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MT's Health-Related 2018 Resolutions (1 Viewer)

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
I'm really just writing this for myself, but you're welcome to read it since you clicked on the thread and everything. I think it's good to write it down and post it publicly just to help me with motivation and accountability.

From the time I ended chemo in February up until the start of football season in September, I was living an extremely healthy lifestyle. I've slacked off quite a bit since September, but I'm ready to get back on the right path.

I think the most important elements of living healthy are diet, movement, and sleep. Here are my resolutions for 2018 based on everything I know about those subjects.

1. Diet

Quantity and quality both matter, and are related. It's way easier to pig out on processed foods than on whole foods. I can eat a 1000-calorie pint of ice cream in a sitting, no problem. A 1000-calorie serving of boiled potatoes would be over three pounds' worth. Not going to happen in one sitting. Regarding appetite regulation, I highly recommend Stephan Guyenet's The Hungry Brain. The bottom line is that processed foods, in comparison to whole foods, usually have a lot of added sugar, oil, and salt, with much of the fiber removed. This promotes overeating in multiple ways. See the book for details.

My plan: I'm going to eat three basic meals: my master stew, oatmeal with fruit, and salad. In addition, I'll have a few different snacks and beverages. Having the same thing repeatedly makes preparation simpler (I can make a big batch of my stew once a week), and the limited variety increases satiety. Moreover, I'm hitting all the foods that are widely considered to be the most nutritious.

I looked at the most highly recommended foods from six sources that I consider to be reputable: Examine.com, Health.com, WebMD, SuperfoodsRX, AuthorityNutrition, and CancerCenter. The lists ranged from just four foods (Examine.com) to 23 foods (SuperfoodsRx). The foods and the total number of times they appear on the lists are enumerated below. Spinach or kale (I lumped them together) are the winners, appearing on all six.

Legend:
a = it's in my master stew
b = it's in my oatmeal with fruit
c = it's in my salad
d = it's one of my snacks
e = it's in one of my beverages

List of most nutritious foods

Kale-Spinach - 6 (ac)
Dark Berries - 5 (b)
Salmon or other fish - 5 (ac)
Beans - 4 (a)
Garlic - 4 (ac)
Broccoli - 3 (a)
Oats - 3 (b)
Tea - 3 (e)
Oranges - 3 (d)
Tomatoes - 3 (ac)
Apples - 2 (bc)
Pumpkin - 2
Chocolate - 2 (e)
Honey - 2 (be)
Seaweed - 2 (a)
Soy - 2
Turkey - 2 (c)
Walnuts - 2 (c)
Cauliflower - 1 (a)
Eggs - 1 (ac)
Ginger - 1 (c)
Lentils - 1 (a)
Brussels Sprouts - 1
Apricots - 1 (b)
Avocados - 1 (c)
Beef - 1 (d)
Cabbage - 1 (c)
Chickpeas - 1 (c)
Cinnamon - 1 (b)
Coconut - 1
Cod Liver - 1
Figs - 1
Kiwi - 1
Liver - 1 (d)
Olive Oil - 1 (c)
Onions - 1 (ac)
Pomegranates - 1
Sweet Potato - 1 (d)
Spirulina - 1 (e)

I'm hitting everything that appears more than once except soy and pumpkin. Maybe I'll try to work in a pumpkin spice soy latte every once in a while.

Meal #1 - Master Stew

My stew recipe changes a little each time I make it, but this is pretty representative. I recently tried the dry chopping method for the potatoes and onions in the Vitamix, which makes it go much faster.

5 lbs of white potatoes, diced.

3 lbs of onions, diced.

48 oz of chicken or beef bone broth (usually 24 oz of each).

2-3 lbs of fresh tomatoes, blended (or can use a 16 oz jar or two of cantina-style salsa).

1 bag Bob's Red Mill dried 13 bean soup (29 oz)

10 oz baby kale or spinach (2 pre-washed packages)

Handful of chopped mushrooms (prefer to include shiitake or maitake) (usually dried or frozen)

1 lb can of salmon

1 tin of sardines

2-3 cups of fresh or frozen chopped broccoli and/or cauliflower

1 bag of frozen artichoke hearts

1 cup of water, or however much it takes to make things liquid enough to actually stir.

2-3 bulbs of minced garlic (usually blended with tomatoes).

A few jalapenos or other peppers

A few pinches of dried seaweed.

A teaspoon or so each of turmeric and black pepper.

Sriracha to taste.

Put everything in a stock pot and heat while occasionally stirring until everything is kind of soft. (It's usually the peas and lentils that take the longest, so I add them first [after the broth].)

By my calculations, that's about 8,323 calories of stew. Broken into 12 servings of about 693 calories each, each serving should have about 100g carbohydrate (including 31g fiber), 18g fat, and 35g protein. I sometimes eat it cold out of the refrigerator. If I reheat a serving of it, I'll usually stir in an egg yolk (not included in nutritional info). I'll sometimes also add some chopped avocado.

It's extremely filling in terms of satiety per calorie, and it tastes good.

Meal #2 - Oatmeal with fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and honey

Self-explanatory. Fruit can be fresh, frozen, or dried. When in a hurry, I replace oatmeal with almond-coconut milk, so it's basically cold cereal made of nuts, honey, and fruit.

Meal #3 - Salad

In addition to salad greens, I like adding onions, tomatoes, olives, walnuts, almonds, sauerkraut, and garlic, and either turkey, salmon, or sardines. My dressing often consists of mixing together hummus, salsa, guacamole, an egg yolk, lemon juice, and a little anchovy paste. It's really good dressing that can be eaten with a spoon even if there's no salad around.

Snacks

1. Fresh fruit, especially oranges or tangerines, but really anything.

2. Baked sweet potatoes, plain (can bake a few pounds at once and store them in the refrigerator -- eat cold or reheat in microwave). (I don't eat the skin of sweet potatoes, as I would with white potatoes.)

3. Epic beef liver bites.

Beverges

1. Water.

2. Mushroom matcha.

3. Mushroom cacao.

4. The two supplements I take are creatine monohydrate and spirulina, which I take together once a day with a glass of water. [2/13/18 Edit: I’m no longer taking any supplements.]

Eating out

Usually there's an option like an ahi salad or something, but whatever. This is the time to live a little; just try to be semi-reasonable.

Fasting

I'll also do some water-only fasts occasionally.

2. Movement

I have no intention of joining a gym. I prefer a sidewalk to the treadmill, a bicycle to the stationary bike, and pushups to the bench press. Moreover, I don't really like the mindset of going to the gym for an hour or two and thinking that's all the movement I need. A 90-minute workout is to healthy movement what a vitamin pill is to a healthy diet. (That's Katy Bowman's analogy <-- awesome book!) It's beneficial in some contexts, but it's really not sufficient in itself. My intention is to move as much as possible throughout the day.

The single best idea I've come across is Max Shank’s five-minute flow. Shank has a series of videos on it for about $60 -- they are quite good, but also completely unnecessary. The idea is to just move around in an improvised way for five minutes as soon as you wake up in the morning. Use dance movements, yoga movements, calisthenics movements, animal movements (crawling, etc.), somersaults, cartwheels, rolling, stretching -- whatever pops into your head and feels good at the time. Put on a song that lasts about five-minutes and keep moving while the song is still playing. It's hard to overstate how much better it makes me feel throughout the whole day afterwards, and it's just five minutes. Extremely efficient in terms of benefit-per-minute.

Another thing that I think is very worthwhile is doing something like 100 pushups a day. It's become popular as a 30-day challenge, but there's no reason to do it for only 30 days. Do it every day until you're 90. Do a few pushups at a time throughout the day -- 10 x 10 or 5 x 20 or whatever you're comfortable with. And use the exact same principle to hang from a pull-up bar many time a day for 30-45 seconds at a time (or whatever you can do). Or if you can do pull-ups, do a few of those 10 or 20 times a day.

Some of this is easier for me than it would be for other people because I work mostly from home. I have a pull-up bar in my bedroom and I don't have to worry about looking funny at "work" if I stop do to a few push-ups or whatever once or twice per hour.

I also carry around a kettlebell from room to room with me. If I'm going from my bedroom to the kitchen, or from the kitchen to the bathroom, I'm carrying a kettlebell with me. A relatively heavy one as if it were a suitcase, or a relatively light one as if it were a tray full of drinks. (And throughout this post, when I say "I do X," what I mean is that I've done X sporadically at certain points in the past, but I'm planning to do X consistently in 2018.)

I also got rid of my desk chair. The surface of my desk is about 18 inches off the ground, so I sit on the floor to work. Unlike with sitting in a chair, sitting on the floor becomes uncomfortable if you stay in the same position for a long time, so without even thinking about it, I'm shifting around pretty frequently -- from sitting cross-legged, to squatting, to kneeling, to sitting in a hurdler-stretch position, to sitting in a lopsided position (where I spend the most time because it's the most comfortable for me). I started doing this in February and I needed several cushions at first. A meditation cushion that's maybe 8 inches high for my butt, on top of another, wider cushion that's about 3-inches high for my legs and feet. I was way too inflexible to sit on the floor in any reasonable position without some elevation from a cushion. But I eventually took some of the stuffing out of the taller cushion, then ditched it completely when that was comfortable, then ditched the other one as well, and now I sit on a yoga mat. I'm quite happy with the change because not only have I gotten more flexible without consciously working on it, but it also does keep me moving every few minutes throughout the entire day. Also, getting up and down off the ground 30-50 times a day is worthwhile in itself. It's like doing 50 air squats a day without making any conscious effort to do so, or even being aware of it.

Finally, I try to make my more prolonged movements either utilitarian or fun. By utilitarian, I mean walking or biking to get somewhere. If I need to go to the store or the bank or something, I intend to walk or ride my bike as often as possible instead of driving. By fun, I mean just for the pleasure of taking a leisurely bike ride, playing basketball with friends, doing yoga, etc. One of my favorite things to do is to walk down to the beach and crawl over the tide-pool rocks before playing in the ocean. Crawling on all fours is great, and the rocks on the beach are perfect for it. Jumping in the ocean is always invigorating and relaxing at the same time. I should do this at least four times a week. It combines so many worthwhile things: being in the sun, moving, being in nature, and having fun. I could try to do all of those things separately, but doing them all at the same time seems better.

Some of you may enjoy working out, but I really hate regimented workouts. So I need to get myself to move around without doing anything that actually seems like a workout.

Earlier this year, I was doing something that resembled a workout: a calisthenics circuit where I did upper-body push, lower-body pull, core, upper-body pull, lower-body push, core, repeat. For example, here are three cycles of those six categories:

Push-ups
Kettlebell deadlifts
Ab roller
Chin-ups
Goblet squats
plank

Kettlebell presses
Kettlebell swings
Back bridge
Pull-ups
Lunges
Medicine ball twists

Dips
One-legged deadlifts
Kettlebell juggling
Bent-over rows
Uneven squats w/ medicine ball
Side plank on forearm

Turkish getups (its own category)

I have a power station (pull-up bar, dips handles) in my bedroom with some kettlebells and other small bits of equipment. I haven't decided whether I want to get back into doing actual workouts, though. I'm just putting that calisthenics circuit here as a possibility in case I decide to pick it back up.

3. Sleep.

I love sleep, which is convenient, because it's really good for you. My (probably unrealistic) goal is to consistently be in bed by nine and asleep by ten. I got these goofy orange glasses to wear once the sun goes down. My room is dark. I'll keep this section short because I'm tired of writing, and sleep isn't terribly complicated. But you know I can't not be weird about stuff, so I got rid of my bed for reasons similar to getting rid of my chair. I sleep on the floor (on a rubber mat). It took about a week to get used to, but after that it's been great and I have no intention of going back to a mattress.

I'll post updates from time to time with changes I make to this approach as I go.

 
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Mister CIA

Footballguy
Adios, @Otis

Once again I'm trying to right my diet. Really, stamping out processed foods is my goal, especially the breadly stuff, which I love. I've got four slices of naan that I have to kill this weekend.

I want to refine my all-in-one super meal too: (running with the belief that canned wild Pacific salmon does not count as processed food), it's salmon, baked sweet potato, olive oil, egg and rice. I've gotten it to c+ quality, but the ratios need work to get the binding right. 

My best intentions would add a fourth pillar to diet, exercise and sleep - meditation. Sam Harris just dropped a podcast on the science of meditation which I'm looking forward too. Alas, Sam Harris podcasts are also my go-to for lullaby material. It might take a few attempts.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
My best intentions would add a fourth pillar to diet, exercise and sleep - meditation. Sam Harris just dropped a podcast on the science of meditation which I'm looking forward too. Alas, Sam Harris podcasts are also my go-to for lullaby material. It might take a few attempts.
Sam Harris’s book on that topic, Waking Up, is terrific. So is Robert Wright’s book, Why Buddhism Is True. They complement each other quite well.

 
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Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
My plan: I'm going to eat three basic meals: my master stew, oatmeal with fruit, and salad.
As a point of clarification, I don't mean that I'll have three meals a day and that will be the list. I plan to eat when I'm hungry, which could be zero meals or six meals on a given day. And what I may do is make a big pot of stew and just eat that for every meal until it's gone. Then do the same with the oatmeal. Then buy a bunch of salad ingredients and have a salad for every meal until they're gone. Etc. That will cut down on meal-to-meal variety (see the Guyenet book for why that's useful for appetite-reduction) and will also minimize the chance of spoilage.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
2. Movement
I should mention something about my personality: I've always been more of a reader than a doer. When I started playing poker, I read about 35 books on the subject in that first year. I arguably would have improved faster had I spent less time reading and more time playing. Even more counterproductive is when I stay up late reading about the benefits of sleep, or lay around for hours reading about the benefits of exercise. Less reading, more doing, should be one of my New Year's resolutions. When it comes to the subject of movement, what goes for reading also goes for watching YouTube videos.

In any case, I'll pass along the names of the people I've found to be most influential on me recently about movement. It's worth doing a YouTube search on them to get the gist of their approaches (which are all pretty similar to each other) -- provided you don't fall into my trap of substituting watching for doing.

Rafe Kelley
Ido Portal
Cameron Shayne
Jonathan Mead
Katy Bowman
Erwan Le Corre
Ryan Hurst
Mike Fitch
Tom Merrick
Max Shank
Philip McDougall

 
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Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
What’s your oatmeal method? One big batch per week, or individual prep? Also, what kind of oats and recipe, pls? 
I stick to Bob's Red Mill -- either the steel cut oats or the Scottish oatmeal -- and just follow the directions on the package: water, oats, salt, heat, stirring. I've made large batches before, but I make single servings more often. I add fruit, cinnamon, and honey after the oatmeal is cooked (or after it's reheated if it's a large batch).

 
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the moops

Footballguy
Slow cooker steel cut oats is the way to go, IMO. Water, butter, salt, oats, cinnamon, apple. Put it on low let it cook overnight. Add some fresh fruit on top if you like. :thumbup:

 

popeye

Footballguy
I wish you the very best !

About two years ago I began walking 2 to 3 miles a day (before work, at lunch an in the afternoon) and watching my intake of calories.  For the first time, actually thinking 'am I really hungry' before I'd eat anything. Over the course of about a year I reshaped my body significantly, but more importantly I've reshaped the way I look at food, interact with others and in general better understand what makes me happy.

 

bushdocda

Footballguy
Lots of excellent stuff here, thanks for sharing and continued good luck @Maurile Tremblay

I’ll be giving a stew and oats a go - I’ve loved the simplicity of an elimination diet in the past - was great for energy and removing unnecessary choices from my day.  

 

JShare87

Footballguy
I wish you the very best !

About two years ago I began walking 2 to 3 miles a day (before work, at lunch an in the afternoon) and watching my intake of calories.  For the first time, actually thinking 'am I really hungry' before I'd eat anything. Over the course of about a year I reshaped my body significantly, but more importantly I've reshaped the way I look at food, interact with others and in general better understand what makes me happy.
That’s awesome. I think I’m on the verge of this as well. 

 

ProstheticRGK

Footballguy
Im gonna make a pot of your stew, but i think i might need to tame my tastebuds before it’s palatable to me. Reminds me of Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life.

 

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
My oatmeal recipe that I have 3-4 times a week.

Steel Cut oats, put double the water needed in for one serving due to added ingredients.  Fresh, ground ginger root, turmeric,blueberries in the pot cooking with oats.

 In the bowl one scoop of whey protein, ground chia seeds, chopped walnuts or almonds.  Pour the cooked oats in and mix.  It tastes great and has to be good for us. Plus I am filled up for 4-5 hours.

I never eat anything before thinking is this good for me.  Of course I have times when I scarf a pizza or a whole pint of ice cream.

 
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dino259

Footballguy
Love the movement thought process. 

I need to incorporate all of this more. 

If it wasn't for helping coach my boys in all there sports, I wouldn't be much more than a lump on a log.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
Juxtatarot said:
This is so awesome.

What is that foam tube? Is that used like a pillow or do you use nothing to substitute?
It's a foam roller. It's not soft and makes a pretty terrible pillow. I've been using my meditation cushion as a pillow now that I don't sit on it at my desk anymore. But I'd like to transition away from any kind of pillow.

Some people swear by a foam roller for soft tissue work, but I've never really noticed any benefit. Maybe I'm supposed to actually use it somewhat regularly to derive a benefit. It's supposed to be kind of the same idea as getting a massage, except instead of feeling good and relaxing, it feels painful and annoying.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
The first batch of my stew lasted 6-7 days.

Then I made a batch of oatmeal (with blueberries), which should last partway through tomorrow, so 4-5 days.

One side benefit of this diet plan ...

The most ample foods by volume are oatmeal, beans, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes.

A bag of steel cut oats is 15 servings for about $4. Organic is about double that, so we're generally talking around 25 cents to 50 cents per serving. Dried beans and lentils are in that same price range per serving. A 5-pound bag of potatoes and a 3-pound bag of onions are around $2 each. Tomatoes are the splurge at around $2 per pound.

I didn't design this with cost in mind, only health, but I don't think it'd be easy to eat more cheaply than this.

 
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Juxtatarot

Footballguy
I’m inspired to sleep a couple nights on the futon then try the carpet.
I skipped the futon and went right to the floor and have been sleeping that way ever since.  After the first few nights, I've been sleeping well.  Better than usual although I don't know how much to attribute to the floor sleeping.  It's very comfortable and my body seems to like it.  One annoyance is I'm used to tucked-in sheets.  That's probably the only drawback.  

I'm not sure how long I'll keep this up but for now I have no interest to moving back to the bed.

 
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mr. furley

Footballguy
don't have a definitive opinion on this but i do tend to think we invented things like mattresses and shoes for a reason

sure, you can sleep on the ground and walk around barefoot... you can also contract typhoid from drinking out of the water source your clan uses to bathe in. some "modern conveniences" are partly comfort & convenience but also partly for health & safety reasons.

 

the moops

Footballguy
Those two foods are not anywhere near close to one another in terms of health. I love those bars, but eating them is a pretty bad way to start your day

 

jhib

Footballguy
don't have a definitive opinion on this but i do tend to think we invented things like mattresses and shoes for a reason

sure, you can sleep on the ground and walk around barefoot... you can also contract typhoid from drinking out of the water source your clan uses to bathe in. some "modern conveniences" are partly comfort & convenience but also partly for health & safety reasons.
If you aren't covering your bedroom floor with dirt and making a bed of leaves on it, you aren't doing it right. 

 
MT, I hope you will forgive a personal question.  Do you think this type of lifestyle would be possible for anyone who doesn't live alone?  Is that a concern or a priority for you?

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
MT, I hope you will forgive a personal question.  Do you think this type of lifestyle would be possible for anyone who doesn't live alone?  Is that a concern or a priority for you?
Each component will be different, and a lot depends on how into it (or opposed to it) your partner or family is.

Five-minute flow, which might be the single best thing I've found (not in total impact, but in impact per unit of time+effort), you can do without your family ever knowing about it, although they should jump onto that bandwagon with you. Carrying around a kettlebell or dropping for some pushups every so often will just make you look weird, but shouldn't bother anybody.

A lot of people won't even try sleeping on the floor, and the ones who do try it will struggle the first few nights and often quit. So that one isn't easy. I do keep a futon leaning up against my wall just in case I end up hosting a sleep-over.

Not many people will go in for the monotony of eating the same potato-onion-bean-tomato stew every meal for a week (much less a bowl of oatmeal), so that one depends on how easy it is to prepare separate meals as opposed to finding a common strategy that works as a compromise.

It's not a concern for me personally because I'm a cross-that-bridge-if-I-get-to-it kind of guy.

 
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Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
don't have a definitive opinion on this but i do tend to think we invented things like mattresses and shoes for a reason

sure, you can sleep on the ground and walk around barefoot... you can also contract typhoid from drinking out of the water source your clan uses to bathe in. some "modern conveniences" are partly comfort & convenience but also partly for health & safety reasons.
Every gadget in common use was invented for a reason. Before deciding to forego using any such gadget, it's a good idea to identify that reason.

Various things are in use for various reasons: some to improve short-term convenience or comfort or pleasure, some to improve long-term health, some to help attract mates, etc.

Often there are trade-offs.

Stairmasters improve long-term health at the expense of short-term comfort.

Cotton candy improves short-term pleasure at the expense of long-term health.

High heels help attract mates at the expense of both short-term comfort and long-term health.

Shoes in general are complicated because they have some aspects that improve long-term health (guarding against cuts, which can become infected) and some aspects that may increase comfort at the expense of long-term health (possibly arch support and other features that restrict joint articulation). Shoes like these can offer most of the benefits without many of the costs.

Mattresses obviously increase short-term comfort. I'm not entirely convinced that they detract from long-term health, but I do think they're more likely to detract from health (probably very slightly) than to improve health. That is, I think they're more likely to be a trade-off than a synergy.

 
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mr. furley

Footballguy
Every gadget in common use was invented for a reason. Before deciding to forego using any such gadget, it's a good idea to identify that reason.

Various things are in use for various reasons: some to improve short-term convenience or comfort or pleasure, some to improve long-term health, some to help attract mates, etc.

Often there are trade-offs.

Stairmasters improve long-term health at the expense of short-term comfort.

Cotton candy improves short-term pleasure at the expense of long-term health.

High heels help attract mates at the expense of both short-term comfort and long-term health.

Shoes in general are complicated because they have some aspects that improve long-term health (guarding against cuts, which can become infected) and some aspects that may increase comfort at the expense of long-term health (possibly arch support and other features that restrict joint articulation). Shoes like these can offer most of the benefits without many of the costs.

Mattresses obviously increase short-term comfort. I'm not entirely convinced that they detract from long-term health, but I do think they're more likely to detract from health (probably very slightly) than to improve health. That is, I think they're more likely to be a trade-off than a synergy.
i think i love you :wub:

 

Nipsey

Footballguy
The single best idea I've come across is Max Shank’s five-minute flow.
Have to say I was skeptical of this but after about 10 days i noticed a pretty good difference in terms of not feeling as stiff. I stretch a lot and exercise but at the 3 week mark of doing this every morning I feel really good. My neck had been giving me problems for years and it's feeling the best it's felt in some time. I do the circles he talks about in the video and the deep lunges. End it with this yoga back stretch. Thanks for the heads up!

 

Rodrigo Duterte

Footballguy
My Uncle is 93 and although he has a bed, he still sleeps on the floor almost every night.  Has done so since he was a kid (and didn't have a bed).  He's never had any sort of neck or back problems.  Come to think of it he'd often sleep out on his concrete balcony, unless it was too cold.  I'll have to ask him if he still does that.  He retired against his will at 89, btw.

He also walked to and from work every day, 6 days a week.  And wherever else.  Never did get a driver's license.

But perhaps most impressive is his steady diet of beer.

 

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