Beach weather is finally here and the best way to cool down is to strip down. But what about your stomach? Just as you reach for that bikini (or speedos) that has been stuffed in the back of your drawer, you may find yourself unnerved by a panicked assessment of your neglected core muscles. Yet the thought of doing hundreds of boring and painful crunches is probably even more dreadful.
Good news! You don’t have to do any crunches or sit-ups to get beautiful sleek abs and a strong healthy core. There are many exercises that engage the core indirectly and are effective and fun. One of my favorites is the plank pose in yoga. There are many variations of the plank. To increase the intensity and target the abdominal muscles, try this modified plank exercise with a leg lift on a stability ball: Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
Hello world, my name is V Blak and I am a sickly looking vegan (was). I know how sad, poor Monkie.
Let me start with a memory, years ago, I was in New York City working with my friend Jay. My first day in town, he rushes me up to meet his new girl. She was transitioning to a raw food diet and exploring the whole vegan thing. She even had Jay embracing it. Big big change in lifestyle for him. He was so new to it, he really had no clue what being a vegan was. He would say things like, no red meat right, I can’t have steaks anymore? Yeah, Jay that’s it. You got it.
Anyways, back to the introduction. He introduced me, acting all excited, going on about how cool it was, that I had already been a vegan for years. His thinking was that she would be inspired or something. She wasn’t. She turned to me and said, oh yeah I can tell he is a vegan and she didn’t mean it in a good way. She meant yeah, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Pale, thin, gauntly, sunken in, walking skeleton, you know the type. The worst part is that she was dead on right. I was no vegan role model. I was looking pretty bad. Even worse, I wasn’t even concerned. I didn’t think anything was wrong with the way I looked. I didn’t even take in what she was saying. My mind just said, well that is her problem. I look fine, I am just a thin person, she just doesn’t understand.
The reality was, I was too busy working, trying to make a difference, trying to understand the world I was living in, trying to understand myself. Fighting through depression, fighting to just stay. I never stopped and thought about my health or what I looked like. And here is the thing, I was skinny for a long long time, but it wasn’t because I became a vegan, Vegans don’t have to be skinny and most are not. That is just a stereotype. I was skinny because I gave up on myself. I didn’t care about me. I had no balance in my life. I never ate. I would drink espresso, suppressing my appetite, so I could work longer hours, stay up more days. When I did eat, it would be something simple like a salad. A very very light near zero calorie salad. Very little fats or proteins. Worst of all, I sat in my chair day after day and completely gave up on working out. For me even the thought of working out turned my stomach. I would think, oh how boring, what a dull ill thing to do. I hated it. So, I just didn’t do it, ever. The last time I was physically active (until recently) was back in my early 20′s. So, think about it, a good 15 years just blew by as my body withered away. Amazing what we will do to ourselves.
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.
If you’re looking for a simple, practical way to spring-clean your system, how about trying a 5-day juice FEAST? Taking a break from solid foods and instead fueling your body on only fresh, raw, nutrient-rich juices is a great way to cleanse. The body gets a rest from digesting and can use that energy instead to clear out old accumulated waste. You will also be getting a break from any refined sugars, processed starches, animal products, other cooked foods or stimulants you may normally ingest. This makes a HUGE difference for most people. You’ll lose weight, feel lighter and cleaner and best of all, can use this break as a spring-board into a healthier lifestyle afterwards.
Fasting vs. FEAST-ing
Juice fasting has a very long history as a detox method, but can seem intimidating and inaccessible to many, who may fear feeling ‘deprived’. Indeed, while juice fasting, people often consume very small amounts of calories and end up feeling weak, dizzy and fatigued. It’s just not that practical for anyone living a modern, fast-paced lifestyle. That’s where juice FEAST-ing is different. Juice feasting is about getting all the calories you need in a day (e.g. 1500 for an average woman) directly from juices. You still lose weight and detox, as your body has space to work on things other than digesting solid foods, but there is no feeling of ‘lack’. It is a fast, effective and highly beneficial way to cleanse, rehydrate, alkalise and re-build your body.
Our super G athlete friend Tim VanOrden (the running raw guy) could be described as obsessive, energetic, and extremely dedicated. But I would say the best description would be “Giver”. Yes Tim can’t help himself, he gives and then goes out and gives some more. Here’s an example, Tim doesn’t just worry about getting himself psyched about tackling a difficult run in the fridgid snowy woods of Vermont. Nooo, not Tim, he is also worried about your two fat storage tubes you call legs. Yes, I mean you, sitting there in front of your computer. He wants to help you become a snow running, raw food chomping, super “G” athlete too. So, what does Tim do? He figured out how to bring all of us along with him. Yes, some how packing all of us into his pocket ($10 Jacket), he heads out to the snow packed trails and begins to entertain and teach us a thing or two about how fun and good for us, running really is. Even in a snow covered wonderland like Vermont.
So, I want to thank Tim, personally for hauling all of us along, I have been enjoying the rides.
In this Running Raw video, Tim teaches us the value of a good pair of cheap ($4) snow cleats which fit on your running shoes. Plus, he clues us in on just how beneficial cross country skiing really is. So, get your right hand on your mouse and your left hand around a green smoothy and click play. Tim is about to whip us out and teach us a lesson.