Don Hosek - Past reading - Health and Fitness

One of the random categories. Not many books here. Not likely to be. Most of what's published is junk and it's too hard to pick out the non-junk so I tend to skip it all.

What I've been read in the past - Health and Fitness
The Bittersweet Science: Fifteen Writers in the Gym, in the Corner, and at Ringside edited by Carlo Rotella and Michael Ezra
[Finished 25 April 2021] I enjoyed this far more than I would have expected. There’s a certain romance around boxing that makes it aesthetically appealing. The article which combines criticism of Million Dollar Baby with an account of a real-life woman boxer was one of my favorites, but there were few dull moments in this collection of essays.

Love Game: A History of Tennis from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon by Elizabeth Wilson
[Finished 8 December 2020] I used to get the University of Chicago Press free ebook every month until there was some issue with being able to download the books to my iPad and I let it stop because I wasn’t getting to them anyway. This was one of those books that managed to get surfaced and it’s something I might not have read otherwise and something I still wouldn’t read. David Foster Wallace managed to make tennis writing a little interesting but this isn’t DFW and the whole thing feels a bit jumbled and not well organized. There are some interesting revelations about the history of tennis but overall I was not interested enough and the writing wasn’t good enough for me to care.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
[Finished 29 July 2020] Declaring a behind on this journal amnesty.

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson
[Finished 7 May 2018] I heard about this book on Science Friday, I think. My memories of the book are a bit clouded, it seems, though, because I thought this was going to be a book that focused more on the idea of foraging and eating wild plants for their nutritional value. In fact, it turns out that Robinson’s thesis is that we’ve lost a lot of nutritional value in our domesticated plants and that eating plants closer to their wild ancestors would lead to better nutritional outcomes.

Robinson bases everything on decent scientific research and doesn’t take a simple-minded approach, noting cases where the domesticated plants are, in fact, the more nutritious (the small seedless watermelons at Trader Joe’s being a good example of this). While at times the text is a bit repetitious, overall it’s a good read and quite informative.

What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami
[Finished 31 January 2018] I was expecting more about writing from this than I got. The running parts were a bit inspirational to someone who’s been an occasional dilettantish distance runner and I find myself wanting to try a marathon again, but I suspect this is unlikely to be in the cards for me.

4 Months to a 4-Hour Marathon by David Kuehls
[Finished 1 June 2010] Since my brother has beaten my family marathon record and he was kind enough to give me this book for Christmas last year, I’ve read it and plan to follow its advice to set a new familial record to put him back in his place. The advice here is simple and practical and seems like it will do a good job of delivering on its promised goal. I guess the only thing to do is to check back in four months from now.

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
[Finished 23 August 2006] Every so often a book comes along that can radically change the way that you lead your life. For me this is one of those books. I first heard of Michael Pollan when he was interviewed on NPR’s Science Friday (if you don’t read the book, at least listen to the interview).

My wife and I generally make an effort to eat healthy foods, and whenever possible organics, but I hadn’t considered the implications of some of what’s happening in the industrial food chain in America. The realization that local food is probably more important than organic food, for example (the food that Americans eat travels an average of 1500 miles to get to their table). Or the thought that a huge percentage of what we eat has its origins as corn grown in Iowa (not just the obvious things like corn syrup, but most of the other ingredients that don’t sound like food on the label of your processed food come from corn). Add in that most of our meat is corn-fed now, whether or not that animal is designed to eat it and we have some serious recipes for disaster. The various e. coli outbreaks in the meat supply chain are a direct consequence of feeding beef cows corn (these sorts of infections are not an issue for grass-fed cows). This leads us to such abuses of the food chain like irradiated meat and the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed which leads primarily to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

So what changes have been made? The big one is a stronger drive towards eating local foods. It’s a hard habit to break, especially when you walk into the supermarket in August and see stacks of gorgeous-looking Australian-grown oranges (although the high price should be a deterrent). Avoiding high fructose corn syrup means avoiding almost all processed foods which is a frightening prospect (take a look at the labels sometime: It’s in everything: Bread, lunch meat, soup, salad dressing...).

Living in L.A. we have access to a superabundance of farmer’s markets at least, although there seems to only be one Community Supported Agriculture farm that serves our area.

The first two sections of the book are definitely the best part. The hunter-gatherer meal, was less interesting to me, if only because I really don’t see myself willing to get so close to my food chain as to actually hunt my own wild meat (although my wife and I have contemplated the possibility that game meat might be the healthiest possible option, on second thought though, we just don’t eat that much meat to begin with).

Now to find the L.A.-area restaurants that use local foods...

Fit or fat? by Covert Bailey
[Finished 7 January 1996] A classic of general fitness. One of the first stages in my getting my weight down to 200 pounds by year’s end.