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Paleo Ginger Coconut Stir-Fry

ginger coconut stir-fry chicken cooking

This is what the chicken will look like when it is done cooking.

I love making stir-fry, not just because it is delicious, but because when I am done I have several meals that are ready to eat with a few minutes in the microwave. Here is a new dish I made that turned out well.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 lbs chicken breast
  2. Salt
  3. Pepper
  4. 3 teaspoons of onion powder
  5. 3 teaspoons of garlic powder
  6. 3 teaspoons of ginger powder
  7. 2 ounces of fresh ginger root
  8. 2 bell peppers
  9. 2 broccoli crowns
  10. 1 Cucumber
  11. 12 ounces of pineapple
  12. 8 ounces of sugar snap peas
  13. 3 tablespoons of coconut aminos (adds soy sauces taste)
  14. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  15. 6 ounces of coconut milk (the kind you get in a carton)

Directions:

  1. Cut up chicken breast into small pieces
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Melt coconut oil in a frying pan and start cooking chicken
  4. Add onion powder, garlic powder and ginger powder to chicken
  5. Wash and chop up ginger root and add to the frying pan
  6. Add coconut aminos to the frying pan and let chicken finish cooking
  7. Wash all vegetables and chop up bell pepper, pineapple, cucumber and broccoli
  8. When chicken is finished cooking transfer the contents of the frying pan into a large pot and add all vegetables and pineapple
  9. Add coconut milk
  10. If you like saltier food then add some extra salt to the mixture
  11. Let the stir-fry cook for another 20 to 30 minutes on medium so the vegetables get soft, stir contents every 5 minutes or so
  12. Enjoy the stir-fry!

ginger coconut chicken stir-fry in a bowl

Sunday Recipes

roasted brussels sprouts and applesHaving a wide variety of delicious paleo recipes makes it easier to stay true to paleo. So here is list of recipes I am looking forward to trying:

This Maple Salmon with Mango Salsa recipe looks delicious and healthy. Salmon is a great way to boost your omega-3 intake.

I am a big fan of Brussels Sprouts, here is a recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples. It is a little more interesting than my normal Brussels Sprouts cooked in coconut oil and seasoned with salt.

One of the foods I miss while on paleo is chicken tenders, I can’t wait to try some coconut crusted chicken strips.

I don’t know where you can find bison meat, but if you manage to find some then you can make this interesting looking dish, Bison Chili.

If anyone tries these recipes out, let us know what you thought of them in the comments.

Weekend Links

paleo bakery

Paleo friendly baked goods can be bought at The Organic Cave bakery.

Here are some interesting links to help occupy your weekend:

Scientists are researching immortality, and jelly fish may be the key.

This articles discusses the recent statin study and the limitation of observational studies. They often find correlations that aren’t necessarily related by causation. For example there are more drownings in swimming pool at the same time that ice cream consumption is the highest however eating ice cream won’t cause you to drown, it is just that eating ice cream and going in the pool are both popular when it is hot.

Earlier this week I suggested that you should limit your high intensity cardio, here is more research confirming what I said that extreme endurance exercise is bad for your heart.

This article reveals the secret that people are more likely to continue exercising if they enroll in a fitness class instead of doing it on their own. This doesn’t surprise me because classes can be more fun than just running on the treadmill and classes help to teach people who know nothing about fitness how to get in shape. I think the social component of classes also helps to keep people exercising.

As paleo eating becomes more popular, more and more athletes are now open to going paleo instead of following the conventional wisdom that you need to eat refined carbs to be an athlete.

Here is a story about a paleo bakery that just opened up. This is very encouraging to me, I can’t wait until more paleo restaurants open up, especially near me.

No Heavy Weightlifting for a While

wayne atwell lifting bench press

Unfortunately I won’t be at the gym benching for a while.

Two days ago I cut myself pretty bad on the hand. I am pretty bummed out not only because it started to hurt quite  bit but because I am not suppose to do really heavy weight lifting for the next two weeks or more and heavy lifting is my favorite way to exercise. I’m not even supposed to do pull ups because it puts too much pressure on my hand.

I’m not the type of person to let an injury stop me from exercising and getting into better shape, especially when I have been making so much progress lately. A few months ago I did a one week push up routine that increased my chest by an inch of muscle and added 20 lbs to my bench press. I was very happy with the results of that push up routine and was planning on doing a second more intese push up routine called the Evil Russian which is 14 days long.

I have been putting off the Evil Russian for a while because I have been making consistent gains lately and haven’t plateaued at all and because some of the days are so intense that there is no way you could do it while still going to work. On one day you need to stop and do push ups every 15 minutes, THE ENTIRE DAY. I think my coworkers would think I am insane if I did that on a work day.

Well right now is the perfect time to do the Evil Russian. I can still do push ups but I can’t do most heavy lifting and I am on vacation for almost the entire end of the year. I only have 3 days of work next week and then I am done. I am excited to see how much progress I can make with routine when such a simple one week program helped me so much. I will report back with the results in a few weeks.

No real post today, spent all last night in the hospital

bloody injured hand open wound cutI intended to write an awesome post for today but I ended up taking an unexpected trip to the emergency room. I survived but can only do limited weight lifting until I get the stitches out. I was planning on starting a new push up routine soon called the evil Russian. Since I can still do push ups maybe I will start it a little early.

It took about two hours for the hospital to stitch me up and send me home. A little slow in my opinion. The thing that bothered me more than how long it took was that I had a decent bandage that I had created using paper towel and duct tape. When I came into the operating room they cut it off and had me wash my hand. As soon as I took off the bandage is started bleeding profusely again so they gave me some gauss which I had to hold over my cut for the next 30 minutes until the doctor came. Why the heck did they have me take of the bandages 30 minutes before the doctor showed up? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to leave on the bandage until the doctor arrived? No wonder 10% of Americans are diabetic and 67% are obese, the hospitals and medical professionals have no idea what they are doing.

wounded hand with stitches in hospital

Here is my hand after I got 7 stitches.

bandaged hand wrapped in gauss at hospital

Here is my hand after they wrapped it up.

How to Make Following Paleo Easier

Paleo diet foods vegetables meat nutsWhen a person first start eating paleo it is very difficult. They face temptations at every turn and feel like every food they love is off limits.  At first the new paleo dieter is able to say no to the non-paleo foods they love because of their original motivation (weight loss, lower cholesterol, etc..) is greater than their craving for the junk food. This becomes harder over time as the person get closer to their goal because they get complacent since they are so close to their goal and they have been giving up all the foods they love for so long. This is the main problem with people new to paleo, they give up the foods they love for too long. To be honest when I started following paleo everything I enjoyed was off limits because the only foods that I liked we’re junk food.

How to succeed in eating paleo

salmon dinner broccoli brussels sprouts ketosisEmbrace paleo and find at least 15 recipes that you like and can make easily. If you don’t have 15 recipes then you will not have the variety of food to stay happy while eating paleo. Until you have 15 paleo recipes commit to learning one new paleo recipe every week. If you don’t know enough tasty healthy recipes you will always feel like you are giving up you favorite foods because you haven’t found healthy foods that you love more or as much as the unhealthy foods. It is much easier to substitute the healthy foods you love for the junk foods you love than to give up the junk foods you love for health food you hate.

To make my point I will compare my previous top 20 favorite foods with my new top 20 favorite foods:

Pre-Paleo list of top 20 favorite foods
Steak and mashed white potatoes with margarine
Cheese steak
Burritos
Fajitas
Soda
Ice cream
Donuts
Sushi
Lasagna
Crab cakes
Chicken Pizza
Quesadilla
Popcorn chicken
Candy corn
Marshmallows
Hibachi
Bacon egg and cheese on a bagel
Chocolate chip cookies
Chicken parm sandwich
Subway chicken teriyaki sandwich

New top 20 favorite foods
Burritos
Ice cream
Soda
Popcorn chicken
Hibachi
Paleo Apple Cinnamon Chicken
Paleo Salmon
Paleo Chili
Steak and sweet potato
Guacamole and Paleo Tortilla Chips
Paleo Sweet Potato Fries
Paleo Bell Pepper Chicken Fajita
Primal Omelet with Grass Fed Cheese
Macadamia nuts
Pineapple
Sushi
Dark chocolate
Paleo Crab Cakes
Strawberries
Steak and Sweet potatoes with ghee

You see that my first list is comprised of absolutely no paleo friendly food and a ton of junk food where as now all but 5 foods are paleo or primal. Yes I I still love some junk foods but I am not giving up all of the foods I love because I have found healthy foods I love as much or more than junk food. The more you expand you paleo cooking skills, the easier it will be. Now I only need to give up the 5 non-Paleo foods on my list of top 20 to follow paleo without cheating.

Stop all the Cardio

Everyone knows that cardio is good for you. So clearly if some cardio is good for you then more cardio is even better for you, right?

Wrong!

marathon running cardio heart healthRecent research has demonstrated that too much intense cardio is bad for you and can damage your heart. A study was done in Britain comparing the hearts of older male athletes, younger male athletes and healthy older non-athletes. They found that the older male athletes showed signs of fibrosis, which is scarring of the heart muscle. Neither the younger athletes nor the healthy older non-athletes suffered from fibrosis.

About half of the older athletes had fibrosis. Not surprisingly the ones who had fibrosis were the ones who exercised the hardest and longest. Excessive cardio not only risks the health of your heart but also wreaks havoc on your hormones. Running a marathon reduces your testosterone by 50% while more than doubling your cortisol both of which are bad for your health. Testosterone not only allows healthy sexual function but also slows the aging process, and is responsible for building muscle mass and maintaining bone density. Cortisol is a stress hormone that leads to accelerated aging, weight gain and loss of muscle.

How to do cardio the right way

Hiking Photo Beautiful Lake in Forest

Not only is hiking healthy but it also allows you to take beautiful pictures like this one I took of a lake this weekend.

Although too much intense cardio is bad for your heart, moderate cardio will benefit your greatly. Some of the benefits of cardio exercise include lower risk of heart disease, reduction in blood pressure, lower LDL, higher HDL and improved insulin sensitivity. The best way of exercising without overdoing it is to move often at a slow pace. Walking and hiking are some of the healthiest forms of exercise. You can burn plenty of calories without putting excess stress on your body; Mark Sisson recommends you walk for 2 to 5 hours a week. In addition to walking, you should also do sprint intervals once every week as well.

An interval is where you alternate between exercising at an intense rate and exercising at a slow rate to recover. My standard interval workout is 25 minutes on the elliptical runner. I warm up for 5 minutes, then sprint for 60 seconds followed by a 90 second recovery jog. I do a total of 6 intervals then cool down for 5 minutes. I do all of my intervals on a bike or an elliptical runner to avoid the impact. I think that running intense intervals on a treadmill last year is how I herniated a disk in my back.

Not only does interval training not damage your heart, it also has several health benefits. Intervals improve aerobic capacity faster than endurance running, burns fat instead of muscle, increases your HGH and improves your metabolism. So stop all the chronic cardio then shift to hiking and intense interval training.

Parents are Responsible for the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

childhood obesity junk food McDonald'sFor the past few decades childhood obesity has been on the rise. It isn’t uncommon for children to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. To help tack this problem researchers at the Imperial College London have created an online calculator to determine how likely is a child to become obese. The calculator is able to correctly predict childhood obesity 85% of the time just by entering information about the parents. The factors used to calculate the chance of childhood obesity are parents BMI, number of people in household, occupation of mother, gestational smoking and birth weight.

All of these are factors that are within the control of the parents other than birth weight, and even that can be partially controlled by the mothers weight before pregnancy. If the parents can control all of these factors then this means that parents who care can prevent childhood obesity if they have the right information.

Lets look at the factors and try to figure out what is contributing to obesity:

  1. Parents BMI – The heavier the parents are, the more likely a child is to be obese as well. This can be partially explained by genetics, but more than likely it is because of diet. A parent will be obese if they eat a crappy diet and they are most likely feeding their child the same crappy diet that they are eating which leads to the child gaining weight as well. Interestingly the fathers BMI has a larger impact on the child’s weight than the mothers.
  2. Number of people in household – The more people in a household, the lower the chance of obesity. I think there are two things going on here. First, if the child is raised by a single parent then the child doesn’t get as much attention as a 2 parent household so they are more likely to gain weight. Second, the more siblings a child has, the more children are available to play with and run around with playing games and burning calories.
  3. Maternal Occupation – This is likely a predictor of education level of the mother and is likely correlated with knowledge of health as well as income. The more educated the woman is, the more likely she is to know about the importance of healthy living and if she has a high income then she can afford to buy healthier food.
  4. Gestational Smoking – We all know that smoking is bad, is it really surprising that a mother smoking while pregnant with a child is going to mess the kid up and lead to the kid being obese? I am curious whether it is actually the hormonal changes to the kid exposed to a smoking mother that causes obesity or just the fact that if a mother is so incredibly irresponsible that she smokes while pregnant then it means she will be an equally as irresponsible parent and neglect to feed the kid properly. My money is on the second option.
  5. Birth Weight – All kinds of factors affect a child’s birthweight including genetics, the woman’s pre-pregnancy weight, and maternal age. The easiest way to lower your child’s chance of being heavy at birth and obese later in life is to lose weight before you try to have a child.

childhood obesity junk food high caloriesIn the end there are two main factors that impact whether a child is going to become obese, what the kid eats and how much the kid exercises. The reason that children are gaining so much weight is because the average diet in America is getting worse and everyone is less active.

Parents are too busy or lazy too cook a healthy meal for the family, so instead they are relying on instant dinners and fast food which are incredibly unhealthy. Parents should make sure that kids are fed healthy fresh food and avoid junk food most of the time.

In addition to a poor diet, kids are playing on Facebook or their cell phones instead of going outside and playing. Parents should limit the amount of time a kid spends in front of a screen while they are at home. My parents never bought us a Nintendo until I was around 11, so instead we were outside running around with our friends. Parents need to make sure that kids go outside and get exercise instead of sitting behind a laptop or playing video games. If more parents spent time cooking healthy meals for their kids and making sure their kids were active, we wouldn’t have such a huge childhood obesity problem.

Sunday Recipes

It is Sunday which means it is time for another addition to Sunday recipes:

Check out these cranberry apple crisps. A tasty way of starting your day!

Here is a recipe for tri tip roast and sweet potato salad. Could they be mixed together for a beefy sweet potato salad of some sort? Perhaps…

Here is a delicious looking lamb dish. I look forward to giving it a try.

Almonds are great, here is a recipe for home made smoked almonds.

Try this stuffed chicken breast recipe. It has bacon!

And finally if you are up for a challenge try to make this paleo pad Thai noodle dish out of zucchinis.

Weekend Links

Here are some health and exercise links to get you through the weekend:

obese mannequin reddit

Here is the picture of the mannequin posted to reddit.

Recently as obesity expands in America more stores are using plus size mannequins to display there clothing. Someone posted a picture of particularly weird looking obese mannequin on reddit and some people were outraged by it.

If you are getting bored or your exercise routine, then you should try changing it up every so often. Researchers at University of Florida found that people who change up their exercise routine every two weeks enjoy exercising more.

Researchers have found that men with visceral belly fat are at higher risk for osteoporosis. To improve your bone health you should lose excess body fat and weight lift.

A recent study says that for people with high cholesterol statins plus exercise lowers risk of dying. In the past I have read that statins only lower your risk of dying if you are male, over the age of 40 and have already had one or more heart attack. From what I read of this study they didn’t separate the high risk men over 40 with previous problems out from the rest of the population which means that it could still only be the high risk men that are benefitting from statins. Most people are better off treating high cholesterol with exercise and proper diet so they can avoid the nasty side effects of statins.

Track your Progress to Maximize your Gains

gym note book

Don’t judge me for my awful hand writing. I write these notes while out of breath between sets.

If you want to succeed in weight lifting then you absolutely have to track your workouts. For the longest time I tried to just remember how I did the week before and pick the right weight, and it even worked ok back when I was new and only did six exercises a week. These days I do 20+ different exercises every week and I can’t even come close to remembering what weight I did and how many reps I got.

Perhaps you are able to remember what weight you did but you but not the number of reps or whether it was too much weight and caused you to use bad form. Since I started tracking my lifting I have been making much better progress because I do a better job of picking the right weight. Before I would often pick a weight that was a little too hard or too easy. I would either end up only being able to do 2 reps or it would be so easy I would do 10 to 15 reps. Neither of these situations are optimal for building strength.

What to track in you note book

I track all kinds of information, of course the obvious stuff:

  • the exercise
  • the weight
  • the number of reps

It is also important to track the less obvious information:

  • Did you fail on the last rep or did you think you could have gotten one more
  • How much sleep did you get the night before
  • When was the last time you ate
  • How long did you rest between sets
  • Did you warm up with a jog
  • How long did you work out for

All of this additional information can help you analyze your training sessions and help you progress faster and avoid making mistakes. I feel more in control now that I keep a notebook. I am also able to see a measurable improvement because I know where I started.

Paleo Tortilla Chips

paleo gluten free almond tortilla chips

These are the chips from one quarter of a batch.

When I decided to take paleo more seriously an cut out things like corn chips, I was very sad because I love guacamole and I no longer had any way to eat it. First I discovered that I could top grilled chicken with guacamole and it was pretty good. Later I found that I could still eat paleo mexican food and began making paleo bell pepper chicken fajitas which included guacamole. Just this last week I discovered paleo tortilla chips.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups of almond flour
  2. 2 egg whites
  3. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Add flour and egg white to a bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.
  3. Add salt and powders and continue to mix.
  4. Place tortilla dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll flat with a rolling pin.
  5. Use a knife to cut tortilla chip design into dough.
  6. Bake in oven at 325 for 10 minutes.
  7. Flip chips and cook for additional 3 minutes.
paleo tortilla dough

This is the dough for one quarter of a batch.

Healthy Paleo Sweet Potato Fries

healthy paleo sweet potato friesIn my previous life as a unhealthy eater I was a huge fan of french fries, in fact I loved all kinds of potato. Since becoming healthier I have switched from white potatoes to sweet potatoes because they are more nutritious and have a lower glycemic index. Here is an awesome healthy recipe for sweet potato fries.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 lbs of sweet potatoes
  2. 1 tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter)
  3. 2 teaspoons of seasoning salt
  4. 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  5. 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

healthy paleo sweet potato fries

Directions:

  1. Start preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes very thoroughly. You can either skin the potatoes if you don’t like the skin on or leave it on. I leave it on.
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes into long  strips. I like to make my strips an inch wide and about a third of an inch thick. Try to make all strips approximately the same size so they cook evenly.
  4. Melt ghee in a pan over the stove.
  5. Place the sweet potato strips in a large (clean!) ziplock bag and poor the ghee into the bag. Lock the bag and shake it until the ghee has evenly coated all of the potato strips. You may need to do this more than once if all the potato strips can’t fit in your bag.
  6. Coat a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the sweet potato strips on the sheet, no closer than half an inch apart.
  7. Mix the onion powder, garlic powder and seasoning salt into a small bowl. Take a pinch or two (or three if you are a salt fiend like me) of this powder mix and spread it on each of the sweet potato strips.
  8. Bake the sweet potato fries at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
  9. Flip each of the fries over and add a few pinches of the powder mix to each fry.
  10. Cook sweet the fries for another 10 minutes.
  11. Enjoy!

Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

tea has antioxidants and fights cancerGood news for all the tea drinkers out there, drinking tea may improve your health. Before you start drinking tea you need to decide which tea to drink. Traditionally only black tea, green tea, oolong tean and white tea are considered real tea and are brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What is different between the four types of teas is how the leaves are prepared. Black tea is dried out and oxidized, green tea is dried but not oxidized, oolong tea is dried and partially oxidized and white tea is neither dried nor oxidized.

All of these teas contain antioxidants named polyphenols. Antioxidants help your protect your body form the damage done by free radicals. Antioxidants help you lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and cholesterol problems. Of the four types teas, green tea has the highest level of antioxidants.

Studies have shown that tea drinkers have lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Drinking tea is believed to lower you cholesterol and promote weight loss as well. Drinking tea has even been shown to potentially reduce your chance of geting Parkinson’s disease.

The problem with the human studies that have been done on tea is that they are observational studies and are not clinical. They collect data people who drink tea or don’t drink tea and then observe what kinds of health differences the tea drinkers and the people who don’t drink tea. It is likely that the tea is making the tea drinkers healthier given the high antioxidant levels of tea but it hasn’t directly been proven. It is possible that people who drink tea are just more healthy minded  than those that don’t drink tea. Studies done on rats have shown that drinking tea reduces rats’ cancer risk.

For those of you who don’t like caffeine, decaffeinated tea still has some of the antioxidants that are in caffeinated tea. What method is used to remove the caffeine determines how much of the antioxidants remain. Chemical processing removes 70% of the antioxidants but water processing only removes 5% of the antioxidants. The added benefit of decaf tea is that you drinking decaf tea will not raise your cortisol level, which leads to aging, muscle break down and weight gain.

The Fastest Way to Get into Ketosis

Fasting with an empty plateIf you are trying to lose weight, following a ketogenic diet can help you burn fat fast. However, trying to get into ketosis can be a frustrating experience. Am I eating too many carbs, not enough fat, too much protein? Getting into ketosis usually takes 3 to 5 days at least, and can take people up to two weeks. Recently I have discovered a simple and easy way to get into ketosis very quickly. I went from eating lots of carbs one night, to in ketosis 24 hours later.

How did I do this? Simple, I went into a full fast and exercised. What prevents you from entering ketosis is all the glycogen stored in your liver and muscles. Your body can use this glycogen instead of ketones to fuel your brain, so until you deplete your stores of glycogen, you won’t be able to enter ketosis. By eating nothing, you are going to tap into the glycogen to fuel your brain because you are eating 0 grams of carbs and will also be using that glycogen to walk around all day.

In addition to not eating, all I did was 45 minutes of cardio at a moderate pace. When I got home after the gym I tested myself and I was in ketosis. In the past it has taken me 3 to 4 days to get into ketosis, but with this method it only took me 24 hours.

Sunday Recipes

stuffed pepper

Delicious looking stuffed peppers.

It is Sunday which means time for more paleo recipes.

Check out these pumpkin pie cupcakes. They look pretty tasty but be sure to take some extra omega 3 to balance out all the omega 6 from the almond flour.

These stuffed peppers look delicious, I can’t wait to give them a try.

Here is a recipe for roasted brussels sprouts. I had never thought to add garlic to them.

Check out these great looking tuna cakes.

This pumpkin chicken chili looks delicious, I would love to try some.

If you are looking for a great salad, give this strawberry avocado salad a try.

Weekend Links

Another weekly addition of Weekend Links:

The growing obesity epidemic across the world is putting financial pressure on Europe as healthcare cost rise.

This awful article suggest that the paleo diet is bad for athletes because it is low carbs. Athletes may need to eat more calories and carbs than an ordinary person, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t eat those carbs from healthy sources such as sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables.

A new study demonstrates that people burn more calories on average when they work out with a person who is more athletic than them.

New data shows that obesity not only causes diseases but also rot the brain by damaging memory.

It is very difficult to do studies on individual people on the impact of high fructose corn syrup and it’s health impact because it is in so many foods that people don’t realize. Researchers were able to determine that countries that have higher consumption of corn syrup have higher instance of diabetes. The rise in diabetes from corn syrup is independent of sugar intake and obesity.

Watch out, your couch may try to kill you. Most couches contain flame retardent chemicals that increase the risk of cancer.

48 Hours Without Food

no food intermittent fastingI just finished my first ever 48 hour fast. I have been doing intermittent fasting to improve my health for a long time, but this is the first time I have attempted such a long fast. I do a short 15 to 16 hour fast 4 or 5 times a week and a longer 24 to 30 hour fast every week or two, but never longer than 30 hours.

My Experience

The first 15 hours were a breeze, I do a 15 hour fast almost every day so my body is very used to it. It wasn’t until around 3 pm on the first day that I started to feel kind of hungry. It wasn’t a big problem except that my stomach started growling while I was in meeting which is pretty embarrassing. When doing extended fasting I rarely actually get hungry, I get more of an empty feeling and a longing to eat. I don’t physically need to eat I just mentally want to eat.

By five o’clock I was really starting to have the empty feeling. Luckily I got out of work and headed to the gym. Nothing like working out to distract myself from not eating. After I finished my hunger and desire to eat had disappeared. Surprisingly the night was really easy. I didn’t think about food at all, instead I just did research, read websites and wrote articles. I had a little trouble falling asleep but it wasn’t that bad.

Day 2 was a little harder. I felt the empty feeling the whole day from like 10 am on. Around 2 pm on I started thinking about food A LOT. I was planning out all the food I wanted to eat when I broke my fast. I now feel much closer to Ghandi. A  48 hour fast was tough enough, I can’t imagine what it would be like to fast for 21 days like Ghandi did.

The Meal

Finally at 8 o’clock last night I had my first meal in 48 hours. I decided to eat ham, brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, macadamia nuts, some healthy corn chips(no soy or vegetable oil), guacamole and a baked artichoke. I have never had artichoke before. I don’t know if I did a bad job of cooking it or if I just don’t like artichoke but I was not a fan.

While I was cooking dinner I still didn’t feel hungry, it wasn’t until I started to eat that I felt extremely hungry. I probably ate at least 1500 calories in my dinner, which I don’t think is a bad thing given I hadn’t eaten in 2 days. After dinner I gave myself a treat of some dark chocolate and a glass of wine. All in all it was not a bad experience. It gave me a bigger appreciation of food and the fact that I have regular access to healthy food whenever I want it.

Why Such a Long Fast?

One reason I decided to fast so long was to make up for all the cheating I did over Thanksgiving. I gained a few pounds and was unhappy with how I was feeling. The other main reason was because I wanted to see if I could do it. I love to push my limits to see what I am capable of. I enjoy experimenting with my body so I can improve my health. I also like the feeling of accomplishment when I complete a difficult challenge. I also wanted to get all of the awesome health benefits of fasting.

Here are some of the health benefits of intermittent fasting other than fat loss:

  1. Increased HGH
  2. Lower ghrelin and and triglycerides
  3. Getting into ketosis faster
  4. Reduced inflammation
  5. Lower insulin level and better insulin sensitivity
  6. Fasting makes you more resistant to cancer and chemotherapy and even allows your body to metabolize tumors

Have you ever tried fasting? What is the longest that you ever fasted for?

Increase your HGH to Build Muscle and Burn Fat

Human Growth Hormone (or HGH) is one of the greatest hormones in the human body. It is produced by the pituitary gland which is in the base of the brain. It is especially important during childhood and teens because it promotes growth however HGH also serves a critical function your entire life.

HGH is responsible for all kinds of health benefits including:

  1. Increased bone strength
  2. Building muscle mass
  3. Stimulated immune system
  4. Slowed aging
  5. Metabolizing fat
  6. Improving circulation

As we age our body produces less and less HGH naturally which often leads to older people gaining fat and losing muscle. This issue is made worse by the fact that most people these days have insanely high levels of insulin which causes obesity and prevents the production of HGH. If you follow my recommendations you will easily increase your HGH, gain muscle and lose fat.

How to naturally increase HGH production

  1. Lift heavy weights – a 1991 study done by Dr. William Kraemer at Penn State found that lifting weight at 70% of max capacity tripled HGH levels and lifting weights at 85% of max capacity quadrupled HGH. So get off your butt and hit the gym!
  2. Interval Training – Short sprints at top speed for 30 seconds followed by a minute or two rest six or more times helps increase HGH.
  3. Take Melatonin – Melatonin is a natural hormone found in the body which helps you fall asleep. Studies have shown that taking 5 mg of melatonin before you fall asleep increases HGH production 157%.
  4. Get plenty of sleep – Your body releases most of its HGH while you are sleeping, so get 8 hours or more of sleep to increase your HGH production.
  5. Take Gaba – Taking 3 g right before you fall asleep has been shown to increase HGH.
  6. Lower your insulin – high insulin levels not only cause you to get hungry and store fat, but also prevent your body from producing HGH. Follow the paleo diet to lower your insulin level.
  7. Eat plenty of protein – A protein rich diet has been shown to increase HGH naturally. Focus on high quality proteins like grass fed beef, wild caught fish and organic eggs.
  8. Fasting – Intermittent fasting not only can help you lose weight but has been shown to boost HGH production as well. Fasting leads to very low levels of insulin which causes your body to produce HGH in order to help you metabolize stored body fat to fuel you during your fast.
  9. Lift weights in a fasted state – Weight training while fasting depletes glycogen and helps to increase your HGH production. Don’t eat for 4 to 5 hours before lifting and wait another 45 minutes to an hour after lifting to take protein.
  10. Glutamine – 2 to 10 g of Glutamine before you sleep or after you exercise improves HGH production.

Ever since I started focusing on increasing my HGH level I have been packing on tons of lean muscle and breaking personal records at the gym every week. I broke a really frustrating bench press plateau and am now using 85 pound dumbbells for my shoulder press and will be increasing to 90’s next week. If you are looking to put on muscle, gain strength and lose body fat then follow these 10 tips for naturally increasing your HGH.

No Alcohol November Results

no alcohol november challengeLast Wednesday marked the end of my No Alcohol November Challenge. I should have posted this a few days ago but I decided to take a break from blogging over the holiday so I could focus on spending time with my family.

So how hard was it?

I went 21 days without alcohol and did not cheat once. To be honest I don’t think it was that hard. My first couple of days I felt withdrawal but I think that was mainly psychological, because I knew I wasn’t allowed to have alcohol it made me want it more.

I thought that No Alcohol November was going to be more difficult from a social perspective. Going out to the bars and happy hours without drinking was a little scary. Surprisingly it was pretty easy, everyone was really supportive after I explained what I was doing. I would just order a seltzer water with fresh limes. I even saved a lot of money because a lot of bar tenders wouldn’t even charge me for it.

The Impact

I think that cutting out drinking was good for me. It showed me that I don’t need to drink to have fun or be social. Next time I go out drinking perhaps I will only have a drink or two instead or five to eight. This experience will definitely help me reduce my alcohol consumption in the future. Not drinking also helped me lose some weight by cutting out empty calories.

I think that the thing that makes me the happiest about my experience is that it rubbed off on a few other people too. My dad told me that when he heard about my No Alcohol November Challenge he decided to cut out drinking as well. He said that he already lost 4 or 5 pounds. I’m glad that I had a positive impact on others. I am also happy that I proved that I could go so long without alcohol. I have been putting off trying the whole 30 because I was afraid that I couldn’t give up alcohol for 30 days, but now I know that I can do it.

When I could finally drink alcohol again Thursday at midnight I thought that drinking alcohol would be so amazing and that it would make my body feel so good and that it would taste so great. I drank some Cabernet Sauvignon and to be honest it was just ok. Maybe it was because that specific Cab isn’t that good but it was just further evidence that I don’t need alcohol.