Category Archives: Food

My Health Tracking Experiment: Self-Tracking to a Better You?

The FitBit

Recently I came across a newer gadget called the FitBit. It is a small clip on device to track your steps, calories burned, miles walked, and flights of stair climbed. The devices uses an accelerometer and a altimeter to determine the steps taken and logs the data to be synced when you are near the base station. This uploads the data to the FitBit site which has a nice SaaS  site to monitor and chart progress. You can manually enter food, water, exercise, weight, and other data points. FitBit also offers a robust API to tie in with 3rd party services like Endomondo, which tracks workouts via phone GPS tracking. Another interesting thing the FitBit does is measure one’s sleep by coming with a strap you put on your non-dominate arm which monitors restlessness to get a picture of how much restful sleep one gets.

Along with the FitBit I have also decided to give a targeted regiment of supplements and diet a try to see if it helps with my sleep and any other health complaints. So I am breaking it down into key parts:

  • diet
  • exercise
  • sleep/relaxation
  • supplements

These are the four high-level things I will be covering and looking at in this experiment. I have been using the “Paleo Diet” as the basic underlying for my food intake. Along with various supplements I will outline shortly.

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Is there a cheeseburger ceiling?

Further reflection revealed that it’s quite impractical—nearly impossible—to make a cheeseburger from scratch. Tomatoes are in season in the late summerLettuce is in season in spring and fallLarge mammals are slaughtered in early winter. The process of making such a burger would take nearly a year, and would inherently involve omitting some core cheeseburger ingredients. It would be wildly expensive—requiring a trio of cows—and demand many acres of land. There’s just no sense in it.

A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed, post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a handful of vendors—in all likelihood, a couple of dozen—and the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a century ago as, indeed, it did not.

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