By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
June 25, 2015
Yesterday was a pretty interesting day for big ol’ nerds such as myself. Eighteen years ago, the government finally released information about the famous “alien” landing in Roswell, New Mexico. Of course, being a firm believer of extraterrestrial life, anything related to Roswell is pretty cool to me. Of course, one of these days I want to visit the little burg, for they have a pretty challenging marathon as well as being an interesting tourist destination (plus they have a craft brewery called Alien Ale that is not too bad!). But alas, that will be for another day. Anyway, the idea of extraterrestrial life is always an interesting one to me, merely to the tune there is no way in hell we are the only sentient life forms in this fast universe. The statistical probability that humans are alone is mind boggling! Now of course, there is some doubt that Roswell ever really happened, for the idea the town plays up the incident to be a tourist destination is a valid argument. Not to mention the government released the secret documents relating to a top secret weather balloon that did have some similarities to the material that was found in the famous picture of Major Jesse Marcel holding up the weird foil-like substance.
But the stories are pretty incredulous, and the idea that many people would maintain a 50-year lie also seems pretty incredible. Either way, this always leads to the interesting argument that can turn into a full day’s worth of trolling on Facebook or some political website. The idea we hang onto to certain truths whether they are true or not is something discussed, and unfortunately our country seems to be pretty rife with this problem. I recently came across a rather interesting word that would describe this condition called occhiolism, which is essentially an awareness of the smallness of your perspective. I think a lot of people have that problem, especially those that are similar to me where they have rarely left their hometown and never really seen the world. Some people tend to lash out over this awareness, sticking to their guns and maintaining their views even though the views are extremely flawed and even have evidence to the contrary. This is why I just regard my love for extraterrestrial life as a fancy, not as a truth. Besides, I can imagine how people react. It would probably be like the Simpsons episode where the town thinks an alien is visiting the forest. Moe the bar owner said the best line “It’s trying to bring us love and peace! Let’s break it’s legs!” Since so many people lie and pander to make a few bucks, skepticism is always essential. But that is merely to the limit of my perspective, because there is no way in hell that I could quantify the smallness of my universal perspective because I can barely look beyond my own universe (which is pretty darn vast!). Learning new things and keeping an open mind is definitely the key to life.
I used to live a life that was pretty much indifferent to good health. Here I was, eating a high fat and acidic diet, waking up in the middle of the night with a burning sensation in the back of my mouth. It was a burn so horrid that the coldest water couldn’t cure the problem. I eventually did what was normal in the spectrum of modern society by taking Prilosec and then eventually the OTC version of Omeprazole to cure myself of the late night heart burn ills. It was pretty good for the six or seven months that I took the stuff, for I was able to go back to eating an even higher fat and acidic diet while returning to my days of eating a one pound bag of Starburst at nine or ten in the evening. The smallness of my perspective allowed me to continue this ridiculous lifestyle, for if it was okay for one of my New York Giants superheroes David Diehl, then it was good for me as well (Diehl was one of the best offensive lineman for the Giants during their Superbowl wins in 2008 and 2012). I never considered the big picture, because curing the ills with a small cure was much easier than making a grander change. So you can imagine how much life changed when I switched to my vegan diet. The heart burn pretty much went away. The waking up in the middle of the night also disappeared. My ability to eat hot peppers and spicy food increased, for some of the early incantations of my “Heater” chili was the kind of stuff that would turn ill prepared diners into a sweaty mess. Of course, I have toned down the recipe a little to allow normal people to eat it, but that is just part of the process for me. Recently my friend Scott held a little party for his parent’s 50th anniversary, doubling as a 70th birthday celebration for his father as well. I made a very toned down version of my hot couscous dish (just about everything I make is pepper and heat infused, hehe) and it still went over without a hitch. It was the second time I had made a toned down version and people loved it. It still kind of perplexed me, merely due to my love for hot spicy food, but like I said, you have to keep your perspective pretty open.
Now I am certainly hoping my love for hot food never turns people into heartburn infused mess. I remember for the longest time how my father would eat Tums like chiclets, and never thought how unusual it was to do such a thing. Either way, the heartburn industry in this country is quite a major one, for the number of antacids and heartburn drugs on the market are quite prevalent (as well as lucrative). But is that harmless cherry antacid you take because you ate too many buffalo wings worth the increased risk for a heart attack? http://www.cbsnews.com/news/common-heartburn-drugs-may-increase-heart-attack-risk/ Now of course, this study was conducted on 2.9 million anonymous patients, which means the information might be slightly skewed due to the lack of specific control protocols. But it did bring about some interesting results for people that still used these medications that are referred to as “proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).” From the unstructured data observed, the risk of heart disease increased between 15 to 20 percent. Now a lay person can easily blow off this information, merely because the facts are extremely vague and difficult to put a finger on without more specific details. Was the person extremely overweight? What was their diet? Did they smoke or drink a lot? Did they live in an extremely cold climate? None of these questions were really asked, for the basic information was only provided in now many actually had heart troubles. However, one thing can be pontificated: most of the people probably had a poor diet that prompted the need for these PPIs, and the possibility of lack of exercise might also have played some roles. But like the information indicated, it is hard to make such an assumption.
PPIs have already been studied extensively, indicating that long term use can cause some other issues http://www.physiciansweekly.com/proton-pump-inhibitors-overuse/. Now it is pretty scary to think of what would happy with a bleeding stomach or some weird problems going on with your spinal cord, but this is there reality of modern life when we rely too much on medications and not enough on the reality. A perspective change so to speak. It took a pretty extreme change in my diet to finally understand the truth, and I can only figure such changes might be needed for a great many people. The trouble is, we live in a society that is often times too reliant on the medical profession, and such a reliance can be a problem in regards to letting go and trying a different approach. With no real incentive to be healthy (except for life insurance), why take the extreme steps of real health? I came across an interesting video once about some men in Texas that loved cycling. They would do 50-60 miles in one day, maybe even more. But then the next scene in the video shows them eating some of the worst food you can imagine. “We cycle really hard so we can eat like this” one of the guys said. Now of course, they predicated their cheat meal by saying they eat well all week (even though their slight guts didn’t indicate that much) and thus they deserve to eat like this due to their healthy cycling habit. But why do this to yourself? Why not just eat well all the time and really take your cycling to the next level? This is just another rant of mine, very similar to people who run ridiculous amounts of miles so they can eat exorbitant amounts of food because their body demands it. I guess this is strange to me due to my issues with overeating. I can’t imagine doing something merely to eat like a pig. What happens when you can’t work out as hard you do?
Now there are plenty of natural ways to battle heart burn and acid reflux. One has to remember, when you suffer from acid reflux, it basically means what it means. The acids in your stomach our certainly irritated, and the resulting issues are a “bubbling” over effect streaming up the esophagus. Some people have discovered some natural remedies, like aloe vera, ginger root or even apple vinegar cider. http://everydayroots.com/heartburn-remedies A couple of the more unusual ones would be to eat some licorice or chew on some gum, but of course, the number one remedy always seems to be baking soda (which is what my father also took for the longest time!). Of course, the downside of relying on baking soda has its own host of problems, like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and even kidney problems. http://www.livestrong.com/article/254063-what-are-the-dangers-of-sodium-bicarbonate/ So if you like sodium bicarbonate, do so on a non-regular basis.
But of course, you know where this is heading. I always found it strange on the websites that promoted natural methods to fighting acid reflux listing “change of diet” on the usual low end of the list. Some lists didn’t even list the change! Now of course, you don’t have to go as extreme as me, but this certainly leads to good ideas. Eating more plant food and foods high in antioxidants will benefit the health of your gut, which is really the source of many problems. I always find it strange such a suggestion is near the low end of the suggestion list, especially since it is the most natural method to battle any problems. I used to have fiber problems but now I don’t these days, for a I leave a bathroom feeling normal rather than feeling like I just passed a hard tree log. And of course, I used to have a bad acid problem, to the point where I could smell the fecal stench in my nose and in the back of my mouth (which led to a lot of dry heaving). Now there will always be that small percentage of people who will need the pills and the marvels of science of medicine to save them, but the majority can still cure themselves with what they put on their plate on a daily basis. Look at me for instance. I have no problem eating spicy curry or even eating habanero infused chili sauce. I used to think ghost chilis were too much for me and now I can kind of handle them (just not in heavy doses). I’m sure I could handle the hottest sauces from Wingstop and Buffalo Wild Wings. But like I always try to promote and encourage, go the natural route before you have to rely on science to save you. Trust me, from personal experience, your body will certainly thank you!
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
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