A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Friday, November 30, 2007

'Pace, don't race'

Worried about putting on the feed bag (and not being able to remove it) during the holidays? Here's a story with 10 tips on how to pace yourself. Pretty sensible stuff.
My favorite is "Pace, don't race." In other words, don't plow through your food like a power mower on an uncut field.
In case you want to ignore these, here's Imaginary Tip 11: Eat and drink with reckless abandon then check into the Betty-Ford equivalent for food bingers. Eh?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Working more or working better?

Bisquick helped me find this Forbes article about workaholics and how they can become even more productive. More power naps. Setting better boundaries. Getting more sleep. (Bisquick would say, "Paws up to that!" The Feline of the House would not recommend working too much, or at all, or in human terms putting an unhealthy burden on one's job for one's well-being.)
We at the Spin Cycle don't advocate being a 'holic of any kind even though, to be honest, we are all addicted to something.
A man featured in the story missed KEY life events because of work. Including his own daughter's graduation. Now that's just insane.
Which leads us to this quote by Studs Terkel (author and radio personality): "Most of us, like the assembly line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people."
Make it a great Thursday. Whether you are headed to work or not.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Dr. Gatorade," RIP

The Spin Cycle is sad to report that Dr. Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade, died Tuesday. He was 80. Click here
for the story from Fox Sports. Cade died of kidney failure, which seems sort of ironic, eh? One of my co-workers just said, Maybe he put too much vodka in it. "But wait a minute," he added. "That affects the liver, right?"
Here's how the idea for the sports drink, the Granddaddy of all sports drinks, got started: The football coach at the University of Florida in 1965 asked Cade: "Doctor, why don't football players wee-wee after a football game?"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Next to the triathlete

There's this dude, I'll call him Steve, who comes to Spin class. Tonight he was on the bike next to me. He does these half-marathons and triathlons (when he's not working or in Spin class) and so I should not have been surprised when he didn't take the breaks between songs. They aren't long, mind you, but you usually need them for water or a towel break. He kept pumping the gas even on the breaks. He told me before class that he would do that because, he figures, he doesn't take such breaks on his runs.
A couple of times, the Competitive Gene reared its head in me and I kept pedaling between songs. Then I thought to myself, "Self, you aren't training for a triathlon."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Last Supper?

Though a bit morose, renowned chefs weigh in here on what they'd pick for their last meal--if they knew it was to be their last meal. There's quite a range here, with recipes.
What would it be for you, Internet?
Me? Probably a filet, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans. A glass of red wine. Dessert? Bread pudding made by my friend Jenny Lind Berry. Then I could drift on out.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The measuring cup

Hope that all of you in Cyberspace are having a stellar Thanksgiving weekend. We are sufficiently bloated here.
When the holidays roll around, inevitably thoughts bombard of loved ones who are no longer around. Today I kept thinking of my maternal grandmother, Mary Charles Bradfield, who died two years ago this coming Valentine's Day. What a character. I'm pretty sure we spent most every holiday with her when I was growing up, before we started having The Feasts at our house. She had this thing about drinking out of glass measuring cups, standing in the kitchen with the fluorescent lighting and wooden cabinets. Most of that had to do with obsessing over serving everyone else first (especially the menfolk and boyfolk; she would walk over hot coals to ensure they had vittles.)
Also, drinking out of the measuring cup didn't mean she was short on glasses but rather, I think, time. Get thirsty? Dip the measuring cup under the water faucet.
Most of the time I can't remember her eating at the table with us, especially before my grandfather died. She was always finishing up something in the kitchen. After Granddaddy passed away, she took his seat at the table--if she took a seat at all. (In retrospect I wish she'd been able to relax more but then again most cooks, unless they are Martha Stewart, share that frenzied feeling at holiday time.)
So whenever I measure something for a recipe, I think about her. God Bless the cooks, and especially grandmothers.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving thoughts

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?
~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
~William Shakespeare

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

39 things to do at Thanksgiving

Why 39? Because that's the age I am today (go, me!); and also because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So we need a little list for something.
39 ways to spend Thanksgiving Day:
39) Around the crowded table, ask everyone who they're voting for in the presidential election and why.
38) Then ask everyone to talk about his or her religion. (Get religion and politics out of the way early.)
37) As soon as the meal is over, head for the nearest TV and watch sports so you don't get dragged into a conversation with your crazy relative who's pitching Amway.
36) Pull out the Ipod or computer and zone out.
35) When your mom reminds you that you don't have children, say, "Yes, we do; they're in the trunk."
34) Go for a walk.
33) Feign illness and spend all afternoon in bed.
32) As you're washing dishes, throw water on the kitchen floor and create a slip-n-slide for the kids.
31) Secretly tape record people at the dinner table then play it afterward. Tell everyone you're practicing for the CIA.
30) Volunteer to pray over the meal. Pull out the Bible and start reading from Leviticus.
29) Announce at the meal that you're really not D.E.'s uncle; your his father. And that the past 28 years have pretty much been a lie.
28) Fall out of your chair then jump up and say, I meant to do that!
27) Start a discussion at the meal about which TV news show is better-- Fox or CNN.
26) When your crazy relative starts jawing and boring you to tears, say, "I'm sorry, I have an ear infection and I can't understand a thing you're saying."
25) Play with the animals. Take them for a walk.
24) Ask your dad about the benefits of Viagra.
23) In front of any racist relatives, say, "I think African-Americans should get reparations for slavery."
22) Announce to all that you're going into the convent (if you're female) or the Catholic priesthood (if male).
21) Start a debate about the early Pilgrims. Were they Christians? Or narcissistic pagans who just wanted to hunt and fish and take over the land?
20) Before the feast, say to the cook that you are a very strict vegetarian who needs her own separately prepared meal.
19) Crawl under the dinner table and take off everyone's shoes.
18) Tell your family you want to start a business but you need $50,000 from everyone, immediately.
17) Announce this: "I have a week to live." In the silence say, "Just kidding, folks. I'm only gay."
16) Chew with your mouth open.
15) Yell "fire!" and when everyone clears out, eat from their plates.
14) If people come to your house, offer to show them photos from your last six vacations.
13) And the video of your wedding.
12) Contact everyone who ever broke your heart and say, "Hey, I'm thankful that didn't work out. Whew!"
11) If you have to work Thursday or Friday, bring in leftovers, but make it celery and carrots.
10) Wash the dog and have him come in the house soaking wet and splashing water.
9) Announce your divorce.
8) If you're traveling out of town by car, honk and wave at every vehicle you pass. They will wonder if they really know you.
7) If you speak another language, do so during the meal.
6) If the turkey doesn't turn out, send out for pizza.
5) Laugh at inappropriate times.
4) Practice "Shhhh-ing" your relative(s) who can't help but point out fat people in public and on television.
3) Get your niece to describe for everyone what the food was like back in prison.
2) If you go to a religious service, try to sing louder than anyone there; and
1) Be thankful for the ones gathered 'round. They helped make you who you are.

Monday, November 19, 2007

No-guilt pie crust

Just in time for Turkey Day, click here for what seems to be a heart-smart pie crust recipe.
Hope everyone is dusting off the feed bag. Thursday will be here before you know it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A heroine worth a read

Caroline Knapp was someone I "met" through one of her books, "Drinking: A Love Story." Picked it up about 10 years ago while in grad school. It's one heck of a read--her own personal battle with alcohol addiction (among other obsessions) and getting through treatment and sobriety. Major applause for anyone who has gone through or is going through something similar. Here's an excerpt from the book. Imagine my surprise a few years ago upon discovery that she died. Young. Of lung cancer, presumably because she smoked like a chimney.
Here's her obituary from the Boston Phoenix, where she was a journalist.
Here's a column she wrote for Salon, just four years before she died.
What a sad tale. She likely knew what she was doing to herself, smoking so much, and so I don't mean to suggest she was a total victim. But still, it's tragic that she made it across a huge hurdle in her life only to face another and die.
Rest in peace, Caroline Knapp. I wish I'd gotten to meet you.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Party to health

As we're coming up on the holiday party season, Prevention magazine tells us that partying is good for your health--the social aspects, that is. (On the site, click at bottom on "Party your way to better health.") I'm not sure they'd condone all the boozing and calories that take place (the Spin Cycle stresses moderation), but gathering people together is good for you. Builds comaraderie and friendship and all that. Apparently, we in the U.S. are getting slack at entertaining. Americans have people over half as much as we did in 1975.
Guess it's time we all got on the horn.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

'Ruff' and tumble

Exercise is good for your dog. Maybe that's not a newsflash, but this here article offers some ways you can vary your dog's routine. One creative thing is to take a play toy with you--say, on your daily walk--and add chasing to the walking. (The dog, not you.) As for cats, as Husband and I can attest, they are more prone to short bursts of cardio, rather than longer periods of exercise. Think sprinters vs. marathoners.
On the subject of canines, we ran this story today about a Top Dog show this Sunday at a local park. There's also a track so maybe you can run around with Fifi before the Big Event.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

7 days till '40 Eve'

Yep. Thirty-nine is lurking. Then 40. Not sure what I am doing for either birthday, but many people tell me (jokingly?) that everything starts going going downhill right about now. Yikes. Better stockpile some water and ammo. Of course I'm kidding. (We don't have the storage space.)
Recent check-up brought good news and good numbers but you do have to wonder: What's in an age? If it's just a state of mind, why aren't there more giddy 90-year-olds? And why does our culture bow down to the 18-24-year-old set? (We all were that age once, so I don't knock them personally. I just tire of Youth Worship.)
Bring on the tips for surviving the final year of one's 30s. I have a week until that age actually strikes, however. (Which means that you, Internet, have only seven shopping days remaining. Go.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jonesin' for a ham soda?

If this doesn't beat all I've ever seen. Doesn't sound too appetizing.
On the other hand, think of all the money you and your family might save at Thanksgiving: Just line up all the specialty drinks amid the fancy china and silver. "Aunt Betty, can you pass the ham? And be careful not to spill any."

P.S. The Jones Candy Corn Soda remains on my desk. Any takers? It'd make a great stocking stuffer!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

'Winning 9 months after? Yo!'

Did y'all see this?
This year's female winner of the New York City Marathon gave birth nine months ago. First of all, it makes me tired to think of running a marathon WITHOUT being pregnant; but Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain not only kept up her training regimen while pregnant but, obviously, after. She looks a bit, um, anorexic but I guess that's how most long-distance runners look. Let's just say I am not one.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Metabolic rate

This is really cool, sent to me by faithful reader Leslie. Click on this link and find out how many calories you burn a day, which gauges how much you need to eat. Click on your gender then adjust height, weight and exercise frequency.
Mine? 3,077. Seems rather high. Yours?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Atkins out, South Beach in

This new report says the Atkins Diet, which came on the scene several years ago, can be damaging to blood vessels and has been proven to raise LDL, or bad cholesterol. In contrast, the South Beach Diet (a more recent one, along with the Ornish Diet) does not offer the same results.
Click here to read the Reuters story.
Long term? Most studies have shown that diets that stress vegetables, low-fat sources of protein such as beans and legumes, and whole grains provide the best long-term weight loss.
We at the Spin Cycle are not so much into diets. We tend to take a longer view, although we understand how the plan of a diet can create discipline.
Have a great Thursday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Political health

"Well raise my rent," as we say down South. In our mailbox today: Newsweek presents us with a cover story on the possibility of Michael Bloomberg, mayor of NYC, running for president as an independent.
Well why not?
The field seems so crowded. Some days it seems that people who aren't running for President are fewer in number than those who are. So you think, One more? But as Bloomberg points out in an interview with editor Jon Meacham, the two-party system has become this either-or set-up in which the choices are really quite limited, despite the number of people running. The candidates, whether Republican or Democrat, have to kow-tow to their bases; and then there are the huge lobbies that can so easily corrupt.
Bloomberg is worth $13 billion. (Not a typo.) The article states he's willing to pony up one of that billion for a chance to be Prez. (Don't you just know his kids are gasping for air?) In my idealism, I wish we didn't have such a political system in which any ol' billionaire can enter the race based mainly on wealth (and I do realize Bloomberg isn't a Johnny-Come-Lately, having run New York City and all); but that's the system we got. Money talks.
We might could use this Independent, for the health of the body politic. And "Bloom" says he won't run unless he thinks he can win. Internet, what say you?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tide to go-go

In the area of clothing health, let us now praise famous detergent sticks. We at the Spin Cycle (which, if you think about it, can be translated to laundry) love, love, love our Tide stick. In fact just this morning it helped me out of a pinch. I was driving down the road, coffee cup in hand and I spilled some on the front of my white shirt. Must have hit a bump. Or something. Instead of having to drive back home and change and be late for work, I pulled into a parking lot and practically doused the front of my shirt with the Tide stick. Didn't take long to dry, either. Good as new.
Dear Mr. Tide Company President, the Spin Cycle thinks you're a genius.

P.S. In case you didn't know, the stick works best when you have JUST spilled something. If you have old pizza on your clothing from, say, 1979, it probably won't work.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pre-workout fuel

So at about song 5 of 7 today in spin class, I started feeling sluggish and more out of breath than usual. A little bit sick to my stomach but not bad. Knocked the pace down a notch and finished, but felt quite tired and kind of lightheaded. Now, a "normal" class will make one tired but this was different. So I just found this article about eating before working out. It also offers tips of food types that are best.
The bottom line? You definitely need fuel, but not too much (I think this is where I erred, and too close to exercise). And if you don't have enough food in the ol' system, you'll feel that too.
Any other horror stories?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Community health

This might be a stretch for the Spin Cycle, but we feel compelled to report what a great concert Gregg Allman and friends put on last night. Michael and I went with two friends. As superb as the music was, it was also entertaining to watch audience members. Some young, some old(ish). One guy near us was thrusting his cane in the air at times. Some danced. (All that qualifies as cardio, yes?) Many people up and down, going (presumably) to the open bar in the lobby and/or the restrooms.
The band was quite the energetic bunch, despite the fact that Allman is pushing 60 and he and his crew hardly took a break for two hours. Rock on.

Friday, November 2, 2007

R and R

If you're an exercise nut, you might think "time off" is bad for you. Not so. This article extols the virtues of taking a regular rest from your routine. The amount of time depends on your regimen, and also your own body and what it's accustomed to. If you overtrain, you risk the release of a hormone called cortisol, which actually can lead to more abdominal fat.
The key thing is to listen to your body. It knows.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Exorcising fitness demons

Here's a little post-Halloween tip sheet for confronting your health and fitness demons and exorcising them (or exercising them, haha). Also, as of yet, there are no takers for the Candy Corn Soda. ... It's not to late! Otherwise it'll remain as desk decoration.
Hope everyone had a safe Halloween.