Butter coffee is awesome!

I put all of the items into a blender cup, and blend with my Ninja or Bullet for 20 seconds. The end result is the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. And, it is apparently good for you (if you believe the “fat” hype – which i DO!).

Potential benefits to butter coffee consumption include:

  • Higher levels of satiety (you’ll feel full and won’t be hungry) – I use this as part of my intermittent fasting strategy
  • Higher levels of cognition (the MCT oils and fats in the butter fuel your brain function)
  • Slower metabolism of caffeine (the fat in the butter theoretically slows the uptake of caffeine into the bloodstream)

I first heard about the wonderful world of butter coffee when I read about the “Bulletproof Executive” – a guy named David Asprey. At that time, I wasn’t to far down the Keto rabbit hole, so I didn’t give it much thought. Just kind of filed it away in my brain under, “hmmm – this guy puts butter in is coffee – that’s odd.” As it turns out, Mr. Asprey isn’t the first person to throw a bunch of awesome fat into his morning brew.

Populations in Nepal and northern India have been spiking their coffee beverages for centuries. You’ll see honey and salt make an appearance in Ethiopia, and even see coffee beans sauteed with butter/salt before grinding in Singapore. A very storied version of this magic brew is the Tibetan butter tea “po cha.” The special ingredient here is salty yak butter (yum). So, to sum up, this idea has been around for a LONG TIME, and has been benefitting populations for a LONG TIME.

I’ve been drinking this beverage on a daily basis for over a year now. Once in a while, I’ll have two cups. I’m happy to report that I have not gained any fat as a result of this beverage (my weight either remains the same or drops depending on what I’m working on), and my blood work (cholesterol ratios, triglycerides, etc) are all in great shape. I don’t owe that last part to butter coffee; however, I mention it to point out that the addition of butter coffee isn’t adversely affecting my health. And, anecdotally, I’m happy to report that I do “feel” more alert and mentally sharp after throwing back one of these brews. Long story short – I can’t recommend this morning beverage enough!

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Be Your Own Barber

What isn’t to like about saving $20 a month and shaving your own head? I was able to get the Remington HC4250 on Amazon for about $30. That is a huge deal considering it usually runs about $60. I can’t say that will always be the price – I got mine on sale. Still, I’d pay $40 for it. Buy from Amazon here – Remington HC4250 Shortcut Pro Self-Haircut Kit.

I’ve owned other hair trimmers before, but the candy bar style of the longer ones isn’t very ergonomic. Getting around your head can be cumbersome.

And no, I’m not talking about a Flowbee (which my mom still uses to cut my dad’s hair to this day)…

After my 2nd cut with the Remington puck, I was in the black in terms of ROI. The rub is that you have to like having very short hair. Call me older and wiser now, but I can’t understand why I haven’t been shaving my head the entire time. I spent a disproportionate amount of time in my twenties getting stylish “short” and “messy” haircuts, and slathering a bunch of ridiculous overpriced horse semen (hair product) in my hair follicles. Put aside the fact that if you don’t want to spend a ton of $$$ on a haircut, you’ll end up at a Supercuts, Great Clips, Sport Cuts, or other hair cutting place (I won’t say the word “salon”) and be at the mercy of whoever draws the short straw to cut your hair that day. I can’t count how many times I either had to polish up the job at home, or, in extremely egregious situation, actually go back and ask somebody to clean up the disaster that was left by the prior “technician.”

Such a waste.

I’m not even talking about a full Walter White head shaving – I’m talking about using the #1 or the #2 attachment, and just leveling the playing field so to say. I’ll defer to Ron Swanson on why this is the best hair maintenance strategy…

The proof is in the pudding. Why waste time with this mess…

long hair

You paid $20 for that?

…when you can just do this on your own…

shaved

Now THAT’s what I’m talking about.

Do yourself a favor – learn to like short hair and just do it yourself. Your wallet will thank you. And, chicks dig the short hair!

My first beer brewing experience

I brew beer in my garage. 5 gallons at a time. I now have 2 kegs (5 gallons each), so I could theoretically have 10 gallons of my own homebrew on tap at any given time. I’ve personally written the recipe on the past two beers I’ve made, and both were pretty damn good. It didn’t start off that way…

It’s been quite the ride and quite the rabbit hole to fall down. There will undoubtedly be more posts along the way cataloging my hits and misses. But, as a wise person once said, you need to know where you came from, to know where you are going.

My first batch was brewed on a stovetop in Hamilton, NJ. AND, it was actually drinkable (note – my second attempt was awful and a complete waste of time – I learned the value of SANITIZING EVERYTHING). In retrospect, that is pretty amazing because there are so many ways to screw up a batch of beer if you don’t know what you are doing. The kit was a gift from my then girlfriend at the time. She knew I liked to drink beer (duh!), so she figured I might get a kick out of it. This was 2011. My virgin kit was from Brooklyn Brew Shop. It was called Everyday IPA. Buy here from Amazon – Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA Beer Making Kit.

The kit provides almost everything you need to brew a batch. Inside the kit/box are:

  • grain, hops, yeast (the essential ingredients)
  • 1 gallon carboy (big glass jug for fermenting)
  • thermometer (you’ll learn that temp control is HUGE)
  • vinyl tubing
  • rack and cane (for getting the beer in/out of the fermenter)
  • airlock (you need to keep oxygen out while its fermenting)
  • cleanser/sanitizer (you’ll learn that sanitation is HUGE)

What the kit doesn’t provide is:

  • water, pots, bottles, caps, strainers, funnels, and…….PATIENCE!

I bolded and underlined patience because beer brewing requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. The kits take a lot of the guesswork out of it, but you really need to trust the process and be willing to follow directions very carefully. Later on if/when you make your own recipes, you’ll need to take that to a whole new level. It really does become a labor of love – you need to not only enjoy the final product (BEER), but also enjoy all of the subtle nuances that can affect/impact the finished product. Appreciating these complexities will make you want to hone your craft and graduate beyond cooking on your stovetop. A whole new world starts to open up if you really want to spend the time making the equipment (which isn’t all that crazy if you do it in pieces). My goal was always to upgrade one part of my operation with each new batch. I’ll get to all of that later in other posts.

Here is a rough outline of my first stovetop session with Everyday IPA from Brooklyn Brew Shop:

  1. Heat water to 160 degrees on the stove (this takes a little while)
  2. Add grains and watch temp drop to about 150 degrees
  3. Cook for 60 minutes
  4. Heat to 170 degrees at the end of 60 minutes and strain out the grains
  5. Heat more water to 170 degrees
  6. Rinse the grains that just soaked for an hour with the gallon of 170 water, and collect 5 total quarts of WORT (the liquid left behind by soaking the grains and rising them) for the BOIL
  7. BOIL the WORT for 60 minutes and add HOPS at various intervals
  8. Crash cool the boiling pot of WORT in an ice bath until the temp hits 70 degrees (this took awhile)
  9. From this point forward, anything that touches the WORT must be 100% sanitized, or I risk infecting the beer, so I sanitize EVERYTHING
  10. RACK the sweet cooled WORT into the sanitized 1 gallon fermentation jug, and pitch the YEAST once I confirm the WORT is 70 degrees (any hotter could hurt the yeast and/or kill it)
  11. Put airlock on fermentation jug, and set in a cool, dark, dry place for 2 weeks
  12. C-L-E-A-N everything

2 weeks later…

  1. Sanitize all of the empty beer bottles I collected for your beer bottling (I actually bought a batch of pop tops from Amazon).
  2. Add PRIMING SUGAR to the fermentation jug, so the beer has extra sugar to eat (thus causing carbonation)
  3. RACK the beer from the fermentation jug into the sanitized bottles, and cap them
  4. Store in cool dry area
  5. C-L-E-A-N everything

2 weeks later…

  1. Move beer bottles into fridge to cool (I like cold IPA’s)
  2. Pop the top of a beer, hope to hear a “fizz” indicating carbonation leaving the bottle
  3. Drink the beer and hope to not gag

As you can see, that is a lot of work and patience for 1 gallon of hopefully drinkable beer.

My bottom line advice, if you are interested in brewing beer, is to start with one of these home “stove top” kits. If you follow the instructions, the finished product should be somewhat palatable. The most important part of the experience is the questions you’ll ask along the way – usually, “…isn’t there an easier way to do this?” The answer early on is YES.

Also, after spending a couple of hours in this process, you’ll be disappointed when the final finished product only yields a gallon (actually a little less) of drinkable beer. You’ll want to know how to scale it up, so you get more “bang” for your time spent. It is THAT experience which may cause you to fall down the rabbit hole that I did so many years ago. You’ll start reading blog posts. You’ll start watching YouTube videos. And, you’ll have such a sense of accomplishment when you convert your first 5 gallon IGLOO water cooler into a mash tun for the first time. You’ll feel like a beer wizard.

So, long story short, this is a hobby I highly recommend. Please start small, have fun, make mistakes, and develop the desire to want to do it better. You won’t be sorry!

Insanity Review

This is the program that got it all started for me back in 2012. I’ll always have a bias towards this program, and it’s my go-to if I need a kick in the ass. If you’ve never done intensive “HIIT” (high intensity interval training) before, this program will quickly indoctrinate you, and show you very early on that everything you thought or perceived about a “hard workout” is wrong.

everything wrong

This program is as much a mental crucible as it is a physical challenge. If you commit to the 60 days, and have some type of sensible nutrition approach (note – this program does provide a nutrition plan if you want to follow it), then you will undoubtedly see some very noticable results at the end.

Overall Program Rating: 

My biggest gripe with this program is the lack of modifiers. Future Beachbody programs dedicate more time/energy to calling out modified moves so that people of ALL fitness levels can do them without much thought. In this program, the user is kind of left to his/her own devices to alter the moves and/or tempo to modify to a lower fitness level. Beyond that, the only other shortcoming is the lack of back (pulling) strength work. If you are a person that regularly does pull ups, do NOT stop doing them for the 60 days that it takes you to knock out Insanity. Do a couple of sets before each workout, to keep up your pulling strength.

As far as the videos themselves, the camera work was nice (seeing other people struggle and/or being tortured kind of makes you feel good). The music is a nice compliment – it isn’t annoying or distracting. As far as Shaun’s performance as the trainer, aside from the lack of modification instruction, I feel that his verbal and visual cues are very helpful and do the job. In total, I’d rate this 4 out of 5 “ass-kickings.”

insanity scale review

Continue reading Insanity Review