The Gruen Diet

Filed under: experiments,thoughts Topics: , , , ,

Sick of hearing about fad diets, I read a smattering of books and blogs about health and nutrition and rolled my own.

What I came up with is not strict nor restrictive, but rather a health guideline. I started adhering to these guidelines—because they’re certainly not rules or a plan—at the beginning of the summer and have since lost 4.5 lbs. A simple workout schedule and simple-to-adhere-to life choices accompany a simple diet.

Important to note is that these guidelines are sub-optimal: you’re not going to lose weight or gain strength or be physically healthier than you would following a strict regimen. But, it’s optimal in that it makes eating choices easy and I don’t really have to think about it. I can just do it and see the effects over time.

So, without further ado:

On Timing

  • Eat 3-4 times a day. Every day, spaced out from 2-5 hours at a clip. Always eat breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up, even if it’s small.
  • No eating 5 hours before bedtime. Don’t give yourself an energy spike before you try to go to sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water before you eat and after you eat. Unless you have a long drive ahead of you, drinks lots of water. You’ll feel fuller for longer.

On Consumption

  • No High-Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS]. None. It’s in almost every processed food, so read the ingredients.
  • No high incident of artificial crap. If you don’t know what half the ingredients are (and can’t readily pronounce them) don’t eat it. I can almost guarantee HFCS will be in there anyway.
  • Eat meat no more than twice a day. Red meat only once, if not less. Make sure it’s from animals that were fed on natural diets and get to roam around on a field and would have been, in anthropomorphic terms, happy. If you don’t know, don’t eat it.
  • Follow the same guidelines with animal products. Like milk and cheese and eggs. No more than twice a day. Look for 100% organic stuff from happy animals.
  • Go vegetarian for two meals a day. Eat as many vegetables as you want. Don’t hold back. If you’re a man, go easy on the soy. Stay organic whenever possible, even if it costs a touch more.
  • Whole-wheat whenever possible. This includes pastas.
  • Limit alcohol intake. I shoot for two drinks or fewer when I do.
  • Limit soft drinks. Make sure they’re made from Sugar Cane. Stay off anything labeled diet. The sugar calories won’t kill you, the artificial sweeteners might.
  • Limit caffeine. I don’t drink any, save for the occasional green tea or PowerGel.
  • Never deprive oneself of chocolate or candy. Unless it violates a previous guideline. (Read the ingredients! If you don’t know, don’t eat it!)

On Activity

  • Be active 3-4 times a week, for 30-45 minutes at a time. Actually sweat something.
  • Kick your ass once a week. Do some intervals or wind sprints. It doesn’t take much.
  • Don’t stare at sun-mimicking lights late at night. This includes the TV and your computer. Need to use your computer late at night? Use f.lux.

On Sleep

  • Get up at the same time every day. Weekends and weekdays. Nap later if you have to compensate for a late night out. Your body will go to sleep at night when it knows it has to get up at a precise time.
  • Shoot for holes in your REM sleep schedule. For me, that’s at 4.5 hours, 6 hours, 7.5 hours, and 9 hours. I aim for 7.5 hours every night.

That’s about it.

For me, these guidelines are really easy to follow and don’t require any calorie counting or spreadsheets or any planning whatsoever. I don’t worry that I’m eating too much or too little or what I’m eating—by setting a healthy bar, my body will tell me when I’m being disobedient and point me in the right direction.

Lastly, feel free to break the guidelines at Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and Funerals. If you’re good to yourself most of the time, your body will be able to handle junk every once in a while.

I should also note I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or anyone with any state- or federally-sanctioned right to offer this sort of guidance. Your milage may vary.

Death of the Time-Capsule

Filed under: thoughts Topics: , , , , ,

Remember the days before life was forever chronicled in an Internet Archive?

Recently, I came to the realization that nearly everything I do isn’t ever going away. Nearly every typo and heat-of-the-moment remark remains permanently stored — and indexed! — on search engines and social Web2.0 websites.

I wonder what my kids will think.

Over 14mm photos are uploaded to Facebook a day, with over 100,000 of them video. Twitter passed the 1Bn tweet mark a month or so ago, and though this blog has only existed for less than a year, it features over 25 posts.

Yes yes, I know: 25 posts pales in comparison to the Tumblratti’s diligence or ego-bloggers’ persistence; but, consider that  you can probably pick out only a dozen or so experiences from you childhood that had any significant bearing in your life. Further, only half of those would be worth mentioning in your [auto]biography. Now, we  share it all.

In kindergarten we assembled a time-capsule. Though it’s decades later and I’m near certain my teacher and classmates have long forgot about it, I remember the care and thought that went into selecting our objects and writing our messages. The exercise forced us to take stock about what’s important to communicate to future generations. In effect, we editorialized.

Nowadays, we inundate ourselves with lifestreams. And though every once in a while we unpack, sort, and sift through our user-generated monsters, in the moment, I don’t think we really take stock of every little piece of ourselves that we share– much less how they shape that beast. Now, the capsule is a timeline.

The implications are far too numerous to explore here; after all, this is just another moment on a blog.

New York City's Lesser-Known Fixtures

They’re not quite tourist attractions, but they’re definitely part of the landscape.

Some people just stick out. There’s nothing really notable about some of these people, but if you live in or visit New York City, I’m 90% sure you’ll know at least one if not two of these people by description. These characters aren’t labeled as neatly as the naked cowboy, but they’re definitely identifiable.

  1. The bucket drummer (and his wife)
    Usually hanging in Union Square, this guy bangs on buckets loudly. A woman, enamored with his skills, joined him, married him, and now buckets along side. So the story goes.
  2. That big homeless guy
    I see this guy everywhere. He wears a brown sweatshirt with blue sweatpants, usually carrying something in a hurry. He’s a white guy, black hair, looks a little like a rounder Richard Kind. Really nice guy. Often seen scurrying around midtown. 
  3. The Central Park dancing boxing man
    Take the 60th and 5th ave entrance to the Central Park Loop. Just before the merge, you’ll see an old-school boxer — often with cape — throwing punches or doing warmups. Sometimes, he swings to rocky-style music. Usually seen on weekends.
  4. The Kokyu-playing old man on the BDFV line
    He reminds me that I’m on the west side. He sells CDs last time I checked. 
  5. The pouting homeless couple
    Always in midtown east, between 45th and madison to 60th and lexington. They sit next to each other, put their heads together, and have a cardboard sign that begs for dollars. Sometimes, their sign rests on a paint can. I think they’re full of shit.
  6. Greenway trombonist
    For those who frequent the west-side greenway, north to the George Washington Bridge*, every weekend a shirtless man plays his trombone. He’s actually quite good, but I’ve only heard a few notes as I’m usually flying by on my two-cycle.
  7. Vegetable cutter
    Upper east side man in a suit cuts fresh vegetables for you. It’s a bit bizarre.
  8. The breakdancing troupe
    Usually performing around Bryant Park and Times Square, these guys breakdance. Watch your belongings! Pickpockets tend to follow these guys around and steal tourists wallets. As such, there’s usually a cop standing nearby. 
  9. The drawing War Veteran
    Sits near 19th and Park Avenue South, this man draws. His art is mediocre, but his heart is pure gold.
  10. Tarzan
    Frequenting Union Square, this guy’s Tarzan for the 21st century. He must work in construction or something. 

Someone should start a repository for these people. Perhaps that someone is me.

*I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but that area near the GWB never lacks someone sitting there or hanging around. I wonder if it’s undercover surveillance.