I am not Paleo, or Vegetarian or anything that can be defined by the simplicity of a label.

I eat and train according to how I feel and try not to let my intellect disrupt my feelings.

I just liked the picture and it says far more about everything than it actually does about being Paleo.

Let me start with why I’m mentioning Coffee.

I have a student, a very well respected and accomplished doctor.  I adore and respect this person beyond words and this is also one of my longest running private student too.  This person suffers from leg cramps regularly.

Cramps usually are caused by mineral deficiencies in the body and these mineral deficiencies are often times a result of dehydration.  Water isn’t just something that quenches your thirst, water is alive with minerals and we need minerals to live.

I know my student very well.  Very strong spirit.  Very hard worker.  Very determined soul.  Very, very hard on themselves.  So I have to play a delicate balance between, Teacher, Daughter, Mother.  There is also a significant age difference and this is where my Traditional Chinese upbringing reminds me of my place in tradition and you have to show care, carefully, because you need to respect your position where the classes of generation are concerned. Balance is the key to everything in life and teaching is one of the most delicate balances to constantly maintain, especially since we have evolved out of a time of tradition.

I know that I have to remind this person to drink water regularly and when I see them walk in with a big cup of coffee, I know that I have to keep up with the water intake during class.  I communicate a lot and I don’t stick to the traditional method of just repeating the form and drilling choreography.  I get into accessing feeling in my students.  Talking about things other than Tai Chi and also implementing exercises which communicate the essence of feeling which we can then translate into learning Tai Chi Chuan.  It’s a very busy 50 minutes and we do sweat a bit too.

One day my student’s leg cramps up badly.  If this ever happens to any of your students, try and get them to stand, this helps force circulation into the area, if they can’t stand you must rub the ache out to manually stimulate circulation and then you must make them drink water.  Not a huge glass at one time.  About a cup every 15-20 minute is how I time it.  Before we ended class I made sure I handed a final cup of water over and my student says

“Coffee counts as water, because it’s made with water, I’ll just finish my coffee, I got a large before class”

Coffee does not count as water, the caffeine in coffee is a diuretic, which means it causes your body to loose water.  The more coffee you drink, the more water you must replenish.  Fruits are also a fantastic way of replenishing your mineral deficits too.

Yesterday, I had a student ask me about what they should eat after class.  This is one of our longtime students at the school and this student has started to loose too much weight from the additional classes they are taking and said that they are so tired, they don’t even eat when they get home.  They just pass out.  Unfortunately I never know the pain of being too tired too eat, but I do know that becoming tired or sleepy after training can also mean that your body is lacking nutrition.  If you are adding to your physical level of activity, you must increase your food intake, it’s just basic logic, otherwise you will loose weight, just depends on what you goals are.  If you get tired without having replenished your nutrition, this is another sign that you have no more gas left in your tank.  Make sure you bring something to eat right after class, before you get home and the body just feels like you’ve forgotten about yourself.  You have to start planning your meals differently and to do so, you have to be conscious of your daily run of activities and how your body is feeling on those individual days.  This brings me to how I meal plan.

I don’t meal plan the way most other people do, with a full weeks meals planned ahead of time.  There are a number of different reasons why this doesn’t work for me.

  1. Each day of mine is different and I am a different person each day.  My sleep plays a huge factor in what I want to eat first thing in the morning and the activity of my day causes me to need different kinds of nourishment constantly.
  2. I don’t eat meals at a time.  I pick throughout the day.  My biggest meal is either in the afternoon or evening, but that also depends on what I’ve done during my day and how I’ve recovered from the day before.
  3. I’ve tried prepping for the week in advanced and I end up hating how everything tastes after the first day.  However, I do prep my meats in advance, and have fish, chicken, pork and beef which I usually cook Sous Vide and leave them vacuum sealed, until I’m ready to flash heat them under my broiler or hand held searing torch for when I have fish.  Cooking this way preserves the nutrients and the meat is also cooked in the flavor of its own juices.  You can’t get anything wrong when you go Sous Vide.  Its a flavor and nutritional powerhouse and all you do is put your sealed bag in water warmed, at a very low, controlled temperature.

I believe that preparing our meals as fresh as possible is important because it is part of how we make time for ourselves.  Running out of time is an epidemic and finding fast ways to eat has become a serious health problem.  Health doesn’t happen quick and you deserve time for your yourself.  This is called self care and I believe that self care should come before any other kind of care you give to anything else, because Excellent Health isn’t a quick job, it is something that can only be maintained over time and through diligent work.

I meal plan, by planning time to prepare my meals throughout the day.  If I’m traveling that changes my methodology up a bit, but I always pack my own food when I’m on the go, ALWAYS.  I also try to bring cookware with me so that I can make simple things on the road to replenish, recover and maintain my time to think about how to take care of myself.  It’s also kind of fun for me to not feel a slave to restaurants or room service all of the time.

The more time you take for yourself, the better you become at listening to what is going around you too.

Energy never lies, but your energy has to be centered to listen to the vibes around you.

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