Why Cleanse?

I’m passionate about health and always taking it to the next level. But … why cleanse? I mean, much of my health regime is based on modeling my behaviors after our ancestors, and our ancestors didn’t buy $250-$300 cleansing kits with names like Arise and Shine, Blessed Herbs or Ejuva, did they?

The basic theory behind cleansing is that our diets are imperfect and that over the years our digestive system can become “congested” with “mucoid plaque” (yuck!) and gallstones (which can also clog the liver). Most cleanses target the stomach, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Some cleanses also attempt to address the kidneys, bladder, lungs, lymph and skin.

When I realize that I floss and brush regularly (and have my teeth cleaned annually), cleansing my innards makes a certain amount of sense. What I can’t see could really hurt me.

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Sardines

Top 10 Affordable Foods for Healthy Living (Vegan, Vegetarian and Omnivorous)

Sardines

Sardines have protein, Omega-3's, and they're low on the food chain. Plus, they're delicious. Photo courtesy Massimiliano Marcelli.

Eating healthy can be easy and affordable. I like a variety of foods to keep things interesting and to help me get various nutrients. I love knowing how to eat cheap and healthy and I have some favorite staples, foods that are healthy, simple, and affordable. Here are some of my favorite vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Vegan
Organic Peas. I buy them frozen at Trader Joe’s for $1.99/lb, with nothing added. They make a great foundation for a vegetarian breakfast, lunch or dinner. And, of course, I thaw them in the fridge and eat them raw. You can steam them lightly if you like.
Organic Greens. My favorite place to get these is at my favorite Farmer’s Market vendor here in Santa Cruz, Route 1 Farms. At a dollar a head for red leaf, green leaf or romaine lettuce, and more, it’s very wallet friendly. Picked that morning, these greens go in my raw shake or with a

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Thank You Santa Cruz Weekly!

Many thanks to writer Tessa Stuart, photographer Chip Scheuer and the Santa Cruz Weekly for this very cool article about yours truly, which ran on the cover of last week’s issue under the headline: “The Healthiest Guy in Santa Cruz.”

Here’s a glimpse:

Mueller says two shifts have fundamentally altered the way humans eat. First was the agricultural revolution, when humans settled down and began cultivating grains and other crops. The second was just in the last few decades. “We started eating vegetable oil and feeding our animals corn and soy—things they didn’t evolve eating.

“’Those were fundamental changes in our diet, and guess what’s been happening since then?’ Mueller asks. ‘People are fatter than ever. Cancer is more common than ever, heart disease.’

“If we want to eat like our ancestors, Mueller says, we ought to be filling our shopping carts with leafy greens, high–quality meats, natural eggs and sources of probiotics like kefir and kombucha. And, he adds, ‘There are key things we should not be eating—like sugar and grains and vegetable oils.‘”

Wheat field

Are Whole Grains Healthy?

Wheat field

It's pretty, but wheat may be bad for your health.

A little quiz: what foods want to be eaten and what foods do not want to be eaten?

Fruits such as apples, avocados, etc. want to be eaten. That’s one way fruit-bearing plants spread their seeds — by tasting so good (botanists call the dispersal of seeds by animals “zoochory”). Animals do not want to be eaten and they try to prevent being eaten by fighting back and/or running away (fight or flight). Many plants don’t want to be eaten either—especially if you eat their seeds and destroy them in the process. But, unlike animals, plants can’t run away or fight back. So some plants have developed other defense mechanisms against “predation.” These include things like spines (cacti), toxins (think poison oak), and “anti-nutrients.”

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My Siesta: Why Nap When You Can Play?

This has been a sunny and warm winter in Santa Cruz — perfect for beach volleyball.  Yesterday I shut down my computer at 11:45 a.m., hopped on my bike, and headed for the beach to meet my volleyball crew — a great group of men and women age 20s-60s.

I feel blessed indeed since rumor suggests we have the largest consistent mid-weekday volleyball group in California (about 8-16 people year round). I rolled up to the beach around noon and got a game within minutes (I did a few pushups while I waited for enough players to start our third court).

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Putting the Fun in Functional

Workouts mean different things to different people — but they can always be fun.

I like “fun-ctional” workouts. To me fun-ctional means it’s fun, I’m fit, it’s affordable, and it’s good for the planet. For me that looks like regular bicycle commuting, soccer, beach volleyball, martial arts and mixing in other enjoyable activities like hiking or throwing a Frisbee when I want.  I work out my core and a variety of muscle groups in my upper and lower body.

Today I biked over to the local turf field for my noon pickup soccer game. There were some Italian teenagers doing an exchange program in Santa Cruz, so we started a second game with them. The Italians opted to stay together on one team.  I never thought I’d see America beat Italy at soccer — but we did today.

After working up a good sweat during the game (and getting a little Vitamin D via sunshine), I drank my water with fresh-squeezed lime juice and two drops of stevia, and decided to wrap up with a little Interval Training.

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Natural Light and Natural Health

I put a lot of stock in “primal” health, the idea that we can look at the way humans evolved for millennia as a guide for our health.

Take sunlight, for example. Evidence suggests that, on one hand, our ancestors received more sunlight than most of us do today and, on the other hand, they slept more and didn’t have artificial lights. So, most of us get too little natural light during the day, and too much synthetic light at night.

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Farmhouse Culture Kraut

Top 5 Health Tips

Optimal health and vitality result from myriad long-term lifestyle choices — but there are a few key habits that can yield amazing results.

• Minimize sugar and grain consumption.
It is now well established that sugar contributes to a number of negative health impacts — fat storage, insulin resistance and diabetes, general inflammation, compromised immunity, and even cancer. That also holds true for grains, which are quickly transformed into sugars in our bodies. (Yes, this includes whole grains, alcohol, soda, and even certain vegetables like potatoes. Health guru Dr. Mercola recommends aiming for less than 25 grams/day of sugars, especially fructose.

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