Elevate Coffee to another level. By taking it down a notch.

This stuff elevates the coffee experience.

This stuff elevates the coffee experience.

I start every day with two large cups of black coffee. Therefore, I start everyday with a smile due to the hot brew.

I think that coffee taken black and in moderation is good for you. It seems there is a new article every day stating some health benefit of drinking coffee. I like to think that coffee is part of my healthy lifestyle.

Naturally, as a health nut, I’m always looking for some little trick or tweak that I can incorporate into my day, to be healthier. When I started to hear of a way to make coffee healthier, I paid attention.

I started hearing about putting MCT oil in coffee. Then I heard about adding grass-fed butter to your coffee. Then maybe you were supposed to blend the two together and put it in the coffee. I dunno. I heard these recommendations while listening to the Joe Rogan podcast.

I was confused. Then I found out that MCT oil, which stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, is simply coconut oil. I’d never used coconut oil before but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find.

And you know what? It wasn’t. I found some in my local grocery store. I bought a jar, brought it home and decided to give it a shot.

It’s super easy to make your coffee with coconut oil. Just make your coffee the exact same way you always have except put a spoonful of coconut oil into your cup before you pour in the hot coffee.

And Presto! That’s it, you just took your coffee up a notch.

You might be thinking, “Eww. Why would I want my coffee to taste like coconuts?” That’s a fair question and that’s what I thought at first too. It turns out that coconut oil is tasteless.

It’s weird but true.

The coffee tastes the same, it just looks like there is an oil slick in the coffee.

When I tried coffee like this the first time I thought, “What’s the big deal?”

After drinking coffee with coconut oil for a week I think I figured it out. The coconut oil makes the caffeine come on slower. Instead of the caffeine hitting you like a train… or a punch in the face, it slowly, gently comes on. I guess the coconut oil slows down the absorption of caffeine.

As you know, I’m not a scientist, but this is what it feels like to me.

The “coffee feeling” comes on slower and seems to last longer. I also feel “coffee satisfied” much longer than without using the coconut oil. After drinking coffee like this for a week the strangest thing happened.

I was no longer reaching for that second cup of coffee.

I’ve always drank two large cups of coffee throughout the morning. Using the coconut oil, I found that that second cup was too much. Now I just drink one large cup of coffee in the morning.

Adding coconut oil to your coffee makes a subtle but profound difference. The coconut oil optimizes the coffee experience by moderating the rate of caffeine absorption.

Adding coconut oil doesn’t make your coffee taste different, it makes your coffee feel different. And the texture is a little oily as well.

You should try adding some coconut oil to your coffee.

And here’s why.

It’s one of those low-downside to potentially large upside situations. The jar of coconut oil only costs a couple of bucks. If you don’t like the new coffee after trying it, quit. If you do like it, you have set yourself up for a lifetime of healthiness and coffeed happiness.

P.S. I’d love to hear from someone that has tried coconut oil in coffee or grass fed butter in coffee—or both. What do you think? Has it changed the way you drink coffee or did you switch back to your old way? Let me know.  I’m trying to learn more about this.

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Adult Braces are… Awesome??

I had braces with rubber bands as an adult.  One time the girls talked me into wearing the pink, blue, and green rubber bands.

I had braces with rubber bands as an adult. One time the girls talked me into wearing the pink, blue, and green rubber bands.

Braces are painful. The metal rubs into your mouth causing sores.

Food gets caught up in the braces. Your tongue gets sore trying to get the bits and pieces out. Brushing your teeth is difficult. And flossing? Flossing your teeth with braces is like knitting with a slobbery wet needle and thread and slobbery knitting fingers.

Now for the fun part: you’re supposed to engage in this pleasant experience every night before you go to bed. It is important to do this.

Every kid that gets braces at least has several friends going through the same experience. Misery loves company. You have to do what your parents say. Getting braces as a kid ain’t so bad, except that every kid that has to get braces thinks it’s the end of the world.

You know what I’m talking about, eh? You had them when you were a kid and remember the pain and embarrassment? How you’re lips would stick out to cover the metal and you wouldn’t smile because it hurt too much?  Oh, the good ‘ol days.

Well, getting braces as an adult is different animal. Especially if you had braces as a kid and you know already know what you’re getting into.

As an adult you know most of the things about braces that kids do, plus you have a few more things to worry about.

Adults know how expensive (!) braces are. That new car or fancy vacation you were thinking about? That’s going to have to wait. Then there’s the added discomfort of “everybody’s gonna stare at you” because you’re not a kid and all your friends aren’t getting braces as well.

No, you are the only adult you know that is getting braces. If you’re a dude, women aren’t going to want to touch you. If you’re a woman, dudes will think at least once or maybe even twice, but they will still touch you.

It’s easy to decide not to get braces as an adult. It’s always easier to do nothing. Adults get stuck in their ways.

They say something like, “I’m already in my X’s (X = 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, etc.). I’ve looked this way my whole life.” Plus they’re expensive. And all the other reasons. Blah.

It’s easy to not get braces.

If braces suck so bad why would you get them if you’re an adult (if you’re a kid you get them because Mom and Dad said so)? You get braces as an adult because having straight teeth is awesome.

I respect the heck out of adults that take the plunge and sign up for the misery of getting braces.

When you grow up with crooked teeth you can’t imagine what it’s like to have straight teeth. Smiling tends to be something you do only if your Mom forces you to.Once braces align your crooked teeth, you know how much better your bite feels with your new alignment.

You gain a bit of confidence or–you lose a bit of self consciousness. Thumbs up either way.

It’s easier to smile. Smiling is awesome. Smiling makes you feel better. Braces, once you go through a year or two of pain, will make you feel better.

I’ve never met someone that got braces as an adult that said, “I did the wrong thing. I shouldn’t have gotten braces.” Adults love having straight teeth. We all complain about the process, but we all love the end result.

After the avalanche I was curious to see what my teeth looked like. I’d smashed my jaw in several places. When I woke up in the hospital my jaw was wired shut. Because of the wires holding my jaw shut I couldn’t see my teeth.

The good news was that I still had teeth.

Once the wires were removed it was easy to see that my teeth had moved around. My jaw didn’t close like normal. I knew I needed braces.

I hated braces as a kid. The trauma from the avalanche had tempered my anger and frustrations. After recovering from those injuries, something like braces is no big deal.

I still wasn’t stoked to get braces. I decided to view it as another surgery or rehabilitation I had to do to recover. I signed up and got some metal on my teeth.

I didn’t smile much before I got braces for the second time. After my braces were removed I try to smile as much as possible. I’m not good at it and sometimes I think I come off as creepy. Sometimes I try too hard to smile.

Deciding to get braces as an adult was not a fun experience. As an adult it’s easy to decide against getting braces. The good thing is that as an adult you can understand the benefits of straight teeth and an easy smile better than you can as a child.

You will look back on this decision and realize it’s was one of the best you ever made.

P.S. I got my adult braces from Dr. Cooke in Napa, CA. I can’t recommend her and her staff enough.

PPS. If you got braces as an adult let me know how it made you feel in the Comments section below. I bet once they were taken off you loved the way you looked, right?  It was totally worth all the pain, misery, and expense, no?

The Secret Power of Superman?

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I never see Superman drink any boos. I never see Superman eat any food. He’s usually just flying around saving the world. No time for merry making for Superman.

That might be where he gets his power, from not eating all the time. He’s probably so busy fighting bad guys that he skips eating for a day or so. And because of this, the dude is super healthy… he’s Superman.

The human body dedicates a lot of energy to digesting food.

We eat food all the time, everyday.

Hell, I’m always eating. I eat food to pass the time. I eat food just because I’m bored. I’ll look in the fridge because that’s the most exciting thing to do.

The body isn’t designed to eat this much food.

When we were chasing and running from animals in the great and wild plains of prehistory, we weren’t always successful in obtaining food. Humans survived because they were able to sustain through periods of no-eating.

When the body doesn’t eat food and doesn’t have to devote those energy units towards digesting foodstuffs, the body directs that energy to cleaning out the system. The body starts hunting down trespassers, like plaque that is choking your arteries, and destroys it.

When the body isn’t digesting, it focuses its energy on “cleaning the house.”

Get Fast Healthy.

When I discovered fasting I was blown away.

Intentionally not eat food? What kind of crazy thinking is that? But I’d been blown up by an avalanche, my body was devastated from the trauma and resulting surgeries. My ego (or is it the Id?) was crushed, which was great because that meant that my mind was open to suggestion. I was willing to listen to new ideas. I was willing to learn.

That’s when I found out about non-religious fasting.

I wanted my body to heal itself, to hunt down all the bad shit, the drugs and radiation from x-rays, etc., that had built up in my system.

It cost nothing to try it. Water was free. I even saved a little money because I wasn’t eating.

I began fasting one day a week. Usually on Mondays because Monday’s were already a mehh sort of day and it was at the beginning of the week so I could get it out of the way, then have a nice week.

I did this most weeks for about a year. At the end of the year I fasted about ¾ of the Mondays.

Becoming My Own Bank

In 2014 I decided to set up my first Infinite Banking Concept account. This is where you use a dividend paying whole life insurance policy from a mutual life insurance company, to build up a pile of money that you can access at any time.

Before I was sold the policy I had to get a physical for the life insurance company. They needed to determine my state of health to see how much money they’d need to charge me.

They sent a nurse to my apartment to take some urine and blood samples. But a 6.0 earthquake hit Napa during the night before the nurse was supposed to come over. It was my first earthquake and it scared the shit out of me. I was in no mood to be poked with needles so I called to reschedule.

A week later the nurse showed up and took the samples. No big deal. I’d hear from the insurance company in a few weeks.

My buddy that was selling me the insurance called a few weeks later.

“I can’t believe it. They gave you Ultra-Preferred. This is the best bracket they have. They know all about the injuries and surgeries from the avalanche and they still gave it to you. I sell their products and they won’t even give me Ultra-Preferred.”

My buddy calls this “The Superman Policy”. Because I’m qualified for “Ultra-Preferred”, I get to pay a little less for the policy and I get a little more in dividends.

It is important to note: the insurance company gave this to me after I had broken every bone in my face, broke a rib that punctured and collapsed my lung, had a trach inserted into my throat, severed my ACL, had 11 anchors holding my shoulder together, and I probably drink too much.

Give It A Shot

I’m convinced the reason I did so well on the exam is because of the periodic fasting. I could be wrong or maybe that is just part of the reason.

It seems to me that the body has an incredible ability to heal itself, if given the opportunity.
It’s like we have this great toolkit inside each of us that can fix ourselves, that we didn’t know existed.

If you are experiencing any kind of illness, give fasting a try. See what potential lays dormant inside of you.

Remember: I’m not a medical professional, so it’d be good to consult one first.

Always be on the lookout for opportunities that have limited to no downside and some or potentially large upside. No one has ever died eating 6 out of 7 days in a week. It costs nothing to try, all you need is several glasses of water. Fasting can provide benefits that no drugs can match. No one is allergic to fasting.

And if nothing good happens, at least nothing bad will either.

Saved By The Bell

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I’ve struggled in life to find my niche, to find what I’m good at. I struggle in my working life to find work I can be fully engaged and super productive in. I’ve never had direction other than to go skiing. Lost and scared I turned to reading as a way to improve my personal and professional life and to get a little guidance to help me navigate this crazy world. I’m always looking for simple techniques I can use that can improve my life.

Through reading I came to learn more about the importance of sleep. Making sure you get 8-9 hours of restful sleep a night is as important as brushing and flossing your teeth. You have to stick to a routine in order to have healthy sleep.

In looking for ways to improve my sleep I stumbled across meditation. At first I dismissed the idea. It sounded like hocus-pocus spiritual stuff to me. Whenever I’d hear the word meditate, I’d think of someone sitting cross-legged on a hard wood floor trying to reach enlightenment inside their heads. I always thought that meditation was for lonely weirdos so I never wanted anything to do with it.

I was looking for real world techniques to make my life better.

Meditation kept coming up in my research. I’d read about famous and successful artists, entrepreneurs, and comedians and many of them would credit great improvements in their life to the practice of meditation.

Tim Ferriss the author and entrepreneur said he tries to meditate twice a day. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern both benefit from the practice of transcendental meditation. The hedge fund manager Ray Dalio has practiced transcendental meditation for 42 years.

I’m still not sure what transcendental meditation is. I’m not looking for a crazy spiritual experience. I’m looking for a simple technique that might make my sleep and life a little better. Through reading I think I have an idea of what general meditation is.

Meditation is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary app that I have on my phone as: the act or process of spending time in quiet thought. The app defines meditating as: to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. I don’t know if I like either of these definitions. The second one about concentrating on one’s breathing seems closer to what I use meditation for.

Complexity scares me. I like simple. My goal in meditating is to clear my mind, to have no thoughts at all, to simply let go and not think about the past or the future, to just be in the present. Scratch that. To “be in the present” sounds weird and I don’t even know what the means. The goal for me is simple. The goal is to not think.

This is my technique. I meditate first thing in the morning. I try to do this once a week. The alarm goes off, I roll out of bed. I bring my dining table chair into my bedroom where it is dark. I like the dining table chair because it is simple, wooden, and makes me sit upright, no slouching. I sit up straight on my chair in my bedroom with the lights off. I put my hands on my thighs, I look straight forward and I close my eyes. I stare at the darkness of my closed eyelids. Then I begin my yoga breathes.

The breathing technique I learned in yoga is to take a slow deep breath in through your nose. Fill your chest up with air, then exhale slowly through your mouth. When you exhale you want to slowly push the air out, the way you would if you were trying to fog up a mirror or window.

I set the alarm on my phone for 5 minutes. For those brief minutes I sit, breath slow and deep, and try not to think.

I’ve never succeeded in pulling this off!

At first I couldn’t even sit there in the dark for 5 minutes. At about three minutes in I’d give up and have to look at my alarm and check to see if it was broken. Why wasn’t the alarm going off yet?! It must’ve been at least 10 minutes! The time seemed to take sooooo long. My alarm was never broken. I just couldn’t bear sitting there in the dark with my thoughts.
At first I’d be waiting the entire time to hear the alarm bell. It was painful to sit in the dark trying not to think. I’d be thinking about how I wanted the alarm to go off right then so I could stop the meditating torture.

I’ve never been able to clear my mind and not think of anything. I’m always thinking of something. I’m always worrying about something. It wasn’t until I started meditating that I began to worry that I might actually be crazy. I can never sit still and have no thoughts. I’ve never been able to clear my mind, to turn my mind off. It sounds simple, but I’ve found it to be impossible. Or at least so difficult to achieve that I’ve never come close.

Instead of sitting in the dark not thinking of anything, I sit in the dark and think that I might be crazy because I can’t stop thinking. And focus on yoga breathing, wondering why my alarm isn’t sounding yet.

Focusing on breathing is what helps me the most. For brief moments I can clear my mind and think of nothing but the breathing. That is the best I can do. It took a lot of work to get to that point and I’m only able to get there for a moment.

Breathing is the trick that helped me the most meditating. Focusing on full deep breaths helps pass the time. At first all I could do was sit and eagerly await the alarm sounding, like a kid in high school waiting for the bell to ring so he can run out of there as fast as he can.
With much practice meditating has gotten easier. I focus on fogging up the entire mirror not just a small corner. Deep breathes. The time passes easier. Before I know it the alarm is sounding.

Has meditating made my sleep better? I don’t know. I think the answer is yes, but I could be full of it. It seems if I’m able to meditate once a week then my sleep that week is more restful and restorative. But it could be the placebo effect at work. I don’t know. If it is the placebo effect at work, then I’m all for it.

Any time there is a situation with little to no downside and a minimum to potentially great upside, then I go for it. This technique works in many situations in life. It works great in investing, relationships, and healthcare. If a placebo effect has no downside and potential upside, then I say give it a shot.

What’s the downside of meditating? Well, I found out that I might be crazy because I can’t stop thinking. Other than that the negative is that I waste 5-10 minutes in the morning sitting in a chair doing nothing. Even I can afford a mistake like that.

The potential benefit of a few minutes of focused breathing are: better sleep at night, a more relaxed lifestyle, and who knows maybe lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure (Warning: I am not a doctor, have no evidence to back up these claims, and could be full of it.).

Give meditation a shot! There’s nothing to lose, you might feel weird, you might feel nothing at all, you might sleep better at night and feel great, or you might reach enlightenment (if so, let me know what that’s like!).

You never know unless you try and since there is very little downside to trying… why not meditate for a few minutes tomorrow morning?

Be sure to set the alarm.