Vacation All I Ever Wanted – A Karma Sense Update

Executive Summary

This post is about the least interesting subject I know, me. I sincerely believe this but in order to better set the stage for some future posts, I need to get this out of the way. It’s just a necessary evil.

Here we were, in the midst of my applying the Karma Sense Eating Plan to my own vision for health, when


real life happened. I was hoping to be further along in the implementation of my new plan, but certain personal events caused me to temporarily abandon this effort. Now I’m ready to get started but because I’m behind schedule I gotta push things off a little further. This post will cover a small step in the progression of my new Karma Sense Eating Plan, give an update on the book project, and look at some research that shows why something like the Karma Sense Eating Plan needs to exist. But first, why am I delaying my implementation?


Despite all of the research saying that relaxing vacations lead to long-term happiness, I’ve always been someone who is more relaxed when he’s pushing the rock just a little further up hill. But, given that it’s been three years since we’ve had a real vacation and since the stress floodgates just recently burst, we’re going for it and heading to France and the UK for awhile. During this vacation, we’ll do a crapload of walking but no intentional exercise (e.g. resistance training). We’ll also be surrounded by some of the best food and wine in the world. Any attempts to implement a major shift in exercise and diet routine will be futile. This also means I’ll take about two weeks off from writing anything new or pushing on The Karma Sense Eating Plan book, but things are pretty much on auto-pilot for that anyway. Vacation doesn’t start for a few days though so we can still make a little progress in building a Karma Sense Eating Plan for me.

Step 2: Define Constraints

As discussed in the previous post, I intend to try a different but increasingly popular Intermittent Fasting (IF) routine with multiple goals in mind. By running this through the process laid out in The Karma Sense Eating Plan, we’ll get to see a complex example with very specific goals in action. My focus consists of the following:

  • Improve my body composition (lower my body fat percentage preferably by building muscle without gaining significant amounts of fat).
  • Improve my knowledge as a coach by trying a nutrition protocol that is used by many body builders and may be safer for women than the 24 hour IF that I usually do.
  • Demonstrate the efficacy of the Karma Sense Eating Plan.

The complexity is driven by a protocol that includes:

  • Sixteen hour daily fasts.
  • Specific macronutrient requirements during the 8 hour period that I do eat. These requirements vary depending on whether it is a heavy exercise day or not.
  • Exercising in a fasted state.
  • Dietary supplements that are not part of my current routine.

The Karma Sense Eating Plan describes a 7-step process to developing a plan. So far, we described Step 1, Define Destination. In that step, you take a 50,000 foot (20,000 metres) view of where you want to be in the future as it relates to all aspects of health. In the next step, we identify any barriers that you need to work around in order to achieve your vision. This is the first, but not the only, time we go through this step. Karma Sense Eating is an iterative process. It’s important to revisit your destination and your constraints as your plan becomes more detailed because, in the end, your plan must be consistent with reality. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

For constraints, the description of the Plan component in the L4 blog provides a series of questions that help you uncover the habits you have that can trip you up. In the book, I include a tool called a “Constraints Journal” that digs much deeper into this process. It’s an exercise in mindful eating that helps you uncover even the most deeply rooted eating habit.

After going through this exercise, I know I have the following constraints:

  • I can’t totally give up ice cream, beer or wine.
  • I travel a lot for work and that affects my eating and exercise schedule.
  • I live in a neighborhood with many non-compliant temptations just steps from my door.
  • It’s difficult for me to decline a well made french fry.
  • I want to eat less animal protein in favor of plant protein.
  • My work schedule will make it a constant challenge to time workouts so that they occur at the end of my fasting period and immediately before my feeding period (I already know this is a requirement in my new IF protocol. I need to be prepared to make exceptions).

That’s a pretty full plate of constraints. Whatever plan I settle upon must respect these constraints. And if the goal I choose isn’t realistic because of these constraints, then again, I’m wasting my time. But we won’t know any of this until the next post when we discuss Step 3, Define Goal.

You Are Not “N” – The Fat Edition

Even though the L4 blog and The Karma Sense Eating Plan depend heavily on the latest behavioral and health research, it also recognizes that you are not “n.” Therefore, when news headlines start screaming about the benefits of some new antioxidant berry from the rain forest or yet another advantage of drinking copious amounts of our beloved coffee, we need to take it with a grain of salt (we also need to take the demonization of salt with a grain of salt).

A new study (n=295) out of the University of California demonstrates the need for caution when interpreting study results. In this study researchers showed that native Inuits who lived in Greenland process Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats differently from people from Asia or other parts of Europe. These scientists then looked at the genomes of each of the populations in the study and found a common mutation throughout the Inuit subjects; a mutation that was not nearly as prevalent in the Asian or European subjects.  As Inuits tend towards very high-fat diets, the scientists hypothesize that this mutation is a protective mechanism.

How does this apply to those of us who don’t live within the Arctic Circle? By now we all have heard about the benefits of Omega-3 fats in the diet. In mantra #5, Eat Good Fats Daily and Get a Balance of the Different Kinds of Good Fats, you’re encouraged to increase your consumption of Omega-3s. The reason for this is because the typical North American diet is deficient in this essential fatty acid. What you’re not encouraged to do is overeat Omega-3s. You probably don’t have the mutation that is prevalent in the Inuits and over indulging in seaweed (or other foods high in Omega 3s) might cause unintended health consequences.

But this study suggests something further on the point of you are not “n.” Even within the same genetic population, there can be significant variations. Thanks to your own personal genome, you may process carbohydrates or nuts or Skittles differently than your neighbor or even your mother. So if a study shows that Almond and Skittles Lasagna is good for some “n” in some study, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for you.

That’s why the Karma Sense Eating Plan exists. There is no one size fits all solution to better health and happiness. Your mind and body have basic needs and they need to be satisfied. The road to satisfaction is different. If you know what those basic and unique needs are and if you trust your instincts (Use the Force, Luke!), you’ll zero in on your optimal path.

The Karma Sense Eating Plan Book Update

The momentum for the book continues to build. I’ve come to an agreement with an editor and she is spinning my straw into gold. The cover artist and I will get things in motion before vacation starts and the fate of the book will be in their capable hands.

I reached my first plateau in the crowdsourcing campaign and now am sufficiently funded for the case studies which I’ll begin upon my return. There are currently five contributors who elected perks that include coaching. So far I remain confident in a February 2016 release date.

Still, if you haven’t pre-ordered your copy, I could sure use your help. Remember, your order will accelerate donations to the charities this project supports. When we discuss Defining Goals, in the next installment of this series,we’ll talk about what I’m doing to accelerate those donations. If you’re interested in helping out, click on the widget below.

And for now, I bid you adieu.


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