Monday, May 15, 2017

Independence, entrepreneurship, trading equities, and the value of time.

I recently began my adventure as an entrepreneur, when I founded my own company called Prometheon Neuroenhancement (soon to be re-branded as True Focus) in the summer of 2016; specializing in cognitive enhancement techniques that are applicable to a number of areas.  The spectrum of utility ranges from decreasing depression and anxiety, to improving working memory and enhancing productivity.

Before I started my business, I was working retail at Pier 1 imports - lugging furniture, arranging candles, and sporting a big smile in my large blue apron. Now don't get me wrong, this was a great place to work, but as I was working there, struggling to pay my bills, I realized an important fact:  that time is the most precious resource we are in possession of.

I founded my business in part because I wanted to pursue more independence as a matter of self-actualization, but also practicality - the endeavors that interest me the most happen to be the most profitable in terms of a time : revenue ratio.  I will explain this in more detail a little later, but the need to properly invest my time became greater and greater as my financial situation got worse.

The realization that I was bleeding time was an important one. Because I was converting time into money for pennies on the dollar, with little prospect for advancement, a raise, or any significant return on that investment. What was the worst, was that I had to spend much less time investing in myself

I decided to take the knowledge I had accumulated on neurohacking, and start my consultancy business.  I had acquired this knowledge over a number of years, as a matter of survival, after being ravaged by Lyme Disease, which had left me with significant cognitive impairments and no prospect of recovery.  Because this was also an area of deep interest and passion for me, it wasn't hard to see the value of expanding my knowledge.  I spent over 10 years collecting, organizing, and applying the things I was learning to my own health and well-being. The program was a complete success, and I had not only recovered from the disease, but had outstripped my mental abilities from before the damage by a considerable margin (15 IQ points and several hundred percentage points in productivity).

I had also administered modules of the program to people online, who were also suffering with Lyme and post-Lyme symptoms.  I derived a great amount of satisfaction from knowing that I was helping people who had suffered so deeply, and in such isolation, as I had for many years.  I soon realized the applicability of these techniques to a surprising range of functions; after all, we live in a society where the use of our minds is often paramount to our success - whether you're a student trying to ace an exam, or an executive managing large accounts.   

I was doing so well, after about two months of the business operating, I was able to quit my retail job and focus fully on neuroenhancement. But this presented a few problems too.  I was a novice entrepreneur and made a few key mistakes.  Firstly, I was idealistic - I wanted to charge the absolute smallest amount of money for my services, so they could be made available to people who couldn't otherwise afford the extremely expensive (and not covered by OHIP) costs of therapy.  As someone who also suffered from both PTSD and ADD, I knew the extreme costs, sometimes as expensive as 200 dollars per hour.  Considering that standard psychotherapy can take years for trauma, you could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars annually.  Incidentally, people with mental illness aren't usually raking it in, creating a sort of paradox where making money depends on good mental healthcare, and good mental healthcare depends on making money.

But my assumption was also wrong:  charging $20 an hour for neuroenhancement, after costs, was significantly less than making minimum wage.  Considering this is a 1000% discount on the market price, it should come as no surprise that it was not sustainable.  I soon found myself in the same position as before, where I was working a lot of hours for little pay. At the time, this was satisfactory because I enjoyed  helping people, and because I was also gaining new knowledge and experience with high value and collecting valuable data for creating future intellectual property. So those costs, in my mind, were well spent.

So despite my best intentions, I had come to face a hard truth: that money is integral to propagating the service I was providing, and so I started to learn a lot more about social entrepreneurship, and how doing the right thing doesn't have to mean languishing in poverty.  Indeed, it is my conviction that social entrepreneurs will dominate capitalism in this century (a topic for future posts).

Once I had established a stream of income from Neuroenhancement, I began the critical application of neuroenhancement to itself. This is an interesting aspect of the program, which is both a cognitive enhancement platform, but also an optimization algorithm. Meaning I was taking the most effective, fast, and important elements of the program, and prioritizing them. It also meant minimizing the time that a participant needed to commit to a program to achieve gains.  This is trimming the fat, cutting the crusts, tightening the belt - pick your analogy - but doing more with less became critical to moving the business forward.

It wasn't long before I began to apply the optimization strategy to my everyday activities. I started planning out my days with greater detail, while also quantitatively measuring gains and productivity.

That involved asking questions like:

1) What is the most important priority today?
2) What are the long-term investments and strategies I can contribute to today?
3) Will I get a good return on the investment of my time?
4) What are the minimum and maximum theoretical returns?
5) What have the returns been on previous investments?

The questions you ask yourself will vary, but the core concept comes down to measuring what amount of time you have invested, and what you expect to get out of that time-investment.  Let's go through a couple examples.

Let's say you spend the day working on your novel (I spend 1 day a week fiction writing); that's a long-term investment.  But if you complete it, it's conceivable (if its of a good quality), that you could have a whole passive income stream coming in. This is a long-term investment with a high spread of theoretical gains: meaning you might get nothing out of it in terms of monetary profit (be sure also to measure how it benefits your advancement of skills), and you could also get a lot out of it. This will be later compared to the Beta value of equities (how risky or volatile is the investment?)

Now let's say you spend the day mowing nieghbor's lawns.  You have made a short-term investment, with immediate, guaranteed gains. This is a low-risk, low-reward investment of time.  There will be times when this is necessary. Just as you diversify your portfolio of investments in various time-scales and levels of risk, so should you invest your time as such.

Another important point I found was evaluating the type of returns - money isn't the only thing you need to consider.  We're facing industries where jobs are regularly replaced or become outdated. This is where having transferable skills is useful, and just as Benjamin Franklin did daily neuroenhancment, so should anyone interested in job mobility. 

Now let's say you spend 25% of the day mowing lawns, 25% writing your novel, 25% learning a new skill, and 25% investing in your own happiness and well-being.

The last point is crucial to understand, because it is an often overlooked time investment, but one which yields significant returns.  Happy people aren't productive, and speaking from personal experience, suffering makes creativity nearly impossible.  Just ask Sylvia Plath's oven.

So how do you decide which endeavor is worth investing in?  That's where your high-low theoretical or real yield comes in. When considering this, make a list:

1) What did I lose by investing my time in this?
2) What did I gain by investing my time in this?
3) On what time-scale will I see returns?
4) What distribution of returns (in magnitude) can I expect?
5) Did the time spent cultivate direct or transferable skills?
6) Did the time spent contribute to a favourable mind-state for productivity?

The exact optimization algorithms for neuroenhancement will be included in my book, Metamorphose: a Neurohacker's Guide to Transcendence.

One advantage of entrepreneurship is that you can intelligently evaluate the return in investment for your time while keeping in mind the value of basic human happiness, which should be a central goal - to get satisfaction from being alive. You can define "satisfaction' as it suits you - not everyone's path is the same, and that's a conversation you need to have with yourself.

But no matter what you strive for, happy people are proven to be more productive, so there's little room for argument that the investment is worth making.

This is one part of neuroenhancement, asking "what mind-states are most fertile for which types of productivity?" Then learning to create those mind-states by manipulating internal and external stimuli.

I realized that I can't do one thing all the time - it just isn't me. Sometimes I feel the need to read balance sheets and dig into some prospects, other times, all I want to do is bang on the piano and write some tunes.  To an extent, I had to learn to accept myself in order to get to where I could be confident what I was doing had value. 

But one key point I should make is that none of my activities are justified retroactively, everything is planned to achieve a certain effect or goal. Nothing I do, even wasting time doing nothing, is without purpose.

Anyway, once I was settled into my new life on the farm, I also began trading the stock market, which of all my activities has been the most profitable per time spent and just a very rewarding experience. But I didn't go into trading blindly - I don't have any special aptitude I know of. There's a common adage about retail traders that says 90% of new traders lose 90% of their investment in the first 90 days.  I spent several years studying the supporting knowledge that underpins how markets behave to avoid that scenario; including economics, finance, artificial intelligence, fractal geometry, mass psychology, and many other elements that underpin a stock's price. I also constructed predictive models and began "paper trading," where you execute imaginary trades and look at the effectiveness of your strategy.

All in all, I probably invested a good 1000 hours into this education, at first, simply because I found that topic intellectually stimulating. I was fascinated with computational theories of the Universe like complex systems theory and Wolfram's automata, as well as artificial intelligence, especially as it concerned neural networks. I found it especially puzzling that all of the complexity underpinning a given security could be compressed to a binary plane, a squiggly line.

Side note: I am happy to announce that I was able to build my first neural network earlier this month, and used it to approximate values of square roots, using a program called Simbrain.I plan to use deep learning to analyze the most impactful variables on stock price through regression.

Back to the subject at hand.  I recently calculated the time:profit ratio, for trading as compared to Pier 1 imports as a retail clerk, and trading part-time had a whopping 700% difference in profit : time. But in order to gain that I had to also spend considerable time studying.  But the major advantage is that the things I learn have value elsewhere - especially in working with clients focused on productivity enhancement - which I believe will become a huge market for human resources.

Given my priorities, being happy, using my time well.. I designed my day to an equilibrium.

Here is an overview of what a typical day is like for me now:

8:00 AM - wake up, stretch, drink coffee, kiss girlfriend, feed the dog, pet the dog, look at the sunrise, eat breakfast.

8:30 AM - premarket assessment - who are the big movers and shakers on the market, have there been any significant developments underpinning a potential move in stock price (such as FDA clinical trials or SEC investigations, Elon Musk's twitter).

9:30  AM - Monitoring price positions and assessing short-term opportunities. Researching and re-evaluating long-term positions relative to broader market conditions, world events, mass psychology (stocktwits.com) and reviewing analyst assessments.  When I'm done trading, I codify gains and losses in data sheets.

10:30 AM - Study / Self-improvement: currently I am studying neuroanatomy, programming in python, and practicing piano.  I also meditate, do audiovisual entrainment, and dual n-back working memory training.

12:30 PM - lunch

1:00 Pm - Go for a run with the dog.

2:00 - Prometheon - client sessions, writing IP, working on case studies, gathering and reassessing research, selling, etc.

5:00 - Whatever I feel like doing.  Sometimes, this is video games, other times, I will continue writing, or researching for the next day's opening bell, write poetry, or nonfiction - lift weights, watch a movie, whatever.  It's OK to work here, so long as I am enjoying what I'm working on.

This schedule is a general idea of what it's like for a day in the life, but I also change this day to day and week to week.  Some days are more fertile in terms of writing fiction, other days, are big music days where I will produce several new songs.  Allowing for flexibility means "striking while the iron is hot."

As an overall picture, I went from slaving in a retail job where injury and depression were inevitable, in a $1200 a month apartment I couldn't afford and didn't want, to living on a horse farm in the country for $400 bucks a month, significantly happier and most successful than ever in my life.What's more I'm making enough to support my goals of helping empower others. My ultimate goal is to somehow make the best tools in neuroenhancement completely free.  I still have a lot of work to do and I am constantly developing new ideas, like a mobile app, virtual reality applications, automation, and integration with digital mental health services.  I am putting one foot in front of the other and doing the work, hoping I will get there some day. 

And you can do this too - there's a significant argument that we live in a time where you must be able to do this, as markets are created, destroyed, and transformed at an exponential pace, you may be required to learn a new task or skill quickly - you may need to diversify your income streams to hedge against unpredictable forces. Former employees of Blockbuster video, and current employees of Netflix can attest to this.

So when you wake up tomorrow, remember to ask yourself, is my time being spent in a way that benefits me most? How can I change? What are the steps I need to take to get the most out of my time? And perhaps the most crucial question; am I happy?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dew you

Slip dewdrops of silken crystal globules from treetops.

Dance deciduous hulks of old,
jade manes
gripped in
raindrops.

Somewhere thunder in the far off
rolling
grumbles
to me.

Vaporous dreams drift and sway,
cottonball
careless
days. 

Percussion-drip, sing to me
of what the
heavens
say.

"I leave for tomorrow"
flying over
flowered
fields. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rave Review

Freestyle poetry is a game of chance.

You never know a masterpiece

from shitting your pants,

the critics will decide;

and say that


"it's improper,

this nonsense

that he proffers!"

Then, like a snake,

like a creeping vine,

a sickness they can't define,

and they cannot escape:


"How vile,

how vacant,

in depravity

his elation in making sin;

how sick these nimble shadows

leaping on a once-dead page;

how insidious their plan

as they enter your

skull and sing

of cockroaches

skittering.


Decidious dissolution!

This design of deception!

How evanescent, this line

gone flying into the night of

your perception, come alive by

electrons racing through transistors,

and what is man, what is man

but a conduit then, and

suddenly afraid I

must flee, fly

be far away

humming

until I

sleep."

One For Your Wallet

If this poem could

fit inside your pocket,

would you carry it?

Or is it for money alone

to live in your wallet;

to be sheltered from the rain,

to be held,

to grasp your gaze?


You ask,

what is the value

of a word

to a merchant?

It cannot buy food

or heat,

It cannot bargain

with time,

or give you jewlery,

stuff -

but looking enough,

some words

could gain

your heart.

Blogging is as blogging does

Is this a waste of time?

Well, I would argue that this blank page

took on my meaning in saying this,

indeed, it never would have existed,

had I not taken the time.

I am the mother and the father

of these ideas;

or at least I am the bearer of some flame.

This is how to set fire to a page.

This is how to burn hot blue.

Blogging is as blogging does,

mothafuckas;

so you should

blog too. 

Curing Your Diabetes and Overcoming Food Addiction



                Here is a quick guide to overcoming sugar addiction, restabilising your insulin resistance, and dopamine system, in 3 weeks.  When you are done, you will think faster and more clearly; you will have increased libido, strength, stamina, and energy. You will lose weight, and the unsightly kind that likes to sit around your belly area.  Not only that, if you have type 2 diabetes, it is possible to completely cure yourself of the disease within 6 months.  I have chosen a highly abridged guide so you can follow it quickly and simply – avoiding technical references - so that you can integrate it into your daily life.  Send this article to your friends who have diabetes, want to lose weight, or just want to have clearer thinking and more energy.

                Firstly, we must ask, why? Why is it important to stop eating refined sugars, as well as trans and saturated fats?  The first reason, is to your own health.  
Understand me very clearly; if you have an unhealthy diet consisting of trans fats, saturated fats and sugars, you will die early . But it depends how much you consume, how young you are, and how advanced the condition is. Not all Diabetes can be "cured" in this way, and it is important to emphasize that you follow the instructions of your doctor. The program described here is to enhance that treatment through nutrition and exercise. There are a lot of other added benefits as well, like mental acuity and increased energy. It is also a great way to prevent cancer and increase your metabolism. Feel free to add your own information to this list - the important thing is to empower yourself with knowledge.

                It’s not a question of if, but when. Most likely, you will have a heart attack before the age depending on the severity of your diet. It is the cause of death of 25% of Americans. It kills about 5 Hiroshima bombs worth of people every year in America alone. But don't be afraid, you can get healthy quickly with this diet, but you have to work hard on the nutrition aspect most of all.  Once you have established a pattern, it gets easier, and you can resume a somewhat more normal diet, and turkeys dinners and such, are of no concern, or treating yourself at a restaurant. It is important to still love food and the taste of food along the way, and there are really delicious ways of preparing healthy dishes, the internet has some great recipes.

                The second reason you should be devoid of sugar, saturated fats, and trans fats, is for your kids. This is especially important, as epigenetic changes are heritable.  The epigenome is the expression of your genes – meaning that genes can be turned on or off, producing varying effects inside your body.  Studies have shown nutrition has a large impact on the epigenome, causing inflammation, insulin resistance, and a host of other health problems.  Heritability means that those changes can get passed on to your children.  Is that fair?  Well, I think most parents want whats best for their children, but don't always have the best information. A quick google scholar on trans fats can be very revealing to review in an afternoon. But it is best to remain positive and you can live a long, healthy and happy life - until such technologies like regenerative medecine, can help to reverse some of the processes of aging - or this is the hypothesis of those like Aubrey de Grey.

The third reason, is because you have been used.  Large sugar manufacturers, and the producers of products that contain them – have been peddling you a dangerous, addictive, and indeed deadly substance for decades without recourse. Their contempt for your health and well-being is without limit. Your government has failed you.  You should be extremely angry.  You should write your representatives in congress, or the House, to demand that these products suffer taxes to mitigate the costs in healthcare – or to promote nutrition programs in schools. 

                Now that we understand the mortal, moral, and righteous considerations of an unhealthy diet – let’s not hang our heads in shame, let’s not get paralyzed by fear – because those epigenetic changes I spoke of – they can be reversed.  Those blockages building up in your arteries? They can be cleared. And it’s really easy too – you just need to eat the right foods and get a little exercise.  Don’t fret, Ben is here to help.  A small disclaimer, I am not a nutritionist, just a person who reads books. Not many people can afford to see a dietitian or a nutritionist, and that kind of information, quite frankly, should be free to all.  

Disclaimer: You should not discontinue your treatment for diabetes on this diet - follow your doctor's recommended treatment; this regimen is meant to address some of the underlying causes of insulin resistance. 

 So let’s begin:

Step 1: Eliminate Sugars and Saturated Fats

                Every addict has to experience some kind of withdrawal.  What you are experiencing, surely, is addiction.  That sugar you eat engenders the release of the neurotransmitter Dopamine, which is responsible for pleasure, and has been linked to addiction.  Your first step, eliminate all sugar and saturated fats from your diet.  Don’t wean off them, don’t reduce them – sprinkle holy water on them, tell them the power of Christ compels them – then toss them in the trash.  Don’t waste your own time by keeping them around – yeah, you wasted a little money, so what?  If you fail to do this step here, don’t bother moving to the second.  Because as long as you are still consuming those sugars, you can’t stabilize your dopamine system, and you can’t bring equilibrium to your insulin system either. 

Typically, a period of withdrawal for sugar will last less than a week. After around 3 weeks, your cravings for sugar will dramatically decrease.
Step 2: Replace Unhealthy Foods with Healthy Alternatives
Google is your friend.  Search for a list of foods high in saturated fats. Avoid them. Search for a list of foods with mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; eat them.  Look for carbs that are low on the glycemic index, and avoid those that are high.  This is a very very simple way to customize your own diet to your liking. 

 It is important in this period, to avoid simple carbohydrates, like white bread, dougnuts, croissants, and bagels; your body will crave them, because it converts them into sugar in your liver. 

Avoid fruits.  Most fruit contains a shitload of sugar, and the biggest mistake you can make, is a fruit smoothy. That is like funneling pudding.  Just avoid them in the initial periods of your diet. They will disrupt your ability to lose that addiction.  After a month of this diet, it is OK to then start eating green apples, blueberries, (on your oatmeal in the morning), and the occasional banana (not everyday, just sometimes, for the potassium).  Remember it is ok to have some healthy sugars in your diet as well.

Here is a list of carbs that are good for you to eat:
-          All bran cereals
-          Artichokes
-          Asparagus*
-          Beans
-          Broccoli
-          Brown bread
-          Brown rice
-          Brussel sprouts
-          Bean sprouts
-          Celery
-          Cauliflower
-          Cucumber
-          Mushrooms
-          Lettuce
-          Onions
-          Beans
-          Radishes
-          Peppers
-          Radishes
-          Rutabaga
-          Squash
-          Sweet Potato
-          Snap Peas
-          Swiss chard
-          Tomto
-          Water chestnuts
-          Cabbage
-          Zucchini

As a simple, general rule, if you don’t have a glycemic index list: any dark green, or leafy vegetables.
Breakfast:
Here you want to eat oatmeal, or low-sugar cereals.  Milk has a surprising amount of sugar –  in the form of galactose; supplement with almond milk (avoid the dark chocolate kind due to sugar), or soy milk.  Although it is my recommendation to stick with the oatmeal. A cup of black coffee is good too.  If you can’t drink it black, or with as little milk or cream as possible – well – time to switch to green tea with a little honey (more on this below).
Snack:
You should ideally be having a meal every couple hours – this tells your body not to store it as fat, it will greatly accelerate your metabolism.  So a few hours after breakfast, have some cut up vegetables, and a handful of unroasted (they use hydrogenated oils containing trans fats to roast almonds and many nuts) almonds, brazil nuts, and peanuts (avoid Cashews).

Lunch:

Here you will want to consume some protein.  I recommend salmon, such as canned salmon bunwich or sandwich (no white or processed bread) if you can shake it; but a lettuce wrap with lean turkey can be a truly delicious snack – pack a few of them in your lunch.  Mustard has very few calories, and even a little light Mayo is OK.  Spice it up with onions, tomato, and any spices you like (black pepper is a neuroregerative, as well as having a bonus increase in metabolism).  Get creative with your materials and see what is easy to make and to your liking. The Book Transcend, linked at the bottom of the page, contains great recipes.
Green tea:
Here, or wherever you can find time, drink a cup of green tea.  Now, I cannot stress the importance of this enough.  Green tea is the miracle drink – the health benefits it has for you are nearly endless. As an antioxidant, it is 35-100 TIMES more potent than vitamin C.  It is also a neuroregenerative – meaning it helps you grow new neurons – they have used it to help in the treatment of Alzheimers as well.  I have no idea why, but they don’t use it to treat dementia or stroke, which I think is a grave oversight. Every person in a long-term care facility for the elderly should be drinking at least a cup every day.  Honey is a double-sugar, meaning it is harder to break down, so you won’t get that immediate blast of sugar, like if you ate a strawberry, or a candy. It has other benefits as well.

                Green tea also binds to heavy metals like Aluminum, a common cookware item, something they don’t test for in regular checkups - so it acts as a detox too.  Not only that, it fights cancer and increases your metabolism.  If you do nothing else in this diet, drinking green tea should be what you do.  I cannot stress this enough.  I personally drink 3 cups a day, as I am currently studying in school, it helps me to learn faster, and has supplemented coffee for my enjoyment of a caffeine boost; 
Second snack:

Some veggies – celery with organic peanut butter – a baggy of cut up green pepper or some cherry tomatoes (I love when they burst in your mouth).  Some almonds or sunflower seeds in moderation, anything on the list of low-glycemic carbs are good.
Dinner: 

Here you will want salmon as often as possible.  And I’ll tell you why:  The type of cholesterol in salmon is  ideal for cleaning out your arteries of the bad kind of cholesterol. The type that gives you heart attacks.  If you have heart disease in your family – this will keep you alive and well for years to come.  But the longer you do it, the more effective it is. Over time, it will enhance your exercise and brain function as well.

If you don’t like salmon, there are other fish alternative that are great. It is the healthiest protein you can eat, and a preventative measure for heart disease. It also has cognitive and cellular benefits, the likes of which I won’t get into, but you need the types of fats and amino acids contained in that fish.  Other types are fish are good too – but salmon is king shit.  And there are ways to prepare it that are delicious – I will give you a recipe or two that I use.  It is good to remember to make a plan that you can follow, and if you get sick of it, change it up. There are lots of alternatives, light lean turkey, certain nuts like peanuts and almonds, beans, a few pieces of sushi - if that's your thing. A sub with lean turkey is ok on the run, or as I prefer, just get a salad if you're going to subway, a customized salad is pretty sweet, and you can load up. Get your money's worth!! Remembering to eat dark green and leafy veggies, tomatoes, cucumber, and to avoid things like bacon or the BLT, a turkey or veggie, or even tuna salad can be quite delicious when made to your own liking. Chicken is ok as well, as long as it is lower in saturated fats, take a look at their nutritional information, it is usually displayed.

Barring salmon, you can make chicken, skinless, boneless is best – with steamed vegetables on the side. Any kind of pasta (except refined white) is OK too – as long as you don’t engorge yourself with several helpings.  You should eat until you are getting close to full, and no more.  Save the rest for tomorrow’s lunch.
Use Olive oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil for your cooking.
Salmon recipes:

                I like a pan seared salmon.  You can do this from frozen, and its no big deal.  Take out your pan (if you don’t have one, a ceramic pan is a lot healthier than cooking with non-stick or aluminum, both).. and put a little olive oil in the bottom. Place the salmon in the oil. If you are cooking from frozen, turn the heat on very, very low, and let it sit for a while. Cover the salmon with olive oil on top.  If you are cooking fresh salmon, you can put it on medium to medium low (30-40%).
Spices I like to include are: salt and pepper; rosemary; basil; oregano; and turmeric. 

Rosemary helps to fight a cold or flu, and boost your immune system.  The turmeric, like green tea, is a neuroregenerative. I use it for supplementation more than taste – but I have come to like it. 

Cook the salmon until both sides are a little bit crispy, not very much (burning any food is bad for you). Flip it as many times as you like – depending on the thickness and flatness of the salmon, differing filets can take differing times to cook.  You will know it is done, when the salmon is firm, and the inside should be white.  Keep in mind, it is perfectly fine to eat salmon raw.  I just like it cooked.
On the side, use a steamer if you have one, but if you don’t, you can put vegetables in the pan with your salmon.  This is particularly nice with asparagus.  Cover the asparagus (or broccoli, or zucchini, or whatever) with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper.  

With this recipe, you can have dinner ready in 15 minutes, with a few dishes to wash as a bonus.  Some mashed potatoes are OK (but mostly only if you have worked out that day).  Kids may not like salmon, but you know what they really don’t like? Starvation.  Don’t let your kids bully you into eating unhealthy foods. Every time I see a parent capitulate to a screaming kid to give them McDonalds, I shake my head and desperately hold back a sneer of contempt.  They will get hungry enough to eat what you give them.  No kid will starve themselves to death to avoid asparagus – they aren’t Ghandi.

Avoid:

Red meat.  

Just avoid it. No burgers, no steaks, no flanks.  Especially if you are a woman past the age of menopause. 

Pork. 

Another one you should steer clear of – but I like it for a treat every so often. It is loaded with saturated fats, especially bacon (incidentally it increases chances of colon cancer).
Anything deep fried, especially fast food. 

Fast foods are cooked in hydrogenated oils which contain trans fats – and understand me clearly – trans fats are TERRIBLE for you.  They are structured chemically, such that your body is not even able to break that down.  That means, every trans fat you consume, it’s with you for life.  It is the herpes of unhealthy food, and a symptom of the food industry’s callous disregard for your safety and well-being.

Avoid it at all costs.  Read labels, but be very careful, because the the FDA have ruled that you are allowed to list trans fat as 0%, if you have less than .5 grams of it.  So read the ingredients too. If it says “hydrogenated xxxx oil” put it down, and spit on it. Because they just tried to poison you in order to save a few bucks.  

Step 3: Exercise

                This is easy enough, although it may sound daunting.  Start with 30 minutes of any type of cardio – walking, running, sex, lifting a small weight while watching TV – it doesn’t matter – but you need 30 minutes of sustained activity per day.  As your body is optimizing for distributing oxygen to your muscles, you can increase the duration, and intensity – along with your diet, you will find very quickly that you will grow stronger and faster at a rapid rate. 

Once you are at a point the cardio is feeling easy – add in some weight lifting, or increase your pace.  Do interval training. Burpees are a good way to blast calories. Squats and lunges also burn a lot.
                Exercise serves several functions: increased metabolism, improved mood (endorphins and dopamine) and a myriad of benefits to the prevention of heart disease and treatment of diabetes. But the key is the combination of diet and exercise together - as this study shows, no significant deviations in mass were made, though the levels of HbA1c were decreased.

Some mild yoga, and there are videos online to show you stretching exercises like sun salutations, or just lying on a mat and stretching your back, and relaxing and clearing your mind. As this can have its own benefits.
Step 4: Fun. 

                That’s right, I said fun.  And you’re thinking, but Ben, the most fun thing in the world is pizza. Yes, I know, fun and food are closely connected for many people struggling to overcome food addiction. The goal here is to stabilize your dopamine system with a variety of activities.  Go for a walk in a new place, somewhere you have never been.  This will really stimulate your brain (indeed, the will also slow down your perception of time – as your brain is forced to “smell the roses.”). Play video games. Watch a movie with a loved one, pet your dog.  Music stimulates the release of dopamine, both playing and listening. Dance! Do a puzzle, read a book.  Anything you like to do (except eat sugar) will contribute to eliminating that addiction (and other addictions if you have them).  Another thing you can do is learn a new activity, or study an area you know little about – discovery of new information also releases dopamine (which is why google and Wikipedia are so addictive). 

Step 5: Stay True to the Cause

                Once you are free of that addiction, it is OK to have a treat every so often, reward yourself – remember that you are working hard and deserve it.  But if that reward starts happening once a week, then twice a week, then every day.. well, you have fallen off the wagon.  If you have a real weakness, don’t eat any at all – ever.  I don’t.  Dessert holds no interest to me at all since I started this diet.  Before, I could crush a Toblerone in one sitting – now a triangle or two and I’m already nauseous. 

                Be aware of sneaky sugar.  Especially where alcohol is concerned. Many white wines and coolers, as well as ciders, are LOADED with sugar.
 
                Last of all, believe in yourself.  You will falter, you will fail.  You are addicted, this is a sickness. Make sure your family members know that you are trying – if they are on an unhealthy diet as well – and contributing to your problems.. well.. who buys the groceries? Who pays the bills? Do whatever means necessary to get that person eating healthy as well.  I had to “have an intervention” with my Dad, who has type 2 diabetes, where I threatened to not come by the house anymore if he continued his eating habits.  Since that time, his blood surgar has normalized, he is exercising every day, and his achieved a new level of mental acuity and physical energy I haven’t seen in him for years.
                The work is hard, but its worth it.  You can add 30 years to your life – and ensure your kids enjoy the same benefits.  Life is beautiful, and its about more than eating.  Don’t let the sugar barons whore your body for their profit. You deserve better.  Take back your power from sweets, and build up your rage, build up your contempt for them – and those that would use them to enslave you to a life of slow dying. 

Good luck,
if you need any further advice, expansions on, or contentions with the information contained herein; write me at xemasxdx@hotmail.com

I also highly recommend you pick up a copy of a book called Transcend.

It is written by Ray Kurzweil, a notable inventor and head of Google's engineering; along with Terry Grossman, M.D.  Much of the information in this article, (but not all of it) is in that book, to a great deal of technical detail, as well as being a very valuable handbook for supplement and food information; exercises and recipes.  Also just an extremely enjoyable read, for anyone curious about transhumanist philosophy, nutrition, medicine, and ideas about biological immortality.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Be Still the Pendulum



Be Still the Pendulum

I heard it said
that I should tread
so lightly on the shimmering thread
that dips and weaves into the web.

I heard it said,
that men are weak,
corrupted, earthbound - gagged from speech - and
those perfect words would set us free..

I heard it said,
a terrorist
makes fear, exchanging power for it.
So who's perpetuating it?

I heard it said,
with one white lie
they’ll turn our rights to merchandise,
in a blink they'll trap our minds..

I heard it said,
our voice is dead,
those watchers living inside our heads,
but
I say give us freedom instead..
I say give us freedom instead..
I say give us freedom instead..