Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 6: Going strong

So, here it is.  Day 6.  This is so much easier than a 30-day juice fast.  I think that's mostly because I know this is going to develop into my new lifestyle.  I'm rarely hungry, like on a juice fast, and my energy and focus are strong.

Day 5 was very successful.  On my lunch break, my car almost took me to my favorite Thai restaurant.  The voices in my head made every excuse why this was permissible.  "You've done so well; you deserve a treat."  "Thai food is not bad as long as it's vegan and gluten-free."  And on and on.  But, at the last minute, the will won out and my car headed for the natural food store to pick up some extras for my big salad.

At the market, I was tempted to get a kombucha (something I'm giving up as well), but my hand went for a bottle of coconut kefir instead.  Smart choice.   For dinner, I had a handful of veggies with some red quinoa. A little later, I snacked on a couple of plums.

Day 6 is a sunny, warm day.  I had a bowl of grapes for breakfast and did some house chores.  My lunch was a big salad with romaine lettuce, celery, red cabbage, fennel, dulse, avocado and a lemon/olive oil vinaigrette.  I also drank a lot of water this morning and afternoon.  Because I took the day off from working out yesterday, I'm heading to the gym for some strength training.

Stay tuned this next week for updates on weight loss, measurements and more about food and exercise.  Until then, be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 4: Sprinting to health

Wow!  Day 4 was a very successful day.  I'd like to take you through it.

I jumped out of bed today without hitting the snooze button.  After showering, I could actually take my time instead of rushing out the door to be to work on time.  I drank a big glass of water and looked out on the fabulous view from my house.  Ah!

When I got to work, I drank more water and took some whole food supplements (more on that in a later post).  After working for a bit, I trotted off to the kitchen to make myself a smoothie.  Once again, I had a smoothie with a water base, hemp seeds, flax seeds, Sun Warrior Protein powder, frozen berries, and maca.   I'll have to take a picture of it tomorrow, because it's the most beautiful lavender color and totally delicious.

Going back to work, I was very focused and energetic on the phone.  Around 9 am, I stopped to have a mango (which is one of the best mangoes I've ever had, and I've been to Costa Rica and Hawaii).  I also ate my last two rambutans.

For lunch, I made a huge salad that I had to share.  It had all the great fixings I bought earlier this week.  With a perfectly ripe avocado in it, my salad was delicious.  One of my thoughtful co-workers made some raw, superfood fudge, so I had to take a couple of pieces.  Although I'm giving up cacao during this challenge, I couldn't be rude. ;-)

After finishing work, I headed to the coast.  My friend and co-worker, Elyssa, met me there to get a workout.  We decided to do a short, but intense, workout.  Jogging down the beach for several minutes to warm up, we met the sea and the sun on this beautiful day.  After the warm up, we sprinted at full speed for a full 30 seconds (of course, Elyssa said I was counting too fast, so she took took over the counting).  After catching our breaths, we did it again and again for a total of 8 times.  Although this equates to only four minutes (20 minutes total with a couple minutes to catch your breath in between), the intensity puts the body into high fat-burning mode and builds muscle faster than steady, low intensity cardio.

This was my first time sprinting since probably grade school, so my body is going to feel it tomorrow.  I didn't think I was going to be able to make it through all eight intervals, but I did it.  I had to push myself on the last two, and my heart was really pounding, but it was a successful workout, and I felt great when we finished.  Of course, we jumped into the ocean after our workout.  The ocean was perfectly cool, although we had to fight off some huge pieces of kelp.  After a nice soak, Elyssa and I exfoliated our skin with the fine sand of Ocean Beach.

For dinner, I had another big salad with a raw snack bar (made from nuts, apricots and coconut).  I felt very satisfied and know I'll sleep well tonight.  Thanks for reading.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 3: Carbs Galore

One of my challenges with food is carbohydrates.  While carbs get a bad rap most of the time, they are unavoidable, especially in a plant-based diet.  The trick is to eat the right kind of carbs at the right time.  One of the things that I'm experimenting with from the Thrive book is eating simple carbs (usually very sweet) before working out.  For example, today, I blended coconut water with carob powder, maca and a little agave before hitting the gym.  During my workout, I used up the easily digested simple carbs.  However, in the past, I have tended to eat a lot of sweet things (chocolate smoothies with loads of agave, dried fruit, etc.) and then sit on my ass all day.  This is a recipe for a wide backside.

My goal during this 90-day challenge is to limit the foods I eat that have simple carbs that easily breakdown into glucose, unless I'm going to work out.  Otherwise, complex carbohydrates from low-glycemic food is optimal.  Also, plant-based foods that have a lot of protein and good fat (seeds, nuts, oils, etc.) are a better source of energy during more sedative periods.  Here is a breakdown of the different types of carbohydrates:

In this chart, the starches are something that I am eliminating altogether, except for an occasional sweet potato.  Potatoes, bread, and other grain foods are taxing on the body and usually store as fat.  Of course, sugar of any kind does not make the cut, with the exception of a little agave in a pre-workout drink and that should be minimal.  The focus during normal meals should be complex carbohydrates from vegetables and low-glycemic fruit (pit fruit, berries, apples, etc.).  In the second month of this challenge, I would like to push this even further and eliminate all sweet fruit for 30 days to see what kind of results I get.  

In the next couple of days, I will continue to post about my diet and workouts.  Measurements of weight, body fat and size are coming too.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 2: What? No stimulants?

Hello fellow health seekers!

Today was a great day.  It started off a bit challenging because I had no stimulants.  Over the last couple of years I've been relying on stimulating foods in the morning to "pick me up."  This includes black and green tea, yerba mate, cacao, and on rare occasions, the king of stimulants, coffee.

If you want to read more about the effect of coffee on your health, read my blog here.  Caffeine is a stimulant.  It does not give us real energy, but shocks the body into fight or flight mode.  Of course, there are benefits to teas like green tea and yerba mate, but their caffeine is different than coffee and has less negative effects on the body.  One of my goals in the 90-day challenge, though, is to experience what real energy feels like from excellent health.  I want to create this health by giving my adrenals a chance to recover and heal.  So, I'm giving up all stimulating foods for the next 90 days.  

Here's a quick summary of what I accomplished today:


For breakfast, I had a smoothie: 16 ounces of purified water, 1 tbsp of hemp seeds, 1 tsp of flax seeds, 2 tbsp of Sun Warrior vegan protein powder, 1 tsp of maca and 1/2 cup of mixed frozen berries.  All organic. Blended into a delicious, creamy shake. 

For a snack, I had a couple pieces of fruit: one plum, one peach and a rambutan.  

For lunch, I had a big salad with lots of greens, radishes, celery, fennel, tomato and a raw ginger/sesame vinaigrette.  

For my afternoon snack, I had a piece of frozen durian (OMG!) and a few olives. 

I did make a quick pre-workout drink which was just water blended with a bit of maca, shilajit, and carob powder.  I did this for the quick-burning carbs and mineral replenishment.

For dinner, I had red quinoa mixed with garlic, ginger, broccoli, mushrooms, and zucchini.  I added a little sea salt and some Amarillo pepper from Peru.  Delicious and satisfying.  

Oh, and I had an avocado right after I got home from working out.  Remember that sweating makes you lose potassium and avocados are a better source of potassium than a banana.


After work, I went straight to the gym.  I hopped on the elliptical machine and warmed up for about 20 minutes.  Then I did intervals of 30 seconds at max capacity followed by one and a half minutes at normal speed.  After 20 minutes of this I got off and sat in the dry sauna for 20 minutes.  Then, I headed for the beach and took a twenty minute swim in the cool ocean.  

Stay tuned for more healthy days.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Monday, June 25, 2012

90 Day Challenge

Hi there.  I know, it's been a while.  Without going into a plethora of excuses, I'd like to get started on my new mission: to challenge myself over the next 90 days to lose a maximum amount of fat, gain muscle, increase strength and stamina and cleanse my body.

First an update.  Over the last couple of months, I've been working out on a consistent basis, adding muscle to my body and shedding some fat.  My diet has not been optimal, but I've still done pretty good.  When I started working out seriously about a year ago, I weighed 285, the most ever for me.  Today, I weighed in at 259, which is a loss of about 26 pounds.  I figure I've gained about 10 pounds in muscle, so I've lost around 36 pounds of fat.  Now, my goal is to take it up to the next level.

How am I going to do that?  Well, I've been inspired by the many athletes and bodybuilders online that have achieved phenomenal fitness at any age on a whole food, plant-based diet.  Currently, I am reading Thrive by Brendan Brazier, who maps out a clear plan through exercise and proper diet.  Using this as a guideline, along with my own knowledge and experience, I challenge myself to 90 days of optimal eating, a high-level workout routine, and more studying and blogging about it.

While I don't have the entire 90 days written in stone yet, I want to start immediately.  No more excuses!  So, this is a work in progress.  Here, I will lay down some fundamentals, but will take the first 30 days to fine tune the diet and workout routines.

Also, my good friends at Kale University have agreed to help me document my progress on their website and Facebook page.  Together, we will take a road that many vegan athletes have taken before us, and hopefully pave the way for more.  As I write this, the plan is to post on my blog several times a week and about once every two weeks on Kale University.  This could change, but it's a great start.

So, here's the outline:


A plant-based diet, that is high in nutrients and devoid of processed foods.  The meals will be mostly raw, gluten-free, and complimented with superfoods, many of which I have already blogged about.  I will have six meals a day, with three being a small snack.

Breakfast can be a smoothie, fruit, quinoa or amaranth "oatmeal," or other.  Lunch will usually be a mineral-rich salad with home-made raw dressings.  Dinner can be another raw meal or a lightly cooked meal that emphasizes vegetables and ancient grains.  Snacks can be fruit, energy bars (raw, home-made), an energy drink, vegetables or nuts and seeds.  The key here is to make sure I get a good variety of food and macro- and micro-nutrients. I will give examples of my daily food intake in blogs every week.


The plan here is to work out six days a week.  Three days of cardio/interval training will be alternated with three days of strength training.  The seventh day will be a rest day.  Again, the goal is to create variety for the body and mind, but also learn as I go, maximizing each workout without hurting myself.  As this is happening in summer, I plan to do many workouts in the outdoors, but a lot of strength training will likely happen at the gym for the first few weeks.


Starting today, I will check my body weight, by BMI, body measurements, and other things I may learn about to make sure that I am making progress.  While I don't want to become obsessive about this, I do want to mark my progress, so I plan to check these things about twice a week.  Right now, my BMI is on the border of what is considered obese, which means a year ago I was considered obese.  Once I lose about 20 more pounds, I will be in the range of just being overweight. Ultimately, my goal is to come into my range for "normal" weight, which means I have about 59 pounds to lose.  Measuring my body fat will fine tune this process, as this is a more accurate indication of how much extra fat I'm carrying, especially if I'm gaining muscle.

So, please join me as I embark on one of the most important journeys of my life. Be healthy!