Category Archives: Personal Health

Shane Starts Running! A Retro-Diary

As I mentioned in my resolutions post, I’m starting to run outside! And it’s horrible! But I thought I’d make it more enjoyable for myself by chronicling my attempts to start running, retro-diary style. If you haven’t heard of a retro-diary, I’m borrowing it mostly from Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy and Grantland editor). Basically, after I run, I’m going to go back and breakdown my run. So here we go.

9:30 AM: I inform Olive that we are going to go for a run. This leads to non-stop whining from her as I try to explain that I need half an hour to take care of some stuff first. She fails to understand the concept of patience.

9:45 AM: New running playlist, finished. Keeping it fairly short. Lot of new Black Keys, little bit of Josh Ritter/Avett Brothers. Trying to keep it light and not too fast paced.

10:00 AM: Angry Birds

10:20 AM: Finish playing Angry Birds as Olive continues to angrily pester me.

10:30 AM: Do the dishes. I might be stalling at this point.

10:33 AM: Olive tries looking pitifully at me as a reminder to run. I tell once again that we ARE going to go. Soon.

Like this, without the crazy eyes

10:34 AM: My body seems to realize that we are for real about this running business. Every time I’m about to run, I swear my body freaks out and kicks in the running allergies to remind me why I hate it. Airways are already getting blocked and I haven’t even stepped outside. Somewhere in my body, cells are running around, screaming, “Holy shit!! This might actually happen! Quick! Emergency evasive actions! AHHH!!!!”

10:48 AM: Dishes are finished. Time to actually get ready.

10:54 AM: Running outfit on, including the vital gray hoodie. You better believe that I’m going for the Rocky look if I’m going to start running outside in the cold.

10:58 AM: Outside stretching. I realize that my gloves are too cold to work the touchscreen on my ipod nano. Looks like I’m going to have to use the nose.

11:00 AM: Now I have a minor headache from spending two minutes cross-eyed trying to work an ipod with my nose. But the music is on and I’m all stretched.

11:02 AM: I’m trying to keep the pace under control to start out. Olive didn’t get the memo. She’s tearing along, literally pulling me faster. Two strange looks so far as I yell “Slower, please!” to my dog. I’m not really sure why I’m more polite with my dog when we’re running than normal, but the pleases don’t seem to be working. Olive is also confused about why we’re moving away from the dog park at this point.

11:04 AM: We’re now onto the longer, uninterrupted stretch of the bike path, so no more streets to stop at and catch my breath under the guise of teaching Olive to sit at every street.

11:05 AM: Oh yeah, Apple headphones don’t stay in my ears. That’s why I kept buying Sony headphones. Ear bud is out. Gloves make it difficult to keep in.

11:06 AM: Okay, pretty tired now. Could really use a street. The dog is settling into our run a little better now, pulling me a little less.

11:08 AM: Street. Thank god. Time to walk a block. (It’s important to accept where you’re at and work your way back into things, as a side note.) Partially because I’m tired and partially because there are three streets to cross in the next 50 feet. Hardly seems worth running.

11:09 AM: Back at it. Feeling much better than I expected for running. Airways–shockingly clear.

11:09.53 AM: Ear bud is out.

11:12 AM: At the stadium and feeling strong still. I decide to extend the run around the stadium. Getting crazy now. Is this what a runner’s high feels like?

11:14 AM: I always forget how much I hate the Breese St. side of the stadium when I try to run it. More of an incline than I expect, and longer than it seems. Calves starting to hurt. Probably should have remembered to stretch them.

11:14.15 AM: Ear bud is out again.

11:15 AM: Ran hard to the steep decline on the other side of the stadium. Walking down it. I don’t like running downhill and I could use a slight breather.

11:15.30 AM: Olive has other plans. She knows going downhill is her best chance to really pull me. Gravity is in her favor. Looks like we’re running a little earlier than planned.

11:20 AM: Things are still going much better than I expected. More streets during the last stretch though, so I had a few breaks. Walking out this last block before Park St. Calves–hurting pretty bad.

11:21 AM: Run hard up the hill. I like attacking hills, always feels better than struggling at the same pace. Can’t let the hill win. Pretty winded but still feeling good.

11:22 AM: See myself running down the hill in the reflective glass. Turns out my dad’s description of my running form is true. I do look like a three-legged turtle hauling a trailer behind it when I run. Awesome.

11:22.43 AM: Ear bud is out. Again.

11:23 AM: Olive has settled into a good pace with me. This is going much better than I thought. Kind of expected her to be dashing place to place and then making me drag her away from each one. Trying to finish out the rest of the run without any breaks.

11:24 AM: Yes, person giving me a funny look. I realize that you are supposed to breath while running. I’m just not very good at it.

11:26 AM: Okay, going to walk this last half block and then wait for the light. Then, it’s just two more blocks.

11:29 AM: We hold up one corner from home so I can give Ollie a pep talk about how we’re going to sprint the last block. She keeps trying to pull away. I think she sees through the pep talk as a way for me to catch my breath before the sprint.

11:29.30 AM: And we’re off! Olive gets out to an early lead. I gain slightly as Olive eases up to make me feel better. As I near her, she takes off even faster.

11:30 AM: And we’re done. Good thing it’s not a long block. Have definitely felt worse after a run. Probably could have ran a little more, but I’d rather finish the first run on a high note. Olive seems unfazed. Was really hoping this would wear her out too. Additionally, calves really hurting. (Stretch first!)

Now I just have to do this 2 more times a week. And probably a little bit longer/harder runs. Have to say, the weather has been really great so far this winter (in terms of running outside, not for any of you skiers out there). Hopefully it holds up for awhile, so I can get a jump on getting back into shape before it gets too cold.

Run turned out to be about 3.19 miles. Not too bad. Maybe this running stuff isn’t so bad.

(As the person writing this in retrospect–yes, yes it is. My calves and shins are KILLING me today. Seriously, don’t forget to stretch EVERYTHING. I cannot stress this enough.)

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Some New Year’s Resolutions

I’m back! For now. I am hoping to keep up with things a little better (the internet situation is in the works). For those of you interested in Baldaufs vs. Genetics, we’ll be all caught up at the end of this week and I will definitely be on top of that.

Anyways, with New Year’s going on, I figured I’d share a few of my resolutions. Normally, I’m not a fan of resolutions. They kind of fall into the same category as diets for me–destined to fail. They tend to be too general, too short-term, and not planned out enough. People also tend to try to make drastic changes instead of gradual, progressive change. It’s a setup for failure. Weight loss and healthy living isn’t about short-term fixes (like diets). It’s about changing lifestyles.

But, I could use a few new goals and it happens to line up with New Year’s. So this year, I’m making resolutions. And I’m also making plans for them.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

What The F*ck Does Eating Healthy Mean?

First things first, a little bit of business. Stiiiill no internet at home, going on a month now. It’s finally starting to get to me. Allegedly it’s supposed to be back up by this week, but I’m not holding my breath. Until then (or I cave and start paying for internet again–which probably won’t be soon out of necessity), the posts might be a little erratic for timing. I apologize for that. Someday I’ll get on a regular schedule. Now on with the posting!

I started getting interested in eating healthy around my sophomore or junior year of high school. My chief motivation was to put on muscle for football. It didn’t work very well. Anyways, since then I’ve gone through a lot of different phases in eating healthy and my opinions have changed countless times. And now I can definitively say…that eating healthy is confusing as fuck.

There are a million different voices out their telling you a million different ways to eat healthy and lose weight. Count calories? Low carbs-high fat? Low fat-plenty of carbs? I KNOW, I JUST WON’T EAT ANYMORE! That should solve things, right? All I’m missing is support for a high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat diet. Actually, I think I found that once but it was for world-class athletes. So I just have to work out 8 hours a day. Got it. I’ll call it the cinnamon-toast-crunch-kill-yourself (working out) cure to obesity. Because cinnamon toast crunch is always good. (No matter how generic, it turns out. True fact. Personally tested).

That was fun. Anyways, I talk about eating healthy a lot. So it’s time to figure out what that means, to me. Like I mentioned before, I’ve adopted and dropped most of the opinions out there. I’ve spent lots of time looking into nutrition. I wrote a painfully long paper on the effects of carbohydrates on obesity comparing different diets. (Holy. Fuck. Was that a pain in the ass). I’ve read Michael Pollan and watched Food Inc. I’ve watched lectures by Gary Taubes, author of “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. I do, in fact, have some degree of expertise on this subject (unlike many other things I talk about) is what I’m trying to get across. DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor (yet), nor am I a professional in the subjects of nutrition.

And you know what? I am sick and tired of trying to figure out what the hell is healthy. So I’m going to boil down eating healthy to common sense (with a little bit of science).

Veggies Equal Healthy

Duh. No arguments anywhere on this one. We can pretty safely assume the produce section of a store is healthy.

Organic/All-Natural is Generally Better

I don’t want to get into all the aspects of this argument (I already had to do that in a med school interview. Because, you know, the yield of organic vs conventional is extremely relevant to my potential as a doctor. Sorry, little bit bitter). But let’s look at this simply. How does conventional agriculture work these days? Maximize yield to maximize profit. Not unreasonable. So most produce has been bred to grow as quickly and largely as possible, while taking up as little space as possible. There’s not much energy left for nutrients. There’s also the risks that pesticides bring.

Now, organic has it’s problems too. Lower yield means more expensive. There is risk of bacteria and other problems without pesticides. And organic agriculture is also concerned with turning a profit; let’s not kid ourselves. But in theory it should be more nutritious. The science is all over the place and oftentimes biased, but I think it makes sense at a basic level. Note of warning–there is zero regulation on claiming to be all-natural, so seeing it on a package means jack shit.

Lots of Sugar Isn’t Great

This seems like another duh but the sugar gets snuck in a lot of different ways. Most people are aware of high fructose corn syrup (or the new corn sugar thing they’ve been pushing). One of the mechanism for fat storage is driven by excess simple carbohydrates (sugar). It tells our body to store fat. (This was a large part of my paper). So excess sugar is bad. And sugars like fructose and high fructose corn syrup are absorbed/broken down more easily. Also, watch King Corn. It’s pretty ridiculous. Which leads me to another rule.

Don’t Eat It If You’re Grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize It

Yes, I borrowed this one from Michael Pollan (along with plenty of other themes in this argument). But it’s a pretty good rule. If the ingredients have a ton of stuff, most of which seems like advanced chemistry, I would distrust it. Now I’m sure plenty of them do useful things, like keep it fresh longer. But why not just eat it fresh. And natural ingredients just seem to work better together (more on this later).

Fats Get A (Somewhat) Bad Rap

Okay, don’t eat a ton of fat. But fat is a better source of energy than sugar (or carbs). If you don’t pair fats with carbs, you’re body doesn’t store the fat and will use it for energy. There is a reason Atkins diets work for weight-loss. But like any diet, it will plateau and can be easily reversed. So maybe this rule should be “Don’t Pair Fats and Sugar”.

Forget Reductionism

I really hate all the calorie counting, figuring out which vitamins I need or don’t need, and all that stuff. Including constantly checking sugar and fat contents. It’s annoying. Yes, there are better calories than others. I’m pretty sure 200 calories of salad are better for me than 200 calories of cake. I’m also pretty confident that taking a vitamin pill with 5000% of my daily value of vitamin X is trying to tell me that it probably doesn’t work as well on it’s own. Certain things work well paired up in ways we haven’t figured out yet. (Some might call this synergistic). So instead of wasting your time taking vitamins, pills, counting calories, get it out of real food and use your head. If you need more of a certain vitamin, find it in a food and figure out a good way to eat it.

Beware Advertising

Any health claims on food, probably bullshit. Seriously, the food industry pours ridiculous amounts of money into doing studies that find their food healthy. You know, peanut M&Ms? Good source of protein. Because of the peanuts. I’m surprised it’s not on the bag already. I’m not saying be like me (which is paranoid of every box at the store, while also being sucked in to plenty of things based on advertising), but don’t be foolish or naive about it.

Moderation!!

I suck at this one. Seriously, I will destroy a pan of brownies on my own. But this is pretty obvious. Stop freaking out about fats and sugars. Stop it! Just don’t pig out on stuff. Try to mix in veggies. And stop worrying about it so much. It’s a waste of time and billions of dollars a year. This is way simpler than it’s made out to be. I don’t think many of us would consider Twinkies to be healthy. But you can still eat one once in awhile. Just make sure that the good foods vastly outweigh the bad ones. Trust your instincts.

Did I just give you a bunch of rules and do all the things I just complained about? Yes. So here’s the one and only rule. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!! Seriously, all the information out just confuses everything and most of it has a vested interest. So ignore it.

Quick Update: There Will Be Posts…Eventually

The Internet is still down at my apartment and my work schedule is a little bit busier this week, so I haven’t had as much time at my usual coffee shop to get at the Internet. Therefore, I’m running behind on posts this week. Sorry. I’ll hopefully have the Pulling (Sweet) Teeth post up some time tomorrow and then the Trust Me, I’m Going to Be A Doctor post by Friday/Saturday.

The Pros and Cons of Stress Eating

First of all, sorry for the missing post last Friday for the still-untitled third section of the blog. Still lacking internet. I might have to break down and start paying someone for internet again. Either that or hunt down who my landlords get (or more accurately don’t get) the internet through, and then call them every 5 minutes whenever I’m not working. The second idea is surprisingly tempting. Moving on…

This week’s food post is all about stress eating. I’m currently in that totally awesome period of time where I’m just waiting to hear back from the schools I’ve interviewed with and waiting to see if the last two schools I haven’t heard anything from will give me an interview. I also got my first rejection (from a school that I interview with). Not that much of a surprise, but the wait list would have been nice. So I’ve been bouncing back and forth from a general level of stress from waiting to a full blown WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE!?!?! level. I’m sure most recent college grads or soon-to-be-grads can relate.

I generally deal with stress in a few ways:

  1. Extreme irritability–Much scowling and complaining here. I try to avoid it, but it happens. (My apologies to the Girlfriend)
  2. Sloth–Some people work out to deal with stress. Occasionally I do when the irritability builds up too much. But more frequently, I don’t do anything. As someone who is trying to lose weight, this usually doesn’t help things much (weight-wise or stress-wise)
  3. Eat–As long as I’m not working out, why not eat more! Because stress isn’t bad enough for one’s health on it’s own!
  4. Eat Some More–Especially sweets, resulting in a never-ending spiral of more sweets.

So, in order to convince myself more thoroughly why I should avoid stress eating, we’re going to make a pros and cons list.

Pro: Eating Makes Me Feel Better

When you’re stressed, why shouldn’t you do things that make you happy? I like eating. I can’t help it. (“It’s the genetics!” whispering in the back of my mind. Might want to get that checked out.) And it does make me feel better. Who doesn’t like cookies and milk? (I mean seriously Whole Foods, how many weeks can these cookies be on sale? You’re killing me!) I can feel the endorphins flooding my system with each bite until I hit an only slightly uncomfortable food coma.

Con: The Subsequent Self-Loathing

First, let’s be honest. I rarely stop at slightly uncomfortable and go full bore into an extremely uncomfortable food coma. Then I feel guilty about eating an entire row of cookies. Plus, I’m already not working out because of the sloth strategy so I only hate myself more. Things just keep spiraling more and more once I start stress eating.

Con: More Eating Out

An increased appetite. A crabby attitude towards cooking (see extreme irritability) and the dishes that go with it. Just wanting unhealthy food. It all adds up to ordering out more. Now I’m spending more money and eating less healthy than before.

Pro: More Eating Out

Tasty food. No dishes. No cooking. Doesn’t sound that bad actually. We’ll call it a wash for now. Ignoring the money part.

Pro: I Like Sweets

Cookies, brownies, chocolate bars (dark chocolate = healthy right!?)–I like them very much. They are delicious. No further arguments are needed.

Con: My Inability to Moderate Myself

Once a little bit of sugar enters my system, it creates an unquenchable need for sweets. It’s like a vacuum. I’m turned into a mindless, sugar-killing machine. When I was younger, I would eat an entire pan of cookie bars over the course of the day. Any time I went into the kitchen, I’d grab one or two. Eventually, I’d be making up reasons to go to the kitchen. I need something to drink. Oops, forgot my pen in the kitchen. Get back here you silly cat–oh hey, cookie bars! Then it would devolve into getting a brother to bring them back for me. Hey Aaron, I’ll give you a dollar if you bring me a cookie bar. Hey Kyle, get me a cookie bar and I might not punch you. Bam! All gone. (And Kyle probably punched.)

Things haven’t improved. You’d think without brothers to bribe or extort, it’d be a little better. But now I make the sweets. Which means I have the leftover batter or dough all to myself. Which might be worse, since I eat all the extras and then eat the cookies or brownies too. Plus the Girlfriend doesn’t put up nearly as much of a fight as my father in terms of quantity eaten. Which leads to…

Con: Increased Need to Work Out

All the bad eating and uncontrolled bingeing means, more working out. And another bad week in Baldaufs vs Genetics. As someone who doesn’t love working out, definitely a con.

Verdict: Stress Eating Is Bad

Okay, no real surprises here. But let’s be honest, this was mostly an exercise in convincing myself to stop eating so shitty. I really need to find a different stress hobby than eating. While stress eating is enjoyable and maybe even helpful in the short-term, it only creates more problem down the road. And while it is important to blow off steam once in awhile with a few cookies, an entire pan of brownies is probably a bad idea. So remember kids–Moderation!!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Cooking Tips for Non-Cookers

A lot of people I know don’t cook. They don’t want to; they don’t like to; they aren’t good at it, etc. I never used to be someone who cooked a lot. Cooking meant mac and cheese, frozen pizza, or fried egg sandwiches (nom nom nom). I started cooking more chiefly because I no longer had my mom to cook for me (horrible day). Then it kind of grew on it’s own as I moved towards a healthier, more organic diet. I would suggest Michael Pollan or the Slow Food movement for anyone more interested in why they should cook. I’m still not an excellent cook, but I’ve come a long ways from the mac and cheese days. So now I’m going to post some tips for you non-cookers out there to get you on your way.

1. Start Off Simple

It’s easy to screw up meals and get discouraged, especially when you aren’t sure what you’re doing. So you’ve got to ease into it. Start with basic recipes. Try to keep the ingredient list down and the amount of things to do at a minimum. I probably spent an entire year or two where I mostly made a pasta/stir fry thingy. Great starting point. Buy some meat, a few veggies and throw them in a pan with a little oil. Add noodles and sauce and you’re good to go. Or rice I suppose. But I still screw up rice so maybe hold off on that. Or maybe it’s me. I’m not really sure why I struggle with rice.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

Pulling (Sweet) Teeth Intro

Welcome to the revamped Shane vs. Genetics. I’m doing three posts a week on different subjects. Mondays/Tuesdays are food. They’ll all be found in the Pulling (Sweet) Teeth category listed over thurr –>. Wednesdays/Thursdays are public health topics. They’ll be in the category, Trust Me, I’m Going to be a Doctor. Fridays/Saturdays are working out and other random stuff. Still working on the title for that category.

Anyways, this is Pulling (Sweet) Teeth. I’m going to talk about cooking, eating healthy, and food in general here. Why Pulling (Sweet) Teeth? Well, eating veggies (and healthy) has always been like pulling teeth for me and the rest of my family for the most part. Just ask my mom. The sweet part has to do with my diabolical sweet tooth (or teeth. They probably all work together to conspire against me).

If you have any suggestions for posts in this section, let me know. If you think of something to say with an article, comment! Please! Some discussions on these posts would be great.

Where Have I Been?

Judging by the fact that I have still been getting views, many of you have probably been wondering where the posts have been. As I mentioned in the newest Baldaufs vs Genetics, I’ve been without internet. Being lazy, I’m just going to copy and paste that here to help those of you who are too lazy to scroll down to it or find it. So here’s what’s been up:

“Been without internet for a week and a half now. My apartment gets free internet from the landlord, but they don’t guarantee it then. So my ability to get it fixed has been limited to calling and waiting, while toeing the line of bitching too much and being told to get my own damn internet. Therefore, my internet usage has been limited to whatever I can conveniently do on my phone. Of which blogging is not one of. Hopefully the internet will be back soon.”

Anyways, the break has allowed me to rethink how I’m going to work the blog going forward. Baldaufs vs Genetics will continue, but Operation Suit Squeeze has essentially come to a close with my last interview scheduled for tomorrow, for now. Similar to the old weekly links, I’m going to pick one link a week to discuss more in-depth and hopefully start some conversation in the comments. I’m also probably going to do one post a week that is a random topic chosen by me. This could be ranking workout songs, figuring out the perfect workout place, etc. Not sure how this one’s gonna work out. We’ll see. But once my internet is back up, I will be back to posting regularly. Hopefully with the three set posts a week, it’ll help me keep them coming on a regular basis. Be back soon. If the internet gods are kind.

Weekly Progress Report #5 — Already?

It’s really already been 5 weeks? I don’t feel good about that. I know moving got in the way for awhile, but I really don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much in the way of losing weight/getting healthier. Drastic changes coming tomorrow though with Operation Suit Squeeze.

Eating: Even though I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much, I would say I’ve made a lot of progress in terms of eating. Kind of enjoying the vegetarian meals. I think I’ve been eating less for the most part. Less overeating too. Just not seeing much yet.

So this week we had a basic turkey/colby cheese sandwich, lasagna roll-ups, and a vegetarian curry (for more info check out the vegetarian adventure–it’ll be up soon if you’re on top of things). The lasagna roll-ups aren’t particularly healthy, but we were able to make them without having to buy too much. And they’re delicious. But, of course, I forgot to take a picture of them so you’ll just have to imagine. Plus there were enough leftovers for me to eat them three nights in a row. All in all, pretty good week. Nothing too fancy. No overeating. With one exception.

Went to the Brewer game friday (Cubs suck!) and pigged out. Special occasion, so no problems. Have to be able to cut loose once in a while. Though I did just remember that we bought some organic (and gluten-free) oreos and ate a lot of them. REMEMBER: ORGANIC COOKIES ARE STILL NOT HEALTHY! (Unfortunately. Sorry for yelling.)

Grade: B-

Working Out: Honestly, working out continues to be my downfall–and probably the reason for my lack of progress. I played tennis once with my brother. Ran with the dog for a little while once. She still struggles to get the whole running thing versus stopping and smelling everything. But that’s it. And that’s a problem.

Grade: D

Mitigating Factors:

  1. None really. I need to stop being lazy.

This Week’s Plan: Consistent workouts start tomorrow. Yay for running! (Blech.) Keeping up the momentum with eating but cutting out more sweets.

Tagged , , , ,

Operation Suit Squeeze

So here’s the situation. Last year, I cashed in my birthday and Christmas presents from my parents for a nice suit. My first and only suit. I needed it for medical school interviews.

Fast forward a year. I just finished all of my secondaries. Round two of interviews are coming up. Aaaand my suit doesn’t quite fit anymore. Awesome.

I know what you’re thinking–take the suit in and have them do some alterations. As I have nooo money, I’m going to try to avoid that. (Plus it makes for good motivation to get into better shape). The vest and coat fit okay still. The coat’s a little tight across the shoulders, but it’s more of a comfort thing than anything else. Besides, I don’t really think I can de-broaden my shoulders. I’ll alter it down the road.

The pants are the problem. Can’t get ’em on. At all. I need to lose at least a half inch off my waist. Maybe a full inch if I want to breath comfortably for the whole interview. So the time has come for drastic measure. I’m talking set-in-stone workout routine. Smarter eating. A complete ban on sweets (like I said, drastic measures).

I figure I’ve got 4-8 weeks before I really have to worry about interviews. The plans will get hammered out over the weekend. Everything will be chronicled under the Operation Suit Squeeze category. I’m going to breakdown what kind of things I need to look out for and avoid, how I’m going to eat, and what I’m doing to work out.

This better work. I’d really like to breathe during interviews.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,