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Spark People! October 5, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Fitness.
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There are lots of health and wellness websites out there.  Lots of diet pages, lots of communities.  I’ve decided to join one of them, and I thought I’d share it with you guys – in case anyone is looking and wants to join me over there.  (I’ll still be getting back into the swing of things over here!)

The site is called sparkpeople.com, and it’s got some neat features.  First neat feature is a Spark Page.  Here’s mine.  You can choose what gets displayed (I chose everything.)  You can post pictures of yourself ( I have) and you can share your nutritional tracking, exercise tracking and other things.  (For those of you that are pregnant or breastfeeding, sparkpeople.com is affiliated with babyfit.com – a great website that has the same sort of features but designed towards helping new mothers or moms-to-be.)

I mentioned the nutrition tracker.  It will suggest meal plans for you, recipes, and lets you enter your own meals, along with as much or little nutritional information as you want to include.  You can also import information from other people who have chosen to share their foods, so Sami was able to import my meat sauce I made for spagetti last night, and I was able to import the margerine we have that she entered.

If you want to come try it out, please do!  These things usually work better when you have a support network around you.  Add me as a friend from my spark page if you join up.  You can even mention I told you about it (my username is suprspi) and I’ll get spark points.

Other things I’m going to do are to post some recipes here, (and probably at my normal blog too) and to track some of the exercise Sami and I are doing.  Hope you enjoy me getting back into the swing of blogging our exercise and stuff again.

Cheers!  And welcome back!


8×8 – Eight 8 Ounce Glasses of Water – Daily. True or False? February 19, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Daily Challenge, Diet.
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Starla put up another Daily Challenge.

Today’s Challenge: Get in at least the reccomonded amount of water today (8 tall glasses). I will be trying to finish my large water bottle 3 times.

That got me thinking.  Sam and I have been talking about the 8 glasses of water a day, or 8×8 myth recently.  We’ve concluded that although it might be a myth, it is likely still pretty good advice, and it shouldn’t hurt.

My physiotherapist recommended me to  drink 3-4 large bottles of water a day, until my urine is almost colourless and odourless.  Supposedly this should help my back.  Some days it seems it does, some days it doesn’t.  Some days I don’t drink water and my back is fine, others I do and it hurts.  The evidence thus far is anecdotal of course, but seems to not have a direct effect on my back.

So I went looking for answers, and found this interesting article, written by a  part of which I will crib:

Other claims discredited by scientific evidence that Valtin discusses include:

  • Thirst Is Too Late. It is often stated that by the time people are thirsty, they are already dehydrated. On the contrary, thirst begins when the concentration of blood (an accurate indicator of our state of hydration) has risen by less than two percent, whereas most experts would define dehydration as beginning when that concentration has risen by at least five percent.
  • Dark Urine Means Dehydration. At normal urinary volume and color, the concentration of the blood is within the normal range and nowhere near the values that are seen in meaningful dehydration. Therefore, the warning that dark urine reflects dehydration is alarmist and false in most instances.

Is there scientific documentation that we do not need to drink “8 x 8”? There is highly suggestive evidence, says Valtin. First is the voluminous scientific literature on the efficacy of the osmoregulatory system that maintains water balance through the antidiuretic hormone and thirst. Second, published surveys document that the mean daily fluid intake of thousands of presumably healthy humans is less than the roughly two quarts prescribed by 8 x 8. Valtin argues that, in view of this evidence, the burden of proof that everyone needs 8 x 8 should fall on those who persist in advocating the high fluid intake without, apparently, citing any scientific support.

Finally, strong evidence now indicates that not all of the prescribed fluid need be in the form of water. Careful peer-reviewed experiments have shown that caffeinated drinks should indeed count toward the daily fluid intake in the vast majority of persons. To a lesser extent, the same probably can be said for dilute alcoholic beverages, such as beer, if taken in moderation.

“Thus, I have found no scientific proof that absolutely every person must ‘drink at least eight glasses of water a day’,” says Valtin. While there is some evidence that the risk of certain diseases can be lowered by high water intake, the quantities needed for this beneficial effect may be less than 8 x 8, and the recommendation can be limited to those particularly susceptible to the diseases in question.

In case you doubt the authors credentials, I’ll crib quickly again, from the beginning of the article:

In an invited review published online by the American Journal of Physiology August 8, Valtin, professor emeritus of physiology at Dartmouth Medical School, reports no supporting evidence to back this popular counsel, commonly known as “8 x 8” (for eight, eight-ounce glasses). The review will also appear in a later issue of the journal.

Valtin, a kidney specialist and author of two widely used textbooks on the kidney and water balance, sought to find the origin of this dictum and to examine the scientific evidence, if any, that might support it. He observes that we see the exhortation everywhere: from health writers, nutritionists, even physicians. Valtin doubts its validity. Indeed, he finds it, “difficult to believe that evolution left us with a chronic water deficit that needs to be compensated by forcing a high fluid intake.”

Hmm.  It would appear that the 8×8 rule really is a myth.  For more reading, you also might find interesting this article at snopes.com, which sums up thusly:

The best general advice (keeping in mind that there are always exceptions) is to rely upon your normal senses. If you feel thirsty, drink; if you don’t feel thirsty, don’t drink unless you want to. The exhortation that we all need to satisfy an arbitrarily rigid rule about how much water we must drink every day was aptly skewered in a letter by a Los Angeles Times reader:

Although not trained in medicine or nutrition, I intuitively knew that the advice to drink eight glasses of water per day was nonsense. The advice fully meets three important criteria for being an American health urban legend: excess, public virtue, and the search for a cheap “magic bullet.”


Merrraaaaagghhhhhh……*yawn* February 19, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Diet, Fitness, Recipe, sore!.
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My alarm went off at 5:45 this morning. I promptly pressed snooze.

Then I rolled out of bed – slowly, with a very bad backache. I got up, got jammies on (that probably tells you things you really didn’t want to know) and found all my gym stuff. I packed everything up and drove through the chilly -13c morning fog to the gym.

I didn’t get any cardio in today – simply stretched out and hit the hottub, pool and steam sauna. It felt good to stretch my back. I got home at 5 of 7 and climbed back into bed beside Sami and rubbed her sore back. (And ribs, baby is beating on them something bad since she turned)

I had a 12 grain bagel with cream cheese (mmm, naughty and nice) and had an activia yoghurt for a mid-morning snack. I had a sandwich and salad for lunch, and just finished a pork stir fry-ish meal with creamy sauce for dinner. Yummo. ( I used canned soup for the sauce to prove to Sami that I can cook without doing it totally from scratch)

All in all, a pretty good day. Tomorrow I’ll get a run in if my back isn’t too bad. Probably only a mile or so on the elliptical, but it’s start for my fat ass. Run fat boy – run!

Dinner Stir Fry-ish Recipe with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

  • Red Pepper, cut into quarters, then cut julienne style
  • 3/4 head of celery, with leaves, cut into narrow slices
  • 4-5 Scallions, chopped up smallish
  • 2 pork chops, fat trimmed and cut into strips

In a wok or fry pan heat oil at medium high heat. Add pork and stir fry until cooked through, no pink remaining. Season to taste (I suggest some dried garlic, pepper, salt and a bit of something spicyish, like red pepper flakes. Go easy.) Add veggies and stir fry until just soft. Add a can of cream of mushroom soup, and 2/3 a can of hot water. Mix well and simmer 10 minutes or so over medium-low heat. Serve over rice.

Wild or Brown rice would make this a little healthier, and you could certainly add other veggies, this is just what I had to cook with. Broccoli would be especially good. Some yellow squash would be nice too. Look for colourful foods to add good vitamins and minerals to your diet! Stir Fry is especially healthy because all the nutrients are not boiled away, but are kept in your meal for you to eat.

This Week February 18, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Diet, Fitness, New Idea.
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This weeks I’m going to be trying two things.  One easy, and one hard.

The easy one is to get my 12 grain bread again that I really like – and eat it.  Toast in the mornings.  I know whole grains are the best sort of carbohydrates to be eating, so I want to add more of them to my diet.

Secondly, I want to get to the gym in the mornings.  I’ve missed for two weeks now, first cause I was sick, then cause I couldn’t be bothered to go again.  So, the alarm will now ring at 5:45 in the mornings for me, instead of 7:30.  I’ll hit the gym, get a shower in and be home by seven.  Shouldn’t be too bad, except the whole getting up in the morning part.

Some Healthy Recipes February 9, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Diet, New Idea, Recipe.
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Hmm…Some healthy tasty recipes.

Tasha’s having a hard time getting her guy to eat healthy – so what I come up with has to be tasty.  It’s hard, not knowing what kind of food Jer likes, or Tasha for that matter, but here’s a couple tasty things that I like, that might be good examples.

These aren’t weight loss food – but if combined with a proper diet and exercise they won’t totally sink a good diet either.  So these are something both people in a relationship can eat without feeling guilty.  They’ll be lowish in fat, full of taste and what fat they have will be good fat, like olive oil.  They’ll have lean protein, which is important for anyone trying to eat healthy.

Jeff’s Bean Salad (With tuna or without)

  • 1 Can Mixed Beans
  • 1 Can garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas)
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 stalk celery
  • a few tablespoon red wine or balsemic vinegar
  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • Squirt of mustard (preferably german style, but anything will do.

Optionally, add a can of chunk light tuna packed in water, or even better, a cubed grilled tuna steak.

Cut the veggies into small pieces, mince the garlic and toss in a glass bowl.  Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the bowl.   Mix the oil and vinegar at a two to one ratio, oil to vinegar.  Add a small squirt of mustard and whip together.  Pour over the salad and add some fish if you want it.  For this size of salad I’d suggest starting with 3 tablespoons oil to 1.5 tablespoons vinegar.  You may decide to add more or less dressing depending on taste.

Jeff’s Simple Stir-Fry (that looks complicated and tastes great)

  • 1/2 lb lean meat.   Chicken breast, or cut up steak or porkchop works well.  You need about 1 small steak/breast/chop or less per person.
  • 1/2 onion. (I prefer red)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1/4 head cauliflower
  • Can of mini corns, cut up into peices. (Reserve 1/4 can of juice for sauce, drain rest)
  • Can of water chestnuts, sliced and drained.
  • Handful of peas.
  • Handful of bean sprouts
  • Soy or Ponzu Sauce
  • Lemon or Lime juice if you use soy sauce. (Ponzu sauce has citrus added already)
  • Spices to taste.  I like chinese five spice, pepper, salt and a little bit of spicy red peppers.

It’s best to pre-chop your veggies because you want to work quickly.   Cut everything into bite sized peices, a little larger than you think you should.

Put a wok or skillet on medium high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil in it.  Add the (thawed) meat and stir fry.  Toss around and let it brown a little.  Once it’s there, pour a few tablespoons of soy or ponzu into the wok and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pan.  Toss in your first two veggies, the onion and garlic. Add your spices. Stir fry for a minute more, just until the onion softens.  Toss in the next veggies – everything crunchy. (Celery, Broc, Cauli, Peas, Corn)  Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the veggies begin to become tender but still crunchy.  Add about a 1/4 cup of soy or ponzu and the reserved corn water.  Toss the sprouts on top, give it all a good toss and put the lid on for a minute or so to steam the veggies.  Add some more spices if you like.

Turn off the heat and serve nice and hot.  This is great served with wild rice, mixed rice or brown rice for some fiber in your diet.  This meal is really low fat, and really high in veggie serving count.  Almost anyone can be convinced to eat stir fry.  This will probably take about an hour the first time you make it, but as you get comfortable with the process and ingredients it can be done in half an hour, easy.

Some other ideas are honey garlic sauce, add a few tablespoons.  Thai chili garlic paste for some spicy sweet heat, add a few teaspoons.  Peanutbutter can be great too, a few tablespoons added early on and heated up to coat everything also adds a thai style to it.

Yeah – I know you probably know how to cook dear reader.  I know these are simple recipes.  But it’s silly to write a recipe to share that someone with no cooking experience can’t follow.  So these have everything spelled out.  If there is anything missing or needing clarification, find the comment button and put it to work.

Veggie-liscous February 8, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Daily Challenge, Diet.
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Starla put up a blog challenge the other day.  The challenge? Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies in your day.

Today I did it.  Here’s what I did, for those who’re curious.

Breakfast: McD’s Breakfast Burritos w/ Salsa.  (According to their food guide website this counts as one serving, I think I’m stretching using it though.)

Lunch: Chicken Fingers and Fries. (Oops…sucked there.)

Dinner: Homemade stirfry w/ pork and veggies.  Got at least 2 or 3 servings there – lots of veggies, lots of good green and colourful stuff too.   I also had some Antioxia juice, it’s made from pomegranate and blueberries and has lots of antioxidents.  Also, 1 cup counts as 2 servings of fruits in your day.

My hint for making your fruit and veggie quota in the day is to pick up these juices (you can get some frozen by McCain too) that are made to help you get your servings.  It’s not as good as a real serving of fresh broccoli, but it’s still a serving for fruits or veggies.

My other personal goal was to drink more water, I think I’m at about 5 or 6 glasses.  That’s not too bad, but not as much as I’d like.  Need to drink more water, it helps ease my nighttime back pain.

A movie…. January 23, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Diet, Off Topic.
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It seems someone is making a movie about my wordpress blog name.  Or something like that.

I’m starting to get search engine hits from people searching for the Run Fat Boy, Run movie.   I’m not even sure I really want to see this flick, but it has my name in it, so I may.

If you’re wondering, I’m not planning on running any marathons anytime soon.

And yes, it seems I had this name first.  Although, it seems even older than me is a pay for exercise plan at runfatboy.net   I can’t speak for how their program works, but it looks sort of neat.

Hope they don’t mind terribly that I seem to come up with the same domain as them.  Ah well, I’ll be nice.  It’s not like I’m trying to pass myself off as them – I’m just a dude going to the gym.  They’re more like – here’s how to get fit!  Give us money and motivation and we’ll give you lean sculpted bod!  I wish I had motivation.  Then I could give them shiny gold rocks and get some muscles in return.

Hmm..wonder what’s at runfatboyrun.com Just went and looked – it’s being held by some sort of spyware scammy site.  Sucky, I could have bought it and redirected it here.

Just thoughts for tonight, after I totally broke down and had a ice-cream and peanut butter bar.  After pizza and wings.  Cause today was a good food day….not.  (I haven’t heard not used like that since about 1992.  It should stay that way.)

A good present this time. January 22, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Diet, Fitness, sore!.
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At the gym last night is a sign reading thusly:

Warning! This scale weighs 7 lbs heavy!

I like it.  That means my scale at home isn’t as out as I thought.  It also means I gained closer to 4 or 5 lbs over the holidays, not the gigantor 12 I thought I did.

I ate a a combination of good and bad yesterday.  McD’s for lunch, and lasagna and salad for dinner, with lots of good irony leafy greens.

Had a 1 mile run on the elliptical, did bench press, roman chair for back, crunch machine and some barbell curls.  Nothing major, just to feel like I did something.  Stretched my back out really good, then steam sauna’d it up with Scott for a bit.  That thing is killer.

Slept better last night, didn’t have a sore back until about 5am, and was able to change position and sleep through it, something I haven’t been able to do very well recently.

Tasty Lunch January 18, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Diet, Recipe.
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100% Bison Burger on Italian Loaf

Olive-Oil Becel

Salsa, Fat Free Caeser Dressing


50/50 Spinach and Dark Greens Mixture

And a pickle to go with it.

A quote I remember from growing up:


Hey Mr. – wanna pickle for a nickle?

‘How bout two cents?

I think it was from show with kids and eating pickles, but I can’t be sure. ;)

Last night’s workout. January 18, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Cardio, Extra-Curricular, Fitness.
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Wasn’t at the gym.

It was in my driveway, shoveling snow.   We’ve just recently got a dump of snow about 4 inches, and I hadn’t shovelled the previous few times, so we’ve got some good buildup on the driveway.

The snowbanks are now over 3, someplaces 5, feet on my driveway.  My driveway is probably about 375 sq. feet or so.  It’s not huge, but it’s a good 30-40 minutes of shovelling on a good day.  Yesterday wasn’t so.

First of all, I had to shovel the paths as well, to the door, barbecue (yes, it gets used in winter…) and blaze a trail to the shed.  The shed has the crib and stuff in it, and we’ll need to unpack some of that this weekend as we’re setting up the nursery.

Then, I had to clean the drive entrance.  When it snows and I shovel, I usually have to do this area twice, so sometimes it gets forgotten the second time. What happens is that the city comes by and plows the road into the sidewalk, creating a berm.  I have to shovel that out when I do the driveway, otherwise cars can’t get into my driveway – our pilot can, but it’s an SUV.

Then, the city comes by two days later with the bobcat plowing the sidewalk.  This creates a second berm – the one that sometimes doesn’t get shovelled.

Long story short, as of yesterday there was an 8 inch step up onto my driveway, so I had to get out some tools (that weren’t meant for the job, or nice to my back) and chip away at it to create a slope that a car can traverse.

An hour later, and with my heartrate a lot higher than when it started,  a car can get into my driveway.

I didn’t quite even make it to they Rec Center to use the steam sauna, though it would have been nice.  But I did get a solid cardio workout, even if it was outside rather than in.  Sort of better in a way.

That was my workout.  What did you do yesterday to be physically active?  No, for real – not snarky at all.  Feel free to post in the comments about what you did yesterday, or even this week, to stay active.