We're driving less, taking transit more. Now let's invest accordingly. | Kaid Benfield's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC
A comprehensive new analysis of government data demonstrates that Americans are driving less per person, and taking transit more, both overall and in a strong majority of our large metro areas. Especially because the new report is consistent with…
“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening…
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I, like many other people, have spent most of my life scared of death. I used to get a gut wrenching feeling in the middle of the night that would interfere with my ability to sleep. Counselling, meditation and religion were all equally fruitless ventures. But fruitless as they may be, this feeling - through time – began occurring less and less. Described below are some non-definitive and continually explored key factors as to why that horrible feeling I’ve mostly had within the privacy of my bedroom (and once during a cinema screening of Resident Evil) has edged its way out of my gut for good. Be prepared to see answers strategically placed as questions…
Death comes for us all. It’s a universal truth and a fact that is generally best avoided if we wish to enjoy the delicacies of everyday life. But is there really any reason why we shouldn’t instead embrace it?
I’m about to give you five.
1) We are supposed to die.
You have the choice to live forever. Right now. But… nobody else can join you. What would you choose to do?
Everyone you’ve ever loved, dead. You however, choose to stay in this world forever. It’s only a matter of time before you not only wish you were mortal again but you would beg for the chance to die.
Now the same dilemma again, but everyone else can live forever also. Things will be fun for a long, long time. But how long before all possibilities for amusement are exhausted? That day will come, and once you think about the ramifications you will be thankful you never have to see it.
2) Your body is a host, maintained by other beings.
What causes us to age? When we die why do we decompose? Here’s a theory I agree with: ‘time’ doesn’t age you. You decompose, you age and you die because of microorganisms and you live so that an unfathomable (i.e. unknown to me without searching the internet) amount of these organisms can survive. Hell, you wouldn’t be alive if they didn’t need you alive; you are the machine, the host of hosts that they administer to enable them survival. God’s children? Unlikely. The prophet Mohammad once said, “The Devil sits on long nails”, we now not only know that the devil does not sit on or under our fingernails literally but metaphorically; it is harmful bacteria that sits there in his place.
Regardless of whether you believe in an afterlife or not, take a moment to think about what material things you really own. Will your house accompany you in heaven? Will you be able to sneak a few canters of water into hell? Now the most basic, troubling or perhaps liberating question regarding ownership: what about your own body whilst you are still alive? Think about how many deaths occur each year that are not within our control, completely undermining that control of our lives. Imagine somebody cut off your arm; can you still control it once it is lost? No, you no longer ‘own’ it… but was it ever truly yours?
3) Everything dies.
Even the Universe. What makes you so special?
Let’s start here: you are the Universe. You are celestial sprinkles, minor molecular moments of madness, assorted and anarchistic atoms. No matter how creatively alliterative I attempt my sentences they will always be destined to someday perish. The same goes for everything.
You’d like to think all the hard work you do or have done will pay off one day, that perhaps you will leave a mark on history or that your righteous actions will even grant you access to a world that succeeds our own material one. The most likely of truths is one that defines your vision misguided, one that wipes out your achievements when the Planets, Galaxies and Universe reach a climactic end. In other words, you are wasting your time. I know what you’re thinking, “How can this possibly make me feel better about dying?” Well, consider what fear is exactly. It’s being scared of loss. Should you still be fearful when in all probability you have nothing to lose?
There are no uninhabited, open spaces of ‘nothing’. Where solids and liquids are not, gasses inhabit the remaining space. Time and space within the Universe is completely filled. We are inside that ball and therefore comprised of the Universal elements meaning once the Universe dies so do we. But once dead we do not simply disappear into oblivion, we merge with the Universe only in an entirely different way to when we are alive (energy doesn’t dissolve or die, it transfers. Burn paper and it turns to smoke).
Life continues just not as we know it, which conveniently leads on to my next point…
4) Death is an unknown experience.
Have you ever been curious about what happens once you are dead? What would you feel or see? Maybe you are religious and wonder what heaven looks like? There was a mention of fourteen virgins; do I get to pick which ones I get? Do I still get virgins in hell, or do I have to settle with used goods? Can I have an advance on my virgins before I die; I’m thinking five will do me? When I eventually get my virgins do I keep the body I die in or do I revert back to my prime i.e./or a buff persons body?
Naturally (and stating the obvious) nobody can answer these important, opaque and necessary questions not even the wisest science professor, spiritualist, priest, imam or kohen. Personally I am curious, and there’s every reason why you should be too. As animals we fear what we don’t understand and the only way to understand this experience is to die. As much as eating shellfish, freeing our children from our cosy confines to live independently or trying uncouth sexual positions for the first time may be daunting it may be unfair to compare the similarities. However; historically and continually human beings travel into the unknown, whether it be launching aircrafts into space, trying new cuisine or otherwise. Just because we cannot document what we learn after death it should not deter us from our sense of exploration. After all, it’s what ultimately drives us.
5) You are already dead.
In two ways!
The acclaimed novel Fight Club makes an extraordinary insight. The quote is as follows, “On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”. If you consider the fact that we are in the first second of the first minute of the existence of the Universe then what meaning does that give to our lives that have, in light of this context, never existed at all?
In another sense, my second and more expansive point, you are not the same person that came out of the womb of your mother. Physically and mentally. All the tissue you once possessed is long dead (regenerating every seven or so years) and your memories have long been eradicated from existence.
Consider a person with Alzheimer’s disease. The world of beauty they once knew is crumbling around them as a vast number of memories fade from their minds everyday. Their first kiss, the names and faces of all they once cherished, the house they lived in, their very names… forgotten forever. Yet they still live and breath using their body regardless. How many times have we been reborn? Our ethics, our passions, our styles and tastes? How many memories have we lost to time? Why fear what has already befallen you and all that has ever existed?
So conclusively what I’m trying to say is this: don’t fear the reaper, man. Bill and Ted beat him, and if they can do it ANYONE can do it.
Anyone working a 9-5 shift will know the constraints it can have on your dietary habits, especially those who eat 6-9 meals a day (at least 4 of which are in the office). Additionally it can be increasingly hard to get exercise on your lunch break, before and/or after work. Therefore you are likely to spend most of the workday eating cakes your colleagues have brought in, sitting down at your desk for extensive periods and going to Marks and Spencers at lunch to get a meal deal that results in you eating crisps, sandwiches and fizzy drinks.
Here’s my five express tips on how to avoid compromising your training goals.
1) Drink protein shakes.
Instantly accessible with no odour, does not count as solid food so your boss will not mind you drinking it at your desk. At most you will be teased for a week or so for eating ‘powder’ but once you show them your guns at the Christmas party they’ll soon stop. That’s when they’ll begin to accuse you of taking steroids instead.
2) Plastic tupperware avoids wasting money and muscle.
Eating out for lunch everyday is a rookie move. You’ll waste bare P’s on overpriced, over processed crap. By making your own lunch (or several meals) at home you stand to save money and eat how best suits your goals. Plastic tupperware is cheap and found at all supermarkets and some economy brand saver stores (i.e. Poundland).
3) Drink plenty of water.
Water helps carry micronutrients around your body, if you’re sitting down all day you may want to think about the effect this has on your body. Without water you will store fat, get tired and/or bloated after eating and certainly have less stamina throughout the day as your brain is not hydrated. By drinking plenty of water you stand to keep your brain alert which leads to a less stressful day, excretion of more chemicals, less fat storage and more vitamins supplied to your body and brain so you feel and think more effectively. An ideal amount is a large 2litre bottle sitting on your desk everyday, take amounts from this bottle to fill up your protein shake as over 2litres is too much water in your 9 hour shift. Remember, too much of anything is bad.
4) Calf raises are the only exercise you can do at the office.
Seeing as you’re drinking so much water you may as well take advantage of your time in the lavatory. Put your palms on the wall and raise your calfs slowly, squeezing the muscle at the top of the rep. On the way down make sure your heels do not touch the floor and raise them again. Do as many as you can/want and keep your eye on the clock, next toilet break do the same thing and repeat throughout the day. The next day take a break and follow this one-on, one-off pattern during the week. This may conflict with your current training regime but if you’re working in an office the chances are you spend far less time in the gym than you’d like. This means it would be time efficient to leave calves out of the gym and introduce an office-based programme.
5) Don’t drink too much coffee.
Coffee is for typical 9-5 shitbags who can’t concentrate unless they introduce caffeine into their system. You are the kind of person who might drink coffee or take caffeine supplements before an extensive gym session for extra energy. Keep it that way and stick to your water.
pololiwahine asked: Blogging or Jogging?
Blogging; when I exercise it’s via free weights and cardio machines. Jogging is bad for your joints, especially if you weigh a lot and/or have an inappropriate diet.
If you take the time to observe the contents of your standard 2012 working middle class lunchbox or dinner plate you may find up to three different sources of carbohydrates and fats accompanied with one source of protein. The chances are you have grown accustomed to these eating habits and see little point in changing them, after all, even the cheapest and readily available carbs and fats are packed with so much immovable and addictive ingredients it’s practically impossible to switch those habits even if you wanted to. This is bad news if, like me, you love to eat several times a day. It’s especially bad if you do not exercise.
Here are five reasons why you should reduce carbs and introduce more protein in your diet.
1) Your body will work better.
Remember when your parents told you that carrots would help you see better in the dark? Well they were bullshitting you. In fact, carrots don’t actually have many benefits at all but this is a whole other subject.
It’s protein that helps your body’s cells to strengthen and regenerate. Your hair, nails, eyes, skin and everything else from how your body digests food to how it produces hormones like testosterone (naturally enhancing your sexual appetite). If that doesn’t motivate you then please, read on.
2) You will lose fat.
Carbs provide you with high amounts of energy of which will store as fat if not burnt. Protein however does not have this effect in it’s purest forms, for most people protein will go towards repairing the broken down cells in your body and any waste is excreted. Don’t get me wrong too much of anything is bad for you but with a little balance you can receive some very rapid benefits. One of those is less fat as none will be stored. Also per pound of muscle added will burn more calories as the body has to work to repair and sustain (using protein) and naturally exercise will burn fat as well. If you have a good regime involving plenty of protein you can expect to receive accelerated fat-burning results.
3) You will get stronger.
Even if you are not exercising at the gym there are many unobserved activities you partake in everyday that cause your muscle tissue to break down. Remember that ache in your leg that lasted a week? How is your father’s back after all those years of heavy lifting? Prevention is more effective than ailment in any medium, and when it comes to your health protein is the key to muscle development and support to your bones that will effectively prevent those problems from occurring or escalating. By introducing protein to your system you arm it with the correct tools to repair and strengthen this muscle tissue. Needless to say, by exercising regularly and correctly you can expect to receive the maximum benefits of strength and growth your body requires in order to be healthy.
4) It can be cheaper per kilo than anything, including rice.
One tub of whey protein should not only be attractive to vegetarians as a complete source but should also be attractive to the average consumer. You can find 5kg’s of unflavoured protein on myprotein.com for no more than £40. In context you are paying £5 for a weeks supply if you are having several scoops a day. A family of four will probably pay at most £10 a week (in total) for 3 scoops each a day.
If you do not like protein supplements expect to pay nearly what you would usually pay as you cut down the carbs from your plate and increase the protein. White meat like chicken, turkey and white fish will contain less saturated fat but fish fats are good for fighting ‘bad’ fats and provide your body with essential nutrients. The above protein sources and eggs will provide your body with the full list of essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) required for optimal health. A little extra per meal should be sufficient, remember not to go mad as these sources of protein also contain fat, especially if you are cooking them in oil.
Needless to say, if you are having protein after gym you want to eat at least double what you would any other meal.
5) You will feel better.
In every sense. Your energy and stamina will increase. Your body’s hormones will function optimally resulting in endorphin production. Your libido will feel alive again. You will want to experience new things, participate rather than observe, smile rather than frown. Sounds a little bit ‘Gone with the Wind’ I know, but speaking scientifically it’s nothing short of the truth. Most people may not have even made it this far down this post, more accurately most people have not even looked at nor even know of this blogs existence nor will they. You however are still reading and even you, in your heart of hearts may have decided not to change your eating habits (hopefully because you already have). There is a reason for this, it’s because the chemicals in your body are geared a certain way as a result of your current diet and you do not know what it is like to feel another way to how you already feel. It’s understandable.
I guess what I am trying to say is this: don’t trust me. Do: some research, take it slowly, give it time. Nothing worth doing was ever easy (yet another bullshit saying your parents love so much).
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