Small Towns Have the Biggest Hearts

Small towns have the biggest hearts.
They strap you in from the start.
There is a difference between dreaming big
And not dreaming at all.

Living in Los Angeles makes it easy to forget the way of the “normal” world; getting places quickly, finding parking spots on command, leaving your doors unlocked during the day…
But there are undesirable facts about most small towns across the country; a sea of chain restaurants, lack of fresh and healthy food options, minds less opened to different walks of life and opinions about the world in general.

I’m in my small hometown visiting family for a little summer vacation. Mansfield, Ohio is known for it’s monolithic prison where the Shawshank Redemption was filmed. When finally moving from Mansfield, I felt very similar to one particular scene in the award winning movie. While it’s fantastic being around family and friends, it does make me realize that I take for granted many things that a large city offers, like fresh local produce, the juice and smoothie shop that’s walking distance from my home, my Vitamix, restaurants that have more on the menu for children besides chicken fingers and french fries!

I’m sitting in a fantastic coffee shop called RELAX, it’s just coffee. They just happen to use some of my favorite coffee beans from a popular coffee shop walking distance from my home in L.A. Proving once again the we live in a small world. And upon walking to the coffee shop, I noticed people setting up stands for their weekly Farmer’s Market! I also just ran into some old friends who advised me that there were now some natural food markets around town, a health food store that carries the fish oil that I forgot at home, etc. In short, you can find your tribe anywhere, if you’re willing to look for them!

On top of all this, I will be enjoying quality time with the family, showing them how to prepare some healthy dishes, giving some delicious non-sugar options to prepare on the quick, grilling some local, grass-fed meats for the 4th, and most importantly: getting some needed rest!

We all tend to go 100mph down the road of life. We tend to forget that the pause is just as important.
Pause
Appreciate
Breathe

This might be my favorite quality of small towns, they seem to allow and understand the pause much more than the Big City.

Okay, I’m off to relax and teach my daughter to swim.

Be well.

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7 Ways I Deal with Pain without Prescription Drugs

If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media, you know that I have a history of chronic pain. I was shot with a gun at age five, and that damned bullet has caused me misery for many years, including and not limited to partial paralysis of the right side of my body, cluster headaches, and lower back and hip pain. To top it off, I also have two bulging disks in my neck.

While I believe that Western medicine has its place and can help many people, I think dependance on prescription drugs (in my case, painkillers) is far from ideal. The pharmaceutical companies may not admit it, but there are many effective holistic and natural ways to treat pain.

The following steps are what work for me (although please note every body is different, and should be treated as such):

1. Diet Dos – things to add to your diet or add more of
– Seasonal vegetables (in particular, nutrient-dense broccoli, chard, kale, dandelion greens, spinach, blueberries, carrots and avocado)
– Healthy oils (such as olive or coconut)
– Plenty of water
– Fermented food and drink (sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kvass)
– Fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids (wild salmon, black cod, sardines)
– Almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds

2. Diet Don’t – things to cut back or eliminate from your diet
– Processed foods
– Soda and juice
– Deep-fried foods
– Alcohol
– Refined white flour
– Anything containing added sugar
– Casein

3. Stretching – helps with strength, balance, and flexibility; research the types of stretching appropriate for your individual concerns and implement a regimen morning, afternoon, and night.

4. Supplements
– Curcumin (turmeric) can be taken as a nutritional supplement or used as a spice in recipes; I find it is easiest to achieve the recommended amount in pill form. Look for supplements with 95% curcuminoids. Curcumin and turmeric are best absorbed in tandem with piperine (black pepper); make sure that your supplements contain this.
– The Omega-3 fats in fish oil help fight inflammation throughout your body and brain.

5. Meditation – find time to center yourself and focus your attention.

6. A proper pillow – poor neck support through use of an inappropriate pillow can cause neck pain and even insomnia. The cervical area of the spine is under great stress throughout the day; supporting it with a proper pillow at night can be very restorative. Although frequently uncomfortable at first, therapeutic pillows can also be helpful.

7. Exercise – the human body was not designed for our modern sedentary lifestyle. Lack of activity is bad for the muscles and joints, and there is a body of evidence hinting that it leads to certain diseases. A brisk walk, running, yoga, or even moving in place helps a great deal with pain and the prevention of “sitting diseases”.

I hope these suggestions can help alleviate a bit of pain that you might be experiencing. Life with pain is a struggle, as I know well.

Be well.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
― Hippocrates

Live Clean or Die

Perhaps the title of this piece is a bit over-the-top, but for me, it’s a statement planted in truth. If I hadn’t decided to pursue the healthiest possible lifestyle for myself, I very well could be six-feet-under, or living life under the faded mask of a man who died thirty-something years ago.

Removing all dangers from my life – permanently – has worked tremendously well for me. I’ve given up alcohol, drugs, processed and deep-fried foods, soda, most forms of sugar, and I’m working on getting rid of that most insidious toxin: EGO.

My way of living may be way too hard-lined for some people. This is why I work hard to help people gradually change their lives, by being a knowledgable support system that walks the walk.

And, please, don’t feel sorry for me. I feel better than ever. In the last year, I’ve lost twenty-one pounds, weened myself off prescription pain meds using nutrition, started a business, helped others change their lives for the better, rid myself of depression, started writing a book that I was “going to write, one day”, made my relationships with friends and family better, and, most of all, I’m looking forward to the future. I feel mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally well-equipped to go head-to-head with any adversary; I have momentum to plow through. I have wings where I once had manacles.

Do I miss the vices? Sometimes, yes. But most of the time, absolutely not. Better choices have drowned out the negativity. Quite like a “good buzz”, I don’t want this feeling to end. This “buzz” gives me the strength and confidence I’ve always searched for, and there will be no more dark bar memories or sickness due to overconsumption.

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