Appalachian Trail Adventures

This Memorial Day weekend, I am taking my 14 year old daughter, Faith on a section hike of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. Things did not work out as planned.

Day 1- Departure and Sightseeing

Day 2: Mason Dixon Line to Cowal Shelter

We would hike 10 miles today and it would be about 6 miles in that I knew Faith was in trouble. We hit multiple sections of rocks like the ones seen below and several pointless ups and downs(puds). Soon the tears were flowing and the cramping took over and Faith was experiencing Wesley amounts of pain.

Penn Mar Park Overlook
trail is to the right
Bear bag hanger
A forced smile
Ensign Cowall Memorial Shelter
Faith named this cicada Clover

Day 3, Pick up outside of Ensign Cowall to Harper’s Ferry

After looking at the maps and doing a good bit of thinking, it was determined that calling the hike was the most prudent move. Overnight temps were in the 40’s and it rained all night. On top of exhaustion, we were not equipped for cold weather camping. We would get picked up by our pick up and do 5 miles on the C & O path. We would manage to get around 20 miles over our three days.

Faith named this slug Vinne

According to Faith, you have to “have the bad days to appreciate the good days”. This weekend was more about living and enjoying life rather than the distance traveled. This is living your life.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: Intermittent Fasting

I missed a post last week and I apologize, I was on adventures.

On Sunday, May 23rd, Phil Mickleson would become the oldest player in history to win the Professional Golf Associations(PGA) tournament at the age of 50. This week I want to look at his diet, which he is crediting to his success.

Mr. Mickleson used a form of intermittent fasting, something that I have been playing around with over the last few years and most recently, spent the last two weeks engaging in what is known as a Circadian Rythm or 13 hour fast, where you eat for 11 hours and fast 13. Mr. Mickleson’s specific fast was a 6 day fast consuming only a coffee elixir and water.

Phil Mickleson’s coffee smoothie:

350-450 grams of coffee (Ethiopian beans)(this is the specific formula given in the article, you can just use 16 oz of any coffee)

Two to three tbsp. MCT or XCT oil

1 scoop flavorless collagen protein powder

Dash of Himalayan pink sea salt

Small glass of almond milk

200 mg L-Theanine

One tbsp. Manuka honey

One tsp. cinnamon

With medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) to help your body achieve ketosis and burn fat for energy, protein powder for muscle recovery, L-Theanine to counter balance the caffeine and “promote an alert state of relaxation”, this ‘smoothie’ isn’t for everyone. (

I think I will try this smoothie and get back to you. I have used Dave Asprey’s Bullet Proof coffee recipe which this seems to be an offshoot of to break my 13 hour fast in the past. I think I will leave out the L-theanine, I can get this from a green tea in the afternoon and Manuka honey is stupid expensive. I would also leave out the almond milk and just go with the Dave Asprey recipe( I would blend all of this up in my Ninja bullet blender. Here is a link describing someone doing Mr. Mickleson’s diet:

Specifically, intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that switches between eating and fasting on a regular schedule. As previously mentioned, I use a 13 hour fast but have done a 16:8 schedule as well. IF is purported to be great for weight loss and has been shown to help with preventing or reversing some disease.

This is what IF has been proven to promote:

  • Thinking and memory. Studies discovered that intermittent fasting boosts working memory in animals and verbal memory in adult humans.
  • Heart health. Intermittent fasting improved blood pressure and resting heart rates as well as other heart-related measurements.
  • Physical performance. Young men who fasted for 16 hours showed fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. Mice who were fed on alternate days showed better endurance in running.
  • Diabetes and obesity. In animal studies, intermittent fasting prevented obesity. And in six brief studies, obese adult humans lost weight through intermittent fasting.
  • Tissue health. In animals, intermittent fasting reduced tissue damage in surgery and improved results.
  • Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.).

This is what IF is not:

It is not a diet. It is a pattern of eating that can help with a myriad of health concerns. As a therapist, I sometimes ask my clients to consider IF to re associate their association with food. Becasue I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, I often ask my clients to consider one of these professionals before trying this protocol so that it is done correctly.

Finally, consider this video:

Greg Doucette. (2021, May 22). Keep HUNGER At Bay With Intermittent Fasting || Science Re-explained [Video]. YouTube.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: Physical Health and Christianity

I was asked recently to speak about why it is important for Christians to be physically healthy. This post is going to be bit different than my last posts and will cover a lot of religious language that may not be appropriate for some of my readers.

From first blush, the line from the Bible that comes to mind is the whole notion of our bodies being temples and then my ADHD goes down a track and looks at the Calypso poet and prophet, Jimmy Buffett who says he “treats his body like a temple while you treat yours like a tent”.

All silliness aside, looking at another aspect of faith in a bigone era, there was a movement where we called to be ready, there was a time of the church militant and in my active ministry days, the Left Behind and Rapture mentality.

To be physically healthy is to be able to be ready to do the work of God, to be able to serve lunch afte church; to be able to work on the local mission project, to be physically and mentally able to mentor the next generation of believers.

To close, if we are in poor phsyical health, this becomes a concern for our communities of faith. “For example, when a member of a church has cancer, it does not only affect the individual, but those around them. However, we can be good stewards of our health by attempting to prevent illnesses and diseases”(

There are three things you can do to begin to better your health:

1. Exercise/move regularly, as little as 30 minutes a day every day can go a long way.

2. Talk to a professional, a nutritionist, diabetes specialist, therapist, physical therapist or a personal trainer will all have insights as to how to help you begin the journey to better health.

3. Eat and sleep regularly. Missing sleep and not eating regularly can mess up hormones which can lead to a whole host of long term probelms physically and mentally.

This Week’s Menu

This week’s menu features Chili Colorado made with chicken instead of pork shoulder and Pesto Chicken Casserole with Feta Cheese and Olives, both a low carb/highish fat meal.

Chili Colorado

Pesto Chicken Casserole with Feta Cheese and Olives

In my training the last week, I have returned to the use of intermittent fasting (IF) and eating my breakfasts after my morning workout. I am fasting around 12-14 hours making my workout done on an empty stomach.

I am not intermittent fasting for weight loss as much as I am using it for the benefits of cellular repair; improving insulin sensitivity; increasing human growth hormone(HGF) and gene expression. ( I have used IF before and have really like the benefits that I have observed. Most notably, I find that my sugars feel more stable and my energy is better during the day.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: Chronic Pain and Obesity

Well, I did not write a post last week. I took a nasty spill on my bike on Saturday and Sunday was spent just trying to make it through with what I think was a broken pinky, mangled knuckes, sprained wrist and jacked up shoulder.

I rode 30 miles in the Black Fork Gravel Grinder down near Loudonville, Ohio in a state park called Mohican State Park. The day was perfect and I really rode well, until the last 7 miles when I failed to negotiate a hair pin turn and took a spill. It was a fun 7 mile finish.

This week, I want to continue my thread on obesity and obesity related issues. In our last look, I looked at how physical literacy impededes one’s abilty effectively and comfortable lose weight.

In this week’s discussion, I want to go a bit further and address the impact chronic pain has on one’s life with obesity. Here are some facts:

  • 60% of women with fibromyalgia are obese
  • Morbidly obese people are 33% more likely to need a hip replacement than a non obese person
  • Greater BMI is associated with greater defective changes to knee cartilage
  • Obese persons exert greater disc compressive forces when themselves than non obese persons

Chronic pain increases as one moves up the scale. A morbidly obese person can experience up to 240% increase in chronic pain.

As we looked last week, losing weight is not as easy as we would like to think. Pain makes it hard to move, and if you are in pain, you don’t want to do something or anything. I know, for years I suffered with chronic low back pain and at one point, herniated a disc. The disc herniation took 18 months to recover from.

We have to re think our models for weight loss and the realities of weight loss. Weight loss is no longer calories/ calories out. We must consider the amount of movement the obese person is able to conduct and if there is any pain with the movement. Weight loss especially for the obese to morbidly obese person is a long game fraught with set backs and even at times, failures.

If you are looking at beginning a weight loss journey, consider these professionals to help you: a dietician, a physical therapist, a personal trainer, a mental health therapist, a psychiatrist and a doctor who specializes in weight reduction surgery. Other possible professionals would be an Endocrinologist, a doctor/speicialist in diabetes care, a plastic surgeon and openess to a number of other professionals who may be needed to deal with other complexities that may arise in your journey. Expect the journey to be a long one, but well worth it.

This week’s menu:

Meal 1: Roasted Pork with Squash and Apples

Meal 2: Beef and Veggie Bowls with Comeback Sauce

Snack: 20 Minute Oatmeal Protein Cookies

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: Physical Literacy

This week, I want to look at a concept I came across in a recent training, the idea of physical literacy. Physical literacy is defined as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” – The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014.

In this blog, I talk a lot about nutrition and this truly is only part of the puzzle. As poor diets are the trend right now, little to no movement is also observed as a trend. I get it, excercise can be hard and at times, sucks. There are plenty of times I don’t want to get out of bed at 0500 on a Saturday for a 20 mile run, but I do anyway.

As with all development, teaching physical literacy begins when you are young. Play is a child’s primary language and a parent that does not play with their child misses a key component in creating the strong bonds that will eventually develop into emotional maturity and other skills important for commuicating effiectively and efficiently. A lack of physical movement in the fist five years can be attributed to overall decreased motor skills and coordination in grade school which leads to decreased motor confidence in the tween years which then leads to further sedentary behaviors in the teen and adult years. In turn, this will evently lead to adverse health outcomes as one becomes an adult.

In what will become a series of posts based on what I am working on understanding through some continuing education I am doing, I will show that losing weight is not as simple as not eating or restricting calories and exercising. Physical literacy is one of those reasons. If you do not know how to move efficiently and effectively, moving can be not fun and even downright uncomfortable or embarrasing in the case of playing a simple game of pick up baseball or basketball.

In my training by the American Council of Exercise(ACE), they talk about the categories of skills for physical literacy:

1. Locomotor skills: running, jumping, hopping and skipping

2. Object control skills: Catching, throwing, kicking and bouncing

3. Stability skills: Balancing, twisting, rotating and landing.

The following graph are the types of fundamental skills one should attain for physical literacy.

Fundamental movement skills needed to develop physical literacy

Ellerton, H. (2020, November 25). What is physical literacy and why is it important for children today? Human Kinetics Blog.

For adults, a predictor of long term health is the abilty of one to get off of the floor from the supine position. Practicing Turkish Get Ups is an essential exercise to work on this skill. Your health is greatly related to how effectively and efficiently you can get off the floor using the minimal amount of limbs. For example, as a martial artist, I can get off the floor from the supine position just by rocking onto my feet and standing up.

Check out these two PDF’s regarding physical literacy for adults/aging

Click to access PhysicalLiteracy_AspenInstitute-FINAL.pdf

Click to access 2013-jun-physical-literacy.pdf

This week’s menu is super simple because I was busy this last weekend with a lot of endurance training. I put in 15 hours of training last week and covered my 30 miles of running for the week. I am close to 100 miles of running for the month of April, my goal for this month. Despite my best go at it on the bike, I fell short by 2 hours. No excuses, I just did not put in the work.

This week I am eating a no boil lasgne and a ham and cheese quiche. Both of which are fairly accessible online.