Raw Food Primer

It seems that I’m not the only one interested in keeping a raw food habit around here. Not only the twitter reactions I got after publishing my last article on raw food, but even a comment on my blog seem to show quite an interest on this topic. So, I decided to write a post in which I’ll describe the basic requirements for starting a 30 days raw food challenge.

Please keep in mind that I’m not a nutritionist, I’m only sharing my personal experience here, which may or may not apply to your situation. If you are going to start a raw food diet in order to overcome a medical condition I highly recommend you to consult a doctor first. In this post I’m assuming that you are already a moderately healthy person, with a normal emotional balance who’s trying to improve something in his eating habits. This disclaimer in place, let’s get started.

Raw Food Goal

If you’re starting a raw food challenge please make your goal really clear. Not only in terms of duration, but also in terms of raw food / cooked food balance. I am on a 100% raw food diet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have it the same way. Maybe you’ll want a 75% raw – 25% cooked diet, which may be a little easier in the beginning.

The milestones described in this post are for a 30 days challenge on a 100% raw food diet, so feel free to adjust them downward if you’re going to have only 20 days 100% raw, or 30 days on a 75/25 diet.

Having a clear raw food challenge goal is very important. You’ll know every moment how far or close you are from the finish. You will also know how to evaluate the changes.

This goal will include the initial assessment of your situation. This assessment contains a realistic image of your current eating habits (all meat, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, etc) and your current health condition, including your current weight. It will be important to re-evaluate your assessment after the challenge. Take the time to write this in a secure place, even if it will take you an hour or two, it will pay off well in the end.

Raw Food Gear

Eating raw doesn’t mean you don’t process your food. You just don’t cook your food by exposing it to high temperature. But you will cut it, blend it, mix it, whatever. And for that you will need some gear. It’s possible to make it without those modern appliances but it would be quite difficult.

You will need at least one big blender for making smoothies, and a mixer for chopping roots or sauces. I call blender the one with the knife inside the recipient, and mixer the one with the detachable knife and handle. Maybe they have different names in your culture, but I guess you got the idea. You can also use an all-in-one tool, as long as you can chop, blend and mix together fruits, water and vegetables. You will also need a juice maker, but that’s pretty straightforward.

You don’t need to have super professional tools, but keep in mind they will be used a lot so if you don’t have them yet, please buy on the higher price scale. It’s easy to get caught in a “this juicer is broken again, I won’t continue this silly raw food diet, coz I don’t have the tools” pattern, so make yourself a service and buy good stuff.

You will also need a lot of storage space. Eating raw means eating fresh and eating more. I had to bring in another refrigerator after I realized I won’t go back to cooked food, only to accommodate the produce for my own meals. I also conquered around 1 square meter from our kitchen space for storing fruits and gear.

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The Gratitude Experiment – Follow Up

A few weeks ago I started a gratitude experiment. I wanted to understand more about how gratitude really works for me. I read a lot about the force of this attitude of gratitude, and also noticed how it was praised in “The Secret” and other motivational works. So, I wanted to put it to test for myself. If you came here directly I suggest to read first the original post about gratitude, in order to grasp more details. If you don’t want to go there, feel free to read on.

The experiment has 2 areas: one personal and one public. The public area involved a Twitter hashtag, “”#gratitude” and a daily tweet about things I am grateful for, including that hashtag, of course. Also, there were some invitations to my twitter followers to join this experiment. A few days after starting the experiment I put together a page on my blog listing the last 20 tweets with the hashtag gratitude.

I plan to write more about the public area after the end of the experiment, which will come somewhere around February 10th, because I really want to involve more people and learn from their experience. So, if you want to join this and then share your experience with it, feel free to tweet once a day (or even more if you feel the need) and include a hashtag #gratitude in your tweet.

For now, I want to share something about the personal area. The personal part of this experiment is in fact just a little exercise of noting down each day at least 5 things for which I am grateful, in an open and honest way. And see what happens to me during this interval.

Initial Excitement

In the first 5-6 days, everything was smooth. I noted each evening the things I was grateful for and gave each day a rating from one to five stars. Sort of an “excellence” mark. I sometimes noted those things even before the clock alarm I set on my iPhone for this experiment. It felt nice.

But after the 6th or 7th days, it become a little difficult. I got caught in the daily routine and if I didn’t have that clock alarm I would surely miss some of my gratitude sessions. For the next 5-6 days I did the exercise really quick and only when the clock alarm reminded me.

And after this period, meaning in the last 3-4 days, it become even harder. I had to postpone noting those gratitude things several dozen minutes after the alarm clock, sometimes close to midnight. Right now, after I decided to write this blog post, the gratitude attitude finally resurfaced and I feel really good.

But what happened? Why it was so difficult? My guess is that is something to deal with the punishment / reward mechanism. We humans, have a strong tendency to follow this mechanism. In the beginning there was a good deal of direct reward from this activity. Knowing that I’m doing something interesting and new made me happy about. That was my little reward. Each evening when I noted the results I felt good. For 4-5 evenings in a row. But then the reward circuit was closed.

You know, the reward mechanism is an incremental one. It needs more and more. If you set up a reward for something you want to do, you’d better be prepared to raise the bet every now and then, otherwise your actions will stop sooner or later. This is how punishment and rewards works, they need more and more of each other in order to sustain the activity. So, after the initial excitement, and in absence of a direct reward, I had to rely on self-discipline in order to express my daily gratitude.

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Raw Food Update – Almost 6 Months Later

After a series of 6 articles about The Making Of An Online Business, I thought it would be wise to write about stuff that has been ignored for long time here on my blog, and also about something a little more personal than business advices. Although they seem to have quite an audience, these advices are not my primary goal for this blog. As I always said, this blog is a continuous search for a personal path.

And that personal path lead me almost 6 months ago on the raw food track. My loyal readers know already what does that mean, but for the new ones I will outline some of the raw food specifics. I don’t eat meat, not any animal food like milk, eggs or cheese. I don’t eat processed food, anything cooked is outside my view. I only eat fruits, vegetables and seeds. The only exception is honey, which is the product of… I don’t know if I can associate it with milk, but whatever, I eat honey.

Although this seems like a very limiting choice of foods, it is in fact a very pleasant one. I eat apples, pears, bananas, avocados and all kind of fruits I can find. I eat a lot of roots like celery, carrots and parsley. I incorporate garlic and onions any time I can and of course I eat a lot of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicum. I discovered several months ago that pine buds are a fantastic food, along with almonds, nuts or pumpkin seeds. During winter I eat a lot of dried fruits like dates, prunes or raisins and of course oranges and mandarines. In fact, I do have a greater variety than before.

Raw Food And Health

I plan to have a complete medical test later this month and I will write in detail the differences from my last medical test. Please note that before going raw vegan I was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian for more than 3 years. I did have some cholesterol anomalies and I did had a colon sensitivity which was in fact pretty disturbing in the last 4-5 years. Before being a vegetarian I was a complete mess in terms of eating, I was also a regular drinker in my early twenties and I guess this can leave pretty powerful marks.

There are visible effects of my health even without the medical tests, which I guess they come clean this time. First of all, the weight loss is constantly at same level. I am 1,82 tall and my weight is between 79-81 kilos regardless of what, when and how I eat. During the first three months of being raw vegan I lost 14 kilos. This is a fantastic benefit and it will well worth a raw food diet even if it would be the only one.

My sleeping patterns are completely upgraded. I can go to sleep anytime now, have around 7 hours a sleep and then wake up relaxed and ready to go. Doesn’t matter if I go to bed at 23:45 or at 21:00, I do sleep 7 hours and feel ok. I had a lot of issues with my sleep before, I either overslept constantly, either made white nights every other week, in order to “win” some time. Not anymore. I literally sleep like a baby.

Oh, and one other thing to mention about my health, which I think it’s pretty important. During last month we were traveling for the holidays. While in Switzerland, Bianca caught a serious cold. She was feverish (around 39-40 degrees Celsius) for 2 nights in a row and had to have antibiotics. Usually, when somebody in the family has a bacterial infection like that one, all the family is picking it up. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t pick it up this time.

The other day, after 2 weeks of kindergarten, Bianca caught another infection (we were warned about that, every time a kid starts socializing like this, there will be an adaptation and immunization period). Didn’t caught this either. While Bianca’s immune system is starting to build up seems like my immune system is already better than before. It’s important to know that last year during May – just two months before starting to eat raw – I had a horrible illness in which I had almost a week of high fever, and it was a bacterial infection. So, it’s definitely a big improvement here.

I’m sure that my body is now in better shape and all its functions are better than 6 months ago thanks to this raw food habit. I also think that there are some better protection processes taking places in my body, but it’s too early now to write about this. I will monitor these patterns closer and see how it’s going. It’s basically about how my body reacts to a serious increase on stress (being it a fitness session, or a bacterial infection). I’m sure there is something much better going on, but without more details I can’t be sure and I really don’t want to go delusional here, keeping it only to the facts for now.

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The Making Of An Online Business – Promotion

This is the last article from the series The Making Of An Online Business. So far, we talked about starting your own business, your projects, your teams, money management and partnerships. Today, we’ll focus on the last crucial topic in making an online business, and that is about promotion.

If you came here directly I strongly encourage you to read the rest of the articles, and the summary by following the links below:

What Is Promotion?

Promotion is basically spreading the word about what you do. It’s not advertising. It’s not lobbying. It’s not SEO, or direct email. Promotion is the simple fact of letting the world knowing that you started to operate your own online business. It’s so simple that in 99% of situation gets overlooked. Just tell people that you started it.

Why it’s so important about that? The real stake here is not to grow your client base, although you will have to do that sooner or later, but the shift towards your new identity. You will be a different person that the person that didn’t had that business. You need to be in that persons shoes and you need to do that faster.

It’s also important to tell that to as many people as you can in order to reinforce your choice. In other words, to use the outside world as a reflection of your choice. There will be times of trouble and you will tend to go back. It’s human and it’s a sort of a necessary strength test at some point. But if you’ve already told the Universe that you are a new person, going back to the old one will be harder. Might sounds funny now, but it works, believe me.

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The Making Of An Online Business – Partnerships

This is the 5th article of the Making Of An Online Business series and it will deal with your partnerships. After talking about your projects, teams and money, it’s time do dig a little on your alliances, associations, or, in other words, partnerships.

If you came here directly I encourage you to read the rest of the articles in this series by clicking on the links below:

What’s A Partnership?

A partnership is at the organizational level what your team is at your human resources level. As the words imply, it is a resource, a complementary resource that will provide more value to your business.

Generally speaking, a partnership is an alliance in which each part is providing specific values to the other parts. It is based on trust, acceptance and common goals or resources. A partnership is a temporary association of two or more organizations in order to attain a specific goal faster or with fewer resources consumption.

Why Partnerships?

I will say this again, until it will be really clear: online is the most dynamic business context ever. Things are happening lightening fast. Like really lightening fast. Keeping the old individualistic approach of “I’m the best in my field” won’t work anymore. Because you can’t be the best in your field anymore. You can only offer a slightly more interesting perspective than your competition, and even that only for a limited time.

If you want to increase your market penetration, you have to let go a little on your ego and trust on partnerships. I’m not saying to rely exclusively on partnerships, but treat them at least as necessary tools for expansion.

The real trick here is to chose your partners extremely carefully. They must operate in the same business context as you, but they don’t have to make the same things as you. They will be, of course, your competition, in this case. I can’t believe how many people ignore this simple and apparently dumb rule when they are going out for partners. And they do that by either trying to partner with the competition (not a bad thing for a desperate business, by the way) either by going for partnerships way too far from their audience.

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The Making Of An Online Business – The Money

This is the 3rd article from The Making Of An Online Business series, and it will focus on the money part. If you’re looking for a way to monetize your project, I covered this topic in the second article of the series, about creating and maintaining online projects, which you can find on the link list below.

This post will deal with my way of interacting with money as an online entrepreneur. There are tons of other blogs or courses from where you can learn the basics of money management, so don’t expect to find that kind of information in this article. Instead, expect to find some fresh approach to money interaction as a whole, applied to an online business.

If you came here directly I encourage you to read the rest of the articles and the summary by following the links below:

Start Your Own Business
The Making Of An Online Business – The Series
The Making Of An Online Business – The Projects
The Making Of An Online Business – The Team

Money Is Hot

From the early beginning I will tell you that I always felt money is hot. Meaning I can’t really keep it in my hand. In fact, money was so hot for me than I rarely saw it in big piles. Every time I had a serious amount of money available I was reinvesting it like the next second. Please note the difference: spending versus reinvesting.

And it was a good decision. By reinvesting the money in my own business I accomplished at least 3 good things:

1.  I always had new projects coming

This is crucial in the online. As I wrote before, online has the highest availability degree you can imagine, higher than any other business field, but it has also the tiniest loyalty mark, so your audience can be stolen away almost instantly. You have to be able to offer new things, you have to innovate, to re-create stuff. And fueling your R & D department with generosity is the easiest way to keep you on top.

Don’t expect that any projects you launch to be a success. But do expect to learn from any of your projects, both successful or unsuccessful. Spending money on new projects is like paying for your own education.

2. I soon learned that money is a resource not a goal

Too often money is seen as a goal. Blame the modern society, consumerism, your mom and dad. You can’t deny that, everybody judge success by the amount of money you have in the bank. But if you have the courage to not pile money out of your business and reinvesting it back, treating it like a resource, you will grow your business. And in the end that’s the only thing that matters.

You can win a lot of money out of one project and then get scared not to loose it and stop reinvesting it in new projects. Big and dumb mistake. Money is not the stake, growth is the stake.

3. I always had to closely watch the money flow

Starting new projects constantly makes for a great financial discipline, because you really have to know all the time if you do have enough resources to keep you going. I learned to maintain a constant money discipline, and that thing is benefiting me now tremendously. I always know how much money I have, even if you wake me in the middle of the night.

Knowing how much money you have, how much money you can spend and how much money you will make out of something has nothing to do with scarcity. It’s a transparent mindset that keeps you connected. It’s like always knowing your resources and potential and avoid walking on thin ice.

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The Making Of An Online Business – The Team

That’s the third article for “The Making Of An Online Business” series, and it will deal with a sensitive topic: human resources. For those of you who came directly here, the posts in this series outlines my 10 years experience in running my own online business. The first two articles can be found here

Start Your Own Business
The Making Of An Online Business – The Projects

and the summary for the whole series can be found here.

It’s About Relationships

The first and most important thing I learned during this fantastic experience was the fact that teams are not at all about results, but about relationships. Too often people are judged for their contribution to the assets of the company, but their real value lies in what they can provide at the relationship level. Maybe they can have skills, but if they are not able to relate in way that would make those skills openly and honestly available, their contribution is lost.

A good relationship means that communication goes well even if the skills are not. You have to be able to communicate your ideas and goals to all members of your team. Even if they don’t have the skills at the moment, they must understand what they have to do. The resources to do what has to be done will come, one way or another.

My team was around 25 people at its peak, with an average of 10-15 people most of the time. Maybe this approach is biased by the fact that my teams were pretty small, but if the relationship factor was so important in such a small universe, imagine how important it will be for a business with 100 or 500 employees.

There are just two main types of relationships you can have in business: the relationships between you, the manager / owner / entrepreneur with your employees, and the relationships they can have with one each other. The first model is radiant, you will be the epicenter and you will basically control what goes out, but the second is more like a graph, a web. Trying to control this web of relationships between your employees is impossible. You can’t really control that.

What you can do, however, is to be sure they all have the same set of attitudes that will make their relationships sustainable over time. All those people must share some core values about the way they relate. And when they face problems, if they have the same attitude toward problems they will eventually overcome the obstacle. But if they have only skills and no common attitude, their skills will be just useless.

The truth is that you cannot really create something on a damaged foundation. No matter how much money you put in, how much technical skills are you pouring in, no matter how much luck you may have at some point. A business is a web of relationships and if this web is broken, you won’t be able to catch your prey. If there are significant holes in this web, you will lose opportunities and spend your time repairing those holes.

That is against the normal, established human resources techniques and I’m quite aware about that. Every human resources approach focus on skills, and every CV you read emphasize that. I gave up reading CV’s long ago. A CV can only tell you about skills, but not about attitude. And attitude was the main factor for my human resources policy.

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The Making Of An Online Business – The Projects

This is the second article in the series about managing an online business. It will focus on what you actually do in an online business, how can you measure it, the various stages of each project and how you can monetize your work. If you came here directly you can go back to the summary of the whole series or you can start with the first article which deals with starting your own business.

Please keep in mind that this post is rather long, more than 3000 words, so  make sure you are away from interruptions when start reading it. If you can’t read it now, you can bookmark it and come back later.

Online Processes

More than in any other business, in the online universe, a product (i.e. a website) is more like a process and not like an object.

If you are in the furniture business, you’re selling objects. A chair, a table, a couch. Every once in a while you change a little the design, but you are largely selling objects.

In the online field, you sell things which are continuously shaping. An online service is by definition dynamic. Your websites need continuous upgrade, otherwise they will fade as importance and eventually lose their audience.

The online has a high availability, which means your potential audience is huge. But the online has also a high volatility degree, which means that the potential huge audience is very easy to be moved toward your competitors.

Online Projects Metrics

You need a way to quantify the behavior of your websites in order to measure their success. Otherwise you’ll be lost in the jungle of millions of other websites, portals, forums, blogs or online shops. I worked with only three main online project metrics:

– traffic, the total number of users that accessed that website in a given time interval
– money, the total amount of money that website produced in a given time interval
– resource consumption, how many resources (people, money, assets) that website consumed in a given interval.

Although it seems pretty straightforward, the way in which those three metrics can combine is infinite. You can have projects with minimal traffic but with good money flow in. You can have websites with little or no money in, but with huge traffic (I guess the most famous example is YouTube in this area). Or you can have websites with zero resource consumption (auto-pilot websites) with no money in and just a decent traffic. but still consider them as successes. Each combination of those factors can play a role in the bigger picture and you must not overlook any possible outcome.

Now, let’s take each metric and see how you can interpret it.

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