Health Crazy

I haven’t written in awhile, and that’s my bad. It’s because I’ve been busy. Busy doing weird, likely worthless things. Crazy things. Crazy health things. Here are a few of them:

Fasting

Yeah, man. I’ve been fasting. As in, not eating for long stretches of time. Reasonably long stretches, anyway. I’ve been on the 5:2 Diet for the last three weeks, which advocates eating as you normally would for five days of the week, then eating very little the remaining two days. Actually, on the two fasting days, you’re allowed to eat up to 600 calories, which is kind of a lot if you eat healthy foods and space it out.

Though this 5:2 thing only recently entered my sphere of awareness (thanks to one now super regretful girlfriend), I’ve always been interested in the practice of fasting. Humans have always fasted, sometimes because they didn’t have any food, other times for religious reasons, or as a form of protest. It just seems significant that most (all?) major religions endorse some form of fasting. As the 5:2 folks point out, the readily accepted notion of eating three complete meals a day is very new idea relative to the breadth of human history.

But maybe that’s an oversight on our part. Modernity, for privileged Americans, can be defined by its excesses. Binge eating, binge watching, binge drinking, and generally avoiding self-reflection at all costs. I won’t pretend that I’ve done a lot of soul searching during my first few weeks of mini-fasting. I’ve mostly been hungry and irritable. But I’m hoping I get there.

Potential Pros: Men on the 5:2 diet lose a little more than a pound a week. I’ve found this to be true. Some science suggests that when your body stops ingesting calories, it starts to do good stuff with your energy reserves. Converting them into something beneficial. Not sure about that one.

Potential Cons: I could develop an eating disorder, I guess? It’s harder to make plans with people. My girlfriend hates it so much.

Superfood Smoothies

I read this piece in GQ about superfoods and decided to order a shit ton of them on Amazon. Feel free to L-O-L at that sentence; there’s a lot to enjoy. I also bought a couple books, Superfood Smoothies and Superfood Kitchen, both of which I endorse heartily. I’ve made way more smoothies than dishes, so that’s the title of this section. They generally turn out really good.

This phase (it is definitely a phase) was partly born out of a concern I have regarding the evolution, or devolution, of American food. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables are huger and worser for you than they’ve ever been. I subscribe to the idea that making a food bigger spreads out the nutrients in that food by adding more water weight, rendering its healthiness less concentrated and thus worse for you. A huge red pepper, for instance, is less nutritious than a smaller one. Thats’s just one man’s opinion. Eating more superfoods, in theory, is a way of tipping the scales back in my favor.

Mind you, we’re not talking sweet potatoes and quinoa here. Eff that shit! These cookbooks rely on more obscure (and thus, to my mind, superior and validating) ingredients, stuff like maca powder, cacao nibs, goji berries, seaweeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds. Foods that have been found to have the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals in the world, which I now have totally overflowing from my pantry. If a neighbor ever asks to borrow a cup of acai powder, they will be pleasantly surprised when I retrieve it from the freezer.

Potential Pros: I eat the healthiest foods known to man, impossibly collected from all corners of the world, and become healthier than any human in recorded history.

Potential Cons: I wasted about $60.

Walking Home from Work

The past two days I’ve walked home from work, an odyssey of a little more than four miles each way. It takes about an hour and twenty minutes—a straight shot up Halsted. The weather has been decent, in the low 30s, so it’s not painfully cold. I’m pretty warm by the time I get home.

I don’t belong to a gym anymore, so I’ve been looking for new ways to stay active. I wrenched my shoulder about a month ago, so my home workout routine is shot. I don’t have a consistent basketball or soccer game. So I walk home from work. And I’ve really enjoyed it. I listened to an excellent podcast interview with Bill Hader yesterday (it’s one of Grantland’s pop culture pods) and a disturbing episode of Radiolab about the Galapagos today. I smoke one cigarette halfway through. I look into boutique stores and nail salons and restaurants and peoples homes and think about what they’re doing in there. It’s good. The few people I’ve told said it’s weird, but I think it sounds weirder than it actually is.

The one thing that does concern me is I think I might have too much free time on my hands. Maybe a person shouldn’t be able to leisurely stroll home for 90 minutes after work every day. Maybe a person should have places to go and things to do. Maybe. I enjoy having a lot of time to myself. I read, and sometimes write, and watch movies and basketball. But I could be, like, attending things. Networking events. Improv classes. Volunteering.

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is working a day job just to get to their weekday night schedules. I don’t have that, really. So I think I’m going to try a little harder at it.

Potential Pros: I get the bulk of my 10,000 daily steps in. I see something cool happen in an alley. I pet some dogs.

Potential Cons: I am wasting my life. I see something unspeakable happen in an alley. A dog yells at me.

Other Health Crazes I Have Tried and Abandoned:

  • Bulletproof coffee
  • Windsprint intervals in the alley behind my old apartment
  • Pescatarianism
  • Running up and down the big hill at Montrose Harbor
  • Pilates
  • Swimming
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