Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Working Monk's Breakfast

First, let me say that the primal mindset says that grains are evil. They spike blood sugar levels, leading our bodies to secrete insulin in order to get it out of the blood. (Which it usually does by storing it in fat cells, by the way.) This can lead to insulin resistance where your body starts to ignore the hormone that's meant to regulate blood sugar. This leads to increased risk for coronary artery disease and strokes. Especially in families with a genetic predisposition, like mine, insulin resistance often leads to type 2 diabetes.

Then, let me say that there are several ways to mitigate the major problems with grains.

1. Don't eat modern wheat. Use einkorn, emmer, rye, oats, and other ancient grains.
2. Use the whole grain. The extra fiber slows down your body's absorption of the carbohydrates that get converted to blood sugar. Yes, they get absorbed eventually, but it's the spike we're trying to prevent.
3. Ferment it. This breaks down gluten and starch, turning them into (delicious!) acids.
4. Eat it with LOTS of fat. Again, this slows the absorption, reducing the blood sugar spike.
5. Eat it just before or after exercising. The other things insulin can do with excess blood sugar are to burn it as fuel if you happen to need it at the time (you are currently exercising) or use it to replenish depleted muscle fuel stores (you just finished exercising).

Here's a photo essay of where this breakfast came from. I wish it included pics of our grass-fed cow being milked and our free range hens and their eggs, but alas! Not yet.

The Granary

Today's Selection.

This bread will be a classic German "fitness bread" with just rye, oats, and caraway. It's called Vollkornbrot, "full corn bread", referring to the kernels of grain that are soaked, fermented, and used whole or just cracked.

The Miller, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker.

The photographer opted for highlighting the beautiful holiday decorations and missed the mill. :)

The Mill.

It's slow, laborious, and just my style. On the floor you can see the older mill that I use for cracking grains.

The Scene.

This bread is ready to rise while I clean up the mess and start the next batch of whole grains fermenting.

Two Loaves, Ready To Slice.

Notice that one loaf is cut in half with a piece missing. In order to make sure it got baked all the way, I cut it open. And, who can resist hot, fresh-baked bread with butter? Not I. It's now a house ritual to share this first slice. Then, the loaves cool and get wrapped in plastic overnight to soften the crust in preparation for slicing.

Sliced And Ready To Eat.

It takes a very sharp knife and a strong, steady hand to make these slices as thin as is traditional. This is a very dense bread so a little goes a long way. Besides, I want to enjoy it slowly with lots of butter. Thin slices help make that feasible.

And since today is a day of heavy work, I am supplementing the bread with coffee for a little extra boost. Aaaand, lest you think me too abstemious, this breakfast is only meant to power me for a couple of hours until lunch, a larger meal with lots of veggies and greens. Dinner is predominantly meat and greens. Repeat.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2400 Feet Means SNOW!!!

Those of you who've followed my blog for the last few years will recall that I seem to move my studio every six months or so. This has been the result of growing fast, gaining independence, and finally, relocating our whole group to the mountains.

I've spent a number of winters in Southern Oregon, but always at around 1,000 feet elevation. Yes, it snows, but it's never more than a foot or so and it generally melts within a few days. Yeah, sometimes it sticks around for a week or two, maybe even as much as a month, but that's pretty rare.

The mountains are different. We have had snow nonstop for almost a week now. It's real snow, too. Sometimes a foot or more a day. And, yes, it warms up between squalls, but not enough to really melt much.

These are the steps that lead to my studio. In the two days since I shoveled, about three feet of snow has landed on them. This is helped by the fact that the roof dumps directly onto them. I spent extra time shoveling off the roof before even starting on the steps.

Yesterday, the first hour of my work day went toward gaining access to the studio. This snow was extremely wet and heavy, requiring extra work to get it unstuck from the shovel. I guess this counts as a cardio workout, don't ya think?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Long Time!

Hey, folks!

It's been a long time since I posted an update, so this will just be an overview of what's up.

Wintertime depression is a real thing in my life. When the days get short and cold it affects my ability to get much done. I don't really think straight. I forget a lot of things. And my motivation to keep up with production while planning the next year's shows isn't always there.

And this year I've focused a ton of energy on diet and exercise to help keep the depression in check. I spend lots of time nearly every day exploring the forests in my area for pleasure and exercise. One side effect is that I've lost over 30 pounds and 6 inches off my waist since August while gaining muscle mass and definition. I have a lot more energy and everything is easier a) without shlepping around all that fat and b) with more muscle to move my new body around. Movement often feels like dancing to me now. It's kind of amazing.

I've got a lot of stuff I want to talk about, but I think it's going to have to wait a little longer.

Here are some upcoming topics:
Shows: How To Do A Professional Photo Shoot
Shows: How To Analyze Income
Shows: How To Choose Good Shows
Fitness: Cost/Benefit Analysis
Fitness: Primal Lifestyle Basics
Primal Lifestyle: Minimalist Footwear
Primal Lifestyle: Cold Water Plunges
Primal Lifestyle: Handling Holiday Eating
Depression: Cortisol
Depression: Light And Circadian Rhythms
Depression: Insulin Sensitivity

I can't even guess how long it's going to take me to write the next post, say nothing of completing this series. I just wanted to give y'all an idea of what's swirling in my head and might make its way into the blog soon.

Be well!