#123 Aaron Alexander on The Human Zoo and Activating Your Body


#122 Aaron Alexander on The Human Zoo and Activating Your BodyToday's Guest

Aaron Alexander has been professionally working with clients of all ages seeking a variety of goals from pain relief to improved athletic performance for over 10 years. He is currently seeing clients at his office, Align Therapy, in downtown Bend, Oregon.

Aaron began the journey as a nationally certified personal trainer specializing in corrective exercise and nutrition consultation. During that time Aaron studied psychology at the University of Hawaii. Soon after, he evolved into becoming a licensed manual therapist studying myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy and trigger point therapy at Maui School of Therapeutic Massage.

A fascination with connective tissue lead him to study structural integration at the Rolf Institute in Boulder, CO. Being a LMT and CPT on top of a certified Rolfer®, Aaron has a strong understanding of the intricacies of the body and mind.

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How to Apply the Snowball Effect to Paleo Health and Fitness


Applying the snowball effect for Paleo health and fitnessWhen we team up, we can utilize the power of a group, or what I like to call the "snowball effect". The snowball effect is a critical tool to understand when it comes to achieving results.

The snowball can happen with both positive and negative things in life such as an incredible diet or a soda pop addiction.

Today, we are focused on the positives.

It’s very important to apply snowball effect when it deals with your mental and physical health.

Transforming your mental and physical health is possible by utilizing the snowball effect to your advantage.

If you've experienced the power of habit to your advantage, or more commonly, your disadvantage, take this moment to let all of that go.

After an attempt to mentally let go of the fears and regrets from the past, you may now move on.

We inherently crave to feel better. Part of the human spirit is to improve it's own health and condition.

Something as simple as the time you enjoy in your garden can be an exercise (pun intended) that allows you trigger this "snowball effect".

I played outside for most of my life, and have always been most at peace in the forest. Little did I know, these choices were all a part of the “primal” lifestyle.

Today, you may now understand that activities that make you feel at peace are built into our human code. We enjoy the things we've done throughout all of human history.

It should make sense why the popularity and widespread usage of technology has presented both pleasure and pain for us.

Simply limiting your time spent on technology and forcing yourself outside may be all it takes for you to trigger your "physical snowball". Once this happens, managing your stress levels, weight and mood will all be easier.

You see how this snowball effect begins to roll with an unstoppable force.

It’s a great feeling which will enable you to help others around you.

Some of us have so many problems with ourselves both mentally and physically, that we are unable to help others.

No longer will you be powerless.

To those who have already checked out your diet, you are aware of the power of habit.

Once you have taken the first steps towards health like eating fresh fruit and vegetables frequently, you can’t imagine eating anything else.

If you are an extreme paleo activist and have seen the benefits that the paleo lifestyle gives you, great!

You are probably to the point to where you check out others’ grocery carts and have the urge to go up to them and say, “are you aware that you are eating genetically modified, high fructose corn syrup laden food?".

Unfortunately, most people treat their food as some sort of religion and this tactic would immediately backfire. Although you may have the truth, the way you present it means a lot.

After helping yourself, maybe it would be beneficial for you to share this website and podcast for others to begin their journey.

After all, this is the essence of things "going viral". When something like the free food guide for your entire household works on improving your overall health, it's almost a crime not to share it with others.

If we truly want to achieve a healthier and happier society, we have to collectively re-train each other about some of the concepts of reconnecting to your food source, natural environment and a sense of peace with the world.

Life will become a completely different experience for you.

Your perspective on the food system, workplace drama and the latest television show may flip flop.

Due to the increased production of essential neurotransmitters from consuming grass-fed meats and dark green leafy vegetables, you are able to see the world in a new light.

I consider the removal of your "fog" to be one of the most profound moments in your life. It is as if you have been looking through a dirty window and suddenly, it is clean!

Here are a few more actionable tips to help you attain the snowball effect.

1. Find friends that have your back no matter what.

2. Develop or join a group of friends or people conscious of their physical and mental health. I can’t stress this aspect of your life enough.

If you have a friend, family member, significant other or spouse that doesn’t understand or support your Paleo lifestyle, this could affect your mindset and discourage you from your goals.

Your results should blow people away and reduce the amount of skeptics to a bare minimum.

3. Search your local gym or grocery store for someone that happens to be doing a particular exercise that you love, or that is picking out the same nut mix as you.

Approach them and "use your words" as we say to our young! Long-term friendships can appear out of anywhere as long as you are open to receive them.

4. Keep your workouts short but intense. Many people stay in the gym too long, deeming your time worthless and potentially detrimental.

It’s easy to buy nice gym clothes, bright colored shoes and the newest iPod armband, but if you are not consistent and focused with your physical efforts, your "snowball" will never form.

It takes time, dedication and true effort, your body will not be fooled by just the thought of walking.

5. Do not get discouraged when you see the word "dedication", this is essential for success in any aspect of life.

On top of this exercise, your body requires adequate amino acids for muscle repair and growth.

This of course, is attained by a steady 2-5 meal a day consumption of grass-fed meats, green leafy vegetables, coconut oil, grass-fed butter and important mineral compounds such as Himalayan Pink Salt.

Now, for each exercise I recommend sticking to the following.

5 sets of 5 repetitions for pure strength and muscle gains, 3 sets of 8 for a combination of strength and toning, and 3 sets of 15 for elongating muscle fibers, burning fat and increasing mobility.

Alternate between heavy and light weight every few months to let your joints rest.

You should also have a daily Omega-3 supplement in your regimen to supply the essential fatty acids necessary for brain and physical health.

Getting results with your body is all about consistency and strength increases, even if they happen only 2 pounds at a time.

For the famous "Cardio" workouts, I recommend beginning with a 10-15 minute brisk walk.

You should get some energy from this exercise, not exhausted.

If you are able to accomplish this task 3 nights a week, you may be ready to add in the weights and more intense exercise routines.

If you have habits that are preventing you from achieving happiness and success, you should probably read eliminating roadblocks from happiness and Paleo.

I’ve had people make fun of my barefoot shoes or poke at me for always carrying a bag of cashews and beef jerky with me, but I am the one with the energy and physical health to conquer life’s challenges!

Remember, your health and happiness surmounts everything else!

Introduction to Stress Reduction through Deep Breathing

The benefits of deep breathing and the relaxation benefits that come along with it are essential. Deep breathing benefits are well known but highly under appreciated and executed.

This is not the first article on the importance of full breaths that you have read if you are even a slightly health-conscious person. I am focused today on the actual execution of taking deep breaths at least once a day.

Places that I personally take multiple deep breaths and benefits I receive from it:

  • In the car driving with or without traffic - I take at least a few deep breaths and look around at my surroundings, followed by being grateful and thinking how bad it would suck to walk or bike to get to my school (30 miles each way) One of my favorite songs "Love and Affection" by the Green talks about easing your mind when you take a drive. Don't let car rides or drives stress you out, it's a waste of stress and can start a negative thought pattern and give you road rage.
  • Before, during and after writing an article or working on anything that requires focus - It helps me to get in the mindset to connect with my inner thoughts and emotions. It's easier to express yourself and use your brain when you breathe deeply. An anxious mind is rarely a good one.
  • During running, jogging, lifting weights, climbing, longboarding, biking - You get the idea, exercise in almost every form feels great. If it doesn't feel good, you may be doing something wrong. Use correct form!
  • Before public speaking events - This could apply to many people before your meetings at work. No matter how many times you public speak, you will get butterflies. I have always been very confident and easy to speak to and listen to (so I've heard), but I still try to take a few deep breaths and loosen up my neck, shoulders and back before I begin speaking. People can pick up on your emotions through vocal tone, eye contact and body language; breathe, relax, focus and think positive.
  • While using a sauna or taking a bath - I can't think of many better ways to relax your mind and body than a sauna or bath. Deep breathing while doing these things can simulate a rebirth for me sometimes. Especially with some of my favorite essential oils sprayed onto the sauna rocks or dripped into my bath water.

There is no bad time to take deep breaths and loosen up your mind and body. Do it often, make it a habit.

Let's take 3 deep breaths together. In through your nose and force air out your mouth. Inhale.....1.....2.....3.....hold....exhale...1....2....3 (repeat 3x at least)

Hope you feel better now. Breathing deeply is an important part of your life that is not talked about enough. I have felt myself tensing up and causing stress and worry from simply not taking enough deep breaths. Start today and reap the benefits later. Don't let your emotions cause you to forget.


What is Paleo?


Paleo is a lifestyle, not just a diet. Paleo is referring to the prehistoric period that our ancestors lived and thrived in. Since there are no longer Saber-Tooth tigers or extremely prevalent diseases wiping us out, we have the opportunity to live a lot longer with more enjoyment in between.

The foods that you need will come straight from the ground with minimal processing. Lets go over the basics.

Paleo diet comes from the term Paleolithic. A time period not long ago in terms of Earth and Human existence, but before our modern way of life was created.

Key points

Variations of the Paleo diet may include the autoimmune paleo protocol which excludes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, certain spices and can limit or exclude chocolate, grains such as rice and especially gluten containing grains and foods.

Many of my patients need to follow an autoimmune approach to their nutrition until we can reduce the autoimmune attack in the case of diseases like Hashimotos thyroiditis.

The safest approach is to start with an autoimmune paleo diet and potentially reintroduce certain foods to see if you tolerate them.

What to avoid

  • No grains, breads, pastas or any product containing wheat or gluten
  • No hydrogenated oils such as canola, cottonseed, rapeseed, sunflower, vegetable, etc.
  • No margarine or fake butter spreads
  • Avoid raw salads. The body can't absorb enough minerals from salads. Lightly steaming or cooking your greens will allow much greater nutrient absorption for your body.
  • Eliminate all soda, diet soda, or any artificial or real sugar containing drinks
  • High-fructose Corn Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice (Sugar), Aspartame, Nutrasweet and Splenda (Sucralose) in diet sodas are even worse.

What to eat

Consume anywhere from 8-16oz of pasture-raised meats such as:

  • beef
  • turkey
  • venison
  • lamb
  • bison
  • chicken
  • and pork per day

Consume your meats with 3-9 cups of steamed or lightly cooked organic vegetables per day such as:

    • Root vegetables (such as carrots, onions, turnips, rutabagas or parsnips).
    • Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or Brussels sprouts).
    • Greens (such as spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens or kale).
    • Add dried herbs to your food. Not only does this add flavor, but it adds vitamins in large amounts. Among the best are parsley, garlic, ginger, rosemary, basil, cilantro or coriander, thyme, and marjoram.
    • Eat organic white rice and sweet potatoes occasionally. It's a personal choice that may help you with energy and fitness performance.

Consume as much as you want of these fat sources:

  • Organic or "grass-fed" labeled butter.
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil

Other key points

  • Minimize fruit consumption to organic berries.
  • Minimize usage of the microwave. Microwaves kill the phytonutrients (external site) in your food, rendering it useless to your body. Easy alternatives for fast cooking are toaster ovens, stovetop pan cooking, or grilling. Cooking any food for too long will naturally kill off some nutrients and digestive enzymes. This is inevitable.
  • Drink filtered or spring water as much as possible. Filtration methods hooked up to your tap are an efficient alternative to buying bottled water. Make sure the items filter fluoride. Most local water supply in the United States is fluoridated, which has been linked to many health problems such as thyroid damage. Spring water is best.
  • Think of your food in this sense, "does this food exist in this form naturally on Earth?" i.e. Oreo trees and Hot Pocket bushes don't exist! Choose fruits, vegetables and nuts in the most unprocessed form.
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are much better than canned.
  • The healthiest snacks I enjoy are organic grapes, almonds, pistachios and some locally produced beef jerky. 
  • Unless you are an athlete or someone who is very active, you want to keep your carb intake low to moderate. If you want to count, a good number is around 150g/day for most. I require at least 1g/carbs per lb. of body weight.
  • Serious athletes or extremely high-need people need up to 3g/carbs per body weight pound. Test your own levels and see what results you get and how your body responds.
  • I don't count carbs and you may not need to either as long as you are eating vegetables, fruits and following the rest of the Paleo diet. This will help you burn fat and give yourself a more steady blood sugar, leptin and insulin level
  • Athletes may feel better eating low-gylcemic starches such as organic rice or sweet potatoes. Some agree with the concept or intermittent-fasting. I will have more tasty choices of low-glycemic foods on my personal grocery list.