The Cholesterol Myth

Don’t eat eggs. Avoid red meat. Switch to margarine.

Guess what? All of these beliefs long held by cardiologists and the rest of the mainstream medical world are proving false!eggs2

I’ve been reading reports for a long time now in the sporting news about how clogging of arteries isn’t so much a buildup of cholesterol deposits in the arteries (and thus wacky ideas like colation where chemicals are induced into the blood stream in a effort to scrub the arteries clean proliferate) but cholesterol issues are more like a pimple bursting.

In today’s National Post writer Colby Cosh writes about studies showing that a switch to margarine from butter did result in lower cholesterol levels but the patients in the study died sooner. In a study in Minnesota of 10,000 people living at old-age homes and mental hospitals (where investigators could control diets and  do autopsies on all who died) who had saturated fats replaced with corn oil died a little sooner than expected despite lowered cholesterol levels.fi004

Weird eh?

The new suggestion is to follow the Mediterranean diet (olive oil, fat-rich nuts and oily fish) plus go for brisk walks.

As Cosh writes: Just go for walks and eat real food.

Wow!

The Man In The Mirror

When I started cycling early last spring I was shocked at how much better were the cyclists I was riding with out of the roadways of Halton.3098_10153538706381169_7552897096369745097_n

Sure some were younger and you can’t beat youth with a stick but some were older and a few were a lot older and yet a lot better.

So I joined Petrina Tulissi’s PT Cycling Centre on her Tuesday and Thursday morning rides on the country roads north of Oakville. It was tough but it was always fun.

Petrina is an enormously talented (and much loved by her clients and friends) cycling coach who for years was herself a racer and still competes as a pilot for sight-challenged youth at the Milton Velodrome. When Petrina tells you to do something, there’s no question of having a discussion. On the other hand when Petrina sees you’re struggling there’s no hesitation in telling you to rest and she means it!1

So last night we finished our winter spinning program at the Cycling Centre. Spinning all winter was hard and it was also a lot of fun. We used our own bicycles on rear trainers we rented and went spinning using our bike computers to determine speed and cadence as Petrina called out instructions.

The people we shared spinning classes were anywhere from their 20s to late 60s (maybe even early 70s).  As we got to know each other the tales of cycling adventures kept us going through the cold winter nights.

And now we’re approaching spring and back to road riding. As I look around the room I realized I still wasn’t as good as these riders. Younger, more experienced, even fitter these adult riders would leave me behind on the first climb.

But as I carried my bike downstairs to my car last night I realized I was having none of the issues I had six months ago when I clumsily hauled the bike upstairs. Over the months I had learned so much and grown so much stronger. It suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t the same man coming down the stairs as I was when I was the man who came up for the first time.13726644_1292487937429458_7137738430347162527_n

It will be the same situation out on the roads this year. I may never be able to catch up with the big kids on every hill but the only kid I need to beat is the man in my mirror and he’s the man I was yesterday when I was younger.

It’s the old me I need to beat.

Funny isn’t it? It’s the old man who will end up beating the younger man (at least for a little while).

Thanks Petrina and thanks to all my fellow cyclists at PT Cycling Centre for a super winter of training and great fun.HERO5_Black_45

BTW this year’s riding will feature videos on my blog and Facebook pages as I’ve invested in a GoPro Hero 5…4K video baby 🙂