Other Experiments

First, I’d like to say if you are interested in people doing interesting experiments, check out the website called, Wayne’s This and That. He is a very interesting and thoughtful person. I’ve run across his website twice. Once to see if it’s possible to see if you can get a wild hummingbird to sit on your finger (it is possible) and once to see if it’s possible to make chocolate from nibs with a powerful blender (it is, I used a Vitamix). He has lots of other cool experiments.

January, 2011
Barefoot Running: In December 2010, I read, Born to Run, which makes the case that modern running shoes not only don’t help, but actually make you run in a way that can cause injury. I’ve been running since I was 15 (and now I’m 46) with very few injuries, but still, I was intrigued. I bought a pair of those crazy looking Vibram 5 fingers. My first day out, I just ran one mile (with Eddie, my young pug). The next day my calf muscles were SOOO sore, and I was in the sort of shape where I could easily run 6 miles without being sore. I stuck with it and after two months, I’m up to running 5 miles in them. It definitely uses new and/or different muscles, but I think in the end it will make me stronger. Stay tuned.

Aug 8, 2011: Went to the podiatrist today and was diagnosed with a stress-fracture or precursor to one. Got one of those big boots for me foot and I can’t run for 6 weeks. Barefoot running sounded good, but it didn’t pan out for me. I approached it very sensibly, slowly working up to 7 miles, but still, I got injured.

The podiatrist I saw had read, Born to Run also. He said that the author “cherry picked” facts and stories that were pro-barefoot running. I feel a bit duped, but I do believe in testing conventional wisdom from time to time, and as the podiatrist noted, I’m not the only one to read Born to Run and try barefoot running. He said he’d see several more patients such as me today.

Also, maybe barefoot running is just not for me or maybe I wasn’t doing it quite right or I had a bit too much weight on me for it. Whatever the truth may be, it’s back to regular running shoes for me.

Sugaraholic? Also in December of 2010, I began to wonder if I was a Sugaraholic. At about this same time, my friend Ginger and Bob and I were talking about New Year’s Resolutions. Ginger and I were bemoaning our lack of control around chocolate, and Bob suggested we give up sugar for the year. He was not being serious, but Ginger said, “Hey, do you want to give up refined sugar for a year?” I said, “Yes!” We decided we could still have honey and maple sugar in moderation.

Until today, March 11, I was clean and stayed “on the wagon.” How did it make me feel? Did I stop craving sugar? It did not make me feel much different in terms of energy and I didn’t automatically lose weight, even though I was fairly careful with other foods. Also, I never stopped thinking how nice it would be to eat a large piece of chocolate cake from my favorite bakery, The North Hill Bakery. However, it did help me eat more healthy foods and it made healthy foods taste much better. Fruit smoothies made with frozen mango, frozen raspberries, and goat milk became as delicious as ice cream.

For whatever reason, I had a relapse on March 11 and I did go and buy a nice piece of chocolate cake from North Hill Bakery. It tasted terrific, but, probably it was a short lived pleasure.

My new rule is going to be that I can only have refined sugars if I’m celebrating with a group of people. This will keep me from going back to my old habit of going out in the afternoon to buy a Theo chocolate bar or an ice cream cone. It might also encourage me to celebrate more with friends. Can I stick with this policy until the end of 2011? Stay tuned?

April 3rd:
I had dinner last night with friends, and it being a social occasion, I got to eat SUGAR! I am a lover of brownies, so I made and brought some brownies with a cream cheese/sugar/egg topping. They were excellent if I do say so myself. I also ate A LOT of brownies, so my social sugar rule has had to be modified by the addition of “just one moderate helping.”

I’ve never believed in the “sugar high” theory, but I may have had one last night. It was a very fun evening, the conversation was interesting, and I had a beer. I got very revved up with a happy enthusiasm, in fact, I was so revved up that it took me forever to go to sleep. Could this have been a sugar high? The lack of sleep made me feel so hungover the next day that I wasn’t even tempted to have any leftover brownies.

April 15th
Also, I just read the article from the NYT magazine titled, Is Sugar Toxic? There are some interesting studies being done (but not nearly enough). Maybe I can get funding for me experiment.

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