Fast Food Nation

Yesterday when I was with my girl in one of the Ontario early years center singing, one of the songs has lyrics like this:

Pizza hut, pizza hut,
Kentucky Fried Chicken,
and McDonalds.

Swiss Chalet, Swiss Chalet*
Red Lobster,
and Dairy Queen.

*a Canada fast food chain specialized in selling white meat.

The audiences averaged about 2 years old. My girl doesn’t even pronounce McDonalds.

I’m pretty sure that this place is Ontario government sponsored, has no affiliation with any of the aforementioned fast food chains, and has all the good intention to entertain kids while educate them. Nonetheless, someone wrote this song to “teach” our kids that when they’re hungry or thirsty, these are the places to go.

After the songs the snack time came. What parents or care givers pack for their dear little ones is 90% pre-packaged, industry-prepared foods. The cookies, the juice, the cheese, all came from big factory with ingredients labels that no one would be able to pronounce, let alone understand.

Incidentally, same thing happens when the day care center requires parents pack a lunch for outdoor trips. 90% of the foods are chips, cookies, energy bars, and juices. The other 10% is banana and non-peeled fruits. My girl got a real cheese sandwich with hard-boiled eggs, tofu and blueberry/strawberry, prepared by her mom in cute little boxes.

We sure look like aliens in this strange world.


One Month: The Kettlebell Experiment

If I remember correctly, behavior gurus like to say a habit will form and stay after one month sticking to it. Now that I’ve done my kettlebell workout for over a month, I see more than that.

I used to think that weight lifting is stupid. Why build the muscles you don’t use and get yourself big to consume the food you don’t otherwise need? The answer is that the muscle does more than the weight you lift. When muscles are strong, your posture is better and you get less sore and pain (out of say, computer use).

Beyond that you run better. You lift kids easier. You do chores with ease. And the most interesting thing is that you get instant positive thought boost after lifting weights.

Kettlebell workout is interesting in a way that it is not just the weight training. Most workout using kettlebell has cardio built into it at the same time. For example, I was quite pleasantly surprised that yesterday, I did a 3km run with ease.

After a month, I’m pushing my original workout to 5 repeat of this:

  • 20 Swing
  • 13 Clean (right hand)
  • 13 Clean (left hand)
  • 10 Squat (kettlebell on right hand)
  • 10 Squat (kettlebell on left hand)

I highly recommend this workout. As far as I know, it cannot get simpler, more efficient or cheaper than this.

The Kettlebell Experiment

I have not exercised regularly for the longest time since the little one was born. Part of the reason is that I’m trying to come up with a cheap solution that will work both in snowy winter and sweaty summer.

I have no desire to spend couple hundred dollars for exercise, let alone “drive to work out”. How ironic is that sentence. Wouldn’t jog to the gym back and forth fulfill the workout, and one can save the gas, the car and the gym membership fee all at one?

I have also been very reluctant to fork out thousands for a home exercise machine. The sheer idea of comparing the functionality, price and then decide among tens if not hundreds of choices makes me freaking out.

Besides, when I have to move, I like to think that I’m still nimble enough to stuff all my belongings in a couple suitcase. The treadmill or elliptical will break that illusion for sure.

A couple days ago, I think I finally found the solution. I bought a 12KG(26 pounds) kettlebell and it cost me only $45. With a complimentary DVD, I’m very excited about my 20 minutes workout.

Kettlebell has the legend that KGB and Russian athletes train on it. The workouts “are intended to increase strength, endurance, agility and balance, challenging both the muscular and cardiovascular system with dynamic, total-body movements.”

I started doing 3 times of these:

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