Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Children

I paid to have this picture printed on a canvas for my mother.  It represents all the animals we have lived with over my lifetime.  We lost the photos of many of them due to a house fire ten years ago, so I thought it was a nice way to bring them back from the ashes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sidney and my Father


I painted the background of this picture using layers and liquify tools.  The characters were painted using a photo I took earlier as reference.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Avyukta

When I visited India a few years ago I met a group of wood carvers outside my hotel.  They made small 12" tall statues of the Hindu gods to sell to the tourists.  I watched them carve with a dremel drill and chisel for a while, deeply impressed with their abilities.  This painting was inspired by a wooden Krishna statue I purchased from one of the artists I met in India.  I would share credit with him if I knew his name.  Many of the temples we visited had painted statues, which also inspired me.

Avyukta means "crystal clear one" and is another name for the avatar Krishna, who is one of ten incarnations of Vishnu.  Vishnu is a deity worshiped in Hinduism.

Dream Catcher


A digital painting inspired from a sculptured electra plasma lamp I was playing with tonight.


I was staring down at this lamp from above it and saw a tunnel form in my imagination.  I got my digital camera out and took 64 pictures.  13 made the cut when I imported and layered them into CS6.  I also used extensive cloning and blending tools to get the highlights and depth illusions.




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Painting with Pixels

I have been painting and sketching since I was in my teens, and have produced some renderings that a few have said were exceptional.  However, it has been a few years since I seriously focused on it.  Work and daily habits/chores get in the way of being in a creative mood.  I felt as if I was missing something, sort of like when I produced some music with friends earlier this year.  On a whim I bought a 12" Cintiq pad, and activated a 30-day trial of Photoshop.



The bundled software was alright, but when I installed Photoshop and started using the painting tools I immediately saw my ideas come to life.  Then my drawing evolved into something else entirely.  It was as if I was watching the painting paint itself.  Using the Cintiq pad for the first time was a blast.  Once you calibrate it correctly, the controls are very close to actual pencil and paper, or brush and canvas.  Combine that with the awesome and endless tools in Photoshop and you can't go wrong.

Here is another painting I made of a sea shore by an island.


This painting makes me think of the beginning of our universe.


My deviantart site is at: http://danpyle.deviantart.com/

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Growing

Watching things grow can give you a deep connection to the world you live in, especially if you are responsible for shaping and encourage how they grow.  I have watched my dog Misty grow from a shy and unsociable puppy, to a confident and lovable companion.  Everyday I remember how hard it was when I first adopted her, since she was abused and had a really hard time around new people.  Taking her to work, and allowing her to venture out on her own at times, has allowed her to develop a strong personality, and deep character.  I have also watched friends and family change through out the years, and by knowing them I have changed as well.  The natural law of evolution seems to be contained in every living being on the planet, including plants.

About two years ago I purchased a very small aloe plant at the super market, and was planning on keeping it near the sink in the kitchen incase I burned myself.  Aloe leaves when broken in half contain compounds that reduce pain when applied to skin burns.  However, it wasn't long before I noticed the little plant wasn't that little anymore.  Eventually, I decided to plant it in my backyard.  Now it has grown to almost two feet in diameter, and seems very healthy.  I never really water it, since it is a cactus, and have not treated the soil in any way.  Watching the little aloe plant grow into an adult plant has been interesting to me, so I started reading more about plants, and how to take care of them.

My next plant was a chlorophytum comosum, or spider plant, that my Mom gave me.  She enjoys growing them on her patio since they grow little versions of themselves that you can snip off and replant easily.  She gave me a couple pots with the spider plants already planted in them, and I set it outside by the aloe plant in my backyard.  Before long the little baby plants shot out and landed on the ground beside the pot, and now they are starting to root into the dirt.  Once again, it has intrigued me to occasionally inspect how the plant has grown and adapted to it's new surroundings.


Yesterday I drove to a outdoor plant nursery on an impulse and walked through the hundreds of plants they were selling.  I wound up choosing a Coleus the grower called a Trusty Rusty.  It supposedly grows in both shade and sunny areas, and only requires water a couple times a week.  The Trusty Rusty can grow up to 16" in height, and right now is about half that height.  Planting it in my backyard will most likely be the best environment for it, since it is shady, but gets occasional sunlight through my avocado tree.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Atkins


It has been around ten years since I last ate a low carb diet.  I was in my mid twenties and just starting to gain enough weight that I was technically obese if you looked at my BMI.  Back then I followed the Atkins program of Induction, On Going Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance.  I also exercised quite a bit while on the diet.  If memory serves, I lost a ton of weight, but when I got to the third phase of Pre-Maintenance one day I found myself writhing in pain on the floor in my kitchen calling the 911 operator to send someone.  I was passing a kidney stone for the first time and didn't know it.

One of the main challenges of a low-carb diet is you need to drink lots of water.  The reason for this is your body sheds much of it's excess water weight in the first phase called induction.  If you don't drink enough water, your brain also instructs the body to release a harmone that makes your kidneys retain salt and water, but it does this at the expense of wasting your body's stores of potassium.  Electrolyte balances also get out of whack if you are dehydrated.  So, the kidneys are strained some what in this phase if you do not drink enough water.  

My theory back then was that I didn't drink enough water when I was on Atkins ten years ago, which caused my kidneys to be strained, and somehow that led to a kidney stone being passed.  I ran this theory by the urologist after I passed my first stone and he said it was possible since most of us have kidney stones just waiting for an opportunity to dislodge, and if we become dehydrated our kidneys shrink causing the stones to be dislodged from the tissues they are attached to.  Especially when we exercise and shake them out.

So, this time around I intend to drink at least 60 ounces of water throughout the day, so I minimize the chances of passing a stone.  There are more tools available now such as a website, cell phone apps, a new official guide, strategies for vegetarians, and new clinical research.  One of the new pieces of information I read about was to include a small amount of salt with every meal.  Chemically this helps keeps your circulation primed and your energy level high.  I remember getting fatigue and headaches when I was on the diet last time, which is also an indicator my body flushed all the sodium out in the induction phase, and I wasn't consuming enough salt to replace what I lost.  

According to Atkins charts for my height and weight, I should eat between 82-171g carbs per day when off the diet.  I know for a fact that some days I ate 200g or more carbs without thinking about it.  During the first phase of the diet, the limit will be 20g of carbs per day.  Shakeology will need to be shelved for a while it seems.  

Last night I put together my grocery list for the first week using the Atkins website, and I ordered all the food online from a local store.  They will be delivering it this afternoon.  It was a higher than normal dollar amount, but I ordered a lot of food.  One of the benefits of the Atkins diet is you never go hungry.

When you consume high protein foods, the protein gives you energy.  If the food is low in carbs, and low in calories, then you do not gain weight if you eat more than normal.  So, if you get a hunger attack you can eat as much as you want without falling off the diet.  The only way you gain weight on this diet is if you eat food with high carbs, or high calories.

I have been drinking Shakeology drinks for a couple months now, and while it is effective at making me feel better overall, the only way I can drink it is with little, or no, additives.  The reason is most of the fruit and other ingredients recommended with have a ton of carbs, and calories, and as a result I gain weight.  Even if I cut out the fruit juices, I am getting quite a bit of carbs from the powder itself.  Drinking Shakeology straight is fine for a while, but every day it gets a bit more unappealing.  I investigated juicing, and began to switch over to that occasionally.

My main concern was that I might have to stop juicing on the Atkins diet.  Fruits are not allowed in the first phase for the most part, so recipes would need to be vegetable juice only.  Once I get a list together of acceptable vegetables, I think I can get some recipes figured out for my juicer.

During later phases in the low-carb diet, I might be able to add fruit juices, and Shakeology, back into my diet.

The meal plans I got off the Atkins website for the next 7 days are:


I'm a little pissed.  I checked some of the recipes before I ordered them for serving quantities, but the ones I looked at said it was for two or three people.  I didn't realize that some of the other recipes were for ten people!  The automatic recipe list the website provided had way too much food on it.  Unfortunately, I already bought all the food.  It's ok though, I'll place the meat in the freezer, and I modified the eating schedule so I can get through all the meat I bought.  Next time I will need to check each recipe for quantity of servings. :p

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fat, Sick, & Nearly DEAD

I just watched the documentary titled Fat, Sick, & Nearly DEAD and was impressed how people in that documentary overcame their individual weaknesses when it came to diet and lifestyle choices to become healthy again.  The website for the documentary is http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/ and you can watch it instantly at amazon.com

The documentary is centered around an Australian named Joe Cross, who stared in and directed the film.  He filmed himself when he was overweight and suffering from an autoimmune disease that gave him hives all over his body.  He decides to use micronutrients to cure his disease, and to loose weight.  His plan was to drink vegetable and fruit juice for 60 days and travel across America as he does it.  The story broadens when he meets other people who want to follow his example, and actually do start juicing.  Another interesting section of the film takes place after Joe has achieved his weight loss and health goals, and one of the people he met in America calls him in Australia and asks for his help.  He was a truck driver named Phil Staples.

Phil had the same autoimmune disease as Joe, but was much more over weight than Joe was when he started the 60 day juice fast.  Phil weighed 429 pounds!  Throughout the rest of the film they center around Phil, and his struggle to get healthier.  Joe flys back to America to get Phil started down the road to recovery, and by the end of the documentary, Phil is around 220 pounds and is off all his medications and is feeling great.  Several other people Joe inspired in America all have had similar experiences from the juice fast as well.

Very inspiring film, and I recommend everyone watch it whether your thin or fat.








Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Results

The combination of Shakeology in the morning, weight lifting and walking when I get home from work, and going to bed earlier than I used to, is making my days much more enjoyable.  The next goal I have is to improve my chronic congestion I have had for many years.

I thought I was allergic to foods, or maybe it was the smog where I live, that caused my congestion.  Although, after speaking with a doctor about my congestion, he asked a myriad of questions about my working conditions, living conditions, etc.. and did some blood work, and concluded that I am instead allergic to dust.

I know, who doesn't sneeze when dust gets stirred up, right?  No.  What he meant was the dust that is floating around at my office where we make cabinetry is causing my sinuses to over react and eventually shut down.

It is roughly estimated that one in three people have an active allergy at any given time and at least three in four people develop an allergic reaction at least once in their lives. In Western countries between 10–25% of people annually are affected by allergies.

I know a couple other people with the same congestion problems I have, and have recommended they speak with a doctor about it.  I never realized how much dust floats around in the air until I looked at the filters after only one month of air filtration:


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Unus Mundus

Have you ever felt like you need to reinvent, or at least take another look at, yourself, and what your doing with your life?  I have been feeling like I need to change in some way for a couple years now. I got in a rut where I just worked, and slept, and in-between spent my free time with online games, or surfing the web. Occasionally I would go to an underground music gathering, or go to a lecture, read a book, spend time with my family, or visit some old book store or incense shop I used to like. I felt like a touch of agoraphobia infected some part of my mind though. Staying at home and saving money up was more interesting to me than going out for a night on the town. Perhaps the economic downturn "turned ME down". In hind sight, it was a very two dimensional life, lacking the depth I was used to in previous years.

Last summer an old friend who I haven't seen for almost a decade, paid me a visit, and we spoke for a while about the world, our lives, and the people we have met over the years since we last saw each other. As you would expect, we revived memories of old friends we had, and talked about the good times we had together. I even found an old video of us when we were very young, which we both got a kick out of. I met his girl friend, and embarrassed him a bit by telling her of escapades we were involved in. I even spent some time with his son, and his ex-wife who I used to know as well. Memory seems to work that way. You forget the bad times, and remember the good times. I suppose it's the way our minds heal, and move on.

Eventually, he mentioned that he wanted to make some music together like we used to, and I was intrigued. To make a long story short, we started recording music together. He brought his keyboard over, and I bought some recording software. We worked on a couple songs for a month off and on, it felt very natural. We finished them, and then we drifted apart again. Maybe one day we will meet again to record, or just hang out, but the point I am trying to make is our meeting seemed synchronistic.


Soon after him and I went our separate ways, and I finished the recording we made, I began to feel the need to change more, and more. Evolve would be a more accurate word.

I suppose this all began in 2010 when another friend of mine who I lost touch with also contacted me, but it was through Facebook. He asked if I was still playing music and recording. I responded "no," but for some reason felt naturally compelled to dig out my 8 track and put some spoken word I wrote down on an old beat I dug up from ten years ago, and then I emailed it to him. He sent me a hip-hop recording he made as well, and it felt good to be exchanging ideas with fellow musicians again.

Around the fall, or winter time, last year, all I could think about at that time was poetry, music, and drawing. Many of the other things I enjoyed doing before that time suddenly became uninteresting, and even when I looked in the mirror I felt out of place. So, I cut my hair, and bought some new clothes. Rearranged my apartment drastically, but I still felt like I was living the wrong life, somebody else's life. When I create art it has to occur when I am at the right state of mind, right mood, in the right environment.  It can never be forced.
Another example of this synchronicity happened last week when I was told by a coworker that a person I used to do business with many years ago was back in the trade, and at my office. I walked out to say hello, and we fell into a wonderful conversation about what we have done over the past decade in our business trade. Then, we both spoke about our personal lives. I remembered he played the jazz flute, and asked if he still plays. I also mentioned that I made some recordings last year. He seemed surprised I still made music, and was even more shocked I remembered he did too. Without much hesitation, he reached in his truck and handed me two CDs of some recordings him, and other musicians, made. I ripped them into my computer when I got home, and was very inspired by the inventive solos, and raw music, him and his friends were making. This ofcourse inspired me to play more music privately, and now I am totally consumed by it.

When I created this blog, I felt like it had to be created. Just as a mason knows the cornerstone of a structure must be solid, I know these ideas must be documented, and the path I traveled marked and understood. Normally, these thoughts would be kept in a journal or diary, but placing them here seems to focus my attention more on what I am doing, and why. There are logical arguments to be made to explain all of these events, but it seems more accurate to explain it as synchronicity. My hope is that in a future time and place, someone, maybe me, maybe you, will read these words, and use them in some synchronistic way to better themselves. Perhaps it will remind us to be perceptive of when the universe is tapping you on the shoulder to do something important.

Unus Mundus, or One World, was a concept coined by Gerhard Dorn a Belgian philosopher, translator, alchemist, physician and bibliophile. He also studied the works of Paracelsus. In his work The Speculative Philosophy he explained that the individual must unite with the World Soul and heal the splits in their psyche, and resolve the duality within. Carl Jung also explained this as an underlying reality that we all emerge from, and return to. Wolfgang Pauli, and Carl Jung, both agreed that life was not just a series of events, but instead was based around a mysterious order, and structure, that lead to spiritual awakening. Jung also believed that synchronicity aided people to transmute their consciousness to a more wholistic attitude, much like dreams do.


Picture of the concept of synchronicity by CG Jung with English text substituted for original French


In his book Synchronicity (1952), Jung tells the following story as an example of a synchronistic event:

A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from the outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since.

Cetonia aurata 
To conclude: in the last couple years, I have met, or spoke with, three musicians that I used to know over a decade ago, and have recorded music with them again, or exchanged recordings of ideas we had. They contacted me, I didn't contact them, which agrees with Jung's synchronicity theory. The result of these meetings was that I was inspired with an over flowing energy to play music again like I used to, maybe more so now than ever. The difference now is I have more confidence to enjoy playing music by myself. In the past, I depended on others to motivate me every day, but now it seems effortless, and I don't depend on anyone anymore. This re-defining of self feels qualitatively like a noetic spiritual awakening, and I am returning back to the Unus Mundus from which I came. Within the last few months, my life has changed radically from where I was, to where I am now, and I can't imagine going back to my old habits, and old life now.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Shakeology

I decided I am going to give the shakeology products a try this month to see how they make me feel. I have heard from friends that they enjoyed the taste of the shakes, and that there were also many health benefits from drinking them.

I ordered the shakeology packs from the shakeology.com website, which is part of Team Beach Body, right before the weekend, and received them Monday. So, it only took a couple business days to receive the packets. I bought the combo pack with both the greenberry and chocolate flavors.



After opening the box that came in the mail, I noticed a calendar with many different recipes on individual days inside. The first recipe was a simple one: 1 packet greenberry powder, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup water, and ice. I realized that if I didn't change it up and make different flavor shakes, most likely I will get bored with the same thing every day, so I drove to the store and bought some juices, fruits, and berries. $110 later I was back home filling my fridge and making my first shake.


I mixed it all in the blender, and poured a glass in about 3 minutes. Clean up was quick and painless. The drink was thick, and had a frothy texture. I added another 1/2 cup of ice, and the drink was the perfect consistency. It was surprising that it tasted so good. This made me even more curious about the product, so I began reading the ingredients on the packet while I drank.


I have purchased both Shakeology and ActiVit vitamins (Metabolism Formula) from Beachbody Nutrition.


Comparing the Shakeology vitamin content to the ActiVit vitamins I was taking, I found Shakeology has:
60mg more Vitamin C (300% RDA)

200 IU less Vitamin D (50% RDA)  Anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)

15 IU less Vitamin E (50% RDA)  Anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)  Increases absorption of Vitamin D.

40 mcg Vitamin K1 (as phtonadione) (50% RDA) - ActiVit vitamins do not have this

25.5 mg less Vitamin B1 (as thiamin HCL) (100% RDA)
ActiVit vitamins are at 1800% RDA, and I have read that any level above 5mg is not absorbed well by the body, so 27mg seems very high and most likely a waste.

12.7 mg less Vitamin B2 (as riboflavin) (76% RDA)
ActivVit vitamins are at 824% RDA.  The only reason I can find for high doses of riboflavin is to help lessen migraines.  I don't have those though.

15 mg less Vitamin B3 (as niacin) (25% RDA) - ActiVit vitamins has 100% RDA

6mg less Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCL) (100% RDA)
ActiVit vitamins has 400% RDA.  High dose of B6 may help reduce stress.

200 mcg less Folate (as folic acid) 50% RDA - ActiVit vitamins has 100% RDA

44 mcg less Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin) (100% RDA)
ActiVit vitamins have 833% RDA.  High doses of B12 are recommended since the stomach has a difficult time absorbing this vitamin.  Some people take B12 supplements via sublingual liquid or tablet because of this.  Vitamin B12 comes in several kinds including hydroxy-, cyano-, and adenosyl-, but only the methyl form is also used in the central nervous system. Deficiency states are fairly common and vitamin B12 deficiency mimics many other disease states of a neurological or psychological kind, and it causes anemia. Cyanocobalamin (the cheapest to produce and the kind in most vitamin supplements) is converted by the liver into methylcobalamin but not in therapeutically significant amounts.

210 mcg less Biotin - ActiVit has 100% RDA

20 mg less Pantothenic Acid (50% RDA) - ActiVit has 250% RDA.

300 mg more Calcium (as dicalcium phosphate) 50% RDA
ActiVit has 20% RDA and uses calcium carbonate instead of dicalcium phosphate.  Calcium carbonate is a cheaper form of Calcium commonly found in antacids and industrial products like chalk and cement.  Dicalcium phosphate is manufactured and used mainly as a supplement.

98 mcg less Iodine (as kelp) 35% RDA - ActiVit has 100% RDA

4.5 mg more Iron (as ferrous fumarate) (25% RDA) - ActiVit has none

250 mg more Phosphorus (as dicalcium phosphate) (25% RDA) - ActiVit has none

60 mg more Magnesium (as oxide) (20% RDA)
ActiVit has 5% RDA and uses magnesium oxide, which may be the same, not sure.  This is unfortunate since magnesium affects the absorption rate of vitamin D, much like how Vitamin E does.

1.5 mg less Zinc (as zinc oxide) (40% RDA)
ActiVit has 50% RDA and uses amino acid chelate instead of zinc oxide.  It seems due to testing, that Zinc is absorbed into the blood stream better if it is ingested in the form of an amino acid chelate instead of an oxide.  Link

No Selenium - ActiVit has 100% RDA

.2 mg less Copper (as copper oxide) (40% RDA)
ActiVit has 100% RDA and once again uses a amino acid chelate form for better absorption.  Link to video describing the basics of chelate superiority.

1mg more Manganese (as manganese amino acid chelate) (100% RDA) - ActiVit has 50% RDA and uses the chelate form.

180 mcg less Chromium (as chromium amino acid chelate) (50% RDA) - ActiVit has 200% RDA and also uses the chelate form.

45 mcg less Molybdebun (as sodium molybdate) (40% RDA) - ActiVit has 100% RDA and uses a amino acid chelate form instead.

15g of whey is included in Shakeology - none are in ActiVit

ActiVit has many other ingredients such as herbs, amino acids, and fillers.

Taking both the ActiVit vitamins, and using the Shakeology products seems advisable since each is lacking what the other provides.  Together you get everything you need.

One negative aspect to Shakeology was that they used fructose (Sugar), and as a result the carbohydrates were 19g per packet. I am sure this was for flavor, in the case that someone was not using extra ingredients to augment the taste of the shake. 19g is not that much, but if you add an orange or two, or other fruit, the carbs get quite high. For people on low-carb diets this may be a deal breaker.

Shakeology benefits health in many ways, but the most important health benefit to me is it has so many anti-angiogenisis ingredients.  Angiogenesis is the creation of blood vessels.  Over the past few decades, scientists have realized that using anti-angiogenic ingredients can fight and even eliminate most cancers, the number one killer of people in the west.  Anti-angiogenesis ingredients can also inhibit and remove fat tissue.  They have identified many anti-angiogenesis foods:

Red Grapes (Resveratrol) Can inhibit angiogenesis by 60%, Green Tea, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemonds, Apples, Pineapple, Cherries, Red Wine, Bok Choy, Kale, Soy Beans, Ginseng, Maitake Mushroom, Licorice, Tumeric, Nutmeg, Artichokes, Lavender, Pumpkin, Sea Cucumber, Tuna, Parsley, Garlic, Tomato, Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Dark Chocolate

Even though the powder product of Shakeology has many anti-angiogenic ingredients, I intend to buy some of these berries and fruit in the live form, and blend it into the shake to increase the effect.

I also noticed Shakeology has a few proprietary blends of fruit powders, "super-fruit" powders, non-dairy probiotic powders, Adaptogen Herb blend, and enzyme blends. There are many other unique ingredients listed by themselves as well.

The following information is paraphrased, and was also copied, from Wikipedia. Click the provided hyperlinks for the full text.

The super fruits blend is made of:
Acerola powder (fruit) [Malpighia emarginata]
Rich in Vitamin C and Anti-oxidants

Camu-Camu powder (fruit) [Myrciaria dubia]
Contains many Flavanoids and Galic Acids

Pomegranate powder (fruit) [Punica granatum]
Ayurvedic remedy for diarrhea, dysentery and intestinal parasites for thousands of years. Aids heart and throat function. Contains vitamin C, B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Potassium (Potassium cations are important in neuron 'brain and nerve' function, and in influencing osmotic balance between cells and the interstitial fluid.) and polyphenols such as tannins (Tannins may reduce cardiovascular disease) and flavanoids.

Bilberry Powder (fruit) [Vaccinium myrtillus]
Contains Flavanoids and Anti-oxidants

Lycium (Goji) powder (fruit) [Lycium barbarum]
Potential benefits against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, vision-related diseases (such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma) or from neuroprotective, anticancer or immunomodulatory activity (Increased immune system performance.)

Acai powder (berry) [Euterpe oleracea]
Contains Flavanoids and Resveratrol (Anti-Ageing and Fights Cancer)

Cordyceps [Cordyceps sinensis]
Cordyceps is valued for its activity in restoring energy, promoting longevity, and improving quality of life

Maitake powder [Grifola frondosa]
Enhances the immune system. Anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)  Researchers have also indicated that whole maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids, and may also be useful for weight loss. Maitake is rich in minerals (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium), various vitamins (B2, D2 and niacin), fibers and amino acids. One active constituent in Maitake for enhancing the immune activity was identified in the late 1980s as a protein-bound beta-glucan compound.

Reishi powder [Ganoderma lucidum]
Enjoys special veneration in East Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally. Because of lingzhi's presumed health benefits and apparent absence of side-effects, it has attained a reputation in the East as the ultimate herbal substance. Lingzhi is listed in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. ...may possess anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus. It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure (via inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme), cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer, including epithelial ovarian cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis, with potency comparable to Lentinan from Shiitake mushrooms.

The mechanisms by which G. lucidum may affect cancer are unknown and they may target different stages of cancer development: inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new, tumor-induced blood vessels, created to supply nutrients to the tumor) mediated by cytokines, cytoxicity, inhibiting migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells. Nevertheless, G. lucidum extracts are already used in commercial pharmaceuticals such as MC-S for suppressing cancer cell proliferation and migration.

...Ganoderma is reported to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities. Ganoderma is reported to exhibit direct anti-viral with the following viruses; HSV-1, HSV-2, influenza virus, vesicular stomatitis. Ganoderma mushrooms are reported to exhibit direct anti-microbial properties with the following organisms; Aspergillus niger, Bacillus cereus, Candida albicans, and Escherichia coli.
Citrus bioflavenoids [Vitamin P]
Anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)  Flavonoids might induce mechanisms that affect cancer cells and inhibit tumor invasion. The citrus bioflavonoids include hesperidin (a glycoside of the flavanone hesperetin), quercitrin, rutin (two glycosides of the flavonol quercetin), and the flavone tangeritin. In addition to possessing in vitro antioxidant activity and an ability to increase intracellular levels of vitamin C, rutin and hesperidin may have beneficial effects on capillary permeability and blood flow. They also exhibit anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory benefits of quercetin from in vitro studies. Quercetin can also inhibit reverse transcriptase, part of the replication process of retroviruses.[33] The therapeutic relevance of this inhibition has not been established. Hydroxyethylrutosides (HER) have potential for use in the treatment of abnormal capillary permeability, bruising, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins.
Rose Hips powder (Fruit) [Rosa canina]
Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, one of the richest plant sources available. Rose hips contain plenty of lycopene, an important and strong antioxidant, that is an integral part of low density lipoprotein (LDL) as well as of many cellular membranes.  Lycopene has anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)   A study of a rose-hip preparation for treating rheumatoid arthritis concluded that there was a benefit, apparently due to both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Rose hips are used to help prevent colds and influenza.

Schisandra powder (berry) [fructus Schizandre cinensis]
Schisandra lignans appear to protect the liver by activating the enzymes that produce glutathione.

Suma powder (root) [Pfaffia paniculata]
Suma contains germanium, beta-ecdysterone, allantoin, and a group of novel phytochemical saponins called pfaffosides. ...proven to be moderately successful as a commercial product in the countries in which it is produced, likely due to its efficacy in promoting muscle growth and fat loss. Becomes more effective as the user consumes more protein.

Ginko powder (leaf) [Ginkgo biloba]
Extracts of Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and have been used pharmaceutically. Ginkgo is believed to have nootropic properties, and is mainly used as memory and concentration enhancer, and anti-vertigo agent. According to some studies, Ginkgo can significantly improve attention in healthy individuals. In one such study, the effect was almost immediate and reaches its peak in 2.5 hours after the intake. One study suggests that Ginkgo's effect on cognition may be attributable to its inhibitory effect on norepinephrine reuptake.

__________________________________

Probiotic Blend:
Bifidobacterium longum
A species of Gram-positive anaerobic branched rod-shaped bacterium which can be found in the intestines of infant humans. They inhibit the growth of Gram-negative bacteria by producing lactic acid, and digest the complex sugars in human breast milk.[1] Due to its importance, its genome was sequenced in 2002.

Lactobacillus acidophilus
Occurs naturally in the human and animal gastrointestinal tract. Some strains of L. acidophilus may be considered to have probiotic characteristics. Research has indicated L. acidophilus may be helpful reducing serum cholesterol levels. Antibiotics taken orally will also kill beneficial bacteria, including L. acidophilus. After a therapy that includes antibiotics, patients are occasionally instructed to take an L. acidophilus treatment in order to recolonize the gastrointestinal tract. A part of the claims in favor of such treatment refer to attaining a better digestion thanks to a recovered normal intestinal flora. L. acidophilus LA-5 produces bacteriocin CH5 that is both antibacterial and inhibitory against certain yeasts and moulds and is effective against both Salmonella typhimurium and Campylobacter jejuni. It has been shown to improve bowel regularity and has been shown to have a preventative effect against traveller's diarrhea, as well as antibiotic related bowel issues. Because of its relation to gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), L. acidophilus LA-5 has been associated with positive effects on the immune system such as increased cytokine, phagocytic activity and antibody production, as well as phagocytosis of Salmonella, and L. acidophilus NCFM has even been shown to reduce incidence of symptoms of fever, cough and runny nose. Anti-inflammatory effects have also been observed in people consuming L. acidophilus NCFM. Additionally L. acidophilus LA-5 has shown to inhibit growth of breast cancer cells, and positive effects on chemotherapy patients. An improvement of lipid metabolism has also been linked to L. acidophilus LA-5.
Animal studies of NCFM have indicated that it reduces intestinal pain by inducing u-opioid and canabinoid receptors in the intestines (of animals), but this effect has not been sufficiently shown in humans yet.
Other benefits of L. acidophilus include the production of vitamin K[citation needed] and lactase, and some strains may produce bacteriocins such as acidolin, acidophilin and lactocidin.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that yogurt containing L. acidophilus L1 has the potential to reduce risk for coronary heart disease by 6–10% by reducing serum cholesterol concentration.

Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
Produces B-vitamins and folic acid, Prevents carcinogenesis, Selectively prevents the adhesion of pathogenic coliform to the cell wall, Aids in the alleviation of “traveler's diarrhea” and constipation, Inhibits stomach ulcer and cancer-causing Heliobacter pylori, Relives dermatitis and other skin disorders, Shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels, Inhibits the growth of 23 toxic microorganisms, Reduces lactose intolerance, Stimulates immune system

Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Often helpful to sufferers of lactose intolerance, whose digestive systems lack the enzymes to break down lactose to simpler sugars. Used to create yogurt. Metchnikoff's research had also noted that, in Europe, Bulgaria and the Russian steppes, some rural populations who had consumed milk fermented with lactic acid bacteria lived relatively long lives. Based on these data Metchnikoff proposed that consumption of fermented milk would seed the intestine with harmless lactic acid bacteria, which would increase intestinal acidity and thus suppress the growth of proteolytic bacteria.

Lactobacillus casei
A species of genus Lactobacillus found in the human intestine and mouth. As a lactic acid producer, it has been found to assist in the propagation of desirable bacteria. This particular species of Lactobacillus is documented to have a wide pH and temperature range, and complements the growth of L. acidophilus, a producer of the enzyme amylase (a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme). It is thought to improve digestion and reduce lactose intolerance and constipation


Streptoccus thermophilus

One of the most widely used bacteria in the dairy industry.

__________________________________

Enzyme Blend:
Amylase also see LINK
Amylase refers to a group of enzymes whose catalytic function is to hydrolyze (breakdown) sugar and starch. Amylase is involved in anti-inflammatory reactions such as those caused by the release of histamine and similar substances. The inflammatory response usually occurs in organs which are in contact with the outside world, i.e., the lungs and skin. These include skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, hives, insect bites, allergic bee and bug stings, atopic dermatitis, and all types of herpes. Some lung problems including asthma and emphysema may require amylase plus other enzyme formulas depending on the particular condition.

Papain also see LINK
Papain is taken from the fruit of the papaya tree. It is used to make medicine. Papain is used for pain and swelling (inflammation) as well as fluid retention following trauma and surgery. It is used as a digestive aid and for treating parasitic worms, inflammation of the throat and pharynx, shingles (herpes zoster) symptoms, ongoing diarrhea, hay fever, runny nose, and a skin condition called psoriasis. Papain is also used along with conventional treatments for tumors.

Cellulase also see LINK
Cellulase increases intestinal absorption of nutrients. May be beneficial in cases of food allergies, toxicity, drug withdrawal, inability to digest raw foods, and pain syndromes.

Lactase
Lactose is broken down by a protein called lactase, which acts as a pair of molecular scissors, snipping the lactose molecule in two. Anyone who drank milk as a baby carries a working version of the gene that codes for lactase. In lactose tolerant individuals, that gene keeps working into adulthood, producing the protein that digests lactose and makes eating ice cream a pleasant experience. But in people who are lactose intolerant, that lactase gene is switched off after weaning.

Lipase
An enzyme that the body uses to break down fats in food so they can be absorbed in the intestines. Good for indigestion.

Protease
Protease is the digestive enzyme needed to digest protein. Proteases refers to a group of enzymes whose catalytic function is to hydrolyze (breakdown) proteins. They are also called proteolytic enzymes or proteinases.

Proteolytic enzymes are very important in digestion as they breakdown the the peptide bonds in the protein foods to liberate the amino acids needed by the body. Additionally, proteolytic enzymes have been used for a long time in various forms of therapy. Their use in medicine is notable based on several clinical studies indicating their benefits in oncology, inflammatory conditions, blood rheology control, and immune regulation.

Bromleain
Available in some countries as a product under the name 'Ananase', bromelain began its reputation for various uses in folk medicine and continues to be explored as a potential healing agent in alternative medicine. First introduced in medical research in 1957, bromelain may work by blocking some proinflammatory metabolites when applied topically. Bromelain may be used after surgery to reduce swelling.
__________________________________

Some other ingredients listed are:

Maca powder (root) [Lepidium meyenii]
Maca has been shown to reduce enlarged prostate glands in rats, and is reported to be an aphrodisiac.

Sacha inchi(meal)[Plukenetia volubilis]
Contains Omega 3 (48%), Omega 6 (36%), Omega 9 (9%), and protein (27%). They are also rich in iodine and vitamin A and vitamin E.

Yacon[Smallanthus sonchifolius] powder
Edible tubers contain fructooligosaccharides, an indigestible polysaccharide made up of fructose. Fructooligosaccharides taste sweet, but pass the human digestive tract unmetabolised and hence have very low caloric value. Moreover, fructooligosaccharides have prebiotic effect, meaning that they are used by "friendly" bacteria that favor colon health and digestion

Flax (seed) meal [Linum usitatissimum]
Flax seeds contain high levels of dietary fiber as well as lignans, an abundance of micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids (table). Flax seeds may lower cholesterol levels, especially in women. Initial studies suggest that flax seeds taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers. A study done at Duke university suggests that flaxseed may stunt the growth of prostate tumors, although a meta-analysis found the evidence on this point to be inconclusive. Flax may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. There is some support for the use of flax seed as a laxative due to its dietary fiber content though excessive consumption without liquid can result in intestinal blockage. Consuming large amounts of flax seed may impair the effectiveness of certain oral medications, due to its fiber content, and may have adverse effects due to its content of neurotoxic cyanogen glycosides and immunosuppressive cyclic nonapeptides.[citation needed]
One of the main components of flax is lignan, which has plant estrogen as well as antioxidants (flax contains up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods contain)

Chia (seed) meal
Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24hr. forced march. Indians running form the Colorado River to the California coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring the Chia seed for their nourishment.

Chlorella [chlorella vulgaris]
Because of its unique ability to bind with mercury, lead, and cadmium, the plant (chlorella vulgaris) has become increasing popular as a heavy metal "detoxifier". Studies indicate that chlorella (vulgaris etc) demonstrate a superior ability to (safely) draw these toxic metals from the gut and intestinal tract (where they tend to accumulate). Like blue-green algae, clinical studies on Chlorella suggest effects including polychlorinated dibenzodioxins detoxification in humans and other animals, healing from radiation exposure in animals and the ability to reduce high blood pressure, lower serum cholesterol levels, accelerate wound healing, and enhance immune functions in humans.
Chlorella has been found to have anti-tumor properties when fed to mice. Another study found enhanced vascular function in hypertensive rats given oral doses of chlorella.

Spirulina
Animal studies have evaluated spirulina in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced heart damage, stroke recovery, age-related declines in memory, diabetes mellitus, in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and in rodent models of hay fever.

Hydrilla [Hydrilla verticillata]
Vibrant Health’s Green Calcium (Hydrilla verticillata) is a rooted fresh water plant that grows abundantly in lakes and streams of Florida. The Hydrilla calcium content is astonishingly high, as is iron and vitamin B-12, nutrients often dangerously low in pure vegetarian (vegan) diets. Green Calcium made from Hydrilla has about three times more beta-carotene than chlorella and is rich in most B-vitamins too.

Apple fiber powder
Anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)  Steady reductions in heavy metal toxicity symptoms. More energy & sharper mind

Astragalus powder (root)
There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that astragalus, either alone or in combination with other herbs, may have potential benefits for the immune system, heart, and liver, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.

Blue green algae [Cyanobacteria]

Spinach powder
Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach.
Polyglutamyl folate (vitamin B9 or folic acid) is a vital constituent of cells, and spinach is a good source of folic acid. Boiling spinach can more than halve the level of folate left in the spinach, but microwaving does not affect folate content. Vitamin B9 was first isolated from spinach in 1941.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
The benefits claimed [for MSM] far exceed the number of scientific studies. It is hard to build a strong case for its use other than for treating arthritis problems." The biochemical effects of supplemental methylsulfonylmethane are poorly understood. Some researchers have suggested that MSM has anti-inflammatory effects. The spectrum of biological effects of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and MSM differ, but those of DMSO may be mediated, at least in part, by MSM.

Pea fiber [Pisum sativum]
Peas are high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and lutein. Dry weight is about one-quarter protein and one-quarter sugar. Pea seed peptide fractions have less ability to scavenge free radicals than glutathione, but greater ability to chelate metals and inhibit linoleic acid oxidation.

Quinoa (sprouted)
Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.

Ashwagandha powder (root)
In Ayurveda, the berries and leaves are locally applied to tumors and tubercular glands, carbuncles and ulcers.

Barley
Grass Barley contains eight essential amino acids. According to a recent study, eating whole grain barley can regulate blood sugar (i.e. reduce blood glucose response to a meal) for up to 10 hours after consumption compared to white or even whole-grain wheat, which has a similar glycemic index. The effect was attributed to colonic fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates. Barley can also be used as a coffee substitute.

Kamut grass
The grain itself is very high in its protein content[citation needed]. It also contains a high mineral concentration especially in selenium, zinc, and magnesium[citation needed]. This grain variety is considered a high energy wheat[citation needed], and provides the body with more energy in the form of complex carbohydrates. Because of its low oxidation levels it loses little nutritional content when being ground and processed.

Oat grass
After reports of research finding that dietary oats can help lower cholesterol, an "oat bran craze" swept the U.S. in the late 1980s, peaking in 1989, when potato chips with added oat bran were marketed. The food fad was short-lived and faded by the early 1990s. The popularity of oatmeal and other oat products again increased after a January 1998 decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), when it issued a final rule that allows food companies to make a health claim on labels of foods that contain soluble fibre from whole oats (oat bran, oat flour and rolled oats), noting that 3.00 grams of soluble fibre daily from these foods may reduce the risk of heart disease. To qualify for the health claim, the whole oat-containing food must provide at least 0.75 grams of soluble fibre per serving. The soluble fibre in whole oats comprises a class of polysaccharides known as beta-D-glucans.

Wheatgrass
Proponents of wheatgrass make many claims for its health properties, ranging from promotion of general well-being to cancer prevention and heavy metal detoxification. Some research exists that relates diets high in chlorophyll, present in higher concentrations in green leafy vegetables, to lower rates of colon cancer.

Stevia
Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, and may even enhance glucose tolerance; it may be useful as a natural sweetener for diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.

Amaranth (sprouted) [Amaranthus hypochonriacus]
Ethanolic extract of amaranth seeds have shown potential as antioxidant (Klimczak et al., 2002). It has been suggested that squalene in amaranth oil has a chemo preventive effect on colon cancer (He et al., 2002). Some
studies have shown reduction of cholesterol level of rabbits fed with extruded amaranth (Plate and Areas 2002). 100 g of amaranth may contribute 17% of the recommended daily intake of -tocopherol (vitamin E) for an adult (Mazza 1998). Amaranth is good source of -tocotrienol (0.59-1.15 mg/100g) and -tocotrienol (0.10-0.87 mg/100g) (Mazza 1998). Tocotrienols have been shown to be more effective antioxidants than tocopherols. They also have cholesterol lowering effects (Mazza, 1998).

Grape seed extract (seed, 95% proanthocyanins)
Anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)  A 2011 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, concluded that "grape seed extract appears to significantly lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, with no effect on lipid or C-reactive protein levels.


Green tea decaffenicated extract (leaf, 50% polyphenols)
Anti-angiogenesis properties (Fights cancer.)  2011 research by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found that EGCG in green tea has a powerful ability to increase regulatory T cells in the body and boost the immune system and suppress autoimmune disorders.
According to research reported at the Sixth International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention, sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, a standardized green tea polyphenol preparation (Polyphenon E) limits the growth of colorectal tumors in rats treated with a substance that causes the cancer. "Our findings show that rats fed a diet containing Polyphenon E are less than half as likely to develop colon cancer," Dr. Hang Xiao, from the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University, noted in a statement.

Holy basil
Powder (leaf) Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of "elixir of life" and believed to promote longevity.

Tulsi extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, tulsi is taken in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics, and is widely used in skin preparations due to its antibacterial activity.

Some of the other ingredients listed were:
Fructose, xanthan gum, natural strawberry and raspberry flavors, guar gum, natural vanilla flavor, and cinnamon powder.

The alergy info: Contains milk-based ingredients and is manufactured in a plant that also processes soy ingredients.

Greenberry Recipes -

Low Carb Recipes
OCHA-logy: 1 Tbsp Soybean Powder, 1 tsp maca powder, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
249 Calories, 23.5g Protein, 24.5g Carbs 
Tea-Berry Zinger 1 cup unsweetened green tea & 1 cup raspberries
I made the green tea using tea packets and hot water, then after 10 minutes or so I poured it into the blender with the berries, and added ice. Unique flavor, and you get the immune system boost from the green tea and raspberries.
Blackberry Storm: 1 cup blackberries, 1 cup water
Flavorful and blackberries increase the anti-oxidant levels drastically. "Scientists have found berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fresh fruits." 
Higher Carb Recipes
Orange Sunrise: 1/2 cup of orange juice & water
Sweet and tangy, I drank this before going to bed, and fell asleep immediately. When I woke I felt great. myZeo Z score was 84 which is very high.
Very Berry Squeeze: 1/2 cup of strawberries, raspberries, orange juice, and water
Complex and thick, every sip has a slightly different flavor
Papaya Splash: 1/2 cup papaya, orange juice, and water
Light and smooth flavor, kind of like an orange ice cream sandwich
Banana Sunshine: 1 banana, 1/2 cup orange juice
Like the Orange Sunrise but smoother. Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma. Banana ingestion may affect dopamine production in people deficient in the amino acid tyrosine, a dopamine precursor present in bananas.
Citrus Pucker: juice from 1/2 a small lemon and small lime, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 cup water
Perfect blend of sweet and sour. When I poured it out of the blender the honey I poured in took it's time coming out since it was stuck to the wall of the blender. My solution was to blend the drink again, and while it was blending pour honey into the swirling mixture. Refreshing drink.
Lemonana: 3/4 cup organic lemonade, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup rice milk
When I made this I juiced two lemons, and poured the lemon juice into the blender with the banana. Then I added about 2 Tbsp of honey, and 1/4 cup of soy milk, and 1 cup of water. Tasted great and got me closer to my protein quota.
Happy Berry 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice, 1/2 cup of water
The flavor is amazing, and the anti-oxidant anti-angiogenesis ingredients are extremely high.  After pushing the "blend" button on my blender, and letting the choppers chop for 30 seconds or so, several berries some how found a way to avoid their fate, and were whole in my drink.  Next time I need to remember to let it blend for a minute.
Strawberry Kiwi Delight 1 cup strawberries (3 large), 2 kiwifruits (peeled), 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup water
Real earthy taste.  A lot of seeds get mixed in to this drink which causes it to have a sweet and tart flavor, and an odd texture.  The tart flavor could be from the core of the kiwi.
Yogo Berry 1 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 cup skim milk
I used rice milk instead of skim milk, and blended the mix for over a minute at high.  Very good flavor, and smooth texture.  Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids.


Chocolate Recipes -

Low Carb Recipes
Mocha Chiller: 1 cup of cold coffee
142 Calories, 17g Protein, 17g Carbs
The more ice the better, especially if you brew hot coffee and pour it in the blender. I used about 1 3/4 cup of coffee, and still barely taste the coffee. The chocolate flavor is over powering. Although, I am getting the caffeine which is the main reason I drink coffee in the morning, and accomplishing two goals at the same time.
Chocolate Twilight: 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 cup water
144 Calories, 17g Protein, 18g Carbs
Frozen Mint Chocolate: Fresh mint, 1 cup water, 1 cup ice
163 Calories, 17g Protein, 19.5g Carbs
I used mint leaves instead since I couldn't find mint extract and I increased it to 1 Tbsp - had an interesting flavor kind of like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies
Chocolate Hazelnut: 2 Tbsp. sugar-free hazelnut syrup, 1 cup water, 1 cup ice
150 Calories, 17g Protein, 17g Carbs
Higher Carb Recipes 
Cherry Monkey: 1/2 cup of pitted cherries, 1/2 banana, 1 cup of skim milk
Substituted Soy Milk - The chocolate flavor is still dominant, but you can taste a hint of cherries in the chocolate which is great, and the milk makes the shake thick and frothy. You feel like you want to eat it instead of drink it
Pina Banana: 1/2 cup of pineapple, 1/2 cup banana, 1/2 cup water
This one tasted strange to me. Don't think I ever have tasted pineapple and chocolate together. Juicing the pineapple was tough, think it took half of a pineapple to get 1/2 a cup of juice. It was tolerable, but not going to make this one again.
Chocolate Berry Blast: 1/2 cup raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, 1 cup water
Flavorful and loaded with anti-oxidants.
Chocoloate Banana Butter 1 Banana 1 cup Water 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
I always felt like the chocolate flavor was a bit rich, but with a full banana and some peanut butter, it really balances out. Peanuts are rich in nutrients, providing over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Peanuts are a good source of niacin, folate, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese and phosphorus. They also are naturally free of trans-fats and sodium, and contain about 25% protein (a higher proportion than in any true nut).

I typically add at least 3/4 to a cup of ice to each of these

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pasta and Piano


Recently I bought three boxes of pasta, along with over a hundred dollars of other foods from the grocery store, but I forgot to buy tomato sauce. Well, it's time to go grocery shopping again, but I hate seeing uneaten food in the kitchen when I am buying new groceries. Those three pasta boxes on the kitchen counter are tormenting me.

Tonight, I made a special trip to a local convenience store and bought a bottle of sauce just so I could finally cook some pasta. Not hard at all, just boil 4 quarts of water, and throw the pasta in for 8 minutes, and your done. You also should heat up the sauce a bit. A pound of pasta is a lot of food, so next time I think I am going to aim for 1/4 pound instead.

After I ate, I turned to the piano and practiced a couple songs. Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonate Op.27-2 "Moonlight" 1st Movement (Moonlight Sonata,) and Inventio 13 BMV 784 by Johann Sebastian Bach. The first classical piece I taught myself on piano was Moonlight Sonata, although I learned it by ear.


My parents bought me an electric Yamaha keyboard when I was very young, and paid for piano lessons which were taught at a real piano at a friend's house. I used to think it was boring to play songs which were handed to me by teachers, or my parents, since they were always either standards, or songs that they liked, instead of songs "I" liked. Later in my life, probably around when I was 16 years old, when I had some cash of my own, I bought a real keyboard: Roland D-50 linear synthesizer. The sounds that keyboard made were ten times more powerful and interesting than the old Yamaha keyboard I had, and I finally became addicted to playing a musical instrument. Not much later I learned how to play alto saxophone, and even played in a High School Jazz Band, which was a lot of fun, but the keyboard was the most addicting to play. I used to sit in my room with the headphones on and just make up songs everyday. Never wrote any notes down, except when I was trying to learn a complicated Pink Floyd or Doors piece. The D-50 keyboard had a lot of sounds, but the best sounds were the strings and pianos.

After listening to my CD collection of Mahler, Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, I zeroed in on Moonlight Sonata after hearing it, and have never let go of it. For me, Moonlight Sonata was one of those songs that is so hauntingly beautiful it never gets old, especially when I am playing it, instead of just listening to it. Learning Moonlight Sonata by listening to the CD, and then playing it on the keyboard, was like a game to me. Figuring out chords, and notes, by how they sound when played, and by using my memory, seems to be easier for me than literal objective musical theory. When I finally read the sheet music at my girlfriend's house many years later I realized that I played the song wrong in some parts. I decided to go out and buy a copy of the sheet music back then, and sit down and pick over the score to relearn how to play it. The sheet music was lost in a house fire over a decade ago, and I never bought a new copy.

When I was in college I also learned how to play classical guitar. It was a small intimate class of half a dozen musicians who all knew how to play electric guitar, or keyboard, or some other instrument, so the class moved fast and before the first course was over we were all playing advanced pieces. When I went back for the next semester, we formed duets, and really pushed our abilities. This was a wonderful time for me, since it was the first time that I felt like I had a close relationship with my teacher and students. Small class size really does matter.

I used to love to jam with other musicians, and record it. Later we would chop it up and make a song that sounded decent. Unfortunately, about eight years ago the band I made the best music with broke up, and I lost interest in music completely after that since I didn't have anyone else to play music with, and I even gave away my keyboard I had at the time which was a Roland XP-30. Since then, I have played guitar off and on, but stopped playing piano. However, recently I have been feeling drawn to playing music again.

I have been saving money for a while, and decided to spend a little on a new Casio PX-130 Privia digital piano, and don't regret it at all. This device is amazingly similar to a real piano, both in sound and feel. I also have a Manuel Rodriguez e Hijos Mod E classical guitar that I dug out of my closet and cleaned up. Both have a hidden universe in them that is limitless once you relax and let the notes play themselves. This concept also works for any artform, such as drawing, painting, dancing, singing, etc..

The Privia came with a book that contains 60 classical scored pieces, and in addition to that the keyboard contains recordings of each one, so you can compare your playing to the recorded work. Very cool concept. I also downloaded some sheet music from musicnotes.com and now own the guitar scores for Classical Gas by Mason Williams and Kiss the Rain by Yiruma. For the past week I have been hammering away on the keys, and plucking the strings with my filed nails, and man I am feeling sore! But, eventually my muscles will adapt to playing again.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Getting Outside


I have noticed many of the people I know spend most of their lives indoors, and rarely get out and enjoy the sunshine. Even though it is winter at the moment, and the sun stays a bit lower on the horizon, Southern California weather seems to find a way to stay relatively warm when compared to other states. In an effort to get out more, and get some exercise, I made a decision to walk to work.




It is only a 1.3 mile walk one way, and takes less than half an hour usually. My dog Misty always seems to side track me though, so it can take up to 45 minutes. But it's not about the destination, it's about the journey, right? Meeting people along the way, and seeing the buildings I drive by with more detail, makes me feel like I am more a part of the community. Today I burned around 300 calories and barely broke a sweat. I also use this time to catch up on the daily events by listening to Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.


I tried my hand at baking tonight, by mixing the ingredients to the right per a granola bar recipe, and then baking the mixture for 25 minutes. The pan I had was bigger than the one they told me to use in the recipe, and I didn't feel like buying a new pan, so the mixture was fairly thin when I spread it all out in the baking pan. It turned out like cookies, and tasted really good.

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Day, First Meals





Breakfast
Usually I would start the day by snacking on some left overs in the fridge, but instead I decided to put a little more effort into it. Four bagel thins with Benecol, and some soy milk. Benecol has Plant Sterols added to it, which lowers cholesterol naturally.

On a molecular level, sterols and stanols look a lot like cholesterol. So when they travel through your digestive tract, they get in the way. They can prevent real cholesterol from being absorbed into your bloodstream. Instead of clogging up your arteries, the cholesterol just goes out with the waste. - WebMD


The soy milk I chose has 50% more calcium that dairy milk, and has less calories and less cholesterol than dairy milk. I like how you can track where the soy milk you are drinking comes from by going to http://silksoymilk.com/traceit/ and entering the manufacturing plant code on the carton.


Snacks
Instead of only eating a couple 500 calorie meals during the day, I plan on three meals a day and also eating apples, bananas, and pears. Currently, my daily calorie intake is below 1200, and I always feel tired. If I can get my calories up around 1800, I am hoping my energy level improves.


Lunch
Some Wheat Thins and Hummus. I just realized that the carbs, fat, and sodium in Wheat Thins is extremely high. The main reason I purchased Nabisco Wheat Thins was that they had 100% Whole Grain. Lesson learned. Next time will substitute a cracker with less sodium. This meal was about 1200 Calories, 170g Carbs, 50g Fat, 30g Protein, and 1947g Sodium.

Throughout the day I read news reports, and studied various spiritual ideas, then posted about them on my other two blogs: The Mystical and Fool Me Twice. I ended the day with a cup of jasmine tea and an open faced sandwich. All-in-all I feel positive about the coming week, and if I stay focused will maintain this lifestyle of eating intelligently.