Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sports update

This week hasn't been too kind to me.  I came in last in fantasy football.  I started the day off strongly, but had a poor finish.

I bowled just ok tonight.  I wasn't there last week so I was a little rusty.  I started off with a 124, then a 129, but finished with a 114 for a nightly average of 122 which brings my seasonal average down a fraction of a pin. I can still round up to 124, but I'm not happy that I missed a lot of spare balls.  I need to focus more.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Simple logic tree

Can you walk?  If yes, then take the stairs, fat ass.  If not, then take the elevator.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trip out to Oregon for Thanksgiving

I finally got around to resizing and posting my pictures from my trip to Oregon for Thanksgiving this year.  I spent the first half of my vacation in Portland at my parents' house.  I played a lot of cribbage and hung out with my family and a couple of friends who were available.

The second half was spent in Lincoln City which is on the coast.  It rained the first and last day we were there, but not much in between so I was able to get some walks in.  I really like the sound of the ocean and it was relaxing.  The rest of the time was spent watching college football, eating and hanging out with my extended family.

The beach house my mom's brother rented was cool and was certainly large enough for the lot of us.  The food was excellent.  I didn't keep to my pseudo-paleo diet, but it's all good.

You can find the picture vomit here.  All pictures were shot with my Droid X.  I plan on using my next patent award (there are two in the works) to get a DSLR, maybe something like this Canon.  I think I'm ready to upgrade to something beyond a point and shoot.

You can find life philosophies anywhere

I've become a big Brandon Sanderson fan and recently read his The Way of Kings which has become one of my new favorite books.  It's a fantasy book and one of the mottoes of one of the groups in the book is "Life before death.  Strength before weakness.  Journey before destination."  I'm not sure why, but that motto resonated strongly with me and it fits in my idea that you need to do as much as you can when you can because you never know when your last day will be.

Cooking with coconut oil

After reading the article on saturated fat, I ordered up 108 oz of coconut oil from Amazon.  I tried it out Thursday morning when I used it to fry up an egg and then I used it again this morning with some scrambled eggs.  The stuff is pretty interesting as it's solid in the container, but melts quite quickly.  It has a very strong coconut smell which I don't care for, but the taste isn't quite as strong.  It's a little overpowering so I might reserve it for baking.  It does have a creamy taste and is rich so it might take your digestive track some time to get used to it.

I like this brand since it is organic and hexane free.  Hexane is a long carbon chain and somehow the food industry has convinced the USDA that anything with carbon can be considered organic.  While that statement is true in the chemical sense, it's not really in the spirit of "organic" food.  Read your labels people and do your research because a lot of companies make their money by effin' you over.

Apparently, you can also use coconut oil for hair and skin care so maybe I'll try that out.

Butter is high in saturated fat as well, but the most healthful kind comes from pastured cows and that can be tough to get.  I think I like using butter better for my scrambled eggs so I may do a half and half mix.

The article also mentioned that palm oil is nearly as good for you as coconut oil.  Amazon has this vegetable shortening and this red palm oil that I think I'll try out when I'm less poor.  Those who know me well know I love a challenge and I'm trying to see how healthful I can eat while not overly reducing the variety of my diet.  Cooking involves a lot of experimentation and is a good way to spend my time.

Disclaimer: I am the proud owner of four shares of Amazon stock so I tend to buy most of my stuff from there when I can.  Feel free to shop around and let me know if you find better deals elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sports update

I had some Monday night shenanigans which allowed me to come in first again.  Most importantly, my brother came in last because he left a lot of points on the bench.  He's still leading for the season, but he's $2 poorer now.  Hell yeah.  My NO crew has been good to me and the gravy train should continue.  I need to find another quarterback though.

I didn't bowl all that well tonight, but I wasn't really in the mood so I shouldn't be surprised.  I bowled a 133, a 124 and a 123 for a nightly average of 127.  I didn't bowl below my average in any game so that's cool.  We only won one point though so I think we're tied for first with the team that beat us tonight.  Oh well.

P90X is going well and I'm back in the groove.  I'll have nearly all of it finished before I go to Portland for Christmas so my "final" results may not be as good as they actually are due to holiday piggin' out.  I think I've still made good progress over the past three months so I'm not complaining.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Today was a yoga day according to my P90X schedule.  I gave up on using the P90X yoga disc a few weeks ago because the workout is too long and is too advanced for me.  I've actually been surprised by how inflexible I am.  I might be able to touch my toes, but it would be tough.  If I'm sitting down, I can't sit cross-legged with comfort and I'd be hard pressed to get within a couple of inches of my toes in a sit-and-reach.  I'm able to do it standing because gravity helps.  Heh.

My parents gave me a beginner's yoga disc a couple of years ago so I use that one instead.  I feel very relaxed and centered after using it, but still a little frustrated since, while it's good to be strong, you can't access that strength if you're inflexible.  Ask a meathead bodybuilder to make his forearms parallel to the floor.  Now ask him to rotate his shoulders so his arms are above his heads keeping the same angle between fore and upper arm.  He probably can't do it.

Anyhow, I think the solution is for me to do yoga more frequently or maybe to warm up a bit before I do it.  I'm really concerned that my hips are inflexible since I had arthritis there when I was in second grade.  It was explained to me that I was growing too fast, but one more I woke up and I couldn't make my legs move.  I could feel them, but couldn't rotate at the hips.  It was a huge barrel of laughs.

Hmmm... maybe biking or some track work could open those bad boys up.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nutrition and health

Many longtime readers know I obsess over few topics more than nutrition and its impact on my health.  I have reached a point in my life where I'm not young enough to overcome a bad diet so I have been doing a lot of research on how best to live.  Fortunately, there are many of us out there so I don't need to look too hard.

Lately I have cut back and nearly cut out gluten since consumption leads to digestive issues, excess visceral fat storage ("wheat belly") and it is an appetite stimulant.  I have also cut back on sugar for many of the same reasons.  I have felt pretty good and I think that these diet changes have led to a reduction in overall chunkosity.  However, I can do better.

It turns out my wheat farming uncle has also given up on wheat/gluten so we had a lot to discuss over Thanksgiving.  He sent me a couple of articles on why saturated fats are good for you and why some carbs are worse than others.  I've read them and, while the second one was poorly written, believe the story they're telling.  I'm not a medical doctor, but I believe I have a good BS detector and I feel that my scientific and engineering training enables me to parse through data.

Both articles argue that our bodies run on very specific fat and that, if they can't get this fat, they'll make it out of what is available.  Fat is needed to make us go, but the authors argue that it's saturated fat (butter, animal fat, coconut oil, palm kernel oil) not vegetable oil we need.  Fat is able to make fat from glucose, but it then does not free up that fat to do its regular job so that fat needs to increase which leads to obesity.  I know I haven't parsed the argument in a coherent fashion, but you can read the articles for yourselves.

I think the basic idea behind nutrition is fairly simple - your body needs very specific components and, if it doesn't get them, it'll encourage you to eat until it does or it'll take what you input and try to convert it.  However, these conversion processes are often inefficient and prevent your body from operating at its peak so your body expands which leads to chunkin' out.  The easiest solution is to provide your body with what it needs and what it needs is what it has evolved to eat - meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and other easily gotten foods.  We certainly didn't evolve to eat Hot Pockets.

Another argument made in the articles concerns cardiovascular health.  Doctors have long argued that a low fat diet is essential for a healthy heart.  Apparently, that statement is partially false.  Your heart needs saturated fat to run and if you starve it of those fats, then it'll collect fat around it as an emergency and this fat leads to coronary trouble.  You want to maximize your saturated fat intake while minimizing your vegetable fat intake.  You really want to avoid any oils which have been hydrogenated since those are the worst.

The second article argues we really want to maximize our calcium, vitamin D and saturated fat intake.

For more information and prove, read the linked articles.  Question everything your doctor tells you because many studies are sponsored by the food industry.  Don't trust the USDA since their principal mandate is to promote US agriculture.

You might have pieced together that a gluten free diet that is high in saturated fat is a paleo diet.  I think that diet makes the most sense to me so I will try to follow it the best I can.  I have already started having a fried egg every morning for breakfast since our bodies also need cholesterol to run.  I still eat rice, but will cut back on other baked goods.  Will I adhere to this diet strictly?  Hell no because there isn't much fun in that and it's not going to kill me to have a cookie now and then.  The goal is to make wheat, sugar and bad fats the exception rather than the norm.

The source of our food is just as important as the kind of food we eat so I encourage you to get truly organic food.  Don't worry about the USDA or QAI rubberstamped "organic" which is generally BS, but go after products from pastured or wild animals since it will be more nutrient dense, better for the environment and better for the animals.  It makes sense that we should eat animals that live how they've always lived rather than ones who have spent their lives in a cage.  This lifestyle will cost more money, but there is a fixed cost to everything so you'll be correspondingly reducing the cost to the animal, to your health and to the environment.  You'll also be eating more locally sourced foods which is better for the economy.  Farmers' markets are easy to find and often have tasty stuff at a good value (not necessarily cheap).

In my Amazon binge, I set up a subscription for a quarterly delivery of 108 ounces of coconut oil to use in cooking and apparently, hair care.  Heh.  The first author doses himself with two tablespoons of coconut oil each morning which sounds pretty hardcore.  I think I'll just use it to fry up my egg and other stuff.

This post is not meant to convert anyone since I believe we all must decide for ourselves how we want to live.  However, you must accept the consequences of all your actions and not shy away from what needs to be done.  I encourage every reader to give up gluten for one week.  Weigh/measure yourself before and after and try to gauge your mood.  The first couple of days will be tough, but you should feel better by the end.  If you can't live without baked goods, then buy einkorn flour or maybe gluten-free flour.  I'm not a fan of the gluten-free stuff because of the texture change.  The breads are all a little soggy and I'd rather go without.

If you do this or any other experiment, let me know by commenting since it is an iterative process.  I'll update on the coconut oil when it shows up.