Vegan experiment: day 10 of 45

Vegan = plants only.  No animal products.   No milk, cheese, butter, eggs, or meat.  I am minimizing starches (forget bread; grains sparingly) and maximizing whole foods.

Volumetrically, about 60% of my diet is vegetables; 30% fruit;  10% nut and oil.

I eat A LOT.  A 90% vegetable and fruit diet has that effect.   I average about 30 different types of fruits and veggies each day.  I have developed a serious affinity for Curries and Chinese Five Spice.  My body feels great.

Creative cooking is a fun new challenge: using only plant based products, how can I build a complete protein loaded with phytonutrients that tastes spunky?  Innumerable ways, it seems.  I tend to make super-sized supermixes of about 15 types of veg/fruit that I munch on for several days.

Here’s the one I made tonight:

1 c chopped Kale; Squash1/2 c; zucchini 1c, arugula 1 c; can: kidney, garbanzo, soy beans; Mache 1.5c; over ripe blackberries; fresh cut ginger 1T; cut green beans 1/2 c; baby carrots sliced lengthwise 3/4 c; 1 peach, juice from 1/2 orange + 1/2 sliced orange pieces ; white rice vinegar 1/4 c; 2T Chinese five spice; 1T curry; cinnamon 1t; 1/6 c raw sugar; 1 t mustard seeds. s&p

I wonder what systemic chemical changes are going on in my body.  Biochemists, please, chime in.

The goal of this project is to explore potential relations between creative output and health.  So far, I’ve gone through all 595 TEDx music performances. I’ve started playing ukulele (almost there with It’s a Wonderful World).  I finally sent Billy Valentine a demo of my autotune performance from TEDActive (remixxx!).  I’m almost finished completing the corporate wellness program process for Sterling Health.  I’ve learned the basics of Inkscapes, a vector based graphic design program.  I joined Google +.  I’ve started recording brainstorms on the iamtpain autotune app.  The last thing on this list you should definitely try.

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Today I start a self-experiment.  For 45 days I will be tracking and sharing health data via this spreadsheet.  Novel parameters such as “the most interesting thing I learned today” and “how many times I stretched for at least 1 minute and less than 30, with corresponding metric of intensity” integrate with more traditional data collection points (weight, BP, exercise etc) in my first attempt at understanding the variability in my life.

The goal is to discover and explore possible correlations between health and creative output.  When I have  a great idea, such as the TEDx Global Music Project, is there something – or a set of things – I did during days prior that set the stage for ideogenesis and the pursuit of the interesting?  What activities do I do but ignore  (for example, the amount of time I spend on my iPhone before bed..)?  How can I compel myself to more wisely utilize my time?  How can I catalyze my evolution from good to great to excellent health?

These questions and more I am exploring in an organized and diligent manner.  Stay tuned to this blog for thoughts, insight and the occasional infographic.

This first phase is “2 weeks to runway ready” (I’m walking in a fashion show July 16th).  It kickstarts with a 100% plant-based diet and strict blend of 3x a week hour-long aerobic and anaerobic exercise.   We have also orchestrated tri-daily mini metabolic boosts, which I’ll share more about in a later post.

I read a fascinating paper by Allen Neuringer calling for more people to engage in self-experimentation, particularly professionals in the psychology field.  As I am experiencing first hand, the difficulty in designing quantified self systems is “exacerbated by our lack of experience in formulating questions about our own behaviors in a rigorous, empirically testable manner,”  Jump in and try it.  Use my spreadsheet if you’d like.  There are lots of resources; check out

I would love your input, encouragement, ideas, suggestions, brainstorms and anything else.  The data is public domain so have at it.   Data viz artists might have a good time playing with this or suggesting amendments to parameters that would streamline info conveyance.  Some parameters would be easy, i.e. the hours of sleep I lose every month because I’m on my damn iPhone.  Hopefully, this will help me streamline myself.

“The solution to many of our problems is a continuous process of discovery and change.”

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Green Tea + Coconut Water + Vodka

Next time you brew green tea, replace water with coconut water and cozy up to an electrolyte rich softly sweet dose of antioxidants.

Just in time to help you save the day after an excellent holiday party, coconut water combos work miracles on a hangover.  Prevention is the best cure:   mix an Ito En Sencha shot with 5 oz coconut water before bed and you will rise like a champion.

For a truly twisted tea, brew jasemine green tea in coconut water and add Belvedere.  10/10 (Vodka also compliments warm chai – say hello to the new cider)

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Sleep Inspiration: Memory, Relaxation, Sex

I took a research web dive into dreamland today for psych class.  I liked how it came together, so here it is for you.

5 reasons why and how you should get some shut eye.

1.  “Short sleep duration was associated with weight gain and the development of obesity over 1 year in men, but not in women.”

Gents, do you see that this is a male-only butterball statistic?  This fact is a double whammy; other studies demonstrated relationships between work stresses and sleep quality, and unfortunately men’s professions tend to be much more stressful and run longer hours.  Don’t let that stress you more, though, I found a key to great sleep, so read on.

2.  “Only during deep, restful sleep, can human brain cells replenish the energy stores they deplete during a full day of thinking, sensing and reacting.”

As you think, your brain uses glycogen, its stored energy source.  This thought fuel is replaced during prolonged mental relaxation, which, according to Stanford University, happens to occur while you are sleeping.

3.  “Evidence supports a role for sleep in the consolidation of an array of learning and memory tasks.”

Newly learned items stored during the day in working memory evolve into long-term memories overnight.  You need sleep to solidify what you memorize into what you know.  It’s like storing a file on your hard drive from RAM.

4.  “Cell division and protein synthesis reach their maximum values during hours of sleep.  When tissues have been damaged, the rate of healing is greatest during sleep.”

Healing applies to everything:  replenishing energy stores, flushing out toxins, repairing damaged muscles.  When you work out, the way you gain muscle and burn calories is by tearing and subsequently rebuilding muscle tissue.  This elucidates partly why two-a-days are so brutal; there’s no sleep/repair interval in between.

5.  “Adults with moderate sleep complaints can improve self-rated sleep quality by initiating a regular moderate-intensity exercise program.”

Everyone knows it is important to get exercise.  Beyond improving the quality and duration of your sleep, it elevates confidence, energy level, happiness, and the other task to which your bed is predisposed.  If you have trouble sleeping, studies suggest using your bed exclusively for sleeping and sex (seriously); so get busy (exercise) and satisfy your body’s needs (for sleep).


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