This has been quite a year of lifestyle transformations for a lot of people I know, and a lot of it has been spawned by documentaries. Health documentaries aren’t new, perhaps the grand-daddy of this current generation going all the way back to Super Size Me in 2004. There is also no shortage of new awareness about problems with the Standard American Diet (SAD) between all of the various diet and lifestyle trends. It therefore makes sense that year after year more documentaries are being cranked out covering the topic of diet and health from a myriad of points of view. However the quality of these documentaries to seems to be plummeting, but they still seem to be showing success into converting people to healthier diets. The question I struggle with then is if that’s a net positive or still a net negative.
I’ve been a computer geek literally my whole life, at least as far back as I can remember. I grew up getting “online” back before there was a thing called “internet” and quickly transitioned into all of the technologies associated with it. What started off as costing way too much to be online and with mostly text based interactions has become, as we all know, a pervasive and universal multimedia rich infinite stream of connectivity. But is that connectivity too much, or at least too much for me?
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?
The 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives had lots of testimonials. Has anyone done any follow ups to see where they are years later?
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.
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.
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”.
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…
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?
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?