The Ends of the Earth 

The Ends of the Earth 

For the last week or so it has been in the triple digits in the Sierra foothills where I live. Judging by the weather reports this seems to have been a heat wave stretching through most of California and perhaps beyond. But the high temperatures haven’t even been the worst part. What is most frustrating is how it doesn’t cool off at night. The other day, for instance, the high temperature was 104 degrees and the low was 71. It was also 80 degrees at midnight, which is about as hot as I can handle without AC blasting in my face. Now, I realize that a lot of people who read my blog use celsius, so I’ll save you going to Google and converting those temperatures: it’s been really hot and hasn’t stopped. 

I realize that although the hot weather certainly isn’t pleasant by any normal standards, it is considered fairly typical for this region during the months of June through September.

What is not typical, however, is that merely a week before this heat wave started, it was snowing. Yes, SNOWING. HERE. IN JUNE. Sorry, I hate using all caps, but this is ridiculous. To go from snowing with thunder and lightning to triple digit temperatures is far from normal. 

Now I don’t want to get all liberal and preachy on you, but in my mind it’s pretty easy to recognize the source. It’s hard to argue that this unusual weather is anything but climate change. Perhaps this kind of crazy shift in the weather has happened in the past, I’m sure it has, but how do we know that wasn’t related to polluting the Earth during bygone times?

I recently got an invitation to attend the screening of a new documentary called “In This Climate,” an event in NYC hosted by a group called Liberatum. There are a lot of great pundits in the documentary who say some very insightful things. 

In particular, there was one line in the trailer from a pundit (whose name escapes me at the moment) and it stood out to me the most. I’m paraphrasing, but it was something along the lines of: the climate change we are experiencing today is a result of the emissions and other pollution from 20 years ago. 

This makes me think that the dramatic shifts in the weather -– snowing one week and triple-digit temperatures the next– that have happened in previous years, or decades, may have been repercussions of even earlier pollution. In other words, if the weather was dramatically shifting in 1990, perhaps it was a result of the ballooning fossil fuel emissions from the 1970s. 

Now for those who think I’m just being a biased liberal when it comes to climate change, let me just pose this question: what exactly am I biased about? 

I have no ulterior motive or anything to gain from preaching about climate change. I’m not going to get rich from people using solar energy and driving electric cars. I merely have the same interest that, frankly, everyone should have: to keep the Earth habitable for as long as possible. 

Having said that, I know how difficult it can be to reduce your eco-footprint. It is extremely difficult, as someone chronically ill, to not harm the environment. The number of nitrile gloves alone that I go through each day are enough to give Al Gore a heart attack. I wrote about these struggles in an Op-Ed for the Oregonian a few months ago and not much has changed for me since. If anything, in fact, my eco-footprint has grown as I have increased my treatments. 

I try to cut myself slack in this regard because ultimately the governments and corporations of the world are the ones who can make the biggest difference in reversing climate change. And I do realize that as individuals, we have to look out for ourselves first, especially when it comes to our health, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean we have to show a blatant disregard for the environment. I mean, maybe it’s too late to save the environment (though I honestly don’t think that’s true), but I certainly think it’s worth trying to save it. And while it’s certain that one day — whether it is in 100 years or a million years — the Earth will cease to exist, as will all of us (sorry I had to go there), but when the end does come, I guarantee nobody will be saying: “Damn, I should have used more plastic.”

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Five Quick Tips For a Healthy Lunch at Work

For those working a long day, lunch may be the meal that suffers. It may be a problem of improper nutrition, or perhaps even it is the meal that gets skipped regularly. It’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting to enjoy a delicious lunchtime meal. Which leads me to believe it’s not a lack of desire that negatively effects lunch.

Whether you work 20 or 80 hours a week, there is no doubt work takes up a significant amount of your time. Surely you have more pressing things to do than think about what you’re going to eat for lunch tomorrow. All things considered, having lunch on the job can be difficult to maneuver, but with a little foresight and a few minutes of preparation, encouraging changes can be made.

Five Quick Tips for Eating Healthy at The Office

1.    A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way

A few minutes of meal preparation the night before, or the morning prior to work, can be the difference between keeping to a healthy diet, and resorting to a desperation double cheeseburger on a whim. Enjoying a homemade lunch at the office simply requires making your favorite healthy food ahead of time. Simple acts like mixing a quinoa salad, or packing a whole-grain sandwich are much healthier than any fast-food option. What’s more, pairing a complex carbohydrate and lean protein with a healthy and savory dressing can really boost energy levels and self-efficacy for a long workday.

2.    Pack a Snack

Bringing a snack along with your lunch to work is a helpful practice as well. A small portion of food on your daily trek can provide a boost when in need. Something small, yet nutritious, like almonds, or local produce, are perfect bites during a long client meeting, trip out of the office, or bumper-to-bumper traffic.

3.    Preserve Your Food

 

With your food already prepared, it will likely go uneaten for several hours. This is a potential problem – wilted salads and soggy sandwiches are far from enjoyable. Personally, I like to use an ice pack and soft cooler, or the office refrigerator to preserve my food. If you need to heat your food, make sure to utilize the office kitchen if there is one; if not, I advise preparing food that is best enjoyed cold, like a pasta salad.

 

4.    Find a Healthy Grocery Store

In a pinch, instead of running to Burger King, use the same effort to search out a local grocery store with an organic salad bar, or healthy deli. Doing so can be a nutritious lunchtime stop. The amenities of a healthy grocery store usually offer salad varieties, or calorie conscious wraps – far more healthy than any menu item at a fast-food place. Healthy grocery stores also stock food for specialty diets for those who are vegan, lactose intolerant and gluten sensitive. Not to mention, such a trip to the grocery store gets you out of the office. Can’t be mad about that.

5. Find a Healthy Cafe

Healthy and reliable restaurants can be scarce, but like a healthy grocery store, most areas have at least one. With that said, there is a certain amount of trust that should be established with a restaurant (chain or local) before one can give it a healthy stamp.

Supplement Advice With a Grain of Salt

The supplement industry is a billion dollar industry, it’s no wonder the average American spends $30 a month on supplements while some dish out hundreds. The source behind this frivaless and at times, completely useless spending are supplement companies and their pipeline of promoters and distributors. It’s pretty difficult not to come across an advertisement for a dietary supplement these days with claims of “massive weight loss.” These companies share just as much advertisement space as most other billion dollar industries. From billboards to bus banners, supplements are right in front of us everyday. Perhaps, the biggest promotion of dietary supplements comes from individuals, not corporations. Could be your average Joe at the gym telling you how “big” he got from taking an embarrassingly narcissistic sounding supplement, or it could be an “expert” recommending you try a certain product because, unbeknownst to you, she’s getting kick-backs from the company that makes it.

From a trainer’s perspective, it’s hard not to associate with supplements. They are a big part of the fitness industry and for as many corrupt and potentially harmful supplements on the market there are a handful of supplements that are trustworthy and can be beneficial. Recently I came across an article in the NY Times about the popular supplement “Jack3d” made by USPLabs. The article explains how the military is banning sales from the company on their bases and subsequently cutting any ties to the company. This comes after two soldiers died from heart attacks after taking the supplement, which contains DMAA, a dietary supplement with characteristics similar to the drug speed (an amphetamine). Consequently, USP Labs issued a Response, albeit offering very little defense.

Personally, I think it’s important for consumers to realize the potential dangers with supplements. The dietary supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA. As one can imagine companies like USP Labs can get away with a lot. There are a few, however, that are morally responsible in creating their products. Companies like NOW and Source Naturals that make reliable supplements. You won’t find any artificial additives or unnecessary fillers in their products. Another safe supplement that I like is The Ultimate Meal.

In closing, if for one reason or another whole food isn’t doing it for you and you are determined to include supplements in your diet, I suggest treating your supplement intake the same as your whole food intake. In other words, look at the ingredients for potentially harmful ingredients like DMAA or even artificial dyes and additives for tastes. If a supplement resembles nuclear waste it shouldn’t be in your body. Also, pay attention to how you feel after taking a supplement. I’ve talked to countless people after taking “Jack3d” who told me their face itched, or their heart started racing. As someone who has taken many different supplements it is scary to think about the ramifications related to obvious supplementation. When it comes to supplementation, be smart, use your head and don’t underestimate the potency of these unregulated substances.