Friday, June 25, 2010

I was planning on attacking some recent comments on facebook supporting quackery but since it's 2:30am I'm going to keep this short and simple. Instead of tearing down someone else's ideas on health I'm going to briefly discuss what has worked for me. Why you ask? I suppose it's because I frequently get asked questions like, "how do you stay in such good shape?" "what do you eat?" "how often do you go to the gym etc...." Well, I don't mean to brag and I don't mean to boast but for 36 years old, I'm fitter than most! But all rimes aside, without further ado here are my proscriptive ideas on health:
I look at physical health as a necessary balance between 3 key elements: nutrition, sleep, and physical exercise. Think of these three constituents as 3 legs on the table of health. If any one is out of proportion with the others the table will be off balance. And obviously if any element is completely missing, the table of health falls.
Lets look at the first leg--nutrition. Many people underestimate the importance of correct nutrition in general and over estimate the importance of the particulars. Let me explain. I know many people who are obsessed with getting the right amount of magic vitamin x, or new "superfood" y, or this great "all natural" (so it must be good for you) herbal supplement that will make you live forever. People--These are just fads. Another way for supplement companies to empty your wallet.
What people really need to focus on is their calories in vs. calories out. It's very simple, all the magical herbs and supplements in the world will not stop you from gaining unwanted weight if you don't deal with this basic equation first. Here's the way it works: if you consume more calories than you burn, you're going to put on weight. If you burn more than you consume you will lose weight. Sounds simple right? But so many people get it wrong. They focus on the minutia of magical supplements and such and ignore the big picture while eating donuts. As a side note, you don't always want to consume less than you burn. If you are already at your ideal weight or underweight than you will want to adjust you caloric intake accordingly.
People ask me all the time how to lose weight. I always begin by citing this equation. Then I say, you can chose: you can continue the same caloric intake and exercise alot more, or you can eat alot less--the net result is the same. I say this just to illustrate a point, actually the correct thing to do is to both consume fewer calories and burn more. You'll achieve your goal faster.
Next level of importance in nutrition is macro-nutrition. It's not enough just to count calories, it is also important where those calories are coming from. Your body needs a certain amount of protein to function properly and you also need energy from carbohydrates and fats to live. There have been many fad diets in the area of macro-nutrition, some saying to get all your calories from protein and fat, some say mostly from carbs and so on. (Not so) surprisingly recent medical studies (I'll look for them later if you're really interested) have shown that when attempting weight loss, the respective ratios of macro-nutrients don't really matter. The only thing that was a factor in success was the calories in vs. calories burned equation. That's not to say that the proportions are not important but rather that for those who are interested in weight loss you should stop obsessing over details and just eat less (and/or do more!).
So what's the magical ratio? Depending on your lifestyle and metabolism it will vary from person to person. You need to experiment and see what works for you but I recommend something close to these values: Protein 20-30%, Carbohydrates 50-60%, Fats 15-25%. When it comes to carbohydrates it's really important that most of them are whole grain complex carbs. If you're not sure what carbs are good, use the "don't eat white carbs" rule. (I just made that name myself!). I.E. avoid white sugar, white bread, white rice, potatoes. And regarding fats everyone knows to avoid saturated fats...stick to vegetable fats when possible (avocado, olive oil).
But what about vitamins and super magical herbs, and this amazing new plant from the most remote rainforest in the world? Forget it. You can get everything you need from a balanced diet of whole foods.
But what if I'm sooo hungry and I overeat? Here's how you can reduce food consumption without feeling hungry (as a wrestler who had to cut weight for competition I'm an expert on this!). Before your main meal eat a HUGE salad and whatever vegetables you want because they have almost no caloric value but are high in nutrition (except potatoes!). Your stomach will start to send signals to the brain that it's full. Next eat the protein portion of your meal. Protein causes your body to release chemicals that make you feel satiated. Next eat the carbs and fats. Now you're done! Yum! and so am I. It's almost 3:30am....I'm gonna have to continue this later. Time for me to work on the sleep leg!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hello all! I apologize for my lengthy absence. I would love to provide a compelling reason for which I have written almost nothing in the last 3 months but I'm saving those excuses for when I start school in September. Yup. I've been accepted as a General Graduate student for September although planning on entering the Ethics and Public Policy program starting in December...but I digress.
I'd like to take this blog entry as a chance to update everyone on events that have transpired in the last three months. 1. A butterfly landed on a flower. 2. Many children were born (especially in Africa) 3. The season has changed from Spring to Summer in the northern hemisphere... 4. ....forget it, this is going to take forever; howz zabout I stick to what's happened in my life. After all this is MY blog. Me! Me! Me! Me!
Let me try that again: First and foremost and relevant to this blog is that I have been accepted into UNLV (University of Las Vegas/Nevada) as a general graduate student. I couldn't apply directly to my program because I could only get 1 of the 3 required letters of recommendation from past professors. Not that I was a bad student but I received my bachelors in 2000 and oddly most of my professors could not remember my brilliant essays from 10 years ago, and I have no clue where most of them are (the essays, not the professors). Note to anyone hoping to attend grad school: do it sooner than later.
Anyway, after completing my first semester I should be able to transfer into my program which is "Ethics and Policy Studies".
Unfortunately, UNLV does not have a Philosophy graduate program. However, this program has many of it's core courses in the Philosophy dept. and with a clever selection of electives on my part will basically be a Philosophy degree even though the program is overseen by the PoliSci dept. Anywho, I just need to get started on anything academic before my brain completely atrophies, makes the sound of something rolling around an empty tin can, and falls out of my ear. Strangely, despite popular misconceptions, working as an "exotic (i'm exotic!) male entertainer" is not the most intellectually stimulating job.
Ok, next on the list is I finally bought a house. I really can't compare the feeling of happiness that comes with purchasing a home--I mean the feeling at the very end when you finally get the key--not the hellish process of looking, bidding, losing, looking again, dealing with paperwork for the loan, getting stuff notarized, signing and sending faxes every couple of days, thinking every things finalized, then, no, you still are missing paper "x", and so on...I think you get the general idea. Anyway, in the end it was all worth it and things actually turned out better than anticipated. I'll spare you most of the details but I would like to break part of the process down because it will be extremely useful for anyone who might be considering buying a house in US and A.
The house I bought was an REO, meaning it was house that went into foreclosure and was repossessed by the bank. The bank then put the house on the market. Several people bid pushing the price above the asking price. I ended up bidding 15,000 above asking price to enter into contract, which was fine because it was still a great deal. Upon entering into contract my lending institution sends out an independent property appraiser. The property appraiser valued my house at 18,000 below the contract price. Here's were the fun starts.
Because of all the money mortgage lenders have lost recently, no lender will finance a loan that is above the appraised value of the house. Essentially, this means that the seller now has a choice: they can sell me the house at 18,000 below the contract price (3,000 below the original asking price) or they can pull the house off the market. Seeing as the housing market in Las Vegas isn't going up any time soon the selling bank elected to sell at the appraised value despite the contract price being 18,000 higher. I received the news of this decision on May 5...and it was a truely joyous day....some might even call it frabjous. So, the take home lesson here is that if you are considering buying a house in a weak market in the US and A, don't worry about bidding high because in the end you'll only pay the appraised value.
Well, those are the two major events. As a last bit of news today I finally broke down and spent 800.00 to get the air conditioning fixed on my car. Unfortunately, A/C is not a luxury item in Las Vegas but a necessity. I was ok April and May using old skool A/C (windows down) but driving on the freeway got pretty crazy with all the papers in my car blowing around...and speaking of crazy, you should've seen my hair when I got out of the car!
And now we're approaching July when temperatures reach heights unknown to many parts of the world. Today was 38 C and it can reach 50 C some days in July/August...getting stuck in traffic with no A/C at those temperatures is about as fun as locking yourself in a sauna with all your clothes on...well, actually it's the same thing just exchange the soothing eucalyptus steam and relaxing new age music for toxic fumes and the "wicked" bass from the car audiophile idiot next to you.
By the by, shout out to my sister Chana and Jenny McGoogly-Eye (indirectly) for inspiring me to blog again.