Running is Good for Hoarders

A lot of people have been stopping me lately and asking me where my obsession for running 5Ks suddenly came from. I have never been an athlete and I can only do Jillian Micheal workout dvds when distracted by Netflix because I find exercising incredibly boring.

Regardless, the moment for running happened like this – I was about to make a car purchase (the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought in my life) and decided to ask the dealer about this “athlete rebate program” from Subaru.  “Oh, that’s for athletes!” he said dismissively, “sign your name here and the car will be yours!” “But I know friends that run!” I sputtered. The salesperson rolled his eyes, “Well, contact the website, we’re a dealer, I don’t know anyone who’s done it.”

Subaru is a brand known for encouraging drivers to become rugged wilderness adventurers and there are rebates available for athletes, ski instructors, golfers, new grads and people needing to modify cars for disabled passengers. The only category applicable to me is the athlete rebate, aka, someone willing to do either a triathlon or run two 5K races.  Incidentally, I was conversing with author Vincent Ternida about this and I was the third Asian person he knew who was running for this rebate…sigh…

Regardless, I hate it when people say I can’t so something, so I ended up running two Subaru sponsored races to qualify for this rebate of $750 (though I still have to mail in forms before end of the year). My husband refused to participate, but while I do my runs, he hikes 15-20 km instead. He has been encouraging me to run every month so that he can go hiking. It’s a win-win for us I guess, to spend some time in the car before we separate to do our activities!

I thought I would hate running. Instead, I was surprised when my hoarding instincts came out after I started collecting the medals at the finishing lines. So nice and shiny! And heavy! I can’t remember the last time I got a prize for something. Probably it was a science fair ribbon in high school.

My mom is pissed at me now after I told her I registered for “The Chocolate Race” in the 5K category because at the end there is a chocolate buffet. “OK, so the first two races was for money, which I support. But why the heck are you paying to run now? Just run around the block!”

Everyone wants to exercise and get fit and live longer. But often excuses outweigh the motivation! I think the combination of getting a medal and feeling pretty good after a 5K run is doing the trick for me right now. I don’t know how long this will last, but I have committed to walking 5K with a work colleague for the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon because they seem to have really nice medals. There’s a run at the Toronto Zoo too which sounds fun too because it’s at the zoo! A co-worker came by my desk this morning to tell me that I’ve motivated her to run again. She used to be a runner but stopped due to an injury and then it was too hard to go start again. It was very nice of her to tell me this, I never expected to inspire anyone, except for other potential Subaru owners! Another co-worker advised me that I had joined a cult and welcomed me since she was a runner as well!

I’ll never be a competitive athlete (top times are 15min for 5K runs), but for now I will run for medals and will be looking forward to the chocolate buffet at the next run! The healthcare benefits are a bonus!





Curing the Living Dead…With No Sugar Added!

“How are you even alive?” The Chinese doctor looked at me and sighed. “You barely have a pulse, do you eat anything at all?” I told him that I have been trying to eat more vegetables, exercise, etc. “Is there a problem with meat?” “No, I just thought I was eating too much.” “Well, you need protein for your cells to repair and function.” At this point I was flabbergasted.  He knew cell biology? He was a Chinese practitioner with 35 years of experience and worked in HK, Taiwan, and Canada. But I guess I had a stereotype that people usually chose one culture’s scientific knowledge over another.

It’s been 30 years since I have seen any Chinese doctor after the last one my parents dragged me to did some “bone reconfiguration” after I sprained my ankle.  So now I have two “ankles” on one foot due to a misalignment somewhere. “It’s not like you are crippled!” my mom yelled back when I told her why I was afraid of Chinese medicine.

With reluctance after trying to have a damn munchkin for so long, I caved into to seeing a Chinese doctor after my Western doctor became too “busy” to see me. It was a difficult situation with a parent there, as she explained to him how she thinks it’s a stupid idea for me to have a child as children are bad karma creatures out to collect debts from the parents. The doctor smiled politely and said, “You’ve shared your experience with your daughter, now it’s up to her to make the final decision.” A former university colleague of my mother’s, he knew her personality well.

He spoke for about an hour about how to eat properly as it turns out I was malnourished.  With not enough nutrition to function, how did I expect to grow a parasite? He taught a minimal cooking technique for green vegetables to preserve as much nutrients in the food as possible: Add 2 slices of ginger to a wok, heat up; add vegetables which have been rinsed in water only; cook for 3-4 min; add a little olive oil and water if needed; use lid to cover wok; cook for 3-4 min and add a little bit of salt for flavor.

In regards to cutting vegetables, he recommended not using a knife if possible as just hand breaking them preserves the cells better. Also, what I can eat depends on my body type, so he had to take my pulse.

Looking at my left wrist, he shook his head as my non-existence pulse.  After feeling my right wrist he frowned and asked, “You should be experiencing abdominal cramps after meals as you have a bad digestive system.” How did he know this? It was true, I get cramps once in a while, especially when I’m super full.

Then he looked under my tongue; there were black colored veins and when I relaxed it, the tongue did not have smooth sides.  “Your veins are black due to bad blood circulation and there are lumpy sides from your teeth.  When the tongue becomes swollen, it presses against the teeth which is why it is lumpy when you relax it.”  My mom, the energizer bunny, had a super healthy tongue of course.

After another hour of teaching me how to better take care of myself, he started to set my prescription for the next five days.  I had a weak body (low energy, bad blood circulation, heat based), but if I had too much rich food, that would make things worse.  He said there is lots more to know, but didn’t want to overwhelm me at the first meeting.  I have to return in a few days and have another assessment, then my instructions might change depending on how my body is doing.

herb powder ss
From herbs to GMP powder

My instructions:

-powder Chinese medicine mixed 2x per day in lukewarm water (on empty stomach, can eat 1 hour after).

I was expecting to have to buy herbs to cook, but he said that his GMP certified powders were tested for toxins and guaranteed to be the correct herb, unlike random vendors.  This technique of manufacturing Asian meds had been perfected by the Japanese.  Also, people don’t know how to cook the herbs properly which may mess up the meds too.  There were about a dozen powdered herbs in one “dose”.

-can only eat until 7/8 full for each meal

-can not drink water or liquids during the meal, as apparently I’ve been diluting my stomach acids.  I can have half a bowl of soup/water before and after meal that is warm in temperature.

-3 meals: breakfast (something small, carb or protein), lunch (palm size meat with 2x vegetables and some carbs), dinner amount is same as lunch, fruit 2x

-meat = chicken, fish, pork; my body can not handle lamb or beef

-vegetables and fruit must be different if eaten in the same day

-no caffeine = tea, coffee

-no alcohol

-no pop, too much sugar

-speaking of sugar, avoid as much as possible as body can not digest this well

-ARH!  NO CHOCOLATE!  I might as well be dead!

-Vitamin C, 500 milligrams; taking prenatal multi-vitamin ok as much of it will be peed out anyways

-breathing exercises, no more than 5x each or I might damage something (no aerobics as I didn’t have enough energy for that)

-no spicy or fried things

-less soya, tofu due to hormones in them

-No eating of frogs, toads, quail spit, placentas (really?!)

-snacks can either be fruit or yoghurt (Apparently the Japanese have the best yoghurt which is not available in North America)

I had questions about my use of Western medicine and he said that I should not stop as it would be a shock to the system.  I told him it was too late as the doctor pulled me from all meds after my last failed baby attempt.  He said it will take a while for my body to recover, but my body wasn’t too terrible compared to other women he had seen with the same problems.

He told a few stories in which he knew what to prescribe, but held back as he was worried about lawsuits as there is not much confidence in Chinese medicine in the Western world since Western medicine dominated.  There was some communication issues, as my background in science had been taught in English and his in Chinese.  So there were some moments which was like a game as we tried to describe the cell part we were each talking about.

In previous meetings, my Western doctor had said that I was about to take the last step in how they can help me and if it didn’t work, there was no other alternative.  So, I guess, I’ll have to give this Chinese medicine a try as I’m not sure what to do anymore. I am feeling hopeful, which is always a dangerous thing. Wish me luck!