Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Recommendation: The Plan


I’m clearly interested in the topic of maximizing health and fitness. I’ve been studying and practicing it for as long as I can remember, starting with religiously watching the Jack LaLanne show on television before school as early as third grade. Many people have asked why I don’t write a book. It makes sense to wonder.

And, admittedly, there have been times when I’ve sat down to get the book started. If I did write one, I’d want it to be about all of the facets that I consider crucial to address to create a healthy lifestyle.  These are all of the factors that I consider whenever I’m helping a client achieve his/her goals: Water, Food, Sleep, Exercise, Stretching, Play and Avoiding Toxins.

My biggest stumbling block in writing the book is the fact that everyone’s situation is so different, it was hard to write to one audience without misleading another. And this is also the big problem I have with the majority of books out there that have already been written. I am of the firm belief that we are all chemically and emotionally different and have different needs, so there is no ONE WAY that’s best for everyone.

I would literally need to write a different book for everybody.

So, as of yet, I have not written it.

But I recently stumbled upon a very good book at the recommendation of a friend and colleague. She knows the way I feel about food, nutrition and health and thought that this particular book was aligned with my way of thinking.

She could not have been more right.

I don’t usually recommend nutrition books, but this is an exception. I would go so far as to say that this is the book I would have written, if I ever sat down to write one.
In “The Plan,” Lyn-Genet Recitas talks about how inflammation is the root cause of most disease in the body. This is something I’ve believed for a long time, too. She has done extensive research and real life experimentation with hundreds of people over decades of work and has come up with a wonderful idea for finding out which foods should and should not be included in an individual’s diet. 

The great thing about the book is its acknowledgment that we all have different needs and will have different ideal diets. The idea is that she takes the reader on a 20 day food experiment designed to show which foods are ‘friendly’ and which cause an inflammatory response.

Through her practice, over the years, Ms Recitas has discovered that many foods commonly considered healthy actually cause many people an inflammatory reaction, which will in turn cause weight gain and set the stage for disease. Foods like salmon, asparagus, oatmeal and greek yogurt are common culprits here.

My recommendation of the book comes with a big caution.  While I think there is a lot of good information to learn from this book, I also think the experiments can be very confusing and the data collected is effected by so many variables that it really requires someone who is in charge of every minute detail of their lives and skilled at analyzing data in order to glean accurate results.

I have the luxury of being proficient in the kitchen, and of having the free time available to spend making and buying the food required for the tests. I also am fortunate to live in a major city with many of the resources required for the diet available to me. 

Anyone with a strict schedule, a fear of the kitchen, or limited access to esoteric groceries will likely find the system quite challenging if not altogether useless.

Another caveat I can see was made evident when I joined a facebook group that offered support for people doing The Plan. I had some questions about some of the results I was getting and about how to interpret them. What I discovered pretty quickly was that I was the least ‘lost’ of anyone in the group and I soon became the resident expert. The people in the group where having so many problems staying on the plan, and even when they were able to stay on it, there seemed to be a lot of confusion regarding how to understand and apply the results.

What I noticed happening in the group was that people would stick with certain aspects of the plan but not stick with the plan entirely. This renders the plan fairly useless and it becomes just another diet to blindly follow without learning anything.

In a nutshell, Lyn-Genet lays out everything to eat for 20 days, including doing some ‘tests’ to find out the level of reactivity certain foods have in your body. And then, in the third section of the book, she teaches the reader how to continue using the same protocol on your own.

If one were to follow her laid-out 20-day plan, it would be a very healthful, weight loss diet. So that alone is worth the cost of the book. But she goes way beyond that. The whole emphasis of the book is to make the reader independent of the book. Hoooray!

A good portion of the book is recipes. They are healthful recipes and actually quite delicious. They will be enjoyed even by people who have no desire to eat healthfully. So if you want to go on the program, you will most likely find that your family will not resist. In fact, some of the recipes in the book have become favorites in our house.

I have been a member of the Amazon.com affiliate program for about three years. In that time, I think I’ve only recommended one or two things. But now this is going on my list.
I will include a link here in case you want to purchase this book from Amazon.com. If you use this link to purchase it, I will make a little bit of commission. But I want to be clear: I’m not recommending this book just because I’ll make a few cents, Actually quite the opposite. I’m making a few cents off of it because it’s a good book.

As I took myself through the 20-day program known as The Plan, I took careful notes and shared my deliberations and thought processes on my blog.  Check out my entries here:

1. Food Testing
2. Cheese
3. Rye & Chocolate
4. Beef
5. Potato Chips
6. Wheat Bread
7. Scallops
8. Tomatoes
9. Rice cereal & Eggs
10. Exercise
11. Two Animal Proteins in One Day
12. Dulse (seaweed)
13. Sleep
14. Lima Beans
15. Pie Crust
16. Snack Bar

You'll notice, as you read through my experience, that I was often quite baffled by the results. And I've made a living out of this type of study. I can only imagine how confounding the test results might be to the average lay - person. So as I said, this book gets my recommendation but with certain cautions, as previously mentioned.

JAG & River Rock Santa Fe

Black Belt Jason Alan Griffin has loved teaching Nia since 1996. Since teaching Nia and enjoying an acting and modeling career in New York City for more than a decade, he has recently relocated to Seattle and got a dog and a car and is now traveling around the country spreading the Nia love. 



Jason and River are headed to New Mexico on June 24.


At the beautiful Studio Nia from noon to 1:00 pm. JAG will unleash his style of Nia on Santa Fe. 

Tuesday, June 25
Noon - 1:00 pm
Studio Nia
851 W San Mateo, Santa Fe


ROCKIN is a Nia routine created by Jason Alan Griffin. It was originally inspired by Helen Terry doing a routine to the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, and by Bill Stewart setting a classic Nia routine to Rock n Roll music. Both of those experiences took me to places I hadn’t yet gone in my Nia practice. I came back from that weekend newly inspired and I immediately went to work on what eventually became ROCKIN.





 “We will rock out to Pink Floyd, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin and more rock favorites from the 60s and 70s in this Classic Rock Nia Routine that focuses on the Low Middle and High planes with the intention of Gettin' Down, Chillin' Out and Gettin' High."

So if you like Nia or you like to dance, and if you like to sweat to good old Rock n Roll, then you will love ROCKIN with JAG.  River will also be present in the studio. He arrives on leash and spends the class time in his crate.  Sometimes he watches us and sometimes he just takes a nap. There will be time for meet and greet before and after class if you like, but it is also very possible to be in class and never come close to the dog. All levels of dog comfort are honored.




Jason and River both look forward to meeting you and having a rockin’ good time in Santa Fe!

Contact Mark or Jason for more information
  



Pie Crust Proves Flakey


Thursday


The vegetable pie thing I had for lunch was like a quiche without the eggs. It tasted good enough, although without the eggs there was a lot of empty space between the veggies.  I ended up eating what would amount to about three normal sized slices of quiche. So I may have eaten more crust than I intended, but I didn’t over eat. I also had a big bowl of soup. A very typical lunch for me lately, except for the crust, of course.

The real interesting thing is how sleepy I was about an hour later. After I ate, I kept noticing it gradually creep up on me and within an hour and a half, I was literally asleep on a living room chair with River on top of me, snoring.

This could only be due to the crust, but I also suspect that if my body is dealing with inflammation already (from yesterday’s bar), and I throw it another inflammatory item (the crust), it could react by shutting down energy supplies for a while and deals with it. I guess that is a good reason why it’s not a good idea to do a test unless it follows a day of the baseline, friendly diet.

For a while, during the day, I was wondering if maybe the Nia class I did two days ago was partially or fully to blame for the inflammation and the pain in my SI joint. But it was absolutely fine yesterday, and I had practiced Nia the day before. Usually my soreness from exercise is pretty exactly on a 24-hour delay. I know that some people feel residue two days later, but that isn’t typically the case for me.

But then, I did a little bit of Nia practicing today. That’s when my back finally started to feel better. I was moving only gently to reinforce my choreography in my body and take note of places where I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t seeking a workout of any kind, in fact, I was seeking out healing opportunities in the choreography and also making note of them in the form of pearls I can use later, when teaching. “If they’re good for me, maybe they’ll be good for someone else,” I always say.

I had a known-friendly dinner and finished drinking all of my day’s water by 7:30 pm.

*********************************
Friday

Not surprisingly, I weighed in at 0.6 pounds heavier than yesterday, thanks to the whole wheat crust. My back still hurts a little bit, but it’s less painful than yesterday.

It is clear that my body reacts to wheat, whether in the form of bread or pie crust, and even slightly to rye, in the form of crackers. This is in keeping with the conclusions that I had come to long ago, which was that my body does best on a diet very low in grains and with an emphasis on vegetables, supplemented by meats.

Starting today, I’m going to be going off the strict protocol and letting my diet flow more naturally. It will be interesting to see what happens, what I eat, and how I’m influenced by what I’ve learned and experienced in the past three weeks.

In the future, I do intend to go back to this protocol and do some more food testing, after I’ve given myself a chance to decompress. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying a life free of writing down or keeping track of what I eat.

I teach and I believe that spending our days keeping track of our carefully planned diet is good for a short-term learning experience, but it’s no way to live a fully realized life. Instead, I suggest exposing yourself to eating in a prescribed, predetermined, healthful style for about three weeks to get yourself into the habit, and then release yourself from the structure and observe what happens.  Some of the healthy habits will likely stick, and some will need reinforcement at a later time.

With just a bit of attention and some concentrated practice, we can get ourselves into the naturally human habit of enjoying healthful eating.  But the key to making it a nourishing endeavor is to make it natural; not forced.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Painful Surprise


This morning, I weighed in at my established time (8:30am) and the scale showed a weight loss of 0.2 pounds. Normally, I would take that to mean the Capitol Hill bar passed the test, but there is something else going on this morning that I think is even more significant. I’m feeling pain in my sacro-iliac joint.

I understand that when inflammation is triggered in our body, it will very often be experienced as a symptom in our ‘weakest link’. In other words, some people will get headaches, some will have acid reflux, some will experience fatigue or moodiness, and some will have body aches.

This pain in my sacro-iliac joint is something that has mysteriously plagued me off and on for years. Until this morning, I never associated it with generalized inflammation in my body. But now I’m considering the fact that something that I ate yesterday (most likely something in the Capitol Hill bar) has caused an inflammatory response that doesn’t register as weight gain (or is perhaps offset by a larger weight loss due to my caloric deficit), but is enough of an inflammation to exacerbate my familiar pain.

I did nothing to aggravate the area. There is no physical reason why that pain should be revisiting me. It is so very interesting to suss this out. This is a pain that I have long attributed to my overdoing it or misusing my body in the studio while exercising, but today I have shown that it is likely just brought to life by inflammation.

It is possible that, in the past, my strenuous exercise could trigger an inflammation response, thereby causing the pain to return, but it wouldn’t have been because of something I did, per se, but rather in the gestalt of what I did. In other words, that I simply did too much work and sent my body into inflammation.

Of course this is all speculation and anecdotal, but considering all of the attention I’ve been paying to this all month, I feel like I’m in a good position to make theoretical assessments based on the data I’m collecting.

It isn’t surprising to me that the Capitol Hill bar would trigger inflammation. I sort of expected it. But what surprises me, is that it doesn’t show up as weight gain, as I thought it would, but as a symptom that I’ve been experiencing for years.

I feel like a veil of ignorance has been lifted and I have a brand new explanation for my occasional, insidious back pain. Now, it’s a matter of going back and finding which food in that long list of ingredients is the actual culprit.

I have told myself that I would give myself a day of rest in between testing days if the test came out negative. In other words, I don’t want to be in an inflamed state while doing another test. But today I am breaking that rule. I am putting a familiar dish, which is a mixed vegetable bake, into a wheat pie crust.

As I have indicated, I’m feeling that it’s about time to take myself off of the strict regimen and to let myself have the freedom to eat whatever and whenever I want without keeping track of it. I feel like I need a few days vacation from all the science research.

But I’m still fascinated by this field of study, and will eventually go back on the program and continue with more tests. For now, we’ll see what the pie crust does to me, and then I’ll see how I feel about going forward with the test for pork chops.

I am expecting the pie crust to give me a reaction, so that would mean tomorrow would be a safe/friendly day and I’d test pork chops the following day.

I’ll be sure to post any of my findings.   Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rockin Colorado




Jason and River are headed to Lyons. 

June 23 at
Mayama Movement Studio

Come and rock out Nia style to some favorites by:

Pink Floyd
The Doors
Steppenwolf
Bad Company
Led Zeppelin
...and many more

If you like to dance, you'll have a great time as Jason will lead the class through a very simple, but Rockin' dance workout experience. The work is pure Nia, but you don't need to know that to enjoy it. You don't need to know that you'll be doing moves inspired by Tai Chi, Yoga, Tae Kwon Do, Modern Dance, Alexander Technique, and many more movement modalities. In fact, as Jason says, "You don't need to have any type of movement experience at all and you can walk in and be instantly great in my class. Come and play in my Rockin Nia experience."

If you like to move around and you love your body and want to treat it right, and if you love good old rock and roll, then you should definitely make it a point not to miss this one-of-a-kind Colorado event.

 ROCKIN: A Classic Rock Nia class with JAG (& River)

On June 23
@ 625 4th Avenue; Lyons, CO
10:15 am - 11:15 am

cost: $13 for a drop-in
or purchase a class card for discounted rates.



Jason and his faithful dog, River, are going to be passing through Colorado the weekend of June 21- June 23. With the help of Jasmine Lok and Ali Kishiyama, we're going to stop in Lyons to do a rockin' Nia class and we'd love for lots of happy, playful, dancing, sweating bodies to come out to join us.

There is no special experience required to attend. Before we start, I plan to spend a few minutes going over some basics of human movement and Nia moves. Then we'll experience a fun, exciting, playful class that is appropriate for any body and all fitness levels.

It promises to be an unforgettable and unique experience. I hope you join us.

This Classic Rock Nia routine focuses on the low, middle and high planes with the intention of gettin' down, chillin' out and gettin' high.

ROCKIN was created by Jason Alan Griffin. It was originally inspired by Helen Terry's routine to the Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, and by Bill Stewart setting a classic Nia routine to Rock n Roll music. I experienced them both in the same weekend at Soma Ranch and it took me to places I hadn’t yet gone in my Nia practice. I came back from that weekend newly inspired and I immediately went to work on what eventually became ROCKIN. I wasn't able to recreate Bill or Helen's choreography, but I made it my own, so we will rock out to Pink Floyd, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin and more rock favorites from the 60s and 70s.

(check out this bootleg video someone captured of me teaching Rockin in Olympia, Washington.)




Black Belt Jason Alan Griffin has loved teaching Nia since 1996. After teaching Nia and enjoying an acting and modeling career in New York City for more than a decade, he has recently relocated to Seattle and got a dog and a Mini Cooper and is now traveling around the country spreading the Nia love.

Testing Lima Beans

This is Tuesday morning.  I weighed in early. It was before 8:30 and I registered the same weight as I measured at my second weigh-in the day before, which was closer to 10 am. Considering I lost 0.6 pounds in between 8 am and 10 am yesterday, and today I’m at the same weight but at the earlier time, I’m going to call that a weight loss so that I can go ahead with my new test today.  My assumption is that if I had gone back to bed and slept for two more hours and then weighed in again, I’d show further weight loss. I didn’t want to sleep all morning, so I’m making the call and I’m setting the official weigh-in time for 8:30 am going forward.

I’m going to do two more tests and then I’m going to take a short break from the program. Today, I’m going to test lima beans and then I want to test pork chops. If I don’t react to lima beans then I will test pork chops the next day, but if I do react to lima beans then I’ll put one friendly day in between the two tests. 

After the pork chop test, I’m thinking of taking a break from testing to let myself eat whatever I want for a few days. This testing protocol is quite restrictive and takes a lot of discipline. It’s not that I don’t eat enough, and I don’t feel hungry or deprived, but until my ‘friendly’ list of foods grows, my choices are very limited. Growing my friendly food list requires more testing and staying on the protocol, but I’m starting to feel a tiny bit claustrophobic, so I want to give myself a break before I start to feel resentful. I do love the friendly diet, and I feel like doing this program could lead me to a lifetime of healthy eating. But every once in a while, I need to bust out and party; it’s just my personality. I know that after a couple or a few days of unrestricted eating, I’ll be primed and ready to stay disciplined for more testing.

I’m also curious to learn what I revert back to once I lift the restrictions after this three-week experience. The energy, the extra muscle definition and the good mood that I’ve enjoyed these past twenty days has been really nice and I wonder how quickly I will lose that once I digress from the protocol, or if I will just naturally gravitate towards making these same healthy choices that I’ve been making and enjoying.

In the meantime, I’ll stick to the friendly diet I’ve established for a few more days, and tonight I’ll add some lima beans. We’ll find out tomorrow what my body thinks of them.

**********************Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz****************
Wednesday

This morning I woke up, visited the bathroom, and weighed myself. I was the same weight as yesterday. I then checked the clock and saw that I had arisen earlier than usual this morning and it was still only about quarter to eight. So then I went back to bed and got up again at 8:30 so I could weigh in at the right time. I expected the number to be a bit lower, but it read the same as earlier. 

Being at this low body weight and not seeing a weight gain is enough, I think, to call lima beans ‘safe’. I’m glad, too. I don’t usually include lima beans in my diet, but I did enjoy them last night. So I’m happy to add them to my list of friendly foods and to include them in my diet.


Lima beans are high in protein and fiber and a good source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Most people know that vitamin C is good for the immune system and that potassium is good for proper muscle function, but most people don’t realize that manganese is an important mineral in the process of metabolizing fats, proteins and carbohydrates and for bone growth and health.  Lima beans are also rich in folate, which is helpful for the nerve tissue function.

And the best news of all is that they don’t cause inflammation in my body. I guess, according to research on the subject, all beans cause inflammation in different people at  different levels. The worst offenders, in general, are black beans and cannellini beans, which have shown to cause inflammation in 85% of the population. Strange, too, that black beans are so commonly used as a ‘diet’ food, when it actually would make most people gain weight to eat them.

So each bean is a separate test. If I liked black beans, I’d test them, but I would be fine never having them again, so I’ll wait. There are many other foods I’m much more interested in testing. There are even beans that I’d be more interested in testing before black beans, although I’ve never been much of a ‘bean’ guy.

And now, since yesterdays test didn’t cause me any inflammation, I’m free to test another food today without putting a 'safe day' in between. My pork chops are still in the freezer, so my plan to test them today will have to wait. I’ll take them out of the freezer now and test them tomorrow or the next day, depending on what happens with today’s test.

I have a pie crust in the freezer and I was thinking it would be fun to fill it with all the same vegetables that I’ve been using as my friendly diet, making some sort of vegetable pie and creating a test for the pie crust in the meantime. It is whole wheat, but probably has much less gluten than the bread. It could be a fun and interesting test, but not all that practical for my life, considering how often I eat pie crusts.

Another test I could do today is a Capitol Hill bar. This is a locally made snack that I have fallen in love with, and had considered healthy until reading up on inflammation. I've been eating them almost daily, and certainly not concerned that they might not be healthy. But now that I notice that the first ingredient of these bars is oats, I suspect that it will cause inflammation and not be as healthy for me as I originally thought. In my reading, I've discovered that oats are highly likely candidates for causing inflammation and the resultant weight gain. In fact, oats are inflammatory in about 85% of people.

This test would be much more informative to my real life because this is a food that I have been enjoying and thinking I was being healthy.

So today I will stick to my healthy, friendly diet, but at snack time, I’ll have a Capitol Hill bar.  It’s a wild-card kind of test because of the many ingredients. Meaning:  If I pass the test, then perhaps I can clear all of the ingredients to the friendly list. But if I do ‘fail’ the test, I don’t know which of the ingredients was the culprit. I’d know I could no longer indulge in Capitol Hill bars, but I wouldn’t know why until I did individual tests on all the ingredients. In any case, I have one of the bars in my refrigerator, so I may as well go for it. 

Today, I test the healthiness of my beloved snack. 

Here is the list of ingredients:

Gluten Free Rolled Oats
Goji Berries
Blueberries
Cranberries
Cherries
Mangos
Dates
Raisins
Coconut
Almonds
Cashews
Hazelnuts
Walnuts
Flax Seed Meal
Hemp Protein Powder
Pistachios
Sunflower Seeds
Coconut Oil
Almond Butter
Maple Syrup
Agave Nectar
Brown Rice Syrup
Vanilla
Salt
Cinnamon
Nutmeg

Seems like a good, healthy snack, right?  I guess we’ll find out. Stay tuned. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sleep Matters

This morning threw me a little bit of a curve ball.  I woke up naturally (as I always do, without the use of an alarm clock). Then I used the bathroom and weighed myself at what felt like the usual time.  The thing that was different from this morning was that it was a holiday (Memorial Day) so no one was stirring. My body was telling me it was morning and time to get up, but the rest of the house was still snoring. According to the scale, I had gained 0.6 pounds, which would indicate that my delicious slow cooked roast beef was inflammatory. I was disappointed. And since no one else was awake, I just crawled back into bed and went back to sleep.

I don’t know what time that was, but I woke up again later, when River crawled out of his cage and vigorously shook his body.  The flapping of his ears woke me up. This time it was just after nine am, and I thought, just for fun, I’d weigh myself again. Lo and behold, I had lost those 0.6 pounds and I was exactly the same weight I had registered the previous morning.

This got me thinking about how precise I was being about what time of the morning I weighed.  I hadn’t thought about how much difference it could possibly make. I just figured, whenever I woke up, it was weigh in time. I don’t have a regular day job so I don’t have any time that I have to be up and out of bed. I tend to just get up when it feels right, or if River wakes up and indicates that he needs his walk. 

It really brings home the importance of sleep for weight loss. I had always known it was crucial to the process, but this is proof. It has always been one of the factors that I give a lot of attention to when working with clients on helping them lose weight. Until now it was based on my reading and schooling, so it’s very nice to actually have some real experience with the concept.

But then there’s the downside to this discovery. Seeing how I could adjust my results based on how late in the morning I sleep, makes me doubt ALL of my discoveries on this experiment.  Had I simply kept the measurement I took earlier this morning, I’d be satisfied putting roast beef in the ‘unfriendly column’ but if I only took the data from my second weigh-in, I’d consider roast beef friendly. As it is now, I don’t know where to put it.

Perhaps it is beneficial to sleep later on mornings after having an inflammatory meal?  Maybe that makes no difference in the end. Do I need to retest roast beef? Do I need to start the whole experiment over from Day One being more careful to weigh in at exactly the same time each morning?

Another factor that comes into play is that certain spices will have an inflammatory effect with certain body chemistry. For example, it is my understanding that paprika and fennel are two spices that are highly likely to cause inflammation in most people.  When preparing my roast beef, I used a spice rub that didn’t list either of those spices, but its main ingredient was coriander, which I had never used until now. And when eating the beef, I thought I could definitely taste fennel. So I’m not sure if any inflammation that I measured was due to the meat or the rub.

Fortunately, I made about three pounds of roast.  So there’s plenty of beef left for re-testing. Although I won’t be able to separate the roast from the spices at this point, I could easily use that same rub on some sauteed veggies on a safe day and measure what happens.

Today I’ll stick to a familiar, friendly diet and then tomorrow, assuming I’m back to losing weight, I’ll try another test.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dulse Let Me Down


Well, this morning I got what could be considered some disturbing information from the scale. I was able to time it so that my weigh-in was after a bowel movement, so I wasn’t weighing myself with a colon full of waste. And yet, even after what I thought was largely a safe day, I showed a weight gain of 0.2 pounds.

I did throw some dulse on my salad with dinner, and that’s something that I hadn’t had so far during the experiment. I have been eating kelp liberally, and I just figured that dulse would be similar. 

Either, we have an anomaly in the data or dulse has proven unfriendly. The high sodium content might be a culprit. At least I assume there’s a high sodium content; it sure tastes salty.
Yummy dulse: A good source of iodine

I like to have a weight loss day under my belt before doing another major food test, so I was sort of pressing my luck by testing the dulse yesterday as it was supposed to be my day to recover from the Two Proteins test before I did the slow-cooked roast beef test today.

Oh well. It is a very small increase. To be fair, I could consider a gain (or loss) of only 0.2 pounds to be statistically insignificant. It is the smallest increment that my scale can measure.  So I’m going to go ahead with my plan to test roast beef tonight anyway, and put dulse into the ‘possibly reactive’ list. I want to go back and retest some of the foods I’ve already tested, just to make sure I get the same results. If they’re not repeatable results then they’re fairly useless.

The only test so far that has failed with a significant weight gain was the whole wheat bread at 0.8 pounds. Rye crackers and tomatoes both only triggered this same 0.2 pounds insignificant increase and should, therefore be considered only “possibly reactive” until further testing.  But scallops and two proteins in one day, both caused double that: a 0.4 pounds weight gain, making them a bit more likely to be considered ‘unfriendly’. 

My energy level is great and I’ve been in a great mood these past few weeks, so it feels like the diet is very healthful. But then there’s also the reality that I might not have that much more weight that I can safely and comfortably lose. Not that I’m a skeleton by any means, but I’m quite lean. In fact, I was quite lean 16 days ago when I started this project and I’m now about ten pounds lighter. Some of my pants are hanging on my waist so low that I have to roll up the cuffs to prevent myself standing on my pant leg. At some point, it would seem that my weight loss would halt just based on that fact alone. I may want to consider a non-weight loss day as a pass at this point unless I record a significant gain.

I’ll continue to explore and report my findings, although I want to stress that the information that I’m discovering is unique to my body chemistry. If you did these same tests, you might find different results. In fact, a friend of mine who reads my blog told me that she is replicating these tests on herself and has discovered that she reacts to chicken.  Isn’t that interesting? A food that makes me lose weight causes her to gain weight. I think this uncovers a very, very important concept in human nutrition: That there is no one diet that is right for everybody.

I highly recommend that everyone take the time to make these discoveries for themselves, especially before trying to follow a diet plan to lose weight. If my friend had taken the information I discovered about myself and applied it to herself without making her own tests, she’d be baffled as to why she kept gaining weight on a ‘safe’ day (because of the chicken). She might be fine with tomatoes and scallops which would make me gain weight, so her data would be completely the opposite of mine.

Using the words of The Nia Technique, we’re discovering My Body’s Way of utilizing food for health and nutrition.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Protein Surprise

Surprisingly, I was up 0.4 pound this morning. So the only explanation can be the fact that I had two different types of animal protein: chicken with lunch and beef with dinner. I guess the lesson is that for the maximum efficiency of digestion and assimilation, it’s best for me to stick to a single type and perhaps even a single serving of animal protein each day. I haven’t tested the results of having chicken for lunch AND dinner, for example.  That might yield different results.

This is big news and something that will change my habits if I choose to implement it. (And I don’t have a valid reason why I wouldn’t implement it, except that its not something I’m used to). The whole purpose of doing this experiment was to learn about how my body reacts to certain foods, so it would be silly of me to learn something like this and then not act on it. I am used to working all of my meals around an animal protein source.  But now I’ve learned that it isn’t the way to get the most out of my diet, so I’ll be cognizant of this going forward and stick to mainly vegetable proteins for two of my three meals each day. 

Today I’ll stick to only friendly, tested foods and tomorrow I’ll try another test. I was going to have my roast beef today, but now that my body is in a state of reactivity, I think I should give it a day to calm down before throwing in another variable.

So, back to carrots, nuts and seeds for now. And only one serving of animal protein.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Almond Butter and Vigorous Exercise are Good


The only test I did yesterday was adding a session of about 40 minutes of vigorous exercise. Actually, I spent about ten minutes warming up, so it was really only about half an hour of vigorous exercise, but it was enough to change my state; it changed my energy level, increased my body temperature, deepened my breathing, flooded my muscles with blood, made me sweat and it also increased my appetite.

 This is the first day, since I’ve started on this carefully and thoughtfully restrictive plan (I’m on Day 16 now), that I’ve felt hungry at all. Last night around nine pm as I was watching a movie, I got the urge to eat, which I ignored.  I went to bed without satisfying that urge in the interest of staying consistent for my research.

It wasn’t difficult to fall asleep, as I had suspected it may be. In fact, in the past, when I’ve ignored late night signals that my body is still hungry, I’ve found it nearly impossible to fall asleep.  Somehow last night was different. Not only did I fall asleep quickly as I normally do, but I woke up without hunger pangs and felt fine in the morning.

This morning after my bathroom visit*, I weighed myself and recorded that I’m back on track with losing weight; proving once again that my friendly diet is safe and friendly.
It wasn’t a big loss; only about 0.4 pounds. It would seem that perhaps I could allow for an extra small snack on days that I perform vigorous exercise. Theoretically, if the snack wasn’t one that caused any inflammation, the extra food shouldn’t be a weight-bearing factor.

But moving onward, since this morning was a weight loss day, I’m free to make another test today. I’ll be testing the possible reactivity of having two different types of proteins on the same day; which is theoretically harder on the digestive system than sticking to just one type at a time. I’ll have chicken thigh with lunch and then a top sirloin beef steak for dinner.  Both types of protein have already proven friendly, but this will be the test to see if having them both on the same day shows the same result.

This morning, I was anticipating having my new approved breakfast, two fried eggs. But I stopped and thought that it would be a third animal protein today. So, I decided to stick to rice cereal, coconut milk and blueberries with cinnamon instead. Mmmm. It was delicious. I’ll have eggs tomorrow.

*POOP TALK: 
A friend who is reading my blog was offering me advice on how to relieve constipation, so I wanted to clear up the misunderstanding. She saw that I wanted to poop before my weigh-in, but my body was saying it wasn’t time to poop. I did, however, poop later that day. It isn’t that I was constipated, it’s just that I wanted the timing to work out so that I would poop before I weighed myself, and at that time, my body wasn’t ready. I would never PUSH or FORCE my body to poop. If it’s not time, it’s not time. But I’m still having one or two healthy, effortless bowel movements every day, so please don’t be concerned.

BACK TO FOOD:
I was prepared to make a pot roast today and have that for my dinner, but after discussing it with some friends, we determined that the different method of cooking (slow cooking for eight hours as opposed to quickly searing the outside and serving medium rare) would effect the protein molecules differently enough to warrant making slow-cooked beef a different test. And the same difference would go for a pork roast compared to a pork chop. So I will stick to my tested and friendly top sirloin tonight and test the roast separately over the weekend.

I have to mention how excited I am about almond butter; one of the great discoveries I made recently due to my movement away from my beloved (but possibly goitrogenic) peanut butter. I’m accustomed to having a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds as a snack, but a couple of days ago I experimented with chopping the fruit and putting it in a bowl, dropping in a spoonful of almond butter and sprinkling with cinnamon. WOW!! YUM.

I was shocked at paying $9 for a tiny jar of this stuff, but the first time I spread some on apple slices and sprinkled cinnamon on top, it felt like I was having candy. Today I cubed up a pear and mixed it up with a spoonful of almond butter, drizzled coconut oil on top of that and it is FANTASTIC. It feels like I’m having a sinful dessert rather than a healthy snack. It’s amazing to me how much different almond butter is than almonds.  And there’s nothing added. The ingredients list is simply “raw, organic almonds”. But somehow, grinding them into butter releases some incredible deliciousness that, when paired with pear and cinnamon, is out of this world.


Rock and Roll Dance Party: Las Vegas Style



Jason and River are headed to Vegas. 

June 29 at
Yoga for the Soul

Come and party Las Vegas style as we rock out and dance to some favorites by:

Pink Floyd
The Doors
Steppenwolf
Cream
Bad Company
Led Zeppelin
...and many more

If you like to dance, you'll have a great time as Jason will lead the class through a very simple, but Rockin' dance workout experience. The work is pure Nia, but you don't need to know that to enjoy it. You don't need to know that you'll be doing moves inspired by Tai Chi, Yoga, Tae Kwon Do, Modern Dance, Alexander Technique, and many more movement modalities. In fact, as Jason says, "You don't need to have any type of movement experience at all and you can walk in and be instantly great in my class. Come and play in my Mega Rockin Nia experience."

If you like to move around and you love your body and want to treat it right, and if you love good old rock and roll, then you should definitely make it a point not to miss this one-of-a-kind Las Vegas event.

MEGA ROCKIN NIA:
A Master Class with JAG (& River)

On June 29
@ Yoga For the Soul
6:00pm - 7:30 pm
stay for free tea served afterwards

pre-register here for $17
or pay $20 at the door

Yoga for the Soul is located at 4450 N Tenaya Way, studio #245.
(if you're using GPS, you might have better luck searching for the McDonalds on Craig Road and just know that Yoga for the Soul is right behind that--for some reason, many GPS systems don't register our address)

Jason and his faithful dog, River, are going to be passing through Nevada on June 29. With the help of Wendy Jaroslawski and Stacey Hall, we're going to stop in Las Vegas to do a rockin' Nia class and we'd love for lots of happy, playful, dancing, sweating bodies to come out to join us.

There is no special experience required to attend a master class, or a Nia class in general. The term Master Class only means that it is taught by a master so you can expect to get above and beyond what you might typically get in a classic class.  In this case, I plan to spend a few minutes going over some basics of human movement and Nia moves. Then we'll do a fun, exciting, playful class that is appropriate for any body and all fitness levels.

It promises to be an unforgettable and unique experience. I hope you join us.

This Classic Rock Nia routine focuses on the low, middle and high planes with the intention of gettin' down, chillin' out and gettin' high.

ROCKIN was created by Jason Alan Griffin. It was originally inspired by Helen Terry's routine to the Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, and by Bill Stewart setting a classic Nia routine to Rock n Roll music. I experienced them both in the same weekend at Soma Ranch and it took me to places I hadn’t yet gone in my Nia practice. I came back from that weekend newly inspired and I immediately went to work on what eventually became ROCKIN. I wasn't able to recreate Bill or Helen's choreography, but I made it my own, so we will rock out to Pink Floyd, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin and more rock favorites from the 60s and 70s.

(check out this bootleg video someone captured of me teaching Rockin in Olympia, Washington.)


Black Belt Jason Alan Griffin has loved teaching Nia since 1996. After teaching Nia and enjoying an acting and modeling career in New York City for more than a decade, he has recently relocated to Seattle and got a dog and a Mini Cooper and is now traveling around the country spreading the Nia love.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Important Note about Animal Protein

A friend of mine reminded me that not all eggs are created equal.

She took acceptance to my use of the term ‘friendly’ when describing eggs because of the deplorably inhumane conditions that the majority of egg-laying hens endure for their entire lives.

Indeed, if you were to see the living conditions of most farm animals, and you had an ounce of compassion, you’d be very tempted to become a vegetarian.

I agree with her 100%.  And I haven't mentioned this in much of my writing, because I will admit, I assumed it was a given. But she reminded me that most people still go to the grocery store for their animal products. And I find this unacceptable.

In fact, many years ago, when I first learned of what goes into the production of our supermarket meats and diary products, I swore off of them entirely. But then I got sick and was told by my doctor that, due to my blood type and my activity level, I needed to have meat in my diet to thrive.

I then discovered that there were still certain farms that treated their animals with compassion. And for me, it was not only worth the extra money, but it was really the only option I’d consider. After seeing some of the sickening and disturbing images in movies like “Food, Inc.” “Food Matters” and “Forks Over Knives” and many, many others, it was clear that I would not support that industry.

So now, whenever you see me referencing meats or eggs that I’m eating, you can be sure that they come from a local farm that is committed to raising animals in ways consistent with their species.

I believe that this is not only the spiritually correct thing to do, but that on a physical level, the nutrition supplied by a humanely raised animal is different than that supplied by an animal subjected to what amounts to a lifetime of painful torture and constant fear and discomfort.

If I could not find sources of animal protein that I did not trust came from farms practicing animal compassion, I would not be eating animal protein. It takes a little extra time and some research, and usually a bit more money, to find and buy animal products from these sources, but it is something that I feel is definitely worth it.

If you think I’m over reacting, I urge you to watch some of the films I’ve referenced above.  You’ll learn that this is not just a new-age, hippy problem, but a serious problem affecting the entire globe. I would hope that it would be impossible for you to watch these films without squirming and feeling a little ill.

If you're interested in pursuing more humanely raised animal products, I highly encourage you to make it a commitment in your healthy lifestyle.  Here are some links to get you started.

Five Humane Labels

A Label to Look For

One Example of a Humane Ranch / Farm

But your research should be ongoing and diligent, as mine is. You do NOT want to be nourishing your body with the flesh from animals who have spent their entire, tortured lives under stress. Stress is real and damaging and unhealthy.


Rice Cereal, Eggs and Nia: All Prove Friendly


Yesterday was a day of friendly foods and a new rice cereal and I got a bit more vigorous and added a bit more time on my aerobic activity. Still, I’m back to losing weight this morning. I’m not too surprised, but you never know what a different process can do to the chemical make up of a grain, so I was prepared for anything, but I’m delighted to have the rice cereal as a friendly choice for breakfast. It was good.

And obviously there’s nothing inflammatory about the level of exercise I was using, so I can increase it again and see what happens. Today I’ve had about two hours of moderate aerobic exercise as I worked on putting together my newly expanded 90 minute ROCKIN Nia routine, so I hope it won’t cause any undue inflammation. I never felt strained or out of breath, it was all very under control, but I did get a little sweaty. I drank an extra 8 ounces of water to compensate for the water loss.

And since I’m back to losing weight, I’m free to make another high risk test today.

So this morning, I had some eggs for breakfast. Two eggs, fried in butter sprinkled with kelp and herbs with a side of pears sprinkled with cinnamon. Then, for the rest of the day I stuck to all familiar, friendly foods.

The only other variable that came up today was that I was unable to have my dinner at the usual time. It was delayed by about an hour and a half, so I found that I was finishing up my dinner, and my chocolate for dessert, at around 9pm instead of my usual 7:30 deadline. I’m not sure if that’s going to impact my results, but it seems like it would.

Wednesday
**************Zzzzzzzzzzzzz*****************
Thursday

I woke up this morning and weighed in with a 0.2 pound loss. So I guess that clears fried eggs over onto the friendly list. It’s not a huge weight loss, but at least it’s going in the right direction. And as I keep saying, but one of these days it has to be true: I shouldn’t be expecting much more weight loss as I feel like I’m at a good, healthy weight right now. I’m 47 years old next month and I weigh less than I’ve ever been in the past thirty years and I’m happy with that. 

So today I plan to stick to friendly foods and test some more strenuous exercise for reactivity. I’ll do some strength training this time. Again, I’m going to go very moderate at first, but I do want to work hard enough to break a little sweat and to get that good familiar ‘pumped up’ feeling that we get when we tax our muscles.

After a day of eating all tested and friendly foods, if I’m up in weight in the morning then I know it was the exercise that caused it.

I’m going to have my brown rice cereal for breakfast this morning. Even though I’m very excited about being able to add eggs to my friendly diet, I think it’s a good idea to keep mixing things up. I’ll try not to have the same meal two days in a row. I understand that the body adapts to things very readily; even friendly foods eaten too frequently can ‘turn on me’. So for now, I’ll just put eggs on a rotation with some of the other breakfasts I have determined to be friendly.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tomatoes: Still on the Fence

Well, I’m sad to report a 0.2 pound weight gain this morning after testing tomatoes last night. I’m sad to report it because I really enjoyed last night’s dinner and would have loved to include that recipe in my rotation.  I don’t eat tomatoes all that often as it is. Ever since working for two summers in Tuscany, I haven’t been able to find tomatoes in the USA that even come close to comparing to that big luscious flavor, so I’ve just stopped trying with American tomatoes.

 Recently, I had heard that cooked tomatoes are very good for men’s health because they contain lycopene which supports a healthy prostate. But then I also read other studies that concluded that tomatoes and lycopene don't play a significant role in prostate health. 

Nevertheless, despite my conscious efforts to include more of them, when I see them at the store, they always look all pale and pink and they don’t smell or feel quite right, so I never buy them. I guess if I grew them myself, they might be adequate for my expectation.

After dinner last night, I was flatulent. I jokingly said, “Oh No. This doesn’t look good for tomatoes!”  Anyway, my body didn’t react strongly to them, as indicated by the smallest increment of weight gain that my scale can measure. Which also might have to do with the fact that this morning, before my weigh-in, I wasn’t able to have a bowel movement. In the past, I’ve weighed myself, then had a bowel movement, and then re-weighed myself and registered a whole pound less. So the extra weight this morning could be due to fecal matter in my intestines waiting to come out.

And I don’t know if this is related but I’ll mention that this morning I woke up with a pain in my back. It’s as if the injury that I was complaining of two weeks ago, which had cleared up last week, is now back. Also today I feel a bit groggy and sluggish and a touch moody. I hate to pin all of this on tomatoes, but it sure is a marked difference from how I’ve been feeling ever since I started on the experiment. Another factor that could possibly be playing into all of this is the weather. Today is grey and raining, and every other day in the past two weeks since I’ve started doing this, have been bright and sunny.

One more thing I should mention is that I experimented with a brown rice hot cereal this morning instead of my usual flax seed granola. I didn’t really notice myself being tired until after eating the rice cereal. Rice has already been cleared to the friendly list, but I suppose it’s possible that ground rice, cooked like hot cereal, might react differently.

I also may have screwed up my water intake yesterday. At one point, I noticed that my water glass was empty and I couldn’t remember if I had already removed a rubber band or not. So I basically lost count of my glasses and decided that I’d err on the side of too much water rather than too little. So I may have had 16 ounces too much.  But I know that either too much or too little can have a measurable effect on my results. I also found that I had half a glass of water left and drank it about thirty minutes after my deadline of 7:30 pm. The thinking is that without giving my body enough time to process and eliminate my water, it could show up as weight the next morning.

So, taking all that into account, I’m actually putting an asterisk beside tomatoes in the unfriendly column, meaning that I intend to go back at some point and give them another chance to test friendly under more ideal circumstances.

This is sure a fascinating adventure.

I’ll take another rest day today, sticking to all friendly foods so I can get back to my baseline, and then the next day, I plan to have some eggs for breakfast. I’m really hoping eggs are friendly.  This is the first food I’m going to test that I have to say, I will be really disappointed if they’re not friendly. I do love my eggs in the morning.

But for today, I’m back to carrots, broccoli, chick peas, spinach, zucchini, butternut squash, ginger, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds.....etc.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Exercise Exonerated

This morning, I woke up and my temperature was 97! I was thrilled to see that number since it was the lowest temperature I was allowed to go before being alerted to do something about it.

Since I had fallen well below that marker, I had purchased a B-12 supplement, but I’m not really a supplement-taking type of person, so I kept forgetting to take it. I took it yesterday and the day before, though, and lo and behold, my body temp went up.

(Excuse me, I’m going to take it again right now while I’m thinking of it.)


I’m taking NOW Ultra B-12. The label cracks me up because it says it contains 83,333% of the RDA of B-12.  Seems like a bit of overkill to me, but it also seems to be working so I’m going along with it for now. It doesn’t taste bad.

It says it has three forms of B-12; as cyanocobalamin and in co-enzyme form as methylcobalamin and dibencozide. MMMmmmmmmm!

So, yesterday I stuck to a friendly diet and I did replicate the same exercises I did on “bread day” and since I did lose weight over night, I’m confident in saying it was the bread that caused me all that weight gain.

Now I suppose some people might want to ask the question, “what is it about the bread that is the culprit?” And I’ve already had friends suggest alternative types of bread, with spelt flour or with gluten free wheat flour, etc.  but for me it’s not really an issue. I never liked bread that much in the first place, and tended not to eat it anyway, so I wouldn’t miss it if I never had it again. It is very interesting to me, though, and I’m glad to learn that having a single piece of whole wheat bread can cause me to gain almost a full pound. It really makes me think about people who have sandwiches for lunch every day.

Tonight I’ll be testing tomatoes. I’ll start small, with a single plum tomato with dinner and in the morning, the scale will let me know if they pass or fail.

One really interesting and unexpected thing that I’m learning from doing this is that I can eat bread if I want to. Even if I want to lose weight, or not gain weight, I can have bread. As long as the next day I don’t have anything that causes inflammation, I can not only recover from the bread, but continue my weight loss.

So, in the end, I’m discovering that I can still have offending foods, without suffering long term consequences.  As long as I don’t do it every day, and I’m careful about what I eat on a regular basis. If I make my standard, staple diet balance and comprised of friendly foods, then whenever I decide to have an inflammatory food, the damage is minimal.

So the real concern becomes discerning “which foods do I eat daily and which foods do I use occasionally?”  The longer I continue this experiment, the more foods I can place into one list or the other.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scallops Make Waves


This morning I weighed in and was back on my weight loss kick. My body weight shot back down to lower than it was before I ate the bread. 

In all fairness, before I jump to conclusions, I wonder if the exercise, as light as it was, might still have had some effect on the inflammation. I can’t ignore the fact that the only day that I showed any significant weight gain since starting to measure was also the only day I did any exercise. 

I happened to eat the slice of bread on the same day. So, I’m going to retest the exercise, on a friendly-food only day and hopefully rule it out as a cause of the weight gain.

Today I’m testing scallops. I don’t really like nor dislike scallops, but I chose them because they’re a seafood and I’m trying to get iodine into my life. Since I’m not much of a fan of most sources, I’m looking around for new ones I can get into. Hence testing scallops for reactivity.

Unfortunately, I think I pulled a bone head move and I bought bay scallops instead of sea scallops. I actually didn’t know there was a difference (I’m not a big scallops guy), I just bought scallops. It wasn’t until I was online, looking up ways to prepare them, that I discovered what I had. So now, I wonder if these aren’t as high in iodine as the ones from the sea. Oh well, I’ll try them and see if I like them and if they like me. And if it’s a mutual yes then I can try the sea scallops next time.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Well, the next morning the scale showed a weight gain of 0.4 pounds. This would indicate a mild reactivity to scallops. So for now, I guess I’ll leave scallops off the friendly list and maybe test them again in the future. They were good, but nothing that I’d miss if I never had again. 

The only thing that disturbs me about this news is that I was hoping to find a nice, delicious and friendly source of iodine. Scallops are delicious and a good source of iodine, but unfortunately, unfriendly to me. And in this case, 2 out of 3 isn’t enough.

So I’m going to have a friendly day, today, with a bit of light exercise: exactly like I did on Day 8.

In the morning, I suspect I will register another weight loss, thereby acquitting the exercise from culpability for that day’s weight gain and putting all of the blame squarely onto the wheat bread.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rockin Boise

Black Belt Jason Alan Griffin has loved teaching Nia since 1996. Since teaching Nia and enjoying an acting and modeling career in New York City for more than a decade, he has recently relocated to Seattle and got a dog and a car and is now traveling around the country spreading the Nia love. 



Jason and River are headed to Boise on July 2.


At Britta Von Tagen’s beautiful studio called The Dojo, from 5:30 to 7:00pm. JAG will unveil the double album routine, MEGA ROCKIN. This is the ROCKIN routine with an extended playlist, featuring Rockin for a full hour and a half!

ROCKIN is a Nia routine created by Jason Alan Griffin. It was originally inspired by Helen Terry doing a routine to the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, and by Bill Stewart setting a classic Nia routine to Rock n Roll music. Both of those experiences took me to places I hadn’t yet gone in my Nia practice. I came back from that weekend newly inspired and I immediately went to work on what eventually became ROCKIN.

Fortunately, the ROCKIN routine continues to evolve, so now, I’ve expanded my ROCKIN routine from it’s current one hour length to a ninety minute format called MEGA ROCKIN.





JAG says “Once Britta suggested I expand the routine, I was immediately thrilled because I knew it meant I might be able to include all of my songs. There were some really good songs that never made it into the final routine, but now I can not only put them back in, but I can probably also make some new ones.”

 “We will rock out to Pink Floyd, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin and more rock favorites from the 60s and 70s in this Classic Rock Nia Routine that focuses on the Low Middle and High planes with the intention of Gettin' Down, Chillin' Out and Gettin' High. With MEGA ROCKIN’ enjoy some extra Cream, The Beatles, and Manfred Mann and more.”

So if you like Nia or you like to dance, and if you like to sweat to good old Rock n Roll, then you will love MEGA ROCKIN with JAG.

If you want to join us for this one of a kind event, you can pre-register here using Pay Pal, or you can pay $15 directly to Britta or simply pay at the door.

Jason and River both look forward to meeting you and having a rockin’ good time in Boise!

Contact Britta or Jason for more information



Friday, May 17, 2013

JAG & River Rock Wyoming



Jason and River are headed to Lyman, Wyoming on June 19.

Lisa Bader presents JAG Nia
ROCKIN': A Nia Master Class

Lyman Intermediate School
Auxiliary Gym
100 N Franklin

5:30 - 7:00 pm
refreshments served afterwards

pre-register with Lisa Bader for $15
or pay $18 at the door

Jason and his faithful dog, River, are going to be passing through Wyoming on June 19. With the help of Lisa Bader, we're going to stop in Lyman to do a rockin' Nia class and we'd love for lots of happy, playful, dancing, sweating bodies came out to join us.

This is an auspicious event because it will be a full 90 minute Master Class version of the classic one hour Rockin routine. There is no special experience required to attend a master class, or a Nia class in general. The term Master Class only means that it is taught by a master so you can expect to get above and beyond what you might typically get in a classic class.  In this case, I plan to spend a few minutes going over some basics of human movement and Nia moves. Then we'll do an extended version of the routine wherein I can add back in a lot of songs I created, but couldn't include in the original routine for time purposes.

It promises to be an unforgettable and unique experience. I hope you join us.

This Classic Rock Nia routine focuses on the low, middle and high planes with the intention of gettin' down, chillin' out and gettin' high.

ROCKIN was created by Jason Alan Griffin. It was originally inspired by Helen Terry's routine to the Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, and by Bill Stewart setting a classic Nia routine to Rock n Roll music. I experienced them both in the same weekend at Soma Ranch and it took me to places I hadn’t yet gone in my Nia practice. I came back from that weekend newly inspired and I immediately went to work on what eventually became ROCKIN. I wasn't able to recreate the Bill or Helen's choreography, but I made up my own, so we will rock out to Pink Floyd, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin and more rock favorites from the 60s and 70s.

(check out this bootleg video someone captured of me teaching Rockin in Olympia, Washington.)


Black Belt Jason Alan Griffin has loved teaching Nia since 1996. After teaching Nia and enjoying an acting and modeling career in New York City for more than a decade, he has recently relocated to Seattle and got a dog and a car and is now traveling around the country spreading the Nia love.

Bread Falls Flat


I was beginning to think it was never going to happen. I thought perhaps the diet I was using was too deficient in calories to allow for a weight gain to register and I was just senselessly dieting myself away into nothing. I was losing weight daily, despite the fact that I didn’t need to lose any, and that I was adding foods that are generally considered not to be part of a healthful, weight loss diet.

Yesterday I stuck to my familiar, friendly diet and included one single slice of white bread. This morning, I finally saw evidence of my first reaction. I showed a 0.8 pound gain on the scale. As I mentioned before this is the least amount of gain I needed to see to consider that food reactive.

Ingredients: Unbleached Wheat Flour, Water, Organic Whole Wheat Flour, Organic Rye Flour, Wheat Germ, Sea Salt and Organic Malt.
I had my slice of bread at lunch and felt fine afterwards. Last night, after dinner, which contained no bread or no untested foods, I felt gassy. That’s not to say that I was flatulent. And even if I were, it would be nothing unusual for me. But what I felt was like air moving and shifting around inside my intestines. It never got to a painful place, but there were a few times that I felt like I wanted to fart to relieve the feeling of slight pressure, but nothing came out. 

It wasn’t debilitating or painful; in fact, if I weren’t doing this experiment and paying careful attention to my body’s responses, I might not have given it a second thought. But it was undeniable.

So that, combined with my almost a full pound of unexplained weight gain, leads to be put wheat in the ‘unfriendly’ column.

It doesn’t surprise me. For years, I had been following an instinct that bread wasn’t doing me any good, and it is a very rare occasion that I ever did eat bread anyway. But now I know that there is a physical reason why I shouldn’t. At least not every day.

Today I’ll go back to a totally friendly diet, to give my body a chance to deal with this inflammation. My weight should be back down tomorrow morning.  In the future, I’ll continue to refrain from eating bread. And I assume that this is the wheat in action, and so the same restriction would hold true for cookies, crackers, cakes, pasta and pastries. I’m OK with the crackers and bread, but I think I’m going to miss cookies.

I don’t have to totally deny myself cookies forever, but now I know for sure that when I eat one, it will cause inflammation and if I don’t respect that, by giving my body a chance to recover the next day, weight gain and eventually disease.

Tomorrow I will test a new protein.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Super Human Rock Nia in Missoula

-- a Nia Playshop
June 16, 2013--
Sunday
2:00pm - 4:00pm


at Downtown Dance Collective
121 West Main St.

Missoula, MT


 Experience the Nia routine, ROCKIN' and learn some incredible secrets about the strength in your body with JAG & River.

This playshop will be instructional as well as practical.
You may be leaving some power on the table.

I'm going to teach some things you can do with your body to become instantly stronger.  Employing these little tricks can turn your human strength into Super Human strength. This isn't developing strength, although it will help with that, but this is accessing instantaneous strength that you haven't been using until now.

In this playshop I will teach you how to do movements you never knew you were strong enough to do. Then, we will put what we learned into action in a Classic Rock Nia Class. The movements of the routine will be classic Nia and we'll sweat to some good old rock 'n roll songs from artists such as The Doors, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Steppenwolf.

Join us for this fun and enlightening evening of finding your own intrinsic power. No previous Nia experience is needed, but if you've never done Nia before be prepared to be completely blown away by this experience. (just joking, a little bit). Super Human Rock Nia will be about accessing your strength as you are Right Now. It doesn't matter your current level of fitness. Just jump right in!



Cost: $25 pre-registration or $30 at the door
Contact Maggie Schlarb to pre-register:
maggie@maggieschlarb.com

For further information, your local contact is Maggie at 406-552-2663
Or if you have questions regarding the content of the playshop, you can reach JAG at
mail@jasonalangriffin.com


Space is limited. Reserve your spot soon!


How Does the Potato Chip Stack Up?

Yesterday, I re-tested cheese and chocolate. This morning, my weight was almost a whole pound lower than the day before, which is very significant, considering how little body fat I have now.

So I’m comfortable and confidently shifting cheese and chocolate over to the friendly list. By the way, I also had two handfuls of unsalted potato chips, so they can be considered friendly as well.
What really makes standard potato chips an unhealthy choice is the high levels of salt. Taken in moderation, unsalted potato chips can not only be allowed in my diet, but they can be a good source of potassium. Of course, they are a fried food and bringing any fat to such a high heat will change its molecular structure into an unsafe one, but the key here is in moderation and especially in avoiding salt, which will only exacerbate any inflammation caused.

Since I had a handful for a snack between lunch and dinner and then another handful with dinner, and I still registered an amazing weight loss, I can be sure that I’m safe adding this snack into my lifestyle. On the downside, I’m not a huge fan of unsalted potato chips, so I’ll take this information with a grain of salt. (hehe no pun intended) In fact, after having my potato chip snack yesterday, I felt totally unsatisfied. When I make a snack of a handful of almonds or carrots and hummus, I feel sated, but an hour after eating the chips, I was hungry again.

My test for today is bread.  For lunch I’ll make an open faced sandwich using one slice of bread, and the rest of my day will only be comprised of tested, friendly foods. I was careful to choose a bread that only contained rye and wheat flour. Many breads contain other grains and each grain would be considered a separate test. So if I chose a multigrain bread and I was reactive to it, it wouldn’t tell me which grain I reacted to. In the interest of learning, I am sticking to a basic, white bread.

I made a delicious sandwich of goat cheese, zucchini slices, avocado and some seaweed sprinkled on top. I had that with a bowl of vegetable soup with a handful of pumpkin seeds. It was a satisfying lunch and, even two hours later, I never felt sleepy or had any ill effects.  So I’m feeling good about it. Of course, tomorrow on the scale will be the real indicator.

Today I’ll attempt a bit of light exercise; certainly not enough to cause any inflammation response. And tonight for dinner I’ll have a simple chicken breast surrounded by veggies I’ve tested.


Meditative Exercising

It’s been eight days now since I wrenched my back. I can't be sure what was going on, but because of how quickly it healed, I’m going with ‘lumbar muscle strain’ and accompanying sensitivity in the sacro-iliac joint. I’m glad it wasn’t something more serious.

Starting the day after the injury, I went on a dietary experiment wherein I will be testing my body’s sensitivity to certain foods, one by one. This experiment has brought me great peacefulness--an unexpected consequence, but certainly a welcome one.

Today I am feeling strong and decided to take my first trip into my exercise studio since I hurt myself.  But I’m bringing my experimental and sensitivity detection into the room with me. It was interesting to take a huge step back and really observe my slow and calculated movements. I was committed to doing as little as necessary.

I started by doing two sun salutations, holding each position for four or five breaths. I was intently focused on finding my comfort and allowing my body to be relaxed and settle into the ease and comfort of each pose. My tendency is to always use my exercise sessions as a time to ‘improve’ or to ‘break my record’ or ‘do my best’. But today I was only concerned with ease and pleasure. 

After two sun salutations I felt complete in that exercise and moved on to a side bend. I was focused completely on being properly aligned and supported and gave no importance to ‘how far’ I was going. I did one side bend to each side while free standing, and then went to the wall and did one to each side with my nose touching the wall and another to each side with the back of my head touching the wall. Again, I was totally focused on proper alignment and not paying attention to comparing or improving. I’m just being.

Those three felt like enough, so then I lied down on the floor for some twists. I put one heel up on the opposite knee and rotated my spine slowly and gently. Without pushing and without planning to go any further than this, I just simply relaxed and felt what was happening. My sensitivity of late has been heightened and it was nice to bring that sensitivity into my movement practice.

The next thing I did was grab a tennis ball from the closet and lie on it. I used it to massage my back; especially the erector spinae muscle group, which was feeling slightly tight and unwieldy in my twist. Then I put the ball just below the crest of my ilium and rolled slightly back and forth so that the ball would massage my glute attachments.
depress the scapulae entirely BEFORE pulling chest up toward bar

It had only been about fifteen minutes so far, and I was feeling very connected to my body. The next thing I wanted to do was to practice my scapular control. I learned from studying with the incredible Steve Atlas, that my scapula wasn’t exactly under my control as much as it should be; especially when it was loaded with my body weight.  So I hung from my pull up bar and without bending my elbows, shrugged myself up and down about five times, using only my scapulae. After that, I incorporated a full pull up. I did the full pull up twice with a wide grip and once with a more narrow grip, and then something told me that was enough for today.

I finished up with five perfect pushups. It wasn’t too challenging, but that wasn’t really my intention. I wanted to educate my body, and to let it know I was listening, rather than challenging it and stressing it out, like I usually do.

Afterward my body felt fantastic. I felt like I did something, but I don’t feel like I pushed myself. It felt perfect for my intention today. I feel like it was important to establish that musculo-neurological pathway for proper yoga positions and pull-up and pushup technique than it was to do as many as I could.

When I was younger, my modus operandi was to shrug at convention when it came to my dietary habits because I could exercise like a madman. I enjoyed it, and it kept me from paying the price for my dietary insubordination. But now that I’m over 40, I feel like I need to reverse my approach. My body can no longer withstand the abuse required to counteract a bad diet. I’m finding it much more economical to put the effort into watching my diet carefully. This makes me lean and gives me energy. Then I can do a little bit of exercise on top of that and it works wonders very quickly.

I guess I’m entering a new phase in my life; a new level of awareness.