Tag Archives: health

How Much Water Do We Really Need To Drink?

water-drop-with-ripple-in-public-domainSince I live in the land of the free and the home of the lawyers, I want to start out by saying that I am not a health expert and I am just writing down my thoughts, so please don’t take anything I write as fact because suing me won’t get you much.

I have learned much lately about natural health and I have found as many different opinions on the subject as there are people giving opinions. To filter through all these opinions I try to imagine what our prehistoric ancestors would do, and any advice I see that is different than what those ancestors would have done is probably flawed, in my opinion. Of course, since our world is so different, there are some things that we must also do different to stay healthy. It is a very complicated subject.

For years I have been hearing that we should all have at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. I then heard that we should have half of our body weight in ounces. This made a lot more sense to me and for the past five years or so I have been trying to drink six bottles of water every day.

That much water requires some effort and lately I have been trying to imagine our early ancestors drinking that much water and I don’t think it is possible. After all, they didn’t  carry water bottles around with them and I suspect they were too busy foraging or hunting to spend too much time at the local stream or river. So how did they get enough water?

Many shows about early humans that I have seen depict them as hunters. They will show a group of men with spears going after a Wooly Mammoth and then they will show them bringing back the feast to the rest of the tribe. What they don’t show is when they all stop to get a big drink of water. If an anthropologist is reading this perhaps they could shed some light on the subject but I think that  things were a bit different.

I believe we were not hunter-gatherers but rather gatherer-hunters. I believe we primarily forged for food eating whatever was easy, such as fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, etc. When those things were scarce, then we turned to hunting to prevent starvation.

It is in these plant based foods that early humans got their water. The amount varies among individuals but in general, adult humans are close to 60% water. Many, if not most, fruits and vegetables contain an even higher percentage of water resulting in a net gain for anyone who eats them.

I am not suggesting that everyone should switch to a 100 percent raw, vegan diet, I certainly haven’t, but including a high percentage of these foods in your diet is, in my opinion, a great way to not only improve your health but also get more fluids in you without having to worry as much about how much water you are drinking.

I typically bring to work a large salad and between four and six fruits. I eat the fruit throughout the morning, have the salad for lunch, and then, if I am hungry later, I will snack on some nuts or trail mix. Later, when I get home, I will have a normal meal with my wife. It is not perfect, but my health has improved quite a bit these last few years. I still try to drink a lot of water but I try not to stress as much about counting the ounces as I did in the past.

As I said, I am not an expert and I welcome any other opinions on the matter.


Is it Bad to Ride While Sick?

In my last post, I was disappointed that I was unable to ride my bike for a full week. I finally got the parts I needed and repaired the problems and was ready to ride to work on Tuesday, almost two weeks ago. I woke up that morning with a bit of a sore throat and thought, “Great, any heavy breathing I do will make this worse.”

I got up, made coffee, took care of the cats and did my other morning chores and by the time I needed to leave, I felt ninety percent better. That is usually what happens when I start to get sick, it goes away before it gets bad. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember being sick in well over ten years.

It was a chilly morning so I dressed as warm as I could and headed to work. When I got there, I didn’t feel bad but I could tell I was not quite well either. The next morning the sore throat was back and I had developed a cough, congestion and sneezing to go with it. I was finally sick after all these years.  I don’t know if the bike ride helped push me over the edge but I think it is likely to be the case.

I drove the next day and seemed better as the day went on but the next morning I was worse again. I think lying down was bad for me but it just happens to be how I sleep.

That Thursday Rose and I took a two-day trip to the east coast of Florida, New Smyrna Beach, to celebrate her dad’s 80th birthday. I saw the pattern develop that I was sick in the morning and mostly better in the afternoon. That pattern continued all last week, with the worst day being Monday.

By Wednesday I was sick of driving and thought about getting back on the bike. My only fear was that doing so could cause this cold to last even longer. I don’t know it that would have happened. For all I know, the exercise might have done me some good. In the end I chose not to chance it and drove to work the rest of the week.

I now feel the cold breaking up and I am getting better. I am still coughing but if it continues to get better, or at least gets no worse, I should finally get back on two wheels tomorrow. Good thing too because I am one of the few people who puts on weight while sick.


New Year’s Resolution

I typically do not make a New Year’s Resolution because by February it is usually forgotten about. I am not the kind of person who has a planner or writes things down to remind myself that I need to do something. I’ve tried that but I forget to look at it.

I am pretty happy with my life now. Sure, I would love to have a lot of things but I don’t need much. I think my top two realistic wants are to lose weight and be able to work from home, but I am not going to make that my resolution this year because I am already working toward those goals.

One of the blogs I read is David Padfield’s All Seasons Cyclist. In two recent articles he mentioned that in 2012 he got 330,000 views on his blog and that he rode 6444 miles. I didn’t realize it until he mentioned it in his last post that he is 53 years old, four years older than me, and he is kicking my butt in miles (and readers) but I have four years to catch up.

When I was in my early forties I started developing signs of getting older: aches and pains, sluggishness, etc. I then did a lot of research and learned about healthy eating and since I started commuting to work on my bike, I have got more exercise than I have had in a long time.

I am by no means in perfect shape. I have been somewhat disappointed in my weight loss and I still have some stiffness, which I attribute to my job, but I have improved so much these last few years and I know if I stick with it I will get even better as I get older.

So my resolution this year is to stick with it and never give up. I am going to keep riding and keep writing and I hope by the end of the year I can put myself out there as a good example to others, just as David has done for me.

The Agony of Da Feet

Anyone who has read my previous post, My Health Conscious Roots, knows that I have been trying to live a more natural lifestyle. I have developed a rule of thumb when evaluating if a health claim is true or not; If early humans did it, then it is good, otherwise it is bad.

That is just a general rule and I do take into account that the world we live in is not natural and sometimes unnatural solutions are in order. For example, everyone claims that juicing is healthy for you. I even had a juicer for a while but I got rid of it because I realized that I was removing the beneficial fiber from all these foods that I was juicing, and that is something our early human ancestors did not do. What I did not consider was that because our foods are abnormally low in nutrients today, juicing may be a solution to the problem, or it may just be adding another layer of abnormality to our lives. I don’t know.

Shoes are another example. I truly believe that we were designed without shoes and walking barefoot is the healthiest way to walk. But again, we live in an unnatural world and have covered our soft ground with asphalt, concrete and tile. To counter this problem we wear shoes. Two unnatural things working together to give us back problems.

reebok realflex shoes

My Reebok Realflex shoes

Recently I bought a pair of Reebok RealFlex shoes. They are called a minimalist shoe but they are really a hybrid shoe. They have a fairly thick sole to cushion your feet but they are designed to be light and flexible. They are much lighter than my last shoes and I like them but my feet have hurt lately.

I wasn’t sure if standing all day at work or wearing the shoes while riding the bike was the reason for the pain. I am still not sure but after a week break from riding and then two trips to work on the bike have me almost convinced it is the bike ride that is the cause of my foot pain.

Using my rule of thumb mentioned earlier, riding bicycles is something early humans did not do, therefore should be considered bad. But as I mentioned, this is an unnatural world and the alternative to riding my bike to work would be driving. What’s worse? Also, it seems that you use very similar muscle groups while riding as you do while climbing up a hill so I don’t see a problem with it.

I did look into buying bicycle shoes when I was last at the bike shop. They had clipless pedals and matching shoes that could also be worn off the bike for around $150 or a little more. I would love to get them but spending that much on myself before Christmas might not go over to well with my wife. I could also ask for them as a Christmas present but I have so many other things I want that it is hard to choose.

I have read that cycling shoes should have a very rigid sole. This makes some sense and would probably prevent the pain that I am feeling since my shoes have a very flexible sole. I, however, am not convinced that is the best advice. I think it is possible that the pain I am feeling is because I am using muscles in my feet that never get used. If that is the case, it is a good thing and I should continue wearing my shoes. If I am wrong, the pain will continue to get worse and I will have to admit that I am not smarter than all the experts.

I’ve been wrong before. Think real estate. Oh, but that is a story for another blog…or not.

Exercise is good for the brain…or is it?

Yesterday was my fourth ride to work. Each time seems less tiring so I know the workout is doing some good, although I have not lost any weight yet. What I am losing, I think, is my mind.

Last time I mentioned my A.D.D. and the fact that I missed an important turn on my way to work. Today I was not paying attention again and missed the same turn. I also forgot my sunglasses, which I didn’t notice at first because I left before the sun had risen above the trees. That was a bad mistake because I ride east to work and west back to home.

Finally, I forgot to lock the door, which, of course,  my wife noticed first. What’s worse, it is the third time in a week or so that I have done that. I never forgot to lock the door before, maybe I should sell my bike and buy a La-Z-Boy…or not.


I would like to start by introducing myself and tell you what led me to want to start blogging about recumbent bicycle riding. I want this to be from the point of view of a true newbie. Hopefully, I can give you a first hand account of my triumps and failures and all my progress along the way.

My name is Chuck and I am an out-of-shape, middle-aged man who is about to turn 49. I have had a bicycle almost my whole life but unfortunately, ever since I got a license to drive, that bike spent most of the time in storage, except for about six months last year when I rode it the four miles to work once or twice a week.

I started eating healthier about five years ago and lost about thirty pounds but my life situation changed, the bit of exercise I was getting vanished and I gained it all back and then some.

I realized the best way to motivate myself to exercise is to start riding to work again, this is especially motivating at the end of the day when I have only one way to get home. Unfortunately, I now work almost nine miles from home (more if I want to ride safely) and that distance causes a strain on my back and a pain in my butt…literally.

It then occurred to me that a recumbent bicycle would be the perfect solution. I started looking into them and was hit by sticker shock. Most web sites I looked at did not have one under $1200.

Eventually I went to OTE Bicycles in Dunedin, Florida (at the time I lived within walking distance). They tuned up my current bike and  seemed honest and reasonable. They also sell used bikes there and was hoping they would have one I could afford. He did not have any used bikes but he said he could order a Sun EZ-1 for $500.

I took him up on his offer and two days later was disappointed to learn that it was discontinued and he could no longer get it. The next version up was $650, which I might have considered but the price had gone up to $850. The owner (or co-owner, his name escapes me) felt bad and even offered the other bike at his cost, which was just a little more than I wanted to spend.

Two months later I started looking again and decided to put a “wanted” ad on Craigslist. I got an immediate response from someone who had a first edition Sun EZ-1 for $275. My wife, Rose, and I went to look at it, somewhat expecting it to be junk, but were surprised it was in relatively good condition. It even came with a saddle bag and two cup holders. I decided it was a great value and did not haggle over the price.

I took it for a short ride after we got home and in just five or ten minutes I could feel the strain in my leg muscles. I want to ride it the ten miles to work on Monday which means I need to get used to it before then. I know the first day will be rough but I think if I leave early and take my time, it could be fun.

My new “old” recumbent which my cat is investigating. You can read about him at my other blog, badcatchris.com