Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eating the Good Stuff

My father loves telling the story about a case he won in 1996. He was and still is a partner for an internationally recognized law firm so you would assume that the case had something to do with some major international players. Nope. The case was with my mom over whether or not Fat-Free Mayonnaise and Fat-Free Peanut Butter was healthier for you than the Regular stuff.

Our family lived in Belgium at the time so whenever my father would go to the States on business he would bring back certain food staples that we couldn't find at local stores. Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise where two of the staples he always returned with. Well my mother, always looking to keep the family as healthy as she could, assumed that Fat-Free food products where healthier than regular products.

The problem was that the Fat-Free stuff tasted terrible. No one liked eating the Fat-Free Peanut Butter or Mayonnaise but it was 'healthier'; hard to make a case against that. Then, after a return trip to the states my father, brilliantly I might add, suggested that my mom compare the amount of sugar in the Fat-Free Peanut Butter to the amount of sugar in the Regular Peanut Butter. The fact that he suggested she look at the sugar content was smart because a high sugar content was what kept soda and candy out of the pantry.

To my mom's dismay, the sugar content of the Fat Free stuff was double what the Regular stuff had. Those crafty Scientists and marketing Execs at Jif and Hellmans got everyone looking at the big 0 on the label under Fat while they slipped sugar in the back door.

This all took place in the late nineties, since then companies have become more clever with their marketing and better at manipulating food. A quick check of the sugar and fat content is no longer enough to tell if what your eating is good for you. Now you must expand your scrutiny to include the actual ingredients of the food you eat. Part of the food industries ability to manipulate food comes from chemical manipulation. Chemicals that don't necessarily register as calories, fat, carbs, or sodium are in much of the foods we eat. For example; not many people recognize that beside being less than healthy, McDonald's foods are chock full of chemicals. To see for yourself read this short article.

So what to do. Alena and I are making our way through Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, by Michael Pollan. He is the guy that wrote the pretty well known book,The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Anyway we go through one rule a week and try to shape are eating habits accordingly.

Here are some of his rules that we keep in mind:
1. Eat Food
2. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.
7. Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
8. Avoid food products that make health claims.
10.Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not.

I know this is a lot of information, but I think its the kind of information that blends well with everyday decision about food. Who knows, maybe you'll get to go back to eating to good stuff!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Run by the River 25 March 2010

Drainage Waterfall

Green starting to come in.

Canal Clogged with fallen trees

I took a different approach to the run today. Normally I like to get some good distance in but today I didn't worry about it. Instead I just went exploring.

It's a bit hard to tell from the picture but there is a pass thru to the left of the up right tree in the middle. That little area turned out to be the easiest way to continue going the way I was going. As I got close my mind started creating a thousand different things to worry about, "what if there's snakes, spiders,the log breaks, get stuck, etc etc, well I almost didn't go thru....I really was getting myself worried. The I remember a Litany I made myself remember from the book Dune, 40th Anniversary Edition (Dune Chronicles, Book 1)
It goes like this:

-----Fear is the Mind Killer. Fear is the little Death that brings about total obliteration. I will face my fears. I will permit them to pass over and through me. When they have gone past I will turn to see fears path. Where it has gone there will be nothing only I will remain.----

So instead of thinking about all the things I could think of I concentrated my mind on the litany and made it through no problem.

This didn't mean I was careless. I was tempted to cross the water on this log but didn't, litany or not, that would have been a bad decision.

I did remain vigilant, not just for dangerous things but also for really cool things.

See these hollowed out areas on this rock.......they where carved out from eddy's created by the rock impeding the flow of the river.

I run on trails a lot but I never see as interesting plants as I see along the river. These blue bells and the little twister tops where everywhere.

It was a good run.

Why I root for Palm

Almost all of the pictures and video I post are done on my Palm Pre. The phone works great for me. I do hope for the success of Palm as a company because they house my data and I really like the convenience of the Palm Os operating system. I also like that Palm is a bit less main stream. Don't get me wrong, I think the IPhone is tops but its kinda nice to have something different. Best of luck to you Palm. Here's to our Mutual Success.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To crack or not to crack?

I was asked the other day whether or not it was a good thing to crack your back, neck, knuckles, etc.

I chose to answer the question this way:

Cracking you back,neck, not necessarily bad. My knees crack in the mornings, sometimes my back cracks when I twist.....I don't pay very much attention to those sounds. However, when I'm out and about, I pay very close attention to any cracking sound. If I'm ever standing on something and I hear a crack I move. Mortars in Iraq landed with a CRACK. If you are ever walking on ice and you hear a crack. my advice would be to take heed and run like hell.

I have since tried to think of a cracking sound in nature that didn't cause me to take heed. I couldn't think of any.

In summation, I don't worry if parts of my body sometimes crack, but I wouldn't go out of my way to try to make it happen.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Running and Cigarette breaks.

As a smoker I would take 10 5-7 minute breaks in a day. Now as a runner I have one 60-75 minute break in the day. In the military it was perfectly acceptable to stop what you where doing and have a smoke. Sergeants left you alone, people gave you that time to yourself. I get that same feeling from running now.

I bring this up because I believe running to achieve an objective is great, but not the only way to motivate yourself to do it. Running comfortably, free from constraints or expectations is free time for yourself. Even better is the fact that other people respect it and like grabbing a smoke in the Military, people will let you be while you do it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pre Spring photo

Keep this pic in mind.  A month or so from now I will take another picture of this exact place and show you what has been waiting to show up.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Running on the Potomac

Found a new place to run by the river.

View Larger Map

Below Glen Echo Park there are what I see as two spear head shaped islands. There is a parking lot right above that location across the street from a little white house on the corner of Walhonding and MacArthur Blvd. I get to the river from there.

Running next to the river reminded me of growing up by the James River in Richmond Virginia.

What I notice now but didn't then are the trails animals leave off the beaten path. These trails are hard to find in the late spring and summer because of all the foliage, but in the winter especially if the ground is soft,they are easy to follow. All you gotta look for is the path of least resistance. Sounds Cliche, I know; but think about it. Animals don't go out of there way to move hard. That's what I got to thinking about when I was running on the Potomac. Every time I would lose the trail I would look for the easiest way to continue moving in the direction I was moving and sure enough I would find the trail. Like I said the trail was easy to see in the soft ground, every step left a track. Zoom in on the land between the water and the footpath... you might find some of these trails.

Anyway it got me thinking about onlyIFITseasy as a path of least resistance.