January 13, 2012

The Hedonist’s Guide to Healthy Living: Part 5

This week, we are questioning the rationale behind more and more Americans moving to an organic, vegetarian and vegan diet.

How do I start moving in the right direction toward organic?

You're convinced. But, there's hold-ups. Financial reasons. Picky eaters in your household. So, what you need are some gateways toward organic eating.

My recommendation is to start with your fruits and vegetables. It's the most obvious taste difference. You get rid of more pesticides than with any other switch. And this is typically the least cost dramatic of a change. Then milk. Then meat.

How do you get your family on board? Simply start making organic versions of their favorite dishes. Losing the pesticides, hormones and preservatives actually makes a significant health difference. Even in "unhealthy" dishes. Then, once they're on board, they might willingly want to venture further.

Or you can be a sneak like my wife. Hide a little spinach in my fruit smoothie. (I couldn't taste it at all, and now fill half my cup with spinach every morning). Serve them carrot cake, and call it cinnamon cake. (Carrot cake is now one of my favorites, but I wouldn't have tried it on my own). Mix some fresh organic kale in with the pesto sauce. You can't even tell it's there.

Thanks for a great week guys!

Your future body.

January 12, 2012

The Hedonist’s Guide to Healthy Living: Part 4

This week, we are questioning the rationale behind more and more Americans moving to an organic, vegetarian and vegan diet.

Should I buy local when buying organic?

There are a whole lot of people behind the "buy local" movement for a whole lot of reasons. "Support your local farmers." "Support your community." "Drastically lower the environmental costs of food transportation."

But, they're missing the most important motivation of all. My wholly narcissistic self interest. The fact that buying local organic simply makes more sense. The freshness is incomparable. Fruits and vegetables picked that day, just 15 miles from your home. Versus fruits and vegetables picked a month earlier in Oregon, and losing 50-80% of their nutrients while being transported to your grocer.

If you want an orange in Chicago in January, organic is the best you can do. If you can even partially adjust your diet to the season, you'll be getting the freshest most nutrient-filled options buying near you.

January 11, 2012

The Hedonist’s Guide to Healthy Living: Part 3

This week, we are questioning the rationale behind more and more Americans moving to an organic, vegetarian and vegan diet.

Are all proteins created equal?

Cow milk is the world's most perfect food....for a baby cow.

And you can get definitely get protein from a beef patty.

But, eating a McDonalds hamburger for the protein is like eating Skittles for the fruit juice. There are much healthier ways to get these vital nutrients.

While blaming animal protein for our host of health problems is still controversial, it does effectively explain the "French paradox". How a culture which indulges heavily in saturated animal fats like butter and cream has such low rates of heart disease. Because these particular animal products are actually quite low in animal protein.

Professional athletes are going vegan. Bodybuilders are going vegan. To their health benefit. No downside.

So, at the very least, we should start pointing that way, right? Quinoa and soba noodles as rice/pasta alternatives. Peanut butter. Avocados. Peas. Coconut. It's easier than you think.

January 10, 2012

The Hedonist’s Guide to Healthy Living: Part 2

This week, we are questioning the rationale behind more and more Americans moving to an organic, vegetarian and vegan diet.

Is organic eating worth the premium cost?

People often ask me if I "feel" better after eating organic foods. And I'm honest with them.

I say, "No, but they taste a LOT better." Because how I "feel" is dependent on a whole lot of different things. But, I can no longer eat a mealy Walmart apple. It's a struggle to drink watery plasticy skim milk. And simple grilled and salted grass-fed organic chicken is miraculous.

Of course, there's a cost premium attached to this taste enhancement.

Organic milk costs roughly double its standard alternative. Organic meats cost roughly double their standard alternative. Organic fruits cost roughly 50% more than their pesticide-laden alternatives. Is the taste difference alone worth the cost?

No. I am also betting on the novel idea that pesticides are bad for me. That grass-fed animal proteins are safer than genetically-modified corn-fed animal proteins. That organic foods have statistically higher levels of antioxidants and minerals. Less (zero) preservatives, hormones and foreign chemicals our bodies are not engineered to digest.

And I'm betting on saving a whole heap of money preventing future healthcare costs. I have personally lost weight with no other lifestyle change but a switch to organic food (no caloric intake change). And science tells me I have also lowered my future risks for cancer and heart disease.

In our single-payer healthcare system future, I may not personally be held responsible for these costs. The only benefits I may get from this organic diet are enjoying what I eat and living longer. But if we end up having to opt-in to healthcare insurance plan tiers based on our personal health, a switch to organic foods might be the best financial decision I ever make.

January 9, 2012

The Hedonist’s Guide to Healthy Living: Part 1

With documentaries like Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives reaching mainstream success, organic food is passing the tipping point in America.

This week, we explore the reasons why more and more people are moving to an organic, vegetarian and vegan diet.

For personal health. For the environment. To prevent animal suffering. To prevent human suffering.

But are these people just kidding themselves? Is it just marketing? Are we just jumping on another Kaballah bracelet train? (oh...did you guys not do that one?)

Or is it completely rational? Is organic eating in our best interests, personally, physically and financially?

Tomorrow, we begin by discussing whether organic eating is worth the premium cost.
Share any opinions you wish to be included in the discussion tomorrow.

January 6, 2012

The Blessing of Being Physically Unattractive

If I was naturally skinny, I'd be dead by 40.

I definitely lean toward lean, that's for sure. But, I am no longer physically invincible like when I was 18. When I would eat 6,000 calories a day without thinking. The truth is, I wasn't physically invincible back then either. I just couldn't see the negative results.

Then, I started getting a gut. And I hated it. I still hate it. And I work out to not have one.

Aesthetic maintenance is my primary driver for a healthy lifestyle.

If I looked great without working out, I never would. And my heart would attack me by the time I'm 40.

Thank you Lord for the jelly in my belly.

January 5, 2012

The Evolution of Conversation

I will never again have time for a 20-minute personal phone conversation. It's not going to happen. And that's why I can't call most people.

Because when I have 5 minutes before getting to work, I see a window of conversational opportunity.

But after the greeting and the customary back-and-forth "how are you?", I'm out of time. And most people think it's weird when I call without being able to dedicate my near future to the conversation, and ask to exit within 5 minutes of calling.

That's why my friend Justin and I have developed the modern-day phone conversation. It's continual. It never ends. It's 3 minutes one day. 6 the next.

It ends when one person says "Gotta jump." The other replies, "Later." We jump back into our lives. And we pick up the conversation the next day, right where we left off.

We have killed the formality, and because of that, communicate regularly.

January 4, 2012

Everything is Free. Every Industry is Dead.

You're sitting in an office at a company in an industry that was created before the technological revolution.

We write press releases the way we did 40 years ago. We teach children the same way we did 40 years ago.

And in our yearly meeting we discuss tweaks. We discuss 10% budget cuts across the board.

When what we need to do is start over.

January 3, 2012

I Want to Start a Gift Card Company

This Christmas, I received a bunch of gift cards.

Since then, I've come close to accidentally throwing most of them already. In fact, as far as I know, I've probably lost one or two already. They're just sitting there with the cards and empty boxes, and I forget.

And I can't be the only one.

So, what if I started a gift card company that sold gift cards at a loss? For instance, I sell $50 gift cards for $45. People are thrilled, thinking they're getting an amazing deal. And they are - the ones who use them.

But when you account for those who lose, discard or never use them?

I could price-corner the gift card market, and still come out way ahead?