Saturday, December 31, 2011

21 Day Fast: Prep Day 2

This morning I'm starting off with orange juice blended with jackfruit and berries.  I took my supplements as well.  I've decided that I'm not going to take my supplements during my fast with the exception of phytoplankton.  I really want to give my body a chance to cleanse and detox, but adding a few drops of concentrated phytoplankton will ensure that I'm getting minerals, vitamins and other phytonutrients.

As today is my last day to eat solid food, I plan on eating salad only.  The rest of my food intake will be either juice or blended food.  When preparing for a juice fast or any kind of fast, it is important to reduce the amount of food you eat in the days preceding the fast.  Light meals, preferably raw are best.

For my fast, I plan on drinking citrus juice (more emphasis on grapefruits because they have less sugar) in the morning.  Throughout the day, I can have as much green juice as I want.  Water will also be an important part of the fast, so I just bought 20 gallons of pure water.  I will also include herbal teas that help with digestion and detoxification.  Ginger and mint are great examples of supportive teas during a fast.  I'll probably also do one or two ounces of wheatgrass juice every day.

Because I'll be getting all the nutrition I need from the juice and phytoplankton, I plan on continuing my exercise regimen.  I usually have a lot of energy by the third or fourth day of the fast, so I may be able to move my workouts to the next level.  This will help keep my metabolism up and shed more weight.  Every couple of days, I will weigh myself to see how much fat I've lost.

So, tomorrow is Day 1.  Wish me luck!  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Friday, December 30, 2011

21 Day Fast: Prep Day 1

So, today I drank a lot of liquid.  In the morning, I had my typical cacao drink, which is made from a blend of herbal teas steeped in water.  I blend the tea with cacao powder, raw vegan protein powder, maca, and stevia.  This was a good sustainable meal for several hours.  After a couple of hours, I drank water with Camu Camu powder and MSM to give my immune system a real boost.  With so many people getting colds and flus right now, I'm taking a lot of antioxidants.

In the afternoon, I squeezed some oranges.  I added some frozen berries to the orange juice and blended it all in the Vitamix.  This is one of my favorite blended drinks, and again there are a lot of antioxidants available in this drink.

By dinnertime I was very hungry and I made a huge salad.  On a bed of romaine lettuce, I added avocado, tomato, carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, and olives.  I poured a light apple cider vinegar dressing over it and enjoyed it thoroughly.

A couple of hours after my salad, I went to the gym and got some cardiovascular exercise for about 30 minutes.  After a nice sweat in the sauna and a hot shower, I'm ready for bed.  I'm feeling good about doing a juice fast.  I should be able to break into it easily.  See you tomorrow.

Mystic Merman

Thursday, December 29, 2011

21 Day Fast: Introduction

Well, after not blogging much over the last couple of weeks (lots of time with family and friends), I'm back into my regular routine again.  Working out at the gym today felt amazing.  I had a lot of energy and went full force for an hour and a half.  It's wonderful, because it feels like I'm developing habits that are going to be with me for life.

As part of my New Year plan, I've decided to participate in a 21 day juice fast with possibly thousands of people around the world.  My good friends at Kale University ( are also going to be fasting.  It will be great to have their encouragement and inspiration during the juice fast.

Follow me over the next 24 days as I document everything about my juice fast.  I'll be taking a break from the normal blog schedule to focus totally on the juice fast.  I hope you learn something and maybe become inspired to start your own cleansing routine.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Workout Wednesday: Jump Your Way to Better Health

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the lymphatic system and the importance of keeping it clean and moving. One of the things I mentioned was jumping on a trampoline.  Small trampolines (or rebounders) are reasonably priced, easy to store and provide exercise that is safe and fairly easy. While you can certainly raise your heart rate on these little devices and give yourself a great cardiovascular workout, there are numerous benefits to rebounding, even if you only do it for a few minutes several times a day.

Research shows that your body is in a state of weightlessness (zero gravity) right at the top of the bounce.  Then when you hit the trampoline, the gravitational pull is up to three times that of gravity.  The zero gravity effect appears to strengthen the immune system and slow aging.  The gravitational pull has all the benefits of jogging and other high impact sports without the risks of damaging the joints and ligaments.  Some proponents and researchers even claim that it's the only form of exercise that affects every cell in the body.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, rebounding gets the lymph moving which can accelerate detoxification in the organs and cells.  Every bodily fluid moves when jumping, so the immune system, the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, and the digestive tract are all stimulated and boosted.  It also can reduce body fat, strengthen the heart and help fight against diseases like diabetes.

Ironically, one of the best exercises you can do is also one of the easiest.  Rebounding is something that anyone can do, even children and the elderly.  For people who have severe pain, especially in the joints, light jumping can help strengthen the muscles over time without heavy impact.  Many people enjoy watching a movie or listening to music while they rebound.

If you have had challenges with finding an exercise that is easy yet effective, I highly recommend looking into getting a rebounder.  They can really enhance your health.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Workout Wednesday: Interval Training

Several months ago, I was exposed to a type of interval training in an article from Dr. Mercola.  In it, he explained a method to increase metabolism, burn fat and maximize your workout.  I began to incorporate this into my workouts over the last few months and have had great success with it.  As with any new exercise program, check with your health care provider if you have any serious health challenges.  And, as always, be wise about your decisions.

Basically, interval training is about adding bursts or high intensity periods to your workout.  For most trainers, this mimics sports, which are never one steady, continuous movement.  From a natural view, this also mirrors what animals in the wild do.  Although many species of animals walk, crawl or fly for long distances when they need to migrate, their normal daily life consists of slow, then fast movements.  This variety creates powerful muscles and strong cardiovascular systems.  Wild animals don't get beer bellies.

With this type of training, you can also cut your workout time down, so there's less excuses.  Twenty minutes of cardiovascular with five thirty second bursts at maximum intensity burns more calories than 40 minutes of low intensity exercise.  Also, by engaging your muscles during the high intensity periods, more energy is required for repair after your workout, which means you will continue to burn fat hours after exercising.

When choosing to incorporate this type of exercise in your regimen, start off slowly.  For example, if you use a treadmill, walk or jog at your normal speed for three minutes to warm up.  Then, at three minute intervals, increase your speed for thirty seconds to about 80%.  If you feel exhausted or lightheaded, slow down.  Do not overdo it.  Once you build up strength and stamina, you can increase the intensity to 90 or 100%.  Give yourself time to move in that direction.

If you want to lose weight or increase the results your getting from your workout, it may be worth it to give interval training a try.  There are several methods available online, so look into them and try different ways.  Once you find one you like, do it for a few weeks then try another one.  Don't get into a pattern.  The body likes variety.  Be healthy.

Mystic Merman

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: The Dressing Makes the Salad

One of the staples of a raw, vegan diet is the salad.  This versatile dish never gets old and it's a healthy way to add fresh, seasonal vegetables, roots, greens, sprouts, seeds, and even fruit to your diet.  Almost every raw fooder I know eats salad nearly every day.  With year-round access to a variety of food, you can make your salad different every day. For example, right now, I am adding cranberries, persimmons and pomegranates to my salads because they are in season.

But what really makes or breaks a salad is the dressing (at least for me).  Your dressing can also change from day to day.  There are some basics to making a good, raw salad dressing.  Most dressings have oil, salt and vinegar.  This is easy to imitate with raw food.  Make sure to use unprocessed sea salt, virgin and cold-pressed oils and only apple cider vinegar.  I also like to use nut butters, lemon and herbs.  In place of salt, I sometimes also use Nama Shoyu (a non-pasteurized, fermented soy sauce).  Here is one of my favorite salad recipes:

Mystic Merman's Creamy Garlic Dressing

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp Nama Shoyu
1 tbsp tahini (you can also used almond butter or other nut butters)
1 garlic clove
Dash of sea salt
Dash of oregano (or preferred spice)

Blend all ingredients (a small blender is best) together until smooth and creamy.  Mix with any salad recipe.  Enjoy.

When you get good at it, you can really start to create some great dressings.  Over the years, I've created some masterpieces and some duds.  Be brave and experiment.  You never know what you will come up with.  Be healthy.

Mystic Merman

Monday, December 12, 2011

Manic Monday: Yoga for Stress Relief

One of the main themes for Manic Monday has always been stress management.  The reason I talk about stress and its management so much is because it truly has the most profound effect on our mental and physical health. There will always be situations that are stressful, but that doesn't mean that we have to react to them and then carry that stress around with us all day long.  Holding onto stress keeps us from focusing on the beauty of life and the precious moments that make life great.

One way to address the stress in your life and learn how to release it is through yoga.  This ancient practice is far more than just an exercise.  The Indians consider it part of a holistic practice that includes physical postures (asanas), ethical disciplines, mental imagery, breathing techniques and much more.  What you see in books and magazines (the asanas) are only just one part of a complete practice of self development.

For stress, any of the yogic practices can be beneficial.  I discussed some breathing techniques used in yoga in a previous post.  Conscious breathing can help the body and mind relax, offering relief from a stressful life.  The asanas, which are like meditative movements, have also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.  In fact, there are studies which show that yoga actually lowers cortisol levels in the body.  The effort involved in learning and practicing yoga is fully worth it.

If you don't have the time or money to take yoga classes at a studio with a qualified teacher, you can pick up a book or video that teaches some basic techniques and simple asanas and breathing exercises.  Although it is recommended to find a qualified teacher, you can learn some basic things on your own.  Spending just 15 to 20 minutes a day can have a huge impact on your levels of stress and ability to relax.  Think about doing yoga three times a week and meditating or breathing on the other days.  Your mind and body will thank you.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Superfood Sunday: Marine Phytoplankton

Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to have access to and try dozens of different superfoods.  Many of these have made such a difference in my health that I incorporated them into my daily routine.  However, one superfood really stands out among all of them.  The first time I tried Sunfood's Marine Phytoplankton, I knew this was something special.  Almost immediately, I noticed a shift in my energy levels, mental clarity, and alkalinity.  After a couple of years of use, I can sincerely say that phytoplankton is one of the best superfoods I've ever used for overall health.

So, what makes phytoplankton so special?  Well, phytoplankton is literally the foundation of the food chain in the ocean.  Everything in the ocean depends upon its existence.  Naturally, you can expect that a food like this would be packed with nutrition.  And of course, it is.  Like many other types of algae, the blue-green varieties of phytoplankton contain high amounts of chlorophyll.  Additionally, there are 90 or more ionic minerals, powerful antioxidants (specifically the blue pigment), essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA), and numerous vitamins and other phytonutrients.  In fact, you could consider phytoplankton one of Nature's perfect foods.  If you had to pick 5 or 6 foods to live on for a long period of time, choosing phytoplankton as one of them would be very wise.

With all of this concentrated nutrition, it's no surprise that recent studies support a host of benefits to your health.  The EFAs contribute to brain and nervous system health.  High quality antioxidants enhance the immune system and fight free radical damage.  The blue pigment contains anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant support.  Also, phytoplankton has high levels of chlorophyll which is known to help with digestion, detoxification, assimilating minerals, forming red blood cells and fighting infection.  It's truly a powerhouse of nutrition and deserves to be called a superfood.

Of course, I highly recommend using Marine Phytoplankton from Sunfood. This plankton is grown in large vats in the sun within an environment that mimics its natural environment.  This ensures maximum nutritional quality without the dangers of ocean pollution.  It's the purest and most concentrated form of phytoplankton available.  It's also very easy to take.  I usually pour one dropper-full into a small glass of water first thing in the morning.

If you are not already taking this amazing whole-food supplement, I highly recommend trying it for a month and observing any differences in your health, energy and well-being.  Be healthy.

Mystic Merman

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Therapy Thursday: Keeping the Lymphatic System Clean

Your lymphatic system is closely related to your circulatory system.  Lymph, a clear fluid containing white blood cells, comprises about 50% more of your bodily fluids than blood.  This important fluid and system help with transporting nutrients to the cells, keep your immunity strong and maintain proper fluid levels in the body.  The lymph nodes and connecting vessels act like drains to remove excess fluid from organs and tissue.  Without it, you would blow up like a balloon with edema.  

Unlike blood, the lymphatic system doesn't have an organ pumping it through the body.  In fact, lymph moves very slowly compared to blood.  Movement relies on breathing and muscular/skeletal movement.  Consequently, a sedentary life means a poorly functioning lymphatic system.  This can lead to many problems, including skin issues, weak immunity, and eventually chronic diseases like cancer.  

So, there are several ways to keep your lymphatic system clean.  First, make sure your diet is high in fresh, organic, raw plant-based foods.  Natural foods, especially greens and high-water-content foods, clean the lymph on their own.  A processed foods diet creates more gunk for the lymph and body to deal with.  Add a sedentary life on top of that and you have a recipe for disaster.

Getting up and moving is one of the best things you can do for your lymphatic system.  Weight-bearing exercise like walking, running or hiking is best.  If you have a trampoline, the bouncing movement can really wake up the lymphatic system.  Some studies have shown that lymph movement increases by as much as 15% during exercise.  This may be another reason that people who exercise don't get sick as often as sedentary people.  

Finally, there are herbs and detox programs you can do to stimulate the lymph.  Most of the herbs that cleanse the liver also function as lymphatic cleansers.  Consider doing a week cleanse with herbs like dandelion, burdock, nettles, wild indigo or chicory.  Also, sitting in a hot sauna or steam room can help.  

Whatever you do, make sure to consider the effects of your choices on this important system.  The more care you give to it, the better it will serve you.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Workout Wednesday: Maximizing Your Metabolism Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about increasing your metabolism through exercise and diet.  However, as we age, our bodies naturally begin to move toward a more catabolic (breakdown) rather than anabolic metabolism. While diet and exercise help, sometimes they might not be enough.  After 40, many people have a more difficult time exercising because of pain, slow recovery or lack of energy.  I'd like to talk about a few supplements that might help if you are in this situation.  As always, check with a qualified health practitioner if you are not healthy or if you are taking any medications.

I've talked a lot about antioxidants over the last couple of months.  Well, here they are again.  Taking an antioxidant formula in addition to eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help reduce free radical damage and boost the immune system.  This will help with faster recovery and more energy.  Be sure to choose a whole food supplement without fillers.  Also, make sure there is a variety of antioxidants (flavonoids, vitamin A, C and E, anthocyanins, etc.).

Another challenge of getting older is blood sugar imbalances.  If our blood sugar is out of whack, this can affect our energy and our eating habits.  Reduce or eliminate sugar and sweets from your diet.  If you have serious issues, try to even avoid too much sweet fruit and focus more on vegetables and good fats.  Chromium is an essential mineral for helping the body to maintain normal blood sugar levels.  Find a good chromium supplement at your health food store and incorporate this into your diet.  Many studies have found that most Americans are deficient in chromium.

Next, consider taking a good B complex, or at least Vitamins B6 and B12.  B vitamins are important for many functions in the body, including energy production and metabolism.  By taking a whole food, plant-based supplement, you are ensuring that your body is getting these important vitamins.  You may notice a big difference in your energy and mood almost immediately.  I certainly did.

A few more supplements you may want to consider for your metabolism and overall health are Coenzyme Q10 (a powerful antioxidant found in the mitochondria of each of your cells), Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) (another antioxidant that may also help with weight loss), and 7-Keto (a DHEA metabolite that can help with energy and metabolism).  Be sure to stick to the recommended doses and do your own research on these supplements to find any personal contraindications.

If you're not getting the results that you want with your health and your exercise routine, supplementation might be the answer.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Raw Pizza Bites

I'm sure at some point in most people's lives, there is a love/hate relationship with pizza.  For me, this relationship lasted for years.  When I was a meat eater, pizza was a staple food.  When I became vegetarian and even vegan, I was not willing to give it up.  However, pizza has always made me feel less than excellent.  In fact, most people I know enjoy gobbling down two, three, four, or more slices of pizza, but pay dearly for it for several hours or even days.

So what's wrong with pizza?  Traditional pizza is full of bad fats, sugar, gluten-ridden dough, toxic salts, pasteurized dairy, and a host of other bodily assaults.  It's probably one of the worst food combinations imagined right behind doughnuts.  And many think that pizza is a balanced meal, containing all the food groups.  When I was in elementary school, I remember my teacher saying how great it was.

While it's possible to eat healthier pizza made from whole grains or even gluten-free dough, natural, sugar-free sauce, etc., it's a stretch to call any pizza a health food.  But, never fear; there is a way!  Introducing Raw Pizza Bites.  This is one of my favorite recipes.  It takes some time, but you can make several batches and they will last for weeks.


One large eggplant
One tablespoon of salt
1/2 cup of olive oil
One garlic clove minced

Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices (you should get between 15 and 20 slices).  Place in shallow glass pan and cover with oil, salt and garlic.  Set aside for one to two hours.  Note: Massaging oil and salt into the eggplant can make it softer and easier to dehydrate.


One and 1/2 cups of fresh tomatoes
One and 1/2 cups of sun-dried tomatoes (soaked)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon of fresh or dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of fresh or dried oregano
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Topping ideas:

Marinated mushrooms (marinate mushrooms in Nama Shoyu, olive oil, salt and garlic)
Sliced, raw olives
Fresh basil leaves


Take eggplant slices out of oil mixture and dry off with paper towel.  Place slices on a dehydrator sheet or wax paper.  Cover each slice generously with pizza sauce.  Top with any desired topping or toppings!  Dehydrate at 120 degrees for 12 hours on sheets or wax paper.  Remove and place on mesh sheet and dehydrate for another 12 hours or until desired crispness.  The longer you dehydrate, the longer they will last (unless you eat them all!).

So, that's a great pizza recipe.  It has no flax seeds and kids actually love them.  Enjoy and be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Superfood Sunday: The Incan Goldenberry

Another nutrient-rich berry that grows in South America is the goldenberry, also known as the Inca berry or cape gooseberry.  The goldenberry is actually part of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, with a remarkable resemblance to the tomatillo.  When ripe, the fruit is a bright yellow/orange color, which reveals its antioxidant status.

Goldenberries are usually sold dried.  They have a sweet tart taste and are very chewy, making them a wonderful snack or addition to a trail mix.  Like tomatoes and other nightshade fruit, goldenberries have dozens of small edible seeds.  When dried, they are about the size of a large raisin.  I recommend getting them from a trusted organic supplier that ensures low-temperature drying to preserve the many nutrients found in this super berry.

The tart taste of this berry would have you guessing that they have a lot of vitamin C and you would be right.  In addition to vitamin C, goldenberries also have a lot of vitamin A, minerals and a good amount of protein.  The orange color is due to the class of antioxidants known as carotenoids, which are great for the immune system, the eyes, and fighting inflammation and free radicals.  Research also suggests that goldenberries have polyphenols (another group of powerful antioxidants) and may help fight diabetes.  Of course, the Peruvians used this medicinal fruit for a host of ailments.

Because it has a pleasant flavor, most people enjoy eating goldenberries right out of the bag.  However, feel free to add them to a berry smoothie, sprinkle on a morning granola or cereal or add to a trail mix for a day trip.  Don't miss these tasty, nutritious berries.  Enjoy and be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Friday, December 2, 2011

Free Friday: Progress Update

I just wanted to take a moment to update my blog on my progress.  I've been feeling great lately, and I'm very excited to share my successes and progress.  One of my major personal goals is to help other people achieve better success in their lives through better health, energy, outlook, and community.  However, I know I need to be well on my way there in order to make an impact in other people's lives.  Well,  these last few months are moving me in that direction.  I know there will always be ways to improve the quality of my life, but it feels like I've finally crossed a threshold where my life has more joy than pain.

My mental attitude has shifted majorly in the last couple of months.  I find myself complaining less and letting go of irritations more easily.  I focus more on the positive things that are happening in my life and allow any negative behavior to just be, not giving it much energy at all. A lot of this, I feel, can be attributed to my better diet and my exercise routine.  I'm eating less food daily because the food I do eat is dense and nutritious.  Sometimes, I still overeat or snack when I'm not hungry, but I'm moving in the direction of a healthy relationship with food.  I am exercising 6 days a week, changing up the routine to give my body a full spectrum workout.  Tonight, I ran most of a 5K in Balboa Park, which was quite an accomplishment for me.

My goals for the next three months through winter include losing more fat and gaining more muscle, eating four to five small meals a day of only raw, dense, plant-based foods and superfoods, fitting yoga or meditation into my schedule at least four times a week, continuing to read cutting edge books and websites about health, nutrition, fitness and happiness, and starting a nutrition course online.  By making an effort every day to take care of myself, my goals are fruiting and my life is blossoming. How amazing to be a human being!  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Therapy Thursday: Detox Lemonade

So, I discovered an easy and tasty way to include medicinal herbs in my diet.  I was watching "The 7 Deadly Sins of Nutrition" with Dr. Joe Esposito, and he recommended this great idea.  It's so easy and delicious, I can't believe more people haven't discovered this.  Basically, you just make ice cubes out of freshly squeezed lemons, water and any fresh herbs you want to add to your diet.

Fresh herbs are always better, but they don't always stick around in the fridge for very long.  How many times have you bought ginger, burdock root, fresh mint, etc. and found it wilted at the bottom of the produce drawer weeks later?  Now you can use those fresh herbs in a blended lemon tonic that you freeze in your ice cube trays.  Once a day, you can throw a couple of ice cubes in water and have a refreshing, tangy treat that's great for you.

There are dozens of fresh herbs available at natural food stores and farmer's markets.  Some of the most medicinal are ginger root, garlic, turmeric, burdock root, aloe vera and green herbs like mint, cilantro and basil.  You might have to experiment to see which flavor combinations work for you, but enough lemon can make almost anything palatable.  If your not happy with the flavors, add some stevia or other natural sweetener.

Here's what it's my freezer right now: lemon, ginger, turmeric and spring water ice cubes.  Lemon is a great detoxifier and immune builder.  Ginger has numerous health benefits including anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and anti-spasmic (calms the stomach) properties. Turmeric is what makes curry yellow.  It's one of the most revered herbs in India and is now gaining recognition in the West.  It's anti-inflammatory properties are nearly unprecedented.  Also, there are ongoing studies with cancer patients that look very promising.  It's also known to detox the liver and keep the heart healthy and strong.

To make my ice cubes, I squeezed six lemons and added the juice to three cups of water.  I sliced about one inch of fresh turmeric and one inch of fresh ginger and added these to the mix.  I blended them at high speed until smooth and then put into my ice cube trays.  You should be able to make two to three ice cube trays.  Feel free to experiment with different herbs and combinations.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman