120 Day Fat Loss / Muscle Gain Competition

Burn fat and build muscle

Burn fat and build muscle

Welcome

Thank you all for joining the 120 Day Fat Loss or 120 Day Muscle Gain Competitions. That’s right there are two categories… I started with the idea of doing a 120 Day Fat Loss Competition following the festive period but the first person to respond to my Facebook invite was Tsvetan who was more interested in gaining muscle rather than burning fat. So if you haven’t already joined but are interested in burning fat or are more focused on gaining muscle, join us and compete with us to see who can make the most gains over a 120 day period.

Towards the end of January 2011 more than 40 people are participating! What a great response! Welcome and thank you for taking part!

Getting started

Some of you may have agreed to take part or were thinking of taking part but haven’t yet committed. In that case, if you needed a little encouragement, then here it is! Join us! It will be lots of fun. You can benefit from the competitive spirit or from the sense of community to help propel you towards your goals for your physique.

Body weight is not enough

Usually people track their overall weight when trying to lose fat. The problem with this approach is that body weight is composed of many things e.g. fat, organs, muscle, water, bones etc. When people say they want to lose weight, in most cases what they mean is that they want to burn the excess fat. Body muscle is good, while excess fat is bad. There are many ways of losing weight. We want to avoid ways that will eat away at our body’s muscle. Instead we want to focus on losing excess fat whilst keeping or gaining on our muscle.

What to measure for the competition?

For this competition I’d like you to track 3 things which will give us an overall picture of how your body is changing over the 120 day period:

  1. Your weight in kilograms (kg)
  2. The diameter of your waist in centimetres (cm)
  3. An estimate of your body fat in percentage (%)
My scales always seem to be telling me to Go Run

My scales always seem to be telling me to Go Run

Using bathroom scales to measure your weight

This measurement has been a standard that we have all measured all our lives. As you’re probably weighing yourself anyway we may as well track this as usual in the spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is only visible to participants who have received an invite via email. If you’re participating but don’t yet have access send your email address to either myFacebook inbox or mail me ali.m.zaidi [at] gmail [dot] com.

To get consistent reliable results I recommend weighing yourself with no clothes on, at the same time of day in similar conditions. I for example weigh myself in the morning 30 minutes after drinking a litre of water and relieving myself. If on one day you were to weigh yourself on an empty stomach with no clothes on and then the next time you weighed yourself with winter clothes and boots on after just having consumed a 2kg steak – you would obviously weigh more on the second day…

How to measure your waist size?

How to measure your waist size

How to measure your waist size

Why am I asking participants of the fat loss competition to track their waste size as well as body fat percentage? Like me a lot of you will be using Bioelectric Impedance Scales to estimate your body fat. These are great for convenience, but unless you have a high end one it most likely will not be taking your visceral fat into account as much as one would like it to. Visceral fat is in the abdominal region. Over the last few weeks I have been tracking both my waist and body fat percentage via a BIA (Bioelectric Impedance Analysis) Body Fat scale. Sometimes I’ve noticed that I feel thinner, though when I measure myself on the scale it hasn’t shown a drop in bodyfat percentage. But then I measure my waist size I notice a drop in centimetres. This shows to me the possibility that I may have lost belly fat but the BIA scale hasn’t picked up on it yet. By including waist size in your tracking you will get a broader picture of how your body is responding to your change in lifestyle.

Use an Accu-Measure MyoTape to accurately and easily measure your waist, bicep or any other part of your body

Use an Accu-Measure MyoTape to accurately and easily measure your waist, bicep or any other part of your body

Use a Sequoia OrbiTape to measure your waist reliably by yourself

Use a Sequoia OrbiTape to measure your waist reliably by yourself

To measure your waste size you can either use an ordinary tape measure or you can use an OrbiTape from Amazon.co.uk(Amazon.com) or an MyoTape from Amazon.co.uk(Amazon.com). I’ve just ordered both from Amazon to see which is better – a more detailed blog post on this topic coming later! These products allow for an accurate measure of different parts of the body without the need for someone else to help you measure yourself. They’re great for single people! They also cause a standard tension in the tape, so there is no more cheating involved by subconsciously holding the tape measure too tightly in order to improve your results!

I’ve tried to find the best place to measure the waist. Some people say about a centimetre above the belly button, others say one centimetre below the navel, while others still, recommend around the belly button itself. I personally measure about a centimetre below the belly button. It’s up to you to choose how you want to do it. Just make sure each time you do it you do it at the same place in order to be consistent and get a better idea of your progress.

How to measure your body fat percentage?

I leave this decision totally up to you. Choose whatever works best for you. In this section I will explore some of the methods available.

So what’s the best way to measure body fat? Well there are many ways. The problem with all methods is that they are only estimates. I personally think the only reliable way to really know how much fat there is in your body is to have yourself dissected; have all the fat removed; placed on a super accurate scale in a vacuum and then weighed. As none of us want to be dissected any time soon, all we can do is go by estimates. Some methods of estimation are more accurate than others. But the more accurate methods also cost a lot more.

The more expensive, less convenient ways to get a body fat percentage estimate

The more expensive methods (but probably more reliable) are:

  1. Ultrasound / BodyMetrix (over £2000 for the kit)
  2. BodPod – Middlesbrough Football Club has one. Sessions can be arranged from £30 per session.
  3. Underwater Weighing – used to be the “Gold Standard” for estimating body fat percentage
  4. DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) – is increasingly being considered the “Gold Standard” and can cost from £137 per session with a Doctor’s referral
  5. X-ray CT
  6. MRI
BodPod from £30 a session in the UK

BodPod from £30 a session in the UK

The cheaper, more convenient methods of bodyfat percentage measurements

The cheaper methods include:

BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) Scales

I find this the most convenient way of getting a body fat percentage estimate. If you get the right model it can act like a bathroom scale (therefore also give you your weight) whilst giving you estimates for body composition (body fat, body muscle and body water). I use a body fat scale I bought from Wilkinson on a whim. I walked past it, thought wow and just bought one. I didn’t do any research into it before buying it. If I had, I would have probably gone for a Tanita model. Tanita were the first company in the world to invent a weight scale plus body fat measurement in 1992. Tanita also supply hospitals with similar technology. It seems to me that their products may well be better than the rest. I haven’t tried one myself though so I can’t vouch for them on the basis of personal experience. They have some advanced models which can go so far as to tell you the body fat composition in different parts of your body as well as a visceral fat reading (abdominal reading). The Tanita BC545 Glass Electronic Bathroom Scale with Body Fat Analyser from Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com model is currently on offer at Amazon and is down from the original price of £199.00 to £154.62. It doesn’t just put an electric current through your feet, but also your hands so that it can also give you a visceral fat reading! Awesome!

The Tanita BC-545 Advanced BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) Scales sends electricity through your hands as well as your feet to give you a segmented body fat reading including visceral fat

The Tanita BC545 Advanced BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) Scales sends electricity through your hands as well as your feet to give you a segmented body fat reading including visceral fat

Other cheaper options include Wilkinson (where I got mine from) or as suggested by Zar Yusaf, Argos. I personally wouldn’t recommend Argos as I have boycotted them for appalling customer service and inaccurate website. But as Zar has taken the time to share the link with participants of this competition on my Facebook Wall I’ve shared the link onto you!

The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

Timothy Ferris 4-Hour Body BEI (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) recommendation to drink 1.5 litres of water 30 minutes before using scale

Timothy Ferris 4-Hour Body BEI (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) recommendation to drink 1.5 litres of water 30 minutes before using scale

Again with this method of body fat measurement estimation I recommend keeping things consistent. Measure at the same time of day, and make sure your hydration is similar each time you measure too. In order to keep consistent hydration Timothy Ferris in his book The 4-Hour Body: An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman: The Secrets and Science of Rapid Body Transformation on Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com (currently on sale for half price via the links I just provided) recommends drinking 1.5 litres of water first thing in the morning, waiting 30 minutes, taking a pee and then getting on the BIA scales. I was a bit concerned about drinking so much in one sitting – I didn’t want to drown my body with too much water (as tragically happens with some ecstasy pill consumers). After speaking to my doctor and double checking with Timothy Ferris via his blog – I’ve been drinking 1 litre of water rather than the 1.5 litre and the technique still seems to work well for me.

Callipers / Calipers
Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Callipers Tester

Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Callipers Tester

You may decide that you would prefer the use of callipers to estimate body fat percentage. It’s best to have a professional do this for you, or get callipers that are designed for self assessment like the Accu Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester on Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com. Like cheap BIA scales the drawback to this method is that it won’t take into account your visceral fat – where a lot of us tend to deposit our fat!

Bodyfat percentage calculation

A completely free way to get a body fat estimate is to use the webpage shared by Sohail Anwar on my Facebook Wall. All you need is a bathroom scale to measure your weight and a tape measure to measure your height and waist. You input the data into the web form and hit the “Calculate!” button. And just like magic it gives you a body fat percentage estimate along with other stats. To convert kilograms into lbs for the web page use Google. Likewise, to convert centimetres into inches use Google! Don’t you just LOVE Google!

I personally use a BIA Scale, a tape measure to measure my waist and this calculation on a daily basis. I find doing this gives me far more insight into how my body is behaving. The great thing about this calculation is that it is highly sensitive to the fluctuation in waist size i.e. visceral / abdominal fat. Sometime I find that my scales have not picked up a drop in body fat, yet my waist size has decreased and I feel thinner too – and this calculation picks up on it. You cansee my daily spreadsheet and a graph of all the factors I am tracking below. I highly recommend doing yourself a graph like this as it helps you visualise your progress – (very good for motivation!). Head over to Google Docs and sign up for a FREE account and set yourself a spreadsheet! Also if you haven’t done so already start tracking your weekly progress on the spreadsheet I have designed for the participants of this competition (message me for access!).

My progress so far during the 120 Day Fat Loss Competition

My progress so far during the 120 Day Fat Loss Competition

How often to measure?

Bare minimum to be part of the 120 Day Fat Loss / Muscle Gain Competition

For the purpose of this competition you need to measure yourself at least once at the beginning and once at the end of the 120 days.

For the Google Docs Spreadsheet

However I encourage you to measure and track your progress at least once a week on the spreadsheet designed specifically for this competition. It’s really easy. I’ve already entered your name and designed the rows and columns. All you need to do is start entering your data. You will find that it WILL motivate you immensely to see your progress compared to other participants. At some point I will also allow the spreadsheet to create a chart so that you can see your progress in a graphical format. If you’ve only been measuring your weight, or body fat – it’s not too late to start tracking your waist size too. Start doing it today. You won’t regret the enhanced insights you will gain about your own body! I promise!

The best option is to track your progress every day!

I personally measure myself everyday and you can follow my progress via this spreadsheet. I find that the more often I track my progress the more insight I get into how my body responds to different things (food, exercise etc) and highly recommend you do the same.

If you need help with either the weekly spreadsheet, or creating your own daily tracking spreadsheet – just give me a shout and I’ll be happy to help!

Your chance to be part of an academic study

Eddie Bradley is a researcher at Durham University and is interested in using the data we collect to potentially write an academic paper on the results we achieve. Here’s a message from Eddie describing the kind of information he would like from us:

Hi.

If possible it would be good to get a measure of weight (kg) every week, including initial and final. Also a measure of body fat % once a month.

If this can be recorded in excel or something similar and then collected after 2 months and at the end.

Alongside these measures, can you record a general outline of what you have done each week to lose weight/fat. This does not have to be in great detail, more along the lines of what diet you have been using or type of exercise and overall durations. This can be recorded as a short summary in word and collected as with the above data.

Thanks

Eddie Bradley

If you have any queries in regards to the paper please contact Eddie at: eddiebradley [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you track your progress weekly on the spreadsheet I’ve provided, half of what you need to track for the paper will already be done. All you’ll need to do on top of that is keep a track of what you’re doing in terms of diet and exercise to achieve the results you’re getting.

Tools to help you track your diet and exercise

To help you track what you’re doing you can do the following:

  1. Blog like me and Tvsetan: You can get a free blogging account at WordPressBlogger, or blog.com
  2. Start a fitness, exercise and nutrition journal: Hamzah Malik recommends Body Space. I tried Fitday last year. I found it a little time consuming but worthwhile. It’s also fantastic for tracking the nutrients you take in every day – to see if you’re nourishing your body properly. Others to consider include: MyFitnessPalSpark People,DailyBurn and loads of others (just Google: “free fitness and nutrition journal”)

Connect with each other

You can connect with other participants of the 120 Fat Loss Competition or 120 Day Muscle Gain Competition via:

  1. The 120 Fat Loss Competition / 120 Day Muscle Gain Competition Facebook EVENT Page
  2. I’ve just set up the 120 Fat Loss Competition / 120 Day Muscle Gain competition Facebook FAN Page where there is a discussion forum for participants to share tips, gloat about progress and egg each other on.

Contribute!

Would you like to contribute to the group? I’m looking for guest bloggers (participants or non-participants). Were you once fat or chubby and now have the body of an Olympian god / goddess? If so, share your experience, inspiration and tips with the group. Are you a personal trainer? Are you a fitness freak? Are you a reservoir of knowledge on nutrition and health? Are you a power-lifting or bodybuilding champion? If so, I’d like hear from you! We can do with all the tips, tricks and long term health advice we can get! Leave me a comment below and let’s get the ball rolling…

As participants you can also contribute by sharing information and support on the Facebook Events and Facebook Fan page. Paul Higgs recently offered participants a free e-book on burning fat. Contact Paul on Facebook for the free booklet.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: I’ve started this competition in good faith. I realised the New Year was coming up and Christmas had just passed and I knew people would be making New Year Resolutions to get fit. I thought I and others could increase our motivation and resilience by starting a competition that lasted for a significant period of time. If we keep at it for the 120 days we’ll be in much better shape for May… just as Summer will be starting. Please don’t be stupid like the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” woman and kill yourself trying to win the competition! Also if you see any advice on this site check with your Doctor first if you are in doubt. And please don’t sue me if things go wrong! :-p Other than that best of luck! :-D

 

40 day detox: overview, effects and conclusions (Day 43+)

Overview

40 Day Detox Graph

My weight, body fat, body water and body muscle readings during the 42 days of this detox and 12 days after completing the detox

My weight, body fat, body water and body muscle readings during the 42 days of this detox and 12 days after completing the detox

My Body Fat Percentage increased in week 1

It’s been an interesting journey. As you can see from the above graph and from the spreadsheet here overall, I did eventually see a drop in body fat. However, the first week started with an increase, starting at 18.8% on day 1 and increasing 1.8% to 20.6% on day 7. I put this down to a mixture of:

  1. prolonged exercise on an empty stomach in the morning, which forced my body to go into starvation mode and thus burned muscle rather than fat;
  2. exercising too much too frequently – the body needs days off to rest so that it can build the muscles you’ve torn during exercise (more muscle equals more calories burnt even whilst resting);
  3. finding my feet with the new detox foods e.g. eating too much fat in the form of cheddar cheese and eating too high a quantity of the new vegetarian food.
The Fat Vegetarian (well almost) photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/juliastarkey/3838295291/sizes/z/in/photostream/

The Fat Vegetarian (well almost)

This first week is good evidence showing that a person does not become thin simply by becoming a vegetarian. There are many vegetarian foods that can contribute to an increase in body fat e.g. carbohydrates in starchy foods, fat in dairy products and calories in nuts! A vegetarian still needs to carefully plan what he/she is going to eat, when to eat it and how much to eat. In fact to stay healthy, vegetarians need to put more thought into what they eat than meat eaters as they have to figure out where to get all the nutrients they would normally get from meat. Vegans have to be even more thoughtful with the elimination of all dairy and all animal products. Becoming vegetarian or vegan without properly planning and putting thought into what your body needs is a very bad idea. Start your research into nutrition and what your body needs here.

Factors that contributed to a drop in Body Fat Percentage

As I gradually made the following changes I noticed better results in terms of fat loss:

  1. smaller meals
  2. more frequent meals
  3. eating more slowly
  4. reducing nuts (reducing calories)
  5. doing resistance training less frequently to allow muscles to repair
  6. not exercising on an empty stomach
  7. rest days
  8. socialising to reduce stress (stress releases cortisol which encourages fat to be stored in abdominal region)
  9. drinking more water
  10. not eating carbohydrates after 6pm
Smaller Meals

Smaller Meals

During the 42 day period my highest body fat percentage was 20.6% on day 7 and my lowest body fat percentage was 16.6% on day 39. That’s a range of 4% in 32 days! Two days after my detox (day 44) I reached my lowest body fat percentage of 16.3%.

A slight rise in Body Fat Percentage towards the end

Towards the last few days of the detox (day 40 to day 42) my body fat percentage started to rise again. I put this down to the psychological impact of reaching day 40 and thus realising that there was no way I was going to be in shape for a topless photo on day 42 for an “after” picture. This caused me to have a more relaxed attitude to how much I ate.

Other benefits of doing the 40 day detox

Other than fat loss there were many other benefits from doing the detox:

  1. I learned about my body and how it responded to detoxing, improving nutrition and exercise
  2. I learned about nutrition – an awareness that will stay with me for life
  3. I learned about other eating cultures and discovered different delicious foods
  4. I learned that I could write daily if I wanted to!
  5. I found that my body could have potentially healed old wounds
  6. I gained an almost supernatural sense of smell (I’ll be taking it easy with the cologne from now one)
  7. I appreciated the ethical position of vegetarians and vegans
  8. I discovered the benefits of drinking filtered water
  9. I was able to think with more clarity
  10. My sexual health vastly improved
  11. I noticed a drastic increase in positive moods and emotions
  12. Visualise in HD (High Definition) Source: http://punktlos.deviantart.com/art/imagination-71353483

    Visualise in HD (High Definition)

    I felt fresh / awake

  13. I gained fresher breath
  14. I had increased energy levels
  15. I gained a renewed desire to be creative
  16. I increased my ability to remain focused on a task and a sustained ability to work towards goals
  17. I noticed that I could visualise imagery in my mind with a crisper higher definition quality
  18. I noticed clearer more vibrant looking skin with a lighter tone
  19. I increased in confidence
  20. I discovered the significance of 40 days
  21. I came on TV the day after my detox completed!

I was on prime time Television!

Yes that’s right, on the 16th September 2010, on day 43 or one day after the completion of my 42 day detox, at 20.00 I appeared on BBC1 Watchdog. Here’s my bit:

And here is the full Argos feature, plus a follow up of what happened afterwards on the BBC website.

The Universe opened doors for me on day 40, day 41 and day 43

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” Joseph Campbell

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” Joseph Campbell

So as you can see, day 40, day 41, and day 43 were all highly eventful. Coincidence? Or is there really something to the significance of 40 days that seems to be recognised by mystical and religious traditions all over the world? Why don’t you do your own 40 day experiment and let me know what you experience by commenting on this post? Commit to doing something for 40 days (even a detox of your own if you like) and let me know what happens!

Effects of going back onto non-detox foods

Once the detox was complete, I didn’t start consuming everything that was forbidden all at once. I gradually re-introduced different foods to see how my body would react.

Day 43: The Omega 3 fats in fish healed my inflammation symptoms but I was highly sensitive to the caffeine in chocolate!

Cod with vegetables

Cod with vegetables

I was still in pain and suffering from the symptoms of inflammation since day 40 so the first non-detox food I ate was fish (Cod). It was ok to eat (not amazing as I find cod one of the smellier fish), but heavy on my digestive system after eating. About 10 minutes after consumption I felt as though my face muscles were twitching. I then checked myself in a mirror and could see my face muscles twitching. Though, I didn’t sense any trauma. I did seem to sense trauma (as if I was sensing the pain and suffering of the slaughtered animal) a couple of times after eating food contaminated with meat in Syria when I did my first detox/vegetarian experiment. However I did notice that my headache decreased and finally disappeared and the inflammation in my nose eased and I could breathe through my nose with more ease. I believe it was the Omega 3 in the Cod that did the trick. Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory. That’s one of the reasons it’s recommended to eat fish twice a week. I do feel gutted that even though I went out and bought flaxseed oil this day I didn’t use it to see if it got rid of my inlfammation symptoms. Next time I will consume flaxseed oil (which is a vegan source of a type of Omega 3) when I feel similar symptoms and see if it cures the problem. Let me know if you have or haven’t experienced relief from inflammation symptoms by using flaxseed oil by commenting below.

Turkish sesame halva with cocoa - an addiction for me like Iranian dates!

Turkish sesame halva with cocoa - an addiction for me like Iranian dates!

In the evening I had chocolate flavoured sesame halva and two small cubes of strawberry flavoured Milka chocolate. I couldn’t get to sleep at night. I felt full of energy. I was puzzled because it felt as if I had drank some caffeine, even though I hadn’t. It was only the following morning that I found out that there is caffeine in cocoa products. I was quite surprised at how sensitively my body responded to the caffeine present in two small cubes of Milka chocolate and some Cocoa flavoured Turkish Halva! I don’t ever recall noticing the caffeinated effects of chocolate before. Incredible!

Day 44: Fight Fat with Fish and how DECAF Green tea got me high

Fish oil with exercise equals fat loss

Fish oil with exercise equals fat loss

Following the introduction of lean meat (cod) yesterday, my body fat dropped to the lowest since I started taking recordings 44 days ago to 16.3%. Does this mean that in order to lose fat it is more efficient to use lean meat as a form of protein rather than a mixture of vegan sources of protein? I think it’s possible. I think with lean meat you can avoid eating carbohydrates if you want to, whereas with vegan sources of protein, the forms (e.g. legumes, rice, bread) are almost always packaged with accompanying carbohydrates. I have experience of buring fat to the thinnest I’ve been when I was consuming fish daily with steamed vegetables for a bout a month. While writing this I’ve also just discovered that maybe the connection with buring fat isn’t just with lean meat, but specifically with fish.

Decaf green tea, stoneground wholemeal bread with peanut butter

Decaf green tea, stoneground wholemeal bread with peanut butter

The non-detox foods I experimented with today were a mug of Decaf Green Tea and two slices of Stoneground bread and a free range organic boiled egg (not all at the same time).

My heartbeat was racing after drinking the DECAF green tea. I couldn’t believe how sensitive to caffeine my body was post detox. I found it hard to focus and concentrate on my work too until later in the afternoon, by which time the caffeine probably had left my system.

I noticed no side effects from the bread.

The free range organic boiled egg was very light while eating. It didn’t taste eggy in a bad way. It tasted and felt fresh, wholesome, good clean food. Again no side effects were noted after eating the egg.

Setting the cricket free!

The cricket had been in the flat for over a week now. It seemed to me and my wife that its colour was becoming less vibrant than when we first noticed it. There was insect repellent on the windows so it couldn’t get itself out if it was clever enough to work its way out, and no other insects were coming in. Part of me wanted to keep the cricket as in Chinese culture, cricket’s are considered to bring good luck if found and kept as a pet in one’s home and also because it seemed to extend a hand of friendship towards me earlier. The other part of me was concerned that it would die if it stayed in the flat. We captured it (ok not we, my wife captured it – yes, I know, bit of a wussy moment for me) and tried feeding it lettuce. When I looked into it, if it was what we suspected, a female tree cricket, it turned out they eat other small insects not plants. Though I wasn’t 100% sure it was female tree cricket because I couldn’t see any wings! Dilemma, dilemma, dilemma! In the end we decided to free it in the hope it could survive. According to Sods Law, it was probably trodden on by one of our neighbours or eaten by a bird moments later…

Facebook Status Updates on the effects of non-detox foods

Too much caffeine made me feel like crap

Too much caffeine made me feel like crap

The following are status updates expressing how I felt after consuming different non-detox foods.

Day 46

“Ali Zaidi feels like crap”

September 19

I had my first cup of coffee after 7 weeks that morning.

Day 48

“Ali Zaidi caffeine is the evil that runs in the veins of zombies”

September 21

I continued trying to get used to caffeine for the next few weeks. For a good couple of weeks I felt constantly “high” from being on caffeine. I couldn’t concentrate and certainly couldn’t focus on writing new blog posts.

Day 49

“Ali Zaidi is wheezing after consuming the leg of a lamb. First piece of red meat in almost two months.”

September 22

Nihari

Nihari

I went out to a local Pakistani restaurant to eat one of my favourite meat dishes of all time called Lamb or Mutton Nihari. Oh my God! It is a seriously delicious dish. Even though at the time of writing this I’ve just eaten a delicious beef fillet steak, I could kill a Nihari right now! I will definitely have to go and get me some this Saturday on my day off! Anyway, after eating it, on my way home I started to wheeze, and struggled to breathe properly. I also felt quite upset about eating a mammal. It didn’t feel ethically right.

“Ali Zaidi What do vegans feed carnivorous pets (like dogs)? This is perhaps the point where moral veganism falls flat on its face…”

September 22

This status was partly inspired by my experience with the cricket. If I kept it as a pet and it needed to eat other creatures for its survival, how would I deal with the moral dilemma of feeding it other creatures if I was a vegan or vegetarian on ethical grounds? It was also probably my mind justifying to myself the renewed eating of meat which I had recently started experimenting with again.

“Ali Zaidi the nicotine in Shisha makes your heart beat faster”

September 25

Me smoking my shisha

Me smoking my shisha

Well I had just smoked tobacco in the form of Shisha for the first time and noticed my heart beating incredibly fast. It was so fast and pronounced I felt anxious. I also noticed this effect when I smoked a cigarette whilst waiting for a friend outside a tube station. I had never noticed these sensations from smoking tobacco before. It turns out, like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant which is supposed to have that effect on you. Did you know that nicotine is a natural pesticide that the plant it is found in, uses to keep insects from eating it? Did you also know that in some places nicotine smoke is blown onto plants to acts as a pesticide? So in effect an addiction to nicotine is an addiction to pesticide! It might be one of the reasons we can get lung cancer from smoking tobacco!

How my eating habits 3-4 months after completion of this detox have changed

The Yo-Yo effect

Yo-Yo mama so fat

Yo-Yo mama so fat

In the first couple of months I gained an addiction to Turkish Sesame Halva. I was eating loads of it everyday. Needless to say within two months, regretfully, I regained the 2% body fat I lost during the detox. This has made me realise that in order to keep fat off permanently I need to make some sort of permanent commitment to my diet and lifestyle. If I just go on diets for fixed periods of time and then revert back to old or worse behaviours I will experience the Yo-Yo effect of dieting. The funny thing is, as soon as I reached my pre-detox body fat percentage of 18.8% I completely lost my addiction to Sesame Seed Halva. When I tried eating it again, I didn’t care for the taste anymore. Very strange.

To eat, or not to eat animal products is the question

Pescatarian anyone?
Stealing Eggs

Stealing Eggs

When I first started eating meat again, I initially made a move to organic meat, eggs and dairy. My moral and ethical leanings were still quite strong. I wanted to only consume meat from animals that were treated well and fed naturally. However the sheer expense of organic meat (4-5 times the price of normal meat) has made it an unsustainable option for me at present. If I were richer I would only consume organic foods. I did play with the idea of becoming pescatarian where I would eat only the meat of that which I felt I could kill myself i.e. fish and eggs. I can’t imagine slitting the throat of a cow, lamb or chicken but think I could handle stealing an egg or going fishing… I think. I figured what right do I have to eat something if I would be unwilling to kill it myself? Also my whole experience with inflammation from day 40-42 made me wonder if the Omega 3 from fish was important for my health. I also figured I’d be able to get my vitamin B12 from this source which vegans tend to miss out on.

Hold on a minute …what if I’ve become a domesticated human?
Vegetarian: Ancient tribal slang for the village idiot who can't hunt, fish or ride

Vegetarian: Ancient tribal slang for the village idiot who can't hunt, fish or ride

Alternatively, I have noticed that if an animal is taken out of the wild and domesticated it can forget its ability to hunt and survive in the wild. It seems to me that city-life is much like living in a zoo, and I wonder if I myself have become domesticated and for this reason I feel unable to hunt and eat other animals for survival. Could my moral leanings towards vegetarianism and veganism be a product of this process of domestication? I am also not convinced that I’d be able to get enough iron from vegan sources so I wonder if eating red meat every now and again would be better for me.

Organic eggs and reducing my “dairy footprint”

I have to this day retained the eating of organic free range eggs. The taste is just so much better than ordinary farmed eggs. I’ve reduced the amount of dairy in my diet. I pretty much always use vegan alternatives to cow’s milk (e.g. rice milk and oat milk). Only on rare occasions will I have cow’s milk in tea and coffee. When I have bought milk, I buy organic if the option is there. I still indulge in chocolate, ice cream, cheese every now and again. After watching a video on youtube on dairy farming my idea has been to reduce my “dairy footprint” (much like reducing one’s “carbon footprint”). Give the poor cow’s breast a rest!

If I find vegan alternatives to dairy products like Vitalite I generally do use them. However some things I have not been able to replace, like Häagen-Dazs Vanilla ice cream. Nothing compares!

Vitalite

Vitalite

Only wholesome wholegrain will do

Cranks organic stoneground wholemeal bread

Cranks organic stoneground wholemeal bread

In terms of grains, for breakfast I’ve been having bran flakes and muesli with fresh fruit, nuts and vegan milk. For bread I’ve moved to Cranks Organic Wholemeal Stoneground Bread. I can’t recommend it enough. Absolutely delicious dipped into a soft boiled organic egg. Mmmm… I also only eat wholegrain basmati rice, and pasta. My rule of thumb when choosing something to buy is: how much nutritional value does the food provide? Will I be getting vitamins and minerals as part of the deal or will it just be empty fat causing calories?

Fresh fruit and vegetables: if you were to make only one change in your diet …increase these!

Even since the end of the detox I have kept up eating a large variety of fruit and veg daily – and continue to see the benefits in my sexual health and speed of recovery from colds and flu. When I get a cold I increase the intake of fruit which does wonders for me. Much better to help the body recover by equipping it with vitamins and minerals to enable it to fight disease than to just wade out the problem with only using pain killers.

The £1 fruit and veg bowls I keep talking about! Ilford

The £1 fruit and veg bowls I keep talking about! Ilford

Alcohol: a switch to the richness of red wine

I do like a glass of Merlot red wine

I do like a glass of Merlot red wine

Since the detox, I’ve almost exclusively restricted my alcohol intake to red wine as it seems to me the healthiest alcoholic choice. It helps me digest red meat easier. But as I feel a lot dumber (mentally) since drinking it, I am thinking of quitting alcohol outright. By quitting I will certainly avoid embarrassing Facebook updates or comments via my pesky mobile phone!

My new selfish attitude to nutrition: personal long-term health outweighs moral, ethical and philosophical dilemmas

If I could conclude that being vegan is the healthiest option for me I would choose veganism as it matches my moral leanings. If I found ovo-lacto vegetarianism was the healthiest for me I would choose that. If I found pescatarianism is the healthiest I would choose that. If I found being an omnivore is the healthiest I would choose that. If I found being exclusively carnivorous was the healthiest option I would choose that. I think more experimentation on my part is necessary before coming to any final conclusions for myself. For now I choose to be an omnivore with increased use of fresh fruit and veg, the use of wholegrains rather than highly processed grained foods, twice-weekly consumption of fish (not much more due to fears of mercury poisoning), the eating of lean poultry (e.g. chicken and turkey breast), and occasional consumption of lean red meat (I prefer beef fillet steak as it’s the leanest – and most expensive!). On occasions I may also indulge in fattier meat (other parts of chicken and lamb chops for example).

Conclusions and Recommendations

It’s been a wonderful journey. The results have been so good that I am considering doing a permanent version of the detox. It won’t be as restrictive as I’ve done for the 40 day detox, but cutting out that which I know for sure provides questionable benefits (e.g. smoking and alcohol). I will definitively consider coming back to doing some form of experimental detox on a yearly basis. Next time perhaps I will experiment with raw veganism.

Pregnant man

Pregnant man

If you’ve never done anything like this, I do highly recommend it. It was really amazing to discover the kinds of things my body was capable of doing – e.g. super smelling sense, ability to visualise in HD etc.

I intend to continue with experimenting with different approaches to nutrition until I find something that works optimally for my body. I recommend that you do your own exploration to find out what works best for you. Our bodies are all different: what works for me, might not work you, and what works you might not work for me!

The nutritional project I have just started is the 120 Day Fat Loss Competition. There are over 40 people participating! Join us!

 

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Filming for BBC1 Watchdog UK (Days 41-42)

Day 41

I spent a good 3 hours filming with BBC Watchdog today during the morning and afternoon! Wow! Another eventful day for the 41st day of the detox (like I said before special things are supposed to happen on the 40th/41st day according to my Mum’s 40 day prayers formula). Watchdog were considering including my bad experiences with Argos on their feature on them which was going to be aired one day after the completion of my detox (Day 43)! They filmed me at my home, on my computer, in my kitchen, playing the Wii with my wife, walking in and out of Argos, Ilford and outside on my street. They even did an interview with me. For a few hours I felt like a celebrity and had fun. What more can I say?! 

After filming I snacked on corn on the cob with lime. 

Corn on the cob with lime

Corn on the cob with lime

In the evening I ate Chana Dal with Aubergine. Yep! That’s right! It was a dish inspired by my meal at Tayyab’s earlier this week! 

Chana dal with eggplant

Chana dal with eggplant

My headache and symptoms of inflammation continued today.

In the evening, the cricket which has been in our flat for the last week started to follow me every where I went. I was puzzled… Could the cricket sense that I was a herbivore, and therefore befriendable as a result of my 41 days of being a vegetarian/vegan? Or was the cricket a carnivore and did it see me as a delicious piece of herbivore meat to devour? I didn’t let it jump onto my foot even though it seemed determined to do so to find out! Alas I shall never know its intention… :-(

Day 42 

I did my usual morning routine with the hot lemon juice and quinoa breakfast with coconut milk, blackberries and plums. 

My weight, body fat, body water and body muscle readings during the 42 days of this detox and 12 days after completing the detox

My weight, body fat, body water and body muscle readings during the 42 days of this detox and 12 days after completing the detox

For lunch I had the chana dal with aubergine curry with buckwheat and lettuce, cherry tomatoes and black olives. 

Chana dal and aubergine with buckwheat and salad

Chana dal and aubergine with buckwheat and salad

A few hours later I had chana dal with black olives again. 

Chana dal with aubergine and olives

Chana dal with aubergine and olives

In the afternoon I snacked on some prunes. 

Prunes (dried plums)

Prunes (dried plums)

For my evening meal I had the same as lunch – chana dal with salad. 

Chana dal with bhaingan and salad

Chana dal with bhaingan and salad

My sharp headache and symptoms of inflammation continued for a third day the last and final day of my detox.

This was the last and final day of my 40 day (6 week or 42 day detox). It’s been an adventure! And tomorrow there is the chance that I will be on BBC1 Watchdog! I’ll guess I’ll only find out for sure when the show comes on. There is always the chance that I got edited out and didn’t make the final cut. But my fingers are crossed!

 

MLM (multi-level marketing), pyramid schemes and the Sunrider International SCAM (Day 40)

Dawn of the Magical 40

Dawn of the Magical 40

My morning routine was the same as usual, with the exception of a booking I had with Nengi the lead personal trainer from BeFitToday.co.uk. The day I went to Speakers Corner at Marble Arch I met two very interesting people who were offering me two potential avenues to explore opportunities that could well upgrade my detox experience to the next level. The first person was Nengi who was offering one free 1 hour personal training session, and the other was the IBO who was singing the praises of the nutritional benefits of the products he was promoting and the opportunity to generate an income from getting involved with them too. Both follow up events happened to be taking place today – the fortieth day of my detox!  

If you’ve read my previous post you will have come across my mother’s practice of repeating certain prayers to 40 days to get a result on the 40th or 41st day, a practice that has variations amongst many cultures including Zoroastrians and Jews. As my detox lasted an additional 2 days, I would say the days to look out for any siginificant changes would be the 40th day, 41st day, 42nd day and 43rd day. Days 40 and 41 (day after the fortieth) because of its prevelance in many mystical traditions. Days 42 (the day my detox actually ended) and 43 (because it was the day after the completion of the actual detox). 

My weight, body fat, body water and body muscle readings during the 42 days of this detox and 12 days after completing the detox

My weight, body fat, body water and body muscle readings during the 42 days of this detox and 12 days after completing the detox

When I realised that both appointments happened to be landing on the 40th day of the detox, you can imagine the wonder, curiosity and excitement I was feeling about what could potentially transpire as a result of both meetings. Could these two meetings be a mystical response to my 40 day detox? Could it be a “sign” that they were both doors opening to paths I should walk down to continue on this journey? Were these two synchronistic appointments the Universe responding to me via the Law of Attraction? Was this The Secret at work? Was it God, telling me “Ali, this is the way forward…” I had all these thoughts rushing around in my head. But at the same time I also knew that in the past when I have blindly followed the signals of synchronistic events they haven’t always gone according to the positive outcomes I had originally assumed they signified. Though, looking back at those experiences that seemed negative at first hand, I can say from hindsight, in the long term, they did lead to an awakening and an overall acceleration in the evolving of my perspective of reality. It has been my experience that sometimes synchronicity takes you by your hand, gives you a club and guides you in smashing to pieces your current idols of belief from which your present Weltanschauung has been constructed. How to respond to both potential opportunities was therefore a little confusing as I wasn’t really in the mood for anything too dramatic. I would prefer to understand from afar what to do, rather than go down a route that I could later regret (even if the regret was temporary)!  

My hour or so session with Nengi was very interesting. He measured my body fat percentage on his scale. My reading was 1% less than the scales I use at home. Get in! He said that he found his scales quite accurate as when he’s had his body fat checked by a professional (callipers perhaps) both his scale and the other method showed similar results. But at the same time he agreed as long as you keep your method of measuring your body fat percentage consistent and regular you will notice when your body fat is going up or down in a useful way which you can then use to your fitness benefit by making adjustments in your diet and exercise regimen. We then headed to Valentines Park for an example of the kind of things he’d be getting me doing if I were to book him as a Personal Trainer. 

 

After about half an hour I had a splitting headache. I also noticed my shoulders and neck were stiff and my nostrils were constricted making it harder for me to breath through my nose.  The workout was challenging, but not enough to make me sweat, so I’m not sure if the symptoms were caused by the physical activity or as a result of the lack of Omega 3’s in my diet – no fish, and for some reason I hadn’t replaced my flaxseed oil during the detox either! It was a painful experience. At the end of the session Nengi agreed to look into vegan and meat eating diet plans for my fitness goals, plus send me further information in regards to twice weekly group fitness activity events starting the following week. 

White dal, brown lentils and buckwheat

White dal, brown lentils and buckwheat

Post workout I ate white dal, brown lentils and buckwheat for lunch.  

The Magic Corn stand at The Mall in Ilford

The Magic Corn stand at The Mall in Ilford

Magic Corn

Magic Corn

A couple of hours later I snacked on some sweetcorn whilst out at the Shopping Mall.  

Later in the evening I, Naadira and Zar had agreed to attend a Sunrider event at their headquarters in London, thanks to an invite from the IBO. The IBO said we were lucky to be invited as Wendy Teng (formerly Wendy Chen) the VP of Marketing and daughter of Dr. Tei-Fu Chen and Dr. Oi Lin Chen the founders, Chairman and President of Sunrider International, a multi-million (maybe even billion) dollar company. I couldn’t have organised an event like that on the 40th day of my detox if I had tried! So when I went, I went with an open mind, open to the possibility of purchasing their products and maybe even recommending them (after trying them myself first), or joining their business opportunity if it sounded like it was a fair deal (again only after trying their products myself first and getting my personal approval).  

When we arrived the IBO was there demonstrating how good their Fortune Delight herbal beverage was at cleansing out oil from inside one’s digestive system by getting us to rub vegetable oil on our hands then busting open the Fortune Delight sachet and rubbing our hands with the contents, then rinsing with water. See photos of the Sunrider Product Fair here. Did the process get rid of the grease? Not that well. And I did wonder if it would have had the same effect if I had simply rinsed my hands with water? There were a few things that attracted me to check out the Sunrider product fair. There was the fact that I personally like doing things that have a positive impact in the world. I have more social entrepreneurial tendencies rather than just entrepreneurial tendencies, and if there was the possibility of generating a living while doing that why not? Another thing that attracted me was how healthy the IBO looked when we first met him. He had a glow from within. I got the impression that the wonderful health-conscious products of this company, based on old Chinese herbal secrets, was at least, partly responsible. Not only that, he also seemed like a really genuine and nice guy. I like these attributes in a person. But then I noticed his colleague who was also working on the same table. She was quite overweight. If you’re going to be promoting the excellence of your health products – it helps if you’re in shape. Just an observation on my part. Then I looked around at the other people who worked for or distributed Sunrider products. I wanted to see evidence of people glowing from within and in shape just like the IBO. To me this is the biggest evidence you can give in support of the health claims of the products you’re promoting. If people are overweight, pale and generally look ill then the chances are this is a reflection of an unbalanced diet and/or lifestyle. So did I see people glowing from within? No. The IBO was one exception, and I now believe this is due to his overall “fitness fanatic” attitude to nutrition and exercise in general and not specifically due to the “wonders” of Sunrider products.  

At the time, these doubts were not so well pronounced. I continued to explore the product fair and hear Wendy Teng speak with an open and positive mind towards the possibility of trying their products or working with Sunrider. At one table they were demonstrating SunSmile® Fruit & Vegetable Rinse. This was perhaps the most interesting demonstration. They had two bowls of water: one ordinary tap water, the other, tap water with the Vegetable Rinse mixed in it. They then had a tray with broccoli on it. They put a piece of broccoli in each bowl for a few seconds and then pulled them out. The visual difference was staggering. The broccoli that had been rinsed in just tap water looked dull and clearly had a white residue on it (I was later told this was wax used to increase the shelf life of non-organic fresh produce) while the broccoli that was rinsed in the vegetable rinse came out vibrant with colour with the wax washed off. That demonstration did look pretty good. And had me tempted for a bit. Then the gentleman who was doing the demonstration said that the vegetable rinse would get rid of all kinds of things including pesticides. Wait a minute… Pesticides? How will the cosmetic cleaning of the surface of a vegetable that’s been sprayed with pesticides remove the pesticides? Sure it might remove it from the surface, but wouldn’t the pesticides have been absorbed into the fruit or vegetable in question? So even if you clean it from the outside you’re still likely to consume the pesticide by eating it regardless aren’t you? I mean isn’t the effect of pesticides so far and wide that we are told to limit our consumption of fish to twice-a-week thanks to pesticides running into the water supply which then gets absorbed by the fish which can then be absorbed by us?! So surely it would be far better to eat organic rather than use fancy and expensive cleaning methods (a 475ml bottle will set you back £26.66!) to avoid consuming pesticides if it is a concern for you. If I could afford it I would definitely opt for organic. I’ve just discovered that a similar far more prudent way to wash the wax of vegetables is to scrub them with dish washing liquid then rinse!  

Wendy Teng VP Marketing and daughter of Dr Chen, CEO of Sunrider International

Wendy Teng VP Marketing and daughter of Dr Chen, CEO of Sunrider International

After the product fair came the presentation by Wendy Teng. She spoke about many things and as most of the people present were “IBOs” (Independent Business Owners = Sunrider speak for distributors) from the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland most of the audience seemed at awe at how lucky they were to be in the presence of Wendy the daughter of Dr Chen the man who had given them the gift of health and wealth out of the goodness of his heart. I however, was curious, and had some questions I wanted answered that popped up in my head while she gave her presentation. I was polite and waited until she finished before firing away with my questions.  

Beverly Hills Formula Total Enamel Sensitive Toothpaste 125ml / 170g

Beverly Hills Formula Total Enamel Sensitive Toothpaste 125ml / 170g

At one point Wendy spoke about how conventional toothpaste has many poisons in it and that their toothpaste was superior as it didn’t contain any of these toxins. She specifically mentioned fluoride, which I myself have written about in this blog. I pointed out that most researchers agree that digesting fluoride is a bad idea, however topically applying it to the teeth is good for the teeth (even most opponents of fluoride will agree with this). However even if I agreed with their perspective and wanted to buy Sunrider’s “superior” toxin free toothpaste I asked “How competitively was it priced?” The response was that the SunSmile® Herbal Toothpaste including VAT was £10.66 (and that’s before the rise in VAT this week!). “How much?!” That’s right! I almost literally fell off my seat and really needed someone to repeat the price to me. The IBO was quick to qualify that its size was bigger (135g) than a standard toothpaste bottle and that it was a lot more concentrated than ordinary toothpaste so you only need to use a tiny bit each time you brushed your teeth. At the time I didn’t know what a standard size was (its not exactly the kind of figure I keep in my head). It’s hard to compare as toothpastes usually come measured in ml rather than grams.  My herbal toothpaste is 100ml and was already quite expensive at nearly £4. I also have Beverly Hills Formula, a high-end tootpaste that is 125ml and 170g (bigger than Sunrider’s toothpaste) which can be bought for around £2-£3. There is no justification for charging over £10 for a standard-sized toothpaste! 

I have a full price list of Sunrider products in front of me and can tell you that the prices are what I can only say seem to me as being extortionate – unless you believe their claim that they are so highly superior and concentrated that the prices are worth every penny. In September 2010: their range of Calli teas range from £5.60-£7.56 for 10×2.5g sachets (that’s 56-76p per tea sachet!). Their 60g deodorant stick is £9.25. Compare that to the price and size of deodorants on the open market.  

MLM Pyramid Structure

MLM Pyramid Structure

I asked Wendy if when you become an IBO are you tied into their products i.e. if I opened up a health store or an online shop would I have to only promote Sunrider products or could I sell the products of other brands alongside them? She responded quite diplomatically that Sunrider IBOs do not sell the products of other brands simultaneously. I then said to her, “But could they if they wanted to?” Again she avoided answering me directly. The IBO then helped rephrase my question and said I think what Ali is asking: “Are there any rules in the contract that forbid IBOs from selling the products of other brands?” She said that she wasn’t sure and someone else said that they didn’t think there was any such clause. One of the IBOs in the audience who was sat a few rows in front me then turned around and said to me: “Why would you want to promote other brands? Have you tried Sunrider products? They are the best nutritional products on the market and once you’ve tried them you wouldn’t go back to anything else let alone want to promote anything else.” Either she was speaking the truth or this company had a cult-like following where Mr Chen was the Pharoah sat on a throne at the top of the pyramid while these guys were his loyal pyramid builders. But no! It’s not a pyramid scheme, such things are illegal in the UK… I was assured that it was a “Direct Marketing Company”. Despite the pyramid looking structure to their business model they insist it is not a pyramid scheme. See the scan I’ve done of a copy of a slide that Wendy presented that day and now compare it to what it says here about the legality of multi-level marketing companies.  

Sunrider MLM pyramid structure: note the need to "buy" products each month and an emphasis on finding more recruits who will do the same

Sunrider MLM pyramid structure: note the need to "buy" products each month and an emphasis on finding more recruits who will do the same

And note the words from America’s Federal Trade Commission Alert (I recommend clicking on the link and reading through the whole alert as it seems to me to describe Sunrider International to a Tee):   

Watch Out For Pyramids

“Steer clear of multilevel marketing plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors. They’re actually illegal pyramid schemes.  

Why is pyramiding dangerous? Because plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. And when a plan collapses, most people-except perhaps those at the very top of the pyramid-end up empty-handed.” 

I can’t comment on the quality of their products as I haven’t tried them over an extended period of time. It’s possible that Sunrider’s products are very good, but it’s also very possible the IBOs convince themselves that the products and the company is THAT GOOD as it suits their business interests. I would be happy to do a 40 day trial of their products and blog about my experience (if the products are supplied courtesy of Sunrider). If they are amazing, I will state that to be so. If they are crap I will say so too. I also have no ethical hang ups about people earning commission from products sold to consumers who are sold something at a competitive price or even earning commission on sales generated by customers that are introduced from the customers you introduced (multi-level). What I have issue with is: 

  1. the extortionate pricing;
  2. the fact that you don’t have enough faith in your products (or pricing) to have them sold side by side with other brands on the same shelf or online store;
  3. the requirement for each distributor to “purchase” €100 to €200 worth of extortionately priced products each month in order to be eligible for commission;
  4. and an emphasis on finding other distributors who also pay in €100 to €200 per month into the pyramid scheme!

I also wonder if schemes like this have an exit strategy? If you spend 20 years building a business as a distributor it would be nice to be able to sell your business onto someone else if you no longer wanted to be a part of it or simply want to retire. That’s what you can do with a normal business. If you can’t do that with an MLM “business” then it’s not a real business is it? Instead you’re more like a sales contractor who only earns a commission, but with the additional catch that you must contribute to the pot of gold with monthly purchases. 

Not even being employed as a salesperson on a 100% commission basis do you get such a raw deal. You’re not expected to purchase the company’s products on a monthly basis in order to be eligible to continue to earn a commission on sales that you have generated for the company. What if you don’t want the products for a particular month? Lets take the lowest monthly purchase required: €100. That’s £84 per month for food. To put that figure into perspective: I currently buy a whole bowl of fresh fruit or veg for £1. For £20 I can buy 20 bowls of fresh fruit and vegetables which is easily more than enough for two of us for the whole month. For £84 I could buy 84 bowls of fresh fruit and veg! It really is ridiculous! 

So the question is how do companies like this continue to operate and make their founders incredibly wealthy for quite an extended period of time despite their questionable business model? Well if the photos of Dr Chen at the London Sunrider HQ are anything to go by (there are photos of him with almost every US President in recent years that I can think of and even one with Arnold Schwarzenegger the Governor of California); the large amounts of money they make; the fact that the majority of human beings are good decent people who are truthful and have faith in others; and the human tendency to seek someone wiser and more knowledgeable (particularly someone who allegedly has exclusive secret information or an exclusive ”higher link”) who will  tell them what to do with their life: the factors that leads to their continued success can easily be seen. It is a formula for success that selfish yet charismatic people have used for thousands of years to build their monarchies, empires, organised religions and monopolies. It’s not that difficult to do. You just need to be a lying, two-faced C%$T to do it. It’s something that has gone on since humans have walked the Earth. This manipulation of people is something that even Plato alludes to in The Republic when he quotes Socrates’ simile of the cave over two thousand years ago. 

If I had any doubts about the “social entrepreneur” nature of Dr Chen I just had to Google Sunrider and Dr Chen and the kinds of things he’s been convicted of in the past to realise he is not the opportunity-giving angel he promotes himself to be. And it seems the health and wellness industry is filled with many characters like this. So please be wary. Of course there are good people involved in the health industry too. There are people and organisations who not only genuinely would like the world to be a healthier place, but also deal in complete honesty and fairness when it comes to generating a revenue from this industry. 

I would like to say to the IBO, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I do genuinely like you very much. For that reason I was in two minds about writing this piece. But once I start writing, how I see things just flows out. I think you’re great, but Sunrider’s business model seems to me highly questionable. 

Having said all that, it seems I appear on the Sunrider blog.

 

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