Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 64)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 64)

We are having some unbelievably warm weather this week, feels like Spring so I am grilling some this week, Shawarma-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt and North African Spiced Shrimp and Chickpea Salad. Also on the menu is a comfort food staple in my home, Filipino Adobo Chicken which I am going to test out in my Instant Pot! And some more favorites, Cauliflower “Fried Rice” with shrimp to make it a meal, and Blackened Chicken Fiesta Salad which I will make for my husband and I, I’ll leave out the blackened spice for Madison.

Pictured below is The Skinnytaste Meal Planner where I plan my dinners for the week (you can of course use any meal planner). Meal planning is a great way to get organized before heading to the supermarket to get ready for the week! My breakfast is usually something quick like eggs with fruit, 4-ingredent pancakes, a smoothie or avocado toast. We’re a family of four, so if a recipe serves more, it’s either packed up for everyone’s lunch or eaten the next day as leftovers. If you would like to see some of the previous week’s dinner plans, click here

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 64)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 64)

Monday: Cauliflower “Fried Rice”  with stir fried shrimp
Tuesday: Blackened Chicken Fiesta Salad
Wednesday: Filipino Adobo Chicken with brown rice
Thursday: North African Spiced Shrimp and Chickpea Salad
Friday: Away
Saturday: Away
Sunday: Shawarma-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt


Original Source: Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 64)

Proper Breathing Mechanics for Bracing

Written by: Kevin Cann

The majority of people reading this have probably been told by a coach, or read an article that said that you need to take a big breath and hold it while lifting. This seems like an easy task. However, it is not as easy as it seems. It is one of the pieces of lifting effectively that people get wrong the most.

You may be asking “Isn’t breathing subconscious? How can we possibly be messing it up?” The thing is, respiration is subconscious, but breathing is a conscious action. To properly breathe to lift maximal weights is not as easy as you think.

We need to take an effective ”belly breath” into our diaphragm. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make here is that they breathe into their chests. There are a few problems with this. For one, we want to brace and protect our lower back. Placing air in our chest will not help this.

Also, this makes our lifting less effective. In the squat, when we raise the chest we are pushing the bar further away from our hips. If we squat with the bar in a low bar position, this would turn it into more of a high bar squat. Thoracic extension demands are increased, and they are increased while we are not bracing effectively.

If we let the chest rise when we breathe during the deadlift, we are making the lift a longer lift. When the shoulders and chest rise, the arms come with them. This would mean we would lock out the weight higher, increasing its ROM. Long arms are an advantage in the deadlift, we do not want to shorten them.

On the bench press, if we raise our shoulders we actually increase our risk for a shoulder injury. The shrug of the shoulders mixed with the internal rotation of the press is a recipe for labral issues, impingements, and irritation to the bicep tendon.

Taking a diaphragmatic breath will expand our abdomen. However, this is not effective bracing on its own. Breathing is not bracing, it allows us to brace more effectively. Another mistake that I see people make is that they take their breath into their belly, but do not brace effectively after the breath.

Once we take in that breath, we want to expand our belly in a 360 degree radius. If you are wearing a belt to lift think about pushing against the belt all around your torso. This should be an extremely uncomfortable feeling. This will activate all of the musculature surrounding our lumbar spine, keeping it safe.

The other mistakes people make while breathing is they take too big of a breath and they hold it for multiple repetitions. There are not too many studies performed here in America looking at how much air we need to take in and how duration of holding your breath effects the movement.

However, in Russia there are. I have not seen this study myself, and even if I did I can’t translate it. I trust Boris Sheiko’s understanding of it. In Russia it is an honor to be a strength athlete, and they take great pride in their success in the strength sports. It is not as big of a deal here in America, so we just do not see many studies performed.

This study was done by I.M. Seropegin in 1965. It showed that breathing was most effective in strength athletes when the lungs were ¾ full and the breath was held for a short amount of time. This means that we do not need a massive breath to effectively brace our abdomen.

All we need is a small huff of air into the belly (filling our lungs ¾ of their capacity). Anything more than this is just a waste of energy. We also do not want to hold our breath for multiple reps. The longer we hold our breath the less effective the breathing. We should rebreathe after each repetition to effectively brace.

When you take this breath, just open your mouth and breathe in. Don’t push your head forward or pucker your lips. Pushing the head forward pulls the body forward and can lead to a less than optimal starting position. Puckering the lips and sucking in the air hard is just a waste of energy. Remember that breathing is not bracing, it just allows us to brace harder.

Some reading this may be worried that holding your breath while lifting is dangerous. The thought process is that we get a spike in blood pressure and this can lead to a stroke. The research just does not back this finding up.

Holding your breath while lifting is known as the Valsalva maneuver. This is a normal human movement when lifting heavy objects. Your body will naturally do this, probably due to the increased abdominal pressure. Studies looking at Valsalva and blood pressure hold the subjects breath for 20 to 30 seconds. A lifter holds it for far less time. There is no risk to lifting under Valsalva. However, lower back injuries are most prevalent under a barbell. Not holding your breath increases your risk of hurting your lower back.

When we are lifting heavy we want to take a small huff of air into our belly and push it out as hard as we can in a 360 degree radius around our lower back (think into the belt). We want to take a breath in for each rep and not hold it for multiple repetitions as it loses its effectiveness. This will take a lot of conscious effort at first, but over tie it will lead to more weight on the bar and new PRs.

For more information on breathing:

Original Source: Proper Breathing Mechanics for Bracing

A Guide to the Basic Anxiety of Life

By Leo Babauta

Underlying much of what we do is an uncertainty, an anxiety, a fear, doubts, dissatisfaction …

And we react to these anxieties, dissatisfaction and uncertainty in so many unhelpful ways: we seek distraction, we eat unhealthy food, we procrastinate, we get caught in a cycle of anxiety and unhappiness, we lash out at others, we dwell in our loneliness, and then we get in denial about it all.

If we could learn to deal with the basic anxiety of life, we would have much more ease and less struggle.

The Anxiety Underneath Our Problems

On Twitter, I asked people to share a problem they’d like me to write about … the problems were all very difficult, but the basic anxiety of life was the undercurrent to all of them.

Each one has an external problem, with the undercurrent of anxiety, fears or uncertainty underneath the external problem. Let’s take a look at a few:

  • Feeling of being left out, lack of belonging: We can all relate to this feeling of not belonging. Externally, the problem is not finding people you connect with, not having that connection in your daily life. But on top of that, we add the anxiety/dissatisfaction of feeling like we’re left out and don’t belong. This is normal, but it’s good to notice.
  • Finding your passion, optimizing potential: The external problem is that you are in a job you’re not passionate about. On top of that is the anxiety/dissatisfaction of not finding that passion, of feeling like we’re not optimizing our potential. We can all relate to this too!
  • Headaches cyclicly prevent me building a career and paying my way properly, affects my self worth hugely: The external problem (bad headaches, leading to career and financial problems) is very real, and not easy to deal with. But on top of that, we have anxiety about it all, and we add self-criticism (most of us do this, right?), self-doubt, and a downgrading of our self-image.
  • That phase of anxiety before big changes occur: The external issue is that we’re facing a big change, and then because it’s a situation filled with great uncertainty, we feel anxiety about it.
  • Beginning/purchasing self improvement books/classes/plans and not using them: The external problem is not finding the time or energy to use materials you’ve bought, but we add to that an anxiety about ourselves not living up to our potential, not taking advantage of opportunities, not doing what we hoped we’d do. I think we can all relate to this.
  • Addiction to social media, videos and cell phone: The external problem is the distractions that keep pulling our attention. But the anxiety is that we feel addicted and feel something is wrong with us for not being less distracted. In addition, the addiction is probably a coping mechanism for dissatisfaction with the moment in front of us, or anxieties in other parts of life.
  • PTSD — Post Trump Stress Disorder: A lot of people are coping from dissatisfaction with the political scene right now, no matter what your views on the president might be. There’s the external situation of what’s going on, and then we add our dissatisfaction, anxieties about uncertainty, frustration and anger.
  • Sometimes feel helpless & empty for a reason I can’t identify. Only time makes that go away but I feel that time was wasted: There’s probably an external situation that’s causing a feeling of uncertainty, anxiety, dissatisfaction and/or helplessness. But the real problem is the feelings about it all, the uncertainty and anxiety about it all, and the anxiety about wasting the time it takes to get over it.
  • Getting over breakups: The external problem (end of a relationship) is overshadowed by the pain, dissatisfaction, anxiety that follow the breakup. We might have frustration and anxiety about wanting it not to have ended, about not wanting to be alone, about how we feel about ourselves after being dumped, about how the other person acted.

I think we can all relate to these problems, to not only the external situation but the reactions that we have.

There’s a fundamental anxiety and dissatisfaction that runs through the human condition, about whatever we’re experiencing in life, about other people and about ourselves.

So how do we deal with it all?

Where Does Basic Anxiety Come From?

It’s good to start by recognizing why we have this basic anxiety. It’s caused by:

  • Uncertainty about life, about the current situation, about people
  • Wanting certainty, stability when life isn’t stable or certain
  • Dissatisfaction with the above facts — which is also dissatisfaction with our situation, ourselves, and others

If you sit right now for 5-10 minutes and just pay attention to your breath, you’ll likely notice the fundamental anxiety … it results in wanting to stop paying attention to the breath, wanting the meditation to be over, wanting to get on with the tasks of life, wanting distraction, thinking that the exercise is stupid, wanting to think about problems you have.

But instead of running from this anxiety, instead of getting away from it into thinking about problems or getting out of the meditation … what if we just stayed with it and paid attention to it?

If we can get in touch with this fundamental anxiety that we suffer through in life … we can start to work with it.

Learning to Deal with This Basic Anxiety

Instead of running from the anxiety, instead of trying to cope by using distractions, food, shopping, alcohol, drugs … we’re going to find the courage to face it, with a smile.

Here’s how to work with it:

  1. Face the physical feeling. Drop out of the story that’s spinning around in your head, that’s causing the anxiety. Instead, just be mindful of how your body feels. What does the anxiety feel like, and where in your body is it located?
  2. Stay with it & be curious about it. Don’t run, just stay with the physical feeling. Instead of rejecting it and wanting it to stop, just open up to it and see it with curiosity. What does it feel like? Does it change? What kind of reaction does your mind have to the feeling?
  3. Smile at it. Develop a feeling of friendliness towards the physical sensation of this anxiety. See it as one of the fundamental realities of your existence, and learn to be friends with it. See this as a chance to work with something that will be with you for your entire life, an opportunity to get comfortable with this discomfort. If you can do that, you’ll need your coping mechanisms a lot less.
  4. Open to a bigger space. Our normal way of relating to this feeling is wanting to reject it, because we’re stuck in a small-minded, self-centered way of seeing it (I say this without judgment, it’s just something we do). Instead, we can start to touch the wide-open space of our minds, like a big blue sky, not a small space but expansive. In this open space, we can hold the anxiety like a cloud against the backdrop of the blue sky, but not be lost in the cloud. We can see the anxiety but also see that like a cloud, it’s temporary, it’s not that solid, it’s not all-encompassing, and it’s just floating by. This wide-open space of our mind is always available to us.

It’s that simple, and yet it’s not always easy. Sometimes the anxiety we feel is small, just a bit of tightness in our chest once we investigate it. But sometimes it’s quite big, a looming depression or a manic energy that we just can’t tolerate. So face it in small doses, just for a minute, just for a moment. Then let yourself run. Continue to work with it in small, tolerable doses until you start to trust that you’ll be OK if you face it and smile at it.

Once we start to touch on this anxiety, face it with courage, stay with it like a good friend would … we start to realize it’s not so bad. It’s just something that comes up, like a ripple in a pond, like a breeze in a field, and it will go away. We don’t need to panic, we don’t need to run, we can relax, invite it to tea, and see that nothing else is required. Instead, we stay, we give it love, and see that this place of uncertainty we’re in is absolutely perfect as it is.

Join Me for a Mindfulness Retreat

I’d like to let you know that I’ve put the limited spots in my Zen Habits Mindfulness Retreat on sale until April 1, 2017 …

The retreat will be held April 21-23, 2017 in San Francisco. It’s going to be amazing, and I’m really excited about it.

Read more here, and join me!

Original Source: A Guide to the Basic Anxiety of Life

30-Day Challenge Analysis Part 3: Changing Your Life For Real – Let’s Do This Right

All right folks, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. That’s right, it’s the GRAND FINALE of the EPIC, three part 30-day challenge series. We’ve already talked about the pros and cons of 30-day throw downs (Part 1) and we’ve discussed (AT LENGTH) how we totally screw em’ up (Part 2). Now let’s get to the good stuff – let’s figure out how to do this right and truly ‘change your life’ and health for the long haul. If you haven’t read the first two parts, I would recommend doing that first, both for the background information and because, if I do say so myself, they’re damn entertaining. (**NOTE: I also laugh at all of my own jokes.**) If you’re already up to speed, then let’s get this party started…

The GREAT Group/Gym Challenge

Okay, all of you gym owners and coaches, regardless of how good your intentions may be when you set up one of these ’30-day fat loss challenges’, you are doing your members and the folks that participate in them no favors if you’re not running them right. If you’re wondering how you screw em’ up – then you haven’t read Part 2 of this series. Do that now and then come back and continue reading this.

First we’re going to address the ‘numbers game’ – you know; the weighing, waist circumferencing, and calipering/body fat testing. Sure, you need to measure something to determine a winner, but are these markers really indicators of success? Can you lose weight and body fat in 30 days? Yes, but quoting Tommy Boy, “I can get a good look at a t-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s @ss.” I think if we’ve learned anything through observing these challenges, it’s that most folks can gut out 30 days of restriction and get some ‘measurable’ results, but where are they 1-3 months from then? Were the results lasting? Did habits change for good? Did the participants learn/retain anything? Magic 8 Ball says, “Very doubtful.”

What would happen if instead of measuring waist circumference, body fat, and scale numbers, we measured habit changing successes. A couple years ago I did a “30 Challenges in 30 days” series of posts. Every day we did ONE thing to ‘change our lives’ and by the end of the 30 days, participants had 30 new tools in their tool boxes. Every day that they completed a challenge was a small victory and a ‘point’ toward their health. There was no list of do’s and don’ts – no flat out restriction, but rather a slow buildup of new habits over the course of the month. In addition to changing up the indicators of success and the overall implementation of a ‘transformation’ challenge; any good gym/coach will provide education, information and support. Maybe this looks like a weekly class to talk about nutrition and lifestyle habits, a series of emails with instructions, tips, recipes, etc. Or maybe it could be a Facebook group for participants to support each other, ask questions and share ideas; that’s moderated by the coaches and/or a dietitian. This group might be something that stays open for 2-3+ months after the challenge to help support LASTING habit changes and to offer continued support.

Ultimately, as health and nutrition experts we need to be teaching folks how to live and eat in a healthy way that is sustainable. We are doing them a disservice when we promote the idea that it’s perfectly acceptable to have a diet/lifestyle change that runs in 30-day cycles. STOP IT.

The Perfect Personal/Individual Challenge

I know that most of you, embarking upon one of these 30-day life changing challenges, go into them with the goals to clean up your act, form new habits, and come out of feeling better when they’re over. But, in a lot of cases, somewhere along the way things get all messed up. We talked about that in Part 2 of this series in case you need a refresher. Now we’re going to talk about how to make new diet and lifestyle changes stick – with or without a 30-day ‘kick start’.

There are two types of people in the world. There’s the type that, when they go to the pool, head straight to the diving board and jump in, and then there’s the folks that start by dipping their toes in the water taking slow, deliberate steps deeper and deeper until they reach the “all-in” point. Neither of these methods is wrong – one just gets you wet faster, but that doesn’t make it better.

The same general idea can be applied to habit/behavior change – there’s the all-in right off the bat crowd: Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. These guys go from Burger King to broccoli overnight. This can work – but it can backfire too. The other group makes small changes until they finally get to the – all-in point, having adjusted slowly throughout the process. It takes longer, sure, but they eventually get there too. Again, neither of these ways is wrong – but it’s important to know or figure out which approach is going to work best for you.

If you’re an all-in ‘cannonball style’ type of person, 30 days of abstinence might be the ticket for you. That being said, you’re going to have to figure out how to make it work and what life is going to look like after day 30. Unfortunately, you can’t just decide to start tomorrow and expect it to all fall into place. For the folks that tip-toe into the changes, each step is more deliberate and planned. They know what’s coming and slowly adjust their habits over time, (maybe adding one new change each week). This often results in new habits sticking because they’ve had time to figure out how to make each adjustment work for them. Regardless of which direction you go, you’ve got to have a plan and you’ve got to figure out how your life is going to look once you’re “all the way under”.

There are a few things you need to do BEFORE you start to help yourself be successful implementing either a 30-day transformation or gradual lifestyle change (this is the short list…):

  1. Know your why. Why are you doing this in the first place? If your answer is to see your abs and you’ve got no real desire to actually change your habits for good, you’re doing it wrong. Sure, at the end of the 30 days you might have those abs, but they aren’t going to last long with no real plan or desire to keep your new way of eating up. A better approach – go into this with the idea that you want to change your habits for life – not to ‘detox’ or to see how much weight you can lose. Your reasons for going in are key predictors of your results coming out.
  2. Have a plan! This is crucial. Know what your 30 days is going to look like. Meal plan, troubleshoot, and figure out how you’re going to make it all come together. But even more important than the 30 day plan is the day 31+ plan. You’ve got to decide what life is going to look like when the ‘transformation’ is complete. How will you incorporate your new habits into your life and where do all of the foods you eliminated fit into that plan? Benjamin Franklin wasn’t wrong when he said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
  3. Don’t ride the Merry-Go-Round. If you’re doing your 6th “Whole30” – you’re missing something. If you plan to succeed and you find your balance, there shouldn’t be a reason to do one of these ‘detoxes’ every 3-6 months. You can always tighten things up a bit, but it shouldn’t get so out of control that you need to resort to 30 days of restriction to get back on track. Find your “happy place” and run with it.
  4. Recruit help if you need it. If you’re not sure how to incorporate these new habits into your forever-life, find someone that can help you. Maybe it’s a friend or family member that’s been successful, a coach at the gym, or a dietitian (yeah, shameless self-promotion…). There are folks out there that can and want to help you – use them if/when you need them!

The ultimate goal of the 30-day challenge or any lifestyle transformation/change is to help develop new habits, get healthier and increase the length and quality of your life – not to see your abs (this should be considered an added bonus if it happens). Going in with the right mindset, educating yourself, and planning for a day 31 that doesn’t involve a buffet of Type 2 Diabetes are key to long term success. When it’s all said and done, you should have a box full of tools to help you stay healthy, look and feel good for life.

That concludes the 30-day challenge analysis series. What did you think and where are you going to go from here?




Original Source: 30-Day Challenge Analysis Part 3: Changing Your Life For Real – Let’s Do This Right

Pandas, Celiac and Fecal Transplants!

In my last blog post I put forward the Discordance Theory of disease (specifically modern degenerative diseases such as type 2 diabetes, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease) and introduced a rough timeline of change that humans have faced over the past 10,000 years. These changes are wide reaching and affect every element of the Four Pillars of health (Sleep/photoperiod, food, movement, community). It’s fascinating to me that many people find the Discordance Theory and associated concept of Ancestral Health to be incredibly informative and helpful for everything from orienting research to making clinical decisions, while other people dismiss both concepts out of hand and find no value in anything other than reductionist, symptom-based medicine. I’m of the opinion that we will not untangle chronic degenerative disease without some nod towards the Ancestral Health template. I might be wrong about that, perhaps there is a magic bullet waiting that can “fix” poor sleep+bad food+inactivity+inadequate social interactions….but I both think that is unlikely AND I’m not waiting around for that fairy tale to come to reality.

I’ve thought about this Discordance subject a lot and I have to admit: it’s a more nuanced topic than what I’d first thought or suggested. In the early days of the Paleo Diet movement, anything that was considered “non-paleo” was held as suspect. Salt, coffee, tea (to name a few items) have all been dismissed as “non-paleo” by the few folks who have turned paleo into a religion. Unfortunately these same folks seem to have missed all the research indicating reasonable amounts of the aforementioned substances are likely beneficial. So, we seem to have a few different competing concepts here:

1-The Discordance theory suggests that too rapid a change may produce deleterious health effects.

2-Some people interpret the above as meaning ANYTHING that is “evolutionarily novel” is inherently bad, somehow ignoring “the rest of science” (coffee for example).  

3-Some of the people who dislike the Ancestral Health concept rightfully point out that some not insignificant genetic change has happened to humans since the paleolithic.

4-Despite point #3, we still see far more degenerative disease than what I think anyone would like. And as I mentioned in the previous post, those metabolic changes are of sufficient severity that the associated diseases (type 2 diabetes, CVD, neurodegeneration, certain cancers)  are poised to cripple our economy and overwhelm our medical systems.

The trite advice of “eat less move more” and “everything in moderation” (the singular message we seem to receive from the medical world, particularly mainstream dietitians) is, let’s face it, an epic failure. My wild suggestion, dripping in nefarious ulterior motives, is that we really do need to think about modern, degenerative disease from the perspective of the Discordance Model, but we can’t turn the implications of that theory into religious doctrine like the Orthodox Paleoites have done. We need a governing theory to direct our inquiry, but this must be coupled with good clinical outcome based medicine and the studies these clinical outcomes inevitably generate.

So, we are about 500 words into this mess and you may be wondering “Hey Robb, this is all nice, but the title of the article is about pandas and poo…what gives?” This build-up is likely attributable to equal parts senility and a borderline obsessive need to provide Framework and ContextI want to look at a critter we are all likely a bit familiar with, the Giant Panda, as this cute, iconic Ursid is actually an interesting example case study of the Discordance Theory but with some interesting subtleties. Giant Pandas evolved from ancestors which were, like most bears, omnivores. For as yet unknown reasons panda ancestors likely started eating some amount of bamboo as part of their mixed diet, eventually shifting to a diet almost completely composed of bamboo. Estimates of this transition range from 2-5 million years ago, which is a decent period when considering evolutionary change. What this would suggest is pandas should be quite well adapted to their new dietary approach and in some ways they are. Pandas have evolved a kind of false thumb (derived from a wrist bone of all things) which helps pandas to grasp and pull down bamboo.

But recent research looked at panda digestion and the findings were fairly surprising as they suggest that pandas are not that well adapted to their current diet of bamboo. Whether in the wild or captivity, pandas display a remarkable amount of GI problems. They are almost the IBS poster animal given how many problems they have. The GI physiology of the panda is quite close to that of a carnivore, with none of the specialized GI structure we see in animals that digest cellulose (fibrous plant material). Some cellulosic fermentors use multiple stomachs, some use a larger cecum to provide more time to ferment this plant material, coupled with more surface area to absorb the short chain fatty acids produced by cellulose fermentation. Most of these animals have a symbiotic relationship with certain strains of bacteria which possess the enzymes to degrade cellulose, yet pandas are interesting in that they seem to still, after 2 million years of mainly consuming bamboo, possess a gut microbiome that looks virtually identical to that of a carnivore. The panda is a potentially confusing critter! As interesting as all this might (or might not) be, what does it mean for you?

1-Despite 2 million years of evolution on it’s current diet, the giant panda still has serious digestive problems. Problems which are sufficiently severe as to limit panda reproductive success.

2-Even though the gut microbiome of pandas looks a lot like that of a carnivore, there MUST be something more to this story. Although the efficiency of converting bamboo cellulose to energy appears to be rather low (compared to the efficiency of say a cow converting grass to usable energy) clearly the panda is getting SOMETHING out of the bamboo. It may be that they are relying more on the protein and fat content of bamboo to make their living. It’s also possible that although the microbes they harbor are not typically associated with cellulose fermenters, that does not mean these bugs have not acquired the genes to do so. Bacteria are remarkably promiscuous little bugars and they appear to be able to swap genes at a rate that until only a few years ago was thought to be impossible.

3-Given point #1, if we see a chronic disease (in humans, pandas or sand flies) it might be helpful to start asking questions using the Discordance Theory as a means of orienting our thinking. This is not the end of that investigative process but may prove to be a critical beginning. 

4-Given point #2, we need to be cautious in how we interpret and promulgate the Discordance Theory. Of particular note I think we need to be very careful in how we treat the topic of the human microbiome. Despite a relatively short period for evolution to occur on the human genome (10,00 years since “the paleolithic”), there is a remarkable amount of time available (in bacterial terms) for a symbiotic organism to develop or obtain the genes necessary to help it’s host organism (that’d be us). We are in the absolute infancy of understanding this story, so I think we need equal parts caution and optimism in how we approach this material. In my next blog post I’ll look at some human symbiotic bacteria which have proven to be remarkably helpful for a very pesky condition.

I am one of the folks that really went whole-hog into the Discordance Theory and unfortunately did not see the details and caveats to make that model work better. Time and pain have been good instructors and have hopefully moved me a bit down the Dunning Kruger graph.  In my second book Wired to Eat (available for pre-order everywhere books are sold, release date March 21) I do my best to talk about these subtleties and to provide a path for you to find your own truth with regards to health. I lean heavily on the Discordance model as so far it has provided what appears to be an unfair advantage in unraveling complex degenerative disease. I do however try to temper that message with an honest appraisal of what we do and do not know, what we can only discover via self experimentation.

ALSO!! If you pre-order Wired To Eat I have several fantastic bonuses here.


Original Source: Pandas, Celiac and Fecal Transplants!

Join Me: The Zen Habits Mindfulness Retreat in April

By Leo Babauta

I’m excited to announce my first retreat: the Zen Habits Mindfulness Retreat in San Francisco!

The urban retreat will be held over a weekend, on April 21-23, 2017. It’s aimed at teaching you key mindfulness skills that can help you transform your life.

There are limited spots (at 3 different levels), so I would get your spot soon if you’d like to attend.

What This Retreat is About

It’s a 2.5-day retreat that focuses on:

  • Mindfulness practices
  • Using mindfulness to deal with our struggles and old patterns
  • Finding joy and gratitude in life
  • Seeing the underlying goodness in ourselves & overcome dissatisfaction with ourselves
  • Dealing with uncertainty, developing trust in the process
  • Finding what happens when you have no escape

Through these practices, we’ll help you develop tools that can lead to the changes you’ve been hoping for.

We will learn different types of meditations and practice exercises that help us work with our struggles.

We will also explore San Francisco a bit:

  • Mindful tea tasting
  • Mindful chocolate tasting
  • Delicious vegan food will be provided
  • We’ll go on an easy hike
  • We’ll form connections with each other to support our life changes

I’m so excited to have you join me in one of my favorite cities in the world, working on things that have changed my life completely and that I hope will change yours as well.

Three Options for the Retreat

The basic retreat described above doesn’t include accommodations (you’ll have to book your own AirBnb or hotel) or transportation to San Francisco (book your own flights).

But it does include vegan meals, activities described above, and the talks and group exercises with Leo.

Basic option: The basic retreat comes at a price of $2,995:

Mindfulness Retreat (Basic)

But I’m also including two other options:

  1. “With a Bed” option (below) that gets you a bed and a room in an AirBnb apartment, and
  2. a Premium Package that includes an additional lunch with me, a 1-on-1 session at the retreat, and a follow-up coaching call with me a few weeks after the retreat (see “Premium Package” below).

The “With a Bed” Option

I’ll be renting a couple AirBnb apartments with about separate beds available (each in their own room), so if you’d like to stay in an apartment with other retreat participants, you can book at the “With a Bed” rate … you’ll get a bed in your own bedroom (unless you choose to share a Queen bed with a friend or your spouse/partner).

The “With a Bed” spots come at a price of $3,395:

Mindfulness Retreat (With a Bed)

The Premium Package

Finally, I’ve created a few bonuses if you’d like to purchase the “premium” package …

This package includes:

  1. A bed in one of the AirBnb apartments (same apartment where Leo is sleeping)
  2. An extra lunch with Leo on Friday April 21 before the retreat starts
  3. A 1-on-1 coaching session with Leo during the retreat
  4. A follow-up coaching call with Leo about 3-4 weeks after the retreat

There are 5 premium spots available, at a price of $4,395.

Mindfulness Retreat (Premium)

I am really excited about this retreat and I hope you’ll join me!

Questions & Answers

You might have some questions … here are a few answers:

Q: Who is this retreat for?

A: It’s for someone who is willing to take a weekend to change their life. Someone who has been struggling and is open to practicing mindfulness and changing mental patterns. Someone who is ready to let go of old patterns and embrace new ones. Someone who is willing to put in the work for better habits and a transformed life.

Q: Are airfare or accommodations included?

A: Airfare is not included, you’ll need to book tickets on your own. Accommodations for the two nights are only included if you choose either the “With a Bed” or “Premium” options, where you’ll be staying in an AirBnb apartment with other participants. If you choose the “Basic” option, you’ll need to find your own hotel or AirBnb apartment in San Francisco, and this is not included in the price.

Q: What if I don’t like vegan food?

A: I’d suggest bringing an open and flexible mind to the retreat, and the food we’ll be eating is pretty delicious, and it’s included in the cost … however, you are free to go off and explore on your own, and buy your own food. In that case, you’ll be missing out on group meals, unfortunately.

Q: Can I book two retreat spots with a shared bed with my partner or friend?

A: Sure! In this case, book one spot at the “With a Bed” or “Premium” level (to get a bed) and then a second spot at the Basic level. Then email us to let us know you want to share a Queen-sized bed with your partner or friend.

Q: What is your refund policy?

A: No refunds after March 1, 2017. If you buy a spot, you’re preventing others from buying them, as spots are limited. So if you don’t ask for a refund by March 1, you’ll lose your fee if you can’t make it. If you ask for a refund before March 1, we’ll refund 80% of your fee.

Q: I can’t pay right now, can I pay later?

A: No, the spots will only be reserved by those who pay. If you want to wait until you can pay, it will mean there might not be any spots left.

Q: I just bought a spot, now what?

A: There is a PDF download that came with your purchase, please download and read that for more info. We’ll also be sending you a few emails over the next month, please read these and reply with your info!

Q: What do I need for this retreat?

A: A notebook and pen for notes, layered clothing for San Francisco’s fluctuating weather, and an open and flexible mind. A willingness to change and practice. An open heart. Toiletries.

Original Source: Join Me: The Zen Habits Mindfulness Retreat in April