Unified Living is a project being created by myself and a few friends to share insights and advice on creating a unified state of being that balances material abundance with spiritual truth; essentially moving towards the complete freedom and therefore happiness that wholeness in life allows. Isnt that what we are all ultimately after?
At one time, I would have thought so as well. But new research is countering older research and sending us back to our roots. Animals, including humans, have a taste for fat. And it’s not the right kinds of fat that are putting weight on us, it is the sugars, simple carbs, and the refined and processed fats that we eat way too much. Fats are essential and have always been a part of animal diets, grains and sugars have not.
Now here’s the thing – I’m not saying go to the butcher and request all the cow lard you can find and consume it. There are good fats and bad fats. Traditionally research tells us that unsaturated is good and saturated is bad. New research tells us it’s not so simple.
Fats are heavily involved in the production of hormones and proper hormone balance is crucial for everything from longevity to strength to sex drive. Without the right fats, our hormones can’t function optimally.
So what fats to eat? I have 3 suggestions:
Coconut Oil: If you cook only with coconut oil, you will do your body a world of good. Coconut oil is not only comprised primarily of short and medium chain triglycerides but it is also stable for cooking at medium to high heat. The triglycerides in coconut oil have been proven to be thermogenic, meaning they burn fat.
And get this – Coconut is considered one of 3 survival foods; this means you can survive on coconut alone if you had to.
Note that oils like olive oil are important but should not be used for cooking as they oxidize at low temperatures. Also, it doesn’t taste very coconutty when you cook with it.
Grass Fed Butter: When I heard this one, I thought “Eat more butter? That’s contrary to everything we’ve been taught.” Well think again. The key is not just more butter but specifically grass fed butter. Cows fed a diet of grass (as opposed to standard grains) produce a butter that is very high in conjugated lineoleic acid (CLA), another fat that is key for weight loss and hormonal balance
MCT Oil: A supplement. You can take a tablespoon or two a day or mix it with your salads or smoothies. Medium Chain Triglycerides (A component of coconut oil) are proven to reduce fat deposits. Here’s the research
“Where do I get this stuff?”
Great question. Whole foods is a good bet. Look for kerrygold butter. Or you can do what I do and just order it online here:
I’ve always been fascinated with fire…first playing with it, then fighting it, and now one of my core spiritual practices is a fire ceremony. Anyway rewind a few years…
I was a 20 year old college student/ firefighter-EMT and it was 3am. I was dead asleep when I was jolted awake by the squeal of my fire dept pager. The call was for a fire alarm at the house next door to me. This particular night I just did not feel like getting out of bed as 99% of the time, fire alarms are false. So, I threw on the scanner to see what the police would say when they arrived. I did not expect what was to come next or how that day would forever change my life.
I laid there for about 2 minutes still half asleep expecting to be cancelled. My mom was visiting town and so if I didn’t have to lose sleep, I wasn’t going to as there were plenty of other folks who would go.
“Second floor fully engulfed” crackled over the radio.
Holy shit. I flew out of bed, struggled to find the pair of jeans to throw on that I wore under my bunker pants, threw on slippers or flip flops or whatever was closest, ripped a tee shirt putting it on and ran out the door.
I ran downstairs, out the back, jumped in my car, through the lights and siren on, and then looked up.
The entire second floor of the house next door was in flames. These are what we live for and they don’t happen very often.
I somehow managed to make it to the station faster than I ever have before despite the 2 minute delay. I don’t remember those moments but I think I was doing about 85 through the center of the sleeping farming/college community.
Typically I would make the 3rd or 4th truck out. This time I made the first engine out.
I ran into the station, through on my gear, and jumped in the truck and began testing my air pack.
Being on the first engine, myself and my partner were the first ones in. If you’ve never been in a burning building, it’s kind of a unique experience. First, it’s like walking around your house with a blindfold on as you can’t see anything at all so becoming disoriented is the norm which is why you try to bring a hose with you so you can find your way back out.
Secondly it’s hotter than hell. Imagine the hottest day in the desert you can imagine. Then take it up a few notches. And you have about 40 pounds of equipment on you.
Thirdly, it’s loud and noisy and finally, you don’t really know if the next step you take is going to be on a floor that may or may not support your weight. So, it’s kind of a special feeling. LOL.
Dragging a fully charged hose, we ran up the stairs to the second floor with the familiar Darth Vader in and out breaths that come with breathing from a tank and at the top of the stairs, I felt something under my feet. I immediately knew what it was and dropped the hose and told my partner “I have a victim.” I grabbed the shoulders and he grabbed the knees and we went back down the stairs out to the front lawn.
The 21 year old guy was unconscious but breathing. By this time a few more trucks were arriving and the ambulance brought up the airway bag. Since I was the most highly trained medical person on the Fire Dept at that time, I pulled out the oxygen and began ventilating him when I had that “oh shit” moment that we never look forward to.
I was feeling resistance as I squeezed the bag that is connected to the oxygen tank and the mask that i was holding over his nose and mouth. My heart skipped a beat as I realized.
I was having a hard time getting air in.
In a burning building scenario, the hot air causes the trachea to swell and if the swelling (tracheal edema) is bad enough, it pinches off the airway. That’s a very bad thing. I was not going to let this kid die and have to see his parents on the front lawn the next day.
Tried to get a breathing tube in but the swelling was increasing and we were only a few minutes from the hospital so I handed him off to an EMT who begged me to go to the ER with him but the chief wanted me back with my partner in the building. Off he went to the ER and back thru the gates of hell I went.
It took hours to get that fire under control and we were on scene for nearly 20 hours. I recall having assistance from every surrounding town. The second floor of the building was completely destroyed and the building condemned until it was gutted and rebuilt. I remember not being able to see anything and having to navigate this enormous structure using just my hands to guide me and the hose I was pulling as a lifeline – both to find my way back out and to prevent a flashover scenario.
A flashover occurs when the temperature gets so high that everything spontaneously combusts. The hose can be used to force smoke and heat out a window by creating a stream of moving air that follows the water. Interestingly, until a hole is cut in the roof or fans are setup to release the heat and smoke, dumping too much water creates a lot of steam that can burn.
This fire was really a beast.
Will never forget that day.
Incidentally I later learned that young man went on to become a dentist.
I set a goal for 2012 to get in the best shape of my life, reconstitute and master my body, become physically, mentally, and spiritually stronger than is/was possible for me, and reverse aging. My plan for doing this was a combination of physical training, diet modifications, and spiritual work. I am training daily now with an Olympic gymnastics coach and several Cirque du Soleil Acrobats. In 7 weeks I have dropped 20 pounds, my blood chemistry is better than a teenager’s, and I feel amazing.
Even though I was always an athlete, I was something of a weak child and had GI and other issues that held me back from maximizing my physical potential. Part of this project is completely healing any residual weaknesses. Recent breakthrough research shows us we can actually change our genetic code with the power of focused intent.
When I first met Uldi, a Hungarian who is my primary coach, he said to me (in typical European style) “You are very strong and very fit compared to most but for what you want to do, you are fat and weak.”
That’s when I knew he was the mentor I wanted and needed. I always seem to have had this masochistic leaning when it comes to choosing teachers and while I seem to have this karmic ability to draw amazing teachers, they are always tough on me. I knew this would be no different, but everything truly worthwhile in life comes complete with its challenges. Uldi told me it was going to be hell, he was going to make me suffer for awhile, and then it would be heaven.
And he wasn’t kidding.
The first month was definitely hell as my body, mind, and spirit rebelled. Now, I’d say I’m in purgatory heading closer to the pearly gates.
On the first day, we were at a park and I did 15 chinups on my second set. Hey, I thought that was pretty good. Uldi just shrugged and said “you must be at 30 very soon.” Nothing like being pushed by a man who can hold an iron cross for 30 seconds.
He told me I needed to lose 20 pounds and to eat light…and when I thought I was eating light, to eat half of that. For that first month, I primarily ate soup. My body hated it…my energy level and moods were all over the place as I completely cut out wheat, dairy, anything processed, sugar, anything fried, dessert, etc and replaced it with healthy alternatives like juices, dark chocolate, organic meats, rice, and potatoes, goat’s milk and cheese, raw foods, and the Hungarian food that Uldi’s wife would make for me
People asked me “where is this 20 pounds going to come from? You’re already in shape.” I really didn’t know but I just followed his advice and stayed true to my commitment as I have found that commitment, tenacity, and the desire to stay true at all cost is what has gotten me the best results in life so far. As one of my teachers once told me: “I started teaching you because you’re a pain in the ass and don’t give up.”
Those early workouts consisted of running stairs…lots of stairs…followed by hills…followed by climbing a mountain. Then I did this with a 20 pound weight vest. 1000 reps with resistance bands and weights in one sessions would not be an underestimate. And core, core, and more core. There were days of running, doing 50 pushups, and continuing to run only to repeat. The run apparently was my rest time. And then the freerunning…jumping over picnic tables, fences, walls, from one wall to another, flips, etc…..constant conquest of my fear. The freedom that comes with transcendence of fear has been a big part of my quest since I was a teenager and will be a central theme of my writings.
With my medical background, I have the ability to run my own lab tests. Over the summer, there were some things that were not exactly where I’d like them to be. (like my prolactin was elevated. WTF, I know I’m in touch with my feminine side but I’ll stick to goat milk for now). Recently, I reran comprehensive blood chemistry and then reviewed it with a specialist in metabolic optimization. Everything was perfect.
Side note: Going to the lab is always so funny….you have to sit in the waiting room with a bunch of horribly unhealthy fat people. So when I get in there, the phlebotomists (who aren’t always the happiest people) look at me and are always like “why are you here?” And I’m usually running hormone panels so I try not imagine what they are thinking I’m actually there for and I think to myself “I’ve been waiting out there for an hour with miserable people, and I’m hungry, give me the damn needle, I’ll draw it myself.”
Anyway, my body went through a massive detox and now I finally feel like I am on the other side of it and I feel amazing. Our bodies store all kinds of things in excess weight including physical toxins, old emotional baggage, and negative energies and I had to let go of several old things I was hanging onto during the process.
I look forward to what the next months will bring with my training.
While I realize my project is a bit extreme, I invite everyone to get out there and make changes in your health. We are spiritual beings in physical bodies. And it is our bodies that provide us the vehicle to do everything we do in life.
And I hope to get some guest articles on this blog written by the acrobats I train with who are extreme examples of what’s possible for the human body and mind to achieve.