Shortest Cold Ever


I caught a cold visiting my sister in Colorado, so I raided her vitamin cabinet.

In addition to Echinacea root tincture (recall, Echinacea root is the only effective part; the aerial parts are bogus, because they do not contain the cold-fighting compounds), which I took, she had this Zicam oral mist, containing zinc.

The label said it was clinically proven to reduce the duration of a cold, something the FDA might take issue with. However, all I can say is I used it thrice daily, and this was the shortest duration cold I ever had. I wish I had had this stuff last year, when I had a cold that lasted from Halloween all the way to New Years. I am definitely investing in some when I get back to Wisconsin.

This is not a scientific case study of course, because, like I said, I also took Echinacea, as well as vitamins and a Mucinex type of thing. I also drank a lot of tea and got tons of sleep (I am on vacation after all...).

None the less, I feel like the Zicam spray did help shorten the duration of this cold, which is now almost gone. I don't know how I know, it is just a gut feeling.

Zinc has been shown to help fight colds. So, I'm not saying, I'm just saying...


The Paleolithic Diet and Syndrome X


This morning I read chapters 6 and 7 of the book entitled "Syndrome X," in anticipation of my New Year fitness challenge to follow a Paleolithic Diet to the best of my ability.

I already knew most of what it had to say, but it confirmed some things and reminded me of other things. Chapter 6 gave an overview of the Paleolithic Diet and why it is most genetically compatible with human health. It is common sense, really, if you have anything close to a belief in evolution. For millions of years, humans ate only natural foods foraged from the land, and we co-evolved with these foods. Therefore, surviving humans today are most adapted to this kind of a natural diet, due to natural selection. If this diet were unhealthy for humans, we would not have survived. It's kind of a circular logic, but it's true.

Chapter 7 of the book basically goes over the guidelines of how to be a 21st century hunter-gatherer, with the foods available to us. Most of us obviously cannot go out and hunt and gather our food every day (I'm not talking about going to the grocery store, although if you wanted to simulate a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, you could walk 3-5 miles around trip to the nearest grocery store). But we can try as much as possible to buy an eat foods that are low in carbohydrates (especially refined ones) and bad fats, but high in protein and nutrients needed for health.

Basically, the strictest form of a Paleolithic Diet would be lean meats, low starch vegetables, high fiber fruits, and some nuts. The key with the meats and fats is to consume much higher quantities of omega-3 and omega-9 fats than are typically available in most processed American foods.

Processed foods are pretty much out on this diet. It will be difficult to follow this diet 100%, but I am going to try for one month. It is not hard to stick to free range eggs, lean chicken, legumes, and any low-carb vegetables (broccoli, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.). It is harder to avoid non-Paleo snacks though. I will need to be diligent in packing leftovers, and raw nuts, for snacking.

I'll keep up the five workouts per week regimen as best I can as well. It's hard now that I am traveling for the holidays, but once I am back to the grind in early January, it will be easy.


Fitness Challenge - I Made It Another Week


This week was touch and go on my Nov-Dec fitness challenge to do five 45-minute light/moderate workouts every week. It is Sunday, and I just completed the five for this week. However, I had to do a 90 minute workout today and yesterday to achieve it.

I could make some excuse like it was a busy week, but in all honesty I procrastinated until I calculated I could not procrastinate any more. I worked out last Monday, doing 45 minutes on the stationary bike. But then I lapsed Tue-Fri. There were a few times when I could have squeezed in a 45 minute workout, but I just didn't. I did other things instead.

But I doubled up yesterday and today and made it. I probably won't do that again. I don't like to do 90 minute workouts if I don't have to. 45 minutes is more reasonable. Plus, I need to distribute the calorie burns more evenly throughout the week, especially around Wednesdays. That is band practice night and we usually order high calorie pizza. So I should strive to workout Tuesday night and Thursday at noon or at night.

This coming week I do not have very many after work activities, with the exception of band practice on Wednesday. So I should be able to get three or four 45-minute workouts in on weekdays and then one on the weekend, long or short depending on how well I do for the week.


My Fitness Pal

I joined My Fitness Pal at the behest of a friend in order to track my exercise (and diet) as I complete my 2 month fitness challenge to do five 45-minute workouts per week.

I am good about tracking exercise but horrible about tracking diet. It turns out that if I don't log any activity for 3 days (yes, I am behind on workouts this week but I still plan to achieve the goal by Sunday), then My Fitness Pal "tattles" on me to my friends who are also subscribed (that being only Wendy right now). She called me a slacker at lunch today.

I like that feature because it means you can't anonymously slack. It keeps you honest and accountable. 90 minutes on the stationary bike for me tonight. Maybe even a full 2 hours.