Nutritional Density is similar to Productivity

When you’re being productive, you get your job done and feel great.  You have the sense that time has slowed down because you made so much progress.

How do you think your body feels when you feed it empty calories?

It wastes time processing those calories, trying to extract nutrients that aren’t there and in a sense, getting frustrated at the lack of accomplishment. The body wasn’t able to do its job; it wasn’t able to grow and it wasn’t able to heal.

In other words, you made your body less productive.

When you eat empty calories, meaning foods with a very few nutrients for the amount of calories they contain, you’re basically wasting your body’s time.


The best gluten free products

I’ll add to this list over time:

Buckwheat Groats – Oatmeal substitute, might need to add some honey for flavor

Jovial Brown Rice Pasta – perfect substitute for normal pasta

Rice Crackers – these are amazing!  All my gluten loving friends are obsessed with them too


Sleep, Water, Earthing, Binaural Beats, and EMF waves


– you need 7-8 hours.  Human sleep in 90 minute micro-cycles so 7.5 hours is often when you find yourself waking up naturally (or it’s the best time to set an alarm).

– Quality does matter a lot, but quantity should not be discounted.  4 hours of quality sleep is not enough 😉  So allot for 8 hours of sleep because it usually takes you 5-15 min to fall asleep

– To ensure you start to produce maximal melatonin in the evening, block the blue light with these:

a) Install Flu.x on your computer (you might need to disable it if doing photoshop or color work since your screen is tinted red)

b) UV light blocking glasses (don’t need the Flu.x app if you have these on):

1. Uvex

2. Wrap around glasses


– solutes (minerals) in ocean water and human blood are the same, that’s correct

– many people do in fact not drink enough water, but you don’t need that much more to actually be hydrated.  Do not drink water all day.  This actually makes you feel worse and more hungry in fact.  The reason is that when you drink “plain” water, it does not have electrolytes in it such as sodium, potassium, chloride and calcium/magnesium.  So when you drink water, it should be closer to meal times.  That way, the water is going to be mixing with the nutrients you get from the food soon after.

– Remember, once you’re hydrated, you’re hydrated.  Taking in more does not do any good as it has nowhere to go but out.  If you ate a really salty meal, then you might be able to take in some more water but that’s because the body then needs more water to balance out all the salt you took in.  This all goes back to osmolality from chemistry class 🙂  

– Mineral water is what you want:  Volvic and Fiji are good brands although expensive.  Whole Foods now has “Smart Water” although I don’t know how many minerals they put in.

– The best source of water are fruits (fresh, not dried) and vegetables (they’re mostly water just like your bodies).  So remember that when you’re hungry and thirsty.  Processed carbs such as crackers (which have no water obviously) are going to make things worse they typically have salt in them and no water.

Earthing:  This is the name of what Ameer was talking about in regards to going outside and putting your barefeet or body against the ground (the earth exhibits a slight negative charge which helps “ground” you, like the grounding pin on an electrical outlet).  Some call it pseudoscience, some call it real.  He used the example, notice how much better you feel when you go on vacation?  Well, that’s not a scientific explanation and full of confounding variables.  For example, you’re inherently more relaxed when you go on vacation, or you’re in a peaceful nature scene. These things do definitely affect us positively and you should do them.  In addition, Earthing does have a lot of proponents and I think it’s a great activity to do regardless, we all need to unplug and get outside.  To cap it off, try looking at the horizon.  That’s relaxing because it literally lets your ocular muscles relax.  Think about how often you’re only looking at things 1, 2, 10 or 20 ft away. How often do you look at things miles away?

Point is, go ahead, preferably at midday when the sun is highest (helps with circadian rhythm) for a walk, sit in the grass, the beach, the park, wherever you can.  Btw, one of the best things you can do for your blood sugar balance is to take your walk after lunch.  It helps with digestion too.


– 15-20 min is correct, don’t go over that

– it’s actually quite healthy.  People’s needs are different, but Ameer is correct in saying that your nighttime sleep is probably the #1 factor in how much you need a nap.  However, so is your diet and blood sugar balance.  When people eat unbalanced lunches, that has a huge impact on your desire for a nap.  Btw, if you want to calculate the “weakest point in your day”.  Take the midpoint of the hours you slept at night and add 12.  So if you slept from 11-7, your mid point is 3am + 12 hours = 3pm.  That’s when you technically should be most likely to need a nap, but again, your lunch can affect this.  Ever notice how if you eat a salad or light lunch, you generally aren’t as tired?  That’s because most salads don’t have a lot of carbs in them.  It’s still best to always eat balance meals meaning some some carbs, some protein and some fat.  

Binaural beats:  

– Some people really like these, I’ve never gotten into them.  One correct on what he was saying, he keep saying beta & theta are for sleep, but that’s not right.  It’s theta and delta.  Alpha & beta waves are associated with high cognitive functioning.  Specifically beta is the most active and alpha is a calm & focused state, like while meditating.  Taking theanine with your coffee helps produce alpha waves!

Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF):  There is definitely some science to say some people are very sensitive to these however it’ll take a long time to find out if it actually affects us as a population

However, a much more serious issue is having the radiation from cell phones near your body.  Ameer’s underwear should help with this when his Indiegogo campaign comes out.  In the meantime, do not keep your phone against your body, that’s unfortunately the only thing you can do in general.

There is a cell phone case company that’s well aware of this research and makes cases for popular phones to redirect the radiation out the back of the phone vs. all around it (so you put the phone in your pocket with the glass facing you when the case is on).  It’s called  I’ve used it for years and it’s cheap insurance for if/when this all becomes a bigger issue…


Reading is to jogging as meditation is to sprinting

I’ve always noticed that my mind just seems to work better after I read a novel for a while.  Most people are already aware that reading makes our minds stronger and that TV makes them weaker.

When people think about the brian as a muscle that needs to be exercised, then the mechanism becomes obvious:  reading makes your brain generate an image (exercise) and TV pushes an image to your brain (no exercise).

So, if we now understand that both consciously generating imagery and subconsciously generating imagery (day dreaming) are good for the mind, why the subject of this article? How does meditation fit in?

Meditation in its simplest form is the act of focusing on one thing only.  However, that thing could be nothing, literally empty space and thus the focus is on preventing anything from entering that space.  In addition, the inverse of this is consciously controlling the image in your mind and actively manipulating it.  Suppose you had a countdown timer in your head and you watched it change every second.  You’ll notice how hard it is to see that clock in your head, and watch it change to the next number, and the next and the next.  This is the exercise part of meditation, it takes a lot of training and energy to expand the time in which you can consciously hold the image you want in your mind.  This is where the training benefit occurs because as you get better at doing this, the better your attention, focus and problem solving will be since you can hold more information at a given time in your conscious mind.

So coming back to the title of this post, when you read, it’s like going for a jog.  It’s an easy form of exercise that’s enjoyable and you can do for an extended period of time.  You do notice that things become easier, you have a bit more energy throughout the day and you might be in a better mood.

Meditation on the other hand is like a sprint.  The intensity is very high and thus you can only do it for a short period of time before your mind gives up.  And in the exact same way that people train in “sprint intervals” these days, it’s true for meditating as well.  When you realize you’ve lost your focus and are seeing other images, you basically come back to the task at hand and try to do it again.  Over time, your mind’s capacity improves and you will be able to stay focused longer and longer.


Black tea increases concentration more than green tea

Something to think about since you’re all interested in optimal mental performance. Black tea increases concentration and focus the most.


Ceylon Black Tea (from Sri Lanka)  (don’t buy tea from China, too many heavy metals in them)


Image of the results below:


Black Tea increases concentration the most
Black tea increases concentration the most

Meal: Tuna and Chickpeas

Ingredients:  Wild Planet Canned Tuna, chickpeas, broccoli, olive oil, pistachios (bulk), prunes

Time to make:  5 minutes

– Eat 5 prunes before beginning preparation of meal

– Rinse can of chickpeas in strainer, put 3/4’s of can onto plate

– Rinse 3/4’s cup of broccoli in strainer under warm water for 1 minute, then microwave for 30 seconds

– Add broccoli to plate as desired

– Empty can of tuna (including all juices) onto chickpeas

– Add 1tbsp olive oil and verde salsa or lemon (or white/red/balsamic vinegar) to taste

– Add handful of pistachios to mix

75g of carbs, 50g protein, 28g of fat


Presentation: What Supplements are worth it in a Paleo framework?

Link to Presentation


How to eat Healthy at Chipotle

In lieu of the grand opening of Chipotle in Kendall Square at 2 Cambridge Center (right in the heart of the square by the red line T stop, TechStars/DogPatch Labs and Champions).  This is a fantastic location for the chain and I suspect will be one of their busiest locations in the Boston/Cambridge metro area over time. [Remember, they give away free food on opening day!  Currently projected to be late June, early July]

It’s interesting to observe the 50/50 split in responses I get when I ask if people think Chipotle is healthy.  The right answer is that it can be easily, but it’s going to depend on your view of what good nutrition actually is.  I’m going to outline what to order for most people’s different nutrition philosophies, however, want to know the #1 way to make it better for you?  Don’t order a burrito, order a burrito bowl.  The tortilla is technically the only processed food in their mix and full of worthless carbs, synthetic B-vitamins, and gluten to top it off.  In addition, I won’t be recommending the fajita vegetables because they’re fried in soybean oil (Update: apparently the rice has soybean oil added to it as well.  Update 2: They’re testing “other oils”, but why? What do they think is the problem?  And what fats are they testing? Update 3: They’re testing rice bran oil and sunflower oil, I say use the High Oleic (70%) Sunflower oil if those are the only two choices, a lot less Omega-6 and more Vitamin E).

Lastly, before I go into what to order, I will say one of the best things about Chipotle is the food quality, meaning, they use hormone & antibiotic free meats, hormone free dairy in addition to locally sourced vegetables (does not imply organic at all though).

So here’s the quick answer of what I would order:

Generally Awesome Order:  Burrito Bowl with Chicken, White Rice, Black Beans, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Tomato Salsa, Green Tomatillo Salsa and Lemon (from the condiments counter)

Post Workout:  + extra serving of Steak or Carnitas, Corn Salsa, Cheese    – Sour Cream

Post Workout Bowl at Chipotle
Chipotle's Online Nutrition Calculator (


Here are the bowls I would order for different dietary philosophies:

Paleo (Low Carb) Bowl:

Steak, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Tomato Salsa, Green Tomatillo Salsa, Lemon

Paleo 2.0 (Moderate Carb) / Perfect Health Diet / Primal Bowl:

Steak, White Rice, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Tomato Salsa, Green Tomatillo Salsa, Lemon (Add black or pinto beans if you find them acceptable and want some fiber & antioxidants)

Slow Carb from the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss:

Steak, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Guacamole, Tomato Salsa, Green Tomatillo Salsa, Lemon

Vegetarian Salad Bowl:

Lettuce, White Rice, Beans, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Cheese, Tomato Salsa, Green Tomatillo Salsa, Lemon  (do not use any of their “salad dressings”, stick to extra Tomato salsa)

Vegan Salad Bowl:

Vegetarian Salad Bowl – Sour Cream – Cheese


Guacamole (2X), Tomato Salsa, Green Tomatillo Salsa, Lemon…


Extra Recommendations:

– Some level of fat is always recommended via Guacamole or Sour Cream since that will lower the glycemic index of the meal the most and optimize nutrient absorption and protein digestion

– Lemon is always added since acids (citrus) will lower the glycemic index of the meal, although not as much as fat

– Ordering Carnitas (Pork) is a good idea since it’s actually pastured at Chipotle but mainly because it’s a high source of Selenium which most people don’t get enough of

– When ordering Chicken or Carnitas (Pork), it’s almost always best to get Guacamole as well because the Vitamin E will be protective against the higher percentage of polyunsaturated fats in those two

– I usually skip the lettuce in bowls of any kind because I think it typically waters down the taste.  You want the saltiness from the meat and salsas to really bring out the flavor

Do not Recommend:

– Chipotle’s fajita vegetables:  These are fried in soybean oil which makes them more inflammatory than the Vitamin C and Carotenoids they provide will protect against.  If you still want them though, order Guacamole to get the Vitamin E or eat some almonds with your meal

– Brown Rice:  In the Paleo world, we’ve learned about anti-nutrients such as phytate and lectins.  These can irritate the gut lining and are bound to the minerals present in the bran, thus you don’t absorb the nutrients.  So it’s better to just eat the toxin free white rice (this is the only processed grain that is deemed a “safe starch“) and get your nutrients from meat & vegetables

– Beans:  Same reason as above, beans also have anti-nutrients which can be detrimental to the gut.

– Don’t eat Chicken or Carnitas as often since they contain more polyunsaturated fats, but at least Carnitas have a good dose of Selenium



Mainstream News Site thinks Soybean Oil isn’t as “fatty”

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
“The gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E seems to decrease allergy-related inflammation,” Bielory says. In a study from Michigan State University, animals that were given high doses of gamma-tocopherol before breathing in heavily polluted air had less inflammation in their nasal passages than animals that weren’t given the gamma-tocopherol, he says. The dose of this form of vitamin E in the study was extremely high — you would have to drink gallons of soybean oil a day to get the same allergy relief. But using soybean oil in place of other fattier oils certainly can’t hurt.
The bolded text above might be the dumbest statement I’ve ever seen written, especially when they go out of their way to say that all the information was medically reviewed.  When are we going to learn that most doctors do not know anything about nutrition?
Two things are so wrong with that statement:
1. You think other oils are fattier than soybean oil?  Just about every fat on the planet has the same amount of calories per tablespoon.  Yet somehow soybean oil is less fatty?  What I think you’re insinuating is that there’s less saturated fat?  Which we actually know now is healthier now…see next point.
2.  Soybean oil is a processed oil, very high in Omega-6 fatty acids and oxidizes easily due to its mostly polyunsaturated composition.  It’s one of the worst oils out there and is part of the reason the Standard American Diet is associated with heart disease, with inflammation being the primary underlying cause.
So next time you want to make a stupid statement like that, pick something like Olive Oil which is at least lower in Omega-6 and Polyunsaturated fats (and most mainstream nutritionists advocate as well), has a decent amount of Vitamin E and other fruit polyphenols (and of course I’d vote for grass-fed butter with all of its nutrients as the best fat of all)

Canola has up to 5% trans-fat, not heart healthy

Dr. Cate has a great post on the evils of Canola Oil and how it’s in way more food than we realize (just like vegetable & soybean oil) and is one of the worst oils for you given it’s high trans-fat content:

“Here in the US, there is no such labeling requirement, so most consumers never learn that their bottle of “heart healthy” Canola contains as much as 5% trans fat, a percentage that goes way up when Canola is heated during cooking.”

“And since most people don’t happen to have PhDs in biochemistry, consumers don’t realize that the trans fat content is just the tip of the toxic iceberg. Trans fats are a predictable molecular product of Canola oil processing. It’s the unpredictable, randomly mutated molecular configurations that are making so many people sick.”

“How did all this trans and other distorted molecules wind up in Canola oil? From extraction and processing, that’s how. Ironically, the Canola oil that sits in the Canola seed is just fine, even healthy, as it is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids.  The processed Canola oil—extracted with heat and high pressure and the use of harsh solvents, like hexane—is, chemically speaking, an entirely different animal, a substance rendered so rancid you’d think it would stink.  That’s where the “bleaching” and deodorizing come in.”