Posted by: firstdescentsblog | January 10, 2012

“Fresh Start” Diet/Cleanse for the New Year!

What better time than the New Year (post holidays) to spend a week doing a light cleanse and get back on track with eating a healthy diet.  This “plan” can be simple and flexible, as no need to get stressed about it.  This is not about portion control or counting calories, instead it is about eating clean!


Foods to Avoid:

  • Refined white sugars, added sugars
  • Refined flours, wheat products
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Meats, especially highly processed and non-organic
  • Dairy, especially non-organic
  • Fast food
  • Refined salt (ie. regular table salt)
  • Overly processed and packaged foods
  • Coffee (especially non-organic) and heavily caffeinated drinks
  • All chemicals in foods and beverages (ie. artificial sweeteners and alcohol)


Recommended Menu:

-Upon waking drink large glass of warm or room temperature filtered lemon water

-Drink a cup of mint, licorice, or green tea

-Have a clean fruit/vegetable smoothie with hormone free whey protein, raw nuts and seeds, nut milk, greens, etc for breakfast

-Have a large glass of filtered water before and between meals

-Have a clean vegan soup, green salad with lots of veggies, seeds, sprouts, and olive oil, sprouted veggie wraps or sandwiches for lunch and dinner

-Enjoy a cup of peppermint tea before bed


After a week or so you should feel better, lighter, clear headed, and realigned with healthy eating habits!


Posted by: firstdescentsblog | January 8, 2012

4 Simple Tips to Detox for the New Year!


New years resolutions can be challenging at times so why not simply start by adding more good things into your diet as opposed to taking things out. Add these 4 simple detox tips to your day and you’ll be sure to feel great in no time. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2012!  – Lisa Nielsen (Googley)


1. Drink More Water (filtered/purified is best and try to avoid water from plastic bottles at all costs!)

Too often we misinterpret thirst for hunger. Our signal for thirst may cause us to eat as we mistake it for hunger pains. Reach for water first and make sure you are well hydrated before eating any meal throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included. 

Where possible make sure to drink your water at least 30 minutes before eating as this will allow time for the water to properly penetrate the cells of your body and hydrate your stomach lining in preparation for proper digestion. You may want to try adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your water or green it up with barley grass powder, wheatgrass powder, spirulina or chlorella.  A large glass of warm or room temperature lemon water first thing in the morning is a great healthy habit to start!

2. Add A Green Juice To Your Day ( or a good powdered green drink if you don’t have a juicer!)

 Green juices are an amazing way to add life giving and detoxifying plant chlorophyll to your bloodstream.  Juicing is an incredible “fast food”, as it is a 15 minute nutrient express to health.  Some favorite and simple green juice recipes include:

Green Juice Recipe Ideas:

– Celery, lemon and pear (or apple)
– Celery, cucumber, lemon (leave the skin on) and pear (or apple)
– Celery, cucumber, kale, lemon and pear (or apple)
– Celery, cucumber, lemon, parsley and pear (or apple)

You can also stir various green powders into the juices to green them up even more! Again try barley grass, wheatgrass, spirulina or chlorella powders.

3. Add More Parsley and Cilantro (Coriander) To Your Diet 

Parsley and cilantro (coriander) are very powerful natural green plant foods for detoxing heavy metals out of your body. Add these amazing herbs to juices, salads, soups and meals. 

 Heavy Metal Detox Pesto Recipe:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup Brazil nuts (selenium source) or macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine source)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium sources)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 2/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (Vitamin C source)
  • Big pinch of sea salt and or dulse flakes to flavor

Soak the seeds and nuts over night to release the enzyme exhibitors. Process the parsley, cilantro (coriander) and olive oil in a blender until chopped. Add the garlic, nuts, and seeds, salt / dulse and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste. Store in dark glass jars if possible. It freezes well also if needs be. Enjoy!

4. Breathe Deep Into Your Abdomen (this one is so important but usually forgotten!!!!)

Deep breathing, where you fill your belly and expand your diaphragm downwards, is one of the most powerful exercise you can do to activate your lymph system which helps to detoxify your body. Think of your lymph system as your own personal garbage removal system (which most of us will need in full steam after the holiday season). Practice 10 deep slow breaths counting 4 seconds in, 8 seconds hold and 8 seconds out. You can do this exercise watching the TV, walking the dog, during meditation or while practicing yoga.

According to the ‘Tao of Breathing’ up to 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs and the rest through the urine, skin and feces. When the efficiency of our lungs is reduced due to poor breathing less oxygen is available to our cells, it slows down the flow of blood which carries wastes from the kidneys and lungs. Our lymphatic system which fights off viral and bacterial invaders is weakened along with a slower digestive process.

Breathe long slow and deep in a mindful state as often as possible.

Posted by: firstdescentsblog | July 4, 2011

Healthy meat choices…there is a difference!

Happy 4th everyone!  This posting is part of an article on choosing meat (if you are a meat eater)from a website called natural news (  It truly is important to choose the healthiest meat possible if you choose to be a meat eater!  There is a huge difference on your health between grocery store non-organic red meat (that is not organic, not local, and not fed or treated well) and organic grass fed meat (ideally local is even better).    Also, when it comes to eating organic, it is probably more important to choose organic meat, dairy and eggs over organic produce!  As always, if you have questions, please email me anytime at  Enjoy the article and enjoy the holiday!  Happy Summer!  xo Googley
Fresh meat versus processed meat: Here’s why it matters
Every July 4th, Americans gobble down enormous quantities of meat. Some of it actually from animals. The rest comes from factories that assemble bits and pieces of meat scraps, using chemical additives to make the final substance
resemble something edible. That’s where hot dogs come from… and sausage, pepperoni and deli meats.If you’re eating hot dogs this Fourth of July, you’re engaged in acts of nutritional tyranny against your own body. So
if you eat meat, eat fresh meat, not processed meat. Here’s why:

Red meat vs. processed packaged meat!

Countless scientific studies have concluded that eating red meat is bad for you. But in those studies, researchers routinely fail to differentiate between processed junk meat versus free-range, grass-fed
organic beef
which isn’t processed with chemicals. And in doing so, they cast a dark shadow of doubt over all red meat when the reality is that there is a huge difference in the healthimpacts of fresh meat versus processed factory-made meat.Just like the primary health risk of smoking cigarettes is from the chemical additives, not merely the tobacco (…); the primary health risk from eating red meat is from the chemical additives, not from the meat itself.

That’s my conclusion after reading tens of thousands of news headlines, research reports and study abstracts: Red meat may be objectionable for lots of reasons — the ethics of raising animals in food factory concentration camp conditions, for example — but any focus on the health impacts of the meat must conclude that the chemicals are the real problem, not merely the meat. (Unless, of course, it’s meat raised on genetically modified corn, in which case the meat probably is biologically toxic, and that’s 95% of all conventional meat, just so ya know…)

It doesn’t take much sodium nitrite, for example, to greatly increase a person’s risk of pancreatic cancer or colon cancer. And guess where you find that chemical? Hot dogs, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, ham, lunchmeat and even beef jerky. It’s also in all the quick lunch trays for children, by the way. But never in the fresh meat.People who eat fresh meat don’t poison their bodies with sodium nitrite. Nor MSG (bacon, sausage, beef jerky) nor
all the other chemical additives typically added to meat products. That’s something to remember if you shop for meat of any kind. And don’t forget that unless it’s organic meat, it’s almost certainly contaminated with GMOs, because cows, pigs and chickens are all fed genetically modified corn and soy as part of their diets.

If you’re eating that stuff, you’re committing slow suicide. And maybe not even that slow, come to think of it.

People who eat their own farm fresh meat are remarkably healthy!

One interesting angle in all this is that people who eat farm-fresh meat usually don’t have all the chronic health problems of people who buy and consume processed factory-made meat. It’s the quality of the meat that makes all the difference. I know people who eat their own chickens, cowsand pigs, and their health is just great! (But they wouldn’t dare eat GMO-contaminated pork sausage sold at the grocery store…)When research says that “red meat” is linked to pancreatic cancer (for example), what they mean is processed red meat laced with chemical additives. We’re never told this, of course, because the entire medical system is so nutritionally ignorant that modern medical researchers don’t even recognize any qualitative difference between LIVE foods versus DEAD foods — nor fresh meat versus processed meat. To them, it’s all the same. So their questionnaires simply ask study participants about “meat consumption” without breaking it out into “fresh” versus processed. That’s why all meat gets a bad rap when it’s really just the processed, GMO-contaminated meat that’s the culprit.

Avoiding meat isn’t a gauranteed health strategy, either:

Interestingly, avoiding meat doesn’t automatically make you healthier. While I personally follow a largely plant-based diet
that’s rich in superfoods and smoothies, I’ve also met quite a few sick vegetarians and vegans who are eating processed vegetarian foods (pastas, white rice, factory-made foods, etc.) that make them look like they’re about to
die from malnutrition. An alarming number of vegetarians, I’ve discovered, are chronically deficient in omega-3s and vitamin B12. They’ve taken on vegetarianism but never learned how to pursue a plant-based dietin a healthy way.(Veganism, when done correctly, is undoubtedly the best diet for a sustainable planet, but personally I’ve found it impossible to follow as someone who works on a ranch and engages in a fair amount of physical work each day. For
me, powering my work takes a small amount of fish, fresh farm eggs, some Moxxor omega-3s and other fish oils such as those from Living Fuel. Overall, my diet is probably 95% plant based. No dairy. I do buy grass-fed free-range beef
bones for my dog Roxy who greatly benefits from the raw bone nutrition.)

The real answer in all this is simple:
The QUALITY of what you eat matters more than you think.
A vegetarian living on Cheetos and Diet Coke is going to have far worse health than a farmer eating farm-fresh eggs and his own home-grown beef steaks. It’s not merely about meat versus no meat, it’s about the quality of the food (meat or otherwise) you choose to consume.
From a nutritional standpoint alone, I’m convinced that avoiding chemical additives and GMOsis far moreimportant than merely avoiding meat.What about the ethics of eating meat? Well, that’s a question for another article.

Learn more:

Posted by: firstdescentsblog | June 29, 2011

First Descents Sacred Spirit by Andy ‘X2C’ Fleming

Guest Blog author and one of our alum, Andy ‘X2C’ Fleming, shares his thoughts and emotions on what it means to be apart of First Descents. Thank you x2C!!
First Descents Sacred Spirit
I feel alive- very often- and I’m grateful for this.  There are times when I feel so alive that I feel electric, excited, at peace, content, relaxed, jazzed up- I feel an emotional flood.  I feel alive to the nth degree at First Descents kayak camps when I’m surrounded by amazing people, in nature, being active, creating, caring, learning, pushing my boundaries, helping others to push their boundaries, sharing a quiet and a loud moment, eating healthy, waking early for a run in the mountains, playing bang up kayak polo in the lake, running whitewater, singing on the bus, and dancing on the porch- totally kicking ass.  I’m in the Colorado mountains and in the streams.  I smell fresh air, trees, flowers, grass, dirt and I see blue bird skies, rocky peaks, aspens, bear claws on trees, flowing water, people smiling, and fear on faces that turns into pure joy.

I feel pure energy- it’s excitement in the moment and excitement in the possibilities.  I also feel gut wrenching sadness that cancer makes people ill, that cancer takes lives, that great friends and family suffer emotional, physical, and financial pains.  This makes the joy real.  This creates perspective for me and drives me to pursue a dual passion- to be involved in people’s lives and to take care of myself as w
ell.  We are are gifts and we all have gifts- give gifts, be open to receiving gifts- be the gift.  I want to write something deep here- to me it’s float on the water, be on top and below the water, and when I tip over- hold my breath, relax, enjoy the experience, and flip back over- knowing I can survive- take in a great big breath of fresh air, see the world anew, a little stronger, a little wiser, a little more love- it all adds up- it is sacred.

-X2C (Andy)

Posted by: firstdescentsblog | June 26, 2011

Wellness Links

Hi gang!  I just wanted to post a few different links to some articles found in some of the wellness websites I follow. 

The first link,, is in regards to toxins that seem to have cancer links.  I could do a whole series on household and body care itmes that are toxic to our systems and can lead to diseases such as cancer.  However, this particular link informs you about the itmes in your home and in your life that may contain formaldehyde, which is known to be cancer causing.  I will do another post regarding body care products as well as laundry care products in the near future!

The second link,, is on the effects cell phones have on our health.  It is impressive what info is out there on this, yet we continue using cell phones daily.  However, there are headphones called “air tube” headphones that can reduce the radiation immensely.  Check them out!

Finally, the final link,,  is one to a website that has some great quinoa recipes!  Quinoa is such an amazing grain as it is gluten-free, whole grain, a complete protein and has more calcium than a serving of milk!  Enjoy!

Hope you are all having a healthy and happy summer!  xo  Googley

Posted by: firstdescentsblog | May 18, 2011

Where in the World is Brad Ludden?

Dear FD Family,

Yesterday was a bit surreal. I was up at 3:30 am, did some emails and head to the airport. Just another day in the office.

On my four hour lay over in Arizona, I had an interview to promote the upcoming event, Outside in Aspen and then jumped on a plane to Hawaii.
This is my first trip here and now I see what all the fuss is about. This place is INSANE! The island vibe hits instantly and everywhere you look is a view that blows your mind.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m here for work. I’m shooting with my sponsor and FD’s largest corporate partner, Teva, for their new spring/summer line.

Sometimes I wake up and wonder where I went wrong?? Why can’t I just have a normal job? 🙂 Of course I’m kidding and at FD we are building a culture of living the adventure and working between sessions! This is round 1.

Happy days to all and good luck to all the FD1’ers in Estes and NC!



Posted by: firstdescentsblog | April 1, 2011

Six Steps To Sustainable, Healthy Eating

Diets just don’t work!  Many of us have tried and failed at various diets.  To get a plan that works for the long term, we need to follow something that’s easy and enjoyable in order to stick with it over time.  It also needs to be flexible so that you can adjust it to any changes you have in your life.    Remeber, healthy eating should be delicious and savory.  It should be about abundance, not deprivation.  And if it helps save the environment…how great is that!

Here are six steps to help you get on your way!

1)    START SMALL– Changing everything all at once never works.  Instead, start by going through your refrigerator and pantry and clean out any empty calorie traps.  This includes foods you reach for when you’re rushed or bored and foods that do not nourish your body.  Then substitute fresh, seasonable foods.  Keep whole grain bread and minimally processed good hard cheese available instead of chips.  Add a salad to lunch or dinner.  Try fresh fruit for a snack.

2)    GO LOCAL– Visit or  Type in your zip code for a list of products grown or made in your local community, from honey, cheese, grass fed meats, pasture-raised eggs to lettuces, greens, and herbs.

3)    PLAY THE “GREEN” MARKET– Visit your local farmers’ market.  Ask the farmers which foods are likely within 48 hours of picking and ask to sample them.  Most farmers eat what they grow, so they are great resources for tips in preparing, serving and storing these foods.

4)    BRANCH OUT– Try a fruit or vegetable that you didn’t think you liked or you’ve never tried before.  Try it when it’s in peak season.  Find ways to prepare it simply so that you can taste its true flavors.  There are many great books and cookbooks out there for easy and delicious meals.  Try “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon or “Full Moon Feast” by Jessica Prentice.

5)    LEARN THE STORY BEHIND YOUR FOOD– When you get to know the people that grow your food, it tastes even better!  “re-connect” with your food!  Kids especially become more courageous with various vegetables and fruits when they know what went into it, who grew it, or when they have even grown it themselves.

6)    PLANT A GARDEN…HOWEVER SMALL– Seeing a seed turn into a delicious edible food instills an appreciation for what it takes to grow good quality food.  If you don’t have much room, try a container garden, or perhaps grow a few herbs or tomatoes in pots on your windowsill or patio.

Thanks and happy spring!- Lisa Nielsen

First Descents is proud to have a Colorado community that likes to be creative in finding ways of having fun while being active. This is exactly what our friends at Eldora Mountain Resort and New Belgium Brewery have teamed up to do this weekend with their annual Retro Ski Day. This year they chose to have the events proceeds go to First Descents and we are honored. We will be at the event, come say “hi” to us at our table.

Retro Day 2011 Presented by New Belgium at Eldora Mountain Resort!
Mar 19, 201110:00 am – 04:00 pm

Eldora is right outside of Boulder, see here for DIRECTIONS.

Schedule :

The festivities start at 10:00 am at the tents in the base area:

10:00 am – 1:00 pm: Goodies and giveaways at the tents in the base area with DJ.

1:00 pm: Obstacle Course; check in at the tents in the base area for details.

2:00 pm: Awards & Prizes for Obstacle Course and Costume Contest at the tents in the base area.

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Head over to the Timbers deck for live music by The Riot.


Posted by: firstdescentsblog | March 8, 2011

Inflammation and Disease

Inflammation is a natural reaction in the human body for wound healing.  However, too much inflammation in the body can be a breeding ground for disease, such as cancer and heart disease.  Ideally our bodies are slightly alkaline with a pH of about 7.4.  Yet many things in our world, such as toxins in the air and processed foods, cause us to be more acidic.  This acidity causes inflammation which can first cause “symptoms” such as fatigue, and eventually cause disease. 

Below are lists of some of the specific things to avoid that can increase inflammation as well as things that help to decrease inflammation in our bodies.  To prevent disease, or reduce current inflammation, try incorporating one or two things from the lists below every week or two, or whenever you feel ready to adapt more change.  The most important part of the items below are to try and make them a “lifestyle”.  Keep in mind, that even one or two small changes can make a huge difference in how you feel day to day, and, over time, on your overall health.

Key things that tend to increase inflammation (bad!):

1) Refined sugars and white flours- this could also be called “all processed/refined foods”.  It is best to eat whole grains and use natural sweeteners.  Eating a “whole” food instead of a “processed” food is key!

2) Processed Omega 6 fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans fats (Often found in processed snack foods and margarines.) – ideally eat plenty of Omega 3 fats, monounsaturated fats, and Omega 6 fats in their natural state.

3) Stress, negative thoughts, and feelings of helplessness- these have a much larger impact on our health than most of us care to realize.

4) Coffee- organic coffee in moderation is thought to be ok, but more than a cup or two daily can be very acidifying.  Your better choice is green tea!

5) Alcohol- if you choose to drink, do so in moderation.  Organic sulfite-free red wine is probably your best choice.

6) Dairy- most people don’t realize how acidic cow’s milk is.  There are plenty of healthy milk alternatives such as nut, hemp and coconut milk, but be sure to get “unsweetened” or you’ll be adding a lot of unneeded sugar.

     We can get plenty of calcium in foods such as quinoa, spinach, amarynth, and legumes.

7) Artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame and Sucralose (Splenda)- they are chemicals and are thus very acidic.  Instead choose natural sweeteners like raw honey, raw agave, or stevia.

8) Pesticides and other chemicals in non-organic foods- try to choose organic meats, dairy and produce when possible.

9) Environmental toxins- it is best to drink filtered water, use organic/chemical free body care products, and use chemical free household cleaners.

10) Medication- it is a chemical and thus acidifying.  When possible choose natural or wean off what you can (under the discretion of a doctor, of course).



Key things that can help decrease inflammation (good!):

1) Obviously avoid as much of the above list as possible!

2) Drink plenty of water, especially lemon water- drinking lemon water, especially first thing in the morning is a great habit to get into to aid in detoxing the body.  Ideally drink 70-80+ oz. of water daily.

3) Green drinks- such as chlorophyll, blue-green algae, spirulina, wheat and barley grass.  They are easy to incorporate into a smoothie or just a drink with water.  They are exploding with health benefits.

4) Sea Vegetables- such as nori, dulse, wakame, arame.  Buy at the health food store and sprinkle into soups and salads.

5) Cinnamon- great to keep blood sugars from spiking.  Don’t be afraid to use plenty on cereals, oats, and in smoothies.

6) Turmeric- great spice for reducing inflammation.  Best when slightly heated thus great when a part of curry dishes or in stir frys.

7) Green leafy vegetables- they are highly alkaline and full of nutrients.  Try all the wonderful varieties!

8) Vegetables- best when your meals are focused around vegetables first, then whole grains, healthy fats and proteins.

9) Green tea- very rich in EGCGs which are great for inflammation.  Especially Japanese teas.   Drink organic and loose leaf tea when possible.

10) Cruciferous vegetables- such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.  Many studies show a link between them and reductions in cancerous cells.

11) Overall calorie reduction- even if just a 10% reduction in daily caloric intake.  Less calories means less insulin secretion which is linked to inflammation.

12) Floss teeth daily- bacteria in our gums can move through our bodies and cause inflammation.

13) Exercise- best to partake in moderate but consistent exercise or activity.

14) Sleep- lack of sleep leads to many health problems.  Try to focus on getting 7 to 8 hours, and going to bed and waking at consistent times.

Posted by: firstdescentsblog | January 25, 2011

Need a vacation? How about a 7-Day Cruise with Cancer with Joy!

Have YOU experienced cancer?

Are you a caregiver, friend or family member of someone who has cancer?

Do you know someone who has been diagnosed or is a cancer survivor (Pass this on!!)?

If you answered “Yes!” to any of these 3 questions, then you don’t want to miss the “Cancer with Joy!” 7-Day Cruise.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011 out of Beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, FL!

This cruise will make 4 stops at Ports of Call including:
– the Cayman Islands
– Honduras
– Cozumel, Mexico
– & the Bahamas!

During part of our relaxing days at sea, you’ll take part in a “Cancer with Joy!” event unlike any other you have ever experienced with workshops for cancer patients & survivors & others for caregivers, friends & family of patients & survivors!!

Make sure you SIGN UP BEFORE Tuesday, Feb. 15th, 2010 to SAVE $100 off the conference fee & get everything for the currently low posted prices!! Take part in all the networking with others on the cruise who’ve been touched by cancer & helpful presentations. When you sign-up by Feb. 15th, you’ll also receive a FREE “Cancer with Joy Cruise!” t-shirt!!

For questions, e-mail

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