Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Last week when I wrote about my supersized potatoes, I was mainly interested in calories and portion control. SuzyMobile mentioned the possibility that they were genetically modified. That’s something I wanted to investigate.
According to Rodale.com (The Organic Gardening people)
Hybrids are formed by taking 2 parents plants of the same species and pollinating them for desirable traits like disease or drought resistance.
Crossbreeding hybrids has been going on for centuries and it has a long track record of feeding humans and mammals effectively
In genetic modification genes from different species that could never be cross pollinated in nature can be modified in a lab using a “gene gun” or bacterial infection.
The other side:
GMO advocates point to the fact that nature can make mistakes too. In June 2012 a report from Austin, Texas (examiner.com) tells of 15 of 18 cattle dying from cyanide gas poisoning. The gas suddenly began being emitted by a pasture of grass grown from hybrid (not GMO) seeds that the rancher had been using for 15 years.
However, his area was experiencing severe drought. The lack of oxygen in the soil caused the excess of carbon and nitrogen and the plants vented the excess as cyanide gas. I wonder if excessive use of nitrogen based fertilizer was also a factor considering the drought conditions.
Why does that not make me feel better about GMOs? The author's premise, echoed by some of the comments, is that we shouldn’t be misled by anti-GMO hype.
Labeling our food as GMO-free seems a logical step to me. Way back in the fifties I remember companies resisting the requirement for ingredient labels on their foods. I also know the massive amount of money poured into California by agribusiness to defeat the GMO labeling initiative.
We can’t discount the profit motive.
Hybrid seeds cannot be patented, but GMO seeds can.
OK, so how do we avoid this new technology if we want to. It’s not easy
The article below lists the most GMO enhanced products in the USA
Soy, corn, cottonseed, canola oil, U.S. papaya, alfalfa, milk, sugar beets and aspartame with accompanying explanations.
No mention of potatoes which started me off on this quest for information. I’ll have to check that out further.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Even in winter I still want to have fresh herbs. Here’s my happy little basil plants. There’s oregano and parsley too on another shelf. After much trial and error and experimentation, I finally found the right location as well as amount and frequency of water needed.
There’s a parallel here for me as well. After much trial and error I’ve settled into an eating plan that works for me. I love the SP environment and, as I’ve been writing lately, I’ve discovered a location where I can enjoy distance running again.
My plants naturally bend toward the sun. Similarly, it’s up to me to take maximum advantage of my environment.
Monday, January 07, 2013
I’ve written once that change has to come from within and that’s still true. However, a community of like-minded people provided with resources can fuel that change and keep it recharged.
Since retirement 5 years ago I’ve lived in a rural area with a large retired population. I had become somewhat of a hermit. I do have church activities (25 miles away) and a small gym (10 miles away) and a few neighbors on my country road, but so many of the area activities are aimed at people with different needs and interests than me.
Fortunately, I found SP and my “imaginary” friends to keep me on-track for a healthy lifestyle. The online information, advice and support are wonderful.
Still I’ve noticed that my distance activities (running/walking/biking/swimming) have been reduced since retirement. My aerobic/weights class twice a week is very good, but my max time on a treadmill or stationary bike is less than an hour.
The roads are dangerous, - curvy, narrow, no shoulders. You really can’t run or bike on them. I stay close to home where neighbors are used to “the lady who runs” and repeat ½ mile loops like a caged hamster.
The only indoor pool is 25 miles away and lap lanes are limited by numerous water aerobics and arthritis classes – very valuable for those who need them, but sharing a lane with a flip turning guy in a speedo or an oblivious backstroker can be dangerous in itself.
It’s been years since I’ve run a race longer than a 5K.
Yesterday, almost on a whim, I drove 25 miles in a different direction and joined a community event kicking off their “100 mile in 100 days challenge.” Of course, we are encouraged to do more than that according to ability and the levels of fitness of the participants at the event varied greatly.
My first surprise was the location. It was a lovely, wide, paved trail at least 25 miles long judging from the mile markers – flat, scenic and safe. I walked 5 miles so I could interact with people and it was great. Real people with similar goals and interests! OK, it’s still a drive, but no further than I drive to church, to swim or even to WalMart.
When I came home from the event, I joined a new SP team (The Virtual Walk/Run Challenge) where we log our distance traveling across America. Thanks SuzyMobile for telling me about this. I’ve also resolved to use the new trail to increase my mileage.
We’ll see how it goes. I know well how illness, injury or a stretch of bad weather can dampen enthusiasm and motivation, but as for now I’m ready for a new challenge. 300 miles in 100 days is my goal, but even more important, at the end of that time I want to have increased my “long” runs from 5 miles to 10.
Wish me luck!
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Yesterday when I visited my local running store, I saw a notice for a “100 Miler.” At first I dismissed it as another of those “ultra” events for elite endurance athletes. Then I saw that the store has a “team.” Huh? There aren’t enough endurance athletes around here for teams.
No, it’s just a challenge the City Parks & Recreation Dept is holding for ordinary people to get/stay active during the winter months. The goal is to “walk, run, hike, pedal or paddle 100 miles (or more) in 100 days.” My running store is one of the sponsors.
I can do that. I should be able to run/walk more than twice that distance barring injury, illness or bad weather conditions. So, do I need an official “challenge?” Actually, yes I do, especially in the winter months when motivation decreases and excuses increase.
I’m also well aware of the benefits of connecting with like-minded people. Thank you SP! So I signed up, joined the team and this afternoon I’m going to attend the “kick-off event” as we begin our mileage journey as a group. It’s a self reporting activity after that.
Plus, I get a T-shirt with that “100 Miler” logo that caught my eye initially. The text underneath explains “100 miles in 100 days” so the world will know that I’m not an elite athlete (if anyone gets close enough to read my chest).
Saturday, January 05, 2013
My local running store collects our old shoes to donate to the city’s rescue mission. Yesterday while tripping over stuff in my closet, I realized that I had forgotten about this for quite awhile. I replace my running shoes every 500 miles (about 6 months) after which I use them for another 6 months just for everyday stuff. The walking shoes (top row) are heavier and last somewhat longer.
So, from my logs and estimating my extra steps in daily activities, these shoes have seen about 3000 miles in 2.5 years.
These shoes have taken me on various routes in my area as well as on trips to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, Czech Republic and Slovakia and up and down the east coast and the midwest here in the USA.
These shoes have seen most of my 3 years of maintenance. In fact, they are partly responsible for my staying in goal weight range all this time.
So, goodbye old friends, you’ve been replaced. You’ve still got a lot of wear left and I hope you serve someone else well on her journey to a new life.
Edit: Just for the record, the insoles are all brand new when I donate the shoes, thanks to my custom orthotics which replace them for my use.
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