Category Archives: Commentary

N=1 Intoxication Quantification

As I’m sipping a glass of champagne while finishing up some coding for the night (yes, I’m one of those people that don’t think you need a special occasion to drink champagne) an interesting self experiment came to me.  I’ve heard of and seen video of people who are put in driving simulators to show the difference between difference levels of blood alcohol levels and the impact on driving performance.  I’ve sadly seen the direct effect on people as well.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to try to do a direct measurement of this in a safe way?

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We Get Unnecessary Medical Treatment Because We Want To

A link showed up on my Facebook news feed with this article, talking about the all too common practice of doctors pushing stents treatment  that don’t actually save our live for people who don’t need them.  I happened to have been listening to this podcast earlier today talking about the same thing when it comes to prostate screenings, cholesterol medicine, etc.  Both try to address the “why” of these things to varying degrees.  There is the cynical “because there’s money in it” or “the Doctors are too arrogant/too busy/too brainwashed/too much in CYA mode.”  I’m sure those elements play varying degrees case by case but I think there is more of an overriding reason we get these treatments, and that’s because we want them.

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Cranking Up Fitness Focus

With a wedding and honeymoon now out of the way it’s time to get back to being serious about my fitness levels again.  Yes, I was able to not go totally off the rails over the last few months but I had a bit of a fitness deficit to work out of to begin with.  All of the excuses, legitimate or otherwise, are now gone.  No, I’m not going to do an experiment.  No, I’m not going to be targeting some specific weight loss, muscle increase, or performance goals.  I’m instead taking the tools that I’ve applied to those sorts of expeditions and applying that to a more general concept.

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A Shift Away From Health Experimentation

My experimentation in fitness has taken a back seat these past few years.  My hardcore experimentation really has fallen more into hitting a point of being unsatisfied with where I am and then clawing back for a bit.  While I intend to continue to write on that topic as the desire strikes me, the topic of experimentation that has been occupying my time recently has been my good old computers/software engineering.  I’m adding a section to this blog specifically for this, and changing the format around to accommodate that.  I look forward to getting all of these thoughts out of my head and onto “paper”.

Milk and Potatoes Is All You Need?

I’m reading this article on a proposed new law that would make it illegal to put your child on a vegan diet.  The law itself sounds a bit heavy handed, but after a few well publicized cases of parents showing up to the hospital with very malnourished children, and one of them even dying, it wasn’t happening in isolation. These were obvious cases of parents not making sure their child’s diet was working for them.  They were doing very egregious things like giving a six week old nothing but soy milk and juice.  I’m not a doctor or a parent, but even I know that doesn’t make sense.  In the article comments on ArsTechnica one of the commentators stated, “If you have a non vegan diet, you can live exclusively off potatoes and milk. Not the best diet, but it’s livable and you get most of the vitamins and nutrients you need.”  I thought to myself, “I don’t think that’s correct.”  So, I went to figure out if it was true…

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I’m Not Labeling Myself By My Diet

Today was the day that health related podcasts come up on my listening roll as I drive around running errands.  In that podcast there was a discussion with a vegan about what kind of vegan she was.  There was a good half hour discussion of the ins and outs of the different kinds of vegans (who knew), and that a relative of her was really a vegan except for one or two things she just had to eat.  I ended up being done my errands half of the way through, but the entire dialog was exasperating.  I’ve never labeled myself by any particular eating style, if for no other reason than I don’t subscribe to one for any particular length of time.  But it did make me wonder why would anyone do that?  What are the advantages?

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Fasting is not Starving

When starting off on this alternate day fasting experiment, I was expecting fasting days to be brutally difficult.  I’m a person that often can’t go more than a couple hours without putting some kind of food in my mouth.  It’s like a reflex.  When I’m being healthy it may be carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, or other healthy food.  When I’m not, it’s mini-candy bars, pretzels, candy, and other sweets.  Breaking that cycle was one of the main things I’m trying to accomplish with the alternate day fasting experiment.  While there is a longing for indulging those impulses I’m not feeling true hunger, but when was I ever really?

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Causation Doesn’t Equal Correlation (or Is My FitBit Screwing Me)

I’ve built up a lot of narrative in the past couple of years about why my body composition estimates went from being spot on to diverging rapidly.  I presented the graph of my estimated body weight change against my actual in my 2014 recap.


I have had lots of theories but it seemed to correlate well with my marathon training starting up. I’ve been asking if I had “broken my metabolism” or if there may be something else going on.  My weight loss from the 80/10/10 experiment exceeded my projections by several pounds as well.  Maybe I had overcome inflammation that I had created.  Or something to that effect.

Lots of narrative around the correlation, but was it really causation?  This week I was looking at the projections of my weight gain over the past several months, planning for my weight loss tracking for this new experiment.  I was pleased to see that I was spot on in my projections.  Then it occurred to me, I hadn’t been updating my activity levels in my tracking software since November and I had really only been using my FitBit to track sleep most of the time in the September and October time frame where I had those inputs.  So that means that I had taken the FitBit out of the equation and now everything was tracking great again.  Could the obvious problem not have been inflammation or broken metabolisms but that the FitBit is chronically overestimating my calorie estimates?

In the summary article I lamented that the middle of 2013 was when the estimates started diverging.  Guess when I bought the FitBit?  middle of 2013.  In the middle of all of that training as well.  So was it the training or the FitBit?  I’m going to investigate more to find out…


An Even Worse “Ancestral” Diet Arises

This link started making the rounds of my social media and I went from being a little skeptical to down right incredulous. I don’t know whether it is the book author or the article author that have more fail going on, but needless to say we have yet more people trying to greenwash away healthier eating because “science”, supposedly.

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