Chi, Chi, Chi, CHIA!!

Joseph and I have both been on our weight loss grind, and since coming back from our 37-mile Grand Canyon hike, I’ve noticed a tremendous change in my body. I have a workout partner, and I’m also fortunate to have friends who are very active in this Tucson heat (one of my friends completed 30 miles on her bike this past Saturday). I’m forming muscles in places I’ve NEVER thought I could, and even though I love running and doing Bikram yoga, weight lifting gives me the best and quickest results. Combined with eating clean, I’ve lost 12 pounds in three weeks, reduced my body fat percentage, and gained pure muscle. Recently, Joseph and I have increased our workouts to twice a day. So yes, we’re going to the gym at 5 a.m. (for one hour) and again at 5:30 p.m. (for two hours). I’m telling you…we’re on it. We’re still juicing, but to increase muscle mass, we need protein…so…yea. Juicing alone won’t do any good.

However, that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I want to talk about my new found love…one of my favorite snacking foods…one of the ingredients in my morning shake…chia seeds. I talked about the benefits of chia seeds before here, and I’m still satisfied with it. Chia seeds have done wonders for my body, and it has helped me to kick off my clean eating because it basically cleaned me out. Sorry if I’m being TMI, but when I started eating chia seeds,  I was having bowel movements at a minimum of four times a day. Now to some of you, this might seem as a lot, but if you look at the American diet, it’s not. Our food is so processed, and in conjunction with those processed chemicals, you have a plethora of toxins and roughage that doesn’t get passed through your body. The last time I had a deep tissue massage, my masseuse spent half of the time getting rid of “kinks” all through my body. When asked where do those kinks come from, he noted they were due to a combination of things…including undigested food particles and indigestible toxins that are often moved in the blood stream and settle in other tissues. When I researched his claim (because I research everything people tell me), it was confirmed. You would be surprised at the amount of toxins and undigested food that just sit in our body. Chia seeds were aiding my body in getting rid of them. Currently, it’s about 2-3 times a day, but when I have strenuous weight training workouts, it increases due to the workouts catalyzing my digestive system (yes, working out helps your digestive system, so get to moving).

I normally enjoy my chia seeds in my morning shake, but I also eat them as a snack throughout the day and I make a Chia Fresca. It’s really good, and trust me…you will need to go to the bathroom within 5 – 10 minutes of drinking it. All you need are chia seeds, lemon juice (or any other citrus juice you want), water, and honey (I don’t use the honey due to the sugar). Mix them all together, and let the chia seeds sit in the water for about 5 minutes. You will soon notice that a gel-like substance is forming around the chia seeds.  These are microfibers that are becoming visible because unlike other seeds, chia seeds are hydrophilic, and if you can remember Biology 101, hydrophilic means “water loving.” The gel keeps you feeling full because it’s actually taking up space in your digestive system, attracting water, and it’s helping to move roughage in your intestines and eventually out of your anus…making you feel great after your session (or maybe that’s just me). This is really vital because most of the time, if you use a personal trainer (a good one), he/she will ask you to do a two week body cleanse in which you basically do what the chia seeds make you do…poop. Instead, this one doesn’t cost you tons of money. You have to get rid of the bad before you incorporate the good (that’s like putting your new, clean panties in the drawer with your old, dirty panties…nasty).

You can find chia seeds at your local health food store. Joseph and I purchase our chia seeds from either Sunflower or Sprouts (it’s cheaper at Sunflower). I highly suggest you try it; for, you have nothing to lose but some shit (no pun intended).

Let Your Food Be Your Medicine, And Your Medicine Your Food

Joseph and I have ventured into the wonderful world of juicing. To say it’s “wonderful” is subjective; for, depending on the type of person you are and your experience with juicing, you may or may not agree with it being “wonderful.”

This experience is new to Joseph, but it’s not new to me. Last year, I did a juice fast for 45 days. Not only was it for health reasons, but it was also due to a bit of vanity (juicing makes your body look good), and I wanted to see how long would I last on the fast. I was going for 60 days, but that was cut short with my interest in culinary skills and wanting to taste my creations. During those 45 days, my health improved, my skin looked FAB, my energy increased, and my concentration was clear. When I was actively running and training for marathons, I would modify my eating and incorporate one week of juicing out of one month. Yes it was intense, but did it because I enjoyed juicing, and I had a set goal in mind when it came to my overall health. Although juicing / liquid diets have been recently popularized by many athletes, entertainers, and documentaries, it’s nothing new. Great philosophical leaders such as Socrates, Plato, and Hippocrates, and Gandhi have all talked about the benefits of fasting on liquids for health purposes. Also, Jesus and Moses both fasted for 40 days for their spiritual health, so this “concept” is nothing new.

There is a division of people who are either for or against juicing. I have read where people have stated, “To lose weight, you shouldn’t drink juice because it has too much sugar, and it’s bad for your health.” That isn’t only bogus, but it also sends the wrong message out to people. This message tends to be interpreted as, “Consuming the juice of natural fruits, vegetables, roots, and herbs are unhealthy.” Now doesn’t that sound…I don’t know…STUPID? You show me some significant statistically valid scientific reports that support this claim, and I will show you a unicorn. I can, however, show you some significant statistically valid scientific reports that endorse the health benefits of juicing. In all, everything you do should be in moderation and with intelligence…including juicing, and you should be just fine.

OK, so enough with my soapbox.

As stated earlier, I’m not new to juicing but Joseph is. Since I’ve introduced him to juicing, he has been doing better than me (I’m slacking and need to do better). Joseph came to this “new way of life” with the mixture of talk and persuasion from some mutual friends and me. He took the plunge and purchased a Jack LaLanne juicer. Currently, he is consuming both juice and solid foods where I am consuming only juice (since 10/12/11…before it was solid foods and juicing). Let me not lie; the first day is always hell. Your body is going through shock because there is no solid food. Also, the smells, aromas, and thoughts of your favorite high calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and sodium foods start acting like mental haters. These “reminders” are constantly telling you what you’re missing as you look at this pitiful glass of liquid juice.  Like the saying goes, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going until you make it out.” It takes the body two weeks to form a habit, so in theory, you will make it out of hell in two weeks. However, until then, it becomes easier with the passing of each new day. After you form the habit of juicing, your body will begin to crave a variety of juices, and juicing will become second nature.  In order to stick with it, you will need mental strength and persistence.

After purchasing a juicer, we purchased a plethora of fruits and vegetables. Our favorites include apples (Gala & Granny Smith), oranges, carrots, kale, broccoli, mango, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, peaches, papaya, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, and strawberries. Here some pictures of the steps we take to juice:

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OK, so after you have your juice, you can either enjoy it the way it is or you can add some stuff to it such as:

  • Chia Seeds – These little things are a mega food all wrapped up in a tiny seed. I’m just saying…how can you go wrong with something that has 100% more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, twice as much the antioxidants in blueberries, 42% of your daily fiber (flax seed has NOTHING on this), 16% complete vegetable protein in EACH TINY SEED, 6 times the amount of iron as in spinach, 65% more potassium than a banana, more Niacin than your average corn/rice/soy, 6 times the amount of calcium as compared to milk, and 32% of your RDA of magnesium (that’s way more than broccoli)?????
  • Spirulina – Talk about a power algae. This stuff is the truth!! It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). It contains 60& protein, and it’s a complete protein (basically, it has all of the essential amino acids which are protein building blocks…remember biology 101).
  • MSM (Methylsulfulfonymethane) – Now for all of you chemistry folks like myself, reading that name should automatically make you say, “Oooohhhh.” Basically, it’s saying it’s a good solvent, it’s an organic compound, and more stuff, but I won’t bore you with that for now. In conjunction with being a great thing for hair, skin, and nails due to its ability to assist the building of healthy connective tissue, but it’s also good for joint health (as a runner, I depend on this). Also, it’s good for allergies, asthma, emphysema, lung dysfunction, arthritis, headaches, skin problems, stomach and digestive tract problems, circulation, cell osmosis and absorption. Absorption is very critical because with the American diet, we don’t tend to absorb a lot of our nutrients due to the high process and loaded chemicals. We urinate a large portion of our vitamins and minerals, and there is a world-wide saying of American’s urine, which is, “Americans have some of the richest urine.” The saying “pissing gold” holds true to our diet because we are urinating vital ingredients for our health daily. MSM will chemically bind to those vitamins and minerals and assist the body with absorbing them.
  • Aloe Vera Juice/Gel – I used to have major digestive problems, and nothing the physicians were prescribing worked. My uncle ,who lives in Australia, told me to start drinking aloe vera gel daily in the morning, and I can honestly say I haven’t had digestive problems since…and that four years ago. With improving digestive health, aloe vera also improves absorption (like MSM), increased immune support, is filled with antioxidants (the things that keep your skin looking youthful), reduces nitrate levels, restores regularity, improves normal muscle and joint health, and contains over 200 biologically active components.

 So there you have it. I highly recommend juicing and the extra “additives” mentioned at the latter end of this posting. I plan on doing it for a while for a number of reasons, but the primary reason is for my health. Although I have health insurance, I like to depend on good health as my insurance. Your health is your wealth, and if you want more of it, you have to work hard for it and maintain it. With that being said, I’d like to give a toast to happy juicing and happy living…

…cheers :)