Nutrition and Exercise

Put the coffee mug down, climb the stairs instead?

Published 4.24.2017; Updated 4.25.2017
I regularly like to offer short takes on interesting items found whilst perusing various sites.

Would taking the stairs be a better way to combat sleep deprivation than caffeine?

Researchers from the University of Georgia found that sleep-deprived adults who walked up and down stairs at a regular pace for 10 minutes felt more energized and motivated than those who consumed 50 milligrams of caffeine - the equivalent to one can of soda.

So the amount of caffeine that I can have is limited because if I drink too much I have symptoms similar to those Raynaud’s disease. Note: I’ve never been diagnosed, and I’m not a medical professional of any kind. All I know is that when I cut back on caffeine consumption, but finger tips stopped going pale and numb. It hurts when it happens, and it happens a lot less now. I think altering my diet last year helped too, but this is not the time to speculate about that. The point is I decided to try the stair walking touted in the article.

To achieve the “great motivation” and increased energy, you are supposed to go up and down stairs at your normal pace for about 10 minutes. However, much to my chagrin, I couldn’t do it. I made it about five minutes before I had to stop. Please note that I walk at 3 miles per hour pace for about 30-45 minutes 5 days a week on a treadmill and regularly lift light weights and do yoga. I thought I was reasonably fit, but apparently not. I wasn’t trying to race of the stairs, I just walked up and down them as though I was changing floors as I usually do.

So now I’m thinking I’ll add walking up and down the stairs to my movement regimen until I am able to do it for 10 minutes. As for “increased energy,” certainly my heart was pumping and my temperature was raised. A cup of coffee (or tea) doesn’t do that for me. Added 4.25.2017: So I tried again today and this time I was able to keep walking up and down for the 10 minutes. I can't say it was a comfortable 10 minutes, but I did it. I can also report that the gym's "Stairmaster" machine is in no way equivalent— but that should have been obvious.

Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) otherwise known as fatty liver disease can be eliminated without drugs. Losing a bit of weight does the trick, and we’re not talking tens or hundreds of pounds here either. But no, instead, drug treatments for NASH have become the next pharma gold rush.

This seems like a good place to emphasize that I have no medical training of any sort and absolutely nothing you read here should be construed as medical advice.

Driven by the obesity and diabetes epidemics, the disease guarantees an enormous pool of patients for decades, making it a prime target for deals for promising therapies for NASH and its consequences - advanced fibrosis and liver-destroying cirrhosis. The very early stages of many of the drugs, and the complicated nature of the disease itself, pose risks for drug developers and their investors alike.

I don’t blame the drug companies, they exist to make money. However, I think people who would opt for a pill over losing a bit of weight (by eating less and moving more) are foolish. All drugs have side effects. While all organs are critical, the liver is central to what happens in the rest of the body. Mucking around chemically with the function of the liver should be the last result. My prediction: this will end badly.

Disclosure: At the time of publication, I owned shares of Pfizer. Subsequent to publication and without further notice, I may add to my position or sell out of it.

This is what comes of treating age as a disease. The body changes with age, but only extreme variances from the average probably needs to be addressed.

“Precursor” conditions are an attempt to generate new customers for drugs. I’m not against medical intervention, but I am against intervening proactively. Could this bite me in the ass one day? Yes, it could. Thus far, however, the evidence supports a conservative approach to intervention. In my non-medically trained opinion, worth every penny you paid to read it.

And finally, you have to give vegans credit, they are creative. These are not fake meats in the way of Beyond Meat though, these are just people preparing vegetables in new and different ways. Some are skeptical of the effort, but I think it’s not a bad way to go.

If they taste good and people will eat them, where is the harm? Let the market decide. It might even be a good idea for schools to get kids to eat more vegetables. However, seitan (which is nasty) is also used a lot too— that would be a nonstarter for me. Seitan is basically pure gluten. Perhaps I just haven’t had seitan prepared properly.

Mr. Kim brines seitan for at least three days, then coats it with a spice rub for 24 hours, to make his faux pastrami. He says it took him about a year to fine-tune the technique.

I do understand why some question the use of the word butcher or butchery though. Nothing’s being butchered. However, I don’t think it’s a crime to want to remember the flavors that you used to eat. I say this as someone who if I hankered a hot dog would simply have one. The tofu dogs never did it for me.