Archive | May, 2013

A Free Chapter from Caffeine-Free Energy, and Curing your Coffee Addiction

At the end of this post, you’ll find out about a free chapter which I’m making available from my still-in-progress guide to increasing your energy without Caffeine, Sugar, or Chemicals: “Caffeine-Free Energy”. To get it now without reading the post, I’ve included the button up here as well.

(Gumroad will say you can choose to pay for this. Just leave it as $0)

And now, for the actual blog post

Coffee is one of the most prevalent drugs in our society. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s an amazing drink that was once thought to have magical powers (probably).
However, the fact remains that Caffeine can have major negative side effects, and a number of compounds found in coffee specifically can be dangerous. Sure, there is research that is reported on nearly every day which shows that coffee can be good for you. This falls into the category of us looking for an excuse to do something we really shouldn’t.

You may wish to give up coffee/caffeine/energy drinks for a number of reasons. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, one of the reigning champions of nutrition, gives a great outline on why he recommends giving up, or at least reducing coffee intake. I will not speculate why you might want to give it up, because everyone has their own reason. I have given up coffee entirely as part of my healthier diet, and that was no small feat. You see, I was a coffee fanatic. Like…I was super duper serious. I can tell you that Kaldi’s Coffee in St. Louis, MO is home to some of the best roasters in the world – their beans, and their expertise in brewing coffee is nearly unrivaled in my experience around the world.

I can also tell you how to roast your own coffee. I’d been roasting my own for some time. I brew only with the french press, or AeroPress (and I was using this thing before Tim Ferris!). I have a hand grinder which I would travel with. I even created multiple videos outlining how to make a proper cup of coffee. I have even posted on this very blog (or an earlier version of it, at least) about making coffee

Here’s one of the videos I created about making great coffee
in a hotel room.

Substitute the Flavor, Experience, and Energy of Coffee

So if you stop drinking coffee, then what do you drink?
Most people will say Decaf. While Decaf removes caffeine, it does not remove the other potentially dangerous compounds in coffee. In fact, it often adds a number of not-so-good-for-you compounds. If you must drink Decaf, go with water processed coffee.

If you need the flavor and taste experience of coffee, then you can use one of many herbal blends which are intended to mimic coffee. I have kept Pero on hand just in case, but I hear wonderful things about Mountain Rose Herbs Herbal Coffee, which comes highly recommend by Carrie from Carrie on Vegan (even more highly than her beloved Dandy Blend). This stuff is simple. You mix it with hot water, and go. Even easier than making traditional coffee.

If you need the energy, well, that can be hard to mimic. Seeing as how Coffee is most often used as a “pick-me-up” in times when energy is dramatically low, there are few things which have such a monumental effect on energy. Ideally, you should not let yourself get to a point where you need this boost, but it does happen.
Therefore, I am writing a guide to increasing your energy without Coffee, Caffeine, or Chemicals. I’m focusing on things which give us natural energy, and can even provide a rapid pick-me up.

In addition to a written guide (not to exceed 10 easy to read pages), this will include a one-page quick hitter to help you in your time of need. When your energy levels dip, turn to this one-pager, and you will have clear instructions on how to boost your energy immediately. I’m hoping to have this completed in the next couple of weeks, including finding a designer to make this look all nice and pretty. One of my closest friends (and business partner on Bar Crawl Bingo) is a fantastic designer (his portfolio) but I may go with oDesk or eLance, just to get some experience using these services. Either way, when I produce the final document, it will be pretty.

For a free section from Caffeine-Free Energy, just click below and enter your e-mail. (It won’t be all prettified yet, but it will still be incredibly helpful information!)


(Gumroad will say you can choose to pay for this. Just leave it as $0)

I’m so very excited about this guide, and I hope to have it ready in the next two weeks! If you have any tips of your own, comment on this post, and I’ll include the very best tips (and you’ll be credited, of course).
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Is this the Modern version of Camping? No, but it’s close.

A few weeks ago, I went camping at Sam Houston State Park – it was a really great experience. I didn’t bring any sure fire (something that pretty much guarantees you’ll get fire), or sure flame (something that can produce a flame without fail…like a lighter), but I still found a way to survive (I made sparks, and started a fire that way…it took me a while…but I did it). That was such a great reward – it made me feel like Paul freaking Bunyan – and the bench I built with a knife, some wood, and some rope made me feel like Davy Crockett.

The point I’m trying to make is that I jumped into the wilderness with a few supplies, and discovered that I could survive (and by the end of the trip…I learned I could thrive, even). Fast forward to today. I’m taking off on a trip – I am writing this as I sit outside of the United Club at Houston International Airport (IAH), leaching their free internet. I am going on a trip, but I bet it’s unlike any trip you’ve ever taken. My destination is Houston – and I’ll connect here at my home airport during the way. That’s right – I’ll leave houston, return, leave again, and finally return for a second time. In between, I’ll fly over 10,000 miles, sit in first class for at least 6 out of 8 flights (and likely all 8!), and will have two nights spent on a plane.

This is called a Mileage Run, and there is a small, dedicated group of travelers who love these things. We are the few who thrive in the air – the ones who feel more at home in a hotel room than at home. We do our best work on planes, we can sleep on planes (I feel so sorry for anyone who can’t!) and we will actually fly for fun. We choose to do mileage runs to basically get cheap miles. I paid  $300 for 10,000 miles of flights which will earn me 20,000 miles (worth up to $600), and it helps me earn status.

For most of the population, flying is something to be tolerated on the way to a destination – but what if the flight was your destination? How would you feel if you spent the next 45 hours in airports, and on airplanes? How would you feel sleeping over night why hurtling through the sky at 500 miles per hour? Could you handle it? I bet you could – because we are all remarkably resilient. Once you become content with flying, you start to get comfortable flying. You start to crave it.

I’ll lay out why I love flying so much. Because to most people, I appear totally crazy.
I flew nearly every single week last year, covering around 100,000 miles. When you fly that much, you can’t help but get comfortable flying. Another great thing happens when you fly that much, though – the airlines notice. You earn status – I’m a Platinum Medallion on Delta. What does that get me? Some nice perks like free checked bags (no frequent flier really ever uses that perk, though), bonus miles when I fly, free sky club (lounge) passes, and, most importantly, unlimited free upgrades on every domestic flight.

You see, flying becomes worlds easier when you fly in first class. Unless there is a Diamond Medallion (to get there, you must fly more than 125,000 miles), I am pretty much first in line for any first class seats which don’t get purchased outright. I fly in first class on most of my flights. That’s what makes this worth it for me – I am mentally and emotionally comfortable flying – First Class makes me physically comfortable as well.

But beyond that, I do my absolute best thinking in two places – in the air, and in the car. If I have a particularly difficult problem I’m trying to work through, I will go for a leisurely drive (unfortunately there are precious few leisurely drives in Houston), and my brain goes to work. The same thing happens when I fly – the key is that there are zero distractions. I can get true work done, because I don’t have a kitchen, or fridge, or TV, or video game system, or stack of books, or cleaning or anything else you may use to distract your self, there to pull me away from real work. A co-worker of mine recently told me that in the two years since his daughter was born, the only time he has been able to watch a movie all the way through was when he was flying. If you’ve ever seen Up In the Air, you know what I’m talking about (so going to watch that during these flights)

So what in the hell does this have to do with camping? That’s the title of the post, after all, isn’t it? The comparison comes from the lack of distractions – when you camp (or at least when I camp) – I set myself up to have zero distractions. I can focus completely, and entirely on what I am doing. And you know what happens? The days last FOREVER. In one full day of camping, I felt I had completed about 5 days worth of work – it’s an incredible phenomenon. Flying is the same thing – sure, you get some creature comforts – Wi-Fi, Power Plugs, In flight entertainment systems, freshly prepared meals, but you still stay away from distractions.

I completed a video log when I was wilderness camping – I plan on doing the same thing now that I’m modern camping. I guess I’ll go into the bathrooms to film it – everyone is pretty much going to believe I have diahrhea or something. One of the revelations I had while camping, though, was this lack of distractions leading to time distortion – I actually got more real time than you did, because I removed distractions from the equations. (by the way, I get the same effect, but to a lesser extent, in hotel rooms). I will post a better write-up of how this translates into the real world later (this is an all text post because I’m writing it on my tablet), but let’s take three quick takeaways.

1. Removing distractions is paramount to acquiring more time for your real work – these are both physical and mental distractions
2. Take 3 minutes and pretend you have to pack a backpack, and leave home forever – what would you bring with you?
3. Consider how comfortable you are at home. Now how about away from home? – not physically (being physically comfortable is easy), but mentally and emotionally comfortable – until you can bring this comfort with you anywhere you go, you cannot be truly free.

fyi, here’s my schedule for the next 2 days
1. Friday Afternoon: Houston (IAH) to Minneapolis (MSP)
2. Friday Evening: Minneapolis to San Jose (SJC)
3. Overnight: San Jose to Atlanta (ATL)
4. Saturday Morning: ATL to IAH
5. Saturday Afternoon: IAH to MSP
6. Saturday Evening: MSP to SJC
7. Overnight: SJC to ATL
8. Sunday Morning: ATL to IAH

I will be flying (and in Airports) for longer than I was camping two weeks ago. I’ll post more details on Mileage Runs for anyone who wants to try one themselves!

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