Sitting way in the back, spaced out doodling in a notebook, my 7th grade grey-haired teacher Mr. Robinson tells me to turn to page 65 and read a passage about Gandhi and his stance on nonviolence.
Of course, he chose the only brown kid assuming I know who Gandhi is – I had no clue.
What can you tell me about Gandhi, he asks.
I replied, “From the picture in the textbook, seems smart, brown, skinny, frail, hungry, bald and probably slow.”
Mr Robinson begins to correct me but all I can think is – Dang, that’s the DNA my great great great great grandparents inherited and funneled it down to me.
What am I supposed to do with nonviolent muscles?
Jeez man – skinny and bald is not a good look going into high school.
As a grownup, I read a story about Gandhi that resonated with my fundamentals and beliefs about how I coach and instruct.
There is a story of a woman in India who was upset that her son was eating too much sugar. No matter how much she chided him, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see his great hero, Mahatma Gandhi.
She approached the great leader respectfully and said,
“Sir, my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you please advise him to stop eating it?”
Gandhi listened to the woman carefully, turned, and spoke to her son,
“Go home and come back in two weeks.”
The woman was perplexed. She took the boy by the hand and went home.
Two weeks later, she returned, boy in hand. Gandhi motioned for them to come forward. He looked directly at the boy and said,
“Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”
The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer.
The boy’s mother turned to Gandhi and asked,
“Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”
Gandhi smiled and said,
“Mother, two weeks ago, I was still eating sugar myself.”
If I haven’t done the movement then I don’t teach the movement. If I haven’t experimented with an eating strategy then I won’t go in detail or recommend it. I won’t dismiss it until I’ve given it a fair shake and put it up against what I know and believe.
If I am to ever build trust, I gotta be transparent.
I saw a friend on the Williamsburg bridge while I was running. He said “hey man way to get after it.”
I yelled back, “it’s not what it looks like.”
I ran 4 miles last Saturday – but it wasn’t for running’s sake or my cardio endurance – it was so I can sit at Mah Ze Dahr bakery in the West Village because I woke up craving an iced coffee and a doughnut. 🤷🏾♂️
- All About Bread
- Understanding the Gut
- Maine Eats
- Housekeeping for the Body
- Sleep Hack
- Scroll down for video workout and takeaways if you don’t like to read
B R E A D
Oh, the sourdough craze of lockdown. No flour was left on grocery store shelves for my attempt on cake. It seemed like everyone put on their baking hat and brushed up on some chemistry to give sourdough a shot.
Fresh hot out the oven with a nice hard crust, steam rising, airy and soft. Hit it with some butter, a cheese plate or charcuterie board, and a glass of wine. A perfect low-calorie nutritious evening 😂
If you tried and succeeded then high five to you.
About Your Bread
For the longest time bread was only made with three ingredients: flour, water, and salt. Today, bread you’d find in the grocery store can contain ingredients most people cannot pronounce.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (Garbage)
- Azodicarbonamide (Subway got outed for use of a yoga-mat chemical in their bread)
- Potassium bromate (Carcinogen added to flour to make it rise faster and look nice)
- Chlorine dioxide (Bleach)
The chemical agents found in today’s bread are cheap, keeps them on the shelves for longer, make it rise, coloring, volume, and faster to produce!
Beware of modern wheat – it is mostly consumed as refined flour (aka sugar), which is worse for your blood sugar than table sugar. The hybridized version has higher starch content and more inflammatory types of gluten and is sprayed with the toxic herbicide glyphosate right before harvest, then preserved with calcium propionate.
It’s not surprising then that a high percentage of people report having difficulty digesting modern-day bread.
Here’s a list in detail of the crap in store-bought or cheaply made bread – CRAP
The original way to make bread is to slowly ferment flour with water to create a “starter,” an alternative to baker’s yeast that makes bread naturally rise and gives sourdough bread its unique taste.
There’s a lot of attention to detail in growing a sourdough starter! It can be fun.
Sourdough bread is bread made via the fermentation of dough. Fermentation is defined as “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence.”
Real sourdough is made with a fermented sourdough starter, rather than with yeast. It also has a lower gluten content, lower antinutrient content, and lower pH than regular bread.
Grain fermentation results in a product that is easier to digest! Whole grain sourdough is considered a high-fiber food and also a good source of essential nutrients like
- Niacin (Vitamin B)
While it can be difficult to absorb some of these nutrients from grains that haven’t been soaked, sprouted, or fermented, studies suggest they are typically easier to absorb from sourdough due to the way that it’s prepared, as are the amino acids in sourdough which form proteins.
When flour and water are left at room temperature for at least several days, naturally occurring bacteria (such as lactobacilli) and yeast begin to ferment the dough and produce lactic acid. Lactic acid is responsible for giving the bread its slightly sour but pleasant taste.
There’s reason to believe that among people with gluten sensitivity (but not celiac disease), sourdough bread may be more digestible than commercial loaves made with processed wheat flour.
The fermentation process increases acidic conditions in sourdough and helps produce enzymes that partially break down proteins, including gluten. This leads to lower overall gluten content and decreased levels of phytates/phytic acid and other crap that can interfere with nutrient absorption and digestion.
Sourdough bread keeps a somewhat lower glycemic index score compared with other types of bread, especially highly processed breads made with white flour.
Some studies have found that sourdough tends to lead to higher satiety (fullness) compared to other breads, perhaps because of its protein and carbohydrate digestibility and absorption.
Your best option in terms of buying real sourdough is checking out small artisanal bakeries, farmer’s markets, and health food stores.
Ezekiel bread is a sprouted grain bread that is made with whole grains and usually no yeast.
Sprouting grains helps diminish levels of enzyme inhibitors and releases nutrients to more easily be absorbed, much like fermenting does.
Be cautious about buying sourdough bread from ordinary grocery stores.
While supermarkets may advertise bread as “sourdough,” it’s probably “ordinary bread to which as a dash of dried powdered sourdough starter has been added,” according to a report written by The Guardian.
Look at the ingredients label when buying bread!!
NYC Bakeries with some good sourdough bread.
She Wolf Bakery
La Bicyclette (Williamsburg)
Sullivan St Bakery
* Also if you don’t feel like going through the hassle and creating a starter, here are some NYC bakeries selling sourdough starters.
Energy – If you haven’t caught my drift yet, I’m all about creating more energy with movement, food, and function. I am going to introduce a topic that I will focus quite a bit of time on future issues – The Gut.
My goal is to explain and share information on how important the gut is to our health, body fat, and how we function. I’ll share some ideas on how to fix it or address any digestive issues you may have been dealing with or will be dealing with.
For this issue, I’ll highlight the connection between the gut and brain. Once you understand how the two are connected it will make sense why I spend a lot of time on ways to improve gut health.
Have you ever wondered why?
You get butterflies in your stomach before going on stage or falling in love.
You get nervous before a race or sporting event and throw up.
You overeat when you are anxious (it helps your body produce extra feel-good chemicals).
You sometimes stress eat.
Well, It has a lot to do with the connection between your brain and gut.
Before I highlight the connection just a quick brush up on biology.
Microbes are tiny living things that are found all around us and are too small to be seen by the naked eye. They live in water, soil, and in the air. The human body is home to millions of these microbes too, also called microorganisms.
These little guys are your body’s natural pharmacy: they help you digest your food, influence your mood, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Your gut microbes are heavily affected by your diet and behavior – meaning you have a lot of influence over the activity of your gut microbe population, also called the Gut Microbiome.
Here’s the story.
Early on – as the development of the fetus is happening, a collection of tissues called “ the neural crest” appears and divides.
One part turns into the Central Nervous System.
And the other migrates to become the Enteric Nervous System.
Both thinking machines form simultaneously and independently of each other until the later stage of development.
Then the two nervous system link through a “neural cable” called the Vagus Nerve. This nerve stems from the brain through the organs in the neck and finally terminates in the abdomen.
This is how literally the brain and gut are connected.
90% of all the serotonin (the happy chemical, because it contributes to well being and happiness) produced in the human body is produced in the gut.
Almost all the neurotransmitters are either produced in the gut or consumed in the gut.
So, think about it for a second. Your gut and the brain are connected through the vagus nerve. And that the vagus nerve is a two-way street. So, your brain impacts your gut and your gut impacts your brain.
Think about it from an evolution perspective, a lot of the original organism didn’t have the brain. They all had the gut. People say our gut is our secondary brain. In fact, evolutionary-wise, it’s the primary info center.
(Aspartame, xylitol, sweet n low, equal) are sometimes thought to be a better alternative to sugar due to the lack of calories. But when it comes to your gut health, artificial sweeteners are bad news. Artificial sweeteners contribute to metabolic abnormalities. Artificial sweeteners also promote glucose intolerance by changing the composition and functions of the gut microbiota.
Lay off the one Diet Coke a day rule. Use monk fruit to sweeten or try Zevia for a soda replacement. Root beer is my fave.
Decades ago, many more people used to live on farms. However, we gradually moved to the cities and with that move, we’ve lost microbial diversity in our day-to-day lives.
Research on how certain environments impact the health of the gut finds that microbe-rich environments like farms have a protective effect on the gut microbiome.
This suggests that to counterbalance city life, we should take opportunities to play outside in nature more. Not only is nature beautiful and enjoyable, but it can also increase the good bacteria in the gut.
We know exercise is good for us, but the way in which it affects the gut microbiome composition and metabolic activity is yet another reason for us to exercise regularly.
Exercise increases the number of beneficial microbial species, enriches diversity, and specifically promotes commensal bacteria. Commensal bacteria are those that we derive certain nutrients from, making them extra good for us.
Exercise isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the health of your microbes too!
Every year maybe twice a year, I head out to Portland, Maine. An easy trip to get out of the city and get some fresh air. It also holds a special place in my heart as I fell in love with Portland years ago.
A doughnut stole my heart followed up by an incredible relationship with beer, lobster rolls, and fresh fried seafood.
It’s a place that checks off many boxes for a very enjoyable, indulgent time for me. The city is so welcoming and really easy to navigate. The drive up is scenic and its only 5 hours away from NYC.
Holy Donut – ah dang! Just typing the name floods my brain with images and mouth with glaze 🙂 They make doughnuts using potatoes!! Trust me and try it!!! It’s blueberry season in Maine and their blueberry doughnut is lights out.
I am actually going to stop writing and check AirBnB for a late August stay.
WHERE TO STAY
For a long time, I would stay in AirBnB or the hotels in Portland. Last year I stayed on Peaks Island, which is literally a 7 min ferry ride from Portland.
The island is quaint and beautiful. Woodsy and small, everyone rides golf carts or bikes around.
It was the perfect spot for my family. I got nature and water with fresh air. I would take the ferry early in the morning to secure a dozen donuts and bring them back as everyone was waking up.
There are other neighboring islands along that ferry line, but Peaks is the closest.
Right before the shit hit the fan back in March, I went to Portland for a long weekend. There is a bed and breakfast called the Blind Tiger. It was a perfect end of winter getaway. Wood and leather decor, fireplaces everywhere, and the comfiest bed ever.
It’s a great location away from some of the main streets but still close enough.
WHAT TO EAT
It’s strictly business when it comes to the eats. I come here for doughnuts, lobster rolls, seafood, french fries, and beer. I am certain there are great options aside from those gems but I come in hot and hungry.
Eventide – Best overall restaurant (we go through the whole menu); must get the brown butter lobster roll and they have the best oysters!
Bite into Maine – Best lobster roll. Also on-site at Allagash Brewery.
Holy Donut – Breakfast every morning.
Allagash – An amazing space when up and running. More on them later
Tandem Coffee – Good pie and Breakfast sandwich
Oxbow – Cool brewery and you can get duck fat fries there.
Maine Beer Co – Amazing beer and great taproom.
Highroller Lobster Co – They do fun take on dishes highlighting lobster.
Duckfat – Fries are cooked in duck fat! They have great sandwiches as well.
Lobster shack – Awesome fried seafood.
Island Lobster Company – Excellent seafood on Peaks
For the Body
Imagine a world where you baked the most delicious chocolate cake but left the measuring cups, rolling pin, eggs and leftover batter and frosting all over the kitchen.
Then your significant other, parent, or whoever kind of likes you come in – cleans the kitchen and makes cupcakes out of the leftover ingredients for you.
How awesome would that be.
The body has a process that is similar to that outlandish analogy.
I like to think about autophagy like a little Pacman going into my body and eating up all of the junk that is no longer needed inside of my cells so that my body can run healthier, happier, and more efficiently.
AND instead of stuffing the waste down the gut, it uses the waste produced inside cells to create new “building materials” that aid in repair and regeneration.
In the last issue I talked a bit about aging. This issue I’ll talk about housekeeping and its anti-aging benefits.
Even in a healthy human body, cells are constantly becoming damaged as a normal part of metabolic processes.
As you age, the damaged proteins accumulate, your body can’t clear the trash, and our cells become damaged at an increased rate. Even our skin health deteriorates because of that.
But by activating autophagy – that will help with the cellular cleanup process, and thus reduces the amount of damage your skin sustains.
Autophagy comes in to help to clear damaged cells from the body, including older cells that serve no functional purpose but still linger inside tissues and organs that can contribute to inflammation and disease.
Autophagy is active in all cells but is increased in response to stress or nutrient deprivation (fasting or starvation). This means you can utilize “good stressors” like exercise and temporary calorie-restriction (fasting) to boost autophagic processes.
When you’re sleeping, your body is naturally working its hardest to activate the youth inside of the cell. That’s when autophagy is removing, recycling, and really regenerating at a cellular level.
When you do not get enough sleep (both in quantity and quality), then your body can’t get into a rhythm of repair and rejuvenation.
Studies suggest that fasts between 24–48 hours probably have the strongest effects, but this isn’t always doable for many people. Try to at least fast for 12 to 36 hours at a time.
All You Need to Know About Fasting (click here for guide)
Good fats are the way to go when going into to clean up mode. I use more of a high fat /low carb diet when I am aiming to do some housecleaning.
Avocado, olive oil, fatty fishes, nuts, seeds to name a few.
Since you are already activating autophagy when you wake, make the choice to shift carbohydrate intake to the latter half of the day in order to keep up this repair work for longer.
When you’re exercising, that creates short-term stress on your body (your muscles are working harder, your heart is beating faster). That’s a good thing for autophagy because it loves acute, good stressors like this (it doesn’t do so well with long-term chronic stress).
Our ancestors experienced energy deficits on a regular basis. And energy deficits, particularly sustained energy deficits, are the primary triggers for autophagy. Without energy deficits, you remain in fed mode and never quite hit the fasted mode required for autophagy.
Love me some summer watermelon! ☝🏾 is a watermelon soft serve from Dominique Ansel- haven’t tried it but looks good.
But as for fresh-cut watermelon…
- High in antioxidants and reduce the acid-load in our body. Also, they are fantastic to promote healthy kidneys (one of our main detoxification organs!) and support them in cleansing the blood and preventing kidney stones.⠀
- Watermelons are rich in natural compounds, such as potassium that helps cleanse toxins from the blood.⠀
Watermelons (and other melons in general) are considered the easiest and quickest foods to digest!
So to reap their benefits and avoid digestive discomforts (such as bacterial fermentation in the gut) they’re best eaten away from meals and not combined with other fruit.
Have them as a light breakfast or at least 30 minutes before meals, but not after.
A Hack for Sleep That I Use
I take magnesium along with curcumin before bed to help recover and a a really good nights sleep.
Magnesium may promote better sleep by regulating melatonin, helping to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, and activating the brain-calming GABA neurotransmitter.
Magnesium deficiencies have been linked to insomnia and poor sleep.
Almonds and cashews are some of the most magnesium-dense foods around.
Another good option: leafy greens, like spinach, which contain about 20 percent of your recommended intake per a half-cup (just be sure to cook them first to reduce oxalate levels).
Avocados contain about 44 milligrams of magnesium per cup, while salmon, white rice, and carrots also contain a moderate amount of magnesium
I have been mentioning wine in all the issues but a cold beer is my jam – especially from my favorite brewer Allagash, located in Portland Maine.
The company is all-around awesome. From the craft and quality put into their products to the creativity in their brews. They use local ingredients and produce some of the tastiest beers!
Allagash is a Belgian-inspired brewery and their lineup represents the full spectrum of Belgian brewing – from interpretations of classic styles to original and unique creations.
This year, I am looking forward to the “Violette” and “Little Sal” – they add wild, lowbush blueberries to sour red barrel-aged ale. The resulting beer is dark violet in color with earthy aromas of blueberry and oak. Its flavor is juicy, tart, and unmistakably blueberry a true taste of Maine.
Some of my year-round favorites are:
Curieux – My all time favorite! Aged in bourbon barrels for 7 weeks, rich, golden ale features smooth notes of coconut, vanilla, and a hint of bourbon.
Coolship – Coolship Resurgam is brewed with Pilsner malt, raw wheat, and aged hops. The beer is cooled overnight using outside air temperature in a traditional, large shallow pan known as a coolship.
Saison – Citrus and peppery spice balance its pleasant malt character. This beer is full-bodied with a rustic, dry finish. Made for enjoying, no matter which type of work you’re returning from
White – Refreshing balance of citrus and spice. Coriander and Curaçao orange peel.
Tripel – Golden ale carries notes of passion fruit and honey in the aroma.
Sixteen Counties – Brewed the beer with grains exclusively grown and processed in Maine. Amber hue with notes of honey, tropical hops, citrus, and a hint of cereal grain.
They have so many other specialty beers that release year-round that calls for renting a car and taking the scenic route up.
Allagash has a good relationship with NY/NJ so we get a lot of their stuff around the city.
Enjoy that cold glass!!
If you don’t like beer check this out https://www.allagash.com/blog/beers-for-people-who-dont-like-beer/
- Don’t buy grocery store bread EAT sourdough
- Gut health may be your biggest concern
- Go to Portland Maine for some good eats
- How to clean up the body
- Eat some watermelon
- Magnesium before bed for sleep
- Have some beer.