Quacks II: Beyond Chiropracty and Personal Trainers

Posted February 22nd, 2010 in Uncategorized by Clint

Lately, the fact has come up that I had carelessly namedropped “reflexology” in an otherwise (hopefully) respectable and science-driven book. In retrospect, this was probably an error. On occasion, I let myself get excited about various pilot studies that come out with quantifiable results from deep tissue massage as complimentary therapy, and the NIH (and science in general) tends to classify foot and/or hand massage as ‘reflexology’. So that’s what I call it. However, I do not take any stock in the “Reflexology” as in a systematized practice of massaging pressure points in an effort to cause internal responses in the body and organs or redirect energy or chi or ki or whatever you want to say.

I don’t mean to simply to distance myself from it. I expect any ‘science’, especially medicine or wellness related, to apply the scientific method to its study and findings as strictly as is possible (I understand fields that aren’t “hard” science like sociology and political science have a tougher time adhering, but I respect those that do their best). Disregard for scientific method is often because the systemizers wish the results to reflect the theory and not the other way around.

I used to be ambivalent to quackery; live and let live, if it makes someone happy then great, whatever. But apathy is not suitable, since if someone profits by pushing quackery it not only encourages more ‘believers’, but putting money and thereby ‘success’ into such a practice also perpetuates by convincing some said believers (or less scrupulous hucksters) into following suit, buying the books, practicing, preaching, and perhaps believing whole-heartedly in the schtick themselves.

Reflexology, astrology, phrenology, magic spells, power crystals, magnets, gimmick diets, all junk. All claptrap and hokum designed to sucker in the gullible for a dollar. Science has enough work to do actually figuring out what’s going on without the necessity of fighting against all the silly crap we’ve accrued over the centuries and¬†millenia. That’s the same type of misinformation problem “Brain Over Brawn” itself was written to address, and I have no intent of feeding into it, even with a single careless sentence.

While I am open to the possibility there are bits and pieces of Alternative Medicine that may be useful as complimentary therapy, there are two very real dangers from any kind of such practice: The first is if they provide false information, such as saying that someone doesn’t have a problem in an area they actually do. The other and worse is when it is substituted as “real” treatment and a person forgoes (or forbids another) from receiving scientific medical care in favor of some ‘mystic cure that the fatcats in Washington don’t want you to know about’. There are certainly flaws with the current state of health care, but overall it does an incredibly greater amount of good than harm. The same cannot be said about any ‘alternative’ medicine… at least not in any way verifiable by a double-blind study.

Donating Blood: Change the Oil, Save a Life

Posted February 16th, 2010 in Uncategorized by Clint

I donate blood. I do it every time the Red Cross calls, which is usually as soon I’m eligible again (56 days I think, 8 weeks), which means well after I’ve regenerated all my plasma and red blood cells. Why do I do it? Well, something like 5% of people donate, and if we were at 10% we (theoretically) wouldn’t face blood shortages. And 1 in 3 people are eligible to donate (if you aren’t eligible, hey you tried. but most people don’t even know). Trying to help bridge that gap I guess.

Sure, I could talk about my overactive imagination and how around the world we face constant blood shortages due to lack of donors. How there’s some 6 year old kid being wheeled into an emergency room, fresh out of a car wreck, covered in lacerations and clutching a blood-soaked teddy bear. Sorry kid, you gonna die because Clint’s too busy watching reruns of Metalocalypse to have gone to the clinic. Or he doesn’t care for needles. Or some other sorry excuse. Naw, I can’t do that.

But I also do it for the most self-indulgent of reasons: my own health. And I’m not even talking about how it’s more likely than not I’ll need a transfusion at some point in my life. Though I live what I consider to be a fairly healthy lifestyle, I indulge on occasion. And even at 100% healthy intake, the body isn’t 100% efficient. There are wastes. There’s dirt. There’s wear and tear. Processes break down and are imperfect. So I get rid of that stanky old blood and make myself some fresh, clean, new and shiny blood to replace it. So some cancer patient or burn victim gets my hand-me-down blood, fine. Go team. But what it means for me is freshly-squeezed handcrafted blood in the tank.

Plus, every blood donation center I’ve seen has free snacks and juice. And I donate at the Red Cross, and those guys have Nutter Butters on hand. If donating blood ain’t reason for a little cheat snack, I don’t know what is.

Foods: tortillas and noodles now with reduced guilt (or guilt free)

Posted February 1st, 2010 in Foods by Clint

I’ve been around to check, and most every local grocery store offers low-carb (and often high fiber) tortillas. The most common example I’ve seen is La Banderita’s Xtreme Fiber tortillas.

The nutritional label claims:
Total Fat 2g
Total Carbs 5g
Dietary Fiber 12g
Sugars 0g
Protein 8g

You could actually wrap your Base Meals in one of these without worry, and get that floury goodness you crave without all those carbs messing with your meal profile. Fiber is of course awesome, you get a nice bit of protein in there, and by all appearances there’s no real downside.

The other honorable mention I would like to give is to Barilla for their “Plus” line, which includes fiber, ALA Omega3 fatty acids, and protein. The carb count would still limit pasta to a Peak meal to have after you exercise, but according to their label:
per 100g
370 calories
Total Fat 3g (360mg of ALA Omega3)
Total Carbs 67g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugars 3g
Protein 17g

So if you decide to go for pasta for a Peak meal, I suggest you try swapping out your regular noodles with Barilla Plus (I haven’t really seen other high protein/fiber noodles on the market so far). They taste great to me and I have yet to have a complaint at the table, and both you and your family can appreciate the significantly improved nutritional profile over regular noodles. They also come in a number of shapes from rotini to angel hair.

Brain Over Brawn: now on Old Man Bezos’ little online store

Posted January 22nd, 2010 in Uncategorized by Clint

Brain Over Brawn is now up on Amazon.com

Here’s that earl:¬† http://amzn.com/0984258302

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