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Insulin Resistance

Two nutrition books have made their way into my reading list this year.  They are Why We Get Fat and You: On a Diet.  I was impressed by both.  Both share a similar stance that the common calorie energy balance is the incorrect model for human accumulation of fat.  By calorie balance, I mean Calories In – Calories Out = Fat Accumulated.  Instead, the fat accumulation balance may be more complicated and based on types of calories ingested, carbohydrates being a much more significant contributor than ingested plant and animal fat.  The book Why We Get Fat really dives into this subject with amazing clarity and objectivity.

I think we are still in a development phase in the field of nutrition*.  One concept new to me is insulin resistance.  In summary, insulin resistance is different for everyone and how efficiently your body converts carbohydrates into fat.  It would explain why my girlfriend can live on a constant HFCS IV drip and remain nearly single digit body fat, and why a beer and pasta is probably not a good diet for me.

*We as opposed to the ever popular “they.”  When you look at the world as we being the experts, there are a realm of unknowns waiting to be discovered or at least found in the literal definition of the word research.  We are always waiting for answers from “them.”  I don’t know who these “they” people are, but “they” often are the root causes and experts on everything known to man.  What if “they” don’t really care about solving our problems?  </rant>

It’s also interesting to me that I didn’t think much beyond a sideline interest in the Paleo diet trend going around.  People need to hear an agenda tailored for their own audience.  As a Myers-Briggs -NT-, I prefer logic.  Others will prefer convincing historical analysis.  We all tick differently.

There definitely are more similarities than differences with Paleo and the concept of insulin resistance.  And perhaps even more importantly in the nutrition subject is to take George Sheenan’s advice that we are each an experiment of one.

There are somethings I am more on board with than others in both books.  However, as a recent couch surfer passionate about nutrition, who we coincidentally had while I was reading one of the books above, said: it’s like saying we digest food the same as fire consumes cardboard.  In that simple example, the calorie balance model seems too simple for our digestion system that relies on multiple biological conversions and side-reactions.

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streaming consciousness

I have a few thoughts on my mind lately: one is ditching the car and the other is couch time.

First: couch time.  To make a long story short, I would often return late at night from the computer lab and go directly to bed.  Like, do not pass Go; do not go to the bathroom; do not remove clothes; do not take shoes off; and then, wake early and go directly back to the computer lab.

So, my roommates required that I sit on a coach for 15 minutes a day, with stipulations if I didn’t.  I found out I like video games.  I often played Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt.  Old School.

Anyway, I’ve started doing couch time more.  I sit in the front of our apartment building.  It ends up being around 6pm.  I’ve waved to this biking surfer quite a few times, and I’ve figured out who I can say “Hi neighbor!” to and whom to just wave at.  Additionally, since I’m usually sweaty from biking or running and live near Dog Beach, dogs like to smell my . . well, dogs say hi to me more than humans.  It’s interesting.

The other: ditching the car.  This has been on my thoughts for a while. I’ve challenged myself to a month without the car.  So far, I have one unjustified cheat on this goal, during week 2.  The more I do it, the more I see that I don’t “feel” like I’m missing out on as much as I thought I would.  There would be a decent change.  However, I just feel so much better about not having a car: mainly higher energy and a more child-like goofy outlook.  It’s also a fun way to add a challenge in your life.

I don’t know if I’ll end up selling my car or not.  It would make getting to the trails and wilderness harder, but at the same time I might relish in those experiences more.  Maybe not?

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Even Steven

I try to hop at every opportunity to save someone in pain.  Unfortunately, it’s mainly for selfish reasons because I know I will need help in the future.

jeff praised me for his brilliant mistake on the track, when he needed a ride. He tenderized his feet trying to run too many miles at his first barefoot running attempt.  It just made sense to help him.  (1) I knew if I were him that I would want a ride, and (2) I do stoopid things all the time.

And so soon, I needed to cash in my credit. Rod saved me with ibuprofen, so now I’m back to Even Steven.

I’ve now had two bad allergic reactions from a sunburn, at ages 14 and 28:

I’m predicting that the next time I will have a bad sunburn will be at either age 42 or 56.

I can only explain this two to four hour allergic reaction as an insane itch.  It’s not that the itch demands a deep pressure or fast speed. It’s that the itch is only suppressed when it has a CONSTANT application of cold water, gentle massaging, and the aid of drugs.

The first time I had this experience was worse than this second time.

First Time, Age 14

After doing one of my favorite jobs in the world, mowing lawns, and other yardwork all afternoon on the first warm spring day in May, without a shirt, I awoke in the middle of the night.  What first started with a slight itch soon transformed into a I’M GONNA DIE / WAKE EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE UP type of event.

My dad soon had me in an ice bath and was rubbing my back, which apparently turned purple.  I know it was a relatively long time to scratch someone’s back, maybe 4 hours.  One detail I remember vividly is sitting in cold water in my blue plaid Calvin Klein boxers.  I was 14, and my dad’s girlfriend (now wife) was making sure both me and my dad were doing ok.  With her visits to the bathroom, those boxers I earlier threw off suddenly flew back on with her checking in.  Anyway, with my dad’s help, I avoided insanity for that intense experience.

Second Time, Age 28

This time, in my infinite wisdom of being 28, and a few days following an afternoon of day-dreaming on the beach, I set my grocery bags down and felt an itch.  I didn’t think much of it.  Like the night before, a quick cold shower should cease the itch.  Nope.  Without some kind of ibuprofen or antihistamine, I was scared the itching would never cease.

So while itching and massaging myself in the shower I did what anyone in that position would do: I yelled out the window!

Then, being the rational guy I am, I kept yelling if anyone could hear me and if they did could they bring me some ibuprofen.  No avail.  On to my next option for help, I clad myself with a towel and made the 60 second dash, without my precious cold water, to get my cell phone.  (20/20 hindsight, the towel was useless: if no one could hear me, then no one could see me and/or pull an “I’m so offended” move on me.) After a few phone calls (ranked in order of location convenience), I found a life-line!  It was very mentally alleviating to know that Rod could not only hear me, but help me.

Not to worry though, I kept yelling for help while itching myself in the shower.  To ensure (whatever) person coming to help was not mentally bothered, I put on my Old Navy red and yellow plaid boxers while in the shower.  Rod gave me ibuprofen; then, I told him that I envied his high level of melanin.

The itching finally stopped.  And, in about 2 hours of a constant stream of cold water, all my water conservation — via lack of bathing and quick showers — also came to an Even Steven.  But hey, you can’t win ’em all.

After cooling my core for 2 hours in that shower, I did what any other shivering idiot would do with a nearby sleeping bag suitable for conditions above 15,000 feet of elevation: I wrapped myself in a 0°F sleeping bag in the biggest heat wave of the summer.  Meanwhile, my first life-line of the evening, dre, sat next to me dripping in sweat while serving me some comfort foods: orange soda and pizza.

I think these are the key take-aways:

  • My parents no longer buy my underwear.  I wear the cheap stuff now.
  • The above graph is a bad extrapolation: I’m plotting a casuality, not a causality.
  • In two independent experiences while in that sleeping bag, I’ve not only felt cold and terrible, but I’ve also accidentally and negatively impacted water sources.
  • Please put me on speed dial for when you are in an emergency. I promise I will pay-it-backwards.
  • Wear sunscreen.

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