There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it. - Mary Wilson

My current system for staying alive

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: | 1 Comment »

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Image courtesy Saif

Anyone who’s known me for a while, knows that health wise, I’ve been through some shit.  Although it’s been an extremely long process, I’ve made some pretty significant progress lately.  Two years ago I’d wake up and not be able to once a quarter or so.  Now I’m deadlifting about 275 for reps regularly and completely off all medications.  So here’s what I do.

Sleep

Most people don’t get enough sleep, but we’ll get to that later.  What’s more important than how many hours you get, is how good those hours are.   10 hours of sleep isn’t enough with sleep apnea.  When you improve the quality of your sleep you find that you wake up early more naturally.  Improving sleep quality comes from two things, increasing your ability to breath, and decreasing things that wake you up.

  • Drop 10 pounds – Dropping 10 lbs means less weight pushing on your lungs.  Something like a 5% drop in body weight results in 50% decrease in apnea symptoms.
  • Air quality – a $20 humidifier keeps your nasal passage from drying out and getting clogged.  It also provides white noise to keep your lover’s snoring from waking you up.
  • Darkness – Cover the lights on the VCR, put up some heavy curtains, etc.
  • Drop 10 pounds – Why is this listed twice?  Everything you do to drop those 10 lbs also improves your sleep quality.  Exercise and diet have a significant effect on your sleep.
  • Buy a new bed – Beds don’t last 10+ years despite what the manufacturers may to tell you.  Get a new one that fits your sleep style (softer for side sleepers) and replace it more often.
  • If you think you have mild sleep apnea symptoms (you are more tired when you wake up than when you go to sleep) go see a doctor.  For me the crazy CPAP machine wasn’t necessary, a simple nasal spray (Rhinocort) plus the stuff listed here has pretty much “cured” me.

None of these things are earth shattering and not surprisingly no one thing is going to make a massive impact, but together you start to see a pretty large improvement.  When you don’t sleep well you get dumber and more irritable.  It increases inflammation (joint pain, asthma, etc).  It affects your ability and motivation to do all the other stuff on this list.  Work on quality first then quantity.

Diet

Allen is pretty infamous for putting down some cheeseburgers.  I’m now down to less than one per week, and there’s a lot of reasons why.  Industrialized food is way worse than we think.  Sure burger king and Taco Bell are high in calories, but it’s also high in things we just weren’t meant to eat.  From the chemical “flame broiled” flavor spray, to the corn they feed the cows, this stuff wasn’t even around 30 years ago.  When you cut out all industrialized food lots of things start to improve.  I still eat a half pound of beef a day, it’s just 100% grass fed, cooked by me, and covered in salsa rather than ketchup and cheese.

How to eat cleaner when you’re lazy:

  • 100% grass fed beef – It’s completely different.  Whole foods is the only chain I’ve found that has it.  Buy it in bulk, put it in zip locks and smash it down into 1/2 lb pancakes.  If you smash it flat it will defrost quick and even.
  • BBQ chicken – The folks at Dicks Bodacious barbaque will sell you chopped chicken by the pound.  Having precooked delicious chicken always available in your fridge means no excuse not to eat well.
  • Salsa – Like ketchup only not (usually) full of corn syrup.
  • Blue corn tortilla chips – Perhaps too high in salt, but it’s way better than bread from a nutritional density standpoint.  Throw all these together and you’ve got a pretty low carb meal that’s delicious.
  • Frozen vegetables – Let’s face it green stuff isn’t that good.  If we’re going to eat it make it easy.  Frozen vegetables are usually fresher because they are harvested later and immediately frozen rather than shipped across the world before they are ripe.  Microwave some broccoli.  Microwaving apparently destroys less of the nutrients because it’s faster than steaming.  I’m told that broccoli also helps block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
  • Bananas – A little higher in sugar than I’d like, but a banana per day increases beneficial bacteria and therefore digestion better than those fancy live active yogurts.  That’s pretty significant.  If you are eating a lot of protein (as you should) you’ll need some fiber and bananas are wonderful.
  • Fish Oil – Ok, I don’t don’t eat it raw, though I know some people who do.  Take a couple fish oil twice a day and it will rock your world.  It’s primarily a source of Omega 3s which reduce inflamation and do all kinds of fancy things.  Get the entric coated kind that don’t’ have salmon.  Also check the ratio of omega 3′s to total size.  You’re shooting for 50% omega 3′s if you can get it.
  • Dark Chocolate – If you’re going to eat desert don’t fuck around.  Your 100 calorie pack of cookies still has 30 grams of sugar (and zero nutritional value).  Dark (70%+) Chocolate has massive amount of antioxidants,  makes you happy, and increases blood flow to the brain.

Things I no longer consume…at least as often

  • Cheese or dairy – Most people are lactose intolerant or getting there.  Cutting the cheese reduces cutting the cheese.  This includes yogurt with fake or real sugar (you are not eating healthy just because it comes in a small package).
  • Bread – Man wasn’t made to eat bread.  About 1% of the population is completely gluten intollerant.  Combine this with the fact that white flour is so worthless the government says you have to add nutrients to it (enrich) before people are allowed to eat it…and this happened when people knew virtually nothing about nutrition.
  • High fructose corn syrup – It’s death and it’s in virtually everything.  Follow the consumption of corn syrup and it highly correlates with obesity and death rates, to the degree that some countries are considering banning it.  Stop drinking soda of any kind, ketchup, and pretty much anything with sugar added to it.
  • Soy – Sure the risk of phytoestrogens is over played, but all that work you do in the gym is just to raise some hormones a fraction of a percentage.  Why undo that even just a fraction of a percentage.  Pregnant mothers should avoid soy and don’t feed it to small children.  For them it does have a significant impact.

Exercise

Wow!  No shit, working out is good for you?  Ya, here’s how to make it happen.

  • Do stuff you like – I like tennis and I like swimming.  Neither is a big chore so they happen more often.
  • Put someone else in charge.  I broke down and got a personal trainer.  Now I did not go to a chain gym and ask the 25 year old retard who took a weekend class and then wonder why I don’t have ripped abs.  This is a recipe for failure.  I found some of the best dudes in the country.  Think physical therapists who specialize in corrective exercise, occasionally train professional athletes, and who have both have done a 500 lb plus deadlift at some point in their life.  They cost the same as the retard at your chain gym.
  • Make it more important than anything else, because it is.  If you wake up late you probably skip breakfast or the gym to be on time to work, but what about skipping being on time to eat right and go to the gym?  Sounds crazy, but the day after you die of a heart attack you may change your mind.

Work

I’ve given up eating shit sandwiches all day.  You can’t be healthy while working for people you don’t like doing something your not excited about.  This is the hardest change, but it’s the most important one.

Resources

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070221101326.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachidonic_acid


One Comment on “My current system for staying alive”

  1. 1 gyakusetsu said at 9:38 am on October 5th, 2010:

    I see you’ve come around:

    “Sure the risk of phytoestrogens is over played….”


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