Friday, August 27, 2010

I Want To Ride My Bicycle...

I want to ride my bike.  I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like...

These are lyrics from Queen's 'Bicycle Race.'  Actually, there are a couple of reasons why I selected this song to go along with this entry.  First, I really do want to ride my bicycle again.  It has been about four years since the last time I even tried to ride it.  Balance has been a major issue for me, and I just haven't felt comfortable enough to even get on to a bike.  Well, that and the fact that my really nice Trek bicycle was stolen several years ago and the bike that I replaced it with just isn't all that great...  Second, VidaCell and GreatLife International has sponsored a cycling team that has been doing wonderfully in their races.  I wanted to share a recent article about their success here.

For my part, I am really hoping to get back on my bike soon.  I have been walking a lot more and feel considerably stronger than I have in a long time.  Balance is still a bit shaky, but if I don't challenge myself I will never improve.  I need to clean up and adjust the bike a bit before I can use it, though.  Hopefully I can work on it and get a ride or two in before the end of summer.

Here is the article about VidaCell's bicycle team:

Team VIDACELL Zacatecas racks up multiple wins! 
Mazatlán, Sinaloa - June 4, 2010 - Team VIDACELL Zacatecas made its cycling debut last year with The Solidarity Road Circuit and have since racked up multiple wins in over a dozen road races throughout Mexico. The team’s initial successes won them an invitation to participate in the “Santa Rita 2010” held in Mazatlan, Sinaloa this past week. This $150,000 purse “Tour de France” style race is considered to be the most difficult and challenging cycling event in the country and covers over 250 miles in 3 days of competition.  What makes this new winning team so unique? These athletes are well into their 50’s and competing against 35 year olds...and WINNING! All nine members of VIDACELL Zacatecas team will quickly tell you the “secret” to their success. It’s a strict regimen of training, diet and, most importantly, VIDACELL! The fast muscle recovery and extra endurance from VIDACELL provides them more time on the training track to improve their performance.  In all of their events, the VIDACELL Zacatecas team has had significant wins on the “pedals” of Ricardo Reyes Gómez in the Elite category, Domingo “Asphalt Wolf” González and German Noé Camacho, the second current national champion in the Masters division, and the Mexican Cycling legend Hilarión Sánchez.  And the Santa Rita 2010 race? The photo in the upper left (of the composite photo) says it all as Miguel Ángel Barcelo triumphantly celebrates his first place win for the Master Category. Other team members placing high in the ranks were Hilarión Sánchez who won first place in the Master Estrella category, Juan José Andrade, José Garza López, Domingo González, Rafael Soto, José Ángel Meléndez, and Noe Germán Camacho. Congratulations to all of these athletes on Team VIDACELL Zacatecas!

Well, my own bicycling may have to wait a bit longer.  Our new obsession is to go letterboxing.  About a month ago, our local library held their regular Green Children event.  This is group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month.  I wrote a quick article about Green Children a couple of years ago. Anyway, at this particular meeting, we were introduced to letterboxing.  We had previously heard about it but had never had a proper introduction. For this event, there were three letterboxes placed around the library with individual sets of clues as to their locations.  Prior to going on our hunt for the boxes, we were treated to an explanation of letterboxing, provided with our own, personal log books, and given the opportunity to create our own, unique letterbox stamps.  We were then released onto the library grounds with clues in hand to seek out the letterboxes.  Inside a letterbox, you will find a log book and a stamp.  Additionally, you may find an ink pad but this is not always present.  The idea is to use the stamp that you find in the box to stamp your personal log book and use your stamp to record your visit to that box in the box's log book.  Well, we had a blast doing these introductory hunts so we have continued with this activity.  Since the event, we have gone on three letterboxing hikes - our most recent one was today.  Well, during the hike today, I stepped on a rock incorrectly and turned my ankle.  It is not a serious injury, but as I have been able to take weight off of my foot and relax a bit, I can feel things tense up.  Walking on it has become somewhat painful, so I am going to need to let that injury recover before trying anything that might aggravate it.

If you are interested in exploring letterboxing for yourself, I encourage you to visit to learn more about it.  If you like orienteering, you will likely love letterboxing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The 'Boxer'

So, it might be a stretch, but I don't know any songs that are about Mixed Martial Arts.  As a result, I chose to relate this post to Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Boxer.'  I suppose that I could have chosen Carl Douglas' 'Kung Fu Fighting' but it doesn't quite fit, either.
Anyway, for a change of pace, I wanted to post a recent article about an athlete that uses VidaCell. While I already know from first-hand experience that VidaCell is beneficial in fighting disease, here is some evidence that it is also a great for athletes. In other words, it is not just for the sick and aging but for healthy people, too!

July 1, 2010
Taking ‘em to the mat with VIDACELL

If you were to meet Clint Musser on the street, you would never imagine that he’s one of the country’s best Ultimate Fighters. Barefoot on a wrestling mat, he stands a stocky five-foot-seven and weighs in at just 155 pounds. Don’t be fooled by his size, however. Behind his affable smile is one of the most decorated and accomplished wrestlers in the history of Ohio wrestling with a physique that could have been “ripped” from the cover of “Ultimate MMA” magazine. Three times Ohio State Champion Wrestler and two times NCAA All-American at Penn State is just the beginning of his long list of winning accomplishments.
Clint’s move earlier this year into the MMA* (Mixed Martial Arts or Ultimate Fighting) gave him the career boost that he had been planning for some time. Ultimate fighting is one of the hottest sports in the world today and promises to give Clint the exposure needed to advance his career to a new level.
At age thirty-four, he was also searching for a natural energy boost and performance enhancement that would give him both the fastest muscle recovery time and an advantage over the younger more agile fighters. With the help of a GreatLife independent distributor, he found both in VIDACELL. “It’s worked so well for me that I just had to have GreatLife as one of my sponsors,” said Musser. “I must have wasted thousands of dollars on protein powders and creatine that only made me bloated and more fatigued. With VIDACELL, I’m able to maximize my training time and endurance level which gives me that extra advantage in the ring.”
Extremely strong for his weight, the hard punching Musser has two big wins this year and appears to be ready to move on to the next stage of his game plan. The next six months will be very important for Clint as he sets out to win the National Lightweight Title Belt. Congratulations Clint, for your tremendous success in the ring and with VIDACELL!

* With its roots in the ancient Olympic Games dating back to 776 BC, Mixed Martial Arts has grown from a violent curiosity into an exciting combative sport that now transcends many world cultures. Its popularity throughout the world gives promise for MMA becoming part of the modern Olympic Games creating a new goal for Clint’s fighting career.

PHOTOS:  Top - Clint Musser is declared the winner against Mike “Irish Hatred” McDonald after putting him into a Guillotine Choke hold at NAAFS Midwest Combat Challenge 11.

Bottom - Musser displays his solid striking skills, however, he’s most known for his Guillotine Choke prowess. Clint tends to win his bouts by stoppage via submission, something that he’s quite proud of.

You may or may not know that I am a distributor of VIDACELL.  I have started another blog for the purpose of talking about the business opportunity behind the product.  While it would fit in to my original plan with this blog - my journey to physical, spiritual, and financial wellness - I don't want to muddy this blog with recruiting messages and such.  So, if you are interested in reading more about GreatLife International and the VidaCell business opportunity, please visit my other blog.  I will continue to post my personal health progress along with articles similar to the one above on this blog.

Incense and Peppermint

Incense and Peppermint is a great 60's tune from Strawberry Alarm Clock.  I bet you are wondering why I chose it for the title of this entry...

Well, you may have noticed that several of my entries have music references that are tied in some way to the content.  In this case, it is the peppermint that ties the music to the post.

Yesterday, when I went to It's Only Natural for the quinoa, I also picked up some of my favorite soap.  Yes, that's right...I have a favorite soap.  You might think that this is crazy (sorry, couldn't resist the additional music link - The Cars, You Might Think) but that would be only because you have never tried Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap.  This comes in both a bar and liquid.  Personally, I prefer the liquid.
There is just an amazing feeling of clean when you use any of Dr. Bronner's soaps, but the peppermint variety adds something else.  For a good summary of the benefits of peppermint, I recommend clicking HERE and reading this article.  This soap awakens the senses.  The scent - especially in a warm shower - clears your sinuses.  It is truly invigorating!

I had used Dr. Bronner's fairly regularly when I worked for General Nutrition Center.  We stocked it on our shelves so I didn't have to go out of my way to get it.  After I left GNC, it was not the easiest soap to find.  Grocery stores and mass-merchandisers tend not to carry anything other than your typical Irish Spring, Dove, Ivory, etc., so I was thrilled when I found it on the shelves of I.O.N..

If you want a truly amazing experience without going any further than your shower, click the link, order some Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap - Peppermint (32 oz.), and take a nice, warm shower.  Even on a hot day, you will feel amazingly refreshed and cool!  Don't be put off by the price ($13.73 for 32 oz.), this stuff is concentrated and you only use a small amount.

Oh, and when your order comes, be sure to read the bottle.  That is an experience all its own.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bread - If...

OK, so I figured that I would stick with the Bread themed titles.  Given the trial and error aspect of my bread-making, the song title - If - seems fitting.  Yes, it is another sappy 70's love song...

So, trial number 1 is complete!  As it turns out, I didn't even come close to Donna's recipe.  My plans went slightly awry.  My red wheat berries and buckwheat groats sprouted very quickly and I didn't even have time to get to the store to pick up some quinoa.  My first trial recipe turned out as follows (measurements approximate):
I put the sprouted grains, flax seeds, and butter into the food processor.  The grains were still wet, so I didn't need to add any water.  After a few minutes of processing, I added the remaining ingredients and continued to process until blended.
I poured the mix into a standard loaf pan and baked it for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

The result was pretty good!  I should have increased all of the ingredients as the resulting 'loaf' was a little flat - not suitable for making a sandwich - but it was otherwise decent.  The lack of yeast made it a little dense, but not at all brick-like.  I think for the next trial that I will use yeast, though.

Today was our regularly scheduled library day, so I took the opportunity to walk over to It's Only Natural and buy some quinoa and a few other things to add to the next trial.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bread - I Want to 'Make It With You'

Sorry, I couldn't resist the title.  If you like sappy love songs from the 70's, then it is likely that you have heard at least a couple of the songs by Bread.  Of course, one of their hits was 'Make It With You.'  It just seemed to be fitting to use it for the title of this entry considering that I am going to be talking about making bread.

A while ago, a friend of mine had posted her new found recipe for 5 grain bread on facebook.  She came up with it through trial and error in an effort to find a bread that she could eat without aggravating her food allergies.  First, let me say that I am 100% convinced that most of the food 'allergies' that we experience (that is 'we' in general as I personally do not suffer from any food allergies) are a direct result of the way our foods are processed and stripped of the beneficial nutrients.  I can't say that this is true with everyone, though.  It seems to me that there has been a far greater occurrence of food allergies in the last few years than anything pre-2000.  According to a report from the Center for Disease Control:

"Food allergy is a potentially serious immune response to eating specific foods or food additives. Eight types of food account for over 90% of allergic reactions in affected individuals: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat (1,2). Reactions to these foods by an allergic person can range from a tingling sensation around the mouth and lips and hives to death, depending on the severity of the allergy. The mechanisms by which a person develops an allergy to specific foods are largely unknown. Food allergy is more prevalent in children than adults, and a majority of affected children will "outgrow food" allergies with age. However, food allergy can sometimes become a lifelong concern (1). Food allergies can greatly affect children and their families' well-being. There are some indications that the prevalence of food allergy may be increasing in the United States and in other countries (2-4)."
 Evidence for my belief about food preparation is in the second sentence in the above quote: Eight types of food account for over 90% of allergic reactions in affected individuals: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.  Milk is pasteurized and homogenized.  Further, it is potentially skimmed (the least of the evils) or processed into reduced fat (1% or 2% milk fat) varieties.  All of these processes, with the possible exception of skimming, turns the milk into something other than it once was.  Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that many of our cows today are fed diets that they were never intended to eat.  Cows are not supposed to eat corn and soy.  They are supposed to be allowed to graze on the grasses that grow in the pastures.  Feeding them anything else is just not natural.  The same goes for chickens - and the eggs that are listed second in the above statement.  Chickens are NOT vegetarians.  Have you ever heard the phrase about the early bird?  They also eat insects when they are allowed to graze normally in an open field.  When they are force-fed in a coop designed for the sole purpose of making egg production and collection fast and easy, they are somewhat less than healthy and it results in eggs that are no longer what they should be.  Peanuts and tree nuts are simply not prepared properly at all.  Nuts have phytic acid as an inhibitor to sprouting.  This is a good thing as without it, we would have seeds sprouting and rotting before we could consume them.  However, it is not something that we truly want to be eating.  Simply soaking nuts prior to roasting or otherwise preparing them removes the phytic acid.  The source of our fish is largely from farms.  While this seems like a good idea, it essentially presents the same problems as does raising cattle and chickens in feed-lots.  It exposes the fish to things that do not occur in nature in the same concentrations as they do on the farm.  Soy is another victim of improper preparation.  Soy, as a whole food, properly prepared would likely present a lot fewer problems than it does.  The problem is that soy is subjected to modification, separation, isolation, and other unnatural processes.  In addition, soybean oil is often occurring in processed foods in its partially hydrogenated form.  I have to ask if it is soy as a whole food or soy in one of its many adulterated forms that is the cause of allergies.  Finally, we have wheat.  Wheat is another victim of processing.  It is no secret that there is a difference between wheat and whole wheat.  Flour made from properly prepared (soaked and/or sprouted) wheat berries would likely be a lot better tolerated.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away...  This post was not intended to be about food allergies and their causes so I will change gears back to what it was intended to be about - making bread.  One last point on the above rant - I am not a doctor so please, if you have been diagnosed with food allergies, do NOT make any potentially lethal changes to your diet based on my above-stated beliefs.  If you would like to test my theory, please only do so with the proper supervision of your doctor.

Today, I started the process of my own trial and error bread making.  I plan to use Donna's recipe as a basis for my own, but I will be making some variations on the theme.  My first step is to soak and sprout some buckwheat groats and red wheat berries.  For this first trial, I am using 1/2 cup (dry) of both.  I intend to add quinoa to the mix along with one other grain that I am undecided on at this point.  I need to get some quinoa, so when I go shopping for that, I will also shop for a suitable addition.  I don't intend on adding any prepared flour for this first trial.  I will be using my food processor to 'grind' the sprouted grains.  We'll see how things turn out and I will keep you posted.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Are You Going to 'the 4-H' Fair...

With a nod to Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair, I write this entry.  Today was the last day of 2010's Middlesex-New Haven 4-H Fair.  For my family (and those of many other 4-H'ers), this means a return to normalcy.  4-H is a great organization that focuses on the child.  Often mistaken for being strictly about raising and caring for farm animals, 4-H clubs will actually help children learn a variety of skills.  Some clubs focus on things like archery, robotics, cooking/baking, arts and crafts, photography, and - of course - various animals including rabbits, goats, sheep, and cattle.

This weekend was our county's annual fair.  This is three days of exhibits, showmanship, and fun and games that allows children to display their skills and abilities.  Our fair is held each year at the Durham Fairgrounds in Durham, CT.  4-H rents out three of the 'barns' and a couple of the other buildings in which to hold the fair.  One barn - the one where my family spends most of our time over the three days - is split between the 'Home Arts' exhibits and various other activities.  My daughters - and their club, Cromwell Clovers - are primarily focused on arts and crafts.

This year, their projects included a platform/loft bed, a chair and matching table, jewelry, pottery pieces, paintings and drawings, and they each baked and decorated a cake.  Because of the number and size of their projects, we actually had to rent a U-Haul van to transport everything to the fair!

This past Wednesday, we started loading in and registering the smaller projects.  We loaded the car and headed down to the fairgrounds.  We were able to get about 50% of their projects registered.
Thursday was spent at home making the final preparations - baking and decorating the cakes among the activities.
Friday, the opening day of the fair, was spent bringing the remaining projects to the fairgrounds.  Our day began by going to pick up the U-Haul van.  We then began to load the pieces of the bed into the van.  These pieces had been residing in our living room - leaning against one wall - since the painting of it was completed, so it was nice to be able to reclaim the room.  After everyone placed their projects, the barn was closed for judging.  Rae was asked to be a judge, so the girls and I left her there.  One of our friends and fellow 4-H'ers was able to drive the girls home while I drove the U-Haul (just not enough seats in the van for both of them).
Saturday was the busy day.  First, the girls get to see how their projects did.  The Home Arts barn was a hive of activity while the exhibitors rushed from project to project to see their scores, ribbons, and comments from the judges.  The Kids' Barn events were held from 11 AM - 2 PM.  Kids' Barn is a time for the individual clubs to provide activities for the younger visitors to the fair.  The clubs can create a themed activity center that allows the kids to play games and learn in the process.  The clubs are also judged on their adherence to their chosen theme and the participation of the club members.  Because this is a club activity, everyone is expected to participate.  Home Arts also holds their Premier Showman competition on Saturday and both girls qualified for this.  After Premier Showman, the girls had to rush over to another barn to show their rabbits.  Finally we were done for the day.
Sunday is a little less stressful.  Victoria was the Superintendent for the cat show that was held today.  This basically means that she needs to assist the judge (who also happens to be the leader of our club).  If it weren't for this, we could have gotten to the fairgrounds a little later.  After the cat show, the girls were participating in the Expressive Arts event.  Somewhat different from public speaking (which they elected not to do this time), Expressive Arts is more of a talent show.  Participants are able to do just about anything that isn't a speech - comedy routine, dance, musical performance, etc. - for this event.  After this, we were all done except for the load out.  We had some time to visit with other 4-H families that we really only get to see at the fair.  At 5:00 PM, we began to collect the exhibits and the rabbits and prepared to head home leaving the fairgrounds cleaner than when we arrived.

Aside from being a great family weekend, I was able to gauge my personal progress toward wellness.  As the fair occurs every year and tends to be equally stressful each time, I can sort of judge where I am health-wise by how poorly or how well I handle the activity.  This year was likely the most physically demanding of all of the fairs that we have participated in.  The projects we moved were much bigger and heavier than in years past.
The fact that I am still awake at 10 PM and writing this entry is already a major improvement for me!  I didn't feel the same level of fatigue that I have grown to expect.  The fair itself held some fantastic experiences but one of the best things for me is the way I feel now that it is over.