Fueling the Fire – Food and Flow

ketogenic diet for SUP
Zero Carb, High Intensity Training SUP Race Preparation Experiment

Food and Flow

Freemocean is about understanding and achieving flow states(1). I enjoy sharing my discoveries and deeper thoughts on this blog, my goal is to follow the trail of questions rather than get stuck on answers.

Flow states are peak experiences or altered states that humans (and many animals) can deliberately access to increase performance, happiness and creativity. Traditionally they were considered matters of spirituality and gurus usually associated attainment with abstinence of that which was deemed to be un-healthy or un ethical.

Over the last few decades we are seeing an acceleration in athletic, creative and intellectual performance being attributed to flow states. Altered consciousness, no longer solely the domain of mysticism, is rapidly flowering everywhere, where peak performance is essential.

I removed my opinionated posts about nutrition, but I continue to experiment with my own biology. Nutrition is not crucial to flow states, but I have found that higher energy levels and being able to move freely are powerful”on-ramps” into the flow state(2).

SUP Racing in Thailand
Allowing my body to maintain a posture of balance by absorbing the wave-form in the water is how I re-discovered flow states, inspiring me to write this blog. photo is from a SUP Race in Thailand, hosted by Amara Watersports Co. Ltd, where I work.

Identifying and removing the blocks to flow

First slavery, then our early technologies such as steam and oil have allowed economic forces to ignore the ecological requirements that sustain biodiversity. What this means is that we no longer needed move in synergy with nature to harvest, food, energy and raw materials.

The investments that followed have locked us into some poor harvesting strategies. Those strategies were supported by our cultures and much of that dogma became entrenched in academia. We find ourselves waking up daily to fixed overheads. They can only be met by participating in systems that keep us desensitised to the relationships present in our own biology.
With the the dawn of agriculture, how we eat and move changed radically over a 10,000 year period. Industrialisation rapidly took us even farther from direct connection with natures cycles. Fortunately the Information Age may be allowing us to re-explore and learn from our roots. To learn again that relation with biology was never a choice, but a necessity.
We can read or listen to ideas about being more in tune with our surroundings, but experience can only arise from action and feedback. When we get direct sensual feedback, then we understand, then we are in connection. Only then does action arise without the need to think, without the need to check in with memory and past perceptions. From here we can allow ‌flow.
meat and movement for flow states
Surprisingly, no plant based foods and a small amount of focused movement turned out to be great preparation for this event.

The move n’ meat Experiment

Amara Watersports hosted an SUP, (stand up paddle) race in early December 2016, I had been playing with the low glycemic diets, (low in sugar and other carbohydrates) for a few years by that time. I was using 45- 50 minute aerobic training in preparation for the 6km SUP event, where I came third. That was almost 4 months ago.
Since then I have been focusing on flexibility and intense body weight training using gymnastics rings and some animal movements (6). Beyond the odd windsurfing session, I have not done any aerobic type training. In the last 4 months, the longest I have paddled is about 1.5km, and only on two or three occasions.
I hardly move, but when I do, I ensure it demands strength and focus into my senses. ‌ High quality attention, but surprisingly little time spent in practice.
To suspended from more points, the foot bar is also free from the ground, . Now all the muscles coordinate, integrating more of the nervous system.

Not only did I stop exercising so much, In the last 4 months I started to reduce the amount of plants I was eating to simply onions, turmeric and pepper. In the last 6 weeks leading to my next race on, I began eating only raw grass fed beef once a day(5). In the week before the race I ate a few extra meals, mostly of sausages, cheese or bacon. (not an ideal Omega 3 to 6 fatty acid ratio, but affordable and accessible fat for fuel).

I joined the March 26th 2017 SUP STATION event(4) where nearly 50 boards crowding the start line. Despite eating, no fruit and no vegetables and doing no aerobic conditioning, I still managed a ‌solid third place in the 6km race.
This result ‌ surprised me. I did not think it possible to be in the lead pack without conditioning my body for long distance. The result obviously does not prove anything, but perhaps it does open the mind to what that our biology thrives on and what it does not ‌required at all. To enter flow state, we release assumptions, most especially ones that affirm self as seperate from the greater biology that envelopes this planet.

notes:

(1) I define “Flow” as direct and effortless bond with environment, though the senses. Opinions or thoughts of self as seperate create conflict and suck me out of flow instantly.

(2) “On-ramp”, a fantastic phrase borrowed from writer, Steven Kotler. Who provides a fantastic resource on the history, impact and biology of flow states in his books and on his website – The Flow Gnome Project

(3) Lowering Carbohydrate intake reduces insulin spikes and when reduced enough, leads to using dietary and or body fats instead of sugars for fuel, termed “nutritional ketosis”. My article – Oxygen and your DNA explores why that may be an interesting option

(4) SUP Station is an awesome business on the Chaophraya river near Bangkok, the owners are wonderfully intelligent and kind people. The event was so much fun and the skill of the racers is growing with each event. The trophies in the photo were made by Cobra international who also supported the event. SUP Brothers Bruno and Daniel hosted the event with the support of Starboard and NSP.

(5) I did break my own rules a few times, but all those exceptions would add up to far less plant based products than what most people eat in a single day.

(6) The Gymnastics rings I use are simple donut shapes hanging on adjustable length straps from a tree, another set up is some rope that washed in from the sea, it is has loops tied in either end and is also hanging over a tree branch. Animal movements emulate the motion of the bear, the monkey and the frog, they demand balance, build muscle and open joints. I only use them for a few minutes. I rarely practice movement for more than 20 minutes a day, though I am starting to do more intuitive stretching.

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Author: Craig

Hey, Craig here, I am not an expert in any of the fields that I discuss, so I will no doubt make lots of mistakes. Even that which I do come to understand through experience, changes. Freemocean is not about making new stories, it is about uncovering the ability to sense and feel alive. Ironically this aliveness grows as we gain the courage to feel the world more directly, with full curiosity and far less assumptions. All of this comes to me as I allow the ocean to sway through my body, while on my SUP. I noticed how my opinions, and other defense mechanisms did not sway, they grated... My mind threw them back at me, saying, "really?" We still believe this crap? - can we let go already?. YES we can...