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Blogishness, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

Spring Break: Going Raw Vegan For the Week

It’s Spring Break this week at my school and since I’m too broke and don’t have enough time to do anything to celebrate spring break, I’ve decided to go raw vegan for the week.  I’ve tried going vegan before, but never as a raw vegan.

I’m working on a new book though, and hopefully the healthy eating will give me some extra energy and mental dexterity.

Going Vegan Means:

No: Meat-fish, poultry, etc. No: cheese or milk. No: eggs.

And since I’m going raw.  That means I can’t eat anything that’s cooked.  No pasta or pizza.  No tofu or stir fry.  Nada.

We’ll see what happens.  I’ve heard that when someone goes straight to a raw vegan diet, it can send their body into shock–no kidding, eating healthy can actually send the body into shock if it’s not used to it.

I’m doing it because every now and again we need to change things up.  I mean, just think how often we go for years without thinking about what we eat.  We just eat because of what’s convenient, cheap and taste good.  Now, I’m going to have to think about everything that I eat and plan every meal so that I get all the necessary nutrients and levels of protein.   And hopefully, like the studies say, I’ll be feeling great, full of energy, and able to function with a lot less sleep.   (Going raw vegan is supposed to have almost mythological effects, we’ll see though. )  A week is probably too short to gauge, so this might end up being longer.

Also, another reason I’m doing it: the challenge.  I often notice that people outside of the military don’t challenge themselves.  (When is the last time you challenged yourself?)  In the military we’re forced to push ourselves and see what we’re made of: Physical training, job training, cold weather and warm weather training, eating MRE’s, fighting wars, etc.  I figured this is just another thing for me to challenge myself with; and for those of you who don’t think this is a challenge, believe me, it is.  My top thirty foods all consists of cooked animals.  It’s gonna suck.

But we’ll see what happens.  Day 1 begins today, Monday.

Read Part Two Of This Post: Here.

Best Of, Blogishness, Blogishness

Veteran Photography Project

Since I’ve redesigned the site, I wanted to post up some of the important blog posts from the old site.

The first one that comes to mind is a photography project that a friend is working on.

His name is Jeffrey Sisto and he was a photographer in the Marines.  He’s now out of the Marines and is a full time photographer.  One of the projects that he’s working on is of veterans that are out of the military or just got back from overseas.  The photos that he takes are great; nowadays all we see in news are photos of troops going to war or when they just come home, but we never get so see or hear anything about them a week, month or year later.  What Jeff captures is these veterans after they’ve been out, or been back for a while, after they’ve had time to think and compartmentalize.  He really captures something within all the vets.

Here’s some pictures he took of me when I first got back from Iraq (I’d only been home for about two months when he took them).

Here’s a link to Jeff’s Project: JeffSistoPhotography.com/veterans/

Best Of, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

How to Incorporate Yoga into Your Daily Life: Part 2/3

Yoga is a popular ancient eastern practice. Millions of people practice it regularly. It has many benefits. It improves your mental and physical health.

Some of the simplest ways to incorporate Yoga into your daily life are:

#1: Do it right in the morning.

Do at least 20 minutes of Yoga right after you finish your morning siesta. This will prepare you for your entire day. You will feel full of energy and motivation.

#2: 20 minutes of meditation after your workday will refresh you.

This is a much healthier and better alternative than watching TV or playing games. It refreshes you and you can do something useful with the rest of the time.

#3: Practice Yoga breathing during a walk or during a break at the office.

Yoga breathing is easy to learn and practice. Pick the simplest kind of breathing. Practice the breathing in 1 day. The next day, do another 10 minutes of breathing. You should learn to practice yoga breathing unconsciously. Most people breathe through their upper chest. You should breathe from your lower chest while doing your Yoga breathing exercises.

#4: Keep a healthy diet.

Eat as much natural food as you can. Your diet is truly important to your body. Don’t neglect it and pretend that it doesn’t matter. Most people eat unconsciously. Make your food choices rationally and consciously. Prepare what you are going to eat ahead of time. In this way, you will not be influenced by your emotions.

#5: Start small.

Don’t overextend yourself by practicing Yoga for a couple of hours right from the beginning. Start with 15 minutes and increase your practice. 30 minutes to 1 hour of practice per day is quite enough.

#6: Find a practice partner.

The best practice partner is a person with whom you spend a lot of time together. Humans are very emotionally susceptible to the people around them. It’s much easier to change yourself if other people around you change as well.

Yoga is a great practice that will improve your health. You should give it a try. Start small. Practice 20 minutes each day. You will like it more and more. Your health will improve with each day.

Check out parts one and two of the series.

Part 1: What is Yoga

Part 2: How to Incorporate Yoga into Your Daily Life

Part 3: How Yoga Can Help Soldiers with PTSD

Best Of, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

What is Yoga? Three Part Series: Part 1/3

So the Army’s been using Yoga to help Vets with PTSD; but a lot of people aren’t familiar with the practice, so I figured I’d spread the info for those who are interested.

Yoga is an ancient practice. It originated more than 5000 years ago. It is part of many Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. The most known types of yoga are: Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga. They are practical ways to achieve enlightenment. Yoga is known in the western world for its Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the beginner’s yoga. (My girlfriend and I’s first date was doing Hatha Yoga.)  It is mainly used for achieving mental and physical health. The name “Yoga” means union between your body, mind and spirit.

The most important yoga facts and principles are:

#1: Exercise.

The Yoga’s exercises are called Asanas. They are certain positions of the body that you need to maintain for a short period of time. They will improve your health.

#2: Breathing.

Breathing is truly important for the health of your body. Through breathing your body receives oxygen. And the oxygen makes you think better. With the use of oxygen, your body can heal itself much quicker.

#3: Relaxation.

One of the Yoga’s purposes is to reduce and eliminate the ego based effort. By practicing Yoga, you will become more at ease with everything around you.

#4: Diet.

What you eat influences how you think and feel. It has a direct effect on your productivity. This is why you need to eat only healthy foods.

#5: Meditation.

The art of meditation involves focusing on only one thought at the exclusion of all the other thoughts. The more advanced meditation techniques involve completely emptying your mind from all distractions and thoughts. This is quite hard to do for most people in our fast paced society.

#6: Practice each day.

To get the most of Yoga, you need to stick with it. Yoga is not a magic pill that needs to be taken only 1 time. Practice each day. And with time you will achieve greater and greater levels of freedom.

Yoga is a great set of practices that will improve your mental, emotional and spiritual lives. You will reduce your stress and feel better with each day.

Check out parts one and two of the series.

Part 1: What is Yoga

Part 2: How to Incorporate Yoga into Your Daily Life

Part 3: How Yoga Can Help Soldiers with PTSD

Best Of, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

Military Time Management Technique: The CARVER system

Usually we wish that there were more than 24 hours in a day, so that there are more waking hours for us to get our jobs and tasks done. Yet we see others who have as much work as we do, yet they still have plenty of time to have fun and do personal stuff like going to the beach or the mall. A good example of such people is the military. From sunup to sundown, they get things done like a well-oiled machine. They work like ants and get their tasks done like exercises, trainings and assigned chores. Tasks like cooking, paperwork, construction and even combat are done quickly and efficiently and sometimes almost simultaneously. How do they do it? The answer is time management.

Time management is not a new idea. The main concept is to prioritize the most important or most urgent tasks instead of spending a lot of time doing something that may be done later and risking non-submission of the more urgent things. But like many things, the military can do things faster and even more efficiently. In the military, time management works a little differently. In military time management, tasks are practically treated as combatants. The following are the things that need to be considered in military time management.

In military time management, most tasks that need to be carried out point toward a single objective. This objective needs to be clear and well-defined so as to put more urgency in the tasks that lead to it.

In military time management, it is also important to consider the resources that need to be used to accomplish the tasks. These resources also have to be well-defined so as to be used more efficiently.

After determining the objectives and resources, next is to determine the correct priority for all of the tasks ahead. Set which task is first, what resource to use and how much time there is to allocate.

Efficiency is the hallmark of the military. They employ a militarized version of time management based on the total effect of a certain goal or objective. An objective is separated into different aspects like criticality, accessibility, return, vulnerability, effect and recognizability or in short, CARVER.

The goal or task to be done is divided into the previously mentioned aspects and ranked from one to five or depending on the person. After ranking each concept, the ranks are summed up and the task with the highest sum gets to be done first (the CARVER time management system is the system that the Navy SEALS and Army Special Forces, have to become masters in).

For a better understanding of CARVER, let us briefly describe each aspect

  • Criticality – mainly gauges the importance of a particular task. Is it that important and has to be done immediately or can it be put off tomorrow or next week? If it needs to be done sooner rather than later, then it is given a higher rank.
  • Accessibility – The task may be critical but is it easy to reach? Are the resources needed to do it readily available? If the materials needed for the task has to be airlifted from some other state, then the task gets a lower rank.
  • Return – What will be the return after the particular task is done? Will it be a promotion, a commendation or a pat on the head? The higher the return, the higher the rank will be.
  • Vulnerability – Is the task critical and easily done with the available resources? How long can it be done? For tasks that take longer to complete, the lower the rank.
  • Effect – Once the task is done, what will be the overall effect? This is slightly different than return. Will it have a bigger impact on the organization or the well-being of the individual?
  • Recognizability – finally, is the task clear and concise? No task can be done quickly and effectively with incomplete information. Vague projects take a bit longer but you may have to figure them out as the military does if everything else scores high.

The system works with anything, not just military.  I use it all the time for school, work and writing.  It’s just a good tool to have when figuring out what task to take on.

Related Posts:

Part 2 of the CARVER system

Smaller Goals VS Larger Goals

I Will Never Accept Defeat.  I Will Never Quit.

What the Military Teaches about Self-Discipline.

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First Post – New Site

So…I’ve finally done it.  I’ve redesigned the site.  It’s been a long time coming.  The old one was too focused on my first book Mass Casualties, and I had to prepare the site so that I could easily add the new projects that I’m working on.

I decided to go with a blog design so that I’ll be able to post daily.  My goal for this site is to add valuable content to the already vast amount on the internet.  I’ll be detailing what it’s like to be a student after coming back from the war.  I’ll be detailing what it’s like as a struggling writer trying to promote your first book and work on other projects.  I already have some great interviews lined up, and a bunch of people I served with in the military are eager to post and share their knowledge on certain subjects and their opinions on certain political, health and military issues.

An original song to welcome you to the site!

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPf8SdyRnI0[/tube]

I hope you enjoy, now take a moment to look around the site.

Main Website Pages:

About me: MassCasualties.com/about-michael/

About Mass Casualties: MassCasualties.com/books/mass-casualties/

Events: MassCasualties.com/events/

Contact: MassCasualties.com/contact/

Blog Post Categories:

Politics / News: MassCasualties.com/category/politics-news/

Personal Development: MassCasualties.com/category/personaldevelopment/

Interviews: MassCasualties.com/category/interviews/

Blogishness: MassCasualties.com/category/blogishness/

Best Of: MassCasualties.com/category/bestof/