Sweet Bacon Ice Cream

bacon-ice-cream

Fewer things are more magical than bacon. In fact, I can’t think of a single thing more delicious. So needless to say, i’m thankful for the new covenant on pork. I’ve tried putting bacon on or in just about anything, but the following creation has got to be the best. I’ve combined the world’s greatest food with the America’s favorite summer treat: Ice Cream.

The best part about this ice cream is it’s dairy free. I use coconut milk and you’d never know the difference. What results is a sweet, salty, bacon’y treat that’s like any other and it isn’t going to make you fat. It classifies as paleo and the sugar source is from raw local honey and medjool dates.One last thing: Quality of ingredients is very important. Do not use regular, oscar meyer bacon or something like that. That stuff is toxic. Use high quality, vegetarian fed, farm raised bacon without hormones. Ideally, you’d get this from a local farmer.

You’re welcome.

Sweet Bacon Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cans of Organic, full fat coconut milk (13.5 OZ.)
3-6 Strips of vegetarian fed, farm raised bacon (Depends on how “bacon-y” you want it)
9 Medjool Dates
1.5 TSP’s Vanilla
1 TSP Sea Salt
A generous amount of Sweet leaf stevia drops to taste. Use 2-3 whole droppers full or more.
1/2 cup raw Pecans
Raw, local Honey (Add some to taste)
A small amount of bacon grease (yes, you read that right)
Ice cream maker required

Instructions:

1. Combine the coconut milk and dates into a blender. Blend until the dates are fully blended. It could be 1-2 minutes
2. Add Vanilla, Stevia, salt and blend some more
3. Add honey to taste. Add more for a sweeter taste, but not too much.
4. Meanwhile, fry up bacon. Be careful not to burn or oxide the fat of the bacon. You want it crisp but not black.
5. Add half the bacon and half of the pecans to the blender. Blend for 10-15 seconds, but not longer. You don’t want the nuts and bacon blended to fine
6. Add 1-2 tsp of cooled bacon grease
7. Chop the other half of the bacon and the other half of the pecans and add to mixture. Don’t blend
8. Add to the ice cream maker and watch the magic happen. wait at least 30 min in the maker for creamer consistency. If you want it harder, at it to an airtight container and place in the freezer for 4 hours.
9. Enjoy with a friend or two.
10. Store leftovers in an airtight container

Continue Reading

5 natural supplements everyone NEEDS to take

As a follower of forums like Bodybuilding.com in high school (I know, I know), I was always experimenting on supplements, trying to get the edge in athletics and in the gym. With the exception of illegal Steroids or prescription Growth Hormones, i’ve tried just about every kind of supplement on the market.

Some were ok, but most weren’t. Many were just junk food with neon colors on the bottle. In fact, if you go into Costco today, there will be junk supplements as high as the eye can see (I’m looking at you, gummi-vites). Protein powders will be packed with artificial flavors and GMO corn and soy products and multi-vitamins are loaded with filler ingredients.

I don’t recommend multi-vitamins because everyone is different. We all have varying excesses and deficiencies and those need to be addressed on an individual basis. But there are a few supplements I recommend to just about everyone. (Remember: make sure you are doing your own self testing. Not everyone should be taking every supplement all of the time.)

Here is the the list:

1. Magnesium

This is the king of minerals. Magnesium is an essential mineral that we all need for a variety of reasons. A magnesium deficiency plays a role in several different dysfunctions including, high blood pressure, poor sleep quality, heart arrhythmias, tachycardia, cholesterol, dehydration, heart disease and many other things. It is also linked to diabetes and asthma. If that isn’t enough motivation, nearly 80% of people are magnesium deficient.

I usually supplement with magnesium citrate or glycinate. There are some other quality forms that are effective but these two I find work best when taking before bed. I sleep much deeper when taking magnesium. Taking a ZMA supplement stack could also be effective, as zinc is a power supplement as well and works hand in hand with magnesium.

I’m also doing weekly magnesium injections. These are “magic shots”. You feel better, happier and more calm throughout the day. And considering magnesium aids the recovery of just about every disorder or disease, it’s worth getting an extra weekly shot on top of supplementation.

Strength coach Charles Poliquin has said that even people with perfect diets are lacking in magnesium, so make sure you are adding this in regularly.

Aim for 1-2g per day, around bed time.

2. Omega 3’s/Fish Oil (EPA and DHA)

Fish Oil is packed with Omega 3 Fatty acids. Most Americans are very deficient in Omega 3’s and very high in Omega 6’s due to the amount of junk oils like canola, cottonseed and vegetable oils and trans fats. You need some omega 6’s but not the ratio of 6 to 3 fatty acids like most americans have now. Omega 3’s like DHA and EPA have incredible effects on things like joint health, but the real money is in brain function. DHA/EPA supplementation can help preserve quality brain function and keep you thinking sharp. It also promotes better sleep quality.

If you are looking to shed some excess fat, Omega 3’s can help as it helps improve insulin resistance. If your fat cells are made up of unhealthy fat cells, insulin will not bind with them easily leading to resistant insulin and higher cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can lead to fat storage.

Fish oil quality is key. Don’t just pop any old fish oil from Wal-Mart and think you are getting quality supplements. Fish oil from farmed fish is one of the worst things you can eat and can cause mercury poisoning among myriad of other problems. Or at the very least you will be wasting your money on junk and will feel worse after taking them. I recommend Krill Oil as a quality omega 3 source.

Dosage is tricky depending on the person, and too much is not a good thing. Aim for an extra 1-2 grams depending on the individual.

3. Vitamin C

No, don’t go chug a bunch of sugary orange juice for vitamin C. Orange juice is a very inefficient way to get your vitamin C. But vitamin C is one of the most effective supplements on the market. It has a very powerful effect on immune function and when you are sick, vitamin C is one of the best things you can take. The only problem is it’s very difficult to get enough of the vitamin in regular food. A study has found that nearly a third of people are vitamin C deficient (Study here). In fact, on one of my first nutrient tests, I was deficient in Vitamin C!

I pop Vitamin C every few hours while traveling to help keep my immune system firing. I recommend 250-500mg every 2 hours when traveling. Just avoid those sugary vitamin C packets like Emergen-C. They are loaded with real and artificial sugars.

On a regular day, get 1.5 grams minimum.

4. Collagen Protein

collagen proteinIf you can tolerate it, Collagen is one of the best life giving supplements out there. It is a building block protein that renews cells in your body and is that elastic protein in your skin that allows it to shift, bend and move. Collagen renews organ tissues, skin, hair, nails and muscles.

Collagen production slows as we age, which is why we see these chemical-packed collagen products geared towards older women. Supplementing with it can help fill in for this lack of production. The list of benefits is very long:

  • Reducing Wrinkles
  • Tighter skin
  • Restful Sleep
  • Immune system rejuvenation
  • Healthy Joints
  • Improved energy
  • Stronger and healthier nails and hair
  • …and more

Collagen is plentiful in things like animal bones and cartilage, making bone broth a potent super food. If me, my wife or kids gets a cold, we take bone broth. My wife and I have gone on Bone Broth fasts for a day or two for detox when sick. This stuff can arm your white blood cells with machine guns!

Another way to get it in is with Collagen protein powder. You can mix this in your butter coffee in the morning or take it with your greens shake. I supplement with it in my greens shake or after workouts.

5. Kombucha

Kombucha has caught on as a very popular drink in places likes Whole Foods, but this one is for good reason. Kombucha is a fermented beverage made with tea and some sugar. It contains colonies of bacteria that cause the fermentation process. After fermentation, Kombucha produces carbonation and probiotics, polyphenols, a variety of acids, and enzymes that lead to a variety of positive benefits.

One of the biggest side effects is an improved gut biome. GERD symptoms, heart burn, low stomach acid and leaky gut syndrome can all effects of a poor gut biome. Kombucha can help aid recovery from these problems. The Gut Biome has been called the second brain by many doctors and researchers including Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life (I highly recommend this book for a better understanding on the gut biome’s connection to health and disease). Kombucha can help restore the gut back to optimal health and hence heal a lot of these issues we as a nation seem to be dealing with incessantly.

Kombucha is also a fantastic detoxification food. Resetting your stomach after eating bad food or recovering from a long life of poor eating is essential. Kombucha will help usher healthy bacteria into the stomach and is especially helpful if you’ve taken antibiotics in the past. Antibiotics wipe out all stomach bacteria, including the good stuff, and Kombucha can help replenish that.

(Note: As Kombucha has caught on as sort of a fad, some brands have come out with these high sugar Kombucha drinks. These are to be avoided. There is now need for excess sugar, and these things will take you out of ketosis as well. I stick with Synergy’s Organic, Raw Citrius Kombucha, which has very little sugar compared to many of the others.

Continue Reading

Using Goodreads to track your reading goals

goodreads_f

Many of you have given up on your New years resolution by now… New years resolution, you say? Isn’t it July? Yes, it is and mine is still going strong. Most of you (like me most years) have forgotten what your resolution even was.

This year I decided to read 30 books cover to cover. Now, before you gasp, i’m a big reader, but I have a tendency to jump around in my books without focus (which isn’t all that bad), but I was looking for a challenge to really absorb my reading. A buddy of mine partnered with me for accountability, and at the time of this blog, i’ve completed 19 of my 30 already, with many others nearing completion.

We decided to use Goodreads to track our reading thanks to their newer yearly reading challenge capability. You can set how many books you want to read, and as you mark them as complete, you will see a running percentage total toward your goal, as well as an estimate of how on track you are to reaching that goal. For instance, as of now i’m at 63% of my reading goal, and i am 4 books ahead of my 30 book pace for 2014. Pretty awesome.

As part of my goal, i’ve decided to write a short review for each book on the Goodreads site. Some of those reviews I post on my blog site here for people to check out.

Check out my Goodreads here and let me know what you think. Create an account and keep up with what i’m reading. Remember, leaders are readers and readers are leaders. If you want to grow as a person you have got to challenge your mind to expand. John Maxwell calls this the law of the lid. You are the lid holding down yourself from achieving more. If you want to get better at a job, relationship or hobby, you’ve got to grow as a person. Reading is one of the most effective ways to do that. So get reading and start growing!

Continue Reading

The Daniel Plan’s 10 Day detox

sermon_danielplan

I had been in a massive funk the past several months. I started a new job (two actually). Add a pregnant wife, a reckless, growing toddler and regular speaking engagements to that mix and you have a recipe for burnout. I had all the telltale symptoms: irritability, heart burn, bags under my eyes constantly, horrible allergies, and just about anything else you can imagine. I felt like nothing could bring any kind of relief for me. I tried sporadic bouts of eating well or supplementing but to no avail. I felt helpless and horribly stressed out. Perhaps the worst part is i’m one of those guys who push through obvious signs of stress and burnout in the name of ‘toughness.’ Little did I know the damage I was doing to myself, both mentally and physically.

The Boiling point

It all came to a head one Monday morning. I preached sunday night at my church but had an otherwise relaxed weekend. I spent time with my family and rested fairly well. I woke up to head to the office like I do every morning but something was even more unusual: I was more exhausted then I had ever been. I could hardly open my eyes. I sucked down some coffee. I, being caffeine sensitive, only need a half of a cup to get going, but weirdly the coffee seemed to have zero effect. it was almost if I had drank water. I got to the office at 7:15am or so. I sat at my desk for about an hour trying to check emails. The haze was to dense for me to focus. I grabbed some more coffee. By then my heart was racing, but I felt like I could fall asleep standing up! Then I did something I had never done before: I went back out to my car and slept for and hour. Mind you, it was only 9am!

The symptoms

Dr. Archibald Hart has an incredible book that all leaders should have on their bookshelf. Adrenaline and Stress was referred to me by a pastor friend. According to Dr. hart, I was sufferinghart from severe burnout and adrenal fatigue. It’s common to have stress from work from time to time or to become anxious over certain life situations, but I was suffering from a much worse problem. I had completely tapped my adrenal glands and my brain produced adrenaline off of it’s natural clock. For example, if I was having a relaxing evening at home, all of the sudden my heart would start pumping and i’d be panicking and worried for literally no reason. Other times, I could be preparing an important project and have no adrenal rush to produce results when I most needed them.

But here was my main problem: I thought the problem was with things I had no control over. I hadn’t noticed my total disregard for my eating, sleep patterns and a healthy sabbath.

I have always been very healthy, but I had been slacking due to stress. I was going on eating binges then doing an extreme diet to quickly shed the weight. But, neither of those paths are sustainable and neither provides the healthy nutrients needed for a long and healthy life. I had also been pushing my sleep limits as well. Dr. hart notes that for Type-A personalities like myself, we need at least 8.5-9 hours of sleep to function at a normal level…. MINIMUM. Many need even more to perform at high levels. I also had not been taking breaks. I had multiple jobs going and when I wasn’t working, I was thinking about work. Dr. Hart also states that thinking about work produces nearly the same amount of physiological stress as doing the work. This stress takes a toll, which leads to lower immune health, which leads to a myriad of other issues.

(HERE IS A RUNDOWN OF SOME OF THE SYMPTOMS YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE IN THIS SCENARIO: Anxiousness, dizziness, acid reflux, sleepiness, GERD, sleeplessness, headaches, heart palpations, chest pains, headaches, irritability, increased asthma, worsened allergies, depression, sweaty palms, hot flashes, bloated feeling, more frequent sickness and fatigue.)

The Solution

Enter the Daniel Plan. Rick Warren, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Daniel Akin put together a fantastic all around work regarding healthy living: physically, mentally and spiritually. I picked it up in search of answers and the FOOD portion of the book was most helpful. The diet is based off of the prophet Daniel in the Bible and his statement of him eating nothing but vegetables and water so he can better worship God while exiled in Babylon.

In a nutshell, the majority of us have gotten away from eating the way God intended.I hadn’t noticed my total disregard for my eating, sleep patterns and a healthy sabbath.We pour countless amounts of processed junk into our bodies daily. Our grains our genetically modified and our bread is no longer the same bread we here about people eating in the Bible. Our condiments are packed with hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup. Food companies mask sugars, grains and chemicals with foreign names. Fake “healthy” foods line the aisles of the grocery store like granola bars, cereals and “baked” chips. The unsuspecting patron purchases these cleverly masked junk foods and eats them in excess thinking they are eating healthy. The Daniel Plan calls us back to eating from the earth like God intended. No more frosted shredded wheat (If you think that is a health food then you should check out this book), no more fried foods, and no more sugary drinks.

 

My 10 Day Detox

daniel-planBefore starting the plan, the idea is that you would go on a detox to assess what foods you may be intolerant of or may harm your overall health. The detox phase has a few ground rules: 1) You can’t eat anything unless it’s from the earth. 2) No stimulants 3) No added sugar (including fake chemical sugars) 4) No wheat or gluten 5) No Dairy 6) Sleep at least 8.5 hours7) 10 glasses of water per day

After 10 days, the change is overwhelmingly positive.

Before I began I tested positive for ALL of the negative symptoms listed above…. ALL!  And now they have all vanished. My mental state is clearer, I’m sleeping better and I have great energy (despite the fact I haven’t been able to have coffee. The authors of the Daniel Plan continually stated in their book that our eating, especially in the wealthy western world, is literally killing us. We’re pumping ourselves full of junk foods constantly. Little do we know that the years of bad eating are taking their toll on our bodies leaving us fatigued and tapped. What’s interesting is that if you eat the way God intends for you to eat, your body begins to heal. It’s not a secret to anyone that food from the earth heals you! But why? Because God literally designed food that way.

I am now reaping the benefits of eating loads of vegetables and fruit. I eat close to 15-18 servings of vegetables a day, and maybe 4-5 servings of fruit on top of lean sources of protein. I’ve played in the NFL and had professional dietitians work with me, but i’ve never felt this good after a diet change.

DISCLAIMER: once your detox is over, you can go back to eating dairy and even gluten. But add them back in slowly. You may have a mild allergy causing your body stress, fatigue or inflammation. I personally will not add gluten back into my diet, and I will only partake of dairy scarcely. Not eating them makes me feel 100% better.

The Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you: What are you living for? How long do you want to live? Do you want to live to play with your kids or grandkids? Do you have poor eating, sleeping and sabbathing habits?

At some point, you will need to decide if you are in this for the long haul or not. The pace you are keeping may work now, but it’s not sustainable, at least not at an optimum level. Maybe it’s time to start working ON your life, not just IN your life. So get started on something that will build a healthier you, inside and out. Good luck!

Continue Reading