ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Altra Running in 2015 - From Scotland to Mexico

Who am I? I'm a 50 year old disabled combat veteran of the United States Army who was so broken, I couldn't run from 2000 to 2013. Even before that my running was sporadic. Shin spints, stress fractures, plantar faciatus, all conspired to keep me limping through the 90s. No sooner would I get better, then I'd do a 26 mile ruck march and a battalion run, and it would start all over agian.

But now I'm running again thanks to my Altra shoes.

Although I ran less in 2015 than 2014, it was still a terrific year of Altra running. Part of my slow start had to do with tearing my calf November 2014 thanks to a little dehydration and no stretching. I had to take baby steps, which meant I really didn't fully recover until May 2015. Then in October, I ran the Bisbee 1000 which is an 8 KM race with a thousand concrete stairs. Those stairs didn't seem like much on the day of the race, but two days later it was sort of hard to walk. That slowed me down for November and the first part of December. Still, despite running only 756 KM in 2015, I increased my speed. I went from a 15 minute mile to a 12 minute mile. BTW, if you think that 15 minute mile was slow, realize that before 2013 my speed for the mile was ZERO. I didn't run. I couldn't run. That is until I bought a pair of Altra's while I was stationed in Afghanistan. I went from running 50 feet in July of 2013 to running my first 5K in September 2013. And Oh yeah, I also lost 60 pounds.

Highlights of my running year:

Running along the Patomac.

Running the Bisbee 1000 and conquering the course. Check out my Altras!

Running along the Patomac in Alexandria. Although they're tough on my legs, I love running the cobblestones.

Running in Scotland down to the North Atlantic, along the coast, where Vikings landed and Celts fought for surival.
More Scotland. That's Hen Rock. Dramatic.

Running Joe's Pass Trail to Montezuma Point right on the Mexican Border and being eye level with vultures.

Now that I'm hale and healthy, I want to double my running in 2016. I also want to up my speed to 9 minute miles. What's really helped me recently is interval training via the Daily Burn. I used to suck at squats, giving the backs of my thighs no end of post workout or delayed onset pain. But they've gotten better this year. I can do squats without debilitating effects. I'm going to keep working on them until there's no pain at all.

Oh, and what makes Altra's so special to me? That's easy. They have a wide toe bed, almost like a Birkenstock, so my toes aren't pinched and can find their own space. They are also Zero Drop, meaning the toe and heel are the same distance from the ground, unlike other modern running shoes which put so much padding in the heel, it's like running on high heels. I take the inserts out of mine as well, so it's natural running for me. Truly, the brothers who invented Altra had runners like me in mind.  Thanks Guys.

Check out Altra and watch their videos here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Snap -- I Tripped and Fell in My High Fructose Corn Syrup

Up front. High Fructose Corn Syrup 
(herein referred to as HFCS) is bad.

You shouldn't be eating it at all, but damned if it isn't hard not to. I thought I'd been doing fine, but when a friend of mine whom I'm cooking for let me know that he can't eat any HFCS-containing foods, I started checking my labels.

And damn!!

There goes my favorite BBQ sauce. Syonara Sweet Baby Ray, it was sweet while it lasted. (And it's not just Sweet Baby. Virtually all BBQ sauces have HFCS.) For the record I'm trying Ann's Organic BBQ Sauce. Here's a list of some other BBQ sauces put together by BBQ Sauce Reviews.

There are even some BBQ Sauces out there that claim online not to have HFCS. Like Bull's Eye who claims that their BBQ sauce does not contain HFCS. Just check out their website here. But if you go to the store and read the label, it's the first ingredient mentioned. Thank God companies still have to mention at least some ingredients.

So why the frufru about HFCS?

Doctor Mark Hyman explains it better than I ever could in his not so very subtle article titled 5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You. (Notice he didn't say can but used the very definitive helping verb will)

Some basic biochemistry will help you understand this. Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts.The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form. Fructose is sweeter than glucose... Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people.The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more.
 He goes on in the article to give many examples of how the corn industry has propagandized HFCS
claiming that it's the same chemically as cane sugar. He shows where the industry has created their own fake news websites and have targeted doctors with information, even going so far as to vaguely promise that there will be consequences if they don't stop saying HFCS is bad for the human body.

But if you don't trust a medical doctor, then why not trust the master drill sergeant of all body coaches, Jillian Michaels of The Big Fat Loser fame in her article MYTH: High-Fructose Corn Syrup Is No Worse for You Than Table Sugar.  

In a recent study at Princeton University, researchers found that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to water sweetened with table sugar — even when they consumed the same number of calories. A second study they conducted monitored their weight gain over a period of six months and found that the rats consuming HFCS showed abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides (which prevent the hormone leptin from telling the brain you’re full), and significant fat around the belly. Many health organizations link the increased use of HFCS in foods to the increased obesity rates in this country. Though nothing has been proven 100 percent, many studies point to these negative effects from HFCS.
 Summarized- You get fatter from eating HFCS in the same quantity as regular sugar. 

Oh, and there's chemistry involved. There will be a test. 

A study done at the University of Pennsylvania found that fructose does not suppress the hunger-hormone ghrelin the way that glucose (table sugar does). Women who ate fructose instead of glucose had higher ghrelin levels throughout the day, overnight, and into the next day. To put it simply, these women felt like they were starving all day, thanks to the fructose. In addition to making ghrelin levels rise, HFCS somehow tricks the body into not releasing the hormones insulin and leptin (the hormones released when your body feels full).

So here's what all this means to me with the start of 2016. I'm going to go through my refrigerator and pantry (and our pantry annex) and get rid of everything with HFCS. It's going to be a lot of things. It's not going to be pretty. Then I'm going to concentrate when I shop and buy only those things HFCS free. I mean to do otherwise is kind of stupid, right?

I don't drink sodas or anything with artificial sweeteners (until they start artificially sweetening Chardonnay then I'm screwed), but I know I'm going to encounter this out in the wild (eating at restaurants). I just have to choose carefully and ask questions.

I promised there'd be a test, right? 

Okay. Here's the test. 

Do you want to continue eating HFCS and see how long you live? Or do you want to do away with it and see how long you live? My favorite BBQ sauce and ketchup isn't worth taking 5, 10, 15 years off my life. I can see you now on your final day. "I'm dying, but at least I continued eating X Brand BBQ Sauce."  



You're not fooling no one.

So seriously. 

WTF are you going to do?