Category Archives: health

Trying to stay hydrated

I’ve been trying to drink more water and have been tracking with an app. Funny what it shows. Monday and Tuesday off to a good start. Then less and less each day of the week. My goal is 80 ounces a day. I have a lot of work to do with this habit. I have to maintain the motivation I have at the beginning of the week, when I try to “start again.”


80/20 Rule to Diet and Weight Loss

The 80/20 rule is a rule of thumb that states “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”

It can be applied to so many things. Marketing, advertising, production, etc.

And no doubt diet, exercise, and weight loss.

There is so much static and noise in the health and fitness community that it’s hard to sort out truth, fiction, lies, hopes, proof, deception, exaggeration, marketing, etc.

Arguments are made and defended where shades of gray are made black and white for the sake of defending one’s own opinion. Cults form. Paleo, Crossfit. Dogmas form. Intermittent fasting, low carb, slow carb.

There are also pros and cons to everything. Not everything is perfect and there probably isn’t anything that’s entirely bad (besides disorders like anorexia and bulimia). Paleo isn’t the only way to go.

Take for example the debate over calorie in and calorie out. That’s simply a weight loss method that says to lose weight you must consume less calories than you burn. There are opponents who dispute it, with the focus of their argument turning to an exaggerated hypothetical of someone consuming all of their “deficit” calories from Twinkies or Skittles. Strawman anyone?

For weight (and fat) loss, does calorie in / calorie out work? Indisputably yes.

Is it PERFECT? No, nothing is.

Is that the only variable? No, you should also make the calories you consume all healthy calories. You should also exercise, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, etc.

For weigh (and fat) loss, what 20% effort provides 80% of results?

  • Calorie deficit (moderate is healthier than drastic)
  • Eat plenty of vegetables (and a variety)
  • Cut out all added sugar
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise moderately
  • Don’t be afraid of healthy fats

On the flip side, what 80% effort provides 20% of results?

  • Intermittent fasting
  • Eating more smaller meals throughout the day.
  • Meditarrinian diet, South Beach diet, {insert fad} diet
  • CLA
  • Green Coffee Bean Extract
  • Raspberry Ketones
  • Excessive exercise
  • Garcinia Cambogia
  • x% fat, x% carbs, x% protein
  • Broscience
  • millions of other nutty suggestions, gimmicks, etc.

Also, the 80% effort stuff will lead to futility without first taking care of the 20% that drives the most change.

I’ve documented the healthy living part of healthy weight loss methods on my healthy living checklist:

Here is a great article to help sniff out fads and psudo-science:

Smoothie Recipe – The Staple

Joking about the version number. I’ve switched this up so many times that I’ve lost track.

I’ve been drinking this one (and slight variations) the last few weeks:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 scoop unflavored whey isolate
  • 1/2-1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2-1 cup strawberry, raspberry, blackberry mix
  • 1 cup steeped matcha green tea
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Sometimes kale.
  • Sometimes a tablespoon coconut oil.
  • Sometimes handful of almonds.
  • Sometimes some cucumber.
  • Sometimes some celery.
  • Sometimes some broccoli.
  • Sometimes some chia seeds.
  • Sometimes some carrot.

I’ve switched from taking the veggies raw to steaming most of them. Cooked/steamed veggies are a little easier to work with plus reduces the oxalate level.

Another winter, another season of inactivity. Luckily each winter (of inactivity) I never put everything back on. But… Here we go again.

I’ve updated my “YoYo Graph.”


First 10 Day Challenge Down, Another to Begin

My first 10 Day Challenge was “to eat/drink pristinely for 10 days.” I think I did well. “Pristine” can be left up to interpretation, but in honestly I didn’t mess up. Well other than taking 2 bites of cake at a birthday party. I SWEAR it was more not to be rude than for the love of the cake. Really. No REALLY! Other than that, there was no other cake, candy, chips, cookies, crackers, etc. Nothing fried. Nothing “bad.” It felt good and it wasn’t too hard. I had been slipping here and there previously. I hope those 10 days jump-start better habits.

My second 10 day challenge would be kind of embarrassing if I hadn’t seen so many others have trouble with and try to overcome the same (through resolutions or challenges, etc.). It’s… Get this… Drink more water!!!

I can’t believe I  need to be more mindful of this. On an average day, I don’t drink enough water. I don’t know what it is. I know proper hydration is beneficial for so many things. Overall health, weight loss, brain function, athletic performance, etc.

So, today is day 1 of drinking at least 60oz of water a day!


Tea Steeping Times and Temperatures

I’ve gotten into drinking tea 1) for health benefits and 2) to reduce the caffeine consumption I was getting from my abuse of coffee. Plus I’ve gotten to really like the taste of some and like taste testing various blends.

Here is a handy guide to steeping times and temperatures.


Healthy Living: Lets go to the judges’ scorecards

After 4 rounds, we have a decision.
Judge 1 scores the bout 39-37 Soreco
Judge 2 scores the bout 38-38
Judge 3 scores the bout  39-37, for the winner by majority decision… Matt “the antioxidant” Sorecoooooooooo

Matt, what do you have to say about the bout?
“If I can change…….., you can change…………, everybody can change!”

So my last post I said that the start of a cold would prove the effectiveness of healthy living on my body’s response to the cold that was forming at the time.

I know no matter what you do, there is no way to completely guarantee getting sick. Especially being in a house with 2 others who are sick and one being a 3 year old coughing in your face all day. Rather you can reduce the number of times and minimize the effects.

I felt I had a cold, no doubt about it. But It didn’t slow me down one bit. The “judges” all gave one round to the virus. Last night, I kind of felt worn out a little. I was getting a little nervous. Perhaps the cold was in its death throws, because I woke up this morning feeling good. Not 100%, but good.

Bottom line. I attribute my mild cold on having everything healthy lined up. Hydrated, healthy eating, plenty of rest, etc.

Time to Put Healthy Living to the Test

Taken from my desk this morning. I’ve upped the ante. Green tea, fruit/berry/veggie smoothie, and plenty of vitamins (multi, fish oil, and vitamin d):

My poor son has been battling a cold/ear infection for 3 weeks. My wife has been stricken with the same cold for a few days now. The result is my house has become a petri dish for the common cold.

I have been adhering to my healthy living checklist militantly. Is it enough to ward off a cold while living in a common cold incubator?

Yesterday my son seemed to take a turn for the worse (he has a doctor’s appointment today!). So I took the day off of work rather than send him to daycare (I wish other parents did the same but that’s another story/blog post). At about 2pm, I said to myself that it will be a minor miracle if I don’t catch something. Even the most impenetrable immune system can only withhold so many times of being coughed and sneezed on.

I promised all of you (my 2 loyal readers)(hi mom!)(hi random passerby!), that I would give extensive reasons to all items that go into my morning smoothie, as well as the rest of my diet as well. I promise I will one day. Long story short, I try to get the most amount and widest range of antioxidants possible (and conveniently). Besides a berry, fruit, and veggie smoothie in the morning, I also drink green tea throughout the day and try to get garlic, tomatoes, and other well researched foods into my daily/weekly meals. Besides fighting and preventing inflammation (which is thought to cause/prolong/intensify a lot of common diseases), antioxidants are said to aid the immune response (which is also related to inflammation).

Even armed with a pristine diet (as well as lifestyle too–e.g. sleep), I think I succumbed to the inevitable. I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. BUT! This war isn’t over! So far my symptoms are extremely mild–proving the healthy living is effective in immune response. {knocking on serious wood}

So in closing, I’d like to say, “Dear cold, I will win. You will lose.”

30 Day Challenges

I got this idea from Matt Cutts of Google. Committing to something different for 30 days each month (or every other month or whatever). I was thinking about doing this for quite a while.

During Lent this year, I gave up junk food, which I narrowed down to the 4 c’s (cake, candy, chips, cookies). That was sort of a 30 day challenge of itself (40+ days actually). I only messed up once completely accidentally and mindlessly during Church coffee hour. I picked up a brownie and took a bite, then realized it and threw the rest away. Besides being the annoying one who turns down cake at birthday parties, it was relatively easy for me. I don’t eat much of it to begin with.

The 30 day challenge doesn’t need to be a sacrifice however. Rather motivation to try new things.

So the new month begins and so does my first 30 day challenge. This is something I put off for over a year and a half. It is stream-of-consciousness writing. The one recommendation I’m going to ignore is to do it in writing. Rather, I’m going to type them keep them in a Google Docs folder. I’m going to isolate myself from distractions first and commit a half hour to each.

Lets see how this goes…

Need to Switch Gears, 10k may have to wait

Following my last post, I ran an even newer personal best going 5.75 miles in 51 minutes. Again, this was the furthest I ever ran. Plus it was my fastest pace ever (8:52) for 3+ miles. Good, good, good.

I should also note that it was a very mild day. Low to mid 50s. No humidity. Perfect.

My last run wasn’t as good though. I only made it 5.5 miles in the same 51 minutes. Still not shabby, but… The sole reason it was slower (and what’s been haunting me the last 2 years also) is that I can’t figure out how to dress for the cold weather. It was low 40s. Too cold for just a long sleeve shirt (I think). I had a windbreaker jacket and pants (both supposedly breathable). But I sweat so much, that after 15-20 minutes, I started to feel the heat. And as it turned out, I gassed a little at the end of the run. Mind you when I first stepped out of the house, I was a little chilly.

That brings me to a decision to not fret over it. My outdoor running days are over for this season. I’m taking my cardio into the gym full time from now through the winter. I don’t want to spend money on more clothes. And I don’t have the patience to trial and error this thing out. Also, add in some chapped lips and uuumm errrr let me just hint uhhhh {minor case of what happened to Andy from the Office in the running episode} makes my decision easier and final. Aaaaand it’ll break me into a routine of going to the gym, which I wanted to do more during the winter month anyway. I CANNOT SLIP OFF TRACK THIS WINTER!

I know I could have made 10k (6.25 miles) this year, but it’ll have to wait until Spring.

Back Spasms, Part II

Over 2 years ago, I wrote how I used to suffer from back spasms (which manifested themselves as stiff necks). After identifying what I thought were the causes, I reduced both the frequency and intensity of them. I’m knocking on serious wood here (karma bit me a few times after writing blog posts like this), but since adding 1 more thing to the list, I haven’t had one single episode.

Originally, I identified some causes:
1) Falling asleep on my couch, which is soft and offers no back support.
2) Drinking too much caffeine.
3) Stress.
4) Being run down. From lack of quality sleep, or colds, or running around too much.
5) Being dehydrated.

Usually it would take a combination of some of those to trigger spasms. If all 5, I used to call it “the perfect storm.”

One of the many things that inspired my smoothie/juice endeavor was reading about kale (an ingredient in my “staple” blends). It is high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium. A smoothie/juice was an easy way for me to get kale in my diet regularly. Those three nutrients are important in preventing muscle spasms and cramps. I’m not sure if I was deficient of those nutrients before (I probably was), so with kale (and bananas) I think I’m getting enough and what I think has made a big difference.

6) Get adequate amounts of magnesium, potassium, and calcium (sodium too, which I definitely always got enough of).