My New Life as a Juicer | Part One, Fitness and Tools of the Trade

basil juicing life 11 My New Life as a Juicer | Part One, Fitness and Tools of the Trade

Just like the title of the site says, I am a dark twisted green juice guzzling Monkie or at least that is my goal. Right now I have the dark and twisted thing down. I have been a vegan for about 12 years and in all that time, I have never really taken my health into consideration. I am a burn the candle at both ends kind of guy. I don’t know how to not be extreme. I am famous for confusing work as living. As soon as my eyes crack open in the morning, I start my long 12, 24 or 96 hour shift. Yes, for years I did 96 hours straight, with just naps and truck loads of espresso to keep my body going. So you know my blood is all out of wack and way on the acid side. Maybe not as bad as the average pillow butt American, but pretty bad. No offense to you Pillow butts out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I eat pretty healthy, I am a vegan, you wont find any McAnything stuck in my intestines, but I don’t eat with health in mind. My diet has been increasing over the years towards raw organic whole foods, such as salads and farmer market veggies. But I still eat a good amount of cooked items, such as asian noodles, frozen corn and worst of all bags of organic corn chips. I just crave chips, salsa and guacamole. I guess my years in Texas has altered my DNA, causing my cells to scream for anything remotely mexican foodish. For some reason I just love them in a sad food bingeing bag inhaling stomach aching way. You know what I mean. You think you want to eat them, but half way through the bag, they turn on you and form a concrete lump within your stomach.

basil juicing life 09 My New Life as a Juicer | Part One, Fitness and Tools of the Trade

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Whole Food Marathon Fueling And Making Your Own Raw Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

brendan brazier training thrive diet 01 Whole Food Marathon Fueling And Making Your Own Raw Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

Photographer: G Monkie (CC)

As you are probably aware, commercial versions of many sport nutrition products are not always the healthiest option. Commonly packed with artificial flavours, refined carbohydrates, denatured proteins and sometimes even harmful fats, I certainly don’t want to consume anything that doesn’t put overall health first.While some commercial options are not as bad as they once were, I like to know exactly what goes into mine and keep them completely natural.

I make my own.

Whole food energy bars, sport drinks, energy gels, energy pudding, post-workout recovery drink, whole food meal replacement smoothies and even performance pancakes are all part of my specific sport nutrition program.

Immediately before exercise

The body’s first choice for fuel during intense exercise is simple carbohydrates. However, once the body has burned all the simple carbohydrates available, it will then opt for available complex carbohydrates. It’s in the athlete’s best interest to ensure that the body is provided with enough simple carbohydrates to fuel activity so that complex carbohydrates are not relied upon. If the body has to resort to burning complex carbohydrates while exercising at a high intensity, it will have to use extra energy in order to convert the complex carbs into simple carbs. Additionally, if too much protein is eaten before intense exercise, it will likely cause muscle cramping due to the fact that it requires more fluid to be metabolized than carbohydrate or fat does.

Also, protein is not what you want your body burning for fuel. Protein is for rebuilding muscle post-activity, not fuelling it. When too much protein is consumed in place of carbohydrates immediately before exercise — and therefore burned as fuel — it burns “dirty,” meaning that toxins are created as a result of its combustion. The production and elimination of toxins is of course a stress on the body, and as such causes a stress response. Ultimately endurance will decline.

brendan brazier training thrive diet 02 Whole Food Marathon Fueling And Making Your Own Raw Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

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In Fitness Consistency Gets the Goods

raw model consistency 01 In Fitness Consistency Gets the Goods

Opinions on what we should and should not eat flood our lives every day. I’ve been on a high-raw vegan diet for almost 5 years now. A good proportion of that ended up being green smoothies and superfood smoothies. If someone includes those two items into their day, its pretty difficult not to stay high-raw…they are total meals by themselves.

I’ve been branching out a little bit lately with what I’ve been listening to. Not exactly the same raw vegan material as before. I’ve been listening to some speakers with a more “paleo” style of eating, which would include raw, grass-fed meat and dairy. And eggs. LOTS of eggs. I heard a speaker online today talk about healing someone with 18 raw eggs a day.

Im not saying AT ALL that im going to get into that way of eating. I like my diet the way it is. I’ll occasionally have some pasture-raised chicken eggs, but the real bulk is in the superfoods, greens, and raw plant fats, especially hemp and coconut.

raw model consistency 02 In Fitness Consistency Gets the Goods

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A My Way Feature | Lori Painter

myway lori painter A My Way Feature | Lori Painter

A featured post

This week’s My Way feature comes to us from health and wellness practitioner Lori Painter. Lori is the author of the very educational and extremely entertaining blog, Inspire 2 Act. In addition to her health enthusiasm, Lori is passionate about the eco living, working out and raising her two lovely kids, Alex and Megan. Lori and her family live in Southern California.

My Way: Lori Painter

Just my luck that Dhrumil asked my to be featured in “My Way” when it is winter, rainy and cold (which is rare) in Southern California. It only makes eating 100% raw more of a challenge. However, instead of eating totally raw, I have decided in the winter months to focus on hydration, greens and eating fruits and veggies versus too many gourmet recipes. I’m still working on using food to feed my emotional needs. Since I belong to an organic produce buying club, my meals tend to be very simple and repetitive. It depends on what is in season. Each week it is a little different. This is how I do things My Way.


Off to the gym to earn my breakfast. I shower from the inside out in the sauna and visualize my dream day! Today’s menu consists of simple monofoods: breakfast is 2 apples and a banana, Lunch is a green salad with an avocado based dressing. I am sure to get my daily 4 quarts of water in too. I check online messages and correspond accordingly, watch some YouTube subscriptions and post a little twitter. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos

The Raw Models 43 Day Full Body Transformation

rawmodel weightloss muscle gain before after 04 The Raw Models 43 Day Full Body Transformation

Photographer: Ron Cadiz

You sometimes must experience what you are not in order to become what you are.

This was a while ago for me, but I remember it well. I struggled immensely with emotional eating. I was living alone, my family was 1500 miles away, and I was in a long distance relationship. That, and the fact that I allowed my diet to exclude me from most social situations left me pretty solitary for many, many months. Sometimes it would just be too much, and I would start to stuff the emotions with junk food. This would make me tired, and so I would cease going to the gym as well. Double negative.

The pictures below were from September 06. I had a bad spell, which lasted about 3 weeks. My body couldn’t handle the barrage at all. I slipped into a mild depression.

Everyone has a breaking point though. I gained about 15 lbs, and that was enough for me.

rawmodel weightloss muscle gain before after 01 The Raw Models 43 Day Full Body Transformation

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A Healthy Body | Spring Cleaning

fitness model 01 A Healthy Body | Spring Cleaning

Photographer: (cc)

If you live in a country that has four seasons, you have probably realized that your body goes through major changes during these transitions. In winter you probably crave more fatty foods and in spring you probably crave lighter foods such as salads and fruits. During this change, a reduced intake of fats alters the body metabolism and allows the cleansing organs like the liver and the kidneys to do their job. When you eat less, these cleansing organs are able to perform their cleansing tasks very well due to a decrease in the consumption of fats and the organs are free to flush out the harmful toxins like pharmaceutical residues, pesticides and preservatives from our body. A non-detoxified fatter body is prone to constipation, anemia, diarrhea, depression, hormonal imbalances and the worst of them all: a weak immune system.

A detoxified body is free from harmful toxins and leads to fat-burning and a reduction in the body weight which is a prerequisite for a healthier and a longer life. Winter is a season of laziness and slumber, spring is the time when nature becomes active. Therefore, it is also a time for the body to become more dynamic and expel the accumulated waste. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos

Key To Improving Exercise Endurance Is Hydration And Fuel

brendan brazier hydration fuel 01 Key To Improving Exercise Endurance Is Hydration And Fuel
Photographer: G Monkie (CC)

Staying properly hydrated and fueled during exercise improves endurance, we know that. But what is the best way best way to ensure that you maintain hydration and blood sugar levels?

Drinking and eating of course. Simple.

The trouble is, sometimes while exercising intensely – especially in a race situation – we can actually forget about the need for fluid and calories until faced with the result of their absence. At this point, of course, it’s too late to hydrate and fuel without a decline in performance. We must drink before we are thirsty and take in calories before we are hungry or feel the first onset of fatigue.

To time this correctly, practise in training. I recommend eating what you would normally eat before a race, then go on a training run / ride. Allow yourself to get slightly thirsty, then look at your watch and subtract 15 minutes from the length of time you’ve been out. That’s when you should have stated drinking.

brendan brazier hydration fuel 03 Key To Improving Exercise Endurance Is Hydration And Fuel

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Strength Efficacy And Muscle Tissue Maintenance On A Thrive Diet

brendan brazier strength training 01 Strength Efficacy And Muscle Tissue Maintenance On A Thrive Diet Photographer: G Monkie (CC)

In addition to athletes, this program is ideal for anyone who’s struggling to maintain muscle tissue. Those of you who’ve transitioned over to a raw or largely raw diet will benefit from performing these exercises. While I devised the program to help myself become a better endurance athlete, it’s what enabled me to maintain muscle mass throughout my shift to a mostly raw diet about four years ago. It works exceptionally well for creating mobility and fluidity of movement.

A few decades ago, endurance athletes were encouraged to avoid “gym training” for fear that they would develop heavy, bulky muscles. The reasoning was that extra mass without function would inhibit endurance performance. Which makes sense. However, the reason “gym training” was adamantly shunned by the endurance culture was primarily because it was lumped together with the body building culture. Of course, the main reason bodybuilders lift weights is to build bulk. They also weight train for symmetry and definition, but the vast majority of their time spent training is working to get bigger.

In the early eighties, some endurance athletes began supplementing their regular endurance training with weight training in the hopes of improving endurance. The results were mixed. While the athletes generally gained some strength, they also gained weight. Therefore, their strength-to-weight-ratio showed only very modest improvements and not enough to justify the energy expenditure in performing the extra workout. In other cases, strength-to weight-ratio dropped. Why? The problem was that these endurance athletes were doing body-building-style workouts that were designed to grow muscle size with little or no improvement in functional strength. Which resulted in a reduction in the endurance athlete’s most valued attribute: strength-to-weight ratio.

When it was realized that various training principals and techniques could be reworked to make bulk-less strength gains, gym workouts for endurance athletes were revisited.

brendan brazier strength training 02 Strength Efficacy And Muscle Tissue Maintenance On A Thrive Diet

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Sex, Pain, Madness and One Lucky Duck

sarma melngailis 01 Sex, Pain, Madness and One Lucky Duck

Warning: This post is really long, and gets really personal, with lots of curse words, and is all very self-serving. But kind of entertaining, hopefully?

I just finished reading a book – yes, I’ve been reading lately. It was by the British chef Marco Pierre White, “Devil in the Kitchen – Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef”. It’s a good title… because who doesn’t want to read about sex? From a hot chef? And pain and madness? Well yes, that too. It’s inspiring to read about people who know what they want and go through a lot to get it. But pain and madness? Is that what it really takes to achieve greatness? Does everyone have to toil tirelessly, sacrifice health, get hurt, worn down, and knocked down over and over, feel pain, and teeter on the edge of madness? If so… I’m SO on the right track! YAY!

I’m being convinced, however, that maybe I can step away from that edge and still get where I’m going, and probably much faster. After all, I’m supposed to represent the brand – One Lucky Duck and Pure Food and Wine, we’re all about raw food and feeling great. When I first went raw the contrast was amazing. So much of the time I felt like I could do anything – life was a dance party. As I pointed out in Raw Food Real World, it can feel a bit like being on ecstasy – maybe not quite, but still it’s amazing. It’s been four years now – did I get used to it and/or is it stress and pressure that just put a damper on it all? I want the dance party back!

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Good For You, Bad For The Planet! The Business of Exploiting Palm Oil

palm oil production africa 01 Good For You, Bad For The Planet! The Business of Exploiting Palm Oil

Photos by raysto

You don’t have to be a hardcore green foodie to know the culinary power of a good oil. But in terms of nutritional reputation, some oils have had it worse than others. Cue the tropical oils: palm and coconut. There’s no denying they taste great, but man, those guys have had it tough. In the 1980’s, critics claimed the high level of saturated fat found in tropical oils was harmful: a message largely campaigned by the wonderful folks that brought you trans-fats.

Of course now that it’s trans-fats that are on the chopping block, new studies are looking back to the tropical oils, only this time as a healthy dietary addition. It seems the plant-based, cholesterol-free tropical oils not only pose no health threats, but actually contain many health-giving properties. Palm oil is considered one of the best oils for high heat cooking applications, as its fatty acid chains remain safely stable under the higher temperatures. It is also extremely high in bioavailable antioxidants, and is known, in fact, to be one of the richest sources of cartinoids — more than 30 times what is contained in carrots. Take into account the high amounts of vitamin E, as well as the ability to help with cardiovascular disease, and it’s easy to see why palm oil is a respected oil in the nutritional world. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos

Quality Makes A Difference

One of the most common questions I get asked is about the ability to maintain strength and muscle tissue once eating a plant-based diet. Following is a typical question and my response. I’ve recently switched to a plant-based diet am having trouble maintaining muscle mass even though I am constantly eating. What’s wrong?

In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, we are inundated with nutrient-lacking foods. Consumed mostly for convenience sake, processed and refined foods have led us to a decline in health and have elevated medical costs. Having to consume more of them to “fill up” due to their absence of usable nutrients, yet high sugar and calorie counts, we have become an obese, energy-depleted society. Back a few years in my more conventional-thinking days, I would try to gauge my caloric intake requirements based on my activity level and body weight. Eating about 8000 calories on heavy training days, as determined by my calculations, I would usually need a rest day soon after. I realize now, a large part of my need for the extra rest day was not just to recover from the energy expended during training, but primarily from the energy expended digesting all that food!
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