The Monthly Practice Report – October 2011

nathan with carrot



Welcome to The Monthly Practice Report, where I detail how my practice of healthy living is going: the commitments, goals, and other metrics!



Why I’m doing this:

  • To be completely transparent with what my practice of healthy living and full-time travel looks like
  • To share the actual numbers with you in hopes that it makes this lifestyle (or any part of it) seem a little more attainable
  • To publicly track my progress among several categories
  • To provide cool resources that I find helpful

You’ll see information below on my expenses (food, travel, etc.), how I’m doing with my practices, travel I’ve taken, and anything else (hopefully) relevant!

I’ll also share some lessons learned and plans/goals for the future.


Please let me know what you think!

If anything is unclear, if you’d like more information on a certain topic, if there’s something I’ve left out, or if there’s too much info, I’m open to hearing all feedback and questions. Just leave a comment below.

Thanks – and I hope you enjoy this month’s report! :-)


What happened in October?

  • House-sitting in Cottage Grove, OR: October 1-13
  • Bay Area, CA (Sacramento, Berkeley, and San Francisco): October 14-31


What was new to me…

  • Morning Creativity Practice (see “Productivity”)


Onto the numbers!

FYI: some of the links below are affiliate links that will earn me a commission if you purchase through them. If you do, I absolutely appreciate it; if you’d rather not, that’s cool, too. If you have any questions about any of the products or services, please let me know!



  • Ideal/Goal: to meditate for at least 15 minutes in the morning, before other activities
    • Continued the daily practice for another month, bringing the total to 529 consecutive days!
  • How long did I meditate each day?
    • 15 minutes: 6 days
    • 30 minutes: 25 days
    • Most often amount: 30 minutes!
      • Last month: 30 minutes (21 vs. 9)
  • Continue to use my Blissitations tracks
    • They’re really helpful for concentration, and one of the best parts is that I never have to think about how long it is – I just keep going until the track is over.
  • Walking Meditation
    • Participated in this at Trinity Church in Sacramento
    • It’s a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220
    • Spent about an hour total walking and meditating



  • Ideal/Goal: since December 2010, I have been following the Paleo diet, which is lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. No legumes, grains, starches, processed foods, or sugars. Dairy is OK (raw/unpasteurized is best), though I tend to avoid it.
  • When a guest in someone’s home, I defer to gratitude and do not refuse meals; that does not, however, give me free reign to eat whatever I want – everything in moderation.
  • There are also “non-paleo” foods I still love, most likely pizza, bread, and other baked goods. I occasionally allow myself these items – I’d rather be flexible and have a good time, than rigid and mopey. :-)
  • Animal Products (red meat, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, and dairy)
    • Ideal/Goal: 20% or less of diet
      • For the month: 22%
      • Last month: 14%
  • Not Paleo (the “no” list above)
    • Ideal/Goal: 10% or less of diet
      • For the month: 6%
      • Last month: 11%
  • Alcohol
    • Ideal/Goal: 0-1 drinks per month
      • For the month: 2 drinks
      • Last month: 1
  • I’m beginning to experiment a LOT more with food these days, as I’m getting more and more comfortable in the kitchen – just throwing different ingredients together and seeing what happens.
    • My thinking is: if all these foods are wholesome and taste good individually, what awesome creation might they yield?

**Above percentages calculated for 30 days with an average of 90 meals + 70 snacks



  • Ideal/Goal: some form of movement every day; could my morning options (see below), hiking, biking, or walking – something to keep me fit, to maintain and sustain me! 
  • 20 minutes of activity before meditation
    • Includes one or more of the following: yoga, energization exercises, tai chi warms-ups, balance poses, pull-ups, and stretching
    • Days: 26
      • Last month: 27
    • Took Tai Chi classes in Cottage Grove – I now have more warm-up exercises, and more of the form to practice – really digging this!
  • Walking the Dog
    • During my time in Cottage Grove, I also watched a dog. We’d typically go for two walks each day: one 30-minute, and one 90-minute walk.
    • Not only did she love the exercise, but it was super healthy for me to get outside and take a break from work! I loved being in the fresh air, and often good thoughts (about work/life/creative projects) would come during this time.
  • Mini-CrossFit inspired workout – see the full article here
    • Completed in 5:57 seconds
    • 3 Rounds of 10 Thrusters and 10 Burpees
  • Bike ride in San Francisco
    • 16 miles: from Nob Hill out to the Sutro Baths (via Golden Gate Park) and back
  • Lombard Stairs in San Francisco
    • MASTERED! (3 at a time, the whole way up)
    • Never been?
  • PLENTY of walking around San Francisco
    • Only took the bus twice
    • Routinely walked from Nob or Russian Hill (where I was staying) down to the Civic Center or BART
    • Walks out to the Marina and Fort Mason



  • Ideal/Goal: to express my Highest Goal, my Path, my ideal Partner, my Hell Yes’s, my Strengths, my Zones of Genius, my Gratitudes, and any Big Ideas.
    • Days: 16
      • Last month: 19
    • If I don’t get to journaling in the morning (before email/work, etc.), it usually doesn’t happen.



  • My Stats:
    • 10/5/11: 134 lbs., 9% body fat
    • 10/12/11: 133 lbs., 9% body fat
    • 10/19/11: 133 lbs.
    • 10/30/11: 130 lbs.
    • Average: 132 lbs., 9% body fat, 18.94 BMI
      • Last month: 137 lbs., 10% body fat, 19.66 BMI
      • Difference: -5 lbs, -1% body fat, -.72 BMI
  • Weight/BMI
    • I weigh myself (usually) on the same day of the week, first thing in the morning – before eating or drinking anything.
    • For body fat %, I’ve used scales that send electromagnetic pulses through the feet to determine body fat. With any device, I’m going to assume there’s a ± 2-3%.
    • According to the BMI data, I am within the healthy range (18.5-24.9 for men and women)
      • For my height, underweight would be below 127 lbs, and overweight would be above 174 lbs. (see this article from for how to find the weight range.)
      • Formula to calculate your BMI: ([your weight in pounds] x 703)/ [your height in inches]2
      • Example:  (150 x 703) = 105,450/ (70 x 70) = 21.5 (within the healthy range)
    • It’s tricky because I found many charts online where according to those, I was underweight – it’s tough to know the validity of those sites, so I think BMI is a much more reliable figure.
  • Body Fat



  • Trip costs: $95.90
    • SF BART: $20
    • San Francisco Metro: $28
    • Rideshare, Eugene-Sacramento: $30.10 (gas)
    • Amtrak: $37.80 (San Jose-Santa Barbara, trip in November)
    • Redemptions/Points
      • None this month
  • Hacking Actions
    • Transferred 15,000 OnePass points from Continental to Amtrak
      • As I would still need many more points to redeem on Continental (and that program is ending/merging anyway), I figured it would make more sense to use those points on the train.
      • Plus – check out this article on how much more valuable the points are with Amtrak than Continental
      • DEADLINE: the last day to transfer Continental points to Amtrak is December 31, 2011 – more info here
  • Current Points (selected accounts)
    • American Airlines: 20,893
    • Amtrak: 42,625
    • British Airways: 106,771
    • Continental: 1,131
    • Starwood: 21,487
    • TOTAL: 192,907
      • Used: o
      • Last month: 192,512
      • Difference: +395
  • Open Credit Cards
    • Starwood Preferred Guest AmEx (Personal), $65 annual fee
    • British Airways Visa, $95 annual fee
    • CitiBusiness American Airlines Visa
    • Amtrak Mastercard
    • REI Visa
  • Credit Score
    • These scores are reported by two separate credit agencies. A credit union I use provides the Equifax score as an included service, and I signed up with Credit Karma (free) to obtain the TransUnion score.
    • Equifax: 765
      • Last month: 772
      • Difference: -7 points, .009% change
    • TransUnion: 761
      • Last month: 765
      • Difference: -4 points, .005% change
    • Context: between 700 and 850 – very good or excellent credit score



  • Food: $417.70
    • Groceries: $290.73
    • Dining Out: $126.97
    • Average cost: $13.47/day
    • Last Month: $328.07
    • Difference: +$89.63 
  • Travel: $95.90
    • (see above)
    • Last Month: $79.61
    • Difference: +$16.29
  • Lodging: $0
    • Last Month: $0
    • Difference: $0 
  • Nomad Life: $0
    • Last Month: $183.10
    • Difference: -$183.10
  • Cell Phone: $181.88
    • Advance billing for my wi-fi USB device
    • Last Month: $77.77
    • Difference: +$104.11
  • Entertainment: $20.00
    • SF Symphony: $20
    • Last Month: $3
    • Difference: +$17
  • Health: $162.78
    • Includes full premium for health insurance
    • Last Month: $175.00
    • Difference: -$12.22
  • Technology: $65.89
    • MOZY Back-up (13 months): $65.89
    • Last month: $0
    • Difference: +$65.89

  •  Total Expenses: $944.15
    • Last Month: $846.55
    • Difference: +$97.60
    • Financial Freedom (Ideal/Goal: income > expenses): YES.



  • Working Hours
    • Ideal/Goal: 6-7 hours per day, with each chunk being only 90-120 mins.
      • Days worked: 31 (out of 31)
      • Average hours: 5.36
        • Last month: 6.43
      • Most hours in one day: 11.75 (editing my )
      • Least hours in one day: 0.75 (1st day in Sacramento + going to San Francisco for Finding Joe premiere!)
  • NEW: Morning Creativity Practice
    • Ideal/Goal: waking up an hour earlier to focus on creative work!
    • Days with Morning Creativity Practice: 22 (out of a possible 25)
      • I started doing this on 10/7
    • Also known as a Morning Meaning Practice, I picked up this idea from the Academy class Your Best Life in the Arts (see below)
      • It’s about getting up an hour earlier than you normally do to work on a creative project (and to do actual creating – not, for example, the marketing).
      • For me, this means getting up around in the 6:00 AM hour.
      • This is one way we can create meaning in our days – regardless of what else happens or what we get done, we will have done something (during that first hour of the day) that has meaning for us!


  • Ideal/Goal: to sleep for at least 8-9 hours each night and to wake up around 7 am
  • Sleep Hours
    • Average
      • Cottage Grove: 7.35
      • Bay Area: 6.91
      • For the month: 7.09
        • Last month: 7.71
    • Most often amount of sleep: 7-7.5 hours
    • Longest sleep: 8.75 hours
    • Shortest sleep: 5.42 hours
  • Awake Hours
    • Average
      • Cottage Grove: 16.67
      • Bay Area: 17.05
      • For the month: 16.81
        • Last month: 16.22
    • Most often wake hours: 17-17.5 hours
    • Longest day: 18.17 hours (3 times)
    • Shortest day: 13.75 hours
  • Going to Sleep
    • Average
      • Cottage Grove: 11:25 pm
      • Bay Area: 12:05 am
      • For the month: 12:00 am
        • Last month: 12:00 am
    • Most often sleep time: 11:00-11:30 pm
    • Earliest sleep time: 10:45 pm
    • Latest sleep time: 1:20 am
  • Waking Up
    • Average
      • Cottage Grove: 6:55 am
      • Bay Area: 7:00 am
      • For the month: 7:00 am
        • Last month: 7:40 am
    • Most often wake time: 7:00-7:30 am
    • Earliest wake time: 6:00 am
    • Latest wake time: 8:40 am

**There were a couple nights I woke up around 3 or 4 AM and was awake for about an hour – could have been nervous energy – not sure – keeping an eye on that.



  • Ideal/Goal: to use few-to-no artificial or chemical products in my life: no deodorants, sunscreen, etc. I do use toothpaste.
  • Showering: Have been experimenting with no products in the shower (no shampoo, conditioner, or soap) since January 2011
    • I have a small bottle of olive oil and Lavender essential oil that I mixed together and will start using again on my hair, after showering.
      • My scalp has been dry throughout the year, which I’m not sure if it has something to do with the climate, my skin, the water temperature, or the lack of any products (even natural ones) – lots to experiment with here!
      • For more on the “No Poo” movement, check out this article.
  • Shaving: with the olive/lavender oil combo – seems to work well; the blade needs a little extra cleaning, and only seems to last through two uses.



  • Sprained Ankle
    • This was a doozy and also hilarious! My foot was asleep, I didn’t know that… (I think you can see where this is going… it got mighty black and blue!)
    • The first night I took 2 aspirin, and that was the only medication I used (I couldn’t sleep) – the rest of the time I used RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) pretty religiously.
    • It took almost a few weeks for all the pain to subside, as I think different the sprain was traveling around different parts of my foot
  • Massage
    • National Holistic Institute in San Francisco: $30 for 50 minutes, Swedish or Shiatsu
    • They have campuses in other cities in California (I used to frequent the one in LA)
    • It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a massage and this reminded me how valuable they can be!
  • Sunwarrior Protein Powder
    • Started using this daily mid-month when I landed in Sacramento (my friend had it)
    • It’s touted to be “the ultimate raw superfood protein
    • I’m not sure if this is Paleo, as it’s made with Bio-Fermented Raw Sprouted Whole Grain Brown Rice Protein (say that 5 times fast!) – if anyone knows, could you let me know? :-)
    • John sent me packing with enough to keep me going into November!
  • Vitamins: was taking a male multi-vitamin that I picked up in the co-op in Ashland, OR – that ran out mid-month



  • Contacts
    • Ideal/Goal: to wear 8 hours or less per day
    • Days worn: 28 (out of 31)
      • Average hours per day: 7.89
        • Last month: 8.84
      • Most hours in one day: 12.50 (that Sacramento/San Francisco day – see “Working Hours” above)
      • Least hours in one day: 6.00



  • Blood Test (Lipid Profile) in Eugene, OR
    • I fasted for 12+ hours and went into town to get blood drawn to find out my Cholesterol Levels
    • It was super fast and convenient – I even used a third-party to order the tests (no doctor needed!) and the results were emailed to me the next day!
    • I’ll be writing more about this in another post



  • Cafe Gratitude: a collection of 100% organic vegan restaurants specializing in gourmet raw and cooked cuisines.
    • Their Food = AMAZING! The cream of cauliflower soup (a special!) and the mint smoothie were particularly excellent!
  • Gracias Madre: owned by the Cafe Gratitude peeps, this organic mexican restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco is muy delicioso! And while there may be a deeper meaning behind the name, I like to think of it as “thanks mom!” :-)
  • A16: in my developing quest to eat authentic Neapolitan pizza while on the Paleo lifestyle, I found another spot certified by the Verace Pizza people!
  • Recipes – from  and The Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook
    • Crispy Nut and Herb Fried Chicken – recipe
      • Fried = crushed nuts! So amazing!
    • Paleo Chili (tomato-based, no beans) – recipe
      • First time: made it with grass-fed beef, portabello mushrooms, and cauliflower “rice”
      • Have also made this as a completely vegetarian dish
    • Gluten-Free Enchiladas – recipe
      • Instead of tortillas, use egg whites – you’ll never want to go back! :-)



    • From the blog of the same name, this is an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand book about personal finances.
    • Whether you’re in debt or have tracked every penny (like me!), there’s still much to take away from this book if you’re looking to get clearer on your financial goals.
    • This international bestseller gives an entire history of philosophy set against the narrative of a young girl coming to terms with some heavy-duty and thought-provoking questions (like “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?“)
    • Still reading this one – it’s my first 500+ page book in… well, a long time…





  • How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Berkeley Rep
    • On my way into SF, I ran into Leo, a friend from LA, on the BART train – he literally walked on right next to me! It was such a strange coincidence and we loved catching up!
    • I even went to check out Leo’s show – it has one more week in Berkeley and then picks up at the Seattle Rep in January!
  • The Phantom of the Opera at the San Francisco Symphony with Cameron Carpenter
    • During intermission for Leo’s show, I noticed an add for this concert – I’m not big into costumes, so I thought this sounded like a perfect way to ring in Halloween!
    • I went down to the box office, bought a cheap ticket ($20) and headed inside
    • While walking through the lobby, I ran into Grant, another friend from LA, who had been in Portland that morning and came into SF just for this concert!
    • He offered me another seat with him (in the orchestra!) and as he knew Cameron (the organ virtuoso), we both went backstage to “hang out” during intermission1 :-)
  • My two mastermind groups:
    • Optimal Living Mastermind (formed shortly after Optimal Living 101) – our focus is moving forward into growth in all areas of our lives (in place for more than one year!)
    • BizSoul (formed shortly after the World Domination Summit) – our focus is creating businesses that are true and authentic expressions of ourselves


Or, “what worked and what didn’t?”


I LOVE the Morning Creative Practice. 

I’ve been enormously productive during this time: it’s become almost a game to see HOW MUCH I can get done in this hour. Asking myself, “Is it possible to take this project to completion and get it out there by the end of the hour?” I also enjoy seeing this energy carry over to the rest of my work time, in that I’m much more focused and pretty fast. :-)


I really dig Tai Chi.

I’ve never done any formal training with martial arts, and so it’s very cool to learn about our energy and how to focus it and redirect it. Plus, this is a very meditative practice, and it takes work to get it right!

I’m excited to continue working on this one!


Even with all the animal products, I’m still losing weight.

I definitely sensed that I was eating more meat than I had been – and it’s surprising to know that it was only 22%, but you compare that to last month (14%), and that is a big jump.

I’ve never been concerned about my weight or tried to do anything, but if weight continues to disappear (that is, if I drop below 125 lbs), I’m going to look at what I’m eating (and how much).

The good news is that I don’t feel hungry, and I do know that I’m eating nutritious food!

My uneducated guess is that because I’m more mindful of what I’m eating, it’s all (pretty much) wholesome, and I’m pretty relaxed when I eat, that my body isn’t storing any excess fat. Just say hello to caveman Nathan! :-)


I need a Kindle. (or, I need to at least stop carrying actual books.)

Books add weight, and when I go to re-sell them, it’s a mere pittance. I’m excited to continue reading – just in a different format!


OK – that’s the monthly report for October!

If you have any feedback or questions about something you’re tackling, please leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can!


Thanks for reading, and for continuing to be awesome!

Until next time,



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Former life: actor/office worker/virtual assistant; lived in Los Angeles for 11 years. Since then: sold nearly everything, took a $5 flight to Hawaii, lived there for 3 months, wrote an eGuide about all of it, and still traveling. Currently: digital nomad - looking to improve myself, have fun and serve others.