mhanch:

As always, Denise gives a good breakdown.

Originally posted on Raw Food SOS:

I keep doing this thing where I stand in the shower writing blog posts in my head, emerging from the suds giddy and prune-fingered, feeling strangely accomplished about the words I have not yet typed. And then I squeegee the fog off the bathroom mirror and tell myself you can do it Denise! and think about how awesome it will be to actually update my blog after so much horrible silence. And then I load WordPress and think I’m blogging, I’m blogging, I’m finally blogging, it’s really happening.

And then suddenly it’s three hours later and I’ve opened 800 new browser tabs in Firefox and have become distracted by something shiny, Facebooky, or delicious, at which point all hope is lost.

This madness must end. Today, we blog.

So now I stand before you here in Cyberland, up on my soapbox, rantin’ muscles ready to flex. In case you haven’t…

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There are very few occasions that cannot be made better by the inclusion of attendance at an Irish Pub.

I’m downtown tonight, as Sasha and Katya are out at the Macklemore concert, which will end sometime around 11pm to 1am. We can’t be sure, as it has been tweeted, apparently, that since tonight is the final day of a three-day set, that he plans to run some kind of mega-encore. We shall see.

Since I didn’t want to leave the girls outside after the concert, I chose to stay nearby so once they call I can pick them up right away. My default location for hanging out in downtown is our boat. I have free parking, and it is nearby to most of the city center. Unfortunately, it is fucking freezing out here, and even with heat on the boat, it is just too damn cold to get comfortable.

I went out, fixed the cover on top of the boat (which is coming apart, and I need to build a new one) and made sure the place was ok. Looking down the lake, I remembered that a new pub “A Terrible Beauty” has just opened this summer, and that sounded like a much better home base for the next few hours than a freezing boat.

While I like going out anywhere to drink, few things beat an Irish (or British) pub. My first main hangout in college was the Unicorn pub. When I moved to Russia, I had Rosie O’Grady’s, and Irish House. My former test manager at Microsoft retired and opened a pub/microbrewery just off campus. When that was sold, We found Three Lions in Redmond was our best source for Premier League Football, with a good dartboard to boot.

We literally lived in Pubs on our trip through Great Britain. (Note: I mean literally in the literal sense. Our first room was above a pub called The Blathwyat)

I’m not sure, but I imagine that a lot of Americans enjoy sports bars in the same way that I love pubs. Perhaps growing up with British Cars influenced my bar tastes as well. In any case, I’d rather avoid the bright, loud American bars and burrow into the dank, dark pubs. A smell of boiling cabbage and bangers, and perhaps a baking kidney pie doesn’t hurt either.

Guinness is always on tap. Guinness for Strength.

mhanch:

I must try this. Looks like an amazing mix.

Originally posted on The Domestic Man:


Carne de Porco à Alentejana is a traditional recipe from Portugal, made from a combination of pork, wine, paprika, clams, and black olives, and typically served with roasted or fried potatoes. When a reader first suggested I tackle this dish, I was floored by the seemingly odd ingredients list; but much like Chicken Marbella, the offbeat ingredients mixed together perfectly to create a unique taste that’s more than the sum of its parts.

While the name might lead you to believe that this dish originated in the Alentejo region of Portugal, it’s actually from Algarve (the Southernmost point of the country). Legend has it that chefs in Algarve gave the dish this name to let diners know that the pork was from Alentejo-raised pigs, who were fed acorns and had a flavorful meat. At the time, pigs in Algarve were fed fish scraps from the burgeoning canning industry, and…

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mhanch:

Truly Shocking (said no one at all).

Originally posted on THAT PALEO GUY:

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is one of those major ongoing surveys from which data related to all things health and nutrition are derived. The short entry on Wikipedia summarises the aims of NHANES very well;

Findings from the survey are used to determine the prevalence of major diseases and risk factors for diseases. Information is used to assess nutritional status and its association with health promotion and disease prevention. NHANES findings are also the basis for national standards for such measurements as height, weight, and blood pressure. Data from this survey are used in epidemiological studies and health sciences research, which help develop sound public health policy, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge.

Whilst being a survey conducted on an American population, the results from this are interpreted and referred to globally, with NZ and Australia being no exception.  It…

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mhanch:

A great post that almost anyone can agree on, regardless of diet preference.

Originally posted on Swarthmore Co-op Blog:

In this fast paced culture, processed foods are becoming the new norm. Follow this guide to start eliminating processed foods from your diet today.

 

Check the label

This is really the only way to find out what’s in your food. Don’t just look at the front either – that’s more likely to read “natural” or “low fat” when in all reality, the food you’re about to eat might be just the opposite. The heart of the matter, the ingredients, lies on the back of the label, below the nutrition facts. Some say if the label has a laundry list of ingredients, avoid it. But, it’s important to know what you’re reading, what’s healthy to consume, and what’s not so healthy. Artificial sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, splenda, stevia, brown rice syrup, cane juice just to name a few), hydrogenated oils (vegetable, soybean, corn, canola), sodium nitrates &…

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mhanch:

This is a very well written connection between Health and Work.

Originally posted on The Code Barbarian:

Software developers are not known for having the best nutrition. When it comes to development work, the stereotypical late night Red Bull-fueled coding binge is often not too far from the truth. It’s hard to imagine a hackathon without a stack of pizza boxes and a mountain of empty soda bottles. In addition, no good tech firm lets their kitchen run out of chips or Vitamin Water. Proper nutrition is, however, about more than just being thin; it’s about providing proper fuel for your brain so you can code smarter, faster, and better. In this post I’ll give you some anecdotal evidence about why nutrition matters, some resources on how to eat and train properly, and finally give you a list of 8 concrete benefits I’ve enjoyed since I started eating properly.

For over 3 years, I’ve been following a paleo diet along the lines of what Mark Sisson advocates…

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67381You get used to a pretty busy schedule of meetings at Microsoft. Either you let it get to you, or you adapt. I had adapted quite well. I had a full slate for the week, with a fairly important release coming up the next week, and meetings stacked up on most of my days. I had a late call for a “Skip-Level” or a meeting with my bosses’ boss. This wasn’t all that uncommon, and usually involved a bit of outreach from the higher management, a bit of chit-chat, and back to work you go.

So I completed my round of meetings in the morning, had the release drop prepped for a review later, and made my way over to the big bosses’ office. There was someone already in there, so I waited outside. After a bit, she opened the door, and asked me inside.

“Mark, thanks for coming. This is to inform you that your position has been eliminated at the company, and as of this moment your duties are finished.”

I was laid off.

I held the packet of severance information in my hand as I walked out. I was actually one of the lucky ones, I had two months for internal job search before I was terminated. But I was still in shock. I headed home. Then I had the pleasure of telling my wife that I no longer had a job. The look on her face made me want to cry.

This sucked.

Fortunately, and frankly accidentally, I had been prepared for this. I was not prepared to go out and market myself, I had a stale resume, and I don’t interview very well. I’m nervous talking in front of people, and twice as nervous talking about myself. But I had two things going for me.

First, my job for almost thirteen years has been about firefighting hot issues. Website failures, system failures, publishing failures. Big, high-visibility, high-pressure issues where vice-presidents were breathing down my neck and thousands of dollars were lost every minute. I could buckle-down and ride this kind of stress with no problem. I instinctively knew to hunker down and focus on working the issues. No blame, no anger, just resolve the problem at hand.

Second, I had my health. This might seem like an irrelevant thing, or something silly, but at the time if felt critical. From my weightlifting and kettlebell work, I knew that I was capable of pushing through personal suffering and short term pain for a goal.

It may sound silly, but knowing that I could focus and survive making 100 Kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes told myself that I could dive and survive interviews. No ifs, ands or buts. Most of physical exertion is mental at root. I knew that I could tap that experience and use it to my advantage.

I had to focus on the process forward, not blame backward. This meant casting aside the immediate self doubt that was creeping in, and focusing on what I knew I did right. I knew my job, I knew I was good at it. Now I needed to get out there and ignore the potential for failure to sell myself.

I was given access to a placement resource, and they offered classes on things like networking and negotiation. I attended everything I could. I cast a wide net on the internal search tools, and started contacting individuals on the teams that were up. I fixed my resume and sample works so folks could see what I did.

I ended up getting an offer from the first group that I met with. Lots was happening in parallel, but the first contact made me an offer. In the end, it will be a great advantage to move to this new team. But the path here was rocky, to say the least.

Our professional world draws on the personal, just as much as the opposite. A solid personal foundation serves us all well, and can’t be ignored. Physical exertion lays a foundation that can be called when you need it most. And in many ways, our mental state calls on the physical abilities that we have grown.

I landed well, but that outcome was not set in stone. It was earned. I have the support of many, including my wife, family and friends. I have the support of my co-workers, but I also have invisible support from my network of trainers and friends. Solid physical health gave me an edge on mental health. I can draw on all that when needed, and this was one of those needs.

Now I’m excited to move on to my new work, and thankful to all those who gave me a helping hand, whether they know it or not.

Thanks.

Anyone who has the misfortune to spend much time around me knows that I have a pretty serious obsession with health.

Not just in an abstract fusion either, but I like to drill into what can practically be done to impact weight, longevity, quality of life, disease, all that crap. I’m not terribly big on so much of the “hey, heres some abstract concept on this obscure part of diet, but there’s nothing you can do about it” type research that seems popular. I like to focus on what we can do.

I just finished reading “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease” By Dr. Robert Lustig, who if you don’t know is famous for his “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” Lecture on Youtube. This is a great resource on the biochemistry and politic side of obesity and the impacts of Metabolic Disorder.

I Have also been thumbing through “Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare ” Which has a great discussion on how clinical trials are generally mishandled, and “Death by Prescription: The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation” Which gives a lot of data on taking personal action in your use of prescription drugs.

Much of this is interesting by itself.

I also read training data for my health on Strongfirst, Dietary information at Mark’s Daily Apple and Whole 9 Life, And countless other sites.

I started caring about this because I hit a point in my personal life where I was tired of being fat. As a typical obsessive-compulsive nerd, I was drawn in as I dug deeper. Americans (followed by the rest of the world) live longer lives now. But the quality of those years has declined. We have had was was once the last five years of our life lived with “significant” quality impairments increased to the last “twenty” years of our lives. See the rise in those fucking scooters for the mobility impact.

Alzheimer’s and cognitive issues are on the rise. Cancer is on the rise. Fuck, the lack of fitness in Americans has impacted the military recruitment, and is becoming a National Security issue. Fuck, can we start taking this seriously yet?

I have some deep opinions on the best way to do things, but that’s no longer even the point. How about we simply stop doing the worst fucking things possible?

Eat less than 130 pounds of sugar per year.

Safe levels of sugar were once calculated back when the average was 40 pounds per person per year. now we eat 130. If you want to know why this is an issue war Dr. Lustig’s video above. Or of you think that only calories are the issue then just imagine the calories (hint: at this amount, the calories are overwhelmed but the impact on insulin and your liver)

Actually, I can stop advice right there. Just sugar alone is probably the worst of the worst of the worst. Just fixing that in anyone’s diet (stop drinking sodas and fruit juice, quit foods with added sugar, etc) would make a big impact.

Then, get off your ass and do something. Anything. (but not jogging, that shit’s useless) Do 50 pushups each day. Take the whole day, I don’t fucking care. do it. Add 20 sit-ups. get two empty gallon milk containers, fill them with water, and duck-tape them closed. carry one in each hand and walk around the block.

If all that’s too easy, go buy some Kettlebells. Show up at my house and I will personally show you how to use them. Lift more heavy shit.

Personally, I chose to do a lot more. I still eat a paleo diet, and have barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight workouts that I mix. But not everyone needs to be as insane as me to make a difference. Just. Do. Something.
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If I were to be fully honest, I would have to admit that my primary motivation for trying to eat well and exercise is fear.

I fear Cancer. I had the distinct displeasure of watching my good friend Chuck slowly waste away and succumb to cancer, for no particularly good reason. My Father and Uncle both survived. My Mother-in-Law is a Stage 4 survivor.

I fear Alzheimer’s. For a time my grandmother thought that I was my father, and that My father was her husband. I got to see the confusion on her face and the pain in my father’s face. She was taken from us ten years before she died.

I fear Diabetes, joint failure, injury and sickness. We all see friends and family suffering from one thing or another. It is truly a rare occurrence to know of someone who is free from all disease or condition than the opposite.

But I don’t fear dying young. I have said before, and I think it is still true, that with the state of today’s medicine, it is very unlikely that Most of us alive today will die before our mind or bodies wear out.

That is perhaps the greatest thing to fear.

Think for a moment what that implies. Get a disease? There’s a drug for that. Failing organ? There’s a drug for that. Chronic Pain? There’s a drug for that. Clogged arteries? There’s a drug for that. You aren’t healthy but we aren’t sure why? There’s a drug for that. Potentially fatal drug interaction? There’s a –oh wait, shit.

Smash yourself up and we can sew you up. Things that would have killed us 20 years ago are routine to survive now.

But surviving isn’t living.

While nothing can guarantee a long healthy life, I look at my health like a game of poker. Every day, I have to push all-in. We all do, we have no choice. We put our lives on the line all day by crossing the street, stepping outside, picking up a trash can, everything. Hell, some folks bite it taking a dump.

We don’t control our bets, and we sure don’t control the cards on the table, so that just leaves the cards in our hand, our “hole” cards. And in that case, we have some options.

In real poker, I want aces. If I have a crappy hand, like 2-7 off suit, I won’t play. In life, we get to pick our “hole” cards.

We can choose to be active, strong and healthy. We control what we eat. While most everyone our in the world will argue about what the “perfect” diet or exercise might be, we all know what the worst is. We know that the standard, American, processed, sugary diet is killing us. The lazy, tired, sedentary life is killing us. We probably don’t need to be “perfect” but even being pretty good gives us all a fighting chance.

We hear in virtually every study that obesity is the primary marker for almost every disease of civilization. Eat natural food. Do some walking. Your weight will come down.

Congrats, you have pocket tens.

Start experimenting with your diet and find if you need lower carb or higher protein. Try different workouts. Build some muscle. Take some vitamins. Eat some Kale.

Push for Jacks or Queens.

If we are willing to give ourselves a shot, the benefit of the doubts, then we have a better chance of avoiding disease, cancer or injury. We have a better shot at healing faster when we do get ill or injured. There are not guarantees, the best we can do is improve our odds.

I’m pushing for aces myself.

We were watching Anthony Bourdain’s travel show the other day, and I was really hit by a comment that he said. The show was a tour through the Burgundy region of France, and if you have been to any part of France outside of Paris, you can really appreciate the beauty of the provinces. But Bourdain’s show is about Food, and also, his reactions to food. So this comment erupted after a tour of wineries, shops, all the usual places, and he and his traveling companion were in some side market, tasting vegetables from the region. After tasting some random – whatever, he said:

“If vegetables tasted like this in America, people would actually eat them!”

I was floored.

This comment reactivated ideas that had been swimming in my head for a long time since I have started eating a “Paleo” type diet.

I went today to get my Flu shot at Microsoft. It is one of the cool corporate benefits that we get, and they will also to a quick health screening as well. A mail get sent around to everyone to click a link that takes you to the internal wellness site, where you can pick a time to get your shot, and even take the spouse along for free.

When you sign up, the tool also walks you through a short series of questions about your health habits, do you exercise, how many hours, what do you eat, etc. The one that made me pause was, “Do you eat fatty red meat such as Hamburgers, Pizza…”

I stopped right there.

I’m not sure where you eat, but the last time I saw a hamburger, the “meat” was the smallest part of it. And most of the “red” on the last pizza I saw was sauce. The next choice was eating “Lean” meats such as chicken breasts. Third place is you’re fired.

My eating habits, of eating “fatty” cuts of meat that aren’t wrapped in a great blob of gluten isn’t even a choice. How about the quality of meat that I eat? Do they really think that the source and feed or hormone profile makes no difference?

If you have ever read any paleo blog or book, a common refrain is the poor quality of studies that claim the benefits of whole grains or the dangers of fats in the diet, when confounders in these studies wipe out any chance of getting valuable data. Calling Pizza a “Red Meat” happens often. Not controlling for food quality is common.

If you talk with someone who advocates a “Low Carb” diet, it will be uncommon to find two people who agreed what “low” exactly means. And virtually none of the studies out there, pro or con, state this clearly.

We frequently hear about how a ratio of macronutrients will give one he alt benefit or another, vs how many calories are needed per day. But does your body treat 100 calories of cake the same as 100 calories of spinach? How about 10 ounces of cheap, feedlot beef vs 10 ounces of prime, organic grass-fed bison? Are carbs the same in apples and bread? Is fat the same between Soy oil and avocado? How fresh are the ingredients?

If I buy a tomato from the store, even from the organic pile, and eat a slice, it’s pretty good. But its just a tomato. We get freshly picked tomatoes delivered each week ripened on the vine, and cutting into one release smells of the vine and soil, and with that I can remember being 12 years old, running in my grandparents yard and brushing against their tomato plants, potted in wine barrels, releasing that same smell when I hit them.

If the quality of food can impact my memories so much, how is that impacting my health? How is the lack of that quality impacting our health?

The whole concept of eating high-quality, clean, natural food is such a novelty in our culture now. We look to packaged, enriched foods and expensive drugs to make up for missing basics in our diet. We want simple, easy numbers to track (100 calories! 50 carbs!) so we can check them off of a list.

But our bodies don’t run on checklists.

We are what we eat. We are what our food eats. We are where our food grows.

Those are first principles. Eat real food.

After that, we can discuss eating more of one thing or less of another. But discussing and arguing over how much garbage and chemical by-product we should eat isn’t the answer.

Once first principles are correct, we can move to the next step.