Are you a Victim? (and the Secret to Success)

Can “victims” be successful? I know so many people who are horrible victims. The world is conspiring against them to keep them down. It’s the Government. It’s the Police. It’s the Illuminati. It’s their Boss, their Parents, their Friends, the Bartender, the Post Office, Google, Facebook, Amazon. It’s the other drivers on the road. It’s the guy who cut in front of them in line. It’s everyone. Everyone is conspiring against them, and that is why they are where they are.

There is a Game Being Played Around You

There is absolutely a game being played around you. There is no doubt about it – but do you know what effective people do?
They play the game. They excel. They become so good that it doesn’t matter if someone is conspiring against them because they will shine no matter what. That is the picture of an effective person. No one can stop them. They don’t get hung up by thinking that someone is trying to keep them from succeeding. They will succeed despite anyone that wishes to keep them from doing so. That is what I hope each and every Padorec reader becomes. A truly effective, successful, individual.

Handing Over Your Power

What is the difference between someone who believes that the Government is out to keep them down at every turn, and someone who believes God controls everything that happens to them, or someone who “knows” that the Corporations are just out to get them? Nothing. In every instance, there is an incessant need to believe that we are out of control of what happens to us. The Job Market sucks, the Government doesn’t want me to be successful (ridiculous), I don’t have the right skills. These are all part of the Victim’s handbook.

When you are out of control, then you are not responsible for your life, you are not responsible for its outcome, and you can live in bliss, knowing that if you only had power, then you could have been great.

Guess What. You have control over what happens to you. You have complete, total control. Want proof?
Could you quit your job tomorrow? Yes. Yes you could.
“But Paul, I need an income, I have kids to think of”
Yup, you do have kids to think of. You need to provide for your children, or pets, or apartment, or whatever is “holding you back”. So what could you do tomorrow to enable you to quit your job? You could begin working on building your own business.
“But Paul, I don’t know how to create my own business”
True. You might not know how to create your own business. So what could you do to learn? You could take some business classes online, or even reading a couple of books (try The Lean Startup or The $100 Startup)

“But Paul, I don’t have time to do all of these things”

If you use this excuse, then I assume that you are telling me that you have not watched TV in 2 years. You have not gone on Facebook in a year. You haven’t gone out drinking with friends, and your life consists of sleep, work, quick meals, and more sleep. That’s right, it can be a sacrifice to learn, but you have the choice. You COULD do all of those “great things” right now, if only you would commit.

Taking the Plunge

So why don’t we commit? Why don’t we take the plunge and accept responsibility for our lives? Why don’t we take control of our lives?

It’s easy to hand over control. It’s easy to come home every  day, eat dinner, watch TV, then go to bed. It’s easy to just watch sports all weekend and pretend that what happens to your team actually matters. I like the Tigers, but if they win, it does not have any effect on my life.

It’s also good for our ego. If I truly believe that the only thing keeping me from being successful is this conspiracy against me, then I still believe I’m amazing, but it’s bad luck that has kept me from being successful. That’s bull, and deep down you know it.

It is so damned easy to believe we don’t have control of our lives – that we are on some treadmill, and if only we could have the same advantages as those rich people, then we would make it big. But that’s just a lie. The truth is, you have all of those advantages. Do you have what it takes to make $10 Billion? Probably not. Could you become a truly successful individual? Absolutely! But no one will ever give you success. They will give you the illusion of success, but true success will never be handed out. That, you have to earn.

The Secret to Success

Everyone wants to know the secret to success. There is absolutely no formula for success, but I can tell you that it begins with hard work. Yes, that’s right – the cliche that everyone hopes is not true is actually true – success comes from hard work.

Nearly every “self-help” or “personal development” course/book/video out there comes down to hard work. You have to work at the things you do. You can’t just want it, but you must work at it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some tricks we can use to stack the deck in our favor (see The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale for an example) but ultimately it all comes down to hard work.

Take for example a course I am currently enrolled in. How to Make Your First Dollar – created by Noah Kagan and the AppSumo team. It provides a wonderful guide for anyone interested in starting their own business. It’s an easy to follow course, and is rather brilliant, but it is meaningless without the work that you must put in. Courses and books can point you in the right direction, but you still have to put in the hours in order to reap the rewards.

Is that discouraging? It shouldn’t be – it just means that you have to work for what you really want, and not get distracted by meaningless little things like getting caught up in the rat race at work. Focus on what you want, and eventually you will get where you need to be.

To gain confidence, concentrate your thoughts for 30 minutes/day upon thinking of the person you intend to become and create a clear mental picture.

-Napolean Hill (quoted by Noah Kagan)


So you see, you are not a victim. No one is pulling the strings of your life except you. Accept responsibility today for what happens in your life tomorrow, and you will be well on your way to building a life you are proud of and one that you control.


It’s all up to you.

What do You Really Want Out of Life? Find Your Passion

I write a lot on this blog about how to get what you want – through productivity, personal development, and of course, Health, Wealth, and Love.

However, what if you don’t know what you want? So many people I talk to are just adrift – floating from job to job, girlfriend to girlfriend, video game to video game. They have no idea what they want, so what is the point of taking control? So they can more efficiently drift? No, that doesn’t make any sense.

This is a difficult topic for many folks to understand – they have always known what they want, and know what to pursue. Others haven’t known exactly what they want, but they have a general idea. If this is you, then stop reading this post now – you won’t get much out of it.

Perhaps I can help you to find what you really want out of life by telling my story. Keep in mind, however, that just because you know what you want, doesn’t mean that you’ll know how to get there, or that you’ll ever get there. However, Padorec readers are self actualized individuals who have control of their lives, and find a way to get what they want. You are one of these individuals. But know that just knowing what you want won’t be a magic pill.

My Story

I am not one of those people that has always known exactly what I want. Deep down, I have known, but I didn’t understand what I wanted for years. My Dad is fond of telling a story about when I was a kid. Apparently, I turned to him at one point and declared, very matter-of-factly, “Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up.”
“What’s that?” He inquired, excited to hear what his only son had decided his fate should be.
“I’m going to be a Millionaire. I’m not sure how I’ll make it there, but I will be a Millionaire,” said I. Such a precocious little kid.

The reason I wanted the Million dollars was that I realized from a young age that being rich isn’t about having things (though many people use their money for that.) It’s about having the ability to control where the resources of the world go. If you are altruistic, then you can direct the resources to projects that help humanity. If you are a spoiled little brat, then you direct the resources to a luxury home builder, a Lamborghini dealership, and, maybe, to Gulf Stream. No matter how you spend it, having money gives you options.

I remember telling my Mom multiple times that I would get a bunch of money and find a cure for Diabetes. I wanted to ease her pain. I also told her I would find out why she can’t eat tomatoes, (she loves tomatoes, but can’t eat them because it causes arthritis flare ups) and then breed a tomato without that particular chemical compound. I wanted to ease her pain, and improve her quality of life.

I also have always loved learning. Every subject imaginable captures my interest. I never really accepted that it was impossible to know everything. I believed that we could find a way to cram the entirety of human knowledge into our brains. I realized, however, that this would take more time than one has in a single life, which is why I do not accept that we have to die. In fact, I do not plan on dying. For some, this is a bold statement, but the scientific research actually back this up quite well. (I would direct you to read Ray Kurzweil’s books for more information)

Ray Kurzweil is one cool dude
Ray Kurzweil says you can live forever

So, I want to learn everything ever – or at least be able to call up that knowledge. Great. But then I realized that Humanity will eventually no longer be able to live on this rock we call Earth. So we need to escape. But then I realized that due to the Entropy (and a couple of laws of thermodynamics), we will need to escape this Universe. Okay, that’s when I developed my own theory of the multi-verse (before I ever read a thing about the concept of a multiverse I might add). We need to figure out how to escape this universe.

Okay, so to learn everything, I have to not die. Additionally, we will need to know what exists outside of this Universe, so we have to escape this Universe. Additionally, I want humanity to live on, so to do that we will have to escape earth. Then, eventually, we will have to escape the Universe. That’s cool – we can do it. But I want to be around for it.

So, ultimately, what I want to do is to Leave Humanity off Better than I found it.

That is my mission. Me manifesto. That is what I strive for – what I want.

Right now, that mission takes the form of this blog. If I can help to create one self actualized individual because of this blog, then I have succeeded. I know I want to help humanity, and now I have a target.

How Does This Help You?

Telling stories about myself is fun. Now you can see just a little bit of what goes on in the – sometimes messed up – mind of Paul Recchia. But how does this apply to you?
If you are struggling to know what you want to do with your life, then ask yourself one question. What gets you excited? 
Is it your spouse? Your Kids? Maybe you are meant to be a family man or woman.
Your Job? Sales? Maybe you should be a career shark.
Tinkering in your garage? Maybe be a Mechanic, or inventor.
Money? (A lot of people seem to be driven by this, unfortunately) then follow my example above, and figure out why you are excited about money. Is it because of the things you can buy with it? Then ask yourself why those things excite you.
Reading? Learning? Then maybe you are meant to be a lifelong scholar.

Action Plan

I could keep listing examples, but the point is that you need to take some time, do some soul searching, and understand what really fires you up. If nothing fires you up, then it may be time to try something new. Take an art class. Go get a video camera and start making videos. Start blogging, take a course on business, go to a new bar. Whatever it is, try something new. If nothing you are doing right now gets you excited, then it’s time for you to go seek it out.
A lot of people struggle with this because of invisible scripts. They are full of self-doubt, and believe that they can’t pursue a passion because it wont’ pay well.
News flash, you don’t need lots of money if you are fulfilled. You need some money to pay bills, but not gobs of it. If you are enjoying your passion, then ask yourself, what is the point of having more money?
Pro Tip: if you are doing something you are passionate about, others will notice and you may even be able to turn that passion into an additional income (that’s for a wholly different post).
They think that they have to be “responsible” and follow the social norms. Screw social norms. If you love to travel, then find a way to quit your job and travel. If that’s too extreme, then go take a really great trip. Use up your vacation, use up a chunk of your bank account, but go do it.
Understand that you do not have to be drastic right now. There is no risk in finding out what you want to do – you don’t need to worry about quitting your job, or booking a trip around the world. Right now, you just need to find the thing you love to do. If you love it, and you’ve identified it, then you have accomplished your mission thus far. You still have to figure out the how, and Padorec will help with that, but at least the what is taken care of.

Eat All-American without the All-American Waistline


Apple Pie.
Those things are quintessentially American. If you talk about any of them around the world (except football), they will mean America.
Unfortunately, there is something else that is recognized as American around the world:
Our growing waistlines.
America is easily the fattest country in the world, and that is just so sad. What can we do about it? Well, we can all change our diets, exercise more, and change our lives for the better.
Want an extra 10 years on your life? Me too.
I am on a personal quest for greater health. Since February 8th (when I started on a juice fast), I have been following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s eating plan from his book Eat to Live, and I have had wonderful results.
I’ve lost 72 pounds in four months.
Cholesterol is down 17%
Blood Pressure is perfect (117 over 72, versus 140/95 previously)
Enough of me harping about health. I’ve linked the resources, so if you would like to learn more, it’s up to you!

Apple Pie that’s Good for You?

You probably have no problems eating delicious Apple Pie, but it’s not the best thing in the world for you.
Why not make some healthy Apple Pie. I got a wonderful recipe from Carrie over at Carrie on Vegan in her post “A Modern Twist to Vegan Apple Pie
I made this recently, and I am in love with this dessert. My Mom even made this for me for my Birthday earlier this week!
This pie really will not stick around for long

It has everything – wonderful crust, massive mound of moist apples, sweet taste, cinnamon goodness, and a secret ingredient!!!

Here’s the recipe from Carrie. My comments are in brackets.
Make it. Enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty about it.

All-American, Guilt-Free Apple Pie Recipe

For the Filling
  • 6 Fuji Apples (or other sweet, red apple) [Paul: I had MASSIVE apples]
  • 1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice [Paul: Use store bought if you’d like]
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast [Paul: If you can’t get it, still make this pie]
For the Crust
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  1. Core the apples and cut them into bite-sized pieces. [Paul: I quartered mine and cut out the core. I then sliced them on a mandoline to get bite-sized pieces.]
  2. Combine the apples, orange juice, raisins, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until apples are softened. Stir in nutritional yeast and set aside to cool off.
  3. Place almonds, walnuts, and oats into a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the remaining cinnamon and vanilla. Turn the food processor on, and add the dates through the feeding tube one at a time. Process until mixture is well combined. [Paul: Read below for those without full size food processors]
  4. Pour the contents of the food processor into the pie dish and use your hands to spread evenly into the dish. Place the crust in the refrigerator to chill for at least an our.
  5. When you are ready to assemble teh pie, pour the apple mixture into the pie crust and serve cold or at room temperature.
That’s it. There’s your All-American-without-the-American-waistline Pie!!!
For those with small food processors.
I do not have a full sized food processor. I have a mini-prep, however. 
Here’s how I handled this.
I processed the almonds into a powder. I dumped them into a large bowl.
I processed the walnuts and oats. I dumped them into a large bowl.
I processed 3/4c. of dates with some of the powder from my large bowl. I dumped them into the large bowl.
I repeated with the last of the dates.
I added cinnamon and vanilla to the large bowl.
I mixed by hand. 
This takes longer. The result works. 
So there you go, not having a food processor isn’t an excuse (a blender should work, but will take more work on your part to make it work.)

Seriously, this is one dish that you will be excited to serve to company!

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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).

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!

Do You Eat to Live, or Live to Eat?

Eat to Live, don’t Live to Eat!

This is a wonderfully ubiquitous phrase. So many people offer it up as diet advice – “You just have to eat to live, not live to eat”…that’s akin to telling a kid “do better at math”.

It’s a nice sound bite, and when you understand the foundations of nutrition  and the psychology behind eating, it’s a nice phrase to give you a boost when you need it. To continue our analogy, it’s like telling someone who understands complex differential equations that they’ve gotten lazy and need to do better next time – the phrase is more helpful in that context.

So why am I spewing out these wildly entertaining analogies? Because I have begun eating to live. For the longest time, I lived to eat. I was a cook – often I say I am a chef, but technically that would be incorrect – since the age of 13. Many would say I was destined to be a chef, though.

  • I was accepted to culinary school with a scholarship
  • I cooked for all of my parents special occasions
  • I mastered truly difficult concepts and cuisines with little more than the food network to guide me (we’re talking chocolate truffles, smoked barbecue, homemade pastas, homemade breads/pizzas, Mexican  Indian  Italian, French, English, German, pastries. I nailed it all!)
  • I was even featured on a 30 minute episode on the Food Network
To say that my life revolved around food would be an understatement. When I was in college (not for culinary school), I used to cook my own food in the cafeteria with the crude instruments they made available for us instead of eating the pre-made stuff, and I even had friends asking me to make their food as well, because what I made was so much tastier.

Eating to Live – Enter the Nutritarian

I kind of understand what it means to Eat to Live now, though I’m not going to spoil it for you – you’ll all have epiphany’s at some point and realize what it really means to Eat to Live (hint: first, you must understand what it really means to live)
I have begun a new way of eating in the past couple of weeks. I’ve been trying to keep my enthusiasm tempered, but it is difficult to do so. I have more energy than I have had in a long time. I’m able to focus as well as I could in High School – I was one of the kids who could actually focus in high school. In 13 days since I started eating this way, I have lost 29 pounds of weight. It just seems to melt off.
I have been doing this by following a nutritarian style of eating. 
What does that mean? It means that I choose the foods I eat based on their nutrient density. I have not limited myself, and I am not following portion controls – those two guidelines are the tenets of *diets* which fail all the time.
You can read all about this lifestyle in a couple of books from Joel Fuhrman:

Fair Disclosure: I get a cut if you click on one of these links and buy something, though it won’t cost you any extra.

Now, I’m not a Doctor, but Dr. Fuhrman is. He’s been a family physician for 20 years. He has guided thousands of patients on this journey, and he has reviewed over 20,000 medical and nutritional papers while developing this program. He knows his stuff.

Eat for Health? I Just Want to Lose Weight

Don’t worry, you will absolutely lose weight. But consider that if you are old enough to read this blog, you are old enough to have the early stages of Atherosclerosis, which basically means you have heart disease, and will probably die younger than you need to. We’re seeing this medical issue in 8 year olds now, and nearly everyone develops it as they get older (if you’re 30, and are not a true health freak…I promise you have developed Atherosclerosis)
The good news is, you can reverse this disease. You can reverse heart disease, you can prevent cancer, you can reverse Type II Diabetes, you can fix your Rheumatoid Arthritis. These aren’t crackpot claims, they are researched, and have been proven to be part of the results of a nutritarian eating plan. 
Let’s take a quick poll:
If you could choose only one, which would it be?
  1. Start getting sick in your 50’s, with major medical issues in your 60’s. Die in your 70’s…maybe 80’s if you are lucky, and don’t die of heart disease or cancer first
  2. Feel vibrant at 50, strong at 60, healthy at 70, still strong at 80, and be able to do your own yard work and work on your house in your 90’s
Easy decision, right? Well guess what, the two scenarios above are based on the two diets below
  1. Scenario 1 (painful, early death) is tied to the Standard American Diet (SAD) and even the diet of many Mediteranean countries now
  2. Scenario 2 is related to a diet that is focused on whole, nutrient dense plant foods.

Healthy Food Tastes Like Cardboard Though!

It’s true. If you eat the “diet” foods out there, the stuff that is labeled as “healthy”, then it usually tastes like crap (but, ironically, is nearly as bad for you as the unhealthy stuff it is replacing)
The key is that you don’t buy food that has to tell you it’s healthy. You buy the actual healthy foods. I’m talking mostly fruits and vegetables. Some nuts and seeds. Legumes (that’s a fancy word for beans). 
Then, you put them together in delicious ways, and voila! You have a method for eating healthy, and putting food in your body that you body will thrive on. 
But won’t you get hungry? You’re not eating anything substantial, right?
Wrong. You’ll actually feel more full than you ever have, because you’ll be properly nourished. You’ll lose your toxic hunger, eventually, and you’ll only feel true hunger. Let me be clear that eating what one co-worker deemed “rabbit food” has made me feel more satisfied than I ever have felt before.

Let me repeat that. Eating whole, nutrient-dense foods has made me feel more full, and more satisfied, than ever before.

Please ignore the gimmicky, Ron Popeil style. The information is good

How can YOU Eat to Live?

Well, I don’t want to rush you into things. If you rush in without understanding the underlying basis behind these recommendations, then you’ll likely starve yourself, and end up with another failed “diet” on your hands.
I highly recommend you read one or both of the books above. They give a fantastic background on nutrition (even if you think you know nutrition, you will learn something, I promise) and Eat to Live is only like $6.
If you want the recommendations right now, then I’ll give them to you, but I’m telling you – read the book. You will be glad that you have the nutritional background. At the very least, start reading the book at the same time as you start the eating plan.

The Nutritarian lifestyle (aka the Eat to Live plan by Dr. Joel Fuhrman)

There are 3 categories of food that we look at. The foods that are Unlimited, those which are limited, and those that are off limits. After 6 weeks, you can start to introduce some of the off limits food (though everyone I have talked to who has done this has said the same thing: “I didn’t even like the foods I used to eat when I tried them again”)


  • All raw vegetables, with an emphasis on greens (goal: 1 lb. daily)
  • Cooked green vegetables and non-green nutrient dense vegetables (goal: 1 lb. daily)
    • The non-green nutrient vegetables are: Eggplant, Mushroom, Peppers, Onions, Tomato, and other non-starchy vegetables
  • Fresh Fruit (at least 4 daily)
  • Beans, Legumes, Bean Sprouts (minimum 1 cup daily total)


  • Cooked starchy vegetables OR whole grains – (MAX: 1 cup daily)
    • This includes: butternut or acorn squash, corn, sweet potato, brown rice, cooked carrots, whole grain breads, whole grain cereals (avoid the bread and cereals as much as possible)
  • Raw nuts and seeds (1 oz daily) or 2 ounces avocado
  • Ground Flaxseed (1 tablespoon daily – you should strive for this)
  • Soymilk, low-sugar preferred (MAX: 1 cup daily)
    • I try not to eat or drink anything soy, because I feel the jury is still out on the safety of soy in large doses

OFF LIMITS (That means NONE)

  • Dairy Products
  • Animal Products
  • Between Meal Snacks
  • Fruit Juice, dried fruits
  • Salt, Sugar
  • Oils
It sounds intense, doesn’t it? It sounds extreme, doesn’t it? Well then read the book – every single suggestion here is backed up by incredible amounts of medical research. I will not list it all here – that would be superfluous.
If you want to dive in, again, read the book as you go, or, ideally, read the book first. 
I will keep you posted along the way, will continue to give tips, and would love to hear from all of you on how you are doing!

I thought Fruit was Bad – It has Sugar

It’s true that fruit has sugar. It’s also true that Fruit has antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and likely hundreds of other compounds we have not even discovered yet which will protect you from cancer and other diseases. Fruit is an important part of your diet, so don’t let one macro nutrient keep you from eating the hundreds of other compounds that you body desperately needs.
While we’re at it, Olive Oil is not good for you either. All oil is detrimental to health. The study (notice the singular form, one single study) that showed olive oil reduced cholesterol was misguided. In follow-up studies, those with a diet high in Olive Oil did reduce cholesterol. The problem is that Cholesterol doesn’t cause Heart Disease – it’s a marker for heart disease, a measurement for heart disease. Those who ate the olive oil had reduced Cholesterol, but had the exact same risk of heart disease as those who ate the diet rich in saturated fat.
This is Dr. Caldwell Eccleston – one of the world leaders in preventing and reversing Heart Disease
He is in his 70’s. Wouldn’t you like to look that good in your 70’s?

100 Calories of Broccoli has more Protein than 100 Calories of Steak

I have heard so many people tell me “You won’t get enough Protein!”

Excuse my french, but bullshit. There have been countless studies that have shown that not only is a vegan diet rich in protein, but that animal protein in the quantities most people consume it is actually detrimental to your health in a big way. 

And don’t feed me the “but our ancestors ate meat” argument. You know what our ancestors ate? They ate mostly greens, fruits, and other vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds. Sometimes, they would get lucky and get some meat. They ate what they needed to survive, and our bodies are adapted to be adaptable, but they are not designed to be meat processing machines.
100 calories of Broccoli has more protein than 100 calories of steak.

The largest animals on the planet are vegetarian (Whales, horses, rhinoceroses, elephants, giraffes, cows…all vegetarian.)

I don’t think I can do it

Yeah, you can. Trust me. When you are properly nourished, you lose your cravings and addictions to the bad food. Your body was likely living in a state of malnourishment for many years. This eating plan will enable your body to heal itself, and will enable you to live!

When I was home for the weekend, I cooked a few meals based on this lifestyle. My parents ate it, and loved it. Here’s what my dad told me the next week.

“You know, I ate the vegetable heavy foods you made last weekend, and I felt really great. It’s not like I even stopped eating the other stuff, but I felt so different – in a good way. I wasn’t hungry after eating that veggie lasagna until the next day at lunch! 

A couple of days later, after eating the junk again, I could feel it slowing me down”

I’m hoping my parents will join me on this food journey – I’d certainly like to see them live vibrantly into their 90’s. So join us on this journey. Read the book – at the very least, you’ll learn something, and in the best case, you’ll change your life forever.

So why not give it a shot. What do you have to lose? 29 pounds in 12 days sounds pretty sweet, right? 

Tips for Weight Loss: How to Set a Reward for Yourself!

Recently, I blogged about an $11,000 trip I am setting up as a reward for myself for getting to 200 pounds. I’d like to dive a bit deeper into why I set up this reward, and how you can do it too.

Why set a reward?

Often times, the reward set for weight loss is something small, like “I’ll go to the spa”, or “I’ll feel better”, or “The Weight loss is its own reward”. That’s phooey, I want something big. If I get to 200 pounds (which I haven’t been at since I was like 11) I want something that means it was worth it. I will likely set up rewards along the way as well (I’m thinking a flight to New York to see Book of Mormon at, say, 300 pounds) and I may even set up some anti-rewards, ala Tim Ferriss, but this is my final, major goal, and reward.
This is a fantastic, powerful reward…most would say.

This is also going to be a bit painful. You see, if I don’t hit my goal, then I will constantly see $11,000 sitting in this account, earning minimal interest. That is painful to someone who invests his money. This is a constant reminder of what I am saving, and why I am saving. The excitement of what is waiting at the end of the road is great, but when I need the motivation, I’ll have the pain of seeing so much cash sitting uninvested.

Choose a Good Reward – You Deserve It

This works for any goal setting – weight loss, weight gain, starting a business, learning a language (a great reward for learning a language is a trip to that country!), etc.
I am focusing on Weight loss in this post, because it is a universal goal.
If you need help setting a realistic weight loss goal, click here first.
Okay, have you set a goal? Great. Now it’s time to set a reward.
Here are your guidelines:
  • Your Reward must be tangible
  • Your Reward must be allowed only when your goal is met
  • Your Reward must be big and expensive*
  • Your Reward must be something you can brag about
  • Your Reward must be something that excites you
* Expensive is a relative term. If you make $40k/year, then a $2,000 reward might be expensive. If you make $500,000 a year, then $25,000 might be expensive. $11,000 is a lot of money to me, so I chose that, but I know that is way too much for many people as well – I had to do something really big for myself to be a kick in the a**.

Some suggestions for rewards:
  • A trip – Anything from a trip to a local amusement park, to a year long trip around the world
  • A car – For those who are making $500k/year
  • A new TV or other tech gadget (Phone, Game system, computer, etc.)
  • A 2 day spa retreat
  • A new pet (dog, cat, fish, mouse, snake, hamster, gerbil, alligator)
  • A really delicious meal at a fancy restaurant (best for non-weight loss goals)

How to Track a Reward

My preferred method for tracking a reward (not a goal) is a four pronged approach.
  1. Create a savings account just for your reward (this assumes your bank can support this, otherwise, use a spreadsheet, or a simple piece of paper)
  2. Set up the Goal in Mint to track how well you are moving toward your goal.
  3. Calculate how much your reward will cost, and when you are targeting to finish your goal (Mint can help with this)
  4. Set up an automatic draft into your reward account each month
    1. The equation to use is: Cost of reward/# of months until goal attainment = Monthly amount to save
I set up a new account in ING Direct (Capital One 360) called “Around the World” and funded it with $1,000
I set up the goal in Mint for $11,000, with the goal of achieving it by April, 2015
Mint told me I need to save $385 per month to reach my goal
I set up an automatic transfer into this account of $192.50, twice per month (when I get paid)
I created a third account in ING Direct
I then created the goal in Mint

This method forces you to commit to your goal. You are automatically putting money toward this reward, and by doing so, you are taking out one of the barriers that could trip you up: Your own psyche. Computers don’t tell little lies to themselves “well, it wasn’t the right reward”, “I could use this money elsewhere”, “I don’t need this, I have strong will power” – all a bunch of fear based BS. The computer will, every month, automatically transfer the cash.

This provides automatic incentive, and many, if not all of us, can absolutely use some automatic incentive.

As I set additional rewards for my journey, I will be using exactly this approach.

Final Step: Take Action Now

Isn’t this a great idea?

Yes, it is, so take 10 minutes right now to define a goal and a reward. I then will grant you 48 hours to refine or change your goal/reward.

But starting right now, take 10 minutes and define your goal and reward, a starting point at least.

I bet you already have a goal – perhaps one you’ve been talking about for the past 2 years or so, saying “I’m going to do it”. I bet it has been part of at least one broken New Years Resolution. Goals can be refined along the way, but pick an ultimate goal, and pick a reward…NOW.

When you are enjoying your trip, or car, or video game, or dinner, or whatever your reward is, I think you’ll be pretty happy that you took these ten minutes to set a goal, set your reward, and commit to changing your life for the better.

Your new life begins in 10 minutes, so get to it.


Here’s some more motivation. Visualize the goal. You have money sitting in front of you, but if you are just not motivated by money enough, then really visualize what the reward will be like!

For example: During my ’round the world trip, I will be finding this place, and staying there:

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Tips for Weight Loss: Set a Goal…AND a Reward

Of the 3 facets of taking control of your life, Health, Wealth, and Love, my main focus right now is on Health.

I have a lot of goals, a lot of interests, and a lot of hobbies. However, one of the most persistent goals throughout my life has been to be a normal weight.

There’s Something about Paul

When I was a newborn baby, I was an underweight child – I was lactose intolerant but my parents didn’t know it right away. I threw up every night (can you imagine how awful it must have felt to have a child who was sick constantly? I love my parents – that had to be awful). Then, when they figured out that I was intolerant of lactose, I was able to keep food down (lactaid to the rescue!). I got to a normal weight, and then I just kept going, and going and going. You see, except for a few brief months as a newborn, I’ve been overweight all my life.

I was on weight watchers by age 10 (maybe 8? It’s hard to remember), worked with a nutritionist, and was even featured on Food Network’s Cooking Thin. The host, Kathleen Daelemans worked with overweight individuals to show them they could be successful at losing weight – because she had been in the same shoes.

For a very long time, now, I have weighed over 300 pounds – when I was 16, I was nearly down below 300, and then my Birthday happened. I know it sounds crazy to let one event throw off years of work, but it happens. It’s a perfect storm of cravings, low will power, and one event to push you over the edge. The bad habits come flooding back in. This often occurs with the following promises “well, it’s okay to cheat for one day”, “Once I get back home, then it’s back to the diet”, “I worked hard, I deserve a little break, then back to it!” Eventually, the promises stop, and the weight comes back.

I had a few bouts of weight loss in college, and another one earlier this year (lost like 20-30 pounds), but the weight came back. Now, I’m back to where I started – realizing I need to change.

Now, this post is not about the psychological challenges I’ll face – I’m sure I’ll post about those in the future. This is about the goal I am setting for myself, and the associated reward.

My Goal: To reduce my weight to 200 pounds

My Reward: A trip around the world

Now, let me walk you through the reasoning. I’ve recently gotten into travel hacking as a mild hobby. It’s a fun one. Travel hacking is essentially finding a way to travel more than the average person, for much less than it would cost the average person, usually by acquiring frequent flier miles and hotel points, and by using those strategically to book travel for a very low cost – sometimes an international trip for hundreds of dollars.

Why Wait to Travel?

For domestic travel, I’m fine – airplanes and hotels are built for fat Americans now, so it’s not that big of an issue.

However, when looking at International travel, a lot of compromises must be made. Smaller planes, middle seats, small hotel rooms, these all favor someone of a smaller stature.

Additionally, enjoying a lot of these countries requires one to be in semi-decent shape. I have bad knees, and am developing a bad back – I don’t want to get to Thailand and not be able to walk around to see the country!

Furthermore, one thing almost no one thinks of – clothes. Taking clothes for someone my size takes up a lot of space – One of my shirts takes up the space of like 3 shirts someone at a normal weight would – this makes it even more difficult to travel!

So what’s a guy to do? Easy, I’m putting off my trip around the world until I reach my goal weight. To make sure I work toward this, I have set up a separate account in ING Direct with $1,000 (now Capital One 360) for my ’round the world Trip. I have defined the goal in Mint, and am putting away $385 per month to reach this goal. This means that in 2 years or so, I’ll have $11,000 saved up to take this around the world trip. I don’t know if I’ll need the whole 11 grand (I hope not!) but this will allow me to live in some luxury along the way. I am currently planning on 21 days, though that will obviously be subject to change when I start booking my travel in 2 years – I’d love to go for 2 or more months!

This is my story: in the coming days, I will provide you with the guidelines to set your own goal and reward. 2013 is the year for goals, and what goes great with Goals? Rewards!!!

Juice Fast Journal: Day 5

I’m partaking in a 5-day juice fast. To read more about it, and see how you can do it too, check out: The Juice Fast Rules
I am going to keep a daily journal, which will be posted at the end of each day. Wish me luck! When this is all over, I will be a happier, healthier, more energetic self!

Juice Fast Journal: Day 1
Juice Fast Journal: Day 2
Juice Fast Journal: Day 3
Juice Fast Journal: Day 4


Feeling much better this morning. I’m a bit tired, but I am not having those hunger pangs again. The weirdest thing is: I had a dream last night that I accidentally broke my fast on the morning of day 5. I kept writing “failure” everywhere – on my menu, on the recipe…bizarre. I guess writing about breaking the fast right before I went to sleep wasn’t the best thing in the world for my subconscious. 
Weight loss slowed to 0.4 pounds lost.


Well, I had my green juice – Mean Green (though with pears instead of apples). I think I just got hit hard with some detox flu though. It’s like there was a backup of…something, and this is kick starting everything again. Feeling really tired right now. Not in the best condition ever right now, but I’ll persevere.


The Mean Green definitely did help this morning, and straining it was clutch – I don’t know why, but Kale Pulp kind of makes me sick. Here’s the thing, I’m feeling that same deep down, intense hunger I felt yesterday evening. I have about 25 ounces of Juice here at work – if it isn’t enough to keep this at bay, then I’ll be breaking the fast. I believe Juice Fasting to be very good for you, but I am also a very firm believer in listening to your body. 
I’ve been reading through a few articles on Juice Fasting, and have made a connection – the early stage symptoms of a Juice fast are eerily similar to the early stages of Atkins. A quick search for “symptoms of Ketosis” show that the symptoms are nearly the same – headache, body odor, bad breath, headache, lethargy…it’s all the same. I may go ahead and try to find some ketone testing strips before I end this fast. I think we could all use a little empirical evidence regarding Juice Fasting anyway.
I’m also seeing a lot of evidence that a few of the claims of Juice fasting are a bit bogus (we all knew *some* of it would be). For example, there is very little evidence that impacted fecal matter is a real thing (the idea that there is old, putrid fecal matter stuck to your intestine walls). I’m not saying that this is impossible, but that I would like to see more evidence for it. Further, the “Detox Flu” symptoms appears to be simple Ketosis (not simple at all, but you get what I mean). I will hopefully be able to confirm or deny that, at least for myself, shortly.
Either way, Juice Fasting is still a great way to pump loads of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) into your body. The fear of a limited protein diet should be put to rest by having a varied assortment of vegetables – raw vegetables (mostly leafy greens) contain all of the amino acids we need (the essential Amino acids). By taking them in their raw form, and not in cooked protein, I believe it is actually easier for our system to process than a complete protein in the form of Animal Protein or Soy. Consider that horses have one of the highest percentages of muscle per body weight, and they are vegetarian – this doesn’t prove that we process food the same as horses, but does show that all protein requirements are available in a pure vegan, non-soy diet. 
That was a bit of a mind dump – I spent a good chunk of time reading up new information, and since this is a journal, I was able to get it out. I’m off for my juice now.


I’m feeling better now, but I think I am going to break my fast tomorrow morning. I will break it with fruit: Orange, Watermelon, Honeydew melon, etc. I really toyed with the idea of going longer, but it doesn’t feel right, right now. And to me, juice fasting might feel painful sometimes, miserable other times, but it always feels “right” as you’re going through it. Right now, it’s just not feeling right. Whether that is a lack of enthusiasm, or not, it’s how I feel.
I also read something interesting over at – Dr. Andrew Weil pointed out that during a fast, the first two days we are getting energy from foods which were still in our digestive system. The following two days, we are using up the glycogen stores from our livers. The true fast occurs on day 5+ … perhaps that’s why I felt a bit different today. I’m also really looking forward to a kale salad tomorrow for lunch. Like…a lot! I really want that salad – I almost went and got it tonight, but I am going to complete the full 5 days, just so I can say I did it! 
And I did do it.

Juice Fast Journal: Day 4

I’m partaking in a 5-day juice fast. To read more about it, and see how you can do it too, check out: The Juice Fast Rules
I am going to keep a daily journal, which will be posted at the end of each day. Wish me luck! When this is all over, I will be a happier, healthier, more energetic self!

Juice Fast Journal: Day 1
Juice Fast Journal: Day 2
Juice Fast Journal: Day 3
Juice Fast Journal: Day 5


Wow, no post until now, today has been busy! Today has been considerably easier. I am still drinking my citrus juice from this morning (delicious, tasty, and, I’m sure, full of sugar) I have had a few co-workers asking me about what I’m doing – most in disbelief at what I am doing. Unfortunately, one of my co-workers is making Chicken and Dumplings tonight, and I have to say no 🙁 So that’s a downside. Of course, I suppose I could go make a juice, and then head on over to his house…no reason to be anti-social.
I am not having a whole lot of physical reactions to the fast today. A headache at one point – I upped the water intake, and drank some juice. Pretty simple. I do still have the gross taste in my mouth, but that’s to be expected as part of detox. I slept longer last night, but was still tired this morning. The important thing is: I have not had any negative effects on my work (either professional or personal). The Juice fast is making me feel better, and I’m very happy about that! 
Also, more weight loss this morning – 2 more pounds. This can be so damn encouraging – I’m 18 pounds lighter than I was just 81 hours ago. I grant that a good deal of that is water weight (most, in fact, is likely water weight), but to have 18 fewer pounds wearing on your joints just makes you feel a whole heck of a lot better!


It’s interesting – I don’t have a whole lot to journal about regarding the juice fast. I’m drinking less juice than I thought I would, but I’m honestly not missing food right now. I’m not facing major side effects, or massive challenges. I’m pretty much back into living my life, with the juice as an afterthought. This evening, when I was hungry, I prepared my dinner – except instead of chopping vegetables and cooking them up, I chopped up fruits and vegetables and juiced them. I’m amazed at how much it doesn’t feel strange to be juicing. It honestly feels like I’ve been doing it all my life – the fact that I’m very open about it at work, and I’m blogging about it daily helps too, I’m sure.
I think the thing that will be most difficult, if I choose to extend (and I think I will), is when I go to Dallas this weekend to hang out with friends. Food is always part of that relationship, as is drinking. I usually drink coffee at home (my parents house) and I developed a lot of my poor eating habits in that house. I’d be concerned about the environmental factors I might face. 
We shall see how I handle it. It’s difficult to eat healthy when you are somewhere for a short amount of time – consider that if you buy fruits and vegetables, you can’t just buy what looks good and come up with a plan, it feels like you need to have a plan before shopping, which takes forethought. Not impossible, but more difficult. That will certainly be a great challenge, though!


I think I’m feeling real, true, hunger pangs. I have not had any greens in my juices today (this plan seriously needs some work) and I’ve heard that it’s the greens that actually “feed” you. The nutrient density of the greens (I assume) give you the nourishment you need, whereas the more fruit/sugar related juices do not provide this nourishment. I am set to have Sunset juice (sweet/fruit) for breakfast and Mean Green for lunch. I think I’ll change that and do Mean Green for breakfast, Sunset for Lunch. I’m like…seriously hungry right now. Hopefully I’ll make it through the night. The hunger is even a bit painful – if the Mean Green doesn’t fix this, then I’ll go ahead and break the fast. Weird change of mind, but I have a really solid idea that the Mean Green will fix this. Interesting turn of events.
Juice on Everyone!