Monday, 19 September 2016

Red Clover

From Robin Harford's newsletter:

  • "If you know a little about medicinal herbs then you’ve probably already heard about red clover. It is rich in phyto-oestrogens and so is often given to ladies to try to help to improve fertility or to help to reduce some of the symptoms in menopause.  It also helps the functioning of the lymphatic system so is often used to ease sore throats, tonsillitis and swollen glands.

    However, what you might not also realise is that it’s a tasty and nutritious wild food. It’s in the bean family so it’s rich in protein.

    Earlier in the year you can pick the flowers and eat them (they have a lovely sweet taste) but in the autumn you can harvest the seeds from the plant and sprout them. They are tasty and like all bean sprouts, they contain protein. Add them to salads or cook them in stir-fries."

Cold Induced Hypertension

For those new to cold exposure training in general, I would STRONGLY recommend that you buy (and use) a sphygmomanometer to check your blood pressure several times a day in the morning and evening.  This needs to be done BEFORE embarking on cold exposure training as a baseline, and during cold exposure phase itself.

The reason I'm so cautious about all this is because cold exposure hypertension is a 'thing'.  I myself developed this condition from regular cold showers. There were no warning signs, no discomfort, nothing.  I used to really enjoy the cold showers and often looked forward each morning to them - but the chronic exposure came with a hypertensive side effect.

The link between cold exposure and hypertension is well established:

  • People who live and work in cold areas have a higher incidence of hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases and mortality compared to those living in warmer areas, and cold exposure is a risk factor for hypertension. Cold winter weather is associated with more severe hypertension, stroke and myocardial infarction in hypertensive patients. Seasonal variation of blood pressure (BP), with the highest values during the cold season, has been well documented. Both local and whole-body cold exposure increase BP. In the northern part of the world, people are exposed to low outdoor temperatures while going to work and occasionally also during leisure time. Moreover, there are still many occupations involving part- or full-time outdoor work.

Proceed with caution.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Cold Exposure: Reboot


After my brush with cold-induced hypertension a few years ago maybe it's time to reintroduce cold showers? Perhaps it was CHRONIC cold-water exposure that caused my problems (or another confounding variable altogether)?

Having long since returned to having normal blood pressure (under 120/70), it could be time for more experimentation given the experience of @Iceman_Hof.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Eating to Run

I'm playing catch-up with The Food Programme. Yet another recommendation, this time a two part series on eating to run (you could feasibly skip to part 2 which is the more interesting IMO):

How important is diet to running performance? It's a question Food Programme listener and runner Nicole Marais wanted answers too and so she emailed the programme's production team. This programme explains what happened next....

When Dan Saladino went to meet (and run with) Nicole she explained she had tried lots of different diets, from one based on meat, to a vegetarian diet and onto veganism. She was keen to hear the experience of other runners and athletes and how they eat to run.

Dan hears from Kevin Currell, Head of Performance Nutrition at the English Institute of Sport, to find out about the dietary advice given to Britain's elite athletes. Adharanand Finn, author of 'Running with the Kenyans', shares his insights into running, racing and eating in Iten, the town where many of the world's most successful distance runners live and train. Kenyan runners eat a lot of ugali, a carbohydrate rich porridge made of maize flour and water.

Elsewhere however, others are arguing that a low-carb, high-fat diet will help runners reach peak performance. Author of Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes, Christopher McDougall, profiles diets based on this principle, that fuelled long runs by resistance fighters during the Second World War and early Iron Man events in the 1980's. It's a controversial approach and many believe it's just the latest food fad to be picked up by people in the running world.

The programme also features Scott Jurek who eats a carbohydrate rich, vegan diet. It's enabled him to dominate runs like Badwater, a 135 mile race through America's Death Valley.

Will these athletes and running writers give listener Nicole Marais the information she needs to break her own record in this year's London Marathon? Listen, find out and perhaps go on a run afterwards.

I'm still not stoked by jogging - walk (frequently & for distance), sprint occasionally, and if you want to jog/run keep it under 5k - 10k on mixed surfaces (avoid steady state particularly if you run volume).

That Gut Feeling: Parts One & Two

There is soooooo much to digest (ta da bish), in this episode of The Food Programme - That Gut Feeling: Part One.

All the topics and recommendations covered will be familiar to those who have hung around these here parts for the part 8 years:

Dan Saladino discovers the world of the gut microbiota, the vast array of microbes within us all. From East Africa to the White House, it's a story that'll change the way you eat.

Dan is joined by Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, and author of The Diet Myth - The Real Science Behind What We Eat. Tim tells the story of how he became fascinated by the gut microbiome and our diet.

The programme also features a Dutch draper named Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, co-founder of the American Gut Project Jeff Leach, evolutionary biochemist Dr Nick Lane, and Alexandre Meybeck - a Senior Officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Thoroughly interesting stuff. Part two is available here.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Friday, 22 January 2016

Hypertensive No More!


Back in 2013 a chance encounter with a sphygmomanometer led to me discovering I was hypertensive.

Today I went to the doctors today to get checked out once again.  He took my blood pressure - getting a reading of 130/80 (this reading was taken immediately after sitting down and with holding my arm in the air for the reading, all of which can elevate readings).