Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You Are What You Eat

Monday, July 21, 2008
Work 6p-8a
Slept 6 hours.

The human body is in a constant state of regeneration. Skin cells live only a month or so. Stomach cells only a couple of days. Colon cells 3-4 days. Red blood cells 4 months. White blood cells 10 days to a year, depending on the type. Every organ other than the brain is replacing itself one cell at a time. The skin, the gut, the liver, the pancreas, the heart, the blood vessels: they are all slowly repairing, building their replacements. The only building blocks the body has to form these new cells and the organs they form is the food that we eat and the fluids we drink. Really think about that for a minute. What have you eaten today? Is what you ate going to provide the appropriate building blocks for the cells your body is creating to form your new organs?

One meal couldn't possibly make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. Surely the average of our intake is what makes the greatest overall impact on the integrity of our health. After all, the entire vascular system does not regenerate in 24 hours' time. Ultimately, there is a great deal of truth in these statements. The overall picture matters more than any individual brush stroke, but each and every brush stroke is important. After just one meal high in saturated fats and carbohydrates, a person's risk of cardiovascular events increases as their body attempts to process all of those macronutrients and their resultant hormone cascades. The blood vessels actually become more likely to form a life-altering blockage during that time. (Just as for 30 minutes after taking the final puff of a cigarette, one's risk for heart attack and stroke is measurably increased.)

My last patient this morning provided me with an excellent illustration for how profoundly a day or two of extremely poor intake could affect the body. Keep in mind, this did not happen in a vaccum, and the details of why this was so dramatic are beyond what you want to hear. Regardless, the tube on the left is her blood. That on the right is "normal" blood. The layer of white fluid at the top of her tube is a layer of lipids--pure fat. When the blood came out of her arm, you could see the droplets of fat falling into the tube. NOTHING was added to or taken from this tube. A little more clear now how dramatically a few meals can affect a person, isn't it? Picture the insides of her blood vessels, the difficulty her lungs would have exchanging oxygen into that blood, the problems her brain, heart and other tissues would have getting oxygen and other nutrients from it. Dramatic, indeed.

TODAY'S WORKOUT: Finally, it felt STRONG! Don't get me wrong, I still didn't want to drag my butt out of bed this morning. And I stood looking at my toes for about 5 minutes before I made myself pick up a bell, but when I did, it didn't feel like I was picking up a small car. Today was the first time in over a week that my numbers of reps were back to normal and actually felt strong. Thank goodness!

3 min 12kg warm-up just keeping the bell off the ground.

4 rounds of
16 kg snatch 30 sec R, 30 sec L, rest 1 min. I consistently got 10 per side each round.

10 rounds of
12kg Snatch R 30 sec
Rest 30 sec
12kg Snatch L 30 sec
Rest 30 sec
I consistently got 12 reps during the 30 sec.


  1. Wow, Jen. I am so glad that you shared this visual. It's something that you don't see everyday, and it really made me think twice about my eating habits as of late. Very well stated (and visual) reminder that garbage in= garbage out, and you can't outtrain a bad diet - ever!

  2. Thank you for the visual! Sure puts it all into perspective and cements my goal to clean things up!

  3. Reminds me of the old slam "Yer Momma so fat she cut her leg shaving and bled gravy".

    Did she discuss her dietary habits?

    I'd love to know exactly what she's eating.

  4. I'm glad you guys appreciated the illustration. I guess when you think about it, she did bleed gravy. We did not discuss her dietary habits, but I'm pretty sure getting an honest assessment of her diet would be impossible. No one ever wants to admit what they eat (as you guys well know), and her bulb was of a somewhat low wattage. ;)