Fitness Fulminations.

An anecodote from, of all places, Kiwiblog. Small changes, done consistently, matter. Please note his starting age: 75. You are never too old to improve, and as long as you are alive, be as well as you can be.

I am nearly 75 and have not done any fitness work of any kind, at all, for more than 30 years. I have been nursing an arthritic knee that persuaded me to give tennis up in my 40s. My then specialist told me that I would look quite distinguished with a walking stick. I didn’t like the sound of that so I have protected my knee with a fairly sedentary life, just the occasional walks. My knee is no worse than it was 30 years ago.
So, back to the weight thing. We discovered Dr Michael Mosley (The Fast 800and ‘intermittent fasting’) and autophagy and we tried it out together. We gave up lunch so that means we go 10 hours in the day without food and 14 hours overnight. I gave up the glass of wine at night and we stopped having slices with our coffees out. We still had the coffees, just not the stuff that went with them. We also consciously cut down on the size of our evening meals – no potatoes or rice and much less pasta – replaced by vegetables like broccoli, onions and beans; also, far fewer take-aways. But no ‘Mediterranean diet’ or expensive fancy stuff.
We already owned a good set of digital scales and we started weighing ourselves each morning at the same time and sharing the changes. My wife kept the details in a notebook while I kept my record on a spreadsheet. Once a week, we reported the latest week and changes to-date to our family.
So, how has it all gone? Quite well actually. In the last six months, I have shed more than 17 kilograms (more than one-fifth) and am now almost back to my university days’ weight of 50 years ago. I definitely look trimmer and have had to get new clothes and put an extra three holes in my belts. And we don’t feel hungry, not even as we approach meal times.
It actually hasn’t been that hard. My wife describes it as like having a new hobby, one that is quite rewarding; a change of life style. And I think of the 35 packets of butter that I am no longer carrying round because that’s what 17.5 kg actually looks like when it’s not layered on me.

Please note the accountability. Our weights are in a notebook — I’m a fan of keeping things simple.

I like running, but when I’m carrying too much weight my body does not. What most people need to do for endurance work is run slower than they think. This is where a heart rate monitor helps the driven. Do not despise walks. People who finish marathons around five hours deliberately walk.

Running has long been linked with health benefits, from strengthening your bones (yes, even the knees) to improving mental health. Now, in another boon for us smug pavement-pounders, scientists have found it can turn back time.
Researchers at University College London tracked a group of 138 marathoners and, using MRI and ultrasound, calculated the “biological age” of their aortas (the largest artery in the body) before and after their training. As we age, the aorta can stiffen, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, failure or stroke. According to the research, training for a marathon can not only reduce but even reverse this – in this study, by an impressive four years.
It is especially encouraging given that all participants were first-time marathon runners, with finishing times between 4.5 and 5.5 hours – very similar to the UK average.

But the big money is in turning food into a manufactured good: an organic plastic if you will. Get rid of the grains, the cows, the sheep, and grow everything in vats. Because climate emergency.

Via Mark Sisson, who is about as cynical as I am on this.

But just as hope appeared to be evaporating, the new technologies I call farmfree food create astonishing possibilities to save both people and planet. Farmfree food will allow us to hand back vast areas of land and sea to nature, permitting rewilding and carbon drawdown on a massive scale. It means an end to the exploitation of animals, an end to most deforestation, a massive reduction in the use of pesticides and fertiliser, the end of trawlers and longliners. It’s our best hope of stopping what some have called the “sixth great extinction”, but I prefer to call the great extermination. And, if it’s done right, it means cheap and abundant food for everyone.

Research by the thinktank RethinkX suggests that proteins from precision fermentation will be around 10 times cheaper than animal protein by 2035. The result, it says, will be the near-complete collapse of the livestock industry. The new food economy will “replace an extravagantly inefficient system that requires enormous quantities of inputs and produces huge amounts of waste with one that is precise, targeted, and tractable”. Using tiny areas of land, with a massively reduced requirement for water and nutrients, it “presents the greatest opportunity for environmental restoration in human history”.

Not only will food be cheaper, it will also be healthier. Because farmfree foods will be built up from simple ingredients, rather than broken down from complex ones, allergens, hard fats and other unhealthy components can be screened out. Meat will still be meat, though it will be grown in factories on collagen scaffolds, rather than in the bodies of animals. Starch will still be starch, fats will still be fats. But food is likely to be better, cheaper and much less damaging to the living planet.

George Monbiot, Guardian

The experts want us to eat our new Soylent Goop, because they think Keto is bad for you [1]. Nah. Carbs are bad for you. And this move is big farming, against the sustainable nature of family farming.

Unsurprisingly, this is via the Crossfit Website, and the comments are full of vegans clutching their ethically sourced false pearls [2].

Many of today’s food debates can also be usefully reinterpreted when seen as part of a wider economic picture. For example, recent years have seen the co-option of the vegetarian movement in a political programme that can have the effect of perversely disadvantaging small-scale, traditional farming in favour of large-scale industrial farming.

This is part of a wider trend away from small and mid-size producers towards industrial-scale farming and a global food market in which food is manufactured from cheap ingredients bought in a global bulk commodities market that is subject to fierce competition. Consider the launch of a whole new range of laboratory created “fake meats” (fake dairy, fake eggs) in the US and Europe, oft celebrated for aiding the rise of the vegan movement. Such trends entrench the shift of political power away from traditional farms and local markets towards biotech companies and multinationals.

This week’s big job has been finishing the glasshouse. Kea is almost recovered from surgery: however, I’ve found that my eye prescriptions need change and my teeth are falling apart around the fillings. Exercise? More moving pavers by the score and bags of grit (gravel) by the dozen.  But this is paying things forward: we will be able to grow our food in winter.

1. If a Mainstream Web Site such as Vice or Wired say it is correct, the opposite normally is.
2. Vegans pissing me off makes me drink more coffee. Coffee makes me more sarcastic. Sarcasm makes the blog flow. The blog is a warning (Extra points for those who know what this is a pastiche of).