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Real Food Ninja Training: Food, Glorious Food!

Real Food Ninja Training: Food, Glorious Food!
Real Food
    From Chiot's Run on flickr

    Food, glorious food … or is it glorious? Is it even food we are eating? I believe many of us have struggled with that question as we down processed McDonalds hamburgers and fries. What about margarine or other such creations?

    Graduate school is great for getting a degree, but not so much for maintaining an ideal weight. For me, it was a burrito place down the street that gave a discount for students. It was quick, and I could take it to go. However, I knew I wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to be, so like many I tried diet after diet. I sabotaged my diets. I was even really good at eating healthy, but that didn’t work. Then my wife, who is part homemaker and part mad-scientist (mwa-haha!), said she was going to switch our diet over to one of “real food”.

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    What on earth is real food?

    That is a good question, and one that I definitely did not know when we began our journey two years ago. I sort of believed it was a chance for my wife to experiment growing things in the kitchen, and then poisoning feeding her husband her mad creations. To my surprise, the first thing she handed me was a piece of nice, warm Italian bread straight from the oven with loads and loads of butter on it.

    This was food, glorious food! Mouth watering, tongue tantalizing, body trembling food! Was this really the diet my loving mad-scientist had concocted for me? Then I learned the truth – real food is not a diet. It is a way of living.

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    The benefits

    Soon, I found myself losing weight while maintaining higher energy levels. People kept asking me how I would accomplish all the various projects I was working on and still seemed to have energy to smile at the end of the day. They were watching me slim up, but I would be happy ordering some of the fattiest, caloric food around.

    However, the real change was in my shopping technique. I was slowly becoming a real food ninja in the super market. You know that fruits and vegetables section? Hey, give me some of that goodness! Buying some soup? Let me look at that label. Hmm, that scary part of the health food store where everything seems alive — lets make a b-line there!

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    Shopping, eating and thinking about my meals became fun again. I just simply did not have as strong a desire to pickup McDs after a long night or programming. The food tasted too bland to me. No longer was I a “oh, I should be eating salad tonight” type of mentality. Instead it turned into a “what do I want to eat tonight?”.

    So what makes Real Food?

    Two words – preparation and ingredients.

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    To be a real food ninja, we have to figure out how to prepare our food, and we need to find out what ingredients matter. With that in mind, here are some common ideas that we can look at in our lifestyle to start the transition.

    1. Localvore & Organic
    2. Pre-Industrial Cooking
    3. Fermentation, probiotic and the “living breathing bubblies”
    4. Full, healthy FAT filled ingredients
    5. Soaked, sprouted grains and nuts
    6. Part Mad-Scientist! (mwa-haha!)
    7. And the all-star rule – whole, unprocessed ingredients

    The best way to look at “dieting” is to simply ignore the “d” word. Instead, lets take a moment to look at our lifestyle. What we are buying, and how that is affecting our metabolism?

    The heart of real food is enjoying food the way it was meant to be enjoyed, and I for one, am glad my loving, mad-scientist switched us that fateful January two years ago.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

    How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

    The brain is a tangled web of information. We don’t remember single facts, but instead we interlink everything by association. Anytime we experience a new event, our brains tie the sights, smells, sounds and our own impressions together into a new relationship.

    Our brain remembers things by repetition, association, visual imagery, and all five senses. By knowing a bit about how the brain works, we can become better learners, absorbing new information faster than ever.

    Here are some study tips to help get you started:

    1. Use Flashcards

    Our brains create engrained memories through repetition. The more times we hear, see, or repeat something to ourselves, the more likely we are to remember it.

    Flashcards can help you learn new subjects quickly and efficiently. Flashcards allow you to study anywhere at any time. Their portable nature lends them to quick study sessions on the bus, in traffic, at lunch, or in the doctor’s office. You can always whip out your flashcards for a quick 2 to 3 minute study session.

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    To create effective flashcards, you need to put one point on each flashcard. Don’t load up the entire card with information. That’s just overload. Instead, you should dedicate one concept to each card.

    One of the best ways to make flashcards is to put 1 question on the front and one answer on the back. This way, you can repeatedly quiz yourself into you have mastered any topic of your choice.

    Commit to reading through your flash cards at least 3 times a day and you will be amazed at how quickly you pick up new information.

    As Tony Robbins says,

    “Repetition is the mother of skill”.

    2. Create the Right Environment

    Often times, where you study can be just as important as how you study. For an optimum learning environment, you’ll want to find a nice spot that is fairly peaceful. Some people can’t stand a deafening silence, but you certainly don’t want to study near constant distractions.

    Find a spot that you can call your own, with plenty of room to spread out your stuff. Go there each time you study and you will find yourself adapting to a productive study schedule. When you study in the same place each time, you become more productive in that spot because you associate it with studying.

    3. Use Acronyms to Remember Information

    In your quest for knowledge, you may have once heard of an odd term called “mnemonics”. However, even if you haven’t heard of this word, you have certainly heard of its many applications. One of the most popular mnemonic examples is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”. This is an acronym used to help musicians and students to remember the notes on a treble clef stave.

    An acronym is simply an abbreviation formed using the intial letters of a word. These types of memory aids can help you to learn large quantities of information in a short period of time.

    4. Listen to Music

    Research has long shown that certain types of music help you to recall information. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be remembered simply by “playing” the songs mentally in your head.

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    5. Rewrite Your Notes

    This can be done by hand or on the computer. However, you should keep in mind that writing by hand can often stimulate more neural activity than when writing on the computer.

    Everyone should study their notes at home but often times, simply re-reading them is too passive. Re-reading your notes can cause you to become disengaged and distracted.

    To get the most out of your study time, make sure that it is active. Rewriting your notes turns a passive study time into an active and engaging learning tool. You can begin using this technique by buying two notebooks for each of your classes. Dedicate one of the notebooks for making notes during each class. Dedicate the other notebook to rewriting your notes outside of class.

    6. Engage Your Emotions

    Emotions play a very important part in your memory. Think about it. The last time you went to a party, which people did you remember? The lady who made you laugh, the man who hurt your feelings, and the kid who went screaming through the halls are the ones you will remember. They are the ones who had an emotional impact.

    Fortunately, you can use the power of emotion in your own study sessions. Enhance your memory by using your five senses. Don’t just memorize facts. Don’t just see and hear the words in your mind. Create a vivid visual picture of what you are trying to learn.

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    For example, if you are trying to learn the many parts of a human cell, begin physically rotating the cell in your minds eye. Imagine what each part might feel like. Begin to take the cell apart piece by piece and then reconstruct it. Paint the human cell with vivid colors. Enlarge the cell in your mind’s eye so that it is now six feet tall and putting on your own personal comedy show. This visual and emotional mind play will help deeply encode information into your memory.

    7. Make Associations

    One of the best ways to learn new things is to relate what you want to learn with something you already know. This is known as association, and it is the mental glue that drives your brain.

    Have you ever listened to a song and been flooded by memories that were connected to it? Have you ever seen an old friend that triggered memories from childhood? This is the power of association.

    To maximize our mental powers, we must constantly be looking for ways to relate new information with old ideas and concepts that we are already familiar with.

    You can do this with the use of mindmapping. A mind map is used to diagram words, pictures, thoughts, and ideas into a an interconnected web of information. This simple practice will help you to connect everything you learn into a global network of knowledge that can be pulled from at any moment.

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    Learn more about mindmapping here: How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

    Featured photo credit: Alissa De Leva via unsplash.com

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