January 2015

06 Jan It’s S.A.D. Vitamin D or Die (this is NOT a scare tactic)

seasonal-affective-disorder-depressionSeasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a REAL thing!!  Check out this Boston Globe Article reporting groundbreaking research on the importance of Vitamin D and Brain Function.  Lack of Vitamin D leads to impulsiveness, aggression, anger, unhappiness and the shutdown of long-term decision making.

What helps? Getting SUNLIGHT and eating foods that is rich in Vitamin D like fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks and beef liver (Google “Vitamin D rich foods” if none of those mentioned are appetizing to you).  Supplementation is inconclusive according to researchers. However, most agree that there’s a correlation between low body levels of Vitamin D and mood disorders. 

Back in 2007, I moved up to Canada from the U.S. for love. It wasn’t the first time I moved somewhere for romance – Guam being one of them!

Moving to Vancouver, British Columbia meant that I would experience my first legitimate winter, which was pretty non-existent growing up and living in California.  The plan would be to go to Whistler and snowboard, join an ice hockey league, drink STRANGE BREW and smash into things.  Ironically, I did none of those things while living in the Great White North.  I did hike in the snow with the dogs and ice skate at the local rink but mostly I shoveled the driveway and hung out indoors, staying warm. Talk about getting CABIN FEVER!!! As far as I know, Cabin Fever is not an official medical diagnosis, YET! LOL!

After the first couple of fun winters, the novelty wore off and I GOT S.A.D.!  I seriously thought that Seasonal Affective Disorder was a joke UNTIL it happened to me.  The closest similar experience I had to this low-grade depression was growing up in the fog of San Francisco.  Now, I never got diagnosed with S.A.D. as I’m not a big fan of seeing doctors unless it’s an emergency or for getting a checkup.  But MAN, did I have the WINTER BLUES!  (DISCLAIMER: IF YOU HAVE SERIOUS MOOD FLUCTUATIONS THAT ARE NOT SUN, SLEEP, EXERCISE, AND/OR NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES, GO GET GENETIC TESTING FROM YOUR DOCTOR.)

IMG_2640So, what was the “cure?” MOVING TO HAWAII. It was there that I realized that I NEED THE SUN. I also experimented with eating a higher healthy fat diet (contrary to the USDA Food Pyramid Guidelines) having discovered Bulletproof Coffee before leaving Canada. Bulletproof coffee is a whole ‘nother enchilada?! It has its upsides & downsides.

(Update: Even living in Hawaii during the winter isn’t going to help restore Vitamin D deficiency as my friend, Jess, alluded to after reading this post. She gets up at the crack of dawn, works at a hospital all day and finishes at dusk. At lunchtime, she is usually running errands?! She has a self-made diagnosis – Work Affective Disorder. LOL!).

The point is: Instinctively, I always knew I needed the sun and a higher healthy fat diet (NOTICE I DIDN’T SAY JUNK FAT!) but I believed that I was immune to the forces of nature.  Ha!  Mother Nature always has the last laugh.  For all of my peeps in not-so-sunny-parts of the world, get out WHENEVER THE SUN IS OUT!  

Years ago, my Canadian buddy Lucas who lives on the Northwest Coast (where there is the least amount of sun in the winter) quit his jobs and became a freelancer just so he could drop work whenever he needed to stand under the big fiery globe!! He starts upping his vitamin D even before winter comes so that he has a good foundation before the darkness sets in.

So there you have it…up on your Vitamin D before winter comes!!  Although Vitamin D supplementation is inconclusive, consider taking Vitamin D supplements during the winter.  Experiment with a small dose and build from there to see if you have a sunnier disposition. Be careful not to take toxic dosages!!  Do your best to get most of your Vitamin D from natural non-synthetic sources as possible. Check out this Vitamin D Sweetspot Video!

There are so many fad diets out there?? WTF!!!  We’re getting closer to the days of cheap genetic testing where with a swab inside of our cheek or a simple blood test; we’ll know what our genetic predispositions are and what our bodies actually need or do NOT need.  Supplementation is hit or miss if you are not testing for your deficiencies. In the near future, I will actually get my body tested so I can optimize my health. If you’re interested too, email me at tone@okcoach.com.  

Meanwhile, GO OUTSIDE and catch some RAYS. We all know we feel good when we’re basking in the Sun. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this. BUT USE COMMON SENSE!! Too much sun is bad; too little sun is bad. Find the optimal amount right for you. 


Great Video on the Vitamin D Sweetspot and it’s Relationship to Aging

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02 Jan 2015: The Year of No Excuses (What Would Bruce Lee Do?)

Bruce-LeeBruce Lee is one of my boyish idols. I’ll get back to him in a sec…

So, on this second day into 2015, I found myself bussing around Los Angeles taking care of errands (At this point – You’re all probably laughing that I’m riding around LA on a bus. You’d be surprised how good the metro is here?!!). 

The day had me so busy that I could have skipped out on a workout. Being that we’re all riding the energy of New Year’s clean slate, I refused to give in to the little devil on my one shoulder, whispering into my ear, “It’s Friday night. Just chill out and workout, mañana.”

Instead, mini-Bruce Lee (just like from the classic Lipton Brisk Iced Tea claymation commercial with the Karate Kid & Mr. Miyagi) appears on my opposite shoulder in his “Waaaaiiiiiiiiyaaaaaaa” kick-ass voice and tells me to “pick up the broom and sweep.” Next thing I know, I’m busting out the Secretly-Practiced Oriental Peasant Martial Art Workout Moves using just a broom and a pull-up bar. In fifteen short minutes, I was able to sweep the entire apartment floor while getting a quick workout in. Simultaneously, I received a creative spark that led me to write my first blog post of 2015.

 Here’s my “Sweep the Floor” Workout:

IMG_26051. 10-minutes Warm-up ~ Sweep Floor while humming “Eye of the Tiger” (I hum because I can’t sing a damn!)

2. 25 Broom Overhead Squats 

3. 15 Split Squats holding the broom on the opposite hand from the lead leg.

4. 25 Push-ups

5. 30-second Plank

6. 2 Pull-ups

For some of you, this is a pathetic workout since you’re already SO BUFFED. And if you’re laughing at me, I’m gonna send Bruce, himself, over to kick yo’ bitch-ass!

 I’m writing this for the people that made excuses their entire life but deep down they really want to change.

Listen, if that person is you, let this post inspire a fire within you. Start small and build each day. Everyday, just add a little more pushups, a couple more squats, a few more sit-ups, run a little farther. You’d be surprised the person you’ll become if you never, ever give up.

My one friend, Michael, set a 30-day challenge goal to run everyday and post a picture of his run on Facebook to stay accountable to his community. He’s on Day 24 as I write this! Go Michael!

As I told another friend, Joyce, who decided to positively change her life this year, “Fall off the horse, just hop back on…and keep ridin’. Yeehaaaawwww!!” Go Joyce!

Make 2015, The Year of No Excuses!!! I believe in you! I know you can do it! Now, go kick some serious booty!





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