today i ventured out to wild wood state park on north shore of long island for a solo hike. it was perfect.

people who experience flow on a regular or semi-regular basis are significantly more happy then those who do not.

my source(s)? *1

personal experience. anyone who has experienced flow knows that there is a tremendous release of dopamine involved…equivalent to that of ecstasy or cocaine.

flow can come from many different things; extreme sports is a prime example but flow can come from relationships, social situations, your job (i love getting into it while bar tending on peak nights). today john and i found some sick flow from rock climbing, bouldering to be specific.

bouldering is a certain type of rock climbing that is free of ropes and takes more technique and finesse then that of typical belaying (rock climbing with ropes and a harness). a bouldering wall can reach up to about 15-18 ft high; within the wall are “problems”, problems are color coded rock climbing trails that you must travel to get to the top of the wall (see pictures). they range from beginner to expert and are depicted by the color scheme laid out next to the grips. traversing is key while bouldering- traversing is climbing sideways rather the up to complete your problem. to finish a problem you must hang with two hands on the top wall ledge at the color coordinated “X” before letting go.

find your flow and get on it!

*1- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997) “Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life”(Basic Books, New York).

Csikszentmihalyi, M. and J. Hunter (2003). “Happiness in everyday life: the uses of experience sampling.” Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 2, pp.185-199

Hektner, J.M. (1996). “Exploring optimal personality development: A longitudinal study of adolescents.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago

Watson,B. trans. (1964) “Chuang Tzu, basic writings.” New York: Columbia University Press.

matt and i kicked back after a work hard/play hard summer for a much deserved cruise. here are some highlights

time to play catch up. it’s been a while since my last entry. the best way to express the gap in time would be to skim my iphoto account and photo-blog the past 5-6 months of my life. i have a lot to say so stay posted.

My buddy and I working out in the park.

Some shots on my new GoPro camera

chicken paleo parm

eating paleo has been the best nutritional choice i have made to date. for specifics on what the diet consists of, pop “paleo” or “caveman diet”  into google. the biggest hurdle i had to overcome while adapting to this diet was giving up: grains, rice and beans- i used to be a bread lover…but don’t worry, there are tons of great paleo recipes out there that make up for some of these carb loaded foods.

i had really been craving some chicken parmesan while i was going to bed the other night. i couldn’t stop thinking about sayville pizza’s ccpd (thats their fancy abbreviation for chicken cutlet parmesan dinner)-one of my top 5 favorite dishes. so i decided to come up with the closest recipe to get my fix.

ingredients:

-thin/medium cut chicken breast (4-6 cuts)

-almond flower

-raw almonds (2 cups)

-organic spaghetti sauce (2 jars)

-eggs (3)

-spaghetti squash (1)

-fresh garlic (3-5 cloves)

-red bell pepper (1)

-olive oil

-cocoanut oil

-oregano

-parsley

-blazin bobs hot pepper (blazinbobshotpepper.com - a good friend of mine makes this organic habanero, cayenne, jalapeno pepper blend. i swear by it, tastes good on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. check them out on facebook too) - use with caution.

prep:

  1. prepare a large skillet on med-high heat. set up “breading”-(almond) station for the chicken cutlets: 3 eggs whisked in a bowl, almond flower on a plate, (crush up the raw almonds in a ziplock bag until they look like bread crumbs) put the almond crumbs on a plate next to the almond flower.
  2. prepare baking tray with a layer of sauce and put off to the side
  3. cut the spaghetti squash in half, place on a microwaveable safe plate face down with 1/4 cup water (cook for 2-3 minutes, or until hot), scoop out the seeds, take a fork and rake out the squash so it comes out like strands of spaghetti, set off to the side. slice red bell pepper “julienne” (at least i learned something in my culinary classes) aka little bell pepper sticks. i used a garlic press to cut up my cloves but you can just small dice the garlic, set all veggies off to the side.
  4. prepare another medium skillet with a half tablespoon of cocoanut oil and leave off to the side on low heat.
  5. pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit 

cooking directions:

  1. once the large skillet with olive oil is nice and hot, dip the chicken cutlets in egg, roll in almond flower then dip in crushed up almonds. place chicken in the skillet (be careful not to burn the almond crust, reduce heat to medium once you place cutlets in skillet), fry the cutlets until they are golden brown and very slightly pink on the inside.
  2. once all cutlets are ready, place in baking tray and smother with the other jar of organic spaghetti sauce
  3. place your garlic in the other skillet with cocoanut oil and turn the heat up to medium. once the garlic is lightly brown, sauté spaghetti squash with garlic for about 2 minutes.
  4. spread out spaghetti squash in baking tray over the chicken and sauce. lay out your julienne cut red bell peppers over the squash and dust with oregano, parsley and blazin bobs.
  5. bake on 450 degrees until ready (i don’t know an exact time that it takes, once the spaghetti squash looks like a nice crisp brown and the sauce is bubbling on the sides- its ready)

this completely fulfilled my craving for chicken parm and i will definitely make this dish again. my parents who do not eat paleo also loved it!!

**if you would like any of my other paleo recipes or have requests, feel free to message me and i would be happy to share


know your ropes.

imageobvious statement: life is full of speed-bumps… they are essential to life and have been the best things that have ever happened to me. i have been through a lot of them, nothing too serious…but enough to help me improve who I am as a person. 

the picture in this entry is a comparison from my physical appearance in 2009 to present day.

background story: i have never been overweight in my life. i grew up very athletic; soccer, baseball, lacrosse, wrestling, swimming, surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and a plethora of other fun activities. flash forward—-> college happens- the cliff notes: school work, parties, fraternity, girls, beach, freedom, girlfriend, break ups/make ups, poking smot/other extracurricular activities, moving from one apartment to another, jobs, internships, homesickness, everyday family issues, depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, experiencing death- is a small list… the significance of this list, everyone reading can relate. without dwelling on too much negative, some of that list had consumed who i was and transformed me into someone i was not. the person you see on the left side of the picture only lasted for about an 8 month period and to be completely honest, i don’t ever remember being in that place physically or mentally.

one day i woke up alone in a fog, looked in the mirror and realized that i had forgotten what my interests and values were. i lost all of my passion and drive. it was then that i realized i had to re-meet myself…but how? it wasn’t until a phone conversation i had with my mom that i made any sudden changes. before we hung up she said to me “i’m worried about you.” it may sound insignificant but i had never heard those words from her before.

so i immediately signed up for a gym membership in an attempt to improve my physical fitness/appearance. in retrospect, my mental health was what really needed improvement. i did see a therapist for one session and quickly learned that what i was going through needed to be solved internally and not from some weird lanky guy with a mullet, handlebar mustache and pictures of jesus all over his walls. (no disrespect to therapists, jesus, mullets or mustaches- i think they’re all kinda cool, they just weren’t saving me).

what got me from there to here-

i started to focus on my relationships with people; family, friends, acquaintances. listening to them, actually caring about their well-being really helped pull me out of the hole i was in. working harder at school and setting small goals to achieve helped me get little doses of satisfaction. learning to apologize for mistakes i have made was key in taking ownership of my life. the ultimate goal was a promise to improve myself as a person every chance i can and to be cognitive of it. **obvious statement #2: you only live once (as far as i know)- people hear this all the time but i always wonder if they register what it means. i have learned to take advantage of that- it does take work to understand but once it sinks in, your quality of life will improve tenfold. all of these very simple concepts improved my mental health. it was/is a long steady road (that i am still traveling).

physical fitness

my passion is exercise. it has become my drug and should be prescribed by every doctor on every continent. google its side effects, find me a pill that can cure 1/4 of what exercise can and i will give you the contents of my savings account.

i always subconsciously reaped the benefits of being active but it wasn’t until i tried anti anxiety/depression medication for a few months (which did the opposite of help me), come off them, to find that staying active was the key for my well being.

so while i was deep inside of my mind trying to find what was lost; i was also experimenting with work out routines and nutrition. although i am an ACE and AAAI-ISMA certified personal trainer, i am no expert on exercise. i used myself as a guinea pig. what i do know- every body is different, every mind is different and every stomach (in regard to nutrition) is different. here are some of the things i tried: (goals: stay lean, healthy, happy and confident) recreational gym work outs: cardio- stair master or row machine (20 minutes), swimming (30 minutes), weights- random work outs with as much weight as you can keep proper form with- high repetitions and little rest time (before workouts, feel what muscles your body is craving to exercise and that is best routine for the day). outdoor work outs- fixed gear road biking (15 to 20 miles per session ***blasting loud house music always makes my trips more enjoyable), kayaking, surfing, any recreational sports my friends are willing to play. CROSSFIT- the only gym i will ever belong to for the rest of my life. if you are unfamiliar just go to youtube or google to check it out- nuff said.

nutrition

i also did a lot of experimenting with what i ate: “well balanced diet” (food-pyramid eating) result: a very average looking body. pescetarianism (no meat, only fish) result: lost almost all of my muscle mass but my breathing and cardio was outstanding. low carb diet- result: pretty lean body but no major improvements. currently, i eat paleo or “the caveman diet” (only fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts) result: very satisfied. I have achieved a lot of my goals as far as muscle mass while staying lean (forget about counting calories while eating like a caveman, you can eat as much of these delicious food groups as you would like). I stick pretty strict to paleo but i do have a protein bar every once and a while at work. also i am addicted to caffeine so i have low sugar/low carb energy drinks (i know, they’re really bad for me) and coffee. I also drink alcohol but i stick to vodka sodas and i have not had any issues with that. 

the moral to the nutrition story- ***obvious statement #3- eat a sustainable diet that works for you.

all of these things (mind, body and food) have brought me to my present state. it has taken a lot of work and self discipline but i can proudly say i have improved my quality of life and strive to be a better person every day.

know your ropes. strive to be a better person. get inspired by people and don’t be afraid of vulnerability. if my story has helped one person do something positive in their life, i have fulfilled my goal of writing this entry.

introduction

my name is kj. i live an adventurous and spontaneous life. i want to share my experiences, views and direction. 

This past year has been a big inspiration from the places I have been and people I have met …Fortunately, a good portion of these experiences have been captured one way or another on film (or digital)…

home.