present just sciency. I’ll wait for part 2 of the trilogy, maybe they will have gotten themselves an education in nutrition by that time.

Chai datorade and “how do you get enough protein for recovery?”

If you look around yourself in the locker room of a gym you will undoubtedly see quite a few people chugging down protein drinks in hopes of gaining strength. Problem is that this is not really doing much good, because muscle isn’t build totally from protein. Not even a third of muscle is made up of protein. More than seventy percent of healthy muscle is water. In fact, there’s barely eighty grams of protein in a pound of muscle – certainly no more than a hundred grams. if the extra intake of one-hundred and forty grams of protein advised by modern writers was really added to water and turned into muscle, a guy consuming this much protein would gain more than six-hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle in a year. To put it another way, he would have five or six times as much muscle on his body than Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime as Mr Olympia – after only twelve months of training. Even if you somehow lost more than three quarters of this protein as energy or through faulty digestion or via inefficient tissue-bulding, our average two-hundred pound bodybuilder would still become easily the most muscular man on the planet within a year, if all this extra protein was transformed into body muscle. In fact, as research like the China Study has found, the optimal range for protein intake is around 5-10% of calories from plant sources, which is easily found is almost all whole foods. There are a few, like dates, which are lower, but eating a variety of whole foods and you will get enough.

In fact when we work out we primarily use our muscles and the fuel for this is glycogen, a simple carbohydrate that fuels all our cells, including muscle cells. In order to recover properly from the workout, one must supply the carbohydrate lost during the workout. The most easily assimilable source is the simple carbohydrates found in fruit. Now I know, you do not want to become a raw vegan, I understand, I’m not 100% either, but I do eat fruit after workout. But if this is impossible, make sure to resupply with a meal of complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, oats, even some rice noodles, legumes (they are a bit higher in protein, but predominantly carbohydrate). I will give you some interesting recipes for this as we go along, but for now hold steady with a chai dateorade.

250 grams dates (about 20 iranian)

spices – cinnamon, powdered ginger, cardamom

1 liter (more if you like) of water (I substituted about half of the water with homemade oat milk to increase the calorie content

– Blend, blend, blend. Pour into a jug and then enjoy while doing something productive or just relaxing. Writing a blog post like this for example.

Training

Good morning everyone!

Hope you have had a good nights sleep. I managed to get to bed decently early so I feel pretty well-rested today and motivated to get going with my fitness regimen after I finnish drinking my liter of water. I’ve been going to the gym haphazardly for years without success yet this bodyweight program I’m on now is getting me far greater results. This is due to a few reasons one has to remember about getting training to work (that I have learned through not doing it).

        The first one is that you have to enjoy the kind of training you do. If you do not enjoy it, you will not do it. Or at least do it often enough and consistency really is the most important aspects of building fitness in my view. I used to work-out less than 1 day/week on average (though more in periods), of course I could not build fitness on that. I heard Doug Graham say that fitness development follows the formula F.I.T. – frequency, intensity, time and I agree with it so it is not the only variable, you start cycling every day you are not doing strength, then once you have adapted you increase time, then you increase intensity.

        The second thing I have learnt is not to make any big promises. Or rather commit to these things when you are in action committing to them. I have for all my years of failed gym going had an expectation that I would go 5-7 days/week and train. That expectation was too big. It was too far removed from what I was actually doing that I actually ended up not going at all. Do not commit to doing this when you are sitting in front of the computer, do not make big declarations. Just make the steps. When I do my bodyweight training I do not commit to doing bodyweight training every day, I commit to doing this is the new. Similarly, when I go for a bike-ride I commit to cycling in that moment. When I finnish training I commit not to make a perfect diet for the rest of my life all my time. We are not perfect, this is not possible, but I commit to making a smoothie for my athletic recovery. Now if you excuse me I am going to commit to doing some calisthenics…