I know we haven't done many book reviews on our blog in the past. Recently we were approached by a "book tour" company and they asked if we would read and review Darin Olien's book Superlife. I first read this book back when it came out back in 2015! I was even fortunate to get to meet Darin and hear some stories behind the book. Turns out he grew up about an hour from where I did. Apparently kids from small farm towns in rural Minnesota can have a career in nutrition!
When I was approached to share Darin's message I was all for it. The principles he teaches in the book are also some of the fundamentals of living a healthy life and always good to revisit myself. Darin breaks out these fundamentals into what he refers to the 5 Life Forces.
Life Force 1: Nutrition
This is at the core of being healthy. His basic approach revolves around eating whole foods in abundance and variety. Eating this way will ensure that you are satiated with micronutrients that all too often we lack. Being a vegan himself he isn't a huge proponent of eating animal products but is ok if people chose to eat animal products as long as they are high quality and occasionally eaten.
With nutrition he also stresses the importance of keeping your gut healthy! This is something I strongly advocate for as well and think can be a real game changer for a lot of people. For most people that looks like... cutting out processed foods, adding foods/supplements rich in probiotics and prebiotics, and probably supplementing with some digestive enzymes.
Life Force 2: Hydration
Water... something so basic but something that so many people fail to consume. As humans, we are water! Roughly 2/3 of our bodyweight is water. It does everything from provide pathways to carry raw materials around our body to insulate us and keep us warm or cool. Let's just say it's super important! Darin provides some great tips to upgrade the quality of your water also in the book.
Life Force 3: Oxygenation
Oxygen - it's critical to life and something that gets overlooked in regards to health. Darin quotes a couple of studies that talk about how cancer thrives in low oxygen situations and dies off in oxygen rich environments. Pretty amazing stuff! Increasing oxygen ties back into life forces 1 and 2. Whole food plants contain more oxygen than processed, packaged foods. Getting adequate water also increases the amount oxygen that enters our bodies. Combine that with some intentional deep belly breathing and you are really improving your oxygenation.
Life Force 4: Alkalization
This life force is one that is definitely overlooked and understudied. Darin and I maybe differ slightly on this point. Some of the research that I've done and read suggests that it is highly unlikely your body will become more acidic based on what we eat. The pro-alkaline movement tends to look at the acid levels of a person's urine which looks at what is excreted versus the pH of a person's blood and cellular fluid.
My opinion here is the jury is still out, but I would agree with Darin in that a diet high in plant based foods will improve your overall health.
Life Force 5: Detoxification
Darin is a big believer in the process of detoxing the body. He points out the constant stress that our bodies are under from everything in our environment to what we consume. Our bodies have normal detox pathways but they get backlogged when we consume low quality foods and are exposed to chemicals in our environment.
His advice to handle all of this, focus on the first 4 life forces and your detox system will be able to handle the workload.
Darin, finishes the book with some recipes and final thoughts on how you can implement the 5 Life Forces into your current life.
I'm a big fan of Darin's approach to health and this book does an excellent job in getting people to think a little differently about their health. It's not all about being reactionary and trying to take care of yourself after you get sick. It's about doing things that produce vitality in your life and keep disease at bay. If you are looking to up your health game I highly recommend this book to give you a solid baseline of information.
Meatloaf... it was a staple in our house growing up! My mom would always make it with beef and slather on the ketchup sauce on top. It was actually quite tasty, except for the onions. I despised onions when I was a kid. Not the flavor as much as the crunch that you would occasionally get from one that wasn't cooked enough.
Times have changed quite a bit! The breadcrumbs that you would normally add to meatloaf would now make me breakout in a rash. The high fructose corn syrup in the ketchup, yeah... we are just going to avoid that if we can. That's the backstory on how this recipe got created.
I suppose with mushroom sauce this maybe is closer to the salsibury steak that we would occasionally have in our tv dinners. No matter what you call it, I hope you call it delicious! We certainly enjoyed it!
This is post is dedicated to the second half of our travels through New England! We did a lot of up here and so if you missed our first post, that was all about Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The second half of our time in New England was up in New Hampshire and Maine! Let's just say we loved it!
After we left Mass and the Cape Cod area we headed north to the Lake Winnipesaukee area for a week roughly. We had gotten some recommendations to go check this area out, so we listened! It didn't disappoint. We were camped out right by Wolfeboro which was a super cute little town.
We noticed that our ice cream consumption increased quite a bit when we were in New England. There were cute little ice cream shops everywhere we went. I think it also helped that Eli learned how to say "ice cream" so therefore he was asking for it all the time.
We also were told we needed to drive the Kancamagus Highway through White Mountain National Forest. Eli and I made the drive one day leaving Laura behind to do some work. Yeah believe it or not we do actually work a bit from the road. It was a super pretty drive... from the car. Unfortunately Eli fell asleep as we turned onto the highway so we didn't get to stop and explore all that much.
From New Hampshire we moved onto Bar Harbor! Yup, pretty much loved this area and all of Maine! It was also fun because we were able to meet up with Laura's cousin who was also a new coach on our team for a couple days since she and her husband moved out there this past summer. The campground we stayed at was amazing! It sat right on one of the canal in between the mainland and Mount Desert Island. It was amazing to see thew change in water level with high and low tide.
Like Niagara Falls, Acadia National Park was on our list of places we needed to visit. We spent a couple days exploring the island that the park was on. One of the first nights there we took a drive around Southwest Harbor. This was definitely the slower side of the island but still fun. We caught the Bass Harbor Lighthouse right at sunset and was just breathtaking.
After our lighthouse visit we decided to finally indulge in lobster rolls. We had been holding out until we could actually get a "Maine" Lobster Roll. So good! The place we went actually had gluten free buns too, so I could partake!
The rest of our time in the area we spent exploring Bar Harbor and Acadia on the busy side which included Cadillac Mountain. Let's just say we have contemplated spending an entire summer out here based on our experience.
That was a busy and fun weekend in the Bar Harbor area! From there we down the coast a bit and continued to explore but at a slightly slower pace. We explored everything from Portland all the way down to Ogunquit. One of the most common questions we get asked...
"What's been your favorite place you've traveled?"
Both of us both usually respond with the time and places we visited during the two weeks we spent in this part of Maine. Not only was it beautiful but the people were fantastic, there was some amazing food in Portland, there were beaches, the temps were perfect, and we got to explore at a slower pace.
A lot of our trips revolve around coffee and food. We found this super fun wall on the side of a coffee, books, and beer store in Saco.
Our campground was only a mile or two from the Ogunquit Beach so we made sure to take a couple trips over to it and hang out. A super fun simple beach, Eli loved it!
Another awesome find that we stumbled across was the Marginal Way walk. It was simply just a path that followed the coast right around Ogunquit.
We also hit up brunch and an ice cream shop in Ogunquit. Once again more ice cream!
Another super fun little spot that we were super close to was a cute little town called Kennebunkport. We spent an afternoon driving around this town, mainly driving around. One place stumbled upon was the home of President George H.W. Bush. I knew that his home was somewhere in the area but when we drove past Walker's Point, it jumped out to me that there would be a security guard station at the entrance to a home out there. So we stopped a little turnaround spot and did a little googling and sure enough, it was his house. We ended up doubling back and stopped really quick on the side of the road and snapepd a few pics of his compound and also a monument for him.
That day ended with a peaceful time on the beach. There was a fun playground that we found and we just let Eli play. It's days like that one that I have to pinch myself. We love this life and it has been such a blessing for all of us!
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.