Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Review

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An eventful month, even though it's the shortest month, it actually seems like a very long month because so much has happened.

The highlight was the bungee jump, I also had trips to Macau and South Taiwan, finished working and I've got my first Extended Licence picture sold for a whopping $28!

Health highlights; It's been a month of long walks (mostly urban), some runs, a worrying toothache and resulting swelling on my left cheek. I've stayed mostly sugar free and kept my tea/coffee count respectful, though I've probably drunk the most alcohol in a very long time. I've done some more reading on 'cavemen' eating and a lot of reading on teeth care.

The details


3rd Feb - a friend bought me a Starbuck's Iced Choco-Coffee concoction with sugary cream on top. After drinking, I felt a headache come on.
14th Feb - Had ice cream. After eating this, I felt a rush of energy, though it could've been the two coffees I had as well (or a combination of them both.
19th Feb - Had a sweet soft tofu dish with condensed milk. No after affects.

It feels good not to have sugar and I now like saying no to offers that contain sugar. I will continue this and hopefully, get a completely sugar free month.

Tea and Coffee

Most days I've kept to 2, though there's been 2 or 3 days when I had 3. Towards the end of the month I had a lot of green tea on some days.


10 non-drink days
7 moderate drink days
12 heavy drink days (more than 3 pints)

It looks bad and my excuse is Chinese New Year. I know excuses are lame. Despite the 12 heavy drink days, I think it was only 2 time that I suffered a hangover. I'll definitely drink less this month (March).

Physical Exercise

10 Long slow walks - though these walks were urban and contained many stops as I was taking pictures.
5 Runs - The runs were between 15 and 20 mins. I've started including 'sprints' with the runs to vary the pace and it's more fun.
1 Bike Ride

I've started taking care of my teeth more.

As well as brushing twice a day I now;

Floss once a day and usually carry some with me.
Swill water around my mouth after I finished eating.
If I'm at home, I finish my meals with a lump of cheese.

The swelling on my cheek was a bit of a scary but it prompted me to go to the dentist and also to do a lot of research about 'teeth care'. I've came across some very interesting information, some of which I've already posted. I've come across other information, which claims that teeth can heal themselves and also they seem to have a more detailed view of what causes dental decay. I'll digest this information and share that post with you this month.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gingivitis - Gum Disease

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This is what the dentist told me I have, though he didn't think it would cause swelling on my cheek. Sounds scary and potentially is very scary as it can lead onto periodontitis (Click and be grossed out). Also dental diseases have been linked to a number of diseases that affect the whole body - cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer's, diabetes, pancreatic etc.

Gingivitis is a common disease and up to 80% of the American adult population suffer from it at sometime.

Luckily, coupled with regular visits to the dentist, you can do a lot to improve the situation though good dental care and diet.

Dental problems, including tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontitis have the same cause. Bacteria present in the month, feed on sugars and fermentable carbohydrates, they then secrete organic acids which lower the PH levels in the mouth. When the PH levels fall below 5.7 problems start. The acids then attack the teeth and gums.

So how to control it?

Reduce the acidity level in your mouth and the time it is exposed to these conditions and you'll improve your oral health. The easiest why to do this is to reduce your sugars and fermentable carbohydrates intake and to control the times when you eat them.

Food to be aware of

The higher the glycemic level of a carbohydrate the more acidic it can make the mouth. Glucose and Maltose are both a 100 but foods such as bread, potatoes, rice also have a high gylcemic level.

For a mind blogging list of carbohydrates and their gylcemic level Mendosa website

A shorter simpler list healthy weight forum

I've mostly removed sugary foods from my diet (but not starchy foods) but you don't have to be so extreme (Though Hujeol, a professor at Washington University states that any fermentable carbohydrate can cause tooth decay). We all need to eat and as long as meals contain a mixture of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, this should counteract the worst effects of foods with a high gylcemic level. From what I read, I still think it's a good idea to wash your mouth with water after a meal and ideally have a lump of cheese to reduce the acidity of your mouth.

After eating your mouth can remind acidic for 20-30 minutes. So if you are sweet toothed, it's better to get that evil sweetness during a main meal and avoid snacking on it. Each time you eat (sugars and starches) you can make your mouth acidic and create the conditions for dental decay.

Snacks to avoid

Sugary things, soft drinks, bananas, dried fruit, probably bread (white and brown).

Possible replacements

Nuts, cheese, I think I need to do more research on this. Some advice from your oral health on possible snacks.

This is the advice from Colgate on snacking. Though most breads have a high gylcermic level.

Changes in diet should be coupled with better care of your teeth and gums.

Brushing twice a day but remember don't brush after eating sugary food or soft drinks as they soften the teeth and if you brush straight after eating these foods, you are likely to etch your teeth.

Floss - once a day. Flossing sites recommend that you carry some on you at all time. I'd agree with this, especially if you already have some troublesome teeth. I have on the top lefthand side of my mouth and food often gets stuck in them.

Sorry, a long one today. I'll work on making the information more concise. I'd like to contact some 'experts' for further advise. I've done a lot of reading on the subject and I'm finding it very interesting.

Lets get rid of dental diseases and smile!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dental Problem - How to take better care.

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Today, I’ve got to go the dentist again. I’ve got an infection in the base of the tooth and I need to get this sorted out. The pain hasn’t been that bad but my face has puffed up a bit. It’s worrying and I hope the dentist will be able to solve the problem.

I’ll let everyone know the problem when I do.

I’ve taken this ‘opportunity’ to research good practice for looking after your teeth.

Things I knew

• Brush your teeth twice a day.
• Flossing your teeth is good.
• Visit a dentist every six months.
• Sugar is bad for your teeth.
• Coke is very bad for your teeth, not because of the sugar but because of the acid in it.

Things that I didn’t know

• Drink water after eating. This washes your teeth and is especially good if you swill the water around your mouth. This is perfect common sense and a practice I’ll like to adopt.
• The reason sugar and carbohydrates are bad for your teeth is that they are turned into acids by bacteria in the month. It’s the acid that attacks the teeth. If you have a sweet tooth and can’t stop eating sweets things, it’s best to eat them all at one time.
• Don’t brush your teeth after drinking a soft drink, juice or eating fruit as this can cause etching on the enamel. It’s better to wash your teeth with water and wait a while.
• Eating raw vegetables such as carrots and celery after a meal is good. This helps clean the teeth and stimulate salvia production. Salvia is the mouth’s natural protection for teeth.
• Cheese is good for your teeth. It’s ideal for snacks and as dessert.

Things that are worth farther investigation

Fermentable carbohydrates, which include rice, bread, corn, flour, potato etc, are considered by a lot of dentists to be bad for dental health. Fermentable carbohydrates breakdown into simple sugars in the mouth and can be turned into acids by bad bacteria. Though dentists are reluctant to advice against eating these foods as the prevailing view is that they are needed for a healthy diet.

But why would our bodies be so designed? Surely food that’s good for dental health would be good for general health. Perhaps there is reason behind the paleo-diet, which sees fats and protein as better for your health than carbohydrates (unless they’re from vegetables). Interesting article on oral health and overall health

From now on

• I’ll start to floss my teeth one a day and will always carry some with me. I remember from flossing before that it’s good for the gums. At first my gums were bleeding when I flossed but this soon stopped and my teeth felt very clean.
• Drink water after eating.
• Continue with no-sugar diet.
• Look into carbohydrates more and possible reduce the amount I eat.


Well laid out article on oral health

Useful article on oral health

Food good for oral health

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

World's Highest Bungee Jump

Pre Jump

The world highest bungee jump is from the Macau Tower and this was also my biggest 'comfort challenge' to date.

I’m better with heights than the average person but throwing yourself off a stupidly high height with just a bungee sounded like madness to me. So much so, I've avoided it for the past twenty years.

From the video you can see I was having trouble with the challenge. At the start of the video, I really couldn't think that well, stay with it though, as the jump is quite funny. I needed two countdowns and I was shaking like mad. The drop is very impressive.


I felt great after and I intended to do another jump the following day but the weather was pretty bad.

I'm glad I did this challenge as it was a difficult one for me. I now have the photos and certificate above my computer. They scream at me "I can do", so if I need to contact an editor for article, I can look at them, and think 'Just do it, I can do anything now'.

My record breaking jump 10/10

Hope you enjoy the video.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Comfort Challenges

I'm writing from Macau, where the weather is getting worse by the minute. It's now heavy rain outside. No photo today.

Comfort Challenges is a termed used (coined?) by Tim Ferriss for challenges that get you outside your comfort zone. One of the ones he suggests is to lie on the floor in a public space and if someone ask if anything is wrong, just answer you need to lie down.

The purpose of them is to breakout of your self imposed limits. Most of us have dreams but they tend to be outside our comfort zone and therefore we need to do things that we find uncomfortable to get them.

Some of mine 'comfort zone' issues include calling myself a photographer (in a serious sense), a travel writer, contacting editors and selling myself (I mean my skills). When I talk to an editor about an article I tend to be a bit defensive and unconfident. I want to change this and I've decided to do a number of 'comfort challenges' to celebrate my 40th birthday.

I'm please to say that I did my biggest comfort challenge yesterday. I was very nervous as you'll see in the video, when I put it up. I did it in Macau to give you a clue but I won't reveal just yet what I did.

Completed Comfort Challenges

Celebrating with everyone in a Sake Bar my 40th. I said that 'I'm 40'. I bought everyone a beer to celebrate with me.
Watching Avatar from 1:30 - 4:30 in the morning and working the next day.
What I did yesterday.

Ones coming up

Getting my hair shaved off - Tuesday

Arranging a video shoot (taking the lead) - theme 'Easy English --- Easy Chinese'. - by the end of Feb

Arranging a photo shoot with some friends (also taking the lead)- the idea is to have fun with photography and to get some model shots for microstock use that my friends would be comfortable with.

Chinese week - I'll go out onto the streets with a dictaphone or video camera. I'll record the written Chinese in my area that I see everyday and more important start conversations with strangers. After the end of Chinese New Year.

Contact 10 editors by the end of February

Those are my 'comfort challenges'. I've done well so far and I feel they are all achievable. I want this to lead on to a 'Can Do Attitude.' That's what I was saying yesterday after I completed yesterday's mystery task.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Health Targets

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• To remain sugar free. I'll make an exception for a 'custard tart' in Macau.
• To stay to only two caffeinated drinks per day.
• To do strenuous physical exercise 10 times this month. I'll also start researching how other people are exercising.
• To drink more water.
• When I’m at home, to prepare healthy food at home.

Health aims are not the direct focus this month. The focus is ‘Getting Things Done’. I finish work today and I want to get a ‘business mindset’ and focus on what I want to achieve this year.

To do this;

• I’ll write down the three or four most important things I want to achieve the next day. This has already started. (Exercise might be included in this)
• To write about the good things that have happened that day. I’ll write for 10 minutes each day on this. This will start tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

January Health Round Up

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Late, but I spent the weekend away at Sun Moon Lake with my girlfriend.

January Health Round Up

The (refined) sugar free month. Nearly but not quite.

Known times I had sugar

• Two bread rolls made by my girlfriend.
• 26th Jan - baked beans that come with an English Breakfast
• 30th Jan - last day teaching at a school. My youngest class presented me with a cake. After group hugs and a lovely card with letters from all the students in that class, I felt I couldn't say no. Also had a cup of cola that day.

I feel healthier but I'd find it hard to say why. I'm definitely feeling better now than at the start of the month. Also, I can see a lot easier what effect drinking has on my energy levels.

Around about the 11th I had a persistant headache. I felt bad as I haven't had any sugar but I still wasn't feeling that good. I checked a Patrick Holford book on nutrition to see what he said about sugars. I discovered from this that its not only sugar that affects the blood sugar levels. Many other things do as well, so from that review, I cut down on caffeinated drinks. It was cold and I was drinking 7 or 8 cups a day. I now drink only two. My replacement drinks for the other teas and coffees has been boiled water. It's good and it keeps me warm.

An indirect benefit of having a ban on a certain type of food, is that you get to say no more often. I quite enjoyed saying no to sweets and it feels good.


Being sugar free is good and I think I've got a health boost from it. I intent to stay sugar free.


I did strenuous training five times. I went running 3 times and walk for more than 3hrs two times. I think I can do more.


I had 16 non-drinking days
I had 6 moderate drinking days
I had 9 heavy drinking days

Drinking days were a little up from normal. I turned 40 in January, which I think accounted for some of the increase.

On the positive side, I've been much more consistent with drinking water whilst drinking alcohol, especially at home. It's starting to feel more natural now.

That's my health round up. I think I succeed in having a lot less sugar than normal and I feel confident that this will become a habit. I'm also happy that I've changed my caffeine habit to something more moderate. I see that I don't do enough exercise and would like to do more.

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