Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sugar and Carbohydrates are the real baddies, not Fat

Sweet things will make you fat, not eating fat, Free Image from Dreamstime by Serghei Starus

Need free photos, register here with Dreamstime

For most of my adult life, I've heard that FAT is the main reason why people are unhealthy and obese. Most of the time I haven't taken much notice of this because being fat hasn't been one of my issues. One thing I do remember is people being grossed out because I've eaten the fatty part of bacon and ham. Because of what we've been told, most people equate fat on food with getting fat. The latest studies seem to disprove this.

A report in yesterday's Independent, points the chubby finger at carbohydrates, not at fats. Sugar and refined carbohydrates like white bread are increasingly being seen as the bad guys (rice and noodles?) and ironically these are the foods found in 'low fat' ready meals and other 'low fat' alternatives. I was really surprised that through eating 'low fat' products people were eating an additional 21 teaspoons of SUGAR a day, let me repeat that 'AN EXTRA 21 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR A DAY.'

Overweight? Quit the 'low fat' ready meals, they're full of sugar. Free image from Dreamstime by Caraman

What's convincing about this report, is that it's an analysis of related studies that cover 350,000 people.

Eat meat, it won't make you fat!! Free image from Dreamstime by Marek Kosmal

So the latest evidence is that sugar and carbohydrates are worse for you than fat. Which reminds me, when I was just a kid, our fridge used to be fill of animal fat (dripping). Everything was cooked with dripping but that has changed over the past thirty years because people have become more 'fat' conscious. Now it seems that we have been mislead. Bring back the dripping?

Royalty Free ImagesFree images for your blog and daily life

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heavy to Moderate Drinker - Thoughts

Another Drink - Tasnadi Erika Dreamstime Free Photos

Click here for free photos from Dreamstime

One for the road, yet you don't get on the road until three or four later. Sounds familiar? It is to me. Whilst I'm a different drinker to when I was twenty and probably a more controlled one, I still advance from one or two drinks to five or six without thinking or even with any resistance. When I'm sober, I can cringe at my lack of control but as soon as I start I want to get happy (pissed).

Why can't my sober self moderate my drinking? Well, I've been thinking about this a lot over the pass couple of months.

First I think a lot of it has to do with how you perceived drinking as a child and how you started drinking.

When I was a kid, most of the adults in the house drank (I live with my grandparents, their friend and my dad). They drank to relax after a day's work. Guinness was their favourite and they drank in moderation. We were allowed to try and I enjoyed the fact that the head on Guinness made me sneeze. Anyway, I'm getting away from the point, to me, drinking booze meant that you were an adult. This was very strong in my mind and as I think most people can remember, every kid wants to grow up (that's until they've grown up and then many want to regress). So I think drinking is a very adult thing to do.

I drank some drink throughout my childhood but it wasn't until I was fifteen, coming on sixteen, that I really started to drink. It was very much an escape into another world. We had 'Mad' nights, where the intention was to drink as much as possible and go mad. Drinking gave us excitement and release as well as stories. Getting sick and nursing handovers didn't really matter that much, when you were telling a friend an anecdote from the night before.

The believes behind our drinking;

• The more, the better.
• It's cool to drink.
• Getting wasted gives experiences.
• Getting drunk is the point.
• Drink and be happy.

This basically drove my drinking habits through till I my thirties. In fact, moving to London added some new believes like

• Eating is cheating
• Halves are for 'poofs' (Well, I think this one is throughout the UK).
• Cheer up, have a beer/drink!

I do drink differently now to when I was in my early twenties. Then I just drank to get drunk (I fooled myself I was socialising) and achieved it 100% of the time, sometimes I ended up being sick. As I’ve got older I’ve cut back a little on drinking, I definitely drink less often and to a lesser extent. I still drink fast and without pause between drinks, though I now occasionally drink water with alcohol.

How to change to be a moderate drinker?

I need to disassociate ‘the more the better’ with ‘some is good but a lot is bad’. In an academic sense I know this to be true but when I’m in a bar, this is not what I think. I kinda go on autopilot, drink a drink, finish, get a new drink. Repeat until I feel tired (which I do now I’m older) or drunk.

I can work harder on replacing the thinking ‘the more the better’, with ‘some alcohol for a good time but a lot makes me feel bad.’ Perhaps, I can put this message in my wallet to remind me when I'm drinking.

I’m not sure why I drink so fast, perhaps it’s to get that ‘goodness’ from feeling tipsy. And I haven't come up with a way to try and tackle this yet.

I believe the area where I can make the biggest different at the moment is to wait between drinks. This is part of my drinking pattern that I believe is the easiest to break. There’s no need to get another drink straight away. Perhaps, I can set a stopwatch for 30 minutes so that I get a break between drinks or I just replace a ‘drink’ with water. I think if I wait, I'll feel anxious at first but it's a point in my habit that can be changed. If I wait it out enough times, it'll become a new habit.

I think working on these two points will help me moderate my drinking, once I’ve started. From my experience so far, I’ve found it easier not to drink than to drink a little. Now I want to solve that problem, by changing the habit of my drinking.

Are you in a similar position? Do you want to moderate your drinking? Do you have any suggestions on how to moderate (not give up!)?

Thanks for reading.

From a sober Chris - good night.

Royalty Free Images

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Review

Monthly Review - Photo by Galina Barskaya, Dreamstime

Free Photos Dreamstime

Another month has gone.
How quickly time goes.
To recap, here were my aims for March

• To maintain a sugar free diet.
• To experiment with low carbohydrate diet. At first, I want to take notes on the effects of eating or not eating carbohydrates on the teeth.
• To backup internet research on teeth with conversations with professions from the industry.
• Read up and publish a blog on Vitamin D
• Cut down on the number of days I drink, especially the number of days I drink more than 3 pints (UK measure)
• Exercise 14 times. I also want to include swimming and tennis this time.

My diet has been basically sugar free and I usually have no problems avoiding it. I ate sugar, knowingly, on three occasions this month. Two were birthday cakes and the other was high cacao chocolate - a chocolate night. At the moment, there's loads of chocolate in the house, so will probably have another chocolate soon.

Low carbohydrate diet, I did at the start of the month, had many meals without carbohydrates. I felt that my teeth feel cleaner if I didn't eat carbohydrates but to be honest this is just a feeling. I didn't consciously check. On the 14th I went to Japan and since then I haven't been avoiding carbohydrates.

I didn't contact any professions about teeth care.

Vitamin D - I didn't do anything on this. Perhaps, my motivation is low because I probably get enough Vit D as I live in a hot sunny country and I'm spending more time outside these days.

Drinking, the breakdown is thus; 17 days I had some drink, 14 days I didn't. I drank more than 3 pints on 9 days and less than 3 pints on 7 days. I feel this is still too high but I did a lot of thinking why I drink like I do. I'll publish that in a separate blog.

Exercise, Low energy exercise for more than three hours - 14 times (mostly in Japan), high energy 5 times (jogging and sprinting, and biking). I didn't go swimming or play tennis, though I went swimming today.

In general, I'm happy with the process I've made this month. I want to push up the amount of high energy exercising I'm doing. I'm pretty sure this will go up in April. I'm also still flossing everyday and I usually swill my teeth with water after eating. I had no problems with my teeth this month.

The only downside, health wise was getting a cold just before going to Japan.

Royalty Free Images

Monday, March 22, 2010

Zen Meditation

Zen Garden

I've been in Japan for 10 excellent days and had the opportunity to take a Zen meditation class. The class was at the Shunko-in Temple, Kyoto, with the Rev. Takafumi Kawakami giving the class.

Rev. Takafumi Kawakami said that Zen Buddhism is concern with making the right choices in the moment. Focusing on now, can change your past and your future, with every decision opening up a different set of options. Unfortunately, most people are not focus on the moment but are lost in the past or the future. This is especially true with modern life.

Meditation is one way to help you focus on the moment.

In the class we focused on our breathing in two 15 minutes sessions.

First, we focused on the bridge of the nose when we breathed in. The focus is here because the area is very sensitive. We were told to breath in deeply.

Next we held our breathe for a short time.

Then we exhaled slowly and after we had finished we paused before repeating the cycle again.

After the sessions, I felt very relaxed and energized.

The Rev. Takafumi Kawakami said that it's best to practice often, even for a minute or two a day rather than doing a long session.

Shunko-in Temple website - if you go to Kyoto, you can stay at the temple. They have rooms.

Stock Photography Community

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The 10 Minutes Exercise Routine

No time to exercise? Dreamstime Free Image

Free Photos Link

I came across this last year and I used it for a while, especially on days I felt lazy.

The Routine

3-4 minutes slowly warming up.

If on an exercise bike

1. 30 seconds pedaling as fast as possible.
2. 30 seconds slow pedaling.
3. Repeat four times.

I ran on the spot.

It felt good doing it and it was fun in a mad way. Last spring, I used this exercise, with running and swimming and I felt great and very alive.

The only worry I had was that I was running bare feet on tiles and I wasn't sure about the impact on my knees.

Studies in Scotland and Canada shows that the exercise has many benefits.

• Reduces the risk of developing Diabetes.
• Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The Scottish study was done on young men aged 20 or so.

Further reading

Independent Article

Video on a simalar workout

Royalty Free Images

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Time is Wealth

Antonio Ovejero Diaz - Time is Wealth Free Image Dreamstime

Dreamstime Free Photo Link

This is how travel writer Rolf Potts sees it and it makes perfect sense to me too. But in this modern world of endless distractions it's difficult to keep to this in mind.

To make the most of my time, I've been writing down the 2 or 3 most important things I need to do each day. This has helped and last week gave me some very productive days at writing. I managed to contact two editors and sent an email to the local English Newspaper asking for editorial contact detail, as well as drafting some articles.

But I'm still distracted very easily.

I used to waste a lot of time reading the news. I've managed to cut this down dramatically but sometimes the headlines grab me and I find that I've wasted 10, 20, 30 minutes. But why not read the news? Why not; Because it's usually depressing, you can't do much about it and it's mostly irrelevant to your life. The same could be said about celebrity worship.

Microstocks - I need to streamline my time on this. I need to concentrate on more profitable pictures, streamline my workload and constantly ask myself, am I doing something valuable now. The biggest waste of time, is constantly checking to see if I got any new sales - usually there isn't and I feel disappointed. When I check for sales, I also just click on random stuff as something to full in the time.

E-mails - I've subscribed to many streamlines of information and I've found my inbox is now overloaded. I think I will change the way I use email, so that I only check it twice a week and at those times, I'll response quickly to urgent emails.

My home is cluttered, which is a big distraction.

I'm going to take notes on what distracts me and I'll see how I can make better use of my time.

Next post - Exercise for People short of time.


Zenhabits on limiting distractions

Rolf Potts Travel Blog

Royalty Free Images

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Aims

Healthy Girl eating an apple by Petar Neychev of Dreamstime

Check out Free photos on Dreamstime here

Since the beginning of the year, my health has been going in the right direction. I haven't stuffed any colds this year, I feel that I have more energy and I'm doing more exercise. I've cut down drastically on the sugar in my diet and I've learnt a lot about health that I didn't know before.

There has been set backs, like the teeth incident last month, but even that has turned out to be positive as I took the opportunity to learn more about what people could do to take care of their teeth. Also, I'm still drinking too often to get drunk.

From this the experience of the last two months and from what I've read, I'm confident that if you want to be healthy, you can. It's up to you!

Here are the targets for this month

• To maintain a sugar free diet.
• To experiment with low carbohydrate diet. At first, I want to take notes on the effects of eating or not eating carbohydrates on the teeth.
• To backup internet research on teeth with conversations with professions from the industry.
• Read up and publish a blog on Vitamin D
• Cut down on the number of days I drink, especially the number of days I drink more than 3 pints (UK measure)
• Exercise 14 times. I also want to include swimming and tennis this time.

Royalty Free Images