What I’m Up To Now, November 2015
If you care to compare or read the first two posts in this series, read What I’m Up To Now November 2014 and May 2015. I will pick up with some re-hashing of info so you don’t have to read it all to catch up! Since the last update I got a new job, so there are some major variations in my lifestyle.
I am not a fan of putting my dietary or exercise habits into a box with a name. I eat real food as much as possible. I would call it a Paleo-ish diet, which just means I eat real food. I have still been able to get almost all of the meat I eat from a local farm. I have two farms I buy regularly from: one for chicken and pork, the other for beef. A typical day looks like this:
0700 – Greek Yogurt. I opt for fat free here only because it is a post-workout meal where fat is not valuable. Only slows down digestion. I also eat the yogurt for the probiotics.
1100 – Meat and green vegetables. I usually have beef and broccoli but I mix it up to get different nutrients. Sometimes fish all week, sometimes chicken, sometimes cauliflower, sometimes mixed greens.
1800 – Meat and veggies (again) and/or starch. Typical examples would be steak and salad, chicken and potatoes, and pork tenderloin. Every other week we have nachos, which is my favorite meal of the week. I get sweet potato chips with the good local grassfed beef, cheese, homemade guacamole, and vegetables.
Additional Notes: I don’t count calories or follow specific macronutrient ratios (protein/carbs/fat). I have dark chocolate, 70% usually, around 4 nights per week after dinner. I don’t really snack during the weekdays, but during the weekends I try to eat nuts and some fruit. I don’t eat a lot of fruit, maybe 3 pieces all week. I also try to eat something unique on weekends, which usually means fish for me since my family doesn’t really like it. I drink one cup of coffee in the morning 3-4 days per week. I drink tea, usually green tea or oolong tea, almost every day. I roast my coffee myself from green beans from Sweet Maria’s. I get the tea from Adagio Teas. Once a week we do a treat meal, where we go out to dinner and usually get dessert after. No holds barred!
If you are wondering how Paleo is Paleo-ish, to me it means dairy is OK (full fat usually preferred), legumes if you can tolerate them, rice and potatoes are OK but should not be eaten frequently (1-2x per week is probably the sweet spot). No bread, candy, cereal, pizza unless at a party or treat meal.
Bottom line is I follow my principles of nutrition. I made up the principles. I should follow them. Duh.
I had been taking Prescript Assist every day for about a year. I just recently stopped taking it and have been taking more prebiotics instead. Quick science vocab lesson: Probiotics are gut bacteria you ingest and prebiotics are food for existing gut bacteria. The idea is ingesting probiotics will let them take hold in your gut. Taking in prebiotics will feed the existing gut bacteria to keep them alive and well.
I have heard some people say probiotics are essential whereas others say they are a waste, that they just pass through the gut without really taking hold. So about a month ago I opted to add in morning yogurt for lacto- and bifido- probiotics and also to take in 2-3 tablespoons of potato starch at night for prebiotics/resistant starch. Read more about resistant starch and prebiotics here. I was taking the Prescript Assist for soil-based probiotics, which are unlike those found in fermented dairy. I will see if I can tell the difference at all and decide to re-add the Prescript Assist or not.
I am taking 5000 IU of vitamin D3 and ZMA every day because vitamin D and magnesium are involved in hundreds of processes in the body, it is difficult to get enough of either through diet/lifestyle, and they are inexpensive. I would recommend mostly everyone take D and magnesium. You can get blood work done to figure out your vitamin D level then determine how much you need if you want to get nerdy and be technical, but it isn’t cocaine so the downside is limited. Do your own research and talk to a doctor if you want before you take anything. I’m not a doctor…which is good because doctors think Cheerios, skim milk, a bagel without butter and juice is a healthy breakfast. Now I’m aggravated. Great.
One mildly interesting thing I have been doing as well, which is kind of supplementation, is drinking apple cider vinegar with a big glass of water first thing in the morning. I have heard a lot of people talk about the value of starting the day with a big glass of water. Seemed like something easy to try. Impossible to tell if it’s doing anything, but I’ll persist since I think we have determined water is a good thing mostly any time of day. But the apple cider vinegar thing was a trend I noticed from Joe DeFranco to Laird Hamilton. Did some research and found a lot of benefits from it. Both were taking it in some form early in the morning for health benefits. Laird was using it as part of a super immunity drink, which I tried for a while and really believe in, but it became too cumbersome at 4:30 AM to make drinks like this. Nonetheless, I retained the apple cider vinegar. I just take two tablespoons straight from the bottle. It will put some hair on your chest. If you care to try it, note all vinegar is not created equal! I recommend Bragg’s.
My sleep is not as good as it was. I now have to be up at 4 AM to be at work by 5 AM. If you do some quick math, that means I have to be asleep at 8 PM to get 8 hours of sleep. This would be fine if I didn’t have a family. So in reality I get 7 hours on average. I am usually able to get to sleep by 9 PM. Some people in the Army still think it’s such a great idea to do everything early at the expense of health. We’d all be better off sleeping two more hours and having PT formation at 0730. Maybe some of the young Soldiers would actually get some real sleep.
I stopped tracking my steps completely since this past summer. I had ingrained walking, a standing desk, and general activity into my lifestyle so much that having to wear a device to tell me how active I am is a waste of time. One less thing to charge and be neurotic about. For some people, tracking steps and sleep is a great idea. Just like counting calories or macronutrients, it was once useful to me but now just annoys me.
For exercise, I just wrote a post describing how I integrate my own training plan with the unit physical training plan that I participate in. In general, I do PT with a group of Soldiers every day. I then supplement that training with additional work on my own, most strength training and some metabolic conditioning. The post explains it pretty well.
I was on a regular track doing meditation every day until my new job. I had two years of having my mornings to myself, choosing what I wanted to do for exercise. Now that I have to be at work at 0500 and to ensure I get enough sleep, I am not meditating first thing in the morning. I found that I don’t do it if it isn’t first thing. I tried to do it a few times after exercising, but it didn’t take. I am very unhappy about this and looking for the right place to fit it back into my life. I am a believer in meditation.
Wearing the Pebble Time watch every day (read my review if you care). Still love it.
Rocking the HTC One M9 phone and Nexus 7 (2013) tablet. I just ordered (a minute and a half ago) a new Nexus 5X phone. The Nexus 5 (2013) version was my favorite phone to date. I only upgraded to the HTC M9 because there were some features missing on the Nexus 5 that were standard in 2015. Then they went and released an updated Nexus 5 whereas I wasn’t expecting Google to go with anything smaller than the Nexus 6, which is a phablet and too large to be useful for me. But they did, so I had to buy it from those bastards. Good news for my family is tech rolls down hill. Wife upgrades to a 3-month old HTC One M9. Oldest may get lucky and get the wife’s old phone (which will be new to her and a huge score). Still struggling with how young is too young for your own phone. I am sure 2 is too young and 16 is too old. The middle is a blur.
Still reading exclusively on a Kindle Voyage. Full review here.
No changes to my computer situation. Upgraded my PC to Windows 10. Seems to be going fine. The computer is one I built. It has the Intel Core i5 with Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard with 8 GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 MHx RAM inside an Antec Twleve Hundred case running Windows on a solid state hard drive. No reason at all to upgrade any of it or I would. Building computers is really fun, but we have hit a wall with PCs, already hit the wall with TVs, and we are getting close on phones. The need to upgrade these devices is so much less than it once was.
I am reading or read these since the last update:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I wasn’t done with this one at the last update but have since finished it. Best book I have read in years. Absolutely recommended. Review here.
The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. About half-way through this one now. Excellent read.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Just got into this. Big recommendation from Tim Ferriss so I thought I would pick it up. It’s OK so far, kind of funny. Wouldn’t recommend it yet.
Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues. Very good look into how important gut health is and what antibiotics are doing to us. Not done with this one yet either. Got this one on sale for $2.99 and took it off my wishlist.
Walden. I felt like I needed to read this as a classic work. We’ll see how good it is.
A little of what I am up to recently for your use. Post thoughts/questions to comments.