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The One Ingredient Diet – Final Recap

On May 31st I finished my trial of The One Ingredient Diet. If you aren’t familiar with this experiment, I set out to eat foods that contained only one whole ingredient for the entire month of May.

This experience was challenging, but very positive. It helped me gain an even better appreciation for health and nutrition on a deeper level. I covered some of the changes I was experiencing in my mid-trial update, and this will cover a few postmortem observations now that I am finished.

In terms of health benefits, I didn’t see many changes from this experiment. I lost about 2 pounds (much to my dismay, as I’m trying to gain weight). I also had slightly more energy and more clarity, but nothing major. This is probably because I was already eating fairly healthy and at my ideal weight. In other words, I didn’t have a whole lot to gain in terms of measurable results.

For me, the challenge was more about curiosity and the inner benefits of eating a diet that is more wholesome and natural. In those terms, I definitely noticed an improvement. Food was more enjoyable and by eating a more natural diet, my body and mind felt more “wholesome” as well.  Continue Reading →

The One Ingredient Diet Update with 5.5 Whole Food Recipes

This is day #8 on my 30-day experiment of The One Ingredient Diet and I wanted to give you an update on my progress and share some of my favorite recipes that I have been experimenting with over the past week. First, a quick recap of how this experiment is going:

Processed Food Withdrawals

Now on day #8, I feel pretty amazing on this diet. I experienced some withdrawal symptoms for the first 4-5 days, not as severe as giving up coffee, but still disruptive. I was more tired than normal, moody, and seriously craving a piece of bread or a brownie.

Even more severe than the physical withdrawals have been the mental/emotional habits. I never considered myself to be much of a comfort eater, but snap peas just don’t satisfy your cravings. After a meal, I would often have a piece of dark chocolate or a small ‘healthy’ dessert. No more of that.

It has been unnerving to finish eating a huge meal with plenty of healthy calories only to feel like something is missing. It’s not hunger, but more of a craving for something processed. I still feel this way, but it is getting better. I expect it to take another week or so before I break the habit and rewire my brain to be satisfied with healthy foods. This rewiring process is precisely why I committed to this plan for a full 30 days. Continue Reading →

The One Ingredient Diet

UPDATE: This experiment morphed into something much larger… After I did this experiment, I launched an entire healthy eating movement and cooking blog called One Ingredient Chef. For more about The One Ingredient Diet, including many deliciously healthy recipes, please visit oneingredientchef.com »

Today I am starting an experiment of eating 100% whole foods for an entire month.

This experiment is based on an eating plan I developed called The One Ingredient Diet. In my experience, this is the simplest, healthiest, and most natural way of eating.

Before we get too far, The One Ingredient Diet has nothing to do with eating just one food (like grapefruit) all day long. The name is based on the idea of eating whole, natural foods that contain only one ingredient. The plan can be explained with just one single rule:

Everything you eat must start as one whole ingredient.

You can combine ingredients to form meals, but everything must start out as one whole ingredient that is right in front of you as you prepare it. For example, you could make guacamole with an avocado, a tomato, a jalapeno, cilantro, and juice from a lime. But you could not buy a package of preservative-laden guacamole.

Or, you could make a bowl of oatmeal with rolled oats, raisins and walnuts, but not a packet of instant Quaker oats with sugars, salts, preservatives, etc.

This rule is very simple to follow. When you scan food labels at the store, it should have just one ingredient or you don’t buy it. The label should look like this: “Ingredient: Almonds.” and nothing else. Continue Reading →

In Defense of Ordinary

You can find the most extraordinary power in the most ordinary of circumstances.

The purpose of all motivational speakers, authors, and bloggers is (obviously) to motivate their audiences to achieve. These authorities encourage people to squeeze every drop out of life, to achieve the pinnacle of success, to be extraordinary.

They do this by sharing stories of what other people have done. If only you could play basketball with Obama, travel the world without flying, be the first person to climb the second-tallest mountain on each continent, make as much money as the people in the success stories, or do all this stuff within 2 years, then you could be happy and successful, too!

There are a bunch of problems with this approach to life, but I want to highlight just one. This process is built on a culture of continual dissatisfaction. No matter who you are or what you have achieved, it just isn’t good enough. There is always someone who has crossed more items off of their bucket list and risen to greater heights than you. Continue Reading →

How to Crush Self-Doubt and Become an Epic Human Being

Recently I was looking at some epic blogs written by amazing people. This made me sick. I looked at pitiful old Empty Fist and thought: “My design isn’t as sexy … I don’t have very interesting things to share … There’s no way I’ll never be able to write like that… My blog is just not good enough.

A wave of self-doubt hit me. I wanted to run, hide, and cry.

Between the two of us, I’m not the only one who has felt the pangs of doubt, am I?

This doubt can be destructive: it ruins our productivity, happiness, and zest for life. What can we do to overcome it?

If you’re looking for some trite feel-good quotes to hide your doubts under the rug until tomorrow, search Google. You’ll get hundreds of options. But if you want to tackle the doubt, discover how incredibly worthy you already are, and live an epic life, I have a few ideas… Continue Reading →

Hyper Productivity

Are you familiar with the concept of polyphasic sleep? It is a process where you sleep multiple times throughout the day. Usually, it is something like 6 20-minute naps every 4 hours for a total of 2 hours of sleep. It is (apparently) somewhat safe. But how can your body survive on such little sleep?

While all levels of sleep are important, it’s the REM sleep where the real work happens. You can survive without much phase 1-2 sleep, but you absolutely need REM to physically and mentally recover. But normally, you go through over an hour of low-level sleep for a few minutes of deep sleep. It is super inefficient.

By going polyphasic, however, you essentially hack your body to skim over the low-level sleep and go immediately into the most productive REM sleep.

This article has absolutely nothing to do with polyphasic sleep. It is an analogy for something I call hyper productivity. In the sleeping example, by forcing your body to get its sleeping work done in less time, it becomes far more productive (almost 100% productive vs. 20% for the average sleeper).

Sure, you can try it out with sleep, but couldn’t that principle be applied to everything else you do as well?

You’re familiar with the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. This is much like REM sleep. The problem, of course, is figuring out what actions make up that 20%. By limiting the time available, it forces you to find the most effective tasks to become insanely productive. You get incredible amounts of productivity from a few minutes of work.

To make this process work, you take advantage of 3 key principles: Time Constraints, Disproportionate Impact, and Uninterrupted Blocks of Time. Let’s look at each in turn:

Time Constraints

This whole process is built on the principle of consciously limiting the time available for a certain task to be completed. The constraint is what forces your entire being to become more creative and intuitive in terms of what needs to get done.

For example, you limit your entire day’s work to exactly 2 hours. Everything that you used to complete in a full day’s work is now condensed into a maximum of 120 minutes. Continue Reading →

How to Find Your Passion

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
-Rumi

Way too many people are fumbling through life, half-asleep, trying to survive the doldrums of the workday only to come home and watch a reality show. There often comes a point where you need to ask yourself what you are really doing in life. Are you truly excited about the things you do? Does your life have great fulfillment and meaning? If not, this is your wake-up call.

Living a life of passion is not about finding that one elusive, magic ‘activity’ that brings you untold happiness and success. Passion is a state where you’re excited to get up in the morning, your work has meaning, things flow easily, and most of all, you feel totally fulfilled. Your goal is to find that state, no matter which activities you do.

What is Passion… Really?

The more I consider the idea of passion, the more I come back to one word. Art. Your passion is your art. Art isn’t necessarily painting watercolors on canvas, art is simply your own unique expression of beauty.

Passion is art, and art is the creative expression of beauty.

Everyone has a unique canvas that they use to create their art, or, to express their passion. There are as many types of art as there are people in the world. The great ones who stand out in their professions have simply learned to embrace the expression of art in their work.

The key here is beauty. Beauty and passion go hand in hand. When someone is living their passion, they put much more energy in making their work beautiful than winning or succeeding.

The defense attorney paints beautiful arguments in the court room… The writer paints beautiful words and expressions on the page… the teacher paints beautiful concepts in her students’ minds… The actor paints beautiful emotions onto the screen.

The process of finding your passion is much less about which medium you choose, and more about the feeling of energy that you embed into the activity. You could say that those who are living their passion have given up work for full-time play. They choose to dance through life instead of marching inline. Continue Reading →

How This Blog Got Such a Strange Name

Welcome to the first post on Empty Fist! If you haven’t noticed, this blog has a really bizarre name. Before going any further, I would love to explain how the name Empty Fist came into being. The story behind it embodies the entire philosophy that this blog is built upon and I think it will be a fun journey to explore its origins.

The Anti Personal Development Blog

This is not the first blog that I’ve started. I had previously written two personal development blogs that I shut down after just a few months. While I love writing about philosophy, spirituality, and life, something just seemed off with these previous ventures. The tone. The content. The readers. Me.

My last blog was called Growthable (which is a really stupid name, I don’t know what I was thinking), it went fine for a while but then I abruptly shut it down last summer. I didn’t know why I was doing it at the time, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Only recently did I realize that the problem was the obnoxious tone that I took with my writing. I mistakenly approached my content and my readers with the idea that I have life all figured out and if you read my blog maybe you can learn from my great wisdom. Obviously, that was nonsense. I guess I was trying to be an authority in the personal growth niche, like all the blogs about blogging tell you to do, but then something interesting happened. I had an epiphany that everyone is doing just fine the way they are. Who am I to “help” them try to become something else when they’re so awesome right now? I now see that personal development is futile and that is one of the main themes of this website.

The concepts of growth, development, and improvement are all illusions that I bought into as well as everyone else. I remember reading personal development blogs (and books, and audio programs), hanging on every post, thrilled when a new one came out. When I read an article that particularly resonated with me, I would think “Finally! This article is going to fix me and show me how to gain all the things that I’ve been wanting in life.”

They never did. In fact, that type of content only caused more dissatisfaction, more struggle, and far more unhappiness because by its very definition it implies that one should be unhappy and seek something else…  something better. “Are you just going to settle for an average salary or do you want to make some REAL money?” It is a culture that builds up a state of dissatisfaction that the authors then try to solve for you.

Ultimately the pursuit of personal growth does create growth – readers will grown more unhappy, grow more confused, and grow more dependent on those who provide the material that keeps the hope alive. Continue Reading →