Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

When I started this vegan++ ETL diet, I also started exercising as much as possible. I've tried to swim every day except when I was traveling. When I started, I was barely able to finish 100 meters without feeling really tired. I have been pushing my total swim time and distance every day. Today I swam 2.5 km in just over 1 hour. That's not very impressive for people who swim a lot, but I've been swimming like this for only a few weeks and I feel pretty good about it. (I used to swim in Jr. High School 30 years ago.)

Various people have been telling me that losing all of this weight and eating only veggies and fruit would not give me enough energy, but every single day, my stamina is increasing. I really don't think it's just some sort of calorie deprived hallucination. I've never been able to swim 2.5 km before. (Again, I realize this isn't a controlled experiment since I never tried to swim this hard since Jr. High School....)

Today was the end of the 3rd week of the 6 week program and marks the half-way point. I will write more when I'm done, but I wanted to post this since I was getting email from people worried about my health. Of course I still don't know everything that is going on, but everything that I can feel and measure seems pretty great at the moment.


I have been vegetarian for most of my life and I was fitter and more energetic than a lot of my meat eating friends. However, I am not a vegan, I do eat eggs and drink milk. I believe the right terminology for people like me is ovo-lacto-vegetarian.

It seems to me that once you've got your body reliably burning fat, you've got a perfect source of caloric energy right there. From your previous post I gather you are getting enough protein, too.

I wouldn't worry; it sounds like you're doing great.

Dang. Now you got me worried.

Joi, I dont think that it is your imagination. Check out ultra marathoner Scott Jurek's website.

Funny thing - I just finished Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book last month and am in the process of trying to incorporate parts of his diet into a fairly active exercise regime - 60 to 90 minutes exercise per day. I have been on the diet for two week, and will be starting a more intense exercise regime later this week. I will let you know how it goes for me...

Thanks. I'd be interested in sharing notes Shane.

Scott Jurek looks amazing Kenn.

Thanks Par and Adam.

Don't worry Don. ;-)

I just saw something about you posted on LJ's World of Warcarft journal. Nice to bump into you again since the...oh gosh...FOREVER! (grin) Excellent to see you're happy and healthy!

Formerly known as Shari on PARTI.

Swimming is boring. Try team sports or even music like drumming.

I think regular exercise and a limited intake of calories are all you need to be healthy; veganism is just another way to go about it. Try stopping the exercise and removing all the limits on "starchy vegs"...

Also dancing is excellent as an aerobic team sport. Swimming is just not a practical activity, it forces you between life and death. Running is ok but it destroys your knees and is difficult to do with a partner. Cross country skiing works both arms and legs just like kayaking.

working out for the purpose of losing weight is scary. if you can have fun, such as biking to work then it combines activities and has better energy. Some people to run and listen to audio tapes, but running is very taxing on the body.


Just wanted to drop a note and tell you that I picked up Dr. Furhman's book, Eat to Live after reading your initial post on it the other week. I was very impressed with how well the book was put together and as such have adopted the vegan++ diet. I am starting my second week and while I have had some serious cravings for some burger or steak, the results I am experiencing are working as a strong counter measure.

I have more energy than I have had in over 20 years and look forward to each day with a zeal I havent had in a long time.

Anyways to wrap it up, many thanks for your initial post the other week and please keep the ETL status reports coming. I truly look forward to seeing how you are doing on the diet. One last thing, did you join Dr. Furhman's website as well?

Koko: I actually enjoy swimming. It's relaxing.

Hi Shari! Do you happen to have a link to the JL thread?

Joe: That's great! Yes. I joined the forums on Dr. Furhman's website.

Joi this is great news! Are you saying that you did 1000 laps of the pool in just over an hour? That is amazing!
I am inspired.

Oops! That would be 100 laps right? Still great.

Hey Adam! One lap back and forth in our pool is 50m so it's 50 laps, but yes. 100 X 25 meters.

I just got back from a gym that I just joined near my lab and people swim a lot faster here. ;-) I was intimidated.

The great thing about swimming, in my mind, is that it forces you to breathe much deeper and much more rhythmically than people tend to normally. My guess is this has to be part of the reason for feeling much better. Turns out that breathing is kind of important.

Also, it may have been obvious to everyone else but not so long ago I realized that the better your breathing is whilst swimming, the more air in the lungs, the more you float, the higher in the water your body is positioned and hence your overall technique is better. You'll find yourself swimming much more powerfully.

Good luck...oh and don't forget to breath.

Hey Joi,

I followed you over here from the Dr. Fuhrman forums. It is great to see your progress and success!

For anyone who wants a sneak peak at Eat To Live. Here is a free preview at Google Books.

Take Care Joi,



I can't tell you how much I want to just pick up the phone to call you and blab your head off about swimming. btw, your emails seem to bounce back, friend.

first, I am thrilled for you, and it sounds like this is going well. second, please keep this in mind: fitness is how you feel about yourself. don't sweat yourself on account of what others are doing in the water around you, just relax. third, there is something to be said about the "10 percent rule". you will need time to make use of muscles that aren't used to propelling your bod through the waves.

not sure if you know this, but I have been swimming since I was a sprout, and up to about 6 years ago, I could go 4K in under an hour in a 25M pool. I am no Olympian, but I could manage.

these days, I am lucky to get in for 20 minutes, and have to force myself to get in the pool 3x/week for 25-25 minutes. and man, I feel it.

let me know when you want some ideas for workouts. in the meantime, enjoy yourself.

Hey Joi,

Here are some swim drills we put together for our team:

May be useful. We do about 25 yards of drill, 25 yards swim 2 times for each drill.

Koko does have a point about forcing you between "life and death" at least if you subscribe to Dr. Nakamat's theory of creativity that maintains that inspiration is obtained when you are 0.5 seconds from death:

Less sensationalistically, I agree with Andrew about the breathing. Rhythmic deep breathing and increased bloodflow can only be doing good things for your body.

I'm about the same age as you and have re-taken up swimming in September. I've lost about 15 pounds without any change in diet. In my opinion, regular exercise is the real key. My desires for certain foods have changed as well.

Thanks Rafael. That was helpful. Yes, breathing is good too. ;-)

The increased exercise should only be good for overall health. How's your performance in bed been affected?

Just realized some of those videos linked to pages that were password protected that didn't need to be. This directory has the videos:

you want 1asosb, bbr, piat, hip slap, thumb drag, and closed fist stroke. There's a bunch more drills but these ones are good.

You could always find a Masters team to drop in on - I see 3 in Japan, and plenty wherever else you find yourself.

I coached a friend on technique for his first foray into triathlons, and he subsequently worked out with Miami of Ohio's Masters' program, and loved taking the next step working out with a team.

You could always find a Masters team to drop in on - I see 3 in Japan, and plenty wherever else you find yourself.

I coached a friend on technique for his first foray into triathlons, and he subsequently worked out with Miami of Ohio's Masters' program, and loved taking the next step working out with a team.