Many of you may remember the SNL commentaries by Jack Handy, those of “Deep Thoughts.” Today I pay homage to Mr. Handy by sharing some random thoughts.
Several recent articles have got me thinking about how much information, or new knowledge, it would take for us to change our habits. Habits are powerful forces, but do they stand up in the face of new information? Of course they do, that’s why they’re so hard to break. Yet, how much would it take to force change?
In yesterday’s posting I mentioned the recent work demonstrating that exercising in the afternoon favorably alters our circadian rhythms. As we age our sleep patterns change, making it more difficult to fall asleep and, equally important, to stay asleep. I’m 40 years old, making me middle age by definition of the American College of Sports Medicine. There goes my sleep. If this research holds true we should seriously consider afternoon exercise sessions. Sleep is so incredibly important and even now we don’t do a good job of getting enough.
I so love morning exercise. Will I change? Doubtful.
In a recent New York Time’s opinion piece, Dr. David Agus, professor of medicine and engineering (he must be smart) at the University of Southern California layed out the data for the taking of an aspirin a day:
“The data are screaming out to us. Aspirin, one of the oldest remedies on the planet, helps prevent heart disease through what is likely to be a variety of mechanisms, including keeping blood clots from forming. And experts believe it helps prevent cancer, in part, by dampening an immune response called inflammation.”
I can’t remember the last time I took an aspirin.
And from today’s edition an article on Sarah Kavanaugh, a 15 year old vegetarian from Mississippi who has started a petition asking PepsiCo to remove brominated vegetable oil from Gatorade. 200,000 people have signed on. Some facts stated in the Time’s piece regarding brominated vegetable oil:
“Brominated vegetable oil contains bromine, the element found in brominated flame retardants, used in things like upholstered furniture and children’s products. Research has found brominate flame retardants building up in the body and breast milk, and animal and some human studies have linked them to neurological impairment, reduced fertility, changes in thyroid hormones and puberty at an earlier age.”
“…10 percent of drinks sold in the United States contain brominated vegetable oil, including Mountain Dew, also made by PepsiCo; Powerade, Fanta Orange and Fresca from Coca-Cola; and Squirt and Sunkist Peach Soda, made by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The ingredient is added often to citrus drinks to help keep the fruit flavoring evenly distributed…”
“…the European Union has long banned the substance from foods, requiring use of other ingredients. Japan recently moved to do the same.”
“A company can create a new additive, publish safety data about it on its Web site pay a law firm or consulting firm to vet it to establish it as “generally recognized as safe” — without ever notifying the F.D.A.”
Gatorade is everywhere in my field. I cannot begin to count the bottles I have consumed in my lifetime. At least I am getting my vegetables, albeit with a dash of neurological issues.
Morning exercise, aspirin, and bad Gatorade. Will research move us to change our habits? Mine are pretty stubborn. Only time will tell.