March 30, 2015

Adventures and Delusions

Art: George Grie (via wikimedia)

By Crabby McSlacker

Life is getting way interesting again lately... and most of it is pretty fun to think about.

And yeah, this is one of those "meta" blog posts acknowledging that as life gets more eventful, the blog will continue to slide into further slackitude. My contributions are already getting more sporadic and weird, and I'm relying more on generous guest bloggers to keep this thing going.

I ain't ready to commit blogicide just yet. But be forewarned, its going to be kind of up and down for the forseeable future and may have sort of a "Dear diary" tone to it, plus more travel pictures and on-the-road type posts.  Even worse is the unforgivable failure to engage as much as I'd like with beloved readers and other bloggers, a state of affairs that makes me feel really shitty.  But I'm hoping at least some of you will keep hangin' in there.

By the way, HUGE THANKS to all you folks who keep visiting and commenting no matter what the state of the blog. I especially love those of you who reply to other's comments and foster such a feeling of community. Lately I've totally sucked at that. (Though while I don't always pop in to reply, I never miss reading a comment!)

And an additional huge thanks to the very cool site Healthista, which is hip and full of great content and speaks with an adorable British accent. It's got the feel of a major media outlet in terms of shiny professionalism, but manages a fun down-to-earth tone. Plus, how can I not love a site quirky enough to include Cranky Fitness in a "best health blog" sort of list? Be sure to check it out.

Anyway, so here are some of the things coming up on my calendar... how about yours?  What sort of adventures, quests, chores, ordeals, long-shot dreams or sensible goals are you looking ahead to?

March 27, 2015

Broasted Chicken and the Banishing Bra

ByJan Bono

Yep, it's time for another amusing and inspiring post by blog contributor Jan Bono! See more about her on our "info"page and don't forget to check out her “Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight-Loss Journey” either in print or on Jan's smashwords page. --Crabby

Saying “no” to food not allowed on my healthy food plan is often a challenge. Sometimes I manage to say “maybe,” or “later,” but occasionally I throw sanity to the wind and scream “Hell, yes!”

It takes discipline to maintain a 252-pound weight loss—something I’ve managed to do for over a year—yet there are days when that discipline is in short supply. So naturally, I need solid strategies in place to keep me from caving in on a regular basis.

One sunny Saturday afternoon I stood before the open refrigerator, pondering my food choices for the rest of the day. I’d already had my usual yogurt breakfast, my mid-morning low-sodium V-8 juice break, and it was time for a satisfying low-calorie lunch.

But today there was nothing in the fridge that appealed to me. I closed the door and peered into the cupboard. Nothing too exciting there, either.

What I really wanted, I realized, was that amazing broasted chicken they served in the local bar.

March 24, 2015

Resistant Starch, Gut Health, Weight Loss, and the Infernal Internet Rathole

Who you callin' resistant?
photo by Alan via flickr

Eons ago, I posted about Resistant Starch, which was then being touted by Prevention Magazine as a miracle weight loss cure.

Basically, certain kinds of starch aren't easy to digest. Even though these stealth starches may seem all fluffy and yummy and potentially evil, like white rice and potatoes, if eaten in the right forms they can actually act in a beneficial non-carby way.  They are said to blunt blood sugar spikes, feed beneficial gut bacteria, and perform a host of other health and fat-eradicating miracles.

There was some actual research to back some of this up, but in my view I'd felt Prevention was totally over-hyping it. They were acting as though adding a slightly greenish banana, some potato salad, and a dollop of hummus to your diet was going to magically turn you into a fat-torching superhuman. I was skeptical, but I confess I did coincidentally start to buy bananas on the greener side for a few weeks.

And then, as is so often the case with any overhyped health or weight loss trend, I pretty much forgot all about it.

But now, guess what? Resistant starch is back.

March 19, 2015

Further Adventures of Death Ride Grandma: Costa Rica!

Cranky Fitness "regulars" may recall that Death Ride Grandma came to fitness late in life, but eventually got into bicycling in a big way.  She is a treasured blog commenter here, and has been generous enough to share several of her challenging rides with us--allowing us all the vicarious thrills without the airfare charges, sunburn, or burning thighs. Curious about what it might be like to bike across Costa Rica?  Here's a chance to find out! --Crabby

Guest Post By Death Ride Grandma

Well, what did you expect?

A bit of history: several years ago, we went on a fairly small boat in Costa Rica. We had naturalists on board, and saw incredible wildlife and beautiful places; it was enough to make us realize we would love to know more about what may well be the eco-tourism center of the world. So when, 11 years later, I spotted the Companions Wanted ad in a cycling magazine (no, not Craigslist!), not a commercial ad (no reason to expect that the writer knew anything) seeking a few like-minded people to ride bikes from coast to coast in Costa Rica, we decided to do it.

March 16, 2015

Bad Fitness Poetry, Yet Again

photo: wikimedia

By Crabby McSlacker

In case you weren't permanently scarred by the Whole Foods Haiku post (continued over at Fitness Tabby by Dave, with much more wit and skill), here is some more awful health and fitness poetry!... Or should I say fitness Poe-etry?

Once upon a treadmill dreary,
While I slogged there, weak and weary
Watching others 'round me walking, running, jogging, or just gawking;
Summoning determination... suddenly, an inspiration!
Check my steps for motivation:
Surely I'll have steps galore!

March 12, 2015

Pedaling to Peoria—and Beyond!

photo: wikipedia

By Jan Bono

So we've got another fun post from contributor Jan Bono! I'm pleased she's writing regularly for Cranky Fitness for the time being, a couple of posts a month. Her contributions and those of other generous guest writers are allowing me to steal time for a Secret Writing Project, yay! (Why so secret? It's because as patient longtime readers can attest, I've announced and abandoned so many projects over the years that I don't want to get specific until I've stuck with it a while longer and am sure it's a Real Thing.) Anyway, you can read more about Jan on our info page and don't forget to check out her funny and inspiring book, “Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight-Loss Journey.” Besides the print edition, it's also available on Jan's smashwords page. --Crabby


By my estimation, I wasn’t quite half way back from New York City when the odometer on my bicycle stopped functioning. Now I'll never be totally sure how long it took me to pedal coast to coast and back—this trip!

March 09, 2015

Does Kombucha Have Health Benefits?

You've seen the cute little bottles, haven't you, in the "Fancy Beverage" endcap at your local health food or upscale grocery store? Kombucha is a fermented beverage, generally made from black tea and sugar and other flavors, plus a scary-looking (yet apparently friendly) culture of yeast and bacteria.

Have you been tempted? Have you succumbed?

I have.  But with much hand-wringing and angst and ambivalence because that's how I approach any complicated consumer decision. (Btw, it is hell to go grocery shopping with me unless you have all the time in the world or are perhaps heavily medicated).

Anyway, here's my dilemma with Kombucha:

If you don't make it yourself, which looks to be a bit of a hassle, it's really damn expensive. And the taste... well, at first it may seem foul but then it can kind of grow on you. Tangy, just a little sweet, though not quite sweet enough for me for it to feel like a splurge, or at least not a $3-$5 per bottle splurge.  It's fairly low cal for a naturally sweetened beverage, about 20-40 calories for 8 ounces, depending on brand, but again, did I mention it was expensive?  So I've been on the fence about whether I should keep buying it.

The key question for me: Is it actually healthy?

Altra Zero Drop Giveaway Winner

Note: A real blog post is coming up tomorrow, or perhaps later today if get my act together, but in the meantime, we've got some business to attend to.

As you may recall, we've had a "sneaky second chance" drawing for the Altra shoes, and the Random Number Generator has chosen a winner!

March 05, 2015

Prescription Drugs: What You Need to Know

Guest Post by Marijke Durning, RN

Some of you ol' time Cranketeers might recognize this guest author from her wise contributions to the Cranky Fitness comments section, way back in days of yore.  Well, for newer folks, Marijke is a nurse and health writer, and has a new book out on prescription drugs.  (Link is below--and it's very reasonably priced!). Which is a good thing, because did you realize how easy it is to misunderstand what you're supposed to do after the busy doctor hands you that Rx and sends you on your way, and how dire the consequences could be if you screw up? So please welcome Marijke back to Cranky Fitness!--Crabby

Just what is that gibberish written on the prescription you just received? 10 mg PO bid x 10 days? Is that some sort of code*? Do doctors and pharmacists have a secret language that they don’t want you to know about? Well, maybe.

March 02, 2015

Massage, Musings, and Miscellania

photo via
By Crabby McSlacker

So this post is mostly about an in-home massage I got to partake of, courtesy of Soothe Massage. Although fortunately it was not quite as acrobatic as the one pictured above!

Soothe is not just a local San Diego thing, or reviewing it wouldn't make much sense, would it?  No, the company currently operates in a handful of sunny locations, but it plans to take over the world and promises to be in a major city near you before too long.  Of course, this being Cranky Fitness, you can bet the review will include not only my take on the service, but the usual bizarre digressions.

And guess what? ... This post also contains a sneaky shoe giveaway!

It appears that the awesome Altra running/walking shoes went unclaimed when our last giveaway winner failed to check in. So unless I receive some fairly convincing evidence of an email snafu, I'm going to have another go at it.

Notice how I didn't mention the shoe giveaway in the title this time? I'm thinking this is going to be a small, homey affair.  Unfortunately, you need a U.S. mailing address, sorry.  But this drawing is directed more at regular visitors who just happen to stop by and comment below. Why? Because you are not only more beloved and deserving than random giveaway passers-by, but you are also way more likely to show up again in a week to claim your prize!

Anyway, so, let's get to it!