running

I read an article recently, titled “Running Is Stupid, So Why Do I Do It?”

And it reminded me of this passage from “The Curse of Lono” by Hunter S. Thompson

There are 30,000 of them now and they all are running for their own reasons. And this is the angle — this is the story: Why do these buggers run? What kind of sick instinct, stroked by countless hours of brutal training, would cause intelligent people to get up at 4 in the morning and stagger through the streets of Honolulu for 26 ball-busting miles in a race that less than a dozen of them have any chance of winning? This is the question we have come to Hawaii to answer — again. They do not enter to win. They enter to survive, and go home with a T-shirt. That was the test and the only ones who failed were those who dropped out.

Most people grapple with the fact that I run as a hobby. For leisure and not punishment. They often ask what am I training for and I answer nothing. I’m essentially a hobby yogger.

I don’t post my runs on social media and neither do I talk about it unless prompted to. I feel that running is a private activity and try to keep it that way. Yes, I do run in public places, but at same time I am by myself. The only participant in this impromptu race to nowhere. Challenging myself to be better.. for no apparent purpose.

I usually run by time or direction and see where my feet take me. I do get lost often and usually have to ask for directions. But I love that. The people I meet are always so helpful, which is a refreshing change from the barbaric hordes you battle with during rush hour.

So if running is stupid and hard, why do I do it?  I honestly don’t know. But I do know not running is harder.

Advertisements

crisis

In American Beauty (1999), Kevin Spacey stars as a depressed middle-aged man who suffers a midlife crisis after falling in love with his daughter’s best friend. This movie helped popularize many of the iconic images we now associate with the midlife crisis – buying a flashy car, vanity and trying to be relevant again.

It is believed that the midlife crisis is brought about when one starts to examine one’s life circumstances. Their health, career and relationships. How satisfied are they with their current condition and how to improve or rework them. And it seems that even apes experience midlife crisis.

The midlife crisis is usually triggered by a period of stress or depression. And women  might be more susceptible to it due to life experiences which are unique to women such as pregnancy and menopause.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, most life experiences attributed to depression are unique to women, such as post-partum changes, infertility, and hormonal fluctuation. Evidence has shown that people suffering from depression have different brain chemistry which is altered by hormones that control emotions and mood. These hormones are particularly heightened during certain times in a women’s life, including postpartum period and menopause.

In addition, it seems that most people experience a lull in their 40s-50s. When scholars started studying the “science” of happiness, they noticed a recurrent pattern that is now known as the U-curve:

“Whatever sets of data you looked at,” Blanchflower told me in a recent interview, “you got the same things”: life satisfaction would decline with age for the first couple of decades of adulthood, bottom out somewhere in the 40s or early 50s, and then, until the very last years, increase with age, often (though not always) reaching a higher level than in young adulthood. The pattern came to be known as the happiness U-curve.

However, although most people seem to experience this nadir in their lives, how badly their happiness dips is dependent on a slew of other factors besides age such as income, marital status, employment. For example, it appears that people in wealthier countries tend to be more dis-satisfied and experience a greater deal of “unhappiness”.

And then there’s the quarter life crisis. But I’ll save that for another post.

Why does one arm pit stink worst than the other?

I’ve been wondering about this for a while and decided to research it.

TL:DR

  • Asymmetrical sweat glands distribution
  • Arm pits have different sets of microbes
  • The side which is more active is usually less stinky

Asymmetrical sweat glands distribution

One arm pit will usually have more sweat glands than the other and this will lead to you sweat more on one side. Although sweat itself has no smell, it reacts with the bacteria under your arm and produces an odor. Since one side is sweatier than the other, the stink will be more noticeable on that pit.

But — here’s a real shocker — sweat and other secretions don’t actually smell. Sweat, sebaceous, and apocrine glands secrete volatile organic compounds, and odors arise when these “VOCs” interact with bacteria on the skin, in hair follicles, and in the mouth.

Arm pits have different sets of microbes

What are microbes?

Microbe is a term for tiny creatures that individually are too small to be seen with the unaided eye. Microbes include bacteria (back-tear-ee-uh), archaea (are-key-uh), fungi (fun-jeye) and protists (pro-tists).

YourWildLife.org actually did a informal study to find out how does one’s lifestyle affect their armpits’ microbiome.

The picture below is a comparison between one of the participant’s left and right pits

http://yourwildlife.org/2012/08/not-all-pits-are-equal/

It indicates that there is more microbes in the left pit. Since odor is produced only when sweat interacts with the microbes, having a different set of microbes (eg. different types of bacteria or amount) will give each of your pit an unique bouquet.

The side which is more active is usually less stinky

This is a personal theory of mine. When I had surgery on my right shoulder and had it in a sling for about a month, my right pit produced some serious funk. I think that the more active your arms are, the more the pits are able to “breathe” or air themselves out, thus helping to mitigate some of the stink.

The Curious Case of Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey is produced by Western honey bees feeding on the nectar of Manuka bushes that can only be found in New Zealand and Australia.

western honey bee
Manuka honey is coveted for its anitbacterial properties discovered by Peter Molan.

Then Molan discovered there was something special about manuka honey. It appears to have antibacterial properties, unlike other honeys in the world, and some studies suggested it could heal wounds and help boost the immune system. (Specifically, the antibacterial property found in other honeys comes from hydrogen peroxide, which is broken down quickly in the body, whereas the non-peroxide form found in manuka honey isn’t.)

The manuka honey industry is highly lucrative. In New Zealand alone, manuka honey exports are worth NZ$315 million (~USD230million). The intense interest has led to a “manuka crime wave”, as warring beekeepers resort to beehive heists and massacres to edge out the competition.

The biggest consumers are the UK and China. 1,800 tonnes a year of the honey are now consumed in the UK each year, with prices ranging from £40 to £50 for 500g. China imports 1,500 tonnes a year and it sells for up to 1,789RMB ($279) for a 500g jar.

In total, 10,000 tonnes of manuka honey are sold worldwide, whereas only 2-3000 tonnes are produced each year. The New Zealand government has implemented measures to safeguard the authenticity of their prized export. However these tests seem to be ineffective in reducing the volume of fake manuka honey in circulation and major honey producers have called for a revision of these standards.

There is no single standard for manuka honey, instead there are various grading systems being used by different brands and countries which leads to much consumer confusion.

So how do you tell if your manuka honey is the real stuff?
I honestly don’t know.

Not Just Surface Damage

Sharing a magazine that I found helpful:
[Not Just Surface Damage]

A compilation of heartfelt testimonials from eating disorder survivors and supporters in Singapore, together with additional information on avenues for support.

As someone who struggles with an eating disorder and body image issues, I find it helpful to read about other people’s experiences, struggles and triumphs. Especially that of fellow Singaporeans. I find these articles encouraging and insightful. And it really helps me to be more circumspect when dealing with my own thoughts and compulsions. I hope someone finds them equally useful too.

Why do beans have less protein after cooking?

Q. If you boil beans, they lose their protein?

According to google search, 1 cup RAW of pinto beans is 41 grams of protein, but if you boil them they become 1.9g / cup. Why is this so?

The discrepancy in protein per cup is due to the difference in volume between a dried bean and a cooked bean.

When the dried beans are cooked or soaked, they absorb the liquid they are cooked/soaked in, which causes them to expand.

From a quick google search, dried beans can expand up to 2-3 times their original volume after an overnight soak and 3-4 times their original volume after cooking. So if you started with 1 cup of dried beans, you will on average end up with 3 cups of cooked beans. i.e. On average, 1 cup of dried beans will contain 3x the protein of 1 cup of cooked beans.

The same applies to other dried food stuff such as grains, legumes and lentils. The only difference is the amount of water they will absorb. To make it easier and less confusing to track these calories, weigh them raw and log them  based on the raw nutritional information for that ingredient.

Related reading:

Recipe book and cooking advice for beans, legumes and lentils:

http://www.extension.uidaho.edu/adaefnep/Efnep%20pdf/BeansSplitPeasLentils.pdf

Cooking Dried Beans,Peas and Lentils:
https://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/hec/FNH-00360.pdf

Bean conversions:
http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/bean-conversions/

Dried grains to cooked conversions:
http://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/cooking-whole-grains