It’s TIME ….

My original web site. I never really settled on exactly what direction to take this, my personal site.

It was the social platforms that took my attention away from here … and so in the coming months of 2017. I will reconstruct philladden.com. I am thinking I will save and transfer my favorite posts to the Medium publishing platform …

Phil

2015 WORD :: GO

Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go 

The word I’ve chosen for my emphasis in 2015 is GO.

Such a simple word, but for significance, I believe it will play as much significance as last year’s word did, Decision.

2014 brought forth some pretty big decisions. As a result, 2015 is shaping up to be a year about Go, as in going forward, going on, and going for. Continuing, progressing, proceed, or even to depart.

Looking up the meaning of the word using The Free Dictionary (my dictionary of choice online) surprised me how much complexity there is in this two letter word. I think it is one of the most used words in our language, both in expressions and meanings.

Go fits perfectly where I am and how I begin 2015. It is important that I continue to move or progress in the things I began in 2014. I face challenges of becoming overly analytic, of procrastinating from the unknown outcomes, of heavy doubts, and fears of making the wrong decisions.

The answer or action is simply go.

In Seth Godin’s new book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn, there is a quote highlighted early on.

The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.

It was the sentence in that book that helped me find the word for this year. Under everything that comes my way, I will remember the importance of the cost of doing nothing.

My responses this year to the analysis, procrastination, doubt and fear …. go!

For the previous years’ words, click here:

2009 – 2010 – 2011 // 2012 // 2013 // 2014

3rd Annual First Morning Celebration 2015

Celebrating the first morning of the new year 2015 not the last night of 2014

The First Morning Celebration began 3 years ago on a chilly morning in Phoenix, Arizona. A few friends and myself met at sunrise with coffee in hand to watch the start of that first day of 2013. We all shared the belief that New Years Eve partying had become kind of an empty activity.

Jody, Chrystyna, and David met me at the Buttes off McDowell Road that morning. Here is a picture of us, minus David who had climbed up one of the hills and was still up there.

Sunrise 2013
Jody, Phil, and Chrystyna First Morning 2013

In 2014 we decided to meet at A-Mountain in Tempe. There was quite a crowd at that location, surprisingly.

New Years Day 2014 Tempe Arizona
Chrystyna, David, two girls from ASU, Jody, Launa, Phil

After the sunrise we all went to breakfast at The Ranch House … Chrystyna coined this event the First Breakfast.

New Years Day 2014 Breakfast Ranch House Grille
New Years Day 2014 Breakfast Ranch House Grille

2014 was bringing lots of change for all of us, some known and some unknown. Jody was to survive a major health issue, Chrystyna and David moved to Portland, Oregon, and Launa and I ended up moving to Kauai, Hawaii to begin a major project on the island.

We knew that morning would be our last First one together.

As 2015 approached, I knew I would be getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the first sunrise of the year. I sent messages to this group via Facebook and invited others as well to get up and celebrate the new year by watching the sunrise. Clearly, most prefer to party late the night before.

David was first to confirm that they would definitely be watching the sunrise from Portland. Jody too was in and decided to return to the location of where we watched from the first year. We decided to go to the beach, I mean, it is Hawaii and I had to have the ocean in the picture.

Jody was first up. Here’s where this First Morning 2015 began:

Phoenix First Morning Sunrise 2015
Phoenix First Morning Sunrise 2015

An hour later, here’s the first morning from Portland, Oregon:

First Morning sunrise from Portland, OR
First Morning sunrise from Portland, OR

And from Kauai, Hawaii, Donkey Beach, 3 hours after Portland:

First Morning 2015 Kauai, HI
First Morning 2015 Kauai, HI

We were the only people there. It was great.

Maybe next year, should we still be in Hawaii, friends can join us here. I really think getting up early wouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

Friends, breakfast, coffee, and a sunrise

The older you get, I think we look to find things that we feel good about remembering. The First Morning of the year celebrating its sunrise is becoming one of those things.

We’ll do it again and at least one more time I would like for this group to meet for it.

I think as the sun rises, we should shout and clap, and cheer and yell in celebration of the start of another year. And everything that it brings.

First Morning 2014 A-Mountain, Tempe, AZ
First Morning 2014 A-Mountain, Tempe, AZ

Happy New Year friends!

A Decision for Philladden dot com

Phil Ladden Dot Com is changing its direction.

DAY ONE. [click to read]

That was the title of the first post of Phil Ladden dot com. February 29th, 2008. 6 years and 10 months ago. And reading it for the maybe only the second time since then, during a time I have been debating as to the direction and purpose of this blog even to the point of deleting it … it was and is sobering.

What’s happened?

Not much. That has been the problem. I’ve not done hardly anything here for the past 2-3 years. Off the top of my head, I have done a Word(s) of the Year post versus goal setting and the First Morning posts. Those were with a few friends as we celebrated New Year’s MORNING (sunrise), not Eve. The total for all 2014 up to this point was 10 posts.

As I see it, what happened was the developing micro publishing sites. They stole my attention. It began with Facebook, then came Twitter, and a varied number of others (Instagram, Pinterest, FB pages, Posterous (defunct). I don’t remember them all.

They were easy and fast. Social media was and is moving to quick bites of sharing. Pictures, 6 – 15 second videos, 140 character updates.

Deleting the blog

As 2015 approached, I was thinking deleting the content here and re-purposing it as a type of professional digital portfolio. This year’s Word was Decision … and it certainly has been one of big ones. This was no different.

The blog has been my oldest media platform “child” so to speak.

I looked back to read the first post.It was February 29th, 2008, a Friday … yes I looked it up. I don’t remember anything about it. Reading it confirmed the decision to keep it.

My struggle has been what to focus the blog on.

And still is. It was clear as I began I was reaching to define the direction to take. The sub-title of the site was Things Relevant. I wrote:

“THINGS RELEVANT is my way of allowing for the expanding of topics and opinions for anything I find relevant. I jokingly told someone that it will be a combination of insight and bs. They said it sounds like it you got at least half of it right!”

I seemed concerned with the feeling that time was short. I listed things I thought I might communicate.

I ended that first post citing a television interview from the show The Big Idea. The interviewee had built a big successful endeavor and was asked if he had any idea that his endeavor would end up being so successful. He replied:

I did not, but one thing was sure. I felt the endeavor would be worth my time regardless of where it ended up.

I ended that first post with, “I feel the same …. with the limited time left, this will be time well spent.”

It’s worth the time.

It’s crazy. I began PhilLadden dot com questioning if it would be worth it. I’ve recently been doubting that.

Not anymore.

I’ve found a focus for the next year that will frame what happens here. It’s, ironically, a big idea.

And regarding the concept of time. It all started on Leap Day. In Leap Years, it hasn’t even been 2 years yet!

I think of all my media platforms, this is the ONE to keep if any of them were to go.

The new direction will bring better posts, a new podcast, and renewed focus.

 

 

Life Kauai Style: Moving to Kauai was a BIG Decision

I’ve moved to Kauai, Hawaii from Arizona. It’s a change that’s a lot bigger than just changing the blog’s header.

PhilLadden dot Com is subtitled “Life … Arizona Style.” I’m going to have to change that “Life … Kauai Style.” Or from Kauai.

Just a week ago, June 27th, I arrived on Kauai to begin a new adventure. Maybe, as I wrote recently, a new experience. It was a big decision but not one that wasn’t thought out. I’d even go as far to say it was a process combined with anguish as much as excitement.

As with most things I feel are personal, I told very few people about it. A few close friends. And my aging parents, who factored into making it the biggest decision.

Here’s my route to Kauai

It’s really pretty simple … and really unexpected. No, I had not planned this a long time. But I had some things over the last few years that when the option to move came up, I could do it. Those things were centered around simplifying how I lived. Upon hearing the news that I had moved, a friend sent me this quote and thought it was appropriate to my decision:

Now, more than ever, we live as though we need a lot of stuff, a lot of space, and a lot of luxury. What we own is ultimately owning us.

I did not own a lot of stuff. What I did own I sold. All of it. That has been probably the biggest surprise for those who asked questions like how are doing this? What about your car? Your furniture? Did you quit your job? (yep).

Still, how or why Kauai? Well, this is the part that really is the key piece of the puzzling actions. I doubt I would have done this alone.

Last fall I met this gal who was visiting her daughter in Phoenix … yes, she had been living on the island of Kauai. This is where I lose a few of you so I’ll just ask you to reserve jumping to conclusions. We started communicating as she was in a transition. By the first of the year she was in Phoenix full time.

We talked of a day when we could go to Kauai and live, at least part of the year. That day was thought to be later this year or next. We had no idea that we would be arriving on the island before the end of June.

What did it take?

What is really nice is the positive comments I have received from friends. To be sure, I have been a little surprised at their encouragement. (Irony … as I am working on this post a text arrived on my phone from Ash – “You’re in Hawaii now? Good for you.) They all seem like this is something they dream about doing.

Let’s clarify some of the things that made this something I could or would do.

First, I don’t see myself as a risk taker or even a radical live your life by the seat of your pants person. I guess as I have gotten older, I’ve become much more willing to do things I would otherwise not do.

Family: if my kids were younger or depending on me, there is no way I could do this. Although I know of some that have taken their families on adventures, I don’t think I could.

Career: If I had a HIGH paying job, I think it would be difficult to give that up. Although I did have a decent paying job with great benefits including about a month paid vacation per year. But it was a JOB. It was a little stressful the day I gave my 2 week notice.

I have always been someone that has continuously been learning new things. Back in the first years the internet was developing, I started to learn how people were using it to market and create communities. I knew this would open tremendous opportunities. However, I had no clue as to the level or change it would bring. Case in point, I started a monthly publication using Mac publishing technology. A forward thinking guy told me that print media would someday be a thing of the past as the internet was going to provide information direct to people to consume. I thought reading a paper would NEVER be an activity people would give up. Doh! I read today that one of the fastest growing age groups using Twitter are those 50 plus!

I’m in agreement with those that the age of the CAREER is over. We are in the greatest age of opportunity for the common man. The gate-keepers can no longer keep you out. A college education is even threatened. The move to Kauai is providing an opportunity for me to apply the things I have learned over the last decade. These things are in the area of using new media platforms. Within this endeavor will come providing value to the community as well as marketing opportunities resulting in income.

Sold out: As I mentioned. we have sold pretty much everything! Here’s the reality. Everything I have sold can be replaced. There was a time when I was more attached to the car I drove or the furniture I had. Even the clothes I held on to. This move has challenged all of that. I still have about 20 boxes of things.

Food and shelter: These are the big things for now. As long as I know I have food to eat and a place to be comfortable, I am content. We don’t have money forever, but we have what we need and can sustain this adventure for at least 8+ months. The business is going to take some time, but worse case scenario is we will find part-time jobs. And if all goes to hell, the mainland will still be there.

10464122_10203440778715704_1371425291659807627_n
My new threads
What are you going to do?

It’s funny but in talking with I think everyone about this, I could sense this question coming. It usually was asked within the first few minutes after asking, “You moved to Kauai?!”

I didn’t come here without a plan. And thank goodness I didn’t come here with the intent of finding a job. There aren’t many available!

I am very excited and motivated on a project I will be doing. It naturally involves much of what I know regarding social platforms and using them to provide value in services and information. The key is to do so in an engaging and connecting means. The subject is obvious the Garden Island. If you would like, follow that process at our Facebook page, Aloha Kauai Vacation! Be sure to LIKE the PAGE.

Rather than explain what exactly I’ll be doing, let me tell you what I will NOT be doing. It’s the thing everyone thinks and is pretty much what everyone else is doing — putting links up for the popular tours and activities of Kauai. Most destination web sites are all about promoting the business and activities they are being PAID to promote. Most people have no idea what they are reading is in fact a paid promotion. I hope the model I have in mind will be more effective and result in a greater financial return. Both for the businesses and myself.

The real Q

Sandi Krakowski, a top social media consultant, asked this question the other day. What if it does work out?

As I’ve made this big decision, there has been a lot of what ifs but mostly of the sort of what if this fails? What if this was a mistake? What if this or that happens?

I am choosing to ask, What if it works out?

The opportunity and experience far exceeds the alternative of playing it safe

Questions? Connect with me on Facebook: LaddenOnline – I’ll be happy to provide more specifics there and share appropriate links. Aloha!

My Favorite Recipes from the Whole30 Day Challenge

The meals I loved eating during the Whole30 Challenge and continue to eat!

One of the biggest questions I heard (and continue to hear) when I was in that initial 30 day Whole30 program is what can you eat?!

It’s really very simple. You can eat ANY food that is unprocessed, clean, and whole. What does that mean? That’s what you learn at the Whole30 web site. You really have to do your own research. The reality is that you will find MOST of the “food” we choose to eat in the American diet is crap containing sugars (in multiple forms), chemicals, and lots of additives. Choosing food in its natural state is what you eat.

Doesn’t that sound ridicules? Eating NATURAL food? That’s how bad it is. Keep in mind what you are cutting out!

Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. – From the Whole 30 web site.

There is a ton of great information and recipes out there! Here are a couple of places to start:

Note: some of the recipes on these sites include ingredients you are to avoid during the strict 30 day reset period.

Here were my FAVORITE dishes – and still are!

1. Watermelon – I ate this almost everyday. My intake of fruit was in excess of the recommended, but it helped me through dealing with the sugar addiction I had/have. As I continue to focus on my new dietary choices, I think fighting the desires for sweets is my greatest challenge. Bottom line for me, the sugar intake resulting from organic, natural fruit is always a good choice versus anything with even the slightest food with corn syrup additive!

2. The Stew/Soup – I LOVE this stuff. You can replace or add any of the like stuff in this that you prefer. Brown up to a pound of grass-fed or organic hamburger. While doing that I saute in the pot with 4 or so tablespoons of organic virgin olive oil some onion, bell pepper, garlic, 1-2 jalepenos (sliced and diced, seeds removed). Add the browned hamburger, 2 cans of organic diced tomatoes, a good handful of cilantro or/and spinach to the pot and add an additional cup or so of water. If I am in Phoenix I would filter it, in Oregon, I use the tap :-). Seasonings include sea salt and ground pepper, 2 tbls. of chili powder, garlic salt and/or onion powder to taste. Be sure the seasonings are organic and do not have sugar added to them! I was shocked to find how common it is to find sugar in seasonings eg. Lowery’s Garlic Salt. Cover and heat to a boil and then lower to simmer for about 20 minutes. I will often at this point turn the oven off and let the pot of stew simmer for another 20+ minutes as the burner cools and them try a small bowl. I’ll season to taste and enjoy! This will provide meals for me over the next few days. I’ll have it with other vegetables like asparagus, sweet potato, or a salad.

3. Do Not Lift the Lid Pan Fried Chicken! – I found this online and it is great! It was labeled the best pan fried chicken, and I would have to agree. Best of all, it is idiot proof! It is reported that it first appeared in the original Joy of Cooking book. Pound your chicken breasts to an even thickness. Salt and pepper lightly. In a mixing bowl, stir together half cup of almond flour, chopped herbs (optional), and teaspoon of salt and pepper. Drop the chicken breasts in to the bowl covering both sides. I found using an egg wash to be helpful prior to dropping the chicken into the mix. Of course, the eggs were organic. Heat a skillet (I use a 10 inch cast iron one) over medium high heat. When it is HOT, I pour in some organic olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified organic butter). I tend to eye things but you want enough to cook the chicken breasts. As soon as it is all melted, turn heat down to MEDIUM and add the chicken breasts. Cook the first side for about 1 minute (until golden brown), flip over to other side. Place a LID on the pan and turn the heat to low. Set a timer for ten minutes and leave it alone. DO NOT LIFT THE LID! Not even to peek. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and reset the timer for another 10 minutes. Again, DO NOT LIFT THE LID! After the 10 minutes are up, you may LIFT THE LID!! And the result is amazing, tender and juicy chicken breasts. Enjoy with your favorite vegetables.

4. What about desserts? I often had a craving for a sugary dessert after eating a meal. This is what we ended up doing and it was great. In a bowl combine a sliced banana, berries (strawberries, blue and/or blackberries, or any other of your choice), chopped almonds and a handful of coconut chips. Cover with organic coconut milk! OMG … this is so good and satisfying. And there is no sugar low. As a matter of fact, you feel great and have energy. (See the Featured Image).

So those are just a few of my favorite meals and foods! Organic eggs were also daily staple. I learned just how perfect of a food they are too. Be sure to add veggies to every meal.

If you are thinking what I think you are, please consider that MOST of the advisement we have read, heard, and learned from the experts is faulty. So much so most nutritional information is no question a detriment to your health.

Doing the Whole30 Challenge clearly confirmed for me that the FOOD I was eating, even the “healthy” stuff, was making me sick.

I look forward to learning more about eating clean. Never before has our food supply been this questionable. GMOs, additives, chemicals … they are killing us.

Feel free to share any great meal recipes in the comments!

In the words of a famous French chef, Bon Appetite!

 

My Whole30/Paleo Update – 9 Months Later

It has been over 9 months since changing my diet with the Whole30 Challenge, so how is it going?

I made a decision last August to make changes in my diet. I found the 30 Day Whole30 Challenge and began to change the foods I ate on August 12th. During that 30 day period I did not anticipate that the most significant result would not be in my weight loss. The most significant result from the challenge has been the changes I have made in the foods I now eat. Most of the time.

I say most of the time because I do find myself “cheating” by allowing myself to indulge in some of the favorite meals I miss. Those would be a great pizza or a sugar filled desert! The “rules” of Whole30 can be reviewed here: Follow the rules!

In reality, these aren’t rules for what you can eat – they are decisions or choices you make on what you eat. As I progressed through the month of August, I really began to feel the effects from the food I would eat. Good food made me feel great.

I did not cheat until …

Let me say that I successfully completed the Whole30 challenge. I did not cheat even once.

And I did not celebrate on the 31st day with a binge meal as I read many do. As a matter of fact, I continued to eat whole, clean foods. I think I did have a beer or two on that following Friday. I also had a hamburger at Habit Burger within a week or two after finishing, and I remember it wasn’t until December that I ate pizza again.

Overall, I maintained my focus on eating what is called a Paleo diet. I use the word diet not in the sense of something you do (verb). Diet to me is now a noun as in the things I eat. We are all on that “diet.”

Most amazing is that the weight continued to come off! By the first of the year (January 2014) my weight loss surpassed THIRTY pounds! I couldn’t believe it. I was having to wear a belt with all of the pants that previously had been waist tight.

Falling off the wagon

Time for some confessions. 2014 began bringing numerous things that were going to require me to make big decisions. Big in the arena of hard. These were related to job, relationships, possessions … even location changes. All changed.

The changes were thought out and planned but even so, the stress was and is tough. Warning: EXCUSES alert. Since February/March, I’ve had my moments, as in partial days, that I have chosen to eat foods from an emotional response rather than an intellectual one.

Examples?

I ate a WHOLE pizza in a single sitting! Let me save you some time. You will not find eating a WHOLE pizza ever (even as a cheat meal) found in any Whole30 options.

I’ve succumbed to a number of cravings for sweet sugary choices such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (by the pint) and boxes of Red Hots or Good and Plenty! I tell myself that it is a fact that black licorice is good for the gut while I pop another handful of that stuff in my mouth.

I make the greatest fresh salsa … but the chips I eat with it are terrible.

I have compromised by buying less than clean foods in the area of those that contain chemical additives not so much because of taste but because of convenience.

I have not given up

The good news is that these failings in my diet have not become the norm – yet. I am cognizant that they have become more frequent, and the guilt associated with those choices is greater still to stay on the road to eating good foods. The biggest reminder is the having to take an antacid every time after eating any of those old ways. Literally every time.

I haven’t weighed myself in months, but by the way my pants feel, I can tell there has been a little weight gain … another motivator to continue to eat within the foundations of the Paleo diet choices.

Is it worth it?

Yes, it is worth it. My health, your health leaves us no choice. I can’t stress enough how good one feels when eating clean, whole foods. Forget all the noise out there about diets and improved products.

I choose to eat real food. The choices are limited. But they are easy and the results undeniable. Let your waistline be the judge and your emotional well being your guide.

My friend Dave often quotes the line from the movie Trading Places, and for some reason it has come to mind this morning.

“Looking good, Billy Ray!”

“Feeling good, Louis!”

To health!

For my other Whole30 details, here’s a list: Whole30 or bust.

How to Begin the Whole30 Thirty Day Challenge

When and how: Spend the weekend eating pizza and ice cream and begin on a Monday

I began the Whole 30 Thirty Day Challenge on Monday, August 12th, 2013. Knowing I was about to begin a no sugar, no alcohol. preservative free, clean food eating plan, I spent the weekend eating those things I knew I would miss. I had my favorite pizza (the whole thing), Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia pint (the whole thing), and various other dietary delicacies I had been eating most of my life. I made sure to cover myself and take a Prilosec each day! Of course, the physical feeling this produced was far worse than the new diet I was about to begin.

You know, the acid indigestion, bloating, and general feeling of malaise. Oh, and the contributing factor of weighing over 200 lbs.

I had a friend join me on this 30 day event and I must say, if you are going to do this, doing it with others is really better. Especially when it comes to planning meals.It was also pretty great that she was a great cook and made these Paleo meals even more delicious. Last, it was much easier to have the support of another during the days when you feel like giving in.

Beginning on a Monday

So it was that early Monday morning that I made and drank my first cup of coffee without cream and sugar for literally the first time. And guess what? It was pretty good.

The timing was significant … just after the completion of the 30 days, I would turn 55. I also had made an appointment with a cardiologist to have a check up just because. That visit would be mid September. I began with a thorough understanding what I could eat and drink and was very organized. I quickly realized it was the daily preparation more than anything that was critical to succeeding in staying on course, meaning dealing with the cravings that were to come.

In a nutshell, and yes, some nuts are really good on this challenge, the Whole 30 program is thought of as a nutritional re-set. The foundation this is that food should make you healthy, not sick. That premise alone was paradigm shifting for me. Our culture isn’t interested in identifying the cause to our ailments. It’s all about treating the symptoms. Case in point – acid reflux. I took antacids DAILY. I was told I had acid reflux disease. Really? Well, all I knew is when I ate “this” food stuff, I needed that Prilosec or Zantac … pronto. If I ate other kinds of food, I never needed it. Let me tell you, starting Day 1 of this 30 day eating whole, real foods, I only needed antacids two times. From taking them every day I healed that “disease.” Seriously. Thanks Doc.

Food can make you sick

The Whole 30 program is about finding out what food groups are in fact having a negative impact on your health and physical well being. This is why there is a very strict commitment to eating only those foods proven to be overall good for you. These are detailed at the Whole 30 web site, and I encourage you to take a close look at it. What you will learn is that almost everything you have heard the nutritional experts advise is, let me put this frankly, bullshit. Until you decide to eat this new way, you won’t get it. Those that want to argue it, won’t get it. You have to DO IT. See for yourself how you feel and more significantly, experience the changes that happen. Eating whole unprocessed foods with an emphasis on vegetables/fruits and healthy fats will produce amazing results. Physically and emotionally.

What I ate

Most people wondered what I was eating primarily because of the things they saw me NOT eating anymore. Gone was the daily munching on Snicker candy bars (get the plural of that), partaking of the donuts or bagels offered, the declining of ANYTHING with sugar in it, no sandwiches with a large soda, and not taking even a sip of alcohol. You have to get very good at reading ingredient lists. Not the nutritional information predominately displayed on every product. Did you know there is sugar added as an ingredient in Lowery’s garlic salt?? Ridicules. The lists of the great foods to get you started are at Whole 30 and are pretty complete.

You will also find that guideline of buying things on the perimeter of the grocery store to not be safe. There’s crap everywhere.

You will often hear, “Man, that is hard!”

No … having cancer is hard. Being sick is hard. Eating good food is easy. Maybe not at first, but after 30 days of doing it, you think twice and ask yourself if it is worth it. Asking if it is worth it before eating the things that you once the loved makes it clear. At this point it comes and came down to this for me … do I want to feel like that (good or bad) if I eat this? Because eating good food makes you feel great, every time. Eating bad food makes you feel bad, pretty much every time. The following is true almost 100%, if there is more than one thing on the ingredient list or any words you can’t pronounce, it isn’t what you should be eating.

Overall, during the 30 days I ate meats, vegetables (lots of salads), fruit (more than what is recommended, honestly), nuts (almonds, walnuts), eggs (organic), and cooked with organic olive, coconut, avocado oils and ghee (clarified organic butter).

Results

The results were amazing. So much so that I continue to eat this way to this day and will for the rest of my life. This morning I had my coffee – black and a couple of eggs with a small portion of grass fed hamburger. I had some fruit too. Pineapple, raspberries, and blackberries.

I had some undeniable health improvements. First, I do not take any antacids anymore … unless I have made that choice it was worth it, And it wasn’t! My digestion (gut) was so improved. Really no comparison. I had improvements in my irritated gums … my dental hygienist even noted it and asked if I had been flossing more regularly. As much as I wanted to report that this was the case, it was not. I told her how my diet was now processed and synthetic sugar free, she called the doctor in to look at the results.

I was sleeping really well and my skin indeed, as expected, started to clear. I also had a vast improvement in energy. The cardiologist report was great. No blockages partial or otherwise, cholesterol and triglyceride levels excellent …. one thing I had not written is that the previous year I had cholesterol levels hit a level that was very concerning 280, another all time high. That humbled me to the point where I agreed to begin taking a small dosage of medication to get it under control. My level now registered at 160 … never before that low since I had started testing it over 30 years ago. (I have since stopped taking the med and will re-test soon to see where it presently sits).

Now for the question everyone is wondering … so much so I’ll bet many of you have skimmed this post to find this report. How much WEIGHT did you lose? A lot! Understand that one of the rules to Whole 30 is that you do not weigh yourself ever during the 30 days. The focus of Whole 30 is about the foods you eat. Weight is not the problem – food is. I weighed 216 on August 12. It was great to not think or worry about how I was doing on my weight. In the Visalus Challenge thing, I have to be honest, when I had plateaued at 14 lbs, with a couple of weeks left in the 90 days, I re-focused and became even more strict by taking the supplements and drinking more than a shake a day for a meal. I wanted as impressive of a result as possible.

On September 10th (which was the 30th day from the start), I excitedly jumped on the same scale I stepped on August 12th. I knew my weight was way less based on the way my pants fit (fell) off of me and comments from friends on how I was looking (better not worse!). I was now weighing 192 lbs .. a loss of TWENTY FOUR (24) pounds. Just by eating good foods.

I never went hungry eating as much as I wanted. I snacked a lot! But those snacks were in the form of good ones … fruit and vegetables. I did no exercise. It is recommended to incorporate exercise and of course its great for you. But the temps in Phoenix were still hitting triple digits everyday. Combine that with being self discipline challenged, I just dramatically changed the food I ate.

There is more! I’ll talk about that next. Hint: more weight loss but a return to pizza and ice cream …. 🙁

It’s Not About Your Weight or Diet – It’s About Your Health! My Whole30 Experience.

In August 2013, I took the 30 Day Whole30 Challenge of eating sugar/preservative free foods.

After losing about 20 lbs. in 2011 doing the Visalus 90 Day meal replacement challenge and documenting that process here and finding that drinking a shake for a meal (real food) just wasn’t going to be a lifestyle I could accept, I ended gaining the 20 lbs. back by the end of that year (2011) and then some!

By August 2013, I tipped those scales at a lifetime high weight of 216 lbs. I needed to do something. The biggest motivation was not the size 40 waist pants I bought just for comfort or the overall things I was feeling – pain in the joints, poor sleep, fatigue, a general desire wanting more food, and lack of motivation.

The motivation to address my weight gain was the heart attack … of a younger friend!

Time to get serious

I knew I needed to make some changes. I was turning 55 that fall. Seems I always saw the reports of the 50 year old guy who had a heart attack on one of the desert trail hikes in Phoenix. It concerned me. I thought if it could happen to them, it could happen to me. I knew I was worrying about it too much when I visited Colorado that year and decided hiking a 14er was not something I should be doing. Between the weight and sedentary lifestyle I had, I knew it would be stupid to take on a hike of that nature. It was the first time I had made a decision like that.

That summer I decided I would start eating more “healthy” foods. I was going in the direction of what I felt was best for me. A focus on low carbs, fresh or raw foods. More fruits and vegetables. Reality, I wasn’t really eating very differently. I was the model for what I call the Diet of Great Intentions.

Two things happened that changed everything. I hadn’t heard from my friend Mike for a few weeks. When I got back from Colorado, I texted him that I was back in a sarcastic way what was going on? (Kind of a what’s happening did ya get married kind of thing.)

He replied simply, “A lot. I’ll have to fill you in.”

A few days later we talked and he dropped the big news on me. At 46, he had had a heart attack and ended up with triple by-pass surgery. It was the classic scenario of no signs whatsoever and them bam, he’s on his way to the hospital with pain in his chest that started after a workout at the gym. He was admitted and two days later had the triple by-pass.

I knew I had to do something. First thought was cancel that gym membership!

Seriously, I returned to taking a serious look at the food I was eating.

My daughter tells me to check this Whole30 thing out.

I was talking with my daughter on Google Hangout and telling her about how I was committing to eating better foods, raw and fresh. Staying away from fast and processed foods. She suggested I look at this 30 day challenge to eat whole, organic, fresh foods. It was called Whole30.

I looked it up and immediately was challenged! No sugar. No chemicals. No dairy. No pasta. No bread. No soda! No pizza! No alcohol! No Ben and Jerrys! No Five Guy hamburgers! I said wait a minute.

And then I read the one thing that really made sense to me. Whole 30 suggests, even believes, that food should make you HEALTHY not sick. That was it. I wholeheartedly believe it is indeed food that in most cases makes us sick. I know how I was feeling.

This was on a Friday, August 9th. On Monday, August 12, 2013, I began the Whole30 30 day challenge.

I’ll summarize what happened during the following 30 days next post. I successfully did it. Matter of fact, as I type this in May 2014, I am still doing pretty good!

Time for some coffee … cream and sugar free – since August 12th.

 

My Final Visalus Update – THREE Years later

I never posted or updated my 90 Day Visalus Challenge!

I said I’d do it – post the final report on my Visalus 90 Day Challenge.

I had no idea it would be THREE years later. Wow.

It was March 28, 2011, that I first posted that I was starting the 90 Day Challenge. I weighed 206 lbs. and made a goal to lose 15 lbs. You can read the details here: My Visalus Updates.

The last entry I wrote was on Day 74, June 8th. (Yes, still 2011.) I was maintaining my weight at 190 lbs. (a loss of 16 lbs.) with 16 days left. I was still fighting the urge to eat more and eat junk.

How much did I lose?

The Visalus challenge was to replace a meal or more per day with their proprietary shake mix. So what was the final outcome?

Day 90 would have been June 24th. I remember that I pushed in those last 2 weeks to eat as good as I could and not miss taking the shake in place of a meal, which was usually lunch. I wanted to maximize my results of losing as much as possible during this time. Upon weighing myself that morning, I weighed, as best as I can recall, 185 lbs. I was pretty happy. I had lost over 20 lbs.!

And by the end of 2011, I had gained about all of it back.

First, I found that replacing a meal (food) with a shake, albeit a delicious one, was not what I wanted to do. I could not see myself living the rest of my life eating in this manner. So I began to eat again. But I would also drink that shake too! It became like a desert for lunch.

I also found the direction Visalus was taking to be one that did not agree with me. I felt the focus of promoting all the hard body types to be disingenuous. Two to three times a week “leaders” sent updates on how each day they got up, had a shake and took their vitamins while heading out to the gym for a workout. Goals were to add muscle. More and more exercise coaches proliferated the challenges with approaches that I can only assume based on the plethora of pictures were extreme exercise regimes that glorified their body results. Great for them, but not my interest. I got “sick” of it. I continued to take one of the vitamin supplements for a few more months.

Today, I check in to see what the company is up to and how some of the leaders I knew are doing. Seems all is going well. I like many of the business concepts Visalus brought to the entrepreneur, but I am sensing it has run its course, at least in America. Seems Vemma has taken the momentum up here and Visalus is moving into Britain and Europe.

Final thoughts

I did enjoy the challenge. My purpose was centered on improving my health. I believed and still believe excess weight is detrimental to ones well being. But there had to be a better way than drinking a meal replacement shake. As 2011 came to an end, my weight teetered around 200 lbs.

By August 2013, I hit another first. Two hundred sixteen pounds. It was time for another challenge. I’ll tell you about that next.

 

Investing in Experiences

Big decision made: Pursuing a vision for the best

Within the last month I made a decision. A huge one.

It was more of a series of decisions and ones that have been on my mind for some time.

Risking the appearance of crazy, let me list them straight away.

  • I resigned my position at the University of Phoenix.
  • I started a business. (Ground floor meaning no immediate income!)
  • I sold almost everything I own including my car.
  • I re-located to Oregon … for the month of May.
  • I had to register with Obama-care … and over a month later I have not received any info for my coverage from Arizona. = no health care.

Whew … those are the major ones.

Some I am sure are questioning my mental state! Let me say it is great. Better than it has been in years even. These changes were not made lightly or in any state of drama or emotional distress.

For over a couple of years I have been doing a lot of reading, planning, and thinking on what my direction would be. Complicating all of this is the fact that the big reason I was in Phoenix was to be around my aging parents. Their health was and is an issue.

It has all come around to this. It was time. I believe that things were in line and came into line that I could make these decisions and still fulfill things I feel responsible to do. So many people tell me they would LOVE to do this, but for various reasons they cannot. Good reasons too and ones that would have prohibited me as well. Things like kids, debts, family, and fear. None of these are issues for me today. Well, maybe a little fear.

Going for it

I decided to go for it. Again. This is kind of similar to the decision made almost twelve years ago when I left the life I had and opened a restaurant.

I was recently reading some stuff by James Altucher. He wrote a piece about a year ago as to why you should QUIT your job by the end of the year. It really made sense (unless you really LOVE your job). I also read is book, Choose Yourself.

In this book I found a most profound idea. Invest in experiences rather than possessions. That hit a nerve for more than one reason. I’ve been simplifying life since having the restaurant experience. Part of doing this moving on was the opportunity to really simplify. I mean like never before. It isn’t like I had to rid myself of so many things, I chose to. It has been very liberating. Even satisfying. The fact is I can always purchase any of the things I had again. Even better ones.

The stigma of what others think

Let me share a personal thought about this. Even though I feel great about these moves, I am often catching myself thinking how others perceive me. I know many judge you on the car you drive, the job you hold, the house or neighborhood you live in. While my new neighborhood is better than any Scottsdale one (you should see the views :-), not having the worldly possessions our culture thinks one should have at 55 concerns me when I think about it. Yet, this is at the center of moving forward. These decisions are motivating and no matter the outcome, will lead to an experience that benefits me and others in my life.

Experiences vs. Possessions

The vast majority of my life has been clearly spent doing what is expected. Living in Normalcy. I’ve never thought of myself as any kind of risk taker. As I’ve grown older, I am aware of many mistakes I’ve made. Especially those that have hurt others. I think it true that the best you offer to others starts with being the best you. This clearly begins with following your path not the path of the masses.

And those paths are infinite! I have to note there is much more to this post that I have not shared. I don’t want to leave the impression this is easy or for everyone. I’ve learned over the years I’ve been online that so many of the things people share are only a partial revealing of the story. I will add to this story as it develops.

A more interesting list is the one I have of the outcomes from the decisions made in the last 30 days. I think of it this way. My possessions (things and moments) are now being accumulated through this experience. Not the way we typically live, that being the use of collecting possessions to create our experiences in the form of self esteem, happiness, or memories.

Shortly, I will be adding a tool on this site where you can leave a question or comment using your computer’s microphone! Leaving a written comment is still fine too. I would love to “hear” from you.

What experience(s) would you like to create for you and your family?

 

Facebook Happy Birthday Posts: No more, Capish

I’ve made my LAST Happy Birthday Facebook wall post.

I’m done with making Facebook wall posts wishing my friends happy birthday.

Don’t misunderstand. I think wishing people, particularly friends, a happy birthday is very important. I’ve just had enough of what I believe the Facebook happy birthday post has become.

Obligatory. Worse, disingenuous. It’s the easy way out.

I admit it’s convenient and I made an effort to drop a note on every friends wall on their day. There is even an app that would remind me. And yet I and you have probably forgot or missed the day. That leads to the “oh sorry for missing saying HB to you yesterday” post.

You probably didn’t notice that I had removed my birthday from the public view on Facebook a few years ago. Even though I am sure most of our wishes are genuine, these type of social media activities are cheapening authentic interactions.

I want to know you actually REMEMBERED it was my birthday! I want YOU to know that I remembered yours. Did I really think the 7000 wishes on my wall were from all these friends who had waited in anticipation to send this message on my wall? Well, ok, obviously not as I don’t have 7K friends – on FB. Do you think the hundreds of FB happy birthday posts are for real? I don’t.

Sorry. I will admit that there were too many that I personally made that were obligatory. You know, the really quick posts of simply “Happy Birthday!” … for emphasis you can add more !!!!!!!!!. Or the posts that you send with the SAME message in your own style .. but it goes to everyone. I think that would be like buying a box of 200 birthday cards that are all the same in design, color etc. – just addressed to different addresses and sending them to everone every year. No difference or changes.

Here’s a true story. A few years ago I logged into Facebook and saw it was a friends birthday – that day! Horror! Lori, if you are reading this, I know you will remember this. So instead of posting the obligatory FB wall post, covering myself and showing her my acknowledgement, I CALLED her. I was in Louisville, Kentucky at the time sitting on the porch of my brother and sister-in-law. Here is where it got kind of humorous.

She answered, of course, because I am sure I was on her caller ID. I said HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! (note the 7 exclamation points. I really did say it with genuine enthusiasm.) She was very touched. I realized almost immediately Lori thought I had actually remembered the DAY of her birthday.

Now, the call was genuinely made to wish her a Happy Birthday. But the fact that she was stunned that I had remembered made a huge impression to me. I had to tell her that the fact was I saw that it was her birthday on Facebook.

After admitting I saw the reminder on FB, I did explain that I thought a call would be better than a post. She agreed. At least as I recall.

And so it is that I have committed to sending a card for any future birthday for friends. Karen G was the last and will be the last post on Facebook from me saying happy birthday.

I have invited friends to update their addresses and DOBs with me. Those that do, they will get a card. I like the thought of that card showing up, unannounced, with a heartfelt message. Happy Birthday, friend.

I am promising not to buy a box of Happy Birthday cards. It’s not one for all and all for one. THAT would be disingenuous.