Friday, May 9, 2014

cultivating your relationship with food... (Guest Post: Steve Miller)

In our fad diet, beach body crazed culture we often lose sight of whats really important. We often view food as the enemy, we proclaim portion control is key, food is looked at as a necessary evil that we must limit ourselves from over indulging in because our hunger instincts are the enemy. This leads to the quit weight loss, quick weight regain, unhealthy in all regards lifestyle that we have (as a society) become accustomed to.

Amidst this we lost the mental connection with one very important fact, "food is nourishment". Food is something that has customarily been embraced and cherished throughout history. Almost all cultures host harvest festivals and celebrate when food is abundant (as it was typically seasonal). But we have made pseudo food ultra convenient and nutritionally void in our me, me, me, now, now, now, quick fix society.  Our obsession with quick and easy on the go has lead us to an industrial food system that creates toxic products that are nutritionally void and stuffs them to us in mass quantities. Addictive sugars are used to help soothe our taste buds and make us crave more, and our bodies also naturally crave more food searching for the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are missing from this cheap processed junk. 

This does not cultivate a healthy relationship with food. This relationship is downright psychotic and abusive. We curse it, we beat it, we hate it, and then we obsess over it and binge, all while being told it's genetics for why we are unhealthy. Truth be told your body is a genetic marvel honed over millennia of evolution to survive in a natural world. The problem with that now being that our food system, and the relationship we have with food is not natural. In order to return to health we do not need to diet, we should not seek out a quick fix solution and then go back to this abusive relationship, instead we should explore, understand, appreciate, respect, and cultivate a healthy relationship with food.

This is a guest post from my inspirational friend Steve Miller regarding his journey to defining his relationship with food.

I was asked to take the time to share my health/fitness journey and my relationship with food. Starting my freshman year in high school I was bigger and heavier than most kids. I didn't lift weights, exercise to be fit or follow any diets. I played! A lot! I played soccer, basket ball, skateboarded, snowboarded, motocross, hunted, fished and even ran some just to hangout with friends. I was able to keep up with all my friends so why worry about my weight.   My junior year in high school I had a snowboard accident and tore my left knee up. Then the summer before my senior year I had a motocross accident that tore my right knee up. Ended up having surgery. After hearing multiple doctors tell me that my weight needed to come down a good 40+ pounds to save the wear on my damaged knees, I decided it was time to change some things. I had no idea what to do.  My friends and I would just go to random gyms a couple times a year and do what everyone else did. I knew sweets and soda had to go but never really changed anything else. I mostly ate big home cooked carb loaded meals or fast food! I always measured my success on how much weight lost. In a 2-3 month stretch of time I could lose between 15-40 pounds pretty regularly but always put it back on. From the time I was 18 till I was 25 I stayed in that same rut.  

In the beginning of 2013 decided I wanted to try crossfit. New gyms were popping up in the area and I passed one everyday on the way to work. I was interested but I felt too out of shape. I decided I was going to do my normal and drop 30-40 pounds and then give crossfit a try. So I starved myself and did the normal lifting and cardio routine and lost 50 pounds! I knew I wouldn't keep it off due to my past failures. I hit a wall. I was actually starting to gain the weight back two weeks. 

Finally I built up the courage to stop at the crossfit gym in late April of 2013. Just so happened the week I signed up they started a paleo diet challenge. I had never heard of the paleo diet before. I loved the first couple workouts I had done at the gym. I figured what the heck. I'll give paleo a try also. In 30 days I dropped 20 pounds. I was impressed! I had went from 292 pounds to 238 pounds cumulative at that point. I started back to eating the way I was for the most part after the challenge though. Socially it was just easier and I stayed right around 240 pounds so I became content. Then my life took a bit of a turn. I started having marital issues. I turned to food.  

From September to mid December I put 42 pounds back on. I was disgusted! I was ashamed and almost quit crossfit completely. One day I walked into the gym after realizing that my marriage was done and I had all but given hit me. I wasn't afraid to put in the work. I wasn't afraid to change the way I ate. My problem was that I never really let any of it become a part of me. I never let it become a life style. I never tried to build a healthy relationship with food. I always used food as a way to feel good. I immediately started researching paleo and soon realized that it wasn't a diet. It was a way I could live a healthy life. I realized that crossfit and paleo were not just ways to look good or meet superficial goals. Jointly, they were my escape from the prison of doubt, fear, and self pity I had kept myself in.  

It is now May of 2014. I am the strongest, fastest, and healthiest(not to mention lightest) I have ever been. I no longer just step on the scale to measure my success. My relationship with food is always going to be a on going battle because of what is socially acceptable and the fact that I like to eat!! The good news is that now I have the tools and community I need to continue reaching my goals. At the end of the day the one thing I have to remind myself of is that life is never going to get easier. I just simply have to get better and have fun doing it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

we are all dirt...

Perhaps we should start at the beginning, but what really is a beginning, is each day a beginning, is each life a beginning, is each breath a beginning? What really is a real beginning? We like to box things in, in our systematic thought process to finite things. We like to start our understanding and experiments with clear beginnings and clear endings. I sometimes think that our brains must have some need to do this based on the way we are designed as it definitely seems to be the way we look at things. But is this a really accurate way of thinking?

After all how could there have ever really been a beginning? How can there be an end? A beginning to what? An end to what? If we think of the beginning of our life, then yes we can categorize it by our first breath outside the womb, or could we consider it when the sperm met the egg after our parents decided to do the dirty deed? Or could it have been when they first met? Or the first date? Was that our beginning?Or was our beginning long before that when the first piece of dirt was somehow formulated just right to mix with the water and carbon dioxide to sprout a seed into a blade of grass, that would later lead to the development of animal life, which would then in turn consume the grass and leave droppings to fertilize more life. In the end are we not all really just a part of this dirt. A part of a larger living system that we don't and maybe can't fully understand.

We all came from dirt, and upon death our bodies go back to dirt (granted we greedy sob's try to hold onto our dirt as long as possible by being buried inside these unnecessarily heavily constructed coffins, preventing ourselves from returning to the system that fed us, that created us, that is us). And when we come to realize how important this dirt is to our lives and what it means to us maybe we will respect it a little more. Maybe we will understand it's importance and embrace it for what it is. Not some inanimate object that we need to scrub away because it gets on our clean clothes and hands, not as something negative that needs to be cleaned to remove us from filth, but as the life force that we were created from and will return to. Perhaps it's time to realize and embrace and cherish the fact that we are all dirt.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

something beautiful happened....

Something beautiful happened the day I stopped treating my body like a piece of machinery,
Something beautiful happened when i stopped treating my body like a science experiment by loading it with industrialized chemicals and processed preservatives.
Something beautiful happened when I embraced my own animal-hood treating my body the way it was biologically designed to be treated. 
Something beautify happened when I changed not only the way I fed myself but the way I philosophically viewed myself and my relationship with the world around me.
Something beautiful happened when I began to understand and fully respect the temple that is the  genetic marvel of a human body that I have been given that has been honed over millions of years of evolution to thrive in this world, not to suffer as the masses seem to do in todays culture.
Something beautiful happened when I embraced my relationship with nature, when I quit viewing myself as above nature, or below nature, but as a part of nature.
Something beautiful happened....
I began to heal....

It's about time I started working on my book, and I am going to start it by utilizing this blog to post my ramblings and ideas that will later be put together, those interested in the not so scientific philosophical ramblings of a man who believes more in results than he does in theories, of a man who finally abandoned the advice and opinions of the "experts" of popular science and began to follow the not so main stream experts who seemed to make more sense, please feel free to follow me and share in the creation of this story.