A blog about nothing.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

THE FUTURE IS NOW


In his book The Holographic Universe, author Michael Talbot introduces many shall we say avant-garde concepts that are now becoming more and more mainstream. Published in 1991, the book's 25-year anniversary has arrived. 1991 was also the year I graduated high school. More cause for commemoration. Why aren't there 25-year reunions? I've missed the 10- and 20-year so I probably wouldn't show up anyway. 

The book hit stores a year before Talbot's death from leukemia when he was 38. One of the concepts he introduces is using the mind to heal disease. Unfortunately either he did not implement these methods or they failed in his case. One method of recruiting the mind to heal the body is to chant the sacred mantra, Aum, which harmonizes the cells and frees the body of blockages and disease. Now Talbot doesn't discuss Aum per se, but he does evidence the miracles of Sai Baba, (written about in detail in the book Modern Miracles). Sai Baba was the Indian guru from whom I learned about Aum. We're all connected, which is another concept Talbot discusses. As well as near death experiences, and out of body experiences, and reincarnation, hypnotism, lucid dreams and UFOs and alien abductions, Jung and his work on the power of the unconscious, as well as more "mundane" events as falling stars and spinning electrons, the nuclear arms race and the work of scientists like Bohm and Bohr. In the book you will find ample excerpts from the Hindu texts, particular favorites of mine, and Talbot's agreement with them that "the ultimate answers to existence are not to be found in intellectual concepts and philosophies, however sophisticated, but rather in a level of direct nonconceptual experience [of reality]." For as the Upanishads put it, "Nature is illusion, and Brahman, that uncanny something which changes its form every moment from human shape to a blade of grass, is the illusion maker." 

Like your mind subsiding into itself in deep sleep, "ultimately everything returns to this ineffable, mysterious, impersonal unknown." 

But in this world of illusion, of dream that takes place in consciousness, concepts are fun. And one thing that stuck because I found it particularly relevant in today's rapidly changing age was the topic of where we are headed as a race.

To introduce the topic of humanity's future, Talbot quotes a Lakota shaman who wrote: "Only human beings have come to a point where they no longer know why they exist. They don't use their brains and they have forgotten the secret knowledge of their bodies, their senses, or their dreams. They don't use the knowledge the spirit has put into every one of them; they are not even aware of this, and so they stumble along blindly on the road to nowhere - a paved highway which they themselves bulldoze and make smooth so that they can get faster to the big empty hole which they'll find at the end, waiting to swallow them up. It's a quick comfortable superhighway, but I know where it leads to. I've seen it. I've been there in my vision and it makes me shudder to think about it."

Talbot also introduces many books that are now on my reading list (though I haven't been doing much reading, since it is summer and I prefer to spend my time swimming, biking, running and lifting, oh and caring for my mother). These include Communion, Games Zen Masters Play, the aforementioned Modern Miracles, as well as Psi-Healing and The Adventure of Self Discovery

In her book Mass Dreams of the Future, psychologist and hypnotist Dr. Helen Wambach investigated reincarnation through past-life regression and amassed some impressive findings. These should interest me as a historian, but my sometimes motto is a variation of "what's done is done" or "let bygones be bygones" or even "water under the bridge." So what interested me even more about Wambach's work is that she progressed 2,500 people to future lives and had them describe coming centuries. What she noted was that almost all respondents agreed that the Earth's population will decrease dramatically, and some didn't even find themselves in physical bodies. Perhaps one day we will become a society of ghosts.

More interesting is that the respondents divided up neatly into four categories depending on the type of future they foresaw. The first type is a joyless and sterile future in which people live in space stations, wear silvery suits and eat synthetic food. Not unlike Star Trek or Back to the Future 2. In Type 2, the "New Agers," as they were called, saw harmonious living and more natural lives in natural settings, in mutual support and dedication to learning and spiritual development. Which incidentally is what Talbot's research indicated that the afterlife is like. A world in which the disembodied soul reviews her life and plans the next, in order to be better able to learn and grow and love. Type 3 describes a bleak mechanical future of underground cities or cities enclosed in domes and bubbles. Think Jetsons or Wells' Time Machine. Type 4 was a dystopian future not unlike the one envisioned in Terminator or Road Warrior (movies I loved) or many of today's tv shows I do not watch. In this scenario post-disaster survivors live in a world ravaged by global disaster, dwelling in urban ruins and caves and isolated farms, wearing rugged, hand-sown fabrics of fur and obtaining food by hunting and scavenging. Like the Flintstones, living in a Stone Age that has yet to come.

Talbot believed that these findings suggest several potential futures, which he calls holoverses, forming in "the gathering mists of fate." If it is the case that we are continually shaping our future physical reality by today's collective thoughts and actions, then the time to wake up to the alternative we are creating, and to tailor it to one that we want for our children and grandchildren (and ourselves) is now. 

As for me, I loved The Road Warrior (its reboot not so much), but as much as I admired Mad Max, I wouldn't want to be him. As Talbot discusses in other parts of the book, the purpose of life, of this dream dreaming itself, is knowledge and charity. In other words, life is for the learning and the loving. To quote Gandhi, be the change you wish to see in the world. For your future starts now. And in truth, the four scenarios which our author envisions for tomorrow are taking place today. Witness the Middle East, Esalen and parts of America and Asia. If you visited our planet would you imagine these locales are all part of the self-same terrain, or don't they seem worlds apart? Which one do you choose?




Thursday, July 21, 2016

THIS IS THE END



Recently the talk show host Steve Colbert had the comedian and political commentator Bill Maher on his show. Discussing police culture and the recent string of police brutality videos, Maher told Colbert: "I believe civilization is a mile wide and an inch deep. Without police on the job, you know that movie The Purge? It would be that every day. In two days you'd eat my liver, and it wouldn't be good for you." 

Haha, very funny. I like Maher, but he passes off his opinions as home truths and is admittedly a cynic. Unfortunately this cynicism is very widespread. Witness the slew of apocalyptic shows and films. Dystopia is what the collective consciousness seems to expect for the world's future. And I have met many people who are preparing themselves for the coming end of days, by moving to remote locations and becoming self-sufficient, stock-piling provisions, even building fortress-like dwellings, such as those in my native Bel-Air, mega-mansions which look like communes though they're supposedly designed to be one-family homes. Whatever can a couple and their 2.4 kids do with twenty friggin' bathrooms? 

On a recent trip to Idaho, I met a man who fished and bartered with local vegetable growers. He looked like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski with a long unkempt beard and disheveled clothes. He smelled like somebody's grandpa, though he had no wife or kids. The man whose name I've forgotten proudly explained to me how, when things go south as they are bound to, he could live without any help from the outside world for well over a year. "Until things get sane again." 

My own father is a doomsday scenarioist. His pet theory, which he propounds to me unsolicited almost every time we get together, is that a series of natural disasters will take out large swaths of the population, leaving only a chosen few to carry on our genetic heritage. It sounds like Noah's Ark and the flood, but my dad doesn't believe in the Old Testament God striking down infidels from on high. Does that mean nature is somehow conscious? Will there be a method to this mass destruction, or will it be random? Who will these people be? I ask him. The survivors. Not the ones with weapons, or the ones in fortresses, but the spiritually-minded, he contends. What is the phenotype of the spiritually-minded person? I want to know. How does this mindset find expression in daily action, and how would this person be more fit in the sense of natural selection to survive the disasters that you forsee? 

My dad got flustered and steam fumed in his nostrils the way it always does when his opinions are challenged. Because my dad also passes off his opinion as facts, like Maher, who my dad can't stand (maybe because they are so alike!). He couldn't think of an intelligent reply. Because loving and serving others may make you moral, but it won't necessarily spare you from a tsunami if one chooses to wash your way. I'm sure that many good people have died in earthquakes and fires, etc, and their goodness didn't save their bodies. God-consciousness is not an antidote to physical destruction. My dad's theory is half-baked. Not a theory at all. 

It is true that we have evolved as humans to cooperate because cooperation gave us an advantage over our primate cousins, who do not share or work together. Even chimps, our closest genetic cousins, are selfish. The male chimp will not even share food with his own children! Whereas human beings can work together for a mutual good, like building an ark to save us from the flood. But cooperation, if it doesn't include the whole human race, and maybe all living things, can become isolating and exclusionary, as when love of country (patriotism) or race (chauvinism) gives rise to hate crimes and wars, which can spell disaster for the individual and even the race. No, your spirituality will not save you from the flood and its elk. So be good for goodness' sake, like St. Nick says. And when the catastrophe comes, you can die with a clear conscience. But I don't buy into floods, because I'm no doomsdaysayer anyway. Love, and let come what may.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DEAR DEEJ

Deej! What's up dude! Last night I had a dream about you. You and Layla came over to my house and insisted on staying the night, basically just crashed the premises and made yourself at home. You took over both my room and my office, commandeered my desk, which you made your personal work space, and even shut the doors. Even had you left them open I wouldn't have entered, knowing you to be an incorrigible slob. I remember that time you visited me in Denver, cracked out of your mind with that gypsy hoe, and without further ado walked into my shower and washed all that temporary dye from your hair, staining my curtains for good. What I don't do for a friend, or let be done as the case may be.

Soon a black transvestite appeared on the scene (in the dream) to levy charges against you for discriminating against a member of the LGBT population, which even the tranny considered weird as you have had some homosexual experiences yourself. Recently I had looked up the definition of hypocrisy and such behavior qualifies, for hypocrisy is essentially not practicing what you preach, in this case saying that same sex encounters are bad, when doing them yourself, whether on drugs, procuring drugs, or otherwise. Weird how this word figured into my dream like that. The tranny must have been a stand-in for your BFF, Rob, who was always in love with you. How is he these days?

Anyhoo, I finally mustered the nerve to join you in the bedroom. You and Layla were very much in love in the dream, just as you had been in the early 90s, before shit went south. I thought back to that threesome we had enjoyed back in the day. Would there be an encore? She sure had great legs in the dream, gently caressed by this thigh-high form fitting rayon black dress. Suddenly I knew I was dreaming. What to do? I wondered. Since you have taken a walk on the dark side I have always been somewhat nervous in your presence, bracing myself for some wild misadventure or even catastrophe. You are such a wild-card, my friend! In the dream I felt this sense of emerging dread, so I invented some pretense for escorting you outside, hoping to have my quarters to myself again, and we proceeded to run down the block barefoot, a pastime I love in waking life. You aren't much of a runner, how could you be with your two-pack-per-day smoking habit, but in the dream you seemed content to match me stride for stride.

Halfway up the street we encountered two young men with frosted tips who were looking for their car. I instructed them to continue in the direction we had come from, as they might find their vehicle there, ignoring that you could see the cul-de-sac from which we emerged from the guys' position on the street, and there was no car in sight. I was trying to think of what else fun and crazy to do while hanging with you in la-la land, but nothing came to mind and then I woke up. And I've thought of you all day. Why didn't you return my recent call? Perhaps you have fallen off the wagon again. Is it still glass that you prefer? I guess when drug use begins at such an early age, for you it was in the pre-teen years, it's a hard habit to kick. 

But DJ, I want you to know that you'll always be one of my best best friends, and not only because having few friends these days I find myself living in the past now and again, pining for what once was. No. I'm not a piner. Truly you had such an impact on me. When I first met you in Little League and you were the star pitcher for the Giants, you were my idol. Who else could pitch shut out after shut out while also leading the league in home runs. And then you threw a perfect game in All-Star competition. You were as good as any Little League World Series hurler, even the behemoths from Taiwan that are really like sixteen, everybody knows. Of course at practically six feet tall you weren't the average 12-year-old. You were basically an adult, already smoking and maybe even drinking back then, and sex would soon follow. Was it at 13 or 14 that you lost your virginity? But you always kept your wild ways from me, knowing that I was a clean liver. Which is why I called you my alter-ego once, everything that I wasn't, but together we found completion. 

When I started smoking weed in college it was light it up! Remember the fun we used to have, working at Louise's Trattoria on Monday nights and then ordering a large pizza and going back to your place to get baked and chow down, look at Dali paintings and get deep? A versatile connoisseur, it was you who turned me on to adult cinema, and to boogie boarding, and to heavy metal music. I still listen to Sabbath's Heaven and Hell and Iron Maiden. Hell, the otherworldly voice of Ronnie James Dio alone got me through medical school. You were always on the cutting edge. Finger on the pulse. Luckily I never followed you into smoking crystal meth, although I did snort it a few times, but never with you. Although if we had ridden the white lightning together, I'm sure we'd have had a blast, since you are one of the funnest dudes to hang with ever! Some may say you are a case of wasted potential, having been drafted by the Dodgers only to never play baseball at the collegiate levels while others with half your talent made Division I, but I say to hell with the naysayers. You followed your heart, did what you wanted to, a rebel with a cause: which has always been to live the high life. And I say, good for you, son. Even when you go low, so low, like when you wound up barefoot and strung out on Sunset Blvd trading sex favors for your next fix (or so the rumor goes) you are so resilient you always resurface, and with one helluva story to tell.

I hope this letter finds you well, my brother. Alive, sober at least some of the time. Write or call whenever's clever. My mom gives you her best. You're always welcome to pay her a visit. Take care bro. Adam

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ONE LAST TIME

Dear K,

I dreamed of you last night. It was so vivid! We were in a hotel or motel room, in some foreign country. Who knows, it may have even been your Germany. We were by the airport. You were working as a stewardess and your departing flight was fast approaching. I too was waiting for my flight, and so we found ourselves lying side by side on a bed enjoying the precious last 15 minutes that remained to us before we'd go our separate ways. 

We cried about our imminent departure and opened our hearts to each other. We stood in front of the mirror looking at each other. I reminded you of our first date, when I told you I thought you were the prettiest girl I had ever seen. And that even though we've been broken up now for almost three years, I still feel that way about you. In the dream you replied that I was the handsomest guy. I always wanted someone to say those words to me, ever since I was a little boy! Strange how all these feelings I thought were buried should really be on the surface (I say in the dream) waiting to pour out in words and tears. Oh how we cried! 

I took off my dress shoes (in the dream) so that I might let my feet breathe and really relax for our final time, our final night. We were back in bed. You were wearing a colorful uniform. Yellow top and hot pink pants, or maybe a skirt. A psychedelic stewardess outfit. Super sexy. Lots of flare. You always rocked the flare! I kept checking my watch, a gift from my mother, with a leather band and the face on the inside of my wrist. I never wear my watch that way. But last night I had read a short story in which the character had his watch on just like that. I remember feeling that I would never again meet a girl who could compare to you, and knew that we would love one another forever, even if we never see each other again. I woke up before we were separated. Perhaps in the dream we made love, one last time.

God damn, dreams are so symbolic. Even the shoes I took off were related to an urge I had only a few nights ago, when while out to dinner with a girl I met online I suddenly felt my feet get hot and swollen and wanted to remove my shoes. But I didn't, lest I be seized by the need to visit the restroom and have to navigate the packed restaurant in socks. I have done online dating now for a couple months with some consistency. Been out with a half a dozen girls. None of them compares to you. You spoiled me for all the rest. Satisfied? You should be! You deserve all the satisfaction in the world. 

In the dream you chastised me for not calling you more often. True, we've only spoken a handful of times since breaking up, and usually you've called me. I told you it was because I didn't want to find out you were with someone new. This mollified you, and you replied that it was the same for you. We each wanted to remain the other's one true love, at least in our minds. But I won't find someone else. And not just because I've deleted my Okcupid account. I won't find someone because I don't want to! I'd rather be alone. We had a fairy tale run and that was a perfect swan song for me, romantically speaking. I don't need repeats or try agains. Not with anyone. Not even with you. Because what breaks can never be the same, you helped me realize. We'll always have our memories. And our hearts will go on.

You know, you've always reminded me of my mother. Both blonde, earth signs, nurturers. Even your Chinese astrology is the same. You are both roosters. My mom continues to battle her chronic condition, my God she's a fighter, and we've recognized that though I want her to live forever I must prepare myself for the fact of her not living forever, and I must tell her how much she means to me when she is alive rather than later when she may not hear me. Which is probably why in the dream I poured out my heart to you, the girl who gave me love, in a way to prepare myself to express my feelings to the lady that gave me life. 

K, I want you always to know how special you are. That you're one of a kind. One in a trillion. The prettiest girl on the face of the Earth. And from the bottom of my heart I will always, always love you. - Adam



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

TRAIN FOR LIFE

I was out on today's 12-mile run when I came upon a construction worker who when he saw me scurrying by said, "I know you've gotta be training for something." I mean who else picks a 1-mile loop in a well-paved, tree-lined neighborhood and in the middle of the day does several repeats as fast as he can just for fun? I understood the guy's mindset. My reply: "I train for life." 

Which is just as good a reason as any, I say. I don't need to sign up for a race to motivate me to log a certain number of weekly miles. Last week I ran 50 in relative heat just for the fun of it. Life is the biggest game, thrill and challenge, and to truly enjoy it is to make your body, the vehicle that carries you through life, as fit and healthy as can be. I do all my miles barefoot, which sets a natural limit to how much I can run. I've run as many as 83 weekly miles without shoes, including 26.2 at a time (I've run a couple marathons barefoot) but while training for the LA marathon and averaging 70 miles I found that I couldn't run much more than 35 a week without shoes on a consistent basis without my feet getting really sore and feeling a bit torn up. The other half I'd run in racing flats, no socks of course. New Balance used to make a pair of zero drop shoes with Vibram soles, that is when the barefoot running craze was at its acme, but the company has since discontinued the line since interest in minimalism has dropped precipitously. Luckily I bought two pair. That was in 2013. Not really luckily, since I never use my running shoes anymore.

Since my last marathon in 2014 I have probably averaged about 45 miles a week, always barefoot, some weeks 60, some weeks 30. But my age in weekly miles (I'm 43) is not nearly enough to notch a personal best for one who used to sometimes run twice that, so my marathon days may be behind me. Of course my feet may be tougher now than they were two years ago and better able to withstand additional unprotected pavement pounding, but why bother? Distance running was fun, but as with other interests, it's onto the next "big thing," which I haven't found. I've done triathlons but never an Ironman. I tell friends that 140.6 miles in a day is twice as far as I care to go, having done a half Ironman at elevation a few years ago. Maybe one day, who knows. I met a girl with rheumatoid arthritis who is coming off an Ironman Canada finish. If she can do it... That's how so many challenges start, don't they?

I still train like a triathlete, swimming a mile on many days and riding two or three times a week in addition to all that running. I didn't think I'd run as much having given up coffee, but the only thing that disappeared when I ditched the java was not my energy but my irritability. And good riddance! Instead I drink Hershey's cocoa with hot water and stevia. At 50 mg of caffeine it has about 1/4 what I'd normally consume as java. And no untoward effects.

This summer I've been hitting the weights more than usual. All you need for a home gym is a bench, a few sets of dumbbells, including an adjustable pair, a kettlebell, pull-up bar, and dip bar. Sounds like a lot but it all fits in the space of a walk-in closet, if I had one. I supplemented my trusty collection with an extra-heavy set of dumbbells, to avoid complacency. There is only so long you can lift the same amount of weight before you stop seeing results and fall into a tiresome rut.

Bodybuilding was my first love. Long before Hugh Jackman popularized the 1000-lb club when he became a member while training for a recent action movie, I was able to do a 405-lb deadlift, 335-lb squat and 275-lb bench press, putting my total for those three power lifting movements at 1015 lbs. Count me in! That's when I was 30, just before I started medical school and turned my attention almost exclusively to running. Of course as a gym rat I ate a lot of red meat, and couldn't really run because my quads got too thick too fast. It felt like I had lead weights strapped to my ankles, and the lactic acid burn!

I also remember having a really tight lower back as a power lifter. Chalk it up to poor form. And all the years of endurance events shrank me to my 15-year-old's body, and robbed me of my muscle. A willing sacrifice, to shave precious seconds off the clock. How ridiculous! But since my forays into mass building and then distance running I have become a firm believer in all-around fitness, functional training if you will. You should be as strong as you can get while still being able to run fast and far. Which may not be that strong. If you look at the bodies of track athletes, the sprinters (100 meter, 200 meter, all the way to 800-meter) are really muscle bound, but by the time you get to the milers and above (5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and ultras) they are all waif thin. On the left is an 800-meter guy, on the right a miler. You can see the difference in upper body size.



















I like to run too fast and too far to sacrifice this pleasure to size and strength. I don't do barbell lifts anymore because I don't have the equipment, and I prefer dumbbells for the variation in grip and angle they provide, but I know that running even 35 miles a week I could never be as strong as I was back in the day. Or as big. Because endurance running breaks down muscle. And I'm okay with that. Sure, I watch WWE star John Cena do powerlifts and catch myself salivating with longing and admiration, but I don't want to be that muscle-bound guy. Because I was that guy. And my back was always tight and moving any distance farther than a block away was a chore. Now I run those blocks barefoot as fast as I can and leave the construction workers nonplussed if not in my dust, which is my new hobby. Really, those hardworking tough guys generate enough dust as it is. If you don't believe me, come run on my street! 

Training for life means being fit while still enjoying being in your body. And you can have your beach muscles too. Which you can get in spades with that minimalist gym equipment aforementioned. Train barefoot. Who says that minimalism is dead?

VEGAN-ISH

I often get asked by those who are unable or unwilling to adopt a diet of strictly plants whether I might suggest a middle ground. In other words a diet of, say 80% plant foods with some animal protein included. These people either really enjoy eating meat or wish to gain more muscle than they believe can be achieved with beans and greens. Or both. While I disdain to endorse the inclusion of any fowl, beef or pork, and believe that the cons of dairy consumption far outweigh the pros, I am not averse to the idea that a person could eat some eggs and fish and be considered healthy, look good, run fast and lift heavy. 


Let's say a vegan eats 3,000 calories per day and includes a can of beans for the protein and 1/4 cup of chia seeds for omega-3s. These foods can be replaced with some eggs and wild-caught fish, and what you lose in fiber you gain in protein and more omega-3s. If you include 2,500 calories of fruits and vegetables, the breakdown is about 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat. (If as many vegans do, you eat a lot of avocado and also consume nuts, then both your protein and fat intake will rise substantially, fat more so than protein, and the percentage breakdown looks more like 55% carbs, 15% protein and 30% fat.) And since 100 calories of plant foods contains around 4 grams of fiber, then 2,500 calories has 100 grams. Which is 2.5 times the recommended intake for males. So your fiber requirements are met. You really don't need beans and seeds to supply added fiber. What the bodybuilder and endurance athlete does arguably require however is more protein than can be found in either of these foods. Enter eggs and fish. Three whole eggs and 5 oz of fish, either canned tuna or canned salmon or grilled versions. The calories are the same.

One 16 oz can of garbanzo beans, for example, has 430 calories, 4 grams of fat, 80 grams of carbs, 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. It contains 10% or more of 11 essential nutrients, but no vitamin A, B12, D, E, niacin, riboflavin or thiamin. Garbanzos are also low in choline, which is hard to get in a strictly plant-based diet.

In contrast, 3 whole eggs and 1 5-oz can of white tuna in water contains 435 calories, 20 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of carbs, 60 grams of protein and no fiber. This quantity of animal protein supplies 10% or more of all the nutrients found in beans, except vitamin C and manganese. But eggs and fish provide 25% or more of vitamins A, B12, D, E, niacin and riboflavin, all of which beans lack. And it has three and a half times as much choline, an important nutrient for brain function.

By making such a substitution you have a net gain of over 40 grams of protein. You don't get any fiber but as mentioned the other plant foods you've eaten all day, fruits and veggies, provide more than enough of the daily requirement to keep you beyond regular.

You can even substitute out the chia seeds, that important plant source of omega-3s, since salmon and tuna are high in a more bioavailable form of omega-3, the important DHA and EPA, while chia seeds only provide ALA, which your body must then convert to the aforementioned omega-3s. One quarter cup of chia contains 240 calories, 12 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein. The equivalent in a vegan protein powder (for example, Spirutein, which is pea, rice and non-GMO soy) contains 250 calories, no fat, 27.5 carbs, 2.5 grams fiber and 35 grams of protein. It also contains 100 percent or more of most major nutrients, since protein powder is often fortified. The result is a net gain of nearly 25 grams of protein, with the loss of fiber that you don't really need.

By substituting 3 whole eggs and 5 oz of tuna for a can of beans, and a couple scoops of protein powder for 1/4 cup of chia, you have increased your protein consumption by 65 grams for the same number of calories. This is important for athletes, whether runners or bodybuilders, who should strive for Arnold Schwarzenegger's ideal of 1 gram of protein per lb of body weight. If you weigh 150 lbs, you are nearly halfway there. Add the 95 grams of protein in eggs plus fish to the 65 or so grams inherent in the 2,500 calories of plant foods you are also consuming and you're at 160 grams. Which may be about what you weigh in pounds. If you weigh more, add some grilled salmon and voila, mission accomplished. It's when you start tipping the scales at 200 plus pounds that the protein requirements become harder to reach and call for additional protein shakes or more animal food, which I'd rather do without. It's costly, gas-producing and tough on the tummy. Another reason to stay lean.

Oh yes there is the deal of cholesterol. Three whole eggs contain over twice the maximum recommended daily intake of this non-essential nutrient. But I have heard of studies showing that three eggs a day produces no increase in cholesterol levels, and having followed a vegan diet myself for 7 years was astounded to see that my cholesterol level was somewhat high. 

And yes, even wild-caught fish is high in the chemicals that inundate our oceans, like mercury and other residues. But life is toxic, is the platitude I stand by. I have had mercury fillings for most of my life and I may be crazy but I'm not the guy haranguing you on the street corner while hitting you up for change. Of course it helps to keep the rest of the diet super clean, organic, drink lots of water, and sweat as much as you can. And keep stress to a minimum, through meditation and good sleep hygiene and avoidance of having kids if you can. Like Kathryn Hahn's character once told Leslie Knope of Parks & Rec: "I can do whatever I feel like, whenever I want, because I'm not somebody's parent." But I digress. So, for the sake of change if nothing else, to quote Ben Stiller: DO IT. Oh, and choose fish with low mercury, which means sardines and salmon and chunk light tuna over albacore. And eat only organic eggs, it goes without saying.

This quick switch is so appealing I may have to give it a try myself. Ooops, I already have! The result is 10 extra pounds, which I'm happy to carry around - that is, until I'm not.