Health supplements – October 2004

It's been some time since I last spoke about my health supplements, so now is as good a time as any to give you an update.

I'm still taking multivitamins every day.  If you've spoken to a doctor recently and are over the age of 30, chances are you were told that daily multivitamins are a must.  I've always believed that to be the case and simply felt justified when my doctor verified it.

I'm continuing to use Body Wise International's Right Choice AM/PM vitamin supplements.  As you may recall, this was the brand that was recommended by Derek's friend who is a health fanatic and a doctor.

In addition to multivitamins, protein supplements are important to building and maintaining lean muscle mass.  Although my original research indicated that you should take 1 mg of protein for every pound of body weight, newer information shows that the ratio is actually 1.5-2 mg of protein per pound of body weight.  Since that level of protein intake and the corresponding nutrients necessary to ensure the protein is properly metabolized and used are difficult to achieve even on the strictest of diets, I use protein supplements.

I stopped using Cytodyne Technologies' supplements and have switched to Beverly International.  Their supplements are simply higher quality and more consistent in my opinion.

For general protein supplementation I use Muscle Provider.

For protein and caloric supplementation I use Mass Maker.

Here's how it works.

Since I do my resistance training early in the morning (usually starting around 5:00 AM), I have two servings of Muscle Provider (with water) just before I head out to the gym.  This enhances delivery of amino acids to the muscle tissue and increases protein synthesis during my workout.

After my workout I mix one serving of Muscle Provider and one serving of Mass Maker (with water) and take my morning vitamins with that.  This serves two purposes.  First, it's essentially my breakfast, providing a supercharged high protein, moderate carb meal.  Second, it provides the recovery tools my body needs immediately following a workout (including vitamins & minerals, fat, carbohydrates and protein).

In the early evening I mix another serving of Muscle Provider with a serving of Mass Maker (with water).  This is a snack with the nutrition of a meal.

Before going to bed I mix two servings of Muscle Provider with milk.  This helps slow digestion for superb muscle recovery and nitrogen replenishment throughout the night.

With four additional meals spread throughout the day (a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner), this approach ensures I get plenty of protein plus all the vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and fat that I need — all of which are essential to proper health, especially if there's any kind of exercise involved.

I think bugs are cool

I updated the Wildlife gallery with a new Insects section.  I'll be putting pictures I've taken of — you guessed it — bugs in there.  To start things off, I've added two pictures of some moths that I took.  Both were rather large moths; they were about 1.55 inches long by about 2.5 inches wide.  Note that one of these was originally posted in the Wildlife gallery itself but was moved to the new Insects gallery today.

Let’s hope that’s the last interruption

I'm heading back to the gym.  Three or four months ago I let my membership lapse and stopped working out.  I was spending too much time taking care of Derek, managing his life, and putting in too many hours at work — I had simply run out of time to get to the gym on a regular basis.  On top of the time constraints, I became somewhat financially strapped when I was stuck with the old apartment after Derek moved out.

Because the last two years have been so hectic and overshadowed by the extenuating circumstances surrounding Derek, I think I simply had too much on my mind to remain focused on my workouts and goals.  Now that I'm out from under the veil of Derek's health situation and the overwhelming burden that placed on me, I think refocusing on my workout goals will be easier.  To ensure I get started on the right foot, I've hired a personal trainer to help me get a plan put together that should help me to realize my goals in the most expeditious way possible.

I'll post an updated workout plan as soon as I've had a chance to solidify it with the personal trainer.  Expect to see that in the next few weeks.  Once I get back into the groove of things, I'll start posting regularly on my progress.

By the way, I have a significant reason to focus on my workouts in order to make progress in reshaping my body.  xocobra, one of my three closest and best friends*, is getting married in July of next year.  The wedding is a destination wedding to be held on the beaches of Cozumel, Mexico.  As the best man in the wedding and the person driving the dress code, I think it would be wise for me to be in shape so I'm not the only one not in beach attire when the wedding takes place.  I think this will help keep me focused and put a definitive deadline on attaining a significant portion of my exercise goals.

* – The term "best friend" tends to sound exclusive, as if it were intended only for one person in my life.  That's never made sense to me since no one person can fulfill all of our needs and desires in the friendship arena.  I have three friends in my life that I consider to be my best friends — Jenny, xocobra and Rick.  I thought that worth mentioning since I will often refer to each of them individually as my best friend but do not intend that statement to exclude the other two from the same kind of relationship.  Each of them is a best friend for different reasons and each of them means the world to me.

I guess I’m a Cingular customer now

After being an AT&T Wireless customer for many years, the Cingular acquisition of AT&T Wireless closed yesterday.  I've always been happy with AT&T for my cellular service, so I'm quite interested to see how Cingular will handle this.  Thus far they've said that the only change we'll see is the name on the bill.

They intend to combine both services under the Cingular brand by the end of November, only a month away, so it will be interesting to see what happens.  There are things about Cingular's service that I like (such as the ability to roll minutes from month to month; I did pay for them, right?), so perhaps in combining the two entities we AT&T customers will be given an opportunity to enjoy some new benefits.

For those AT&T customers like me, there's a new site where you can get updated information on the acquisition —  It does say that AT&T customers will soon get to take advantage of things like Rollover Minutes, so perhaps this won't be a bad thing.

I’m voting for Kerry

Bush has to go regardless of the cost.

I deliberated on the coming election and must voice my opinion.  I voted for Bush in 2000 because I thought Gore would be unable to fulfill the role of President, making him an unacceptable option.  Things haven't changed much in 2004 — Bush is running against a Democratic candidate who truly doesn't seem capable of fulfilling the role of Commander in Chief and "leader of the free world."  Kerry, on the other hand, is running against a Republican who has trampled the Constitution, is turning our country into a police state, and, not surprisingly, caters to the rich and big business.

I have been vexed by the choices for president this election season.  Neither candidate, in my opinion, should be in office.

Having no one in the President's office is not an option, though, so I'm left having to decide which of the options is going to be least problematic.  Unfortunately for Bush, that will be Kerry.

Bush has already proven himself an opponent of constitutional protections and rights.  He believes that a police state is acceptable.  He believes freedom is something we can set aside in times of national tragedy.  He has shown that everyone is free to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech so long as they agree with him and support him.  He's shown he can be the President only for his religiously devout supporters while not giving a damn about the rest.  He has demonstrated a hitherto unforeseen ability to separate America from its allies by abusing them, strong-arming them, insulting them, lying to them, ignoring them, using them, manipulating them, and otherwise mistreating them.  He has demonstrated a complete disregard for basic human rights and the obligations of international relations (such as the Geneva Convention).  He shaped an administration of like-minded cretins who entertain less than honorable intentions and employ brutal, sometimes monstrous, means to achieve their ends.  He has brought shame, dishonor, anger and mistrust to people both at home and abroad.

Don't misunderstand me.  There are certainly good things which Bush has achieved (the tax cuts for we the people [not we the big businesses who are significant campaign contributors], the rapid and decisive response to 9/11 insofar as invading Afghanistan is concerned, the No Child Left Behind education reform [a step in the right direction so far as taking action goes, but there's still much to be done in this area], and even the reorganization of the federal government which created the Department of Homeland Security [finally bringing together all of the related assets which had been haphazardly spread throughout the government before]).

The issue is that he has made significant mistakes in the areas that really count.  Our international relations are in tatters.  We went to war against a country under false pretenses (note: now that we made the mess, we can't leave until we clean it up; it's just that we shouldn't have been there in the first place).  The government can now more easily invade our privacy and abuse our rights without the need for proof or due process.  Your library records are now fodder for terrorism investigations which seem to happen completely under the radar of judicial oversight and media scrutiny.  Businesses are getting the majority of the items on their wish lists, most of which represent fewer rights, benefits and protections for employees (yes, there's that ugly we the people thing again).  He has demonstrated bigotry in his call for a constitutional amendment designed to, for the first time in our country's history, limit the rights of a certain class of citizens.  Under his command of our executive branch of government, our military violated the Geneva Convention and demonstrated that it is a case of "do as we say and not as we do."  America has shown by Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay that our lofty morals are actually preached several octaves higher than we are willing to deliver.

I do not believe these are activities worthy of America's legacy.

John Kerry doesn't entirely thrill me with his questionable voting record to date.  He appears somewhat scared of making decisions or standing by them — or both.  I do not agree with all of his politics, but that is always true for me.  I am concerned that, similar to Gore, I am unsure of Kerry's leadership ability and fear it will be less than sufficient for the job ahead.  Kerry's choice for a vice-presidential candidate is troubling in that Edwards seems so childish to me (making me wonder what happens if Kerry is hurt or killed while in office and Edwards has to assume the reigns).

But Kerry isn't the issue in this race.  Bush has already demonstrated during his time in office that he cannot perform the functions of that office without violating the rights guaranteed us by that most holy of documents for Americans — the Constitution.  Any other complaints, even those I've listed above, are moot in comparison to that one event.  Reducing our rights as they are assured us by the Constitution is an affront to that very document.  It is injurious to Americans everywhere to know that we violate our own "law of the land" when it's convenient.  There is no greater crime or more important reason to vote for Kerry and ensure Bush isn't allowed to continue this precipitous corruption of our country.