Charlie's Blog: 2024

5.19.2024

Death of the Vegan Evangelist

I would rather eat an actual burger.
BHAGYASHREE KATARE, author of a study on plant based meats

Becoming a vegan is an awesome health decision. Becoming a vegan entrepreneur is an awful business decision. The simple fact is that opening a vegan eatery is the fastest way to bankruptcy. You would fare better wagering that capital on the tables in Vegas.

The vegan diet is DOA. It always has been and always will be. Vegans will always remain in the single digits of the population. You can analyze the reasons for this all day, but the actual truth is plain to see. People love the taste of meat, and they would rather die than give it up. Nothing you say to these people will ever change their minds. Not even disease and pending death will change their minds. In fact, they will give up everything else before they give up meat as evidenced by the popularity of the keto and carnivore diets. As for vegans themselves, they have a notoriously high rate of failure as they quit plant based eating.

Why continue spreading the vegan message? It is obviously not being received. It doesn't change the truth or value of that message. People don't want it. The best option at this stage is to let them get sick and die from eating crap.

I am grateful that some people put the vegan message out there because I was receptive. I was resigned to having heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic gastrointestinal issues. Finding out the truth was very empowering for me. I was not at the mercy of "bad genetics." My diet was killing me. I just didn't know it.

People don't want to eat a healthy diet. They want to eat crap and get away with it. I ate crap and got away with it for 41 years until I didn't. Yet, I wish I had gotten the message earlier in my life. I realize that all my vegan evangelism is a vain effort on my part to reach my earlier self. I think I would have listened if people like me had tried harder.

The reality is that it is the few that have ears to hear. The masses are condemned to stupidity. They can't be reached. No amount of information, marketing, or motivation will make a difference. Vegan evangelism is a waste of time, money, and energy.

I will continue to write about plant based eating on this blog. What I will not do is talk about it beyond this blog. I already sit back and listen to people talk about various health issues without saying a word to them that all of this is needless suffering. I recognize these things not as cries for help but as the whining and misery of consequences for actions they are never going to change. When it comes to eating crap, these people are committed. I don't stand in their way.

UPDATE #1: I came across this sick video on YouTube, and I felt so bad for this guy and his stupidity.

Had a Stroke. Got Kicked Out Of The Carnivore Club. But It Is Okay. I Am Happy!

Watch this video and read the ridiculous comments.

UPDATE #2: After hearing and seeing stories of old people dying from Alzheimer's disease and other lingering illnesses, I have come to the conclusion that a life ending heart attack is not the worst way to check out of this life. That heart attack will be quick and save a lot of money on healthcare expenses and ease the burden of geriatric care on families. A coronary at 70 beats dementia at 80. This fact eases my conscience quite a bit on the vegan thing.

5.12.2024

Plain Vanilla Walking

People don't want just vanilla. They want 31 flavors.
KATY PERRY

Walking seems like a basic activity. You put one foot in front of another. That's it. Yet, some people can't stop there. It's not enough to have the plain vanilla flavored walking. They want more. They have to go beyond and change it up.

The first thing many walkers choose is some form of weighted walking. This might be ankle weights and wrist weights which are generally considered bad for your joints. Others opt for a weighted vest or a backpack for rucking which are bad for your back. All of this weighted walking represents new avenues for injuries that you supposedly gave up when you quit running.

The second thing is hiking. Walkers like to spend time in nature, so hiking is a natural progression for many of these people. A lightweight day hike seems sane, but things get serious with thru hiking which involves more gear and sleeping on the ground overnight. You can also end up as food for bears.

A third thing is Nordic walking which is walking with those poles like you're cross country skiing. This activates your upper body and gets your arms into the game until you lose those poles. Everyone in the neighborhood will look at you like you're an idiot with those poles.

A fourth thing is power walking which is just brisk walking. Some people put more arm swing into it, but I think it comes down to taking more steps per minute. I don't see this as anything but plain vanilla walking.

A fifth thing is race walking which is where people walk as fast or faster than joggers while keeping one foot in contact with the ground. This is an effort to turn walking into a sport. The movement is unnatural and very difficult. It amounts to running without breaking into a run. It has one advantage over running. It has a low injury rate. The downside is that runners will tell you that race walking isn't a sport. On this, I agree with the runners.

This brings me back to plain vanilla walking. Why do people feel the need to add to or change their walking program? Is it boredom? Is it a lack of self-confidence?

There is a famous saying that pigs get fed while hogs get slaughtered. The gist of that statement is that greed will undo the good. For some reason, the fitness space is prone to hogs getting slaughtered. CrossFit is the most extreme example of this. The Gentle Reader can probably recall all sorts of other fitness fads. These fads come and go which is why I prefer the tried and true over novelties.

I like plain vanilla walking. One day, I'd like to put a water bottle and a sandwich in my backpack and spend the day at a state park. I am not there at the moment, but it appeals to me. I don't see this as being outside plain vanilla walking.

I prefer plain vanilla walking. I don't care for extra equipment or to turn it into a sport. I keep it simple and boring. It works for me.

5.05.2024

How To Drink In Moderation

Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
SAINT AUGUSTINE

I do not drink alcohol. I have three good reasons for not drinking. The first is that I do not want a drunk driving conviction. The easiest way to avoid this is to not drink. The second is that alcoholic beverages cause gout flare ups. The third is that I am a traumatic brain injury survivor, and I need all the brain cells I have left. I can never drink alcohol again.

Research indicates that there are no health benefits to drinking alcohol. Once upon a time, some people made health claims for red wine, but these have been debunked. Additionally, I know of no one who quit drinking that wasn't better off for it. You can never go wrong with not drinking.

Now, I am not a Baptist or a teetotaller. I am simply a Roman Catholic who doesn't drink. I find complete abstinence to be easier than perfect moderation. There are people who can drink in moderation. The problem is the definition of moderation. When does drinking become immoderate? Well, I have the answer to that question.

Drinking in moderation is easy. You can have one adult beverage in a 24 hour period. That's it. That one drink means you are not a teetotaller and can be sociable with people at a tavern or cocktail party. That one drink doesn't make you an alcoholic. In fact, you probably won't even get a buzz from that one drink.

I can already hear people moaning about this. One drink?! Why bother? And that, Gentle Reader, is my point. People drink to get buzzed or hammered. They are not interested in moderation whatsoever. They want to get DRUNK. Drunkenness is not moderation.

I agree that one drink isn't worth the bother. This is why I don't waste my time with drinking. One drink is perfect moderation. This would be a single glass of wine at dinner or a can of cold beer after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.

Drinking alcohol has one benefit. It makes you more sociable. I don't need that because I have something better. I drink coffee. Coffee makes you more sociable and also smarter at the same time. You can meet people at a cafe and have a cup or two. Additionally, coffee has many health benefits and virtually no downsides. This is why I make the juice of the magic black bean my top beverage choice after water.

I also like drinking hot green tea in the afternoons or evenings for relaxation. This is also good for social occasions. Like coffee, tea has many health benefits as well. You can't go wrong with tea. And you can drink it iced if you want something refreshing on those hot summer days.

It is fashionable and even a tradition for Catholics to drink a pint of beer or take shots of whiskey. The argument is that evil is not found in a thing. Evil is found in the human heart. I will say that alcohol helps those people find that evil.

The reality is that many Catholics become alcoholics or have drinking problems. One of the principal characters in the Catholic novel, Brideshead Revisited, was an alcoholic named Sebastian Flyte. Dorothy Day reported having to help drunken Irish priests who couldn't lay off the sauce.

Why do people become alcoholics? That is easy. The alcoholic has depression which is anger at God. When you are angry at God, this can only lead to one's self-destruction. These drunks find momentary relief in the bottle, and they never find escape until they reckon with God. This is why AA puts so much stress on turning to God for help.

When you are on good terms with God, you will find moderation in all things especially drink. Life is better and happier with God than without God. Alcohol is no substitute for God.

4.28.2024

Walking Versus Rucking

DISCLAIMER: I am not a physician, healthcare professional, or personal trainer. Consult with professionals before beginning any fitness program.

Load weight is the biggest risk factor when rucking. Studies suggest carrying loads equal to 10% of body weight (approximately 20lbs) is enough to significantly increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Soldiers in the army routinely ruck with 80 to 50lbs. Subsequent declines in performance are acknowledged but, in a combat scenario, transporting such weight may be a realistic prospect. Research has determined four rucks per month to be the optimal frequency for soldiers’ efficiency and improvement. Additional marches are likely to negatively affect performance and increase the risk of foot, ankle and lower leg injuries.

This quotation alone is enough to settle any debate about walking versus rucking. It also comes from an advocate for rucking as a fitness activity. I don't think rucking is worth the increased injury risk relative to plain vanilla walking. I think rucking is better than running when it comes to injuries, but it isn't better than walking. I can walk every single day versus the four times per month that you can ruck optimally according to the research.

The advice for preventing rucking injuries comes down to conditioning and equipment. You are advised to build up gradually with rucking. You are also advised to get expensive backpacks and special boots. I am a cheapskate, so I am not interested in activities that require special and expensive gear. Additionally, you will find many more websites and YouTube channels for rucking than for walking which fits with my thesis concerning products and activities. More gear produces more marketing and more media.

Rucking has a utilitarian argument that I will not dispute. It will condition you to carry loads for the military, hiking, or just lugging a backpack in your everyday life. I am a backpack guy except I don't carry the types of loads for the extended mileage that is common to rucking. I find that the easiest way to train for a thing is to actually do the thing you are training to do. This would be hiking or lugging books to class instead of rucking. You don't need to ruck with a 100 lb. load for 20 miles to be able to carry 20 lbs. of books from your car to your classroom. But if you are a "ground pounder" in the military, those rucks are vital necessities.

Simple walking is sufficient to improve health and fitness with a low risk of injury. If you want to increase the exercise, your best options are to walk more briskly and for greater distance. Some people add hills or walk treadmills set on an incline.

I will dig into the math of walking versus rucking using the Calories Burned Calculator. I cannot attest to the accuracy of the calculator, but it is what I have used to arrive at these figures. The Gentle Reader is now informed.

If a 150 lb. man walks at 3 mph for 1 hour, he will burn 208 calories. If you add 100 lbs. to that, he will burn 339 calories. 100 lbs. is a heavy load, but some people in the rucking community actually carry this load. Here's the thing. That 150 lb. man could eschew the rucksack and walk one additional hour to burn 415 calories. Walking further burns more calories than walking with heavier weight. Is saving that hour worth the injury risk of carrying the heavier load?

What happens when the 150 lb. man walks at 4 mph for an hour? He will burn 336 calories which is just 3 shy if he had lugged the 100 lb. rucksack at 3 mph for an hour. Walking faster gets it done without an increase in the risk of injury.

What is the takeaway from this? If you want to burn more calories, walk farther and walk faster. This is a better way than rucking. Naturally, you will hear claims that rucking burns 2 to 3 times more calories than walking. I think these claims are bogus. This would mean that 1 hour of rucking would be equal to 2 to 3 hours of walking. My calculator doesn't agree. But that bogus claim sells more product. The only way it would be legit is if you carried double or triple your current body weight. Who does this?

Rucking also makes the claim of enhancing strength. I tend to agree. What also enhances strength is dedicated strength training. I think exercising those areas you want to improve would be better than risking injuries with rucking. You may even want to do that strength training before you begin a rucking program.

I don't see rucking as being worth the increased injury risk. It's the same argument I make with running. If you can get the same results with less risk of injury, that's the way to go. Walking does that for you. As it stands, rucking with light weight isn't worth the time while rucking with heavy weight isn't worth the risk of injury.

UPDATE #1: I came across this video on YouTube about weighted walking:

I walked w/ a weighted vest for 30 days – what to avoid

I like videos where people experiment with things and give an honest appraisal of the experience. In this video, the presenter wore a 30 lb. weighted vest while walking. She seemed to enjoy it at first until the vest became painful and uncomfortable for her shoulders. Naturally, she blamed the vest and decided that a weighted belt would be better. I think going without additional weight is the better way to go. Just do plain vanilla walking and dedicated strength training.

UPDATE #2: The big injury area for runners are the knees. That pounding takes a toll. With rucking, the big injury area is the back. I see many discussions about back pain and injuries related to rucking. Rucking advocates stress weight distribution and better equipment which sounds like runners with their expensive shoes.

This was a helpful article:

Is Rucking Bad For Your Back

When I read articles like this, they remind me of the fine print in a contract. You usually find out the negatives after you have signed the paperwork. With rucking, shoulder pain and back pain are common. One of the recommendations was wearing a weight vest instead of a pack like the lady did in Update #1. The vest didn't do her any good.

Why risk these injuries? Rucking lost me at "compression nerve injury." Once again, save your back and just do plain vanilla walking.

4.21.2024

Sensibility Applied to the Spiritual Dimension

A sensible mind is a medium mind which is neither too great nor too little.
SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES

My accident and my injuries gave me a gift. This was the gift of sensibility. Before my accident, I was very hard on myself. I was a failure in my own eyes, and I thought the way to remedy this failure was to try harder. This meant going to extremes. I was an extremist. After the accident, I had to come off of that extremism. I had to go easy on myself. Sensibility replaced my extremism, and I learned that I do not have to be superhuman. I just need to be me. This means being consistent on modest goals instead of being inconsistent on extreme goals. That is the heart of sensibility.

I apply sensibility to everything I do now. This includes my life as a Roman Catholic. People go to extremes in their spiritual practices, but this extremism doesn't produce the fruit of sanctity and holiness. Extremism just feeds the pride and vanity of the individual. This vanity is antithetical to holiness. Realizing this, I have used sensibility to chart a different path under the inspiration of Saint Francis de Sales.

1. Cults

It will come as a newsflash that there are cults in the Roman Catholic Church. These cults exist because the lay faithful pewsitters feel that something is missing, and they would be correct. Vatican II and the Novus Ordo liturgy have worked to water down and diminish the faith. The antidote is a return to what things were like pre-Vatican II. Instead, cults promise to fill what is missing in parish life and personal devotions. One of these cults is Opus Dei. There are others.

I reject these cults now and follow the path of Saint Francis de Sales in his brilliant book, Introduction to the Devout Life. Nothing that Josemaria Escriva said, wrote, or thought compares to what is in the writings of Saint Francis de Sales. Escriva is a counterfeit saint while Saint Francis de Sales was the genuine thing. You don't need a cult to become holy. Everything you need is there in your parish and in the time honored writings and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. You don't need anything special or extra to become holy and devout. You just need to use what God has already given you.

2. Labels

The only label I care to have now is "Roman Catholic." I don't care about "traditionalist," "conservative", or "modernist" except as adjectives for certain strains of thought within Catholicism. The reality is that these labels create camps that each have errors. A great example would be trads who see a couple with less than 10 kids and assume that they must be on the Pill. I assume those trads are on the dole.

The vast majority of Roman Catholics do not attend the Traditional Latin Mass. Attendance at the TLM is sort of a requirement to be considered a trad. I am not driving more than an hour each weekend to get to a TLM, and I am not moving. I looked into this and considered moving to be closer to the TLM. Now, the TLM is on the verge of being cancelled everywhere except SSPX chapels. It is a moving target that you are unlikely to hit for very long.

I need valid sacraments. A reverent liturgy is a bonus but unnecessary to receive the graces of those sacraments. My top preference is for the TLM. My second preference is a reverent Novus Ordo. Trads would rather deprive themselves of the sacraments than receive them at a Novus Ordo Mass. At this stage, these folks care more for the purity of their label than the practice of their faith.

I am not playing the label game anymore. God in His providence and through Cardinal Ottaviani preserved the validity of our sacraments in the Novus Ordo. Because of this, I will continue to receive those sacraments where they are available. The TLM will have to come to me now. Until then, I do the best I can with what I have where I am at. I am a Roman Catholic. I don't need additional qualifiers to that label.

3. Devotions

There are more devotions in the Catholic Church than I can count along with sacramentals. I think they all have value, but I think it is extreme and foolish to try and have them all. I limit myself to the basic ones like the Rosary, the Angelus, the Brown Scapular, the Sacred Heart Litany, and wearing a Franciscan tau cross. My strategy is to practice a few devotions consistently than many devotions inconsistently.

When it comes to my prayers, I don't even try to pray the Divine Office. I leave that to priests and religious. I don't know how a layperson can pray the Office and hold down a day job or tend to a family. I may revisit this in the future.

I have added the prayers of the Auxilium Christianorum to my routine. This has been in response to the demonic attacks in my life. Those prayers have been a real blessing to my wife and me.

I think you can add additional prayers and devotions if they have particular value to you. My rule is to only do those things you can perform on a consistent basis. Right now, I am at my maximum for me. Do the basics and add the extras as needed.

4. Mortifications

I had a keen interest for awhile in corporal mortification practices. Now, I think they should be reserved to priests and religious under spiritual direction. The fact is that normal life has enough mortification to endure all by itself. I think priests and religious need mortification practices because they are insulated from the world in much the same way that an office worker needs to hit the gym while a farmer doesn't.

My mortifications are trying to recover from a traumatic brain injury, do my chores under my present limitations, and endure the usual calamities that life throws at all of us. When I compare my sufferings to the mortifications of monks, I think I have endured more than a simple hairshirt or discipline can deliver.

5. Works

I attend a parish that is part of what I call the "Church of Ceaseless Activity." This comes from the modernists and semi-modernists who would like to turn the Catholic Church into an NGO. Their good works amount to raising money for Marxism and illegal immigration, and I have to endure the pitches each weekend at Mass.

I take inspiration from Saint Therese of Lisieux aka the "Little Flower" who yearned to be a foreign missionary and do spectacular things for God. Instead, she had to forge her Little Way. Therese never became a missionary or a martyr. She never left her monastery. She was a nobody except for her autobiography which has inspired many to live holy lives despite being nobodies themselves.

The Little Way fits perfectly into the teachings of Saint Francis de Sales. The Church of Ceaseless Activity believes in neither the great way of a Saint Francis Xavier or the Little Way of Saint Therese. It strips supernatural faith and love from its works and turns to worldly cares and honors. I have had my fill of it.

I focus on doing my little works for God. I don't go into details about this stuff because they are small and done for the Lord. I am never going to build an orphanage or a hospital, but I can do other things relative to where I am. I am no philanthropist. I am just a blue collar working class Roman Catholic.

Conclusion

I know what I need to do and where I need to go on these things. I am not perfect, but I am trying. That's all that any of us can do. I have simply stepped back from extreme ways and come up for air on this stuff. As I said, it is better to be consistent in the modest things than inconsistent on the great things. This is how I apply sensibility to the spiritual dimension of my life.

4.14.2024

The 2 Excuses People Give For Not Walking For Fitness

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, healthcare professional, or personal trainer. Consult with professionals before beginning any exercise program.

It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.
GEORGE WASHINGTON

I hear and read very few excuses given for not walking for fitness. If you physically cannot walk, that is a good reason for not walking. I was there once and had to do physical therapy to be able to walk like a normal person again. I know a lady who had an arthritic hip that made walking impossible. I know a veteran from the Army Airborne who has damaged knees who rides a bicycle instead of walking. These are reasons for not walking for fitness. Everyone else has an excuse, and they come in 2 categories.

1. Walking is too easy.

There are people who will tell you that walking is not exercise. I had that mentality for a long time seeing walking as merely the way to transition to running. Walking was a second class activity for soccer moms and old ladies at the mall. Something that easy just couldn't count as exercise.

I have been walking for a couple of years now, and I can tell you that walking is definitely exercise. I have logged more mileage walking than I ever did running. I have lost weight. It makes me feel good. I realized that I had wasted a good part of my life in the mental prison of thinking that walking didn't count as exercise.

There are idiots who will tell you that walking isn't exercise. YouTube has videos of these clowns. These folks tend to be either endurance athletes like runners and triathletes or steroid freaks who pump heavy weights and take kidney destroying supplements. Simple walking is a threat to them, so they have to throw shade especially if walking could hurt their business.

The people you should really listen to are the doctors and the research scientists who have the hard data. Walking definitely counts as exercise. This is because of the many benefits that come from walking. There are too many to list here, so I recommend doing a Google search on the health benefits of walking. The list is impressive.

2. Walking is too hard.

There are people who are physically able to walk but choose to do as little walking as possible. They claim that walking is too boring. They don't have the time to walk. They don't have anywhere to walk. You get the picture.

It doesn't get any easier than walking. If walking is too much for you, you are doomed. I don't think any of these excuses are legitimate whatsoever. People prefer comfort to discomfort. The problem is that comfort leads to discomfort as you lose fitness. Before you know it, just walking to the bathroom becomes torture.

Walking gets easier the more you do it. In time, missing a walk becomes the greater torture. It just feels good to get outside and get moving. Walking can be very addicting and pleasurable.

Conclusion

You will quickly find yourself putting people you meet into these two categories. I don't get into it with these people. If people are doing something harder than me, that's fine. If people are doing nothing, that's also fine. What I have found is that people are inspired when they see me out for a walk. They can walk for health and fitness, too. It doesn't have to be torture to count.

UPDATE: Here are some videos from some idiots on YouTube who claim walking doesn't count as exercise:

Find Out Why Walking Isn't Really Exercise In This Revealing New Video!

Walking Isn't Exercise

And one video from a genius:

Is Walking Really Exercise?

4.07.2024

Charlie's Reading Tips

For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.
LOUIS L'AMOUR

People want to read more books. I want to read more books. Why don't we read more books? That's easy. We have television and the internet sucking up our attention. In a power outage or a vacation away from devices, you will find yourself reaching for a book. So, should you toss out your TV set or your internet connected device in order to read more books? I think this is a drastic and unrealistic step. Here are some tips that I have found work for me. They may work for you.

1. Stop binge reading.

Binge reading comes in various forms, but it is the aspiration to read for hours at a stretch as you work your way through a bucket list of books. This strategy is doomed to failure unless books are all you have in life. The better strategy is to read in bits the same way you consume all of your other content. I pick a book that I am going to live with for awhile and read one chapter each evening. You discover why books are cut into chapters. Each chapter is a bit. Read each bit like you would eat a meal.

The thing that surprises me is how quickly I get through books using this method. I read more each week reading a daily bit that I could ever do binge reading on a Sunday afternoon. I also retain more as I take my time to read each chapter and reflect upon it until the next day's reading.

It is here that I must comment on the foolishness of speed reading. People think that speed reading is the way to go. I've tried it, and I can honestly say that speed reading doesn't work for me. I could barely tell you what I had just read. Like speed eating, speed reading doesn't do much for the digestion. I am a slow reader which means I enjoy it more and get more benefit from what I read.

2. Reading the Holy Bible.

The greatest book of all time is the Holy Bible. Naturally, people want to read the whole thing. I have read the entire Bible a couple of times. I don't know if Protestant versions should count, but I have read the entire Catholic Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible. It took me five years to do this.

I reject those reading the Bible in a Year plans. Those plans don't work. They have you read from both the Old Testament and the New Testament at the same time. Life happens, and you fall behind on the reading schedule. You play catch up on the reading which leads to binge reading. Eventually, you just give up and forget you even tried. Do yourself a favor and don't do this.

The way I read the Bible is to cover a couple of chapters each morning as I drink my coffee. I read the Bible like a newspaper. Once upon a time, I read the morning newspaper, but the internet happened. That leaves the Bible. I may read a chapter or three depending upon my time and mood. If I miss a day, I just pick up where I last stopped reading. I keep a fat bookmark just for this purpose.

I recommend reading the New Testament first with the four gospels. After completing the New Testament, I go to the Old Testament with Genesis. I just read it straight through like any other book. When you finish, do it again. You can never read the Bible too much. It will become a daily part of life and give you many blessings, encouragement, and wisdom.

3. NFP.

I pick a book for my evening reading, but I force myself to read a variety of books. If I didn't do this, I would only read mystery novels. To maintain variety, I remember the letters NFP which stands for non-fiction, fiction, and practical. As I write this, I am reading a fiction book. My next book will be a practical book. After that book, I go to a non-fiction book. By doing this, I read broadly but also pragmatically. It also keeps your reading from becoming dull.

Conclusion

Those are my tips for reading. My key point is to not binge read. I think binge reading is a vanity for stupid people. These are the ones who were focused on getting a piece of paper instead of learning things back in school. I am also not a books only type of guy. I surf the internet. I listen to the radio and podcasts. I watch movies and television. Books are just another pipeline of content for me. I just consume a more balanced information diet with those books. I think my tips will help you read more and get more enjoyment and benefit from what you read. You will end up reading a lot more with the bits method than the binge method.

3.31.2024

Fitness and Comfort

My philosophy is that you will do a thing more if you are comfortable doing it.
C.

It's a rare thing when I quote myself. I only do it when no one else has said it. In the case of fitness, everyone knows the old adage. "No pain, no gain." I don't believe in this adage anymore. When I did, the pain resulted in no gain because I quit. I am not ashamed to admit that either. I think pain is the number one reason people do not pursue fitness or stick with it.

The idea that pain makes people quit is a no-brainer. The more subtle message is that you can get fit without the pain. I have this crazy idea that exercise should make you feel better not worse. Consequently, I take aim at running, lifting heavy weights, and CrossFit as things I don't ever care to do. My philosophy of exercise is to see it as physical therapy instead of masochism. You want to improve your body not punish it. Here are ways I have discovered to make exercise more comfortable.

1. Stop using heavy weights.

Men are vain, so they want to impress themselves and others with how much they can bench and squat. The problem comes when you acknowledge that muscles get bigger, but joints and connective tissues don't. In the long term, that heavy weight takes its toll. In the short term, it also takes its toll.

I prefer bodyweight exercises and the light resistance of a dumbbell or stretchy bands. The goal for me is to not cause injury but prevent an injury or rehab an injury. If exercise injures you, you are doing something wrong.

2. Choose the recumbent stationary bike.

I don't like treadmills because they are dangerous. I don't like stairclimbers, rowing machines, ellipticals, or anything else. When it comes to indoor cardio, my top choice is a recumbent stationary bike. It is essentially a chair with pedals. Once upon a time, I bought a standard exercise bike secondhand from a coworker, and I found out why he parted with it. That bike and others like it are essentially crotch hammers. I have always hated bicycles for this reason, and I have never found a saddle that could make cycling comfortable. The recumbent bike solves this problem. You also eliminate being hunched over the handlebars which leads to shoulder and neck pain and numb hands. You can keep that.

The recumbent bike allows you to watch the television or read a book or whatever. Like I said, it is a chair with pedals. Indoor exercise is inherently boring, so you want those distractions. I recommend the radio and podcasts.

3. Do your own chores.

Manual labor is exercise. I don't get why people will pay for a gym membership while also paying for lawncare and a maid. People want pain in their fitness while wanting total comfort in everything else in their lives. This is stupid. It makes no sense.

Pushing a lawnmower or a broom is excellent exercise. People look at me like I am crazy for using a reel mower for the yard, but they will go do HIIT sessions at the gym and pay for it. It boggles my mind. This one is on the same wavelength of idiocy as taking an elevator or an escalator to the gym to spend thirty minutes on a stairclimber.

Household chores are easy in comparison to a sufferfest at the gym. Plus, they are free and save you money. You also don't have to go anywhere.

4. Go for walks instead of running.

You don't have to run and tear up your knees to get in shape. Walking is fun, easy, and pleasurable. Running is none of these things. Walking also leaves you feeling great at the end. I never felt that way after a run. That's why I quit running so long ago. It wasn't a definitive decision so much as the accumulation of choosing to skip it. I quiet quit the running thing with the good intentions of going back. I don't do that with fitness walking.

5. Wear comfortable clothing and gear.

I wear old work clothes when I exercise. This is unique to me. Other people wear fitness apparel made from technical fabric to deal with a hot climate and sweat. I am just weird because I like having pockets and not feeling half naked. I hated having to wear shorts and tights to go running, so I was happy to wear normal clothes for walking. But if you feel comfortable in a Speedo, don't let me tell you different. You do you.

Comfort is a relative thing. We seek comfort in every other area of our lives. Why not seek comfort when it comes to getting in shape? Why does anyone have to suffer in their pursuit of fitness? Who made that a rule? As for chiseled fitness influencers, many of them were blessed with good genes and steroids. That might be a newsflash to the Gentle Reader. That's a topic for another time.

My motto now is "gain without pain." I have accomplished more with that motto than I did with "no pain, no gain." I do whatever I can now to make it comfortable.

3.24.2024

Sells: Hard and Easy

Take my advice. I'm not using it.
OLD WISECRACK

The purpose of this blog is to give me a platform to say what I think while giving everyone else the opportunity to ignore it. The vast majority of the English speaking world does not care what I have to say about anything. This is not a bother to me whatsoever. What does bother me is my conscience. I watch a lot of people do stupid things to themselves. Except for this blog, I don't say a word. What I have to share is a hard sell which virtually no one wants. Here is a list of those hard sells.

HARD SELLS

1. Roman Catholicism

I have one convert to my credit. He went from a nominal Baptist to being a nominal Catholic. I have no clue why he even wasted my time asking me to be his sponsor. The only positive thing I can say is that he is always one confession away from getting right.

The most valuable thing I have to share is my faith. Nothing has made my life better than being a Roman Catholic. Many have seen the difference it has made and continues to make in my life. No one cares to follow me on this path.

The number one reason to become Roman Catholic is to not go to Hell for eternity. You can see why my conscience can trouble me on this. I don't want Hell for anyone. Yet, most of the people I meet and know want Hell for themselves. There's not much I can do for these people except pray for them. I stand at the ready to assist them in becoming Catholic or returning to the Church. No one is interested.

2. Thrift

I don't have any sophisticated schemes for making people rich. The fact that I am not rich should be a strong indicator to not look to me for such advice. My only wisdom on money is to practice thrift in all things and at all levels.

Everyone believes they are thrifty. They aren't. This is self-delusion. I see people running up credit cards to buy toys they don't need and can't afford. They eat out almost daily, and they give you a look of disgust when they find out you buy clothes from the thrift store. Inevitably, they feel the pinch of their spendthrift ways. They can't pay their bills which leads to whining and crying. They live in perpetual anxiety over their money woes. Yet, they never take the hint to live a thrifty lifestyle.

3. Plant Based Diet

The vegan diet is the hardest sell I've got. People would rather die than eat a vegan diet, and they will. I have convinced some people to try my 3 day vegan challenge, and everyone who did reported feeling better. None of them stuck with it. YouTube is replete with ex-vegans giving up the diet and declaring it to the world. One of those ex-vegans ended up with a widowmaker heart attack at the gym on his meat and eggs diet. Even that was not enough to make him return to plant based eating.

99% of the population reject a vegan diet. They always will.

4. Hydration

This one really floored me, but people tell me that they never drink water. They drink soda, coffee, beer, iced tea, whiskey, sports drink, and on and on. They reject plain water. They would rather be chronically dehydrated and unhealthy than drink water that has nothing in it.

I crave water. This is because I need it to live and function. I assumed that all human beings were like me on this, but they aren't. They would rather go without than drink plain water. I find this staggering stupidity to be amazing. It is straight out of Idiocracy.

Those are the hard sells. I know those things are DOA. Nobody is buying what I am selling. The result is an overwhelmingly large number of people who are broke, unhealthy, dehydrated, and destined for eternal damnation.

Not everything is a hard sell. Here is a list of easy sells.

EASY SELLS

1. Fitness walking

I don't preach about walking except here on the C-Blog. Yet, people take inspiration from me and others to take up walking for their health and fitness. It really is amazing to me. I think people always want to get fit, and walking is just too easy not to do.

2. Almond milk

No one wants to be vegan, but they love almond milk when they try it in their coffee or cereal. Most of the people who quit my vegan challenges stick with the almond milk. Almond milk is also a brisk seller at our grocery store. This is because almond milk tastes much better than regular milk.

3. Skipping college

I have been talking about this one for over 20 years now, and people are listening. College is a waste of time and money for the vast majority of people dumb enough to load up on student loan debt to go there. Even STEM majors are waking up as many of them can't find employment that justifies the heavy debt loads they will carry for the rest of their lives. A college degree was thought to be a first class ticket to a comfortable middle class life. The reality is that it is a one way ticket to debt slavery. Go to trade school or do an apprenticeship. Blue collar is back.

4. Christmas

Most people I know are functional atheists. They believe in God, but He has no place in their lives. These people don't go to any kind of church or read the Bible. But they love Christmas. Despite the efforts of Puritans from yesteryear and atheists today, Christmas persists as a permanent part of our culture. Once a year, people change what they are doing to acknowledge the birth of our Savior and to be kind to one another. I will take it.

Those are the hard and easy sells. Why are the hard sells hard? Why are the easy sells easy? I think it comes down to comfort and pleasure. People don't want to do hard things. They don't want pain and discomfort. In the long term, they will find that pain and discomfort accumulated and waiting for them. This would be a heart attack, a kidney stone, a repossession or foreclosure, and even Hell itself. People are their own worst enemies on this stuff. There is one thing I can accept and need to accept. These people know better, and it isn't my fault.

3.17.2024

Walking and Eating

No, I'd lose time. If you quit once, it's easy to do it again and again and again. It becomes a habit.
MIKAEL EKVALL

The Walking is Fitness podcast had an episode entitled Should You Walk or Eat First?. I recommend listening to it. It inspired me to write this blog post on the topic.

The Gentle Reader who is a faithful C-Blog devotee knows by now of my antipathy for running for fitness and my love of walking for fitness. One of the things I neglected to cover in my walking vs. running posts was the issue of eating. Walking and eating is way easier than running and eating. I must warn you that I am going into a zone that is graphic and TMI. You've been warned.

Running is a stupid activity that burns a lot of calories. This is mostly glycogen from your bloodstream and muscles instead of fat from your gut and butt. The body needs that quick energy to maintain the speed needed for running. When you run out of this glycogen, you hit the wall or bonk. To counteract this, runners drink sports drinks, slurp gels, and eat energy bars. They can't eat real food because the combination of real food in the gut with the up-and-down pounding produces a condition known as "runner's trots." Everyone else knows this as diarrhea.

Diarrhea is a constant at road races. There are even infamous tales of runners who have soiled themselves completely in a race. I'm not going to share the pictures, but you can Google them up if you don't believe me. There is also a Wikipedia article on the subject where you will find the context of the opening quotation of this blog post.

Runners will blame the trots on "trigger foods" before a run or race. Everyone thinks immediately of Taco Bell which is a trigger food for every member of the human race except me. That is one of the upsides of a plant based diet, but that is a topic for another post. With runners, all solid food is a trigger food for them. This is because the trigger is the running and not so much what they ate.

If you are a runner, the choice is stark. You can risk bonking, or you can risk explosive diarrhea. Sometimes, you get both. The undeniable fact is that the human digestive tract hates running. This is a big reason to give up running and become a fitness walker.

Walkers don't have these issues. Walkers can eat a Thanksgiving level dinner and go walking immediately after. The walking actually aids in digestion. Many people go for a short walk after meals for this reason. Food is never an issue for a walker unless it is Taco Bell. Walkers also don't waste money on expensive sports drinks and energy gels. I like a granola bar or a sandwich before my walks when I think I need some food.

I couldn't do this sort of thing when I would run for fitness in my younger days. I have had some close calls with runner's trots. I will spare the Gentle Reader the worst details but trying to manage running and nutrition with other aspects of a busy schedule was a nightmare. Why did I ever waste time with running? That was really dumb.

I have had to go to the loo in the middle of a walk, but it was never catastrophic. I have never soiled myself on a walk. I can't imagine how a runner wants a medal so bad that they would expose themselves to the public spectacle of having liquid feces running down both legs.

The cure for runner's trots is to become a fitness walker. That switch will cause you less distress and embarrassment. And you don't have to time those meals around your training anymore.

3.10.2024

The Worst Book Ever

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, podiatrist, healthcare professional, personal trainer, or anything requiring extra letters after my last name. Consult with those people before beginning an exercise program.

Blaming the running injury epidemic on big, bad Nike seems too easy - but that's okay, because it's largely their fault.
CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL, Born to Run

The title of this post is deliberate hyperbole. I am certain that I can find books that are worse than Christopher McDougall's Born to Run. I just don't care to look. The reason I think Born to Run is the worst book ever is because it was a fad that pushed many bad ideas out there that persist to the present day. That pervasive influence is what makes it the worst book ever.

I read the book over a decade ago mainly because of its fad nature. I loved the book especially with the takedown of Nike as the cause of all running injuries. I thought McDougall had solved the problem of running injuries. He didn't.

We are not born to run. McDougall's tale of persistence hunting and evolution is a nice myth, but it is a myth. I do not believe in evolution. When I read Born to Run, I did believe in evolution as an explanation for human origins because I was a stone cold atheist. I am not an atheist now. I believe God designed all human beings and all living things. There is microevolution and devolution that occurs within a species but no species are created as a product of this process.

If I said that we were born to swim, people would laugh. Some people can swim but nothing close to how dolphins swim. If I said that we were born to fly, people would laugh at that as people can't fly without additional equipment. The same applies to cycling as the bicycle is a relatively recent invention in terms of human history. We were not born to cycle.

Humans can run reasonably well over short distances. That's about it. Those anaerobic bursts can save your life, but they cannot be sustained for long. When we run slower at aerobic levels, we can maintain that indefinitely until the injuries kick in. This is where footwear comes into the picture. All footwear exists to prevent injury to the foot. This is why footwear has a long history predating Nike by thousands of years.

Running shoes are not the cause of running injuries. Running is the cause of running injuries. McDougall points out correctly that running shoes have not prevented these injuries. What he leaves out is that barefoot running or wearing minimalist footwear has not stopped these injuries either. Here is what Martin Fritz Huber wrote for Outside,

Fortunately all photographic evidence has long been destroyed, but there was a time when I briefly belonged to the barefoot running cult. This was roughly ten years ago. Like millions of others, I read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run and realized that I’d been duped by big running shoe companies who had sold me something that I didn’t actually need. Newly enlightened, I did the only rational thing and spent $160 on a pair of shoes that mimicked the sensation of running barefoot. I felt sorry for the idiots I saw on my daily park loop who were still caught in the cushioning-is-necessary matrix. I exchanged nods with the local hippie guy who always ran in sandals. After a few weeks, however, I became disillusioned. The anticipated breakthrough in my running never came. What’s more, none of the top professionals seemed to be ditching their plush footwear and going minimalist. If they weren’t doing it, why should I? In the end, I was relieved to go back to wearing regular old running shoes; my feet were really starting to hurt.  
 

When you dig into McDougall's claims, you find that he is a first class bullshitter. Here is what Jamie Compos wrote about the minimalist running thing:

So I did some runs in my fancy new shoes and it felt liberating. I even did a spate of barefoot walks on all types of terrain, and some sprints in grassy fields. I tore out the cushy insoles from my work shoes and got some good ol’ Chuck Taylors (minimalism incognito) to wear casually.

Everything was going well. So well, in fact, that one day I decided to do several squats at the gym, followed by a 6-mile run – more than double the distance I’d attempted in my minimalist shoes to date.

My knees were screaming the next day, and remained extremely tender for weeks.

Thus endeth the experiment in minimalism.

The injury frightened me so much that I gave up running for several years. Dual obsessions with backpacking and running are probably not good on the knees. A friend’s comment while we were out on a beautiful backpacking trip sealed the deal:

“I’d rather be able to do this in old age than risk it all on running,” he said. 

https://www.downthetrail.com/book-reviews/mcdougalls-born-to-run-book-review/

The claim from barefoot and minimalist enthusiasts is that runners have to allow for an adjustment period until you get used to running without all the cushioning of a modern running shoe. This sounds almost identical to carnivore diet enthusiasts who tell people to allow for days, weeks, and months as you suffer explosive and chronic diarrhea until you "adjust" to the new diet and become chronically constipated. With a vegan diet, your health is already improving after a few days. But I digress. . .

I am going to tell a different story. You can agree or disagree if you like, but I think my tale is better. We were never born to run just like we weren't born to swim, fly, cycle, row a boat, or sweat to the oldies with Richard Simmons. We were born to walk. This is our natural movement. You begin as a toddler with a few unsteady steps and progress from there. Walking injuries are rare relative to running. You feel better when you walk. You don't feel better when you run. Our bodies are designed to walk for long distances which we are able to do with little difficulty or distress. In comparison, chimpanzees are terrible walkers but outstanding climbers. They were designed to climb. It is their natural movement.

Human beings did not develop big brains from eating meat from persistent hunting. Humans always had big brains, and those brains have been maintained by starches derived from farming. The energy we require to walk and work comes mostly from carbohydrates not meat. Carbs are the preferred fuel source for human beings. I don't know how persistence hunters can run all day while bonking on a meat diet.

McDougall is at pains to argue that endurance running is natural to humans. Yes, humans have great endurance and sweat like horses. We can go all day when it comes to walking and working. The running thing comes up short with the injuries. This leads us to the next big myth which is ultrarunning.

Ultrarunners do not actually run ultramarathons. They run and walk those extreme distances. A marathoner is able to cover a marathon while running the entire distance, but ultramarathoners are incapable of doing that with ultramarathons especially those 100-milers. They shouldn't call it ultrarunning but speed hiking. Here is what Heather Hart wrote:

Here’s a bit of a reality check for new (or non) ultra runners: you’re likely going to walk during your ultramarathon. The longer the distance, the more you’re going to walk. But don’t worry: walking during an ultramarathon is quite normal – you’ll even see the elites power walking up some steep and gnarly hills.

But for whatever reason, not a lot of people seem to know that.

https://relentlessforwardcommotion.com/ultra-training-101-ultramarathon-walking/

The reason not a lot of people seem to know that is because ultrarunners hide the truth about the walking while embellishing the running. I would like to know how much they walk in a typical ultra, but I will guess 50%. Some researcher needs to use fitness tracker data to get a true picture on the ratio of running to walking in an ultra.

Why do ultrarunners have to walk? That is obvious. Human beings are not born to run. Running long distances is unnatural for us. But we can walk those same distances though we do it slower. Ultrarunning is just a great way to ruin a hike.

If you believe the ultrarunning myth that ultrarunners run the entire 100 mile distance, you will buy the born to run thesis. The reality is they don't run the whole way. That brings us back to the shoe issue.

Neither cushioned trainers nor barefoot shoes make any difference. If you run, you will have running injuries. No shoe causes or cures these injuries. The running shoe industry won't tell you this because they make bank off of your search for that magic shoe that will cure those injuries. This is why they never make those injury prevention claims. When Vibram made those claims, they got sued and lost.

Running injuries have one thing in common. They are all sustained while running. When you stop running, those injuries clear up. This is the number one advice for healing running injuries. Stop running.

When it comes to cushioned shoes, they certainly make walking more comfortable. When people walk, they heel strike normally. This is why shoes for eons have had stacked heels relative to the forefoot. That is the point of first contact when walking normally. Forefoot striking is abnormal for walking on level ground. Forefoot striking comes into play when going up steep hills. You can walk barefoot, but this becomes painful very quickly. This is why people like carpeted floors and rugs.

Born to Run is a bad book. Unfortunately, it still remains influential. It was a microfad in the larger fad of running. If there is one upside, Born to Run has made some people give up running when they finally rejected the hype. A better book to read is Shane O'Mara's In Praise of Walking. The big complaint of that book is that it is very scientific and has a ton of evidence and research that can be wonky to read. I don't care for the evolution arguments O'Mara makes, but the book seems solid in its presentation which makes it the opposite of Born to Run. O'Mara isn't full of crap. I think runners should switch to walking and do that walking in comfortable shoes.

UPDATE #1: I enjoyed this comment from Ben so much on one of my sources for this post that I wanted to share it.

To me, the issue isn’t whether barefoot running is better than running using cushioned shoes, but whether humans are truly ‘born to run’ at all. We can run long distances, certainly, but did we evolve to do so, or are we to some extent ‘misusing’ our biology?

The persistence hunting theory, often used as an evolutionary explanation for our running ability, has been debunked as unscientific. It has about the same standing among anthropologists as the aquatic ape hypothesis. Studies of extant hunter-gatherer societies show that some never run at all – never.

All in all, it seems that running is something that we (or some of us) can do, but we don’t have to do it, it isn’t necessary to be healthy, and its importance in our evolution has been overstated (or at least misstated – no doubt occasionally running from predators or towards prey is very useful). It’s an interesting issue, and personally I find McDougall’s mythologising of running and running culture doesn’t contribute in a useful way, whatever its practical applications for runners or effect on the industry.

https://www.downthetrail.com/book-reviews/mcdougalls-born-to-run-book-review/

UPDATE #2: I found this video on the Sport Walk channel on YouTube:

Sport Walking Top Tips - Should you use Forefoot Landing when Sport Walking?

This video definitely settles the issue of minimalist footwear and the barefoot philosophy for walking with a dose of plain common sense. Running is a different story. I know that I need cushioned shoes and to land on the heel not the forefoot when walking.

3.03.2024

Bald + Beard

We're all born bald, baby.
TELLY SAVALAS

I never grow a beard on purpose. I grow what I call "the beard of neglect." This is when I stop shaving for awhile because I don't always have the energy to stand in front of a mirror for 30 minutes shaving my entire head. That is one of the curses of my accident. Standing for long periods is very fatiguing for me because of balance issues. Sometimes, I sit down and take rest breaks to get through a shaving session.

Some folks have suggested to me to let my hair and beard grow out on purpose. I don't care to do this. I like having a clean melon as opposed to male pattern baldness and a scratchy beard with dandruff. I don't care what I look like, but I like the feeling of not having hair on my head or face. There is a real benefit there that doesn't get discussed enough.

My all time hero for the shaved head thing is Telly Savalas. He was the first bald guy I remember seeing as a kid who shaved his head. The second was Yul Brynner. Those cats embraced the blade long before Michael Jordan and Bruce Willis. Today, the Rock is carrying the torch for the practice.

There is a channel on YouTube called Baldcafe that I used to follow for inspiration once upon a time, but I don't care for it anymore. This is because the host of the channel does the dreaded practice of combining a shaved head with the nastiest beard on the internet. He inspires me to shave my face more than my head. Unfortunately, he has motivated his channel followers and who knows who else to combine the shaved head with a disgusting beard.

I have no issue with men who grow beards along with letting their hair grow up top. Guys with a horseshoe often do this, and I respect it. They may tidy it up a bit, but they don't waste time shaving the head. The effect of this style is to present a warm appearance. My wife tells me that I look warmer and friendlier when I neglect to shave. She calls this look the "Sailor Man." When I shave the face and melon, I turn into the meaner looking "Snakehead." (Now, you know the origin of my CB handle.)

Being the Snakehead feels better than being the Sailor Man. I hate the beard of neglect because it begins to become itchy and painful by the end of the week. I have been told to try dandruff shampoo on the beard and hair, and I remember using that stuff when I had hair. It never worked. The blade cured my dandruff. But I digress. . .

I hate the look of bald + beard. A fellow in my parish goes for this look, and it isn't flattering. He was a total shaved head guy like me but opted to let his grayish white beard grow while still shaving the head. He looks terrible in my opinion. I don't pay attention to looks on myself or anyone else, but I can't get over the bald + beard thing. Baldness happens, but the beard is a choice. I also include the mustache and the goatee in my derision. If you're going to shave the dome, you need to clean it up in the front while you're at it.

I know of no one who looks good going with bald + beard. NO ONE. I don't think anyone has the stones to tell these guys that they look really bad with this style. It probably doesn't help that these dudes look like they belong to a biker gang or a death metal group. That brings me back to Telly Savalas.

Telly Savalas got it exactly right. He cleaned up that melon and maintained it to the absolute end. And he knew that a spiffy hat and a pair of cool shades finished the look. Looking at pictures of him always motivates me to get a shave. Telly made the bald look very cool.

My final verdict on this is to either clean it up or let it go. Bald + Beard is simply the worst of both worlds. Why would anyone want this?

2.25.2024

Gout: What Has Worked For Me

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or anything remotely related to being a healthcare professional. This is purely a personal testimonial.

Be temperate in wine, in eating, girls, & sloth; Or the Gout will seize you and plague you both.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

I do not wish gout on anyone. Gout is the most painful thing I have ever endured in my life, and I have endured a lot of things. Gout is in the number one spot. The pain of gout motivated me to get rid of it. Here is what has worked for me.

I won't go into the technical details of gout. I have read many articles on the subject, and I barely understand them. It also frustrates me that they contradict each other. I have tried various "cures" with no success. I gave up on this new school medicine and went old school with Hippocrates and the like. That is when I started finding relief.

I believe that gout is a lifestyle disease. This is because people from the olden days thought the same thing. Peasants didn't get gout. Aristocratic types did. I sat down and made a list of things that those aristocrats did that the peasants didn't. Here is that list:

1. They drank wine instead of water.

2. They ate sweets and treats.

3. They ate meat.

4. They were sedentary.

Except for the wine, my lifestyle was virtually identical to those aristocrats back in the day. Like it or not, today's peasants live lifestyles that are higher than aristocrats and royalty from a long time ago. Realizing this, I decided to live in the opposite way. This is when I found relief from gout attacks. Here is what worked for me.

1. Drink water.

90% of my hydration comes from water. The 10% comes from the 2 cups of coffee I drink each morning with a single teaspoon of sugar to take the edge off of the bitterness. I do not drink soda pop or sweet iced tea. I never drink alcoholic beverages. I live with a Klean Kanteen bottle by my side, and I even drink water at night. Whenever I urinate, I drink an almost identical amount of water. This one thing alone helped diminish the severity of my gout attacks. I think this is because the water helps flush uric acid out of my body.

2. Eat a plant based diet.

The irony of my gout attacks is that they began after I became a vegan. I researched this and read that people who were lifelong vegans did not get gout. I did not go vegan until I was 41 years old. As I lost weight on the new program, that is when the flare ups would happen especially during Lent when I would fast. Dr. McDougall said that his patients would experience gout when they lost weight, and he said that it was caused by the release of purines stored in their fat that came from the meat they had eaten over the course of their lives. That made sense to me.

My meathead friends jumped on the vegan thing as the "cause" of my gout. What they failed to see were the many people who eat meat that get gout. It is my personal belief that meat consumption is the fundamental cause of gout. Because of this, I eschew fasting now for weight loss. It is better to take the slow road of moderate diet and exercise. I definitely do not recommend low carb meathead diets.

3. Cut out processed sugary foods, sweets, and soda pop.

Sugar does not cause gout, but I do think it interferes with the elimination of uric acid which crystallizes in the joints causing the excruciating agony. For me, this would be the big toe joint. I ate some pop tarts for breakfast one time which caused me a flare up at a time when I didn't need it. The sugar caused me to eat less which caused another release of those purines from the dissolved fat in my body.

I got rid of sugar almost completely. I used to dump sugar in my coffee. I went totally black with no sugar, but I put a small amount in now to make it less bitter. That's the only added sugar in my diet. As for sweets and candy, those are rare treats usually around the holidays. I eat these sparingly. My preferred sweet is fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries.

4. Take daily walks.

The final piece of the solution was when I took up walking for exercise. Since doing that in combination with the other things, I have had no flare ups of gout. It virtually vanished from my life. I am two years removed from my last known attack of gout. I think the improved circulation from exercise helps to prevent concentration and crystallization of uric acid in the joints.

Conclusion

This program is what has brought relief to my life. I changed my habits and lifestyle to be less like an aristocrat and more like a peasant. Gout always looms in the background to punish me for any lack of discipline. Most people will seek out the pharmacological remedy to keep from making these lifestyle changes. I think any of these things in isolation will reduce the severity of gout attacks, but the golden ticket is the combination of these things. Gout has one upside. It has motivated me to clean up my act and keep it cleaned up.

2.21.2024

Kathy

But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins.
1 PETER 4:8 DOUAY-RHEIMS

Our friend Kathy has died. She suffered for a long time, and her death was expected. But no matter how much preparation you get, it still hurts. We are honored to have had her as our friend.

My friendship began with her on the day of my accident. She drove my wife to the hospital to see me. My wife was in no mental or emotional condition to make that drive. Kathy was an angel of mercy that day. Her entire life was filled with those small but selfless acts.

When I met her with my face and head all busted up, I made a joke as I usually do in those situations. I handle everything with prayer and a sense of humor. Kathy said that I was full of shit. I laughed hard at that. I knew at that moment that she and I were always going to be friends.

Kathy always told it like it was. Not everyone can handle that level of honesty, but I can. There was no guile in that woman. She was tough as nails, had a head like a brick, and a heart of pure gold. I believe God puts His most precious things in rough packages because we couldn't bear the immensity of such love otherwise.

Kathy was a mother, and one of the best mothers anyone could ever have. My wife and I got the mother vibe from her, and she told us we were like her own children. We always wanted to do for her, but she wouldn't let us. Like I said, she had a head like a brick.

One of the sad notes about Kathy is that she was mistreated in life. I won't go into the details, but evil people hated Kathy. I could never understand that. She was always so kind to people, and they repaid her kindness with viciousness and cruelty. I hope those wicked people know they will have to answer to God one day, and I pray they repent of their wickedness before it is too late.

Kathy was not perfect. She was rough around the edges. All we know is that she loved God, helped everyone she knew, and asked nothing in return. Love covers a multitude of sins, and Kathy's love more than covered her flaws and imperfections.

I pray that God forgive Kathy whatever she needs mercy for and to remember her charity and her sufferings in this life. We will miss her, and I know that we will see her again. May she rest in the peace of Christ forever and may her family and friends be comforted in their grief.

2.18.2024

Charlie's Catholic Survival Guide

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not be defiled with the king's table, nor with the wine which he drank: and he requested the master of the eunuchs that he might not be defiled.
DANIEL 1:8 DOUAY-RHEIMS

This is a hard time to be a Roman Catholic. It has been this way since Vatican II when the floodgates of heresy, perversion, and corruption were opened upon the faithful. The mission is to keep your faith in these hard times while also not soiling yourself with the corruption. I have two tools that I use for myself to get through these difficult times. These would be Catholic minimalism and Catholic pessimism.

CATHOLIC MINIMALISM

No faithful Catholic can support and go along with what is happening in the Church. Your bishop and your priest expect two things from you:

1. Time, talent, and treasure. 
2. Don't ask questions.

You will notice they never ask for your prayers. They will have countless numbers of social justice activities requiring your money and participation. None of these things is even remotely Catholic. They are the sorts of things you see at your local Rotary Club. You're not helping Catholicism but the Marxism of the modernist heretics than run the Catholic Church now.

When it comes to the Mass, they want everyone to be Hannibal Lectors and Extraordinary Monsters doing things that were reserved to the priests and those on the way to becoming priests. No faithful Catholic should be involved with this sacrilege. As for teaching CCD and RCIA, they don't teach Roman Catholicism anymore. You know this when you discover many tradition minded people choosing to homeschool their kids instead of trusting the established curriculum of the diocese. You know something is up when you see rainbows on the covers of their books.

When it comes to giving, you are a total sucker if you put money in the offering basket or towards those infernal second collections that go for things like human traffiicking, sex abuse settlements, and coke fueled orgies at the Vatican.

Catholic minimalism is the decision to not participate in this garbage. Do not give them money except the occasional dollar to cover the cost of the Mass. This would be about a dollar per week. This will keep the lights on and pay for hosts. Do not participate in the Bishop's Annual Appeal. Things are so bad that they try and rechristen it as the "Catholic Appeal." You know things are bad when they resort to PR tricks like this. They really think you are that stupid.

You should give of your time, talent, and treasure, but it can't be to these fiends running the Church now. It is hard work, but you need to be a good steward and find places outside of the Church to send your money. This means asking questions. Asking questions is what keeps you from being taken for a fool. As for giving to your parish and diocese, you have already done this through your taxes against your will to support those things that the Marxist Democrats want. The top priority is illegal immigration.

I have learned to go to my parish for my sacraments and to leave. I try to have nothing else to do with the fiends and dupes in my parish. I refuse to be neither a fiend nor a dupe. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

CATHOLIC PESSIMISM

The Roman Catholic Church has always had a corruption problem. Read the New Testament, and you will see this. The dark dirty secret of the Church is that it is filled with sinners. I think our Lord allowed Judas Iscariot into the group to be a large warning about what was to come. People are going to let you down, and this includes the hierarchy of the Church. Additionally, the Devil seeks to infiltrate the Church at every level to undermine it.

This filth and corruption will be with us until the Second Coming. The Devil would love nothing more than for you to be scandalized out of your faith. But if you do this, you will also become part of that corruption. I know of no one who separated from the Church who went on to become a saint. It doesn't happen.

Scandal comes when we have high expectations of people. I have low expectations of people. I expect people to be corrupt. I think everyone is a crook. They rarely let me down on this. They surprise me by being good people and saints. That is a rarity. There are some good priests and bishops, but the fiends persecute them.

You have to have a remnant mindset. The faithful are a permanent minority both in the world and in the visible church. If you can keep yourself unsoiled by the world and remain in a state of grace, this is about the most you can hope to do. You are outnumbered by the evildoers, and they intend to eat you alive.

STAY AND STINK

It has been the refrain of many traditionalists and faithful Catholics to "recognize and resist." That motto doesn't really get to the meat of the issue. The real way is to stay and stink. So many wish to escape from our awful parishes and migrate to better places. I wanted to do this. God closed the door on that option for me. I'm not moving or spending four or more hours on the road every weekend to attend a Latin Mass. When the faithful do this, they make life easier for the fiends in our parishes.

Because I remain in my parish, I make life hard for the fiends. This was not my intention, but I can't help what I am. We have many women who wear chapel veils. Others kneel for communion and take it on the tongue from the priest or deacon only. We refuse all pressure to participate in fundraising activities that do nothing good for the Church. And some of us write blog posts decrying all of the crap we endure in our parishes. We also pray. All of this is profoundly irritating to the fiends.

I can't be a heretic, a schismatic, or an apostate. I am a Roman Catholic which means I have to stay in the Church and suffer. The true Church is that faithful remnant of true believers. We offer up our frustrations and sufferings to the Lord. I accept that I will always have this cross to bear for the rest of my life.

2.11.2024

Charlie's Homemade Memes

History is now being documented in the moment through memes, and they shape our memories. I make them as if to say, "I was here, and I mocked this time and place.”
JAROD KINTZ

I share memes with my friends on my flip phone. These would be memes that I find. I also write and draw things on the backs of pieces of junk mail. Then, I take pictures of those crude drawings to illustrate a point I am trying to make. A friend referred to these drawings of mine as "homemade memes." I suspect they find them funny or interesting because they are so crudely drawn. I also take them with the bad camera on my flip phone. Here are some of those homemade memes with commentary.


This shows my life pre-TBI and post-TBI. Before my accident, I worked hard, slept little, and indulged myself in excessive things like binge watching movies and TV shows. More was more. After the accident, I can't binge anymore. Everything I do and achieve today comes from the accumulation of small bites. I have to rest frequently and be intentional about my activities. The irony is that I wished I had followed the bites strategy prior to my accident. This was my first step towards sensibility.


I don't have the luxury of overthinking. Talking about something all day doesn't get it done. I prefer to be brief in my discussions and use what is left of my energy in getting it done.


I don't smoke, drink, or use drugs. Coffee is my only vice. The wife and I wake up in what we call the "pre-caffeinated" state. It isn't pretty. The coffee is the official start of each day. It works for her, but it doesn't work for me anymore since my accident. I can drink two cups of coffee and still pass out. Some doctors recommend not drinking coffee for people with TBI. I ignore them just like I ignore the ones who think amphetamines are a good idea. I'll stick with the java.


The treadmill is what the vast majority of people are grinding away on. What they want is the quiet life, but they think they have to achieve a certain financial state to get there. They become so obsessed with that objective that they lose all concept of the quiet life which is not hard to find. The future is the enemy of the quiet life. You have to find the quiet life in the present. The future never arrives.


I think yard work, gardening, and manual labor are better for exercise than signing up for a gym membership or training for marathons. People will pay money for exercise and then pay a lawncare service to tend to chores around the house. People see no connection between work and fitness.


I do not hunt, fish, or play golf. The thing I noticed about those three activities is they are essentially sitting on a chair outside. They are the three most popular activities where I live. I prefer going for a walk. I do enough sitting now.


This one is self-explanatory. None of us refuseniks regret that decision. I can't say the same for those who didn't refuse.


I don't care how many laws you pass, rules you make up, or how carefully you monitor operations. There is always going to be that one idiot who makes a mess of everything. It is better to accept that inevitability and plan for it than delude yourself with preventing it.


This one comes from the debates on YouTube on the best caliber ammo for a semi-automatic handgun. My preference should be obvious from the homemade meme. There are no perfect answers. There are compromises. You can't have it all.


I post this in response to what is popularly known as "first world problems." There are people enduring terminal illnesses. Then, there are people who can't afford to upgrade to the new iPhone. I see more grief over the latter than the former.


Sensibility is my best idea. It isn't an original idea, but it will change your life more than anything else you can try. I regret coming to it late in life, and I have my accident to teach me this lesson. Our society is all-or-nothing. I reject that now. Good things depend on the dose. If you get the dosage right, you will get better. If you get it wrong, it will get worse for you.


I have spent much of my life watching helplessly as people do dumb things to mess up their lives. I have tried to say something only to get the middle finger. So, I watch the train wrecks happen. It is painful to watch, but it isn't up to me. This is why I keep my mouth shut now and let it happen. If you think I am heartless for this, recognize that these train wrecks are not my fault and beyond my power to stop.


This is my personal reminder that my days are numbered, and I must strive to always be in a state of grace when that last day comes. It is a very sobering reminder.


I drew this in response to seeing a man trapped in a mental prison. He can escape at any moment, but he won't. I would tell him, but that would just get me one of those middle fingers referenced in the other meme. I can calmly watch someone destroy himself and not say a word. This is because people don't listen. It is better to pray for them to find wisdom than to give them that wisdom that they will ignore.


Life is 90% boredom punctuated by periods of intense crisis. This sounds cynical, but I am fine with it. I prefer boredom to being stressed out. Boredom is just another word for peace and tranquility. I try as hard as I can to cultivate a boring life.


One of my big pet peeves is watching working class men blow their hard earned money on toys they buy on credit. I see this all over my neighborhood which I refer to now as "Toyland." One day, I will see FOR SALE signs on these toys or watch the repo man haul them off. Most of these people could pay off their mortgages with what they are blowing on toys.


This is in the same theme as the previous meme about buying toys. This is the lifestyle of most of my co-workers and peers. They slave to pay for senseless toys.


This meme explains the fundamental reason behind the toy buying. I have a life of the mind and my faith, so I need very little except the basics of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. I have never been into buying and owning toys. I buy tools instead which are cheap and boring.

That's it for the homemade memes. As you can see, I can't draw very well or take good photographs with my flip phone. I think the crude nature of the memes is what makes them funny. I can see a second edition of homemade memes in the near future.