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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Dancing Lung Puppets


I've decided to go with a paleolithic diet. The general philosophy is this: Man's evolution has progressed over millions of years; the agricultural revolution began somewhere between 5000 and 10000 years ago, therefore, we have not genetically adapted to grains & sugars. Occasional sugars from fruit are okay; cavemen had them when they were in season. The idea is go from a glucose based metabolism to a fat based one. Higher insulin sensitivity, fewer blood sugar spikes/valleys, greater satiety from food eaten resulting in fewer calories consumed, no food with high caloric/low nutrient ratios, you know, basic physiology hacks. How did I get here?

Since I quit smoking and knew I'd be eating like a hog, I chose fruits and vegetables. I now eat a lot of them, probably 75% of my daily food intake. No joke. My poo breaks the toilet's water line three times a day, and that's in bulk piles, not sturdy links standing up. (I eat plants for hours straight upon arriving to work) These provide all of my carbohydrates, albeit in limited numbers.

I began to exercise. Push-ups, sit-ups, bicycle crunches, shit like that. I looked into structured home exercise programs, and also solicited advice from trusted friends regarding frequency, stretching, and common rookie pitfalls. I learned new exercises previously unknown to me, such as lunges, squats, crossovers, and burpees.

My own online research led me to realize what I was doing was fairly close to a regimen of high intensity, short duration bodyweight workouts espoused by numerous anti-cardio paleo gurus. These I could do from home, which appealed to me, as I felt a gym membership was A) too expensive B) socially offputting C) required me to be somewhere specific D) the enemy of spontaneity.

The most accessible was the Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson's plan. All of it was free online in blog form at, so I read a few years worth of entries. Without consciously deciding to follow it his lifestyle plan, I began to shy away from Diet Coke and rice. I cut back on the citrus fruits and carved up celery and carrots instead. Now, I guess, I'm buying into it formally. Apart from some beer and a small bit of hamburger bun over the weekend, I've been grain & sugar free for about 10 days.

So here I am, following a defined formal structure, something I generally count myself as allergic to. (ended in a preposition, crap) I just added sprinting to my regimen last Friday. I do this in the long freight hallway at work, late at night, once the other staff and cleaning crews are long departed.

Holy shit. I knew my lungs were damaged, but I didn't realize how badly until this. I suppose I wasn't really scraping my alveoli with the bodyweight workouts. While running hard, I generate a foamy lather in my lungs and throat after a few good lengths down the freight hall. It feels like I squirted detergent into my mouth, swallowed it into the wrong tube, and started the steam cycle. Running has given me the puke reflex, too, but fortunately the splashouts have all had a pulmonary source; the ejectus: lung butter; not my precious vegetable matter. In the ejected murk I can taste those old cigarettes, even faint traces of menthol from way back when. I've been carrying this wet scum around for a decade plus, basting on new layers of grimy lacquer with every carton. Quitting was so long overdue. It feels gross to wring out my lungs with violent gasping, but I believe this process to be necessary cleansing.

They say it takes 1 year of healing for every 2 years of smoking before you get back to a normal breathing state. I hope my aggressive, youthful approach can reduce that significantly.

I'm about to go run a few. It's either that or heave a station wagon over the building. I'm fucking charged.
6:15 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


March 02, 2010 7:24 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

I may have been overzealous with semicolons. I've read the usage rules a few times, yet I never seem to imprint them on my brain. Some of these should be commas, but I'm not going to bother individually checking them.

March 02, 2010 7:39 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Also, I need to stop discussing my feces, even if I have a talent for it.

March 26, 2010 11:21 PM, Anonymous The_Mog said...

Don't change your style. I've been following you since Soap on A Rope and your writing abilities are just fine.

About the smoking thing...I quit cigs 10 years ago and the change in my lung capacity and inhalation is nothing short of miraculous.
I still like the greens now and then but I don't smoke I vaporize. No smoke involved there and the high is 10 times better than I ever got from smoking. The equipment can be expensive (I paid 200 for a decent vaporizer) but well worth it.


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