Archive for the “Random Musings” Category
Nov 20 2013
I was already impressed by Dr. Doug McGuff, but now I’m even more so.
Dr. McGuff’s book Body by Science (co-written with trainer John Little) is one of the best I’ve read on exercise and fitness. It’s a how-to guide for high-intensity resistance training, but also a nice primer on the science of how your muscles work, adapt and grow.
When you read this book, you’ll learn about the different types of muscle fibers and how they’re recruited during exertion. You’ll learn why there’s really no such thing as “cardiovascular fitness.” (All fitness comes down to muscular fitness. Your vascular system doesn’t become “fit.”) You’ll understand why you will never – no matter how hard you work – develop eye-popping muscles like a body-builder or professional athlete unless you’ve been blessed with an unusual ratio of fast-twitch vs. slow-twitch muscle fibers. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you’ll also learn how to become as fit and as strong as you can be by lifting weights correctly during brief but intense workouts.
I’ve also seen Dr. McGuff give a couple of speeches on diet, exercise and health that I thought were excellent. The man knows his stuff on those topics. I expected that.
I didn’t expect him to be equally impressive speaking about economics, but he is. (Any doctor who can talk intelligently about Milton Friedman’s spending quadrant is cool in my book.) After last week’s debate in the comments about insurance and ObamaCare, a reader sent me a link to this speech Dr. McGuff gave in 2012 titled Fitness, Health and Liberty. It’s more than an hour long, but worth the watch if you want to understand the economics of how and why our medical system got so screwed up in the first place. (Hint: products and services rarely become prohibitively expensive as a result of too much freedom.)
As an emergency-room physician, Dr. McGuff has seen what happens when people wind up in the medical system, which he calls “the belly of the beast.” I’d suggest paying close attention to the end of the speech, when he offers advice on how to avoid winding up in an emergency room in the first place.
Remember when I wrote about Burger King’s new low-fat Satisfries? According to the Write Good! blog, they’re useful for more than just quelling the munchies:
While consumer acceptance of Burger King’s recently introduced “Satisfries” remains tepid, the chain’s new healthy option to conventional french fries is proving to be an excellent building material, especially in the roofing trade.
“These things are nearly indestructible,” said general contractor Jerry “Buck” Yablonski. “They appear to be waterproof, can be heat-welded, and are ideal for creating a mechanically-fastened thermoplastic roof.
I recently wrote a post about how mosquitoes and other biting bugs seem to prefer me over Chareva. Here’s more proof.
The bites in the photo below were my own fault. I went out to play disc golf and forgot to put insect repellent on my legs — which weren’t bare, by the way. The chiggers managed to get to me despite long pants and socks. Chareva works out in the garden almost every day, but she doesn’t get bites like these.
Now this next one really pisses me off: All I did was go to bed and go to sleep. That ought to be a hazard-less activity. But I woke up bitten all over by what I presume was a spider. All the red welts you see below are bites. I counted 14 of them in all. (Most aren’t in the photo because they’re in areas that don’t make for family-friendly photography.) I have bites in both armpits, on my back and on my stomach. I was in an all-day seminar for work today and had to pretend to pay attention when all I wanted to do was scratch my own skin off.
Guess how many spider bites Chareva has today? That’s right, NONE. Derned critters just leave her alone for some reason.
If anyone has a suggestion for making myself less delicious to spiders, I’m all ears.
If I were a betting man, I’d bet a thousand dollars I’m going to get a lecture from my doctor when I see him for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks. I already gave myself a little lecture, too. I’ll explain why in a moment, but first a little background:
We moved to Tennessee four years ago, but I didn’t bother to look for a G.P. until recently. I’m rarely sick and don’t like going to doctors, so I didn’t see the need. On the other hand, I’ll turn 55 in a few months. By the time my dad was 70, he had colon cancer, severely blocked coronary arteries, and Alzheimer’s. My health habits are way better than his and I don’t expect to develop any of those diseases, but I don’t want to be stupidly overconfident. I was already enrolled in the Vanderbilt health network because of the knee surgery last year, so I scheduled an appointment for a checkup with a doctor at the Vanderbilt clinic that’s closest to our house.
Given all my dad’s health issues, the doctor of course ordered a slew of bloodwork. My appointment at the lab was scheduled for last Wednesday – a few days after my goddaughter’s wedding. At the wedding reception, I ate the carbage that was on the buffet and drank several beers. Special occasion and all that. The next morning, I extended the special occasion by eating two chicken-fried steaks with biscuits and gravy. It was the most junk-filled two days I’ve had in many moons. I had forgotten I had a lab test coming up in a few days, but I probably would have eaten the junk anyway. Like I said, special occasion and all that.
Today I logged onto the Vanderbilt site to check my lab results. Here are the numbers that will no doubt prompt a lecture from my doctor:
Total cholesterol: 245
Here are the numbers that prompted a lecture from me to myself, even though the lab report declared them within the normal range:
Fasting glucose: 110
I’ve had three lipid panels (not including last week’s) since going low-carb nearly five years ago. Each time, my total cholesterol was between 200 and 210, HDL was over 60 and triglycerides were below 75. I check my fasting glucose at home a couple of times per week, and it’s pretty much always between 80 and 90. Even after meals, my glucose is rarely above 105.
So there are two possibilities here. The first is that my lipids have been getting worse without me knowing it, since it’s been a couple of years since my last lipid panel. The second is that the party-hearty weekend skewed the lab results. Since my fasting glucose was 20 points higher than usual, I suspect it’s the latter.
On the 2012 low-carb cruise, someone asked Dr. William “Wheat Belly” Davis about having a cheat day on weekends. He replied that if you cheat with wheat or other refined carbohydrates, it’s a bad idea. Just one day of eating wheat can screw up your lipids for the next 3-5 days, he explained, so one cheat day per week can mean you’re spending the majority of the week producing more triglycerides and small LDL. I don’t know if beer produces similar effects, but I can’t think of anything good that comes from drinking beer.
Anyway, I suspect I’ll be getting an earful from the doctor when we go over my labs. Depending on what he does or doesn’t know about nutrition, I may even have to endure recommendations for a low-fat diet and a statin. Naturally, I’ll ignore those recommendations.
The earful I gave myself went something like this:
Hey, Dummy: don’t cheat with wheat. Period.
I received this email this morning:
I recently discovered your blog and I’ve become addicted to your insights, intelligence, humanity, humor and excellent writing style. I have a request: Will you please abandon your revenue producing job, your labor-of-love side projects, and your wife and children should it become necessary, to devote yourself full time to your blog so there is something new every single day when I log on? I know this sounds selfish on my part but I can’t describe the disappointment I experience when I see the same lead story. I’ve now taken to trolling YouTube to catch bits and pieces of your work (love the how to read clinical studies from the low carb cruise).
This request may be due to my heightened predatory nature now that I’ve gone primal. Nevertheless I sincerely thank you for your efforts to inform us about the disastrous nutritional path most Americans are wandering down, unaware, due to their grain fogged brains, that there is a better way to health and well being.
Heh-heh-heh. I thought that would make a good introduction to a post explaining that I’m taking the rest of the week off. I’ll be watching the fireworks with Chareva and the girls (I hope — the forecast is for thunderstorms), taping another episode of Fat Head Kids’ Club, and finishing (again, I hope) a side programming project.
I agree with the writer that this whole making-a-living thing is annoying, but that’s life as a middle-aged husband/father/provider. Perhaps someday a book or film project take care of that situation.
While I’m on my mini-vacation, you might enjoy watching this lecture by a doctor with diabetes who saw the light on diet and health.
Happy Fourth of July