When we think ‘fruit’, the first image is usually something like an apple or orange.  This explains why, when people find out that I eat mostly fruit, they ask, “Is that all!?”

Here are some of the fruits I eat:

-apple, apricot, avocado

-cantaloupe, cherry, coconut

-banana, berries, breadfruit

-dragon fruit


-gojis, grapes, grapefruit, guave


-jackfruit, juniper berries

-kiwi, kumquat

-lemon/lime, lychee



-papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, pomegranate

-rose hips

-strawberries, and


Now for the ‘other fruits’, or the ones that we commonly consider as vegetables, but are really fruits:

-beans (green and raw)

-corn, cucumber






-peas, pumpkin

-squash, sweet peppers

-tomatoes, and


Then there are the spices .. which are also fruits:

-allspice, black pepper, chilli pepper, paprika, and vanilla

Or, how about protein?  I get that a lot as well.  Well, here are some sources of easily digestible and immediately usable protein.

First, the Fruits:

-apples, apricots, avocado

-bananas, blueberries


-grapefruit, green beans

-peaches, pineapples

And the Veggies:


-broccoli, beets, black-eyed peas (sprouted)

-cabbage, cauliflower, celery, carrots, cucumbers





-parsley, potatoes

-spinach, sweet potatoes


Eat Deliberately!



A simple question ..

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Paleo Vegan

Which has more protein – oatmeal, ham, or a tomato?  The answer is below .. and written backwards!   😀

Yeht lla evah tuoba eht emas tnuoma fo nietorp rep eirolac.  Eht ecnereffid si, eht otamot dna eht laemtao era degakcap htiw rebif dna rehto esaesid gnithgif stneirtun, dna eht mah si degakcap htiw loretselohc dna detarutas taf.

Vegan Body Building and Fitness ..




Humans are animals.  That’s a given.  Humans keep pets.  That too is a given.

“The human being is the only animal that keeps members of other species for extended periods of time purely for enjoyment.”


Is this what makes us human?  Or, at least, one of the things that makes us human?  That we have compassion for other animals?


“I believe that a defining trait of the human species has been a connection with animals that has intensified in importance since at least the onset of stone toolmaking 2.6 million years ago. Defining traits are what makes humans human, what makes us different from all other animals, and they are partially or wholly encoded in our genes. I don’t claim that the animal connection is the only defining trait.. / ..but I do claim that our connection to animals is so deep, so old and so fundamental that you really can’t understand human evolution and nature without taking it into account.”


This is not a comment on veganism .. nothing here to make meat-eaters feel bad or vegans to feel ethically superior.  Its a post about evolution and who we are – or have become – as humans.


The bottom line on both links above is that the human empathy for animals can be dated back some 6-7 million years.  This means that our love of animals is innate, or simply one of the most human of all character traits.


Caring for, loving, having empathy for animals is human nature. Having sympathy for suffering is human nature.  Being soft-hearted when it comes to animals is human nature.  Considering animals as our ‘friends’ is human nature.


And that’s not some moral high ground, or an ethical argument .. its simple science.


Now, if you are one of those vegans who always feels ‘cornered’ to ‘defend’ yourself, your thinking is all wrong.  The burden of proof does not fall on veganism, but on those who contend that factory farming is ‘ok’, even ‘necessary’.  In fact, justifying such activity is a lie .. one that denies our very existence.  Why?  Because all animals feel empathy, caring and compassion:

“All tetrapod vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) have brains that – despite enormous differences in outer appearance, overall size and relative size of major parts of the brain – are very similar in general organization and even in many details.  /  This means that all structures required for declarative memory [such as] emotions, motivation, guidance of voluntary actions and evaluation of actions are present in the tetrapod brain.”



This means that animals – other than the human type – feel sympathy and cruelty, joy and sorrow, fighting and fleeing, interest and curiosity, surprise and indifference, gratitude and anger, generosity and avarice, love and hate.  This means, all those things we consider ‘uniquely human’, are not.


So next time you feel a need to defend your diet, or otherwise get defensive about what you eat, simply dismiss the counter-point.  When people say animals ‘don’t think’, ‘don’t suffer’, ‘don’t feel’, simply point out the facts.


Don’t raise your voice.  Improve your argument.


Live Deliberately!

Yogini Valarie


Its a common MIS-conception that working on flexibility – aka: Doing Yoga – will detract from strength training.  In my Yoga classes, strength and flexibility are twins.  (Not so much in the typical ‘gym yoga’ or ‘gentle yoga’ classes commonly passed off as ‘real yoga’.)

As a true Yogi – balanced between the mystic and the warrior – I know full well that flexibility IS strength, and strength IS flexibility.  One simply cannot exist without the other.

Those who do strength training – weightlifters, bodybuilders, Olympic lifters, strongman sports – must work on flexibility after lifting.  This is the best time to increase flexibility .. when the muscles are fatigued.  In fact, YogaWOD after lifting will promote muscle growth while decreasing post-exercise soreness.

You see, after lifting, the muscles tighten or shorten; and its this tightening that makes the muscle look ‘pumped up’.  However, this pumped look shortens ROM (Range of Motion), so without deep stretching and flexing exercises afterwards, the ROM stays shortened.  And no one who strength trains want to decreased ROM.

Mind you, just because a stretched out muscle looks smaller, that doesn’t mean it is.  It simply means the muscle is not bulging, but is ‘smoother’ and so capable of a greater ROM.

Next comes the connective tissue, which is damaged during strength training.  One of the reasons for resting between body sets is to allow the connective tissue to recover.  Akin to muscle, connective tissue also shortens .. which again makes YogaWOD after training critical to your overall workout.

Why do I teach strength in my Yoga classes?  Because its traditional, that’s why.

Yoga was not meant to turn us into human pretzels.  Those crazy Yoga poses we all see in coffee-table books are just that .. CRAZY.  All they are is what ONE person can do; they were never intended to be done by all practitioners of Yoga.  Nor is this new or ‘controversial’, for there are several Traditional Hatha Yoga texts – which are hundreds of years old – that relate the same thing.  Honestly, my Yoga ‘teachers’ need to crack the books.

When it comes to Yoga, strength training is a must.  Without it, one risks injury through over-stretching.  And just like in strength training, flexibility comes AFTER.

In my classes, I have the class do several warmup asanas (poses) to prep the body for the strength asanas.  Once done, I have them do the complimentary stretching asanas for the muscles and connective tissue just employed.  Its a win-win combination.  My Yoga students rock some serious asanas with grace, strength, control, mobility and confidence.  I teach them how to work WITH their body, instead of fighting against it.

So there it is!  If you not adding Yoga flexibility to your strength training, then your cheating yourself.  And if your not doing the body weight/strength asanas in your Yoga practice, then you are unbalanced – and we all know the importance of balance in Yoga!

Live Deliberately!

Yogini Valarie

If you didn’t see Madonna’s halftime performance during Super Bowl XLVI, then you probably heard about it.

Regarding the music, the comments range from ‘great’ to ‘boring’, but regarding the presentation, there are loads of questions like, “How old is she?”, and “She looks great .. what is her secret!”

Madonna is 8 months older than I am.  This year, I will be 53 and she will be 54.  We are both in great shape.

So what is her secret?  Well, just google ‘madonna diet exercise’ and you will get “About 37,700,000 results” (do a + 1 after I post this blog).   😉

For most of us interested in health and fitness, we know such things, or at least are aware of them, because they are part of who we are and what we do.  Namely .. being and staying healthy and fit.

Madonna’s approach to fitness has varied over the years – again, just like many of us who follow and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  During the 80s she was dancing and swimming, and by ’86, hired her first personal trainer.  That introduced running, biking and gym time.  By the ’90s she was doing Ashtanga Vinysasa Yoga, and by ’00 she began incorporating a combination of Yoga and Pilates, Ballet, gyrotonics, and elliptical running/movement.  Today, she averages 2 hours of exercise a day, six days a week.

Likewise, her diet has changed over the years.  As a young adult she was a vegan – for 20+ years.  Famously, she follows a Macrobiotic Diet.  Recently, being interviewed by the Japanese press, she told them, “I have a Japanese chef in London that travels everywhere with me. I probably eat more Japanese food than you do.”  This diet is one that includes fish, grains and vegetables.

So does this mean to be fit like Madonna one needs to follow her exercise and diet schedule?

No, not at all.

What it does break down to though is discipline.  Bottom line here is that for any of us to get in shape and stay in shape we need to stay focused on the goal.  If that means taping a picture of Madonna on the refrigerator door, then do that.  Whatever it takes for you to get motivated and stay motivated .. DO THAT NOW!

You can either lift the weights or lift the remote control.  What kind of life do you want to live?

Live Deliberately!

Yogini Valarie

Was watching some barefoot running videos this morning, where peeps are running on the hard packed sand of the beach at water’s edge.

I don’t advise it.  Best to start in the soft sand.  It has more shock absorption, and allows the body to acclimate to the concrete-like surface at water’s edge.

Running on the earth – dirt, grass, sand, rocks – is the best way to allow the foot to get familiar with its new found freedom of being un-caged.

Some of the vids I saw this morning showed nasty looking feet that were swollen, with puffy ankles and flattened arches.  This is *not* how they are supposed to look!  My feet – after years of barefoot running – are strong, flexible, non-swollen and with healthy arches.   Here are some examples of healthy barefoot running feet:

Barefoot Ken runs marathons .. and has healthy, non-swollen feet and ankles ..

Non-swollen running feet and ankles ..

More non-swollen feet and ankles ..

This brings us to the  Tarahumara (technically, the Ogumi) .. a tribe in Northern Mexico that I encountered and spent time with while backpacking/camping in the early ’80s.  Amazing human beings .. beautiful outlook on life.  They inspired me to explore barefoot running.  Oddly, they are rarely listed as “elite athletes” ..

Copper Canyon’s Ultra Marathon ..

The only peeps running barefoot in the early 80s – tmk & experience – were the Omugi (Tarahumara), so I learned what I could from their example.  Since the mid- to late-90s, barefoot running has hit the mainstream, becoming so popular that now there are ‘barefoot running shoes’ (Vibrams, Minimus, etc).

All these years later, I am still a  trail runner .. Rocks, Roots and Ruts Baby!   In fact, running and Yoga have been the two main physical currents of my life.   I always do Yoga barefoot, and when I run, I go both bare and with Vibrams (KSO .. thin/minimalist sole) .. five days a week.

Physical fitness begins with the sole ..