Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Secret to a Healthy Diet

Here's a belief I've held for many years. I don't have a lot of scientific evidence to back it up, but I think it makes sense. If you want to eat a healthy diet and therefore lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, you only have to really do two things:

1) You have to enjoy eating things that are good for you, and;

2) You must do some sort of physical activity on a regular basis.

It's that simple. Fad diets, drugs, or anything else that helps you lose weight without doing anything different with your life just won't work. Either you won't be able to keep the weight off, or you won't be healthy.

Perhaps it's easier said than done to "like eating things that are good for you" but here's where I see the problem: people have too much of the "reward" mentality. It goes like this: "I've been GOOD all week so now I can have a TREAT". What's going on is that the stuff people think is good for them is stuff they don't like. Marketers have a field day with this by selling junk food designed as health food.

If you like real, good food like fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy meats and good bread, you're most of the way there. Don't drown your salad in bacon. Don't think that white bread is the only type that is palatable. Just like the real, good stuff.

The second part is equally important. The human body needs activity and if you don't get it, you're missing something. Diet can't compensate for this. With a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes a day of just WALKING you are most of the way there. What is so hard about that?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Slow Down!

A number of years ago I started taking photos of road kill with the intention of exhibiting a show called "Slow Down". My goal was to get even just a few people to realize that we all drive too damn fast.

This morning I was reminded of this again. Now I shouldn't say that I ALWAYS drive the speed limit or below, but I'm very careful and I try to be aware of the road conditions, other drivers, visibility, etc. And I work hard to keep my car in top shape so I know I can rely on it in all conditions.

But quite often, like this morning, I'm tail gated by someone behind me wanting to go faster. And many times, there's someone in front of me so I CAN'T go any faster even if I wanted to. And another thing: I usually allow for a space between me and the car in front of me so that if they slow down or need to stop, I have time to react. Well, aparently, this some people don't like that, and they think that every square inch of road should be covered with a car at all times, regardless of speed. I guess they can't tell that I'm GOING THE SAME SPEED as the cars in front of me, but I'm just leaving a space. So they try to pass me and fill that space.

What, can I ask, is WRONG with people?

Slow the hell down, leave earlier if you have to, and get off my back.

And watch out for the animals out there. What's the hurry anyway? Gotta get to McDonalds? Or is it Starbucks? Those animals that you've run over on the way there don't get to nibble on their next french fry. By the way, if you haven't seen the movie SuperSize Me, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Here's another thought: please friggin' SIGNAL when you are going to turn. I can't tell you how many times I'm waiting to turn left or pull onto a road and the schmuck coming the other way doesn't signal, and then turns. I of course now have to wait another 30 seconds for the next break in traffic and pray that another dolt doesn't do the same thing.

All I ask is that you are respectful, courteous and careful out there on the roads. And I promise to do the same thing. If we all did this, road rage, rear-end accidents, blood pressure, and hatred towards our fellow drivers would probably be reduced. Isn't that a worthwhile goal?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Interpretation of the US Flag

For several years I've had this idea rattling around in my head, and I've even told a few people about it. So I decided to make it a little more "public" so here goes.

Flags and other symbols usually mean what is associated with them rather than the raw symbol having an intrinsic meaning. For instance, the swastika was used by several cultures, including examples in Native America. But then the Nazis adopted the swastika as their symbol and now it has a specific association, decidely different than what it had before that time.

Brand logos come to represent what those companies want them to, or, at least what the market assigns to them.

The US flag is no different, and it certainly represents something very different to citizens of the US versus those in other parts of the world. And this meaning has changed quite a bit over the years.

With all that said, the flag represents specific things to me.

The Blue Field: this represents the things most of us strive for: justice, truth and purity.

The Stars: these represent us, the citizens of the U.S.

The White Stripes to the right of the blue field: these represent the path we have taken to get here, for those who have not paid with blood.

The Red Stripes to the right of the blue field: these represent the path we have taken to get here, but by those who have paid for where we are with their blood.

The White Stripes across the lower half represent the path taken by those who came before us.

And the Red Stripes across the lower half represent the path taken by those before us who paid with their blood.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ever Had Vertigo?

I had an "interesting" experience over the holiday: an episode of vertigo. On Christmas eve, in the morning, I started feeling dizzy as I was helping my daugther get up and get dressed. So I laid down in bed so it would pass. But instead of getting better, I got more and more dizzy. If I opened my eyes, the room would seem to spin. Then the nausea came on. It got so bad that I was sitting on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet with my eyes closed, trying not to move. If I turned my head, I would feal nausea immediately. So I realized that I would need medical attention... and asked my wife for help. Fortunately, Jane's mother was in town visiting us so she could watch our daughter.

My wife drove me down to the urgent care clinic and of course the first thing they said was "the wait is about two and a half hours". I think I gave them a look like "you have to be kidding". As it turns out, a neighbor of ours worked at the clinic and it's possile she helped me get in earlier because I think I only waited about an hour. The doctor asked me some questions, looked in my ears, had me follow a light with my eyes, and abruptly asked me "do you prefer a shot, pills, or a suppository". I chose the shot for the quick action. I was done and went home and the dizziness and nausea finally passed. The doctor also prescibed some anti-nausea drugs, which I took. Then I slept for the rest of Saturday and all of Saturday night. My wife, daughter and mother-in-law went to my parents house for Christmas Eve dinner...

As it turns out, a co-worker of mine here at Lectrosonics also had very similar symptoms. Her doctor told her that it was probably debris in her ear. I came to the conclusion that it was a virus, possibly flu. Here's a description of vertigo and the possible causes. The vertigo itself went away and hasn't come back, although my wife has mentioned she's felt some mild dizziness since then. But the "cold" or flu itself had me a little bit down a few days before the vertigo and more than a week after.