33 Rules I Strive to Live By

iStock 000004705762XSmallToday — December 26th, 2013 — is my thirty-third birthday.

Everyone always assumes having a birthday right after Christmas is no good because you get short-changed on presents, but I’ve always loved it — having Christmas, my birthday, and New Year’s (still my favorite holiday) all in one week is pretty sweet. And writing this post is the closest I’ve ever come to working on my birthday, another plus.

I like what Leo did for his birthday post a few years ago, so here’s my version. This list of “rules,” of course, leaves out many obvious ones like “be a faithful husband,” “tell the truth,” etc. And I’m by no means perfect with the ones I’ve included here, but I’m happiest when I am doing well with them.

I hope you find one or two that might be worth adopting in your own life.

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Cold Therapy & Weight-Loss Expert Ray Cronise: The Optimal Diet, and Is Exercise Unnecessary?

Podcast Radio2From his appearance in The 4-Hour Body to an ABC Nightline interview to his TEDMED talk, Ray Cronise is making waves in the nutrition and weight-loss worlds.

Ray is the guy whose ideas led to what in many people’s eyes was the most memorable part of Tim Ferriss’ epic fitness bestseller The 4-Hour Body — that cold stress, in the form of cold showers, ice baths, and cold packs, can play a significant role in aiding rapid fat loss.

Back in 2008, when it was reported that swimmer Michael Phelps ate 12,000 calories a day, it was Ray who noticed that something was amiss. Phelps might have trained harder than anyone, but he wasn’t doing the 10 hours of continuous butterfly per day that under the traditional “calories in / calories out” model would have been necessary to avoid weight gain, when so many calories were coming in.

The missing part of the equation? That the pool was cold, and Phelps’s body had to expend an enormous amount of energy just to keep itself warm.

So Ray, a former NASA scientist who himself had put on some extra pounds over the years, used his scientific training to dive headlong into the study of nutrition and health — and in the process, lost 50 pounds.

And as it turns out, the diet Ray chooses — the one he believes is optimal for weight loss in the short term, health and longevity in the long term — is 100 percent plant-based.

Like any good scientist, Ray is skeptic; indeed, his mindset of questioning long-held assumptions and dogma is what’s primarily responsible for his history of disruptiveness wherever he turns his attention.

But (warning!) this approach means that when you listen to Ray, you’ll likely hear a few things you don’t want to hear: along with his belief that some beloved health foods aren’t so healthy, Ray has recently begun to question whether exercise is really necessary — for weight loss or even long-term health.

In this interview, Ray and I talk for well over an hour to dive deep into his understanding of nutrition and health. He’s not afraid to stand apart from the crowd, and if you listen with an open mind, I promise you’ll learn something new and foundation-shaking.

Here’s what Ray and I talk about in this episode:

  • Ray’s background of disruptiveness with NASA and Zero-G
  • The role cold stress plays in weight loss
  • How Ray got started with a plant-based diet
  • What Paleos and vegans have in common
  • Why it’s utterly ridiculous to label foods as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Should we avoid added oil and salt altogether?
  • The optimal diet for health
  • Do we really need to exercise at all?

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On Turning Pro — One Year Later

What a year.

On January 4th, 2013, I wrote a post called On Turning Pro, about my plans to overcome debilitating anxiety by “growing up and turning pro” in just about every area of my life.

I was not in a good place, coming off the most worried and powerless six months I had ever experienced. But the new year had brought me the first glimmer of light at the end of that dark tunnel, and in this post I wrote about my plans to navigate the rest of the way out.

Here’s the last paragraph:

January 1st has passed. Another year of your life is gone. And before you know it, this one will be over too. My challenge to you — before another day goes by — is to find the place where you need to grow up and turn pro. And then do it.

I hope you’ll join me.

Fast forward 10 months from when I wrote that post …

It’s October 30th and I’m in San Francisco, sharing a stage at Samovar Tea Lounge with Jesse Jacobs, the owner and founder of Samovar, and Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits and one of my personal heroes.

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My ‘Eat to Live’ Challenge

eattoliveFive years ago, a 10-day challenge led to my eventual decision to go vegetarian (and to start this blog).

A few years later a 30-day vegan challenge, which I completed successfully, actually taught me that I wasn’t ready to go vegan yet. But when I was ready six months later, that month-long experiment was probably to thank.

Why should we do uncomfortable challenges like these, with food or anything else? For me, the answer is clear: you might just discover something you love, when you learn that actually doing the thing is easier than worrying about how tough it surely must be.

But even if your experiment doesn’t lead you to change your life, a challenge around something so near-and-dear as food will almost certainly teach you something about yourself.

And so …

My Latest Challenge

For several years I’ve long been intrigued by the “don’t eat extracted oils” philosophy. Because if I’m honest, oil isn’t a whole food, and I’m fond of saying that I eat whole foods.

I also knew that I ate a lot of salt, woke up every day with an urge for a small, strong cup of coffee, and enjoyed a single (usually strong) beer almost every night.

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Crazy Goals, Running, and the Plant-Based Diet: A Live Recording of My Book Tour Talk

Podcast Radio2What else is there to say? The book tour is done (today is the final event), I’ve written what there is to write about the adventure, and I’m pretty well stoked for the next chapter for No Meat Athlete.

2014 holds some major changes for NMA, the biggest in the five years since I started this little blog. While there’s a lot I can’t unveil quite yet, I can tell you that one change, for me, is a big shift in what I personally do. A shift away from the roles of managing, emailing, accounting, and more emailing, and a return to the simple job of making things — blog posts, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, and a lot more that Doug, Susan, and I have in mind for the next year and beyond.

And what has brought about the desire to make that change is, of course, the experience of the past two months … meeting literally thousands of readers from all across the country, listening to their stories of change, and being inspired to focus again on the things that really matter for this blog. And for this movement.

So in this final post about the tour — and trust me, it’s been amazing but it’s with great pleasure that I move on — I’m pleased to share a live recording from our event at Bearded Brothers in Austin, Texas. You’ll hear me and co-author Matt Ruscigno give what became our standard talks, so that you can get a small taste of what the events were like, in case you couldn’t make it out to one.

Hope you enjoy it — and even better, I hope you use it.

Here’s what to expect in this episode:

  • The best parts of the book tour
  • Matt Ruscigno’s talk at Bearded Brothers in Austin, TX
  • My talk at Bearded Brothers in Austin, TX
  • The “easy” trick for becoming comfortable with what scares you
  • How Doug actually took my advice and put it into action
  • Doug’s plans for his 100-miler
  • The importance of “burning desire” when it comes to habit change

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