Civic Vegetables

8 Jul

 A girlfriend texted the other day from her seat at the courthouse. She was in the mix for jury duty, and she was actually rather enjoying it.  Honest reporting, she’s the one who came up with the cool word play, saying she felt like jury duty was a great helping of “civic vegetables”. When we spoke later, it struck us both that this was a pretty neat notion…committing positively to something that on its surface sounds so dire, but once ventured, turns out to be fulfilling and savagely healthy. As holistic health coaches, and in her case a fitness professional, we often lapse into long chats about food, nutrition, and life-coachy stuff, but inevitably circle back round to the same question: how to get people to start doing (more of) what they know is good for them?  On health, wellness and exercise, she voices the challenge as: “coaching people who’re rushing through life lost or confused about what to eat, but who with knowledge and support can find their path back to a body that feels like home”.

Whether drawing on that theme, or thinking more broadly, everyday we’re offered a menu of veggies–civic and otherwise. Setting the alarm clock for the early morning cycle class.  Making it by the local farmer market for the weekly bread and produce. Paying a little more for organics because it does matter. Turning off digital friends when in the presence of real ones. Encouraging your mates in their new adventures. Tipping an extra $1 because it’s not about the rule, it’s about making someone’s day. Speaking your mind even if you’re nervous.  Considering new points of view. Voting.  And making health and fitness the foundation of your life so you grow to be an old tourist, rather than a tour bus passenger.


Cycling Le Tour – Poetry in the Slipstream

8 Jul

Everyday we strive to know

when to stand and when to go

to train and learn, courage to grow

afraid of only the final no.

Mates, partners, foes and all

camped out on our heart’s own mall

love rides there too if we dare

to live our dreams refusing to stall.

Leaning forward, an act of commitment

true in the saddle braced against the battlements

he told me once and other times

I was the teammate of his life.

And it felt then as does now

a draft so light yet a pace that pounds

I tuck my head to close out the sound

of the coach’s pleading torrent

steering round the round about

slipstream in the current.

Fighting to hold on to a pace bespoke,

for passion and youth through the last pedal stroke

with a heart bright and full of hope

to make the tour next year.

I Love NY!

10 Jun

Video 1

I’m sure you’ve read, heard or seen the news out of NYC : Mayor Bloomberg’s shocking proposal to ban super sized sugary drinks at (many) public venues.  And like most people I’ve talked to,  you likely had an immediate, surgary-rush like reaction: a fist pumping “YEAH!” in support of an idea to actually do something about the obesity epidemic, or a “WTF!” in opposition to the suppression of  basic American liberties.

Here’s my take. If you’re someone who loves their country and the promise of all the greatness it can achieve economically, culturally, scientifically, artistically, athletically, culinarily, militarily or spiritually, this proposal is for you.

If you’re someone who loves their country and the promise of freedom, liberty and justice for all, this proposal is for you.

If you’re someone who only feels but does not do the heavy lifting required by thought, and you wear the flag as you bury your head in the sand amidst a pandemic of obesity, diabetes, and sick children punished by the ignorance or apathy of their parents, then you hate this idea.

The brilliance of this proposal, this conversation, lies not in its polarization, but in its opportunity to galvanize. Regardless of where your gut check places you today, now more people are talking, debating and sharing perspectives on the “weight of the nation”.  Through increased awareness, more of us are focused on health, and perhaps, the dire need for more personal accountability. Right on!

Americans are bound together as citizens with freedom of choice and personal liberty.  But just as with other public programs that provided for clean water, national public parks, preservation of the buffalo, Medicare and Medicaid, and still others that safeguard children from alcohol and tobacco,  we can choose to band together and sing as one voice to affect the public good.

This proposal is an energizing voice in the growing chorus of our nation’s debate on health, and via its key-note, has made us all healthier already.


Is That Bad?

3 May

“Is that bad?” I wish I could report that was a rare question last Thursday at a health fair in Washington, DC.  But, yeah no. Over the course of four hours and I’m guessing a stream of more than 500 people, it was, startlingly, the most common reaction to the “sugar cubes in a Coke”  demo. At 39g of sugar in a 12 ounce serving, less than half the amount most soda drinkers consume in a day, that’s nearly a full day’s allotment.

Now I love learning about and sharing ideas on health, food and fitness. I mean, aren’t those three secrets for living an adventurous and happy life (marrying Lance Armstrong not withstanding)?  Via my company, Food Sport International, and my colleague Kristy Clarke’s consultancy, Primal Connection, I’ve had some terrific opportunities to engage with corporations and communities on these fronts, and I can honestly say I that each time I come away a bit more validated, but also more perplexed.

Really, even if health news and nutrition were the last thing someone cared about, you’d have to have been crushed by a Big Mac not to have gleaned that we’re living in a freakishly scary pandemic of “diabesity”.  Kids loved to death by parents whose idea of comfort comes through a drive-thru window. Parents selfishly or ignorantly giving up on their own health and so writing the prequel to their kid’s upcoming caretaker drama. People that choose health being expected to finance type 2 diabetic’s dialysis (I’d cut off that tax-payer funded treatment in a heartbeat).

Look, sugar is a drug. Bypassing the digestion system, it goes straight to your stomach for a quick high. You need more and more to get that same sweet sensation. You have an immediate negative impact when you crash (headache, irritability, cravings). You’ll do anything or pay anything to get it (people who complain to me bout the price of organics are the same ones who stand on line to buy gourmet cupcakes).

So please be both sweet and smart. Moderate your sugar drug as you would any other, and don’t push it on others. One of the leads in the news today is about the New Jersey woman who took her six year old daughter to the tanning salon—negligent, right? How bout the millions of parents serving a sugar buffet of cereal, cookies, candy, soda, ice cream, frapuccionos, blah, blah, blah?

Here’s your free health coaching tip for the day: eat clean, get most of your sweets from the ground and save the sugar treats for your margaritas! 🙂

Saddle-Up Sunday

1 Apr

I woke up this morning to the happy surprise that my DVR was recording the Tour de Flanders live. Beautiful views of the Belgian country side and across “cobbles” into postcard perfect towns and round-a-bouts…c’est magnifique! This did pose a bit of a pre-brekkie conflict however: lounge in bed with the Belgians, the NYT, a fresh pot italian roast coffee and ancient grain toast with organic almond butter, or wheels down and ride as planned the night before? Since the hottest thing that was bound to happen laying in bed would be the all-too-predictable hot coffee in the lap, I got out the spandex and saddled up.

I’d had a good ride the morning before (note: good=just long enough+just fierce enough+ cute guys in lead pack+ >1000cal), and this morning was heading out to join some friends in Bulverde.  This is the season for cycling in Texas . Bluebonnets, soft temps and light air. If you wait until the early morning  dew gives up, usually by 8-8:30, then it’s just about as perfect a morning for riding as you’re likely to get anywhere. I happen to know it was chilly and wet in Belgium this morning and if the seasons are on schedule elsewhere, it’s down right rainy in Riccione, shockingly windy in Melbourne, and depressingly still wintery in the UK, and don’t even get me started on England (cue english-accented chuckle here).

I’ve had the good fortune of cycling in a few countries round the world, and I must say it is a true egalitarian sport.  The group I saw de-park just before me this morning could’ve been the united nations of cycling judging by it’s range of age, speed, size and sex.  I think the global appeal of cycling must be due to the fact that it’s one of the few things that’s fun fast or slow, up or down, alone or in a group.

So congrats to Tom Boonen for his sprint finish to win the Flanders..a powerful few fast inches. And back closer to home, next weekend is the Easter Hill Country Tour….you don’t have to be Catholic to ride, but if you’re among that flock, feel free to count it as mass.

I’ll be on your left.

Wheel Thyself

25 Mar

Y’all know I’m passionate about all things health, fitness and food (and wine and margaritas), so I wanted to share some puzzling contrasts I’ve experienced over the last week. Here are the bookends: the Food Marketing Institute’s Supermarket & Pharmacy Health & Wellness conference, and  the LBJ 100 Cycle Tour.

At FMI, sponsored by Pepsi and the American Heart Association, I listened to industry leaders present on healthy food & groceries and clean label product trends, all whilst being served daily menus of chocolate sprinkle mini-muffins, french toast, and dessert after every meal. Not too tough to rationalize since that is the definitive retail food industry challenge–promote health or profits?

My bigger challenge is how/what to think about the obese man in the wheel chair at the airport, who, apparently frustrated by the wait to be escorted, said “well, I have half a mind to just wheel myself”, as compared to the wounded warrior cyclist grinding up hill on his hand-crank cycle at yesterday’s tour.  What makes one man who can, not, and one who cannot, cycle?

I don’t have the answer, but am happy to listen and learn. Not surprising, my view is pretty simple: Neighbor, wheel thyself. If you can, then you must. If for no other reason than to yield the right of way to those striving to move forward. Your health and your life are what you make it.

Need inspiration? Volunteer at BAMC Wounded Warrior clinic. Want to learn how to be healthy at any age? Read a book titled “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, MD.

We don’t  need national health care, we more need people to care. Saddle up!

Spring Fever Ahh’s & O’s

11 Mar

A girlfriend said the other day that sometimes you have to settle for and an “ahh” rather than an “O”.  We have a running joke between us ever since I exclaimed to our Aussie taxi driver upon exiting on “Wooloomooloo” street in Sydney, that you can never have too many. So with Spring fever getting me hot and sweaty, and fresh from the Institution of Integrative Nutrition Mega Conference in Longbeach last Saturday, I thought I’d share my guaranteed, clothes-on, ahh and O guilty pleasure, Savage Spring Fever Super Shake recipe. Your taste buds will say “ahh” (note if at first they say “ouch”, add more sweetener) and your body will get a big “O”!  And bonus, you can even do it alone…

Ok, so I’m taking my cue from David Wolfe, raw food pioneer and author of many leading books including “The Sunfood Diet System” and “Naked Chocolate” (  Addressing our group of Heath Coaches, David shared his mission of “add-ing” as a way to gradually invite people to add raw and living foods into their diet. And though I’d read his books and listened to his lectures, I was inspired to add more vim & vigor into my otherwise Paleo diet.

The goal is to move away from SAD (standard american diet) of HUGE FOOD – tiny nutritients, to tiny food – HUGE NUTRIENTS. Eat less, get more, live a full life and give something back to your planet (did you know it takes 635 gallons to make 1 hamburger?).

So here you go, fresh from my Vitamix 5200:

Savage Spring Fever Super Shake:

1) Liquid Base: I used 1/2 organic orange + organic unsweetened almond milk. Fresh vitamin C and heaps of non-dairy calcium.

2) Aloe Vera: I used 2 floz whole leaf aloe vera juice for skin beauty and digestion.

3) Super Greens: I used 12gm Green Vibrance brand powered organic greens and freeze dried grass juices. This blend of probiotics supports micro nutrition, digestion, circulation and immune systems.

4) Maca: I used 1 tsp of this ancient Incan superfood that boosts the endocrine system and libido, and combats fatigue. I use the gelatinized product–though not completely raw, this process strips out the starch (plus the cute guy at Whole Foods recommended it).

5) Cacao: I used 2 tbsp of this ancient Mayan superfood thats loaded with antioxidants. It’s also known to have the highest dietary source of magnesium, flavanols and polyphenols.

6) Whey Protein: I used 1 scoop of all natural microfilterd hydrolyzed vanilla whey protein for 16g protein. This is the min protein I need 3x per day to support my cardio & strength workouts.

7) Fruit: I added a 1/2 banana and some organic strawberries. Blueberries or gogi berries rock too!

8) Sweetener: I used organic blue agave nectar–squeeze in to taste. Local honey is also fantastic and can help immunities against seasonal allergies, plus is a bit lower on the GI scale.

9) Add ice and blend!

So there you have it.  Try adding a little Savage eating into your day. I promise you’ll have more energy, ahhs….and O’s!