I apologize for leaving you hanging for two weeks without any race reports or articles on miscellanea. I'm sure you have been endlessly checking your inbox, eagerly anticipating my next post ;) This post will do two things. One, please allow me to finish explaining what I have been up to the last couple weeks. Two, let me to introduce a series of articles I’m going to write on nutrition, focusing mostly on the biggest ‘two-face’ of the nutrition world. So often misunderstood - the hero & villan, energy-provider & energy-sapper, make-you-skinny & make-you-fat, ordinary & extraordinary - the carbohydrate.
Where ya been, Luke!? I thought you said you were going to "try to write something for your website every week". True, I did say that.
So let me make a two excuses. I was sick as a dog and trying to figure out why, and I was studying for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam. Now allow me to expound on those thoughts.
I was signed up to run in the Madison Marathon (half-marathon) on November 8th. This was going to be my last serious-ish race of the year. My coach and I have been focusing mostly on my running, and this was going to be a chance to see efficacy of the run training we have been doing, to gauge my current abilities as a pure runner (without biking 112 miles beforehand) and to have fun cracking out a hot 13.1 miles.
(Here is where I’ll tell you that I didn’t race because I was sick as a dog. I don’t like to talk about my health unless it’s good news, but this turns out to be good news in the end, and it is kind of interesting, so I’ll tell you anyway).
Unfortunately, a few days before the race, I decided that it would be foolish for me to compete in the Madison Marathon. I had been feeling off for a couple of weeks and I was not getting any better. My guts were a wreck, I was losing weight, I was dragging myself through workouts, etc. At first I thought maybe I had picked up a weak stomach virus, or that I was just stressed, or that I was working out too much.
Eventually, I stepped back and tried to make an objective analysis of my situation. And I realized I was not even close to my usual self. I had zero appetite, I didn’t feel like working out, I was sleeping 12 hours/day, and I had zero inclination to drink either booze or coffee.
No booze and no coffee!? Something surely was wrong.
After a couple doc visits, we figured out I had giardia. Parasites living in my guts. Ew. Gross. But I was actually really stoked to find out. I called my Mom and told her, “I have giardia, parasites! Whooo, yess!!” I was so happy to finally have a firm diagnosis, some antibiotics, and a path back to wellness.
So I took the antibiotics and now I’m all better. Antibiotics are a wonder of the modern world.
How did I get giardia? Probably by being a dumbass. More specifically, I probably got it while backpacking in mid-October. You can get it from unsanitary water, and clearly I did a poor job of sanitizing the stream water before drinking it. Sometimes I’m boneheaded and I have to learn things firsthand, and I guess one lesson here is to follow the directions on the back of your chlorine tablets not as a ‘general guideline’, but as ‘do this or you’ll be sick for a month’.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)
I’ve also been working towards becoming a Certified Financial Planner (a designation that means you can trust me/I am competent at doing a range of financial planning activities, including retirement, insurance, estate, tax, and investment planning). I completed the first step by graduating from Madison and by taking some Wealth Management classes during my undergrad. The next step to becoming a CFP is to take and pass the exam.
My primary motivators to pass:
So if anyone needs some financial planning (investment, insurance, education, tax, retirement), I’m your man. Seriously. I may not be a doctor, but I actually am a financial planner.
Series Of Articles On Nutrition
I’m going to write several (3, I think) posts on nutrition over the coming weeks.
Many people seem frustrated with nutrition and diet. I’ve heard a number of people say something along the lines of, “If someone would just tell me what to eat, I would do it!” One problem is that the nutrition world is full of contradiction. What is branded ‘healthy’ 10 years ago may be deemed ‘prohibited’ today, or vice versa (authorities, including the US Department of Agriculture, have gone back and forth on the health of eating foods including eggs, bacon, white bread, butter, margarine and red meat). Another frustration is the number of competing eating systems/diets/schools of nutrition, each claiming supremacy - Mediterranean, South Beach, Atkins, Raw, Whole Foods, Vegan, Vegetarian, Clean, Gluten-Free, Organic, Plant-Based, and on and on.
I am going to provide some simple concepts that can be easily/practically applied. I am not going to promote a particular system (paleo, vegan, raw, whatever..), and you will be able to apply these concepts even if you want to eat within one of these systems. My goal is for you to have a simple and powerful understanding of some basic concepts, and that this will result in both greater health and greater comfort in your dietary/eating decisions.
An important thing to keep in mind is that, like I said above, I am not a doctor. But I am a pretty decent athlete in a sport that demands perfect nutrition, and I am constantly reading, thinking and experimenting on nutrition.
I am only going to write about the areas of nutrition in which I have experience and solid knowledge. I am going to place a special emphasis on the carbohydrate, because it has gotten a bad rap and I believe carbohydrate-misunderstandings are the cause of many health woes. Additionally, being a serious endurance athlete, carbohydrates are my area of greatest interest and understanding, and, truly, I probably have a better practical understanding in this particular area than even your doctor. These will be the three articles:
Article #1 - Weight Management = Energy Input - Energy Output.This is pretty basic, but this relationship is at the heart of your quality of living, as well as prevention of heart attack, stroke and even cancer. In particular, I’ll focus on a somewhat novel and useful view of the carbohydrate in day-to-day nutrition.
Article #2 - Glycemic Index. The effect of a food (or combination of foods) on your blood sugar is pretty straightforward, but is critical to keeping your energy levels high and stable, to preventing Type II diabetes and managing your weight.
Article #3 - Timing of Nutrition.For good health and high performance, just as important as what you eat is when you eat it. This post will tie together all of the concepts and, I believe, will leave you with a practical, working model of how nutrition works and how you can apply it.
This is going to be a fun and truly useful series of posts (hopefully useful. Please let me know what you think or if there is something you would like me to include in these nutrition posts!)
Thanks for reading, happy weekend and enjoy your lead up to Thanksgiving!