Monday, September 21, 2015

Product Review Monday

This week, I wanted to write about one of my favorite go-to things that both satisfies my cravings for deserts but is healthy for me as well.  It's called Carbmaster and it's a yogurt like thingie.  Not sure what makes it different from official yogurt and why they have to call it a cultured dairy blend instead....but its fuggin yogurt....whatever.

I love yogurt.  Not the old no-flavor style yogurt that hippies use to suck up back in the 70's; I'm talking the yogurts that are coming out these days that make candy bars taste like an old saltine.  They have every flavor and combination of flavors that you can imagine....literally hundreds of different types.

.....and they all have one thing in common.  FAT!   For some of these, you can get all the calories and fat of an entire meal in one itty bitty overpriced container.  If you're eating the stuff just because you like it, that's fine...but if you are doing it with some misguided notion that it will help you lose weight, you would probably be better off just going over to the ice cream aisle.

However; if you want something a bit more reasonable and that you can eat without feeling any regret, try Carbmasters.  They are made by Kroger, so I don't know if you have one of their groceries where you live but they are worth a try if you can find them.  They have 60 calories with 1.5 grams of fat.  4 grams of carbs, and a whopping 9 grams of protein.  Good calcium and vitamin D.  Live cultures just like yogurt.  

The taste is really, really, good.  I go through one or two a day.  With all the restrictions on what I can and cannot eat because of my health issues, it is so great to find things that I don't have to choke down while dreaming of eating good food.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Product Review Monday

Since the last review was on the abomination called Arctic Zero, I thought this time I would review something I've found that is not only healthy but is tasty as well.

Okay, healthy might be stretching it a bit.  More along the lines of not-bad-for-you, at least compared to some of the mountains of crap offered for snacking out there in the world today.  Because folks...I'm a believer in snacks.  I like to eat and I have a sweet tooth.  Show me somebody that rigidly follows a diet plan, meal after timed and measure meal, day after day...and I'll show you somebody that will eventually say fuggit to their diet plan and relapse like an alcoholic at Oktoberfest.  You have to be able to treat yourself and it's great when you can do that and still maintain sanity with your eating plans.  A couple of items that I've found to fit the bill are these fudgsicles and popsicles shown above.

The popsicles are great.  They're about 15 calories, no fat, sugar free, no sodium, and have a minuscule 4 grams of carbs.  These are about as close to a guilt free treat that I have found...and they taste really good.  The perfect fix for any urges for something sweet.

The fudgsicles are really good as well.  Not quite as guilt free but not anything that's going to blow your diet for the day.  They come in at around 40 calories, 1g of fat, 45g or sodium, and 9 g of carbs.  They taste...just wonderful.  Gawd they are good!  Nice chocolate flavor.  It really seems like you're indulging in real decadence eating these things.

So...if you are having trouble staying on an eating plan because you get overpowering urges to snack every once in a while...try these.  The reason to diet is to become healthy and maintain that health.  I don't think it's meant to give up foods or to give up the pleasures of eating.  Living healthy should never be something to endure; it's something to enjoy.  

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Product Review Monday

I thought I would get back to doing product reviews and to start off this new Monday trend, I'm reviewing an ice cream bar called Arctic Zero.

So....right off the doesn't claim to be ice cream.  It's a frozen dessert, whatever the hell that means.  I have seen these little babies in the grocery store for several months and wanted to give them a try.  Being diabetic has really shit-canned my love of ice cream.  I'll look longingly at ice cream once in a while but even the super duper low fat, low sugar kind either still has way too much sugar..or the serving size is so ridiculously small that it's not worth the trouble.  This stuff, however, looked to be a decent size as well as very low in sugar and fat.  Plus it was dark chocolate!  The only thing that was holding me back was the price.  They are about $6 for a box of four.  My love of ice cream is only surpassed by my cheapness.

But the other day was my what the hell....I treated myself and bought a box.

I was pleased that the actual bars were a decent size.  So many of the "low calorie" bars that you find are about the size of your finger.  I was, however, struck by the fact that the calorie count on the bar was a bit higher than the one advertised on the box.  Not that big a deal...but still weird.

The bar looks very yummy and the tissue thin outer chocolate shell is okay...pretty subtle flavor of chocolate, but it is there.  The "rich, fudgy chocolate" though was absolutely tasteless.  It actually tasted like a water popsicle.  Not bad, not good, not anything.   I was left wondering where the hell the 85 calories were in this bar.  It certainly wasn't in the flavoring.  As I mentioned at the first, I understand that this is NOT ice cream and I wasn't expecting it to taste like a heaping scoop of Blue Bell....still....I was expecting to taste something!

To sum up:  Arctic Zero is a waste of money.  This box will probably stay in my freezer until my wife gets tired of it taking up space and tosses it in the trash. 

I just need to resign myself to not having ice cream anymore. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

On a Mission

Not from God.  Nothing so ostentatious.  But I do find myself in a particularly unique position in my life.  I left my job....well actually, fired....but it was a much needed parting on both sides.  My supervisor was displeased at my leadership methods of treating my staff like humans and putting the care of my clients as a priority; and I felt like my supervisor was a bi-polar control freak completely lacking in any empathy for anybody else but her own fat ass.  So maybe not an amicable parting, but a mutual one and one that lifted a tremendous burden from me.  It's an old adage that, when a job becomes your life, you're no longer living.  The long hours, demanding work on what little time off I could get,  the lack of respect from my boss, being the recipient of her blame was all taking a toll.  I was turning into somebody I didn't particularly like anymore.  I was getting grouchy.  I was getting angry.  I was slowly killing myself.   

I almost did it a couple of years ago, kill myself that is, with a heart attack.  Of course, I had a lot of other things besides stress to help that along.  I smoked like a locomotive and ate like a starving buzzard.  I didn't exercise worth a shit and I hadn't set foot in a doctor's office in a couple of decades.  I was a mess...but I changed a lot of that.  All except a very stressful work environment.  I'm not sure that I can say exactly how many years off my lifespan struggling with a crappy job would take; but it certainly makes what time there is unpleasant, and like the saying goes "ain't nobody got time for that".

So what to do with my time?

That's where my new found mission comes in.  More about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why the Y

Earlier today I plunked down a chunk of money to pay out a year membership to the YMCA for the wife and myself.  I've had several ask me why I'm a member of the Y, especially considering I make no effort to conceal that I am an atheist or that I don't particularly like religions in general.

Well, there are several reasons. 

First among them is cost.  The Y is cheap...considering.  In my city there are three YMCAs and they are all stocked with good weights and cardio equipment.  They have running tracks and swimming pools.  A couple have racquetball/handball courts and they all have basketball courts.  You get a lot of gym for your membership.  You can find cheaper gyms, but they don't have near the equipment.

It's close to where I live.  One of those three Y's in my city is just a few minutes drive.  It's hard enough some mornings to motivate yourself to go to the gym without having to face a long commute to get there and back home again.

It feels like a community.  This is not a necessarily critical thing...but it is nice to go to a place with all types of people, with all levels of fitness, all trying to get and stay healthy.  The ego factor is really low at the Y.

The YMCA has been around a long time.  It will probably continue to be around for a long time.  I've had experiences with some gyms that would vanish after shelling out bucks for a membership.  I've gone to gyms for a workout to see the doors padlocked with a sign saying "closed until further notice" which is code for "sucker!".  I've actually gone to a gym only to discover that it was sold to another company and that my prior membership was void....but they would make me a deal on joining again.  This is similar to the old bait and switch tactic but it is more commonly known as the bend over and smile sales technique.  

The Y is a religious organization though.  Specifically, a Christian organization.  They do close on Sunday mornings.  There is a picture of Jesus in the lobby (not doing squats or anything though that would be awesome).  Bibles are scattered among their offered reading materials.  Still, they don't really push religion on you.  There isn't any giant crucifix hanging over the dumbbell rack.  No bottles of holy water offered along with Gatorade in the vending machines.  And not once had anybody tried to baptize me in the pool.    

So we have an agreement....the Y and I.  They keep their religion under control and I curb my tendency for blasphemy.  


Monday, June 08, 2015


My aim is to transform and build my body without the use of drugs.  I generally go one step further and eschew all the thousands of various supplements that line the shelves of your local GNC or fill the pages of muscle magazines.  I'm natural...but I'm not fanatic about it.   I take vitamins; even though most studies seem to indicate it really doesn't do anything, I take them anyway more out of habit than anything else.  I also take fish oil.  I live in Kansas and don't have a whole lot of access to decent seafood, so it's a good way to get omegas into me.  I regularly use Full Strength, though I consider this a meal and not a supplement.

I also have started using creatine.  Let me tell you why.

Creatine is a co-enzyme in the formation of adenosine triphospate, which supplies energy to all the cells in the body, most particularly the skeletal muscle cells.  It's been a long time since I sat in biology class and memorized the ATP cycle and I really didn't understand it all then.  So just to make a long story short....creatine helps boost the ability of your muscles to do what muscles do.  

Now, that doesn't mean it supercharges you like a can of spinach for Popeye.  What it will do is make your workouts a little more powerful, move a bit more weight, do a few more reps....which in turn will make you see gains faster.  You still have to work for the muscle.  If you are fat and flabby and take creatine without doing any resistance training; you will remain flat and flabby, probably even more so.  Creatine just helps you put forth a little more intensity.

But there are side effects... and it would be irresponsible of me not to warn you about them.

  • It naturally boosts testosterone when taken in conjunction with resistance training.  Testosterone is something that starts to fade in men after age 30.  Exercise and diet are a big help in slowing down or reversing this trend.  Adding creatine in the mix helps.
  • It improves neurological function; ie, memory.  Another body organ that starts to decline the older guys get.  Creatine seems to have positive effects in keeping you sharp, focused, and productive.
  • Enhances recovery.  One aspect of having an aging body is that it doesn't bounce back from intense workouts like it did in your twenties.  Creatine helps cut the time needed for the muscles to heal to you can go at them again.
  • May reduce age related muscle loss.
  • And the biggest benefit (for me anyway) is the creatine improves glucose tolerance.
I've searched high and low for any adverse effects of creatine and I have found none.  Zip.  Nadda.  There is a lot of anecdotal "heard it from a friend of a friend evidence" that says creatine causes bloating and stomach upset.  I tend to think it is because it is not prepared properly or they are using a crap product.  There is also the warnings that it may be harmful to your kidneys, or liver, or some other organ...but there is not one study backing those warnings.  Not one.  In fact, all the studies (and there are a shitload of them going back decades) that indicate properly used creatine is risk free.

The best, easiest, and cheapest creatine to get is what they call plain old creatine monohydrate powder.  If you look at the ingredient label, that should be the only thing listed.  The monohydrate is the one that has all the mountains of research behind it.  Try to find a product that is made with Creapure.  That is supposedly the gold standard in creatine.  Since creatine is fairly cheap, a lot of companies get all creative with different formulations and gimmicks.  Shun all of them; it's usually done only to jack up the cost and it makes the product less effective.  Try to find what is called micronized creatine.  That just means it is chopped up finer so that it will dissolve more easily in water and be more readily absorbed into your body.  This also might lessen the problem of any bloating or stomach discomfort that I mentioned earlier. is a product.  It's cheap.  It's effective in helping to build muscle.  Has a load of great side effects to boot.  Is much, much safer than most of the processed foods offered as a daily diet for most Americans.

Sounds like a no brainer.   

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Not Great

.....But not bad.  

I'm very fond of Full Strength nutrition shakes and I primarily use the vanilla flavor so that I can add various fruits or nuts.  Gives me some variety.  Anyway; the creation above was an attempt with rhubarb.  I don't know what possessed me to give that a try but try I did, and it came out this weird pink bubble-gum color.  Didn't taste bad but it looked pretty gross.  


Sunday, May 10, 2015

White Carnation

The church that my parents took me to every Sunday when I was a child had a little traditional thing every Mother's Day.  As you entered, the ushers would hand out little carnation boutonnieres.  I always loved this.  Beyond the fact that they smelled good, it always made me feel snazzy and grown up to have it pinned to my lapel.

There were two types of ones and white ones.  You got a red carnation if your mother was still around and a white carnation if she was no longer alive.  I remember looking out at the rows of pews during the service and counting the number of men who were wearing white carnations.  For some reason, I was always profoundly sad for them...that even though they seemed very old to my perspective, I knew that they no longer had a Mom and I wondered what that would be like.  I really couldn't imagine just how it would feel.

This Mother's Day, I understand how it feels to wear a white carnation.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

It's a Brand New Year!

Wow....time sure flies.  It really seems like it was only yesterday that the calender turned to the year 2000.  Everybody was fretting that Y2K would cause civilization to crash.  I knew it was all bullshit, but I stayed up to make sure the lights didn't go out, just in case.  Then came 2001 and all the predictions by that great movie of the same name fell waaaaay short.  No moon base.  No space station to vacation on.  No space flight stewardesses.  No homicidal computers.  Whatta gyp.  

More years and more years.  Now it's 2015.  Shit!  I had the rather distressing thought earlier today by remembering that I graduated from high school 40 years ago.  It seems that the older you get the older you get....and you get there a lot faster.  By the time the nice symmetrical year of 2020 gets here, I'll be well past 62 years old.

Once again I say...shit.

So what does this have to do with the price of rice in China, much less this blog.  Well, I look at the title "Fitness after Fifty" and think that I should change it.  I'm way past fifty, closer to sixty actually, and I have generally become pretty fit for somebody my age and neglectful background.  The trouble is so damn slow.  Changes in your body, good or bad, are very gradual and go unnoticed with just day to day observations.  That's where frustration sets in.  That's when we give up.

"I'm tired of doing all this exercise and not seeing anything!"

"I'm sick of watching my diet all the time and still have this gut.  Everybody else gets to eat whatever they want."

We say things like this to ourselves.  I do.  I don't notice the changes in my body because I live in my skin and see it every day.  But...every once in a while I run across somebody that hasn't seen me in a while.  THEN it is brought out very clearly.  I went to Texas for my Mom's funeral and saw several family members that I haven't seen in several years.  Each and every one made comments about how much weight I had lost...and I don't thing they were just being polite.  They seemed genuinely stunned. get back on topic....I am wanting to change the title of this blog.  I haven't really come up with anything yet but I want it to reflect my current status and goals.  I also want to start doing a bunch more video content.  It's kinda hard to document change with photos of my feet.  One more thing I will be doing as something of an experiment is to take a photo of myself every day for the year.  By December 31st I should have at least 300 photographs and we'll see if anything is really changing.

And cat blogging...oh hell yeah