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Wanderlust Stratton 2018

Let’s be upfront and honest; I had no plans to attend this or any yoga fest for that matter. I’m not averse to yoga, I practice it (not often enough) but didn’t see myself attending a big yoga shindig. I’d never even heard of Wanderlust until a few weeks beforehand when one of my old friends asked me to join him. It seemed like he needed someone to go with and he had been there when I needed him so, off to Wanderlust I went. It had to be a great idea after attempting a 50k trail race, right?

The day before leaving, I met my friend Pete to grab a bunch of his stuff to bring up that way he could drive his motorcycle. It had been nearly 3 years since we last saw each other; it was under much different circumstances as well. It was 2015 and I was attempting to be a finisher in what was supposed to be the final Winter Death Race in Vermont. After twenty hours I dropped out but not before enduring physical torment and mental torment. That was all while plodding through the snow and mountains in -20° temperatures.

But I digress, this weekend we were about to get into some temps much higher than that, so I was welcoming it.

I left my house at 5am Friday morning and got up to the campground we would be staying at around 8:30 am. Our first class wasn’t slated until noon so there was some time to catch up, set the camp up and head to Stratton for class number one! It was by renowned yoga teacher, Seane Corn. This was a pretty intense class to start with and it really got the blood pumping and brought a good amount of focus to be ready for the day. I think there was a bit of a break for a while so I checked out some vendors.

This is where I think Wanderlust could do better. They brought in vendors that were super expensive. I get it, most of the stuff was homemade, but if you are charging hundreds of dollars for the fest, even more for lodging and or camping on site then you have to find some middle ground. Yes, pun intended. I also ranted a bit on Instagram about the fact that while there were plenty of vegan options at the various food vendors, it still bewildered me that it wasn’t more prominent. For an event focused on compassion, alignment with the earth and such it amazes me that there is such disconnect. Though I guess I will take a little rather than none at all, so I wasn’t freaking out on people for that. I did scoff at the woman trying to sell me some leather bullsh*t when I walked by her booth; not today lady! I did pick up my wife some nice homemade earrings from a vendor, pricey yes, but they were beautiful and they look amazing on my wife!

From here on out times started to melt together. My next class was called “Yogathlete” and was taught by Caley Alyssa. She is pretty well known, maybe not as “celebrity status” as some yoga teachers but she has done stuff with Beachbody and partners with a bunch of other brands. That aside, she is humble yet not timid. Her class was so amazing that I forgot about the knee injury I had been dealing with; it felt great afterward. I made sure to look at my schedule for the weekend and change whatever I could to get into another class of hers.

Later on in the day we went on this great hike to the summit of Stratton and set up our mats on the ground, sat down and waited. This amazing artist, Garth Stevenson, had lugged his cello up and started playing it. I swear this may have been when of the most in tune with the world that I ever felt. Click the link on his name to see a sample from another event, it sounds like the piece he may have played for us as well.

Our day came to and end and I slept like a baby that night.

Saturday brought rain, tons and tons of rain. I had another class with Caley and was looking forward to a loving-kindness meditation later in the day. When I got to the Trailhead and signed in to the class I walked in, got set up and waited for the class to start. I began noticing some folks at the front of the room that looked familiar, they had taught an acroyoga class I watched the day before. Why were they here? Were they going to teach the meditation? That might be cool! Nope, I was in the wrong class, this one was to teach how to deal with counter-balance when practicing yoga with a partner.

WHAT?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I’M IN THE WRONG CLASS,” I wanted to scream out.

As I silently panicked and tried to figure out a way to escape I figured that was futile; I was set up in the front and at this point I would be a distraction. I rolled with it and figured maybe I was sent to this class for a reason. I am awkward as f*ck when it comes to people, it’s nearly painful for me to meet new people never mind share the same space with them. This class forced me to not only talk to people but touch them and practice very closely with them. I still felt a bit weird at the end, but all in all I came out alive so I guess it wasn’t that bad.

The last thing I had left for the day was a talk, or speakeasy as Wanderlust calls them. This one was put on by Robert and Julie Graham. It was a great talk that talked about the importance of nutrition to one’s practice and life. The one thing I wasn’t a fan of was that Robert said “eat mostly plants and if you are going to eat meat, eat good meat.” What does that even mean?

They did talk about this great book, Ikigai, which I ordered on Amazon shortly after getting home. It’s a book about how the people of Okinawa have some of the longest mortality rates. I’m just getting into it so I don’t have much to report on it but I felt like I connected with the info they were giving about it so I’m hoping I can find my Ikigai!

Sunday morning I decided to leave a bit early. It was raining again and I had just had enough. I think I got what I was looking for at Wanderlust and more. Since them I’ve been more attentive to my breath. I’ve tried to be more conscious of the words I say and the actions I take. We shall see how long it lasts but for now; all is well.

 

How to Optimize Protein With a Vegan Diet

I’m reposting this great infographic from Health Perch. Think this diet/ lifestyle is too hard? Try Meatless Mondays, then start integrating more veggie meals slowly. It’s not hard. If a ravenous carnivore like me can do it, you can too! And, bonus, your health will thank you. I dropped my cholesterol 66 points in less than a year just switching over, no meds or magic, just plant based food!

How to Optimize Protein With a Vegan Diet
“How to Optimize Protein With a Vegan Diet” on Health Perch

Wait! Don’t get rid of that grill!!

It was quite ironic that I saw this post on Fix.com the other day because my wife, and my sons, got me a new grill for Fathers Day. We recently bought a new home after moving around and around more times than I am willing to admit. So, needless to say, it’s been a while since I had a grill to cook on. And, to be honest, I think the last times I cooked on one was when I was still eating meat.

If you have recently made the transition to a plant based/ vegan diet you do not have to give up your grill. Even when I was eating meat, I do remember cooking a plethora of veggies on the grill. Fire roasted summer squash and zucchini? Yes please! Don’t give that grill away, dust it off and get it ready. Heck it should be ready to go, it’s summah (as we say here in the Northeast).

July 4th just passed and while it not the official date that summers starts, at least not the season, it’s said it is a kick-off to the summer. On July 4th, and foreseeable future (or at least until Labor Day), BBQ’s are an almost daily event. Whether it grilling at a get together, or nightly for your family, these are some great tips to get the most out of your grill and your veggies.

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Life Changing Event

Before I make this admission, which a few of my friends and readers already know, please check your pre-conceived notions and condescension at the door. I don’t need to hear from your high horse how bad I am/was and what was happening to my health, because, you see, I already knew it…. And you are perfect, you have never struggled with anything right?

For years now I have struggled with cigarettes. I’ve been smoking them since I was 14-15 years old. I’m now 41 so that’s quite a few years of habit time invested in this crap. Here and there I’ve had a gap where I haven’t smoked, and I have been aided by the patch or the gum. One thing that always happened was that I ended up going back to smoking. It was the simplest thing to do.

There were so many triggers throughout my day that it was difficult to stop. Whether it was an after meal smokes, a smoke when I got into my work van or the “date” smoke when my wife and I got outside for five minutes of peace. It was safe and convenient to go back to what I knew, and that was smoke.

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I Found a Plant Based Doctor!

It’s been years since I saw a “proper” doctor. I’ve been to the 24 hour clinic if I had some minor ailment or whatever, but it’s been a while. The last time I was seen was maybe three years ago and that was when I was told I was suffering form high cholesterol. Needless to say, it’s been far too long so I started researching doctors in my area.

I think the biggest thing for me was to make sure the doctor aligned with my lifestyle and nutritional goals. The fact that I found one on lil ole Cape Cod is amazing. It did take a bit of “googling” to get there though and researching the background of a good portion of the Cape’s medical field I was a bit dismayed. I dug a bit further, on a national level, and was even more bothered.

Did you know that a doctor in this country is only required to do 25 hours as far as learning about nutrition?

Taken from the article – Nutrition Education in U.S. Medical Schools: Latest Update of a National Survey

Purpose: To quantify the number of required hours of nutrition education at U.S. medical schools and the types of courses in which the instruction was offered, and to compare these results with results from previous surveys.

Method: The authors distributed to all 127 accredited U.S. medical schools (that were matriculating students at the time of this study) a two-page online survey devised by the Nutrition in Medicine Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From August 2008 through July 2009, the authors asked their contacts, most of whom were nutrition educators, to report the nutrition contact hours that were required for their medical students and whether those actual hours of nutrition education occurred in a designated nutrition course, within another course, or during clinical rotations.

Results: Respondents from 109 (86%) of the targeted medical schools completed some part of the survey. Most schools (103/109) required some form of nutrition education. Of the 105 schools answering questions about courses and contact hours, only 26 (25%) required a dedicated nutrition course; in 2004, 32 (30%) of 106 schools did. Overall, medical students received 19.6 contact hours of nutrition instruction during their medical school careers (range: 0–70 hours); the average in 2004 was 22.3 hours. Only 28 (27%) of the 105 schools met the minimum 25 required hours set by the National Academy of Sciences; in 2004, 40 (38%) of 104 schools did so.

Conclusions: The amount of nutrition education that medical students receive continues to be inadequate.

Those results are horrifying!

So, needless to say, it was quite important to me to try and find a healthcare provider that had my best interest at heart and was willing to find solutions on a nutritional level, first. I am no doctor, and I agree some issues need to be treated with medicines, but the fact of the matter is that nutrition is the core of many issues that cause most ailments. Why not treat those ailments with food, good food at that?

I am lucky to have found a plant based doctor, one that believes exactly the things that I do. One thing that would be great is to find a database that lists all doctors in this field. That way people could spend less time googling, and more time getting treated and healthy.