A Guide To Being Healthy And Handsome
I used to be both healthy and very good looking. This is why:
One path to health is aerobic exercise. For instance, I used to do fairly long distance bike rides. So for instance I might start in the city of New Haven, CT, which is on the Long Island Sound, and by nightfall I'd be in the town of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. I had crossed 2 states and gone back in time to my old childhood summer vacations in New Hampshire. The odd thing is that I'd been unhealthy, stressed out, and a lousy athlete in my first 20 years of life. But biking is something that just drags you into it - you start off being able to ride around the block and with persistence, you are doing centuries up mountains in the West. Even if, like me, you do those centuries at a snails pace.
You also don't need to do lots of exercise every day. A walk on your lunch break is perfectly adequate during the week.
Another path to health is diet. I had a deceptively simple diet. In the morning, I'd have oatmeal. Nowadays I add some fat-free milk to it, which I think is a good idea, but in those days I did not. Sometimes I'd add fruit. I generally skipped lunch completely, and did not eat snacks either. Some people say that skipping lunch is unhealthy, and I haven't followed the arguments, but then again, there are people, like General Stanley McChrystal, who is currently running our military efforts in Afghanistan, who won't eat breakfast or lunch, because he says those two meals make him feel sluggish. And there are definite times to eat lunch - as I found out when I was cycling 3 mountains in one day in the Alps. If it wasn't for a passing good Samaritan with a few chocolate bars, I would have needed a motorized vehicle to take me the rest of the way. I was completely out of energy.
If you are going to try out this diet, and you like lunch, keep the lunch fat-free and protein-free. A few figs and a bagel and some juice might qualify.
Dinner can be fish or chicken and salad and rice or potatoes and fat-free yogurt. The food should not be fried, but you should get some oil. I get it in my salad (with an oil and vinegar dressing).
If I'm on the road, a can of sardines in oil provides the oil.
So whats the rationale behind this diet? Well notice what it doesn't have. It doesn't have caffeine (though I might have a decaf coffee sometimes). It doesn't have alcohol. It doesn't allow tobacco, marijuana, or drugs. It doesn't have snacks. It doesn't have fried foods - though the oil thats included is important - since linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid cannot be synthesized by the body. Its fairly low in protein - about 1/4 pound of turkey and 3 fat-free yogurts gives me most of the protein in a typical day, though I guess there is some protein in the oatmeal. Its fairly low-density in calories - there is no cake, and there is some fiber.
Pluses and minuses - when you eat a very low-fat diet, you may have trouble absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, which is a minus. As for pluses, then are harder to explain. I got on this diet because I didn't feel good on a normal diet. I ate too much of everything, including foods high in fat, high in protein, high in sugar, etc. I believe (OK, its just a belief) that these foods put somewhat of a strain on your system. If you are going to run a marathon, for instance, it doesn't make sense to have a three course meal right before it. There are temporary changes to your body when you are digesting a fatty meal, for instance blood pressure and blood viscosity. This diet had the advantage that it minimizes this kind of strain. This diet also is low in cholesterol. (Its almost like the diet a heart-attack survivor is told to pursue.) The diet seems to be low in protein, but its not clear what the minimum quantity of protein you need is anyway.
There has been an interesting finding about diet and longevity in various animals. Animals that are restricted in the amount they eat (the composition of the diet doesn't seem to matter too much, as long as its balanced), live a lot longer. This was very dramatic for the original experimenter who kept separate cages for rats on a normal diet and rats on a restricted diet. He kept picking up rats that were dead from old age out of the first cage, while the other cage had survivors. Of course the survivors died too, eventually. (Such is way of all flesh.) I'm not on this diet, but some people are trying it, even though it hasn't been proved on humans yet. I do give a link to the Wikipedia article on it below, and that article also mentions a study that shows that intermittent fasting has serious benefits.
Wikipedia article on dietary restriction, longevity (and a warning)
Mayo Clinic's top ten reasons to engage in Aerobic Exercise
WebMD strongly praises 'Mediterranean Diet'.
Places To Bicycle Near New York City if you don't have a car - I created this site - beware of popups though, the host adds them
The Virtue Of Self Discipline (helpful when avoiding the snacks, and the cake, and the wine)