Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Diversity ... good or bad?

I've been chewing over a particular paragraph from Dr. Ayers last post (Vitamin C, Guinea Pigs, Limeys and Gut Worms) which speaks about food diversity.  This was posted awhile ago but I only noticed it recently as he updates very infrequently these days ... unfortunately.  It is very counter intuitive, but try to wrap your head around it:

Sea Voyages Damage Gut Organisms
The hundred of different species of bacteria in the gut change in proportions to adapt to different foods in each meal.  If the diet is fairly constant, then the diversity of the population gradually increases, just as the diversity of species in a tropical rain forest is greater than in a temperate forest.  This also explains why gut flora diversity is far less in the USA than in other parts of the world.  Americans are encouraged to eat diverse diets in the search for vitamins and superfoods.  Each dramatic change in diet makes it hard for the gut flora to adapt and the remaining bacteria are those that are generalists.  It might also be expected that early sailors who changed their diets dramatically when they went to sea, ended up with a highly compromised ship-board gut flora (and fauna.)

Right.  Did you catch that?  We Americans eat a diet too diverse for optimal gut health.  Kinda goes against the whole 'eat all of the colors of the rainbow' thing now doesn't it.  I like this guy.  Not because he has some thoughts that are against the grain (like try to minimize insoluble fiber), but because he is down in the trenches looking at nutrition (gut bacteria really) from the bottom up.  He's figuring out what kind of nutrients and environment are best for optimal gut bacteria in our colon and then determining the effects various foods and medications have on said bacteria. 

Here's the clincher clincher in that paragraph (only my classmates from sophomore year English with Mr. Rich will get that joke)  'If the diet is fairly constant, then the diversity of the population (of gut bacteria) increases'.  Diet.  Fairly constant.  Not your typical advice.  Some of my thoughts:

  • Eat a nutrient DENSE diet covering all micro and macro nutrient needs
  • You do not need a wide variety of foods to accomplish this (hence the word dense)
  • Include soluble fiber and fermented foods to 'feed' you gut bacteria
  • Eat the same foods over and over again in order for the bacteria in your gut to proliferate
  • DO make sure to change your diet once in awhile, but focus on one or two staple foods at a time
  • This is not at all to say don't enjoy different foods.  Just don't go out of your way to include everything under the sun in order to 'cover all of your bases'

I know, what the hay?  So many thoughts on nutrition out there, so many angles.  You gotta take in information, process it in regards to your own body and situation and then try to make sense of it.  And this just makes sense to me. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Snow Tires

We don't f*** around here in the mountains

Saw the neighbors put on their snow tires.  Winter must be right around the corner. 

And some Aspen leafs for ya:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shout Out II

Another shout out.  This one goes to the Aspen Skiing Company, and it's legit.  In light of the closure of the road to the Maroon Bells this past week, the Skico announced that gondola rides to the top of Aspen mountain this weekend would be free.  F.  R.  E.  E.  They said they wanted to provide people who come here with a way to view the amazing foliage.  Ulterior motives notwithstanding, I have to give them props, they in no way had to do this.  Here are some of my thoughts and facts on the matter:
  • The gondola is only open weekends anyways right now (in the Fall) weather permitting.
  •  It was cold all day today, but cloudless.
  • The normal cost for an adult in the summer is $28 and kids 4-12 are $11.  So for a family of two adults and two kids that's, um, carry the 3 and divide by 17, $78 smackers just for a ride up and down the mountain.  There are some activities to do at the top like Frisbee golf and some ropes and swings for the kids, but today those wouldn't have been available as there was snow on the ground.  There is also a cafeteria style restaurant up there.
  • As you can see in the pic below, there was literally a line to get on the gondola.  There were tons of people around the base as well in town in general.  I'm sure the top was flat out a zoo.  Lots of them were families with small kids. 
  • Last Sat. at the exact same time, with almost the exact same weather, I was in town loitering around and was essentially alone.  It was a ghost town.
  • My guess is most of these people were actually from downvalley, as opposed to the Front Range.  They wouldn't normally come up here on a weekend to hang out.  
  • Essentially getting a $78 dollar value for free is way more enticing than something like getting your second pizza for half price.
  • I'd say the Skico will increase the gondola ridership by 10 to possibly 20 TIMES what they would have without the big fat zero for the price.  It'll be interesting to see the figures on Monday.
  • The Skico isn't actually 'losing' as much money on this deal as you would first think.  They actually might not be losing any at all.  Remember, the gondola would be running this weekend anyway.  They'll miss out on say 40 or 50 paying customers, but will likely more than make up for that from photos and food at the top.  And the good memories and press they'll garner is a future investment for sure.
  • This deal doubtless helped out other business in town as well as our little Sat. farmers market.  Like I said, there were just way more people here than is normal for off-season. 
A line for the gondola eh?

The fountains in front of the Wheeler Opera house

The colors with light snow make for amazing viewing

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Shout Out

I'd like to give a big shout out to the incompetence of our federal government for closing the road up to the Maroon Bells to vehicular traffic due to the shutdown.  While I'm sure there are some bad things coming about because of the government shutdown, cycling up to the Bells and enjoying Maroon Lake without traffic and throngs of tourists ain't one of them.  Normally this road is one of the safest in the county as about a dozen years ago they made it a pay road and encourage people to take the bus to the lake.  So, although there was no vehicular traffic today, it was probably a little less safe than usual as there were people walking the road.  But since the lake is 6 miles beyond the gate you couldn't drive past, most of them didn't walk very far up.   Therefore, almost nobody was up there.  Sweet!  And as a bonus, there were no forest rangers, or whatever they're called,  so I could ride my bike around to places normally I'm not allowed to go ... like along the lake, where I took the cheesy selfie below.  THANKS GOV.!!!

They shut the road down on the peak foliage week