Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fish Fraud!

I am breaking the World Series hiatus because this story was too much to keep quiet about:
According to this interview up to 48% of fish served in restaurants in the Boston area are not the species reported on the menu. Percentages for mislabeled fish in Grocery stores was much lower, but is still an annoyingly high 15% .
Both of these studies were done in the particularly Seafood savvy markets of Boston, and here in the PNW. I shudder to think what the percentages are in parts of the country where the chances of a commercial fisherman walking in off the street is much lower.
Substituting tilapia for red snapper is ridiculous! Tilapia is a fresh water fish, and looks, tastes, and cooks nothing like snapper. Red Snapper is incredibly overfished. If there is so much goo on it that you can't tell the difference between those two then stop using (or pretending to use) such high demand species. Just tell people the truth.
Ask questions, know your fish, buy whole when you can, and shop at reputable purveyors.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


No blog post this week, the cardinals are in the world series.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

There are no picky cavemen.

Last weekend I was watching a great show/documentary called 'I caveman' on the Discovery channel. Two things struck me about that show. The first was "holy sh#t is that Robb Wolf?!!?" (yes, yes it is). The second thing that struck me were the two women who failed to make it through the show were picky eaters. There is an old axiom among outdoors folks: in a survival situation picky eaters die. I was thinking about that, and what a luxury it is to decide to be a vegetarian/vegan/picky eater. Only people with an excess of calories available to them can choose to disregard some of the most calorie and nutrient dense foods available to us (which doesn't make it right or wrong, it's just a privledge).
I was pondering all this while I was feeding the kiddo. He looked right at me, picked up a piece of food, made a 'yuck' face and hucked it across the room. For the rest of the meal he would not eat that type of food. This make me crazy. He knows and I know, that he ate that food yesterday, and tomorrow that food will be fine, but not today. Almost any parent will tell you this behavior causes an unreasonable emotional reaction even in the most controlled of parents (I have seen it, it's not just me). I always wondered why. Then it hit me.. could it be because picky eaters starve? Could it be my inner cave-monkey is panicked that by refusing to eat what's available today the offspring (and thus my very reason for existing) is going to starve?
So what does this have to do with fitness? Sabotage.
Every person who has lost fat, and gotten fit has at least one relative (mother, father, spouse) who fretted and sometimes actively sabotaged their efforts. Often the person doesn't really know why they are doing it. It's that damn cave-monkey in our brains. The same one that thinks we need to eat as much salt, fat, and sugar as we can get our (slightly) evolved monkey paws on for the coming winter (that probably isn't). That inner monkey is also screaming; "He/you/their loved one is off its rocker! he's going to starve to death! doesn't he know about WINTER!!!!"
It makes them uneasy, and that uneasiness manifests in all kinds of weird behaviors. This is also why people fret so much over exclusionary diets, often in spite of all manner of good information and data. Every person who has ever been a vegetarian/vegan/done atkins, or gone paleo has heard a relative say "that can't be good for you." When pressed they can't really tell you why not.
I think a lot of closed minded people (myself included) have simply pointed and said "WEAKNESS! Crab-person! you want to drag me back into the bucket!" To an extent that is true for casual acquaintances, but your true friends and loved ones (I would hope) see what you're doing as positive, but worry. They can't shake their evolutionary response. So what do you do? What are the take-aways to all of this?
First, don't "come out" with every change you make in your diet. Some people feel the need to have a big coming out party every time they're trying something new, it's ok to just say "I'm trying this out, I'll probably go back in a few weeks" even if you don't think you ever will.
Second, don't try to reason away their fears. Talk in emotional terms. Appeal to their emotions, talk about how good you do/will feel once you've done whatever. Talk about milestones you've reached already.
Third, don't become a zealot (particularly till you've tested a diet out for a while). Don't offer advice. If someone asks, answer their questions, but remember diet is a very emotional thing. People assume that if you judge their diet inferior, that you judge them similarly.
Finally, don't be so damned pedantic. Unless you're cutting weight for a sport or competition, you can have a (very small) piece of grandma's pie on Thanksgiving, don't make it a weekly thing, but once a month, once every few months is not going to kill you. If you are excluding foods for reasons other than weight loss, you don't have to explain, just say 'no thank you.'


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kate's log 10/3

I was on a fast train to Slump City over here and I’m fairly certain my sob story is completely cliché, both in it’s cry-for-pity-ness and it’s, well, typical-ness. Recovery sucks just as much emotionally as it does physically, and I’m going to tell you about it.

More than anyone I know, with the possible exception of my beloved, I am completely in tune with my body. This, accompanied by a keen flair for drama, keeps me pretty tightly wound these days. I know all of my body’s tweaks; I know what works and what doesn’t, what I should be doing and what I most definitely should not be doing. I know exactly what feels right, sore, strong, tingly, tight, stretched, or strained. And, usually, I know a completely valid, physiologically logical explanation for everything, and as long as I can explain something and craft a plan of resolution, I’m good. Until now; I’m not good. Two weeks ago, I was on top of the world: I was moving well, making noticeable increases in my chin ups and push ups, and thinking positively about the next phase of lifting. Yesterday, I was two lip quivers away from a sobbing mess, with tingling in my right leg, acute pain in my right glute, and the weight of five moons on my shoulders. Please, do not let me be hurt again. In the back of my mind, I know that there is only a 7% chance that I will re-herniate this year, and that after this year, those chances are reduced to 3%. Most people would consider this to mean that there is a 93% chance that re-herniation WON’T occur. But I am not “most people.”

I hate this, living in fear. I want to move. I want to compete. I want to lift up something really really heavy and then put it down, steel myself, and do it again. I want to ride my road bike, possibly attempt Cyclo-cross, and I’m even considering an Ironman, if the doctors will let me. I know that I can do all of these things, and yet I am absolutely side-lined by the fear that this minor tingling in my leg is IT. I “check in” constantly, monitoring the rate of tingling and the origin of the pain. When I wake up at night, my first thought is, “what hurts?” For the last five days, I’ve been worthless at the gym, a delicate flower barely lifting a finger for fear of bruising another petal. I surely have not gotten any stronger.

Thankfully, I have some wonderful friends who don’t think I’m entirely crazy, and who happen to work out with me at the boathouse every Tuesday and Thursday. Yesterday, in tears, I told them of my current symptoms, concluding with everything I’ve written above. Karin looked at my sympathetically, said, “I’m so, so sorry, and we’re here to help.” Emily looked at me, smiled, and said, “Welcome to fucking life. So you had surgery and now something hurts again. What’s the worst that could happen? You have surgery again…” She didn’t need to finish; I already knew what she was going to say: this feels really big. It’s a really, really big deal, today. But tomorrow, maybe it won’t be. Maybe there will be something else, or nothing at all. Or maybe it will continue to be a really, really big deal, and maybe next week or next month, next spring, or next year, I’ll have to go through another surgery and maybe another one after that. Or, maybe not.

Nothing hurt this morning when I woke up. Nothing hurt when I walked the kids to the park for P.E., and nothing hurt while I was outside playing with Wyatt. No tingling, no sharp pain, no tightness. Maybe tomorrow, it will hurt again. Indeed, however, maybe not.

For the record, this week’s workouts were nothing to write home about. My in-the-gym workouts were the standard fare, with no improvements or changes in routine. My workouts on the bike were downright lackluster. On Saturday, I did another round of 10 sets of 30” on / 1’ off. Usually, I get my HR to ~155 on these, but this week I was barely hitting 150 (my resting HR is 42, so 155 is pretty high for me). And on Monday, I did 12’ / 10’/ 8’ with 4’ rest between each round. Typically, this workout gets me into the low 130’s but again, I couldn’t break 130 until the last 2 minutes of each round. I’m assuming this means I’m tired (I am) and that I’ve been working hard (I have) and that I need a rest (I do). So I’m taking my rest day today, Wednesday, and tomorrow will be a little lighter than usual.

Onward and upward.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some notes on my training.

Training has been going pretty well.
My strength numbers are pretty consistent, but I've decided to really focus some on my torso strength, so we'll see what rewards that will reap.
Pulled my psoas pretty badly on sunday, I'm working that out. Not an injury, just an owwie, but it's inspired a blog post that I'm working up.. keep eyes open for that.
Jiu-jitsu has been going very well. In the last 4 classes I have rolled with 5 black belts and 1 brown, and am feeling pretty good about my technical performance.
There is a whole bunch of other stuff going on, but it's too much. I'll make a big announcement.. hopefully by the end of this month.