Monday, August 16, 2010

Feel the Force Flowing Through You

Hello Positive Eaters,

It is nice to be posting again. I just finished up what proved to be, quite literally, a weekend on the run. After a nice long day at the Boston Sports Club in Andover, I got into my Nissan Cube and drove out to my old stomping grounds in Fitchburg Massachusetts. I was to spend the evening at my teammate Jamie Aubuchon's house. His house was about halfway to Shelburne Falls, which is the site of the infamous Bridge of Flowers 10k, I was registered to compete in on Saturday morning.

Crashing at Jamie Aubuchon's to me, was the equivalent of Luke going to Obi Wan Kenobi's hideaway in A New Hope. Jamie, is the person responsible for teaching me the "force" or in other words getting speed into the legs of a gangly 19 year old Matthew Germain. Jamie to this day competes in track and field competitions, specializing in the Pentathlon and middle distance events. He can get on a track and roast anybody on any given day. His body seems to refuse to accept the ravages of age and he patiently continues to rear the talents (or lack thereof) of the young runners at Fitchburg State College.

I spent the evening with him and his son Ethan. What is remarkable is Jamie's conversational style and approach changed very little around his 10 year old son. He seemlessly brought him into our conversation and Ethan and I both enjoyed listening to his present day war stories at a recent series of track meets in Worcester. Ethan is of course the best runner on his football team, and it is probably only a matter of time until he sees the light and becomes a runner himself. Jamie of course sits patiently in the stands watching his son at every football practice. I wonder if he is waiting for the day the pads come off and his son learns that he can fly down the track with a speed and force that you are either born with or learn to develop through the mentoring of a great coach such as Jamie.

The next morning I slowly ate a bowl of Hemp Plus Granola, topped with bananas and slipped out of Obe Won's cavern. Shelburne Falls was still an hours ride and I needed to be ready for any of the twists and turns that the forgotten highways that penetrate Western Massachusetts can throw at you. This race was to be an experience. I put aside any concerns with time and place and just went out there to soak in every moment of this truly challenging event. After evenly splitting the first two miles, we were sent up Crittenden Hill Road, a portion of pavement that is legendary amongst New England running folklore. You are sent a mile up a steep and switchbacking beast of a hill. Your pace slows to almost a trot as you muster up any strength you can find to put one foot in front of the other. After this, well it is pretty much off to the races as the course sends you hurtling down hill mostly for the next 3.2 miles. I must say it was an easy ride, all that I needed to do was open my stride up and let myself go.

After the race, I was happy to see that the post race refreshment consisted of fruit, organic granola bars and veggie burgers. Thanks to the forward thinking race directors I did not need to stop for lunch on the way home. When I got home, a strong urge to go running again took hold of me. I kept pushing it aside...but it kept coming back. I finally suited up and went out for an evening five mile jaunt. The next morning I arose and headed out the door to meet up with my teammates for our typical Sunday morning long run. I showed up and noticed I was the only one in the parking lot. So off I went, just me and my running crazed self. I did my typical 12.6 mile loop and then just kept going. I ran through the trails at Winnekenni park and back out onto the streets...I kept going and going and going. I ended up running 16.6 miles and wanted even more.

I was able to get a hold of myself and head home for a well deserved lunch.

That afternoon, I went to Plum Island to soak my legs in the cold ocean water. The surf was strong and what felt like such a strong frame on the land suddenly became fragile as swell after swell lifted me and through me wherever it wished. I was even sent hurtling onto the sand from one particularly strong wave. A couple of teenagers who were bobbing up and down ever so cooly and riding wave after wave, commented on how well I "rode the wave", I laughed and assured them that the wave just had its way with me. We laughed and I dove into the water several times before returning to the land to dry myself off.

Walking along the sand, I was thinking about our perceptions of inner strength. Several beach goers swam amongst the churning surf with little or no concern about the massive force the ocean can exert on their tiny bodies. Often, people gawk and make comments like "I would be lucky to run 16 feet" when I tell them about my running exploits. When I am running I take little note or care about the forces gravity is exerting on my musco-skeletal system. Forces equal to 2-4 times by body weight repeatedly impart themselves on my joints, ligaments, bones and muscles. I fling myself throughout space and allow myself to float along with gravity as if nothing truly remarkable is going on. As if the forces that are "having their way with me" are natural and not distressing at all. It seems as if feats of strength and will require either an ignorance or a passive dismissal of the truly overpowering forces of nature.

I thought about my compulsion this weekend to keep feeling my body move through space. I realized there was a certain relief associated with every step. I believe a certain surrendering to the force cultivates a cooperation and respect that allows us to accept these forces as they come at us. We know it is impossible to fight it so we simply go with it. We even sometimes become intoxicated by it.

People I work with often see themselves as failures when they fall victim to a craving or a need to eat. The forces that push us to eat are completely natural and necessary. Our attempts to resist them only knock us over. Being human means accepting we need to satiate our hunger, whenever possible. The old model of dieting involved restrticting our meals, portion sizes and calorie counts. This process certainly will work, but I believe it involves fighting against a force rather than cooperating with it. One reason, I started this blog was to show people that eating healthy can be fun and stress free. Let's accept that we need to eat and then put all sorts of awesome stuff into us.

I started this post wondering if I was going to write about food at all. Interestingly, enough here we are. I challenge you to accept and cooperate with any of the innate natural forces in your life this week. Nature provided them to power our lives not wipe us out. Obe Won would say, "may the force be with you," Jamie would say "he wants to play football so I take him to football practice"...I might say "positively eat until you feel so nourished that your insides smile."

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finally Found a Chaga Mushroom!

Positive Eaters!
Above is the wild mushroom known as Chaga! I started searching for this superfood after Ryan returned from a seminar with David Wolfe at Kripalu in May. He came back with stories of this mushroom you could find growing on birch trees in the woods that possessed an ORAC rating higher than Cacao. So off I went into the woods, bushwacking and staring up and down at birch trees of every shape and size. I also started to research this magical mushroom (that does not cause you to hallucinate so don't get too excited). I also wanted to make sure I went about this safely and successfully.
Chaga is a parasitic fungus (I know you just read parasite and are thinking I finally went completely crazy, not to fear I did my research) that infects primarily birch trees. Accounts of this mushroom being used in traditional medicine date back to the 16th century in Russia. The mushroom gained substantially more attention when a Russian author wrote a book called Cancer Ward. In this fictional book, (that is often thought to be an autobiographical account of the author's own battle and recovery from cancer) the main character discusses the use of Chaga to help treat his case of cancer.
Recent studies are starting to back up these claims. Scientists in Russia, Finland and South Korea located something called betulinic acid in Chaga mushrooms. When the acid was applied to tumors in vitro they brought about anti-melanomic activity, in other words stopped the growth of tumors. Later studies showed it can also produce apoptosis, the killing of cancer cells. Human and animal trials still need to be conducted (which always makes me laugh because humans have already been using it for 400 years, they should just go study those people).
The anti-tumor thing is certainly exciting. However, chaga is also know to be anti-inflammatory, immune stimulating, a pain reliever and effective in the treatment of ulcers. As I stated earlier, tests for antioxidant content on Chaga specimens reach well over 1000. To give you a reference point, blueberries are often touted for there high antioxidant content...your best batch of blueberries might get you into the 200's.
The craziest thing about finding my first Chaga mushroom is where I found it. I searched high and low and deep into forests for these things and I end up finding it three miles from where I live. I dropped my car off at the mechanic to get some routine service done and was about to go out for a run. I walked over to a grassy spot near a housing development and looked up into this birch tree that abuts the property and lo and behold there was this burnt charcoaly mushroom. The process now will be drying it and breaking it up into a powder to make a tea. I will let you know how that goes.
*Disclaimer: definitely study these things well if you go searching for one...they really are unmistakable in the way they look...still I don't want anyone ending up in a hospital or going on a three day halluconegenic trip because you made a tea out of the wrong mushroom. Best resource on finding and harvesting chaga mushrooms that I found was this guy, Daniel Vitalis, check out his website and videos if you are interested in Chaga.
Stay Positive,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reflections on Being Outside the Box

Hello Positive Eaters,

I made it! One entire month without entering a grocery store. I managed to even avoid those grey area "health food stores." I did get food from a few restaurants and a couple times bought an item from CVS, but other than that I survived on what was stocked in my pantry and the bounty of local farms. This post isa reflection on the food, the people and the fun that was last month's challenge.

One thing that cannot be understated is how quickly you gain the ability to make several different dishes from the same items. When you are limited to whatever is already in your pantry you get creative. Quinoa with vegetables was a stir fry, a salad, a pizza and a wrap. You also start diving into food that would either be ignored or went to waste in the past. How very efficient!

The freshness of local farm raised food is unmatched. Anything that was picked yesterday and ends up in your stomach today carries with it a crispness and flavor unique unto itself. This is devoid from store bought food as it is bound to fade away when it sits in a truck on its trip from Florida or California. This freshness makes you appreciate the fertile lands that exist in your own backyard. The potential for food to sprout from the land right beneath your feet helps to develop a unique reverence for any open space you come across. I probably walked around barefoot on the grass more times this month than usual. I just wanted to feel this soil that can grow plentiful amounts of food beneath my feet.

The experience of shopping amongst farmer's markets and conversing with farmers was truly the most special part of this challenge. Often "grocery shopping" is on the list of "to do's"...just another necessary task in our busy schedules. People often try to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible. I often found myself looking for a reason to hang around longer when visiting a farm or a farmer's market. Often people visit the farm as a "summer excursion." This was like a little excursion for me three or four times a week. Talking about the food with farmers was a joy. They are often deeply connected to their food and their land. They become more connected to you the more you shop there. They are not simply putting the food on display, they are selling you a piece of their land and their labor.

The reason I encourage all of you out there to try and look for more options outside the box is that it is incredibly fun. Not every farm carries the same stuff, so you find yourself visiting many different locations. You meet cool people and travel cool places this way. I spoke mostly about farms in this post...but I also needed to find places that sold bread, eggs and even peanut butter to replenish my cupboard. I discovered a mediterrean bakery where I was able to buy pita bread and even found people who kept chickens in their backyard and sold organic eggs. I met a bee keeper who sold honey and homemade jams and peanut butter. I would have never met these people if it wasn't for forcing myself to look outside the box.

And that is the point of all this! To get outside the box and feel free! Many people asked me "how are you going to eat" when I told them I was going to take on this challenge. This shows how we are trapped into the thinking that we are reliant on the big grocery store chains and food makers of this world for our survival. This is the furthest thing from the truth. The very ground underneath your feet can sustain you. Challenge yourself....maybe not for an entire month...but make one meal with food bought from sources other than the grocery store. You will feel slightly rebellious and you are guaranteed to meet some interesting people and even have an adventure or two.

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Final Week Outside the Box

Hello Positive Eaters,

We are here! The final week of shopping Outside the Box. Lots of adventures to share with you in this post...since we are coming towards the end I wanted to get in some great content that will hopefully give you a better glimpse into what this month was like for me.
I finally ran out of Quinoa and needed to think up a new idea fast. There were plenty of farm fresh veggies in the fridge so I put them in a cast iron frying pan and lightly sauteed them.

This was not going to carry me any sort of distance. I put some dough in the oven and made myself a baked flatbread and put these veggies on top. I added some fresh mozarella and instantly made a "pizza like creation." This was delicous and satisfied me for quite some time. The picture below says it all.

One beverage I often buy inside stores is iced tea. This month made me realize how insane it is to spend a $1.79 every time I feel like iced tea. There is more tea in my cupboards then you might find at a bed and breakfast. I can make my own. Simply pour hot water into a glass cylinder of some sort (I actually used a flower vase). Allow to cool...add ice or put in the fridge. Very simple...I may never purchase iced tea again....I do like Steaz and Guayaki though.

Now that my own iced tea was prepared it was time to re-stock up on the "Beverage of Everlasting Life"....Spring Water that is! I piled all my jugs into a milk crate and headed to Exeter. On recent trips, I brought all these loose bottles with me. This was incredibly inefficient, plus they were prone to tipping over this way. When I got to the spring there was a woman who was using the same milk crate system. I said "I just thought to put my jugs in milk crates today" she looked at me, cigarette dangling from her mouth and said "you sure are pretty slow aren't you." We both laughed and I kept my comments regarding her nicotine habit to myself.

I was committed to picking some Blueberries before the season comes to a close. In this month of filling my fridge and pantry with foood from farms, I did not pick a single item myself. That is shameful, I thought. I need to get close and touch the food as it comes out of the ground...or in this case off the bush. On the way to the spring I stopped at Monahan Farms and spoke to the very nice lady who works there. She gave me a bucket and said "Now there is no need to fill this up. Just make sure you pick the firm ones...the soft ones can be for the birds." Can you imagine hearing that at a grocery store?

I picked about 2.5 pounds of blueberries. I was certainly impressed at the speed in which I filled about half the bucket. When I got home, I thoroughly rinsed and put 2 pounds in freezer bag for freezing. The rest went in a tupperware container and in the fridge. I felt like Huckleberry Finn walking amongst the blueberry patches singing and being out in the open air. Still there was one more stop I needed to make on this trip.

I heard rumors of a tea shop in Exeter. Those of you who follow this blog know that I used to frequent the Licorice and Sloe Tea Company in Newburyport for many years until they closed up. This loss was difficult for me to bear. Still, I set out in hopes of finding a nice place to grab a cup of tea when I visit the spring. I found the White Lily Tea Shop.

Upon entering, it became immediately apparent this place was so much more than a tea shop. There were botanicals, herbs, soaps...the shop also offered herbal remedy consultations and massage therapy. I felt like I walked into a magical nook in which I could order up any potion I wished. The owner was a lively and engaging woman named Rebecca. She let me look all around her shop and taught me about some of the teas and herbs she carries. I ordered up her secret recipe Chai on ice...which was made just the way I like it. She even let me take a picture inside her shop.

I told Rebecca that I will be posting this on my blog and that she will get a ton of new business after this goes out to the world. I know there are tens of thousands of you out there who read this every just try not to inundate her all at once!

Three more days before I make my return to Whole Foods...part of me wants the journey to just keep going. I will write a bonus post on Sunday, a reflective piece regarding all the insights and friends I gained through this experience. Then the blog will continue to evolve into an even brighter beacon for filling our lives through positive eating and positive living!

Stay Outside the Box!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Journey from Goudreault Farm to my Lunch

Goudreault Farm
Plaistow, NH
Hello Everyone,
Nourishing myself "outside the box" is 3 weeks old. To this point, no pictures of farms were included in any of my blog posts. This post is to make up for that. The closest farm to my house is in Plaistow, NH off route 108. The people there are friendly and will carry on spirited conversation with you. I really like being much so that I think of any reason to go back and buy more produce from them. I decided to take you on the journey from one trip over there to my lunch on Monday.

This is one section of their farm land. I even saw a young farmer tending to these crops wearing a straw hat. Perfect! He seemed shy so I left him out of the picture. The picture above is where food should come from...not factories farms! People with straw hats! The woman at the farmhouse said I was welcome to walk amongst the crops and take pictures. I thought to myself what might happen if I walked out back at a grocery store and started snapping pictures...or at a food processing plant!

Above is a summer squash growing on the vine. How cool is it that there is flower on the end. The squash wants you to eat grows a flower just to invite you over to it! The only byproduct from the factory is the smoke. Here at Goudreault's it is flowers and rich soil.

Inside the farmhouse was an array of fruits and vegetables. They also sell homemade jam, fresh eggs, pies and pottery. I bought Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Onions, Salad Greens and Carrots. This, combined with some quinoa, will make lunches for at least four days and it costs me around $14. I also picked up some blueberries, my most expensive item at $3.95...they only lasted two days. They were that good.

"Farm Beauty" is the title of the above photo. The landscaping in and around the farm is as vibrant and colorful as the people who labor there. They work hard not only in producing food for us to eat but keeping their surroundings bright and aesthetically pleasing. This makes a difference in the quality of the meal these people are helping to provide me. I feel more connected to my food, the people it comes from and the images in my head while I eat it are of this picuturesque farm in southern New Hampshire.
Everyone on the farm seemed to bounce about enjoying their labor...everyone except this guy below, who on this 90 degree day was just enjoying the shade.

I took a picture of this sign that hangs on the other side of farmhouse door. It made me smile.

I brought my produce home and chopped up the Onion, Summer Squash and Zucchini. I sauteed the vegetables in Olive Oil. I also prepared a salad and made individula containers for Monday's lunch. On Monday, Ryan called me and asked if I was available to meet him for lunch at Whole Foods. Ryan forgot that I was not shopping or eating there this month. I agreed to meet him anyway and just brought my own lunch. We ate in the outside eating area. He thought it was hilarious and took this picture below.

The comments are going to be..."what farm did you pick those bananas at?" {insert smurk here}. For those who read my last post you might remember, I commented on missing bananas...since I cannot buy them at the farm. My mother was nice enough to make a gift of about eight bananas. Which are already gone.
10 days to go!
Stay Positive,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just about Halfway/Mike and Matt's Spring and Farm Adventure

Hello Positive Eaters,

I am about halfway through the "Outside the Box" month and after a few rough spots things are going really well. As promised I made a big batch of Quinoa, Kale and Black Beans and a gigantic salad. I bought a bunch of fruit as a "dessert". That got me through four lunches and dinners! I must admit I got pretty tired of it after the third day. Here is a picture:

Not very exciting I guess...but sustaining.

Friday night at work was juice night. This time all of the ingredients in the juice came from the farm stand right down the street (Strawberry Hill Farm in Andover). The beets, the carrots, the swiss chard, parsley...everything were pulled up out of the Earth a stone's throw from the BSC in Andover. This early in the season the farms feature more vegetables and less fruit (berries and a few peaches are what is coming out at the moment). This juice was less than appetizing but made us feel great.

That's Rick in the background...he usually refuses anything I bring in to work saying "that's too healthy for me" in this case he lucked out. The juice was very nasty. Mike, Lisa, Laura and I took the plunge and were feeling a little more "juiced up" because of it.

Today, Mike and I went on a "Spring and Farm Adventure." Mike is friend of mine who is seeing the light. He committed himself to a healthy lifestyle back in January and is addicted nutrient dense food. Seriously, he would cut you if you tried to pry away bunch of kale or a farm fresh onion from him. He is down 83 pounds as a result! What can fruits and vegetables do for you?

A solitary blog post on this adventure is probably called for...but of course I forgot my camera!

We drove up to the Spring in Exeter and then hit Monahan Farms and Goudreault Farms on the way back down Route 108. After filling up our water jugs, we got some peaches and blueberries at Monahan's. Goudreault's featured fresh eggs so we both bought a dozen. Plus there was some great looking beets, broccoli and tomatoes there. Awesome stuff! I went home and made a broccoli and tomato omelet. The word fantastic does not even come close. I got to admit...these farm stands are making me wonder why I overspent on sub par produce at Whole Foods for so long. I will continue to shop there when the month is over, there is lots of stuff I like there that I am unable to get at a local farm stand (bananas being one major example). I also am enjoying all the friendly people I meet. The connectedness you form with your food after discussing the harvesting and tending of the crop with the people responsible for getting it to you is a really cool experience. These people are really in touch with the land and there is a calm and peaceful way about them that cannot really be described.

Alright, 17 days to go and lots more adventures to go on. Check back in soon

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Week Outside the Box - Time to step up my game!

Arial View of Farmer's Market

Hello Positive Eaters,

I am one week into eating "Outside the Box" and must admit I feel like a cheat. I did not shop or enter any grocery stores for seven days but in many ways took the easy way out. I shopped at farm stands and made all sorts of great dishes out of the items I bought, however, I did purchase many items from healthy on-the-go type places. I ate about three burritos and bought two tuna salad wraps. Technically this is not a grocery store...but I don't believe this follows along with the spirit of the challenge.

Starting today, I will be avoiding as many of these establishments as possible as well. I am slightly scared. Honestly, it will be all about preparation and slowing down my sometimes fast paced life.

I forgot to bring my camera to the Andover's Farmer's market. This was an awesome experience. Everyone seem to be in a good mood. There was arts and crafts table for the children and live jazz music being played while I shopped! There were also lots of great produce items to pick from and I even was able to buy some home baked bread. I spent $10 there and I ate for three days! I will try to remember my camera this weekend. Above is a photo I got off the internet of the Andover's Farmer's Market.

I also visited a new spring! I went to the Cooper Spring in Buckfield, ME. This spring travels through underground crystal and gem stone reserves. The water was incredibly cold and wonderful. The view was spectacular from this spot and I want to return someday around sunset! I was happy to go with several friends...and even more happy they enjoyed the adventure...I get a kick out of driving to the middle nowhere to find water coming out of the ground...but I also grew up without cable or video games.
When we were there we actually met the local church youth director. He stepped out of his car in literally his "sunday best". Two spritely little girls danced around him in their church dresses. He explained how they need to drive past this spring and several farms just to get to a grocery store. For them it only makes logical sense to get their water from the spring and their produce from the farm.

Today, I will need to make a gigantic salad from the salad greens and produce I bought yesterday and make a ton of Quinoa and Beans. I also got tipped off on a couple local fish markets that sell fish caught that day. Check out a blog post on that :)

The local organic food makes me feel fantastic! I strongly encourage you to buy from your local farmer's market and compare the freshness and flavor to your local supermarket. You might just find yourself outside the box as well.

Stay Positive,


Friday, July 2, 2010

Outside the Box for 2 Days

Hello Positive Eaters,

I am two days in to my "Shopping Outside the Box" Adventure. The closest I came to a grocery store was being in the same parking lot, when I went to the bank this morning. Yesterday, I made enough Soba Noodles from a Trader Joe's Soba Noodle Kit (thanks Sarah!) to carry me through lunch and dinner. I also stopped at Strawberry Hill Farm in Andover and picked up a cucumber, three tomatos and some lettuce. That produce will provide salads for the next couple days at work.

I don't feel particularly challenged by this yet. I am still stocked up on enough groceries to feel comfortable. I am sure as the cupboards go bare I will need to get creative. Last night, I actually went out of my way to be creative...just because I was kind of disappointed at not feeling more challenged as of yet. I made my own dough and baked a flat bread in the oven. Then I sautee'd some Swiss Chard in Olive Oil and Garlic and ate it over the flatbread. Very filling and very delicous!

Tonight is friday night and that means the juicing party throws down at the BSC in Andover. Since I will not be buying produce from the grocery store we will be limited only to fruits and vegetables from the farm stand. Looks like it will be Beets, Greens and a few Apples that were hanging out still at the house.

Tomorrow, I will hit the Farmer's Market in Andover. Look for a blog post on that.

Stay Positive,


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shopping Outside the Box

Hello Positive Eaters,

This is the season of fresh fruits and vegetables, pick your own berry farms and farmer's markets. Nature is bringing forth its bounty and the weather beckons us outside. Why are we still roaming the fluorescent aisles of the supermarket? I thought about this on my way to Whole Foods one afternoon. I drive by two farm stands on my way there. These stands are open for the season and are selling many of the same items I go pick up at the market.

Many of the people who know me, consider me a Whole Foods addict. I probably help drive the stock price up or down. I once went a week without purchasing anything there just to show people I could do it. After a recent haranguing by my good buddy Mike, I threw out the idea of going one month without buying anything from Whole Foods. Mike did not think it was possible. Then I considered my thoughts regarding the farm stands I drive past on my way there and decided to take the challenge one step further. The challenge was set: for the entire month of July I will not shop at a supermarket!

This leaves farm stands, butcher shops, fish markets, small health food stores, local bakeries and other such grass root establishments the new recipients of my hard earned pay. This will be a transcendental movement into local food, economics and personal sacrifice. I am excited the places I will visit, the recipes I will come up with and the interesting array of people I will come into contact with. I am inviting you to come along with me as I plan to blog routinely about this. I believe you will receive valuable insight and entertainment from this and will also be a measure of truth that I am following through with this.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My search for Pure Spring Water

Hi Positive Eaters,

It is nice to be posting something here again. My exploits have involved trapsing through the woods in search of magical springs and healing mushrooms. I know, it sounds like a video game. I did not grow up with video games and still do not partake in any of these buzzing box fantasy worlds. I believe that we already live in a pretty remarkable world.

When my best friend Ryan got back from Kripalu where he took part in a David Wolfe program on naturally building your immunity to superhero levels, he told me that scattered around the world are thousands of natural springs where you can get pure, clean and fully mineralized water straight from the Earth. I heard "superhero" and "free" and was immediately interested. I found out that there was a spring only 16 miles from my house in Exeter, NH! I also visited springs in Swanzey, NH and Oakham, MA. If you want to find out if there is one near you check out Above is a picture of the Spring in Exeter.

This water is truly unbelievable. It comes right from the ground and when you fill up your jug there is no sediment of any kind to be found. The taste is pure and clean and completely devoid of chemicals. You need to try it! There is not cost involved and it is kind of fun to go hunting these springs down.

Stay Pure,



My next post will be on breathing...which is also free :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ryan Miller's New Coaching Page!

Hi Positive Eaters,

My good friend Ryan Miller's new coaching page is up. I have placed it as a link on the right for all of you. Ryan is a ChiRunning instructor and coach. His guidance helped revolutionize my approach to the sport I love. Please check out his new site at:

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Soba Noodles with Garlic-Ginger Broccoli and Slivered Almonds

Hello Positive Eaters,

Today, I came up with a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for spring. During this season we will want to increase the amount of green vegetables we eat, as well as stick to grains that are easy to digest. This is the season of the stomach bug so easily digested foods along with green vegetables are a way to steer clear of that unpleasantness. Green vegetables are also stock full of chlorophyll, the sunshine nutrient, and this is the season of inviting the sun back into our lives!

Soba noodles are made from Buckwheat (which when toasted is known as Kasha). Buckwheat contains a bioflavanoid, Rutin, which is said to develop intestinal strength and improve capillary circulation. Soba noodles can be found at most natural food stores, and in the international section of large chain stores. If you can, purchase 100% buckwheat versions...just for experiment's sake.

Here we go....


1 serving Soba Noodles
2 cups frozen or fresh Broccoli
1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon minced up Ginger
1 clove of Garlic (2 cloves if you love garlic)
1/3 cup slivered Almonds
Tamari sauce to taste

Fill a large sauce pan 3/4 with water. Bring to a boil and add soba noodles. Leave in boiling water for one minute and then switch off burner and cover. After 6-10 minutes, drain and rinse with cool water. Soba noodles are done :)

Heat olive oil in fry pan. Add garlic and ginger and mix around a bit. Add broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes. Switch off and cover for another 2-5 minutes. Mix together garlic-ginger broccoli with soba noodles. Add slivered amonds and tamari. Place in a bowl and enjoy. How do you like that, 10-15 minutes prep time!

Enjoy your soba noodles and I will shout out to you guys next week!

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Caring for one's Health vs. Funding Health Care

Hi Positive Eaters,

I posted on this subject long before it became a huge political issue. Today, there is a vast divide in this country regarding the Health Reform Bill that will potentially be signed into law by President Obama. The gist of my earlier post revolved around personal responsibility for one's health and how that was the best health care one could provide themselves with. The issue is grown into a debate about the economics and politics of funding health care rather than discussion about caring for one's actual health.

Simply put, the health care system only kicks in when something is wrong with you. Sure there are annual physicals and trivial check ups...but these are certainly not what is dragging the health care system down. The concern about the recent bill centers around the enormous rise in government spending and the drastic effect a public option may cause in insurance premiums, quality of care, cost to business and a slew of other concerns. Many of these concerns are warranted while others are merely products an Us versus Them dichotomy inherent in our political system.

The enormous cost of the bill makes this a salient economic issue. Unfortunately, I am not an economist. There are very talented economists who say a public option will save trillions and others who say it will drive America deeper into debt. This is an important argument to have. I am wondering why no one is talking about the real cause of the health care crisis?

The national debt did not cause the health care crisis. The state of health in America caused the crisis. I have seen estimates as low as 37% and as high as 61% for the amount of health care resources being allocated to treat conditions that are completely preventable. If you take the middle of that range we are looking at 50% or half of all the money being spent on health care today being used for conditions that can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. There are many more numbers that support this, such as eight out the top ten causes of death in America are diseases that are related to personal lifestyle. The truth is we don't really need the numbers, we can simply observe the sedentary lifestyles being fueled by fast, cheap and processed food. This is the heart of the health care conundrum.

I recently read an article about a guy who is powering his entire house with solar electric panels. This is becoming quite common for residences and businesses across the world. What was different about this man is he spent the last 11 years making his home as energy efficient as possible while remaining "on the grid." When it came time to convert his house to solar power it was affordable and relatively easy...simply because his home needed very little power to begin with. Does this appear to be a random tangent or can you see the relationship between the two issues. Let me try one a little closer to home. One of the first cultures to practice organized health care was the ancient Chinese. There doctors received payment only when their patients reached full recovery. They were paid to keep people well, not simply to treat symptomatic responses. With diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer being some of the Center for Disease Controls top priorities...what is being done to bring about wellness in our country. There is a lot of chatter about funding a system that only responds when these diseases become present.

Public funding of health care may indeed have a bright future...but only in an America where people take their health into their own hands. The concern should not be for "who is going to fund the health care" it should be "how are we going to care for our health." This is possible for each of us every single day. We are given upon birth great power and great control of our own bodies. Your physical body is yours to pilot through life and you are given complete sovereignty of it. This post is not about costs, premiums, taxes or political allegiance. I care about individual health, mine and yours. I want you to realize that it is something within your own power. The concerns out there are very real and I do acknowledge them...but they are all secondary to our physical state of well being.

The recession was a great time to look at the value in the non material parts of our lives. We learned to receive abundance and gratitude for how they filled up our lives. This tumultous time provides us the opportunity to appreciate the only material thing you are granted unwavering posession of, the miraculous machine, wrapped in flesh and bone that is you.

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The One Night Stand with a Ho-Ho

Hi Positive Eaters,

The title was absolutely meant to shock and awe you all! When I first started doing health coaching, I delivered this talk called Building a Positive Relationship with Food. This was a fun talk that centered around the truly intimate relationship we share with our food. What we eat involves taking an external, physical thing and making it a part of us. What can be more intimate than that?

During the talk I likened eating fast food to a "one night stand". Think about it! We run into some glitzy and overly fake setting and pick up a juicy fake food item and rush to experience an instantaneous few moments of pleasure. The salt and the fat is just right and its texture helps it glide smoothly down our esophagus. We finish it off with a creamy sugary substance that puts us into a brief state of bliss. Then only a few moments later we are wondering what we just did.

I believe eating should be an enjoyable experience everytime we pick up a fork. I am often challenged on this point. People tell me that if they followed their bliss in regards to eating, they would scarf down ho-ho's and eat ice cream all day long. This may be true for the short term. Do food choices like these provide us with any lasting joy?

When we deprive ourselves of valuable nutrients and we don't pay attention to what's on the inside of our food, we often miss out. I am not speaking just of the thousands of beneficial minerals, vitamins and micronutrients found in clean, natural and whole foods, I am talking about our sense of self respect. When we eat real foods that we love it fosters a deep connection to our bodies. We feel nourished down to the core of our being. I thoroughly believe this stimulates thoughts and feelings within us that are self affirming.

Few would argue that the foundation of a joyful life is an abundance of true and meaningful relationships. Why not start with your food. Nature adorned it with pretty and vibrant colors just to attract you and you won't need to worry about rejection...well unless you are allergic to that particular food. The point is to enjoy food that makes you feel good all the way down through your head, heart and toes. Eat and let yourself feel wonderful about how well you are treating your body with this magnificent food you are eating. Do this and maybe you can avoid the guilt you feel when you step on the wrapper you left on the floor from your recent fling with Little Debbie.

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vegetable Broth made from Scrap!

Hello Positive Eaters,

As promised I decided to experiment with making my own vegetable broth. I often buy prepackaged boxes of broth from the store. These seem to work quite well, however most are still pretty high in sodium and probably missing many nutrients due to long shelf lives. For those of you who follow this blog, you probably noticed that I really like soup. So making my own broth is a great thing for me to learn.

A friend who I am advising, recently got struck with diverticulitis and was off solid food. He told me how much he missed vegetables...which was music to my ears! I suggested drinking vegetable broth. He was wary to do so due to the high sodium content in most prepackaged broths. I told him he should make his own. Then I realized, I never attempted this myself. We both set out to make our own broths that week.

As luck would have it, Tal Ronnen's cookbook that I recently got as a gift, recommended making your own broth by saving your vegetable scraps from the week. This includes peels, ends of vegetables usually tossed away, rinds, seeds, vegetables gone limp, leaves and anything else you might have lying around. The idea of making a nutritious food out of garbage was too exciting not to try. I saved my vegetable scraps for five days.

The rest of the equation is really quite simple. Put these in a pot with water and bring up to a boil, then back off the heat and let them simmer for a long time. I decided to make this process even easier by making the broth in a rice cooker, since that backs off to a simmer automatically for me. I minced up some shallots that were hanging out for the past week and put in some fresh kale to up the nutrient and taste profile and let the rice cooker do its thing.

I actually went to bed and let this simmer over night. I woke up at 2am and snuck out to the kitchen to see how it was coming. I was blown away by the pleasant aroma the broth gave off. Remember, the majority of the items in this pot would normally be thrown out or composted. This was the most pleasant smelling garbage ever. In the morning I strained away the scraps and added a little salt, sage, rosemary and thyme to the broth. I heated this up and gave it a taste.

This was a flavorful, nutrient dense broth that I was so excited about I invited friends over for soup. I made a quick soup that involved sauteeing garlic and adding celery and carrots. Then I added the broth and added portabello mushrooms and scallions. Everyone loved is safe to say I will be making my own broth from now on!

Stay Positive,



I noticed many people who have blogs ask people to "follow" them. I just found out what this actually means. So if you like the content of this blog feel free to "follow" it, in the official sense of the word :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Super Energy Bars!

Hello Positive Eaters,

I am on a mission to start making items that I usually purchase pre-packaged. I often eat all natural energy bars, such as the ones Odwalla makes. While I was at Integrative Nutrition someone gave me this recipe for homemade energy bars and I decided to revisit it and share it with you. So here is my recipe for Super Energy Bars.

This is less of a recipe and more of a concept. You need to make a glue of some sort to stick together all of the super ingredients. I chose to use Coconut Oil, Peanut Butter and Agave Syrup (you could just as easily use other oils and other nut butters). Coconut Oil is perfect because of its low melting point. Solid Coconut Oil begins to get weepy at only 90 degrees faranheit. I melted these ingredients in a double boiler.

After the ingredients melted, I added four tablespoons of raw Cacao (pure unadulterated chocolate!) I mixed it together and took it right off the burner because I wanted the integrity of the Cacao to remain. Too much cooking will break down all of its powerful antioxidants.

I chose to use Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Oats for these bars. The combinations of dry ingredients you could use are endless. These are my favorites...I may try it again later in the week with Dried Cherries. I placed these in pyrex bowl and went to retrieve the "glue."

I then added the "glue" to the dry ingredients and mixed everything together well. I took some tastes of the mixture and was aware that these energy bars were not going to last very long.

After mixing together, I pressed the mixture into a pan and covered it with aluminum foil. These were in the freezer for an hour or less. They were solid and able to eat them like energy bars after chilling out in the freezer. These need to be stored in the freezer so that they remain solid. These may not be the best energy bar to bring on a 3 day backpacking trip...but perfect for grabbing when you get home from a run or from work.

Ry Chi and Fawn came over on Saturday and we ate almost the entire pan they were so good. I was able to salvage only one small piece so that I could share a picture of the finished product with you.

Super Energy Bars

1/2 cup of Coconut Oil
1 cup Peanut Butter
1-2 tablespoons Agave Nectar
4 tablespoons Raw Cacao

1 cup Slivered Almonds
1 cup Dried Cranberries
3/4 cup Oats

Melt the first three ingredients in a double boiler. Add Raw Cacao and Agave Nectar after melting is complete. Transfer this into a bowl with the bottom three ingredients and mix together well. Press into a pan and cover with aluminum foil. Place in the the freezer for an hour or less.

Stay Positive,


coming up next...homemade vegetable broth!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Preservation of the Heart

Hello Positive Eaters,

This week my first article for ChiLiving appeared in their monthly newsletter. ChiLiving Inc., are responsible for bringing you the practices of ChiRunning and ChiWalking, an energy efficient and injury free way to run and walk. The article they asked me to write was to center around heart health. This is quite a popular topic considering the high rates of heart disease and related maladies. These are best avoided by cardiovascular exercise and healthy nourishment.

ChiRunning and ChiWalking made exercise more enjoyable for people by teaching them to focus on their center and begin all of our movements from that place. I hope to make eating healthy enjoyable for you by showing you how fun and stimulating it can be. This alone cannot protect our heart.

The heart truly is the beat to which we keep the dance of life to. Every single stroke of its valves sends life throughout our body. Whether we move or stand still this internal band plays on. This is why heartbreak is so difficult for so many of us. Our hearts join in harmony with anothers and now we suddenly have a partner in the dance of life. When we disengage from this person the band plays on. How confusing?

Maybe the seeds of heart "dis ease" begin here. We know longer become comfortable with our own heart beat. We try and stuff it away like Poe's character in the Tell Tale Heart. We drown it in foods that put up blockages in our arteries in an attempt to choke it off. We become sedentary out of fear of feeling our heart beat within our chest. We run from our heart rather than run with it until it finally stops flowing life through our veins.

I spend at least an hour a day with my heart. Running through the streets, on the treadmill or in the woods. I need to listen to it so I know if I am pushing my body too hard. Often this spills over into my day. There is sometimes pain in my heart and sometimes joy. I notice that my heart only feels pain if I am blocking myself from an experience. I am by no means an expert on matters of the heart. I do know that the heart beats on its own accord, therefore we can never be its master. Our hearts will always keep us safe if we let them experience life. Give your heart a healthy body and a full and wonderful life and you will be dancing for many years that I can be sure of.

Stay Positive,


view my heart health article by following the link below

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Say I love you with Wheat Berries!

Hello Positive Eaters,

Valentine's Day is this coming Sunday. I find that people's emotional standpoint on this holiday ranges from apathetic to cynical to overly attached. I just think it is a great day to get in touch with our own hearts and the hearts of other people. I wanted to make a dish that was really healthy for you and would be a great precursor to some really good chocolate.

I picked up this recipe at Whole Foods in Andover the other day and was sitting on it. I decided to put it together today. I soaked the wheatberries all day Monday and cooked them on Tuesday night. If you never tried wheatberries they are definitely a hearty grain and you will enjoy them in this dish. I put together the dressing and started peeling a large beet. When I finished peeling, I place the beet on the cutting board and stood back for a minute, it looked just like a real human heart!

I grated both a beet and a carrot into the bowl with the wheatberries and added some chopped scallions. I began to view my creation as a culinary Valentine that was coming together right before my eyes.

I started mixing this together with the dressing and was happy to see that the entire dish was taking on a reddish hue...perfect for the holiday. To add some sweetness I added some organic Golden Raisins to my creation and stood back once's easier to take the picture that way :)

I tosed this together lightly and added it to a small glass dish to sample. The dish was suprisingly sweet and satisfying. The succulent raisins give nice contrast to the crisp carrots and beets. This will be a perfect precursor to a full on chocolate experience. Enjoy this recipe and have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Wheat Berry Salad (courtesy Whole Foods Market with a couple tweaks)

2 cups uncooked Wheat Berries
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Orange
1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Flaxseed, Grapeseed or Canola Oil
1 large Red Beet peeled and grated
1 Carrot grated
3/4 cup Golden Raisins
1 small bunch Scallion thinly sliced

Place Wheat Berries in large bowl and cover with filtered water overnight. Drain and rinse and cook like any other grain (place in rice cooker or sauce pan with four cups of water bring to a boil and back off to simmer). Let these cool on the counter for several hours. They will become more tender when they cool.

Cut in Orange in half and add the juice of it to medium sized bowl (add zest of orange if desired). Stir in Lemon Juice, oil and Salt and Pepper, this will be the dressing. Pour dressing in with cooled Wheat Berries and mix together well. Add grated Beets and Carrots as well as chopped Scallions. Add juice from the other half of the Orange and a tiny bit more Salt and Pepper and mix together well. Finally, add in the Golden Raisins and toss lighlty. This dish is ready to serve!

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

Hi Positive Eaters, are looking at the subject line and saying "Brussel Sprouts...really". These weird little cabbage looking things get a bad wrap. When fresh they are actually quite sweet and pack a ton of amazing nutrients. None of that really matters though because this recipe tastes like a dessert. That is right a salad that tastes like a dessert. Give it a try and if you don't like it...well I will certainly eat it for you!

Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad


1 1/4 lbs Brussel Sprouts
1 cup Slivered Almonds
1/3 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Handful or Raisins and/or Dried Cranberries
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Shred or chop brussel sprout and place in a salad bowl (a food processor can also be used). Add slivered almonds, dried cranberries and/or raisins. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Neat Fact: brussel sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable and are very good for your lungs and heart. Try out out other cruciferous vegetables such as kale, spinach or collard greens!

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Positive Signs

Hey Everyone,

I wanted to write a post on being positive. I post on this topic often because I feel people become confused by this concept. People ask "how can you just be happy all the time." Or..."thinking happy thoughts won't help all the people starving in the world." These people are absolutely right. However, being positive is not about forcing ourselves to be happy.

No one is happy all the time...the disturbing images coming out of Haiti are enough to sink even the most hardened person's heart. Holding hands and visualizing sunshine and butterflies while reading fairy tales will not pull desperate people out of the rubble. This type of catastrophe does call for people to be positive.

My brand of positivism is best displayed with an addition symbol +. When we add to something we are making a positive contribution. I was not a stellar math student but I did grasp this concept. Whenever we add or move forward me are making positive progress. I understand people will object, stating "if we put more guns on the street we are adding something but it results in tragedy." Once again this person would be correct. However, I am sure if we write out the rest of the equation we will end up with less than we started. People will lose their lives either to violence or to jail. True positivity occurs when our actions, our thoughts, our words add to the totality of human existence. There is no one on Earth who can finish out the whole equation, so we move forward in faith.

Even the smallest gesture can add to the sum. I contributed $15 to the Red Cross Haiti Relief Effort. This was matched by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and I am sure many of my fellow classmates followed suit. In contributed with hope that my positive action would add to the efforts in the embattled country. If I simply turned off the television listened to some John Tesh music and thought about skipping through a magical forest, my gesture would at best be labeled null. I guess I would be one more supporter of John Tesh's lovely piano music....but in my estimation would have done very little.

Being positive is about progress. Each of us can either help one another evolve and in turn evolve ourselves...or we can live survival of the fittest in which each of us takes and takes until nothing is left. I believe human beings got to this advanced state of development through their positive intentions. Call me delusional but I believe it to be so. I would encourage each of you to remember that every action carries with it this potential. When I close my emails with "stay positive", I do not mean "think happy thoughts", I mean continue to evolve, to grow and to contribute to the world around you.

Stay Positive,


To contribute to the Haiti Relief Effort see links below

Red Cross

Bill Clinton and George Bush Effort

International Rescue Committee

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Updated! Celery Root Soup Recipe

I just made this today and made a couple alterations to the recipe. I only tasted it...I am saving it for monday night dinner...creamy and delicous.


Sea Salt
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil(the original recipe called for three :) love olive oil)
4 Stalks of Celery Chopped
1 Celery Root (I was able to find this at the local grocery store...peel an cut into cubes)1 Large Onion
2 quarts of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 Cup Almond milk
1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt (added this to increase creamy texture and tangy taste)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Granny Smith Apple diced
Chives or Green Onions or Scallions (they may all be the same thing...not sure)

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for a minute (this is new). Add oil and heat for another 30 seconds. Add the Celery and onion and saute for 6 to 10 minutes, stirring often until soft but not brown. Add the broth and the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add Cashew cream or almond milk and let it simmer for ten minutes.

Give it a try and impress your friends!

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples

Hello Positive Eaters,

picture above from (cool blog actually!)

My friend Oprah Winfrey sent me a recipe today from celebrity chef Tal Ronnen. I would not call myself an elitist...but if Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama both like the soup, it's worth knowing how to make in case they pop by one day.

I did not make it if any of you beat me to it let me know how it turns out. I made some modifications from the original recipe just to make it easier for me to make. I will update you guys after I make it.


Sea Salt
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil(the original recipe called for three :) love olive oil)
2 Stalks of Celery including roots chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 Large Onion
2 quarts of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup Cashew Cream? (I am just going to use Almond Milk)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Granny Smith Apple diced
Chives or Green Onions or Scallions (they may all be the same thing...not sure)

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for a minute (this is new). Add oil and heat for another 30 seconds. Add the Celery and onion and saute for 6 to 10 minutes, stirring often until soft but not brown. Add the broth and the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add Cashew cream or almond milk and let it simmer for ten minutes.

Allow this to cool and then blend ingredients in blender. Add diced apple and scallions when a spoonful in the center of the bowl.

Now you are prepared in case the leader of the free world comes over. You can also just make it for your family and friends and pretend you are leaders of the world. I bet you guys would think up some pretty good answers for some of the challenges we are facing.

Stay Positive,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Washing my hair with dirt!!!!


I truly hope you all enjoyed your holidays and were warmed by both primary and secondary food experiences.

I wanted to tell you about a gift I received from my sister Alison. On the show "Dirty Jobs" they were highlighting a company that makes self care products out of dirt! Using dirt to get clean....interesting paradox. She realized the company was based only a short drive from her home and picked me up a bottle of "Sultry Spice" shampoo. We all got a good laugh, as I read out the ingredients.

Pure Earth Hair Wash —

Organic Sultry Spice

Ingredients: Organic aloe vera juice°, clay minerals: aka dirt, organic extracts° of organic linden flower°, organic nettle°, organic chamomile°, organic shavegrass° and organic vanilla°, essential oils of organic sweet orange°, organic patchouli°, organic true lavender°, organic petitgrain°, organic atlas cedar°, organic cinnamon leaf° and organic pine needle°.

°USDA Certified Organic

I decided to give this a try after my run the next morning. I followed the directions and applied it to my hair. This felt quite strange because the shampoo does not lather at all. I felt like I was putting mud directly into my hair. I applied three teaspoons and rinsed and repeated three times. The water turned all ruddy and brown on the shower floor. I was actually getting dirty in the shower for once!

The rest of the day my hair felt incredible. As a guy, I always laughed at how much money women spend on hair products. I will now admit that your whole day brightens up when you step out with clean flowing locks. However...the shampoo companies are in trouble if word gets out that you can receive the same effect with mud!

The company is called Terresentials and they make skin, hair and body wash as well as deodorant. If you are wary about putting dirt in your can always buy it for someone else as a joke gift :)

Stay Positive,