Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Orphans by deportation

This is just disgusting. If parents are deported, they should have the option to bring their children along at least! I don't know what the solution(s) would be, but the current state of affairs is just plain cruel...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

tight leg muscles are normal?

Many of us suffer from tight leg muscles. We're told to stretch and become limber at almost any cost. It's true that tight hamstrings for example can cause back pain or other muscular-skeletal issues, but is it unhealthy to have tight muscles?

I'm in the third group, as described in this article:

One interesting thing is that some elite athletes have a more limited range of motion in their legs than others, but it's claimed that this leads to more efficient form and motion!

My strategy now, for dealing with my very tight leg muscles, is to just make sure I'm active relatively frequently, but I have no intentions of doing much strenuous activity. I don't think distance running or anything else hard on the body is worthwhile for me (or anyone else) unless it brings joy.

(Side note: There's lots of evidence that cardio burns virtually no fat (very insignificant amounts). Please don't think you need to be tearing yourself up to maintain your figure. Focus on your diet for your figure and exercise/activities for stress relief and pleasure.


Some say tight leg muscles is at least in part neurological. I've heard that when someone is "put under" for surgery they are totally flexible. There are some folks that claim to have strategies to address tight muscles more from this perspective.

This guy has an interesting theory about tight hamstrings:

Upshot is, as with most everything else, don't believe everything you hear and read. Lots of conventional wisdom is outdated, unproven, or at best over-simplified. In this particular case, unless something extreme is going on, I hope people aren't getting surgery for tight muscles or trying so hard to stretch that they get injured. If it doesn't feel right, question it!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

5 health misconceptions

There are lots of misconceptions and pervasive pieces of misinformation around about living a healthy life. Here are some of my favorites, in a count down in no particular order.

Misconception #5: Gluten-free is a weight-loss diet

Because gluten-free is a “something”-free diet, some folks think it’s about weight loss. Many people actually gain weight going gluten-free. Often that’s a good thing. For many who cannot digest gluten (wheat, barley, and rye proteins) properly, ditching gluten allows them to absorb nutrients properly when they couldn't before.

Anecdotally, some folks do lose weight going gluten-free but for possibly unexpected reasons. When eating gluten-free, it’s quite difficult to eat garbage foods like restaurant and processed foods. The diet often leads to less snacking and eating out.

We don’t know how many people are sensitive to gluten. I’ve seen estimates as low as 5% and as high as 30% of people in the US have some sort of sensitivity. (I went off gluten because of brain fog.)

Misconception #4: FDA’s recommended daily allowance of protein

If it can add one pound of muscle in one week, let’s recommend that amount as a daily allowance. Research it yourself folks. Grown adults don’t need tons of protein. (We don’t need the FDA’s dietary recommendations, either.)

Misconception #3: Adding fluoride to water is healthy

Water fluoridation is the greatest medical achievement of the 20th century (they claim). And no one seems to question it. It’s interesting when we’re shown graphs of the decrease of cavities in the population since adding fluoride to water. The graph looks the same for the first world countries that didn’t add fluoride, by the way.

It’s bad to ingest excess fluoride. It’s worse to ingest the industrial waste they use for municipal fluoridation. It’s the worst to lie to people and say it’s a good idea.

Actually, the worst part is that too few people question the notion. People won’t waste the effort and time to think about it because it just sounds radical. They don’t know about the millions of people in China and India who are paralyzed by skeletal fluorosis (from naturally occurring in high levels in their water.)

Misconception #2: Second hand smoke causes cancer

Smoking is stupid and gross. However, the studies that have linked second hand smoke and cancer have been refuted repeatedly.

Misconception #1: Cardio “burns calories” (cardio leads to fat loss)

It seems so logical. Yet it doesn’t work. OK, cardio does burn calories, a little bit. “A study following women over a one-year period found that in order to lose one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of fat, they had to exercise for an average of 77 hours. That’s a lot of time on the treadmill just to lose 2 pounds!”

I can try to support my claim until I’m blue in the face, but people won’t question the notion (again). You could give the idea a chance, however, and look at some of the sources I learned from. (Where I got the quote.) (the first almost an hour explains the flaw in the “thermodynamic model” of calories (calories in versus calories burned)).