Treadmill and all its gory glory

The constant thud underneath your feet. The constrained space. The monotony of going nowhere fast. Running on a treadmill can certainly feel like torture, but did you know it was originally used for that very purpose? In the words of Conor Heffernan, know the bitter tale of a treadmill.

It feels like hours have gone by, but it’s only been eleven minutes, and you wonder, “Why am I torturing myself? This thing has got to be considered a cruel and unusual punishment.”

Actually, that’s exactly what it is, or was. You see, in the 1800s, treadmills were created to punish English prisoners. At the time, the English prison system was abysmally bad. Execution and deportation were often the punishments of choice, and those who were locked away faced hours of solitude in filthy cells.

So, social movements led by religious groups, philanthropies, and celebrities, like Charles Dickens, sought to change these dire conditions and help reform the prisoners. When their movement succeeded, entire prisons were remodeled and new forms of rehabilitation, such as the treadmill, were introduced.

Here’s how the original version, invented in 1818 by English engineer Sir William Cubitt, worked. Prisoners stepped on 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel. As the wheel turned, the prisoner was forced to keep stepping up or risk falling off, similar to modern stepper machines.

Meanwhile, the rotation made gears pump out water, crush grain, or power mills, which is where the name “treadmill” originated. These devices were seen as a fantastic way of whipping prisoners into shape, and that added benefit of powering mills helped to rebuild a British economy decimated by the Napoleonic Wars. It was a win for all concerned, except the prisoners. It’s estimated that, on average, prisoners spent six or so hours a day on treadmills, the equivalent of climbing 5,000 to 14,000 feet. 14,000 feet is roughly Mount Everest’s halfway point.

Imagine doing that five days a week with little food. Cubitt’s idea quickly spread across the British Empire and America. Within a decade of its creation, over 50 English prisons boasted a treadmill, and America, a similar amount. Unsurprisingly, the exertion combined with poor nutrition saw many prisoners suffer breakdowns and injuries, not that prison guards seemed to care. In 1824, New York prison guard James Hardie credited the device with taming his more boisterous inmates, writing that the “monotonous steadiness, and not its severity…constitutes its terror,” a quote many still agree with.

And treadmills lasted in England until the late 19th century, when they were banned for being excessively cruel under the Prison’s Act of 1898. But of course the torture device returned with a vengeance, this time targeting the unsuspecting public. In 1911, a treadmill patent was registered in the U.S., and by 1952, the forerunner for today’s modern treadmill had been created.

When the jogging craze hit the U.S. in the 1970s, the treadmill was thrust back into the limelight as an easy and convenient way to improve aerobic fitness, and lose unwanted pounds, which, to be fair, it’s pretty good at doing. And the machine has maintained its popularity since. So the next time you voluntarily subject yourself to what was once a cruel and unusual punishment, just be glad you can control when you’ll hop off.

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Why is it important to eat seasonal fruits and ditch the cold stored ones

Seasonal fruits and their benefits are known to us as our grandmas and grandpas often told us about them but what tops our list when we go out fruit and veggie shopping is an array of fruits that are placed over shelves from ice-cold chambers as they are preserved for off-season consumption. One of them is apples. It is sold throughout the year with a shiny layer of wax to preserve crunch and freshness. We often underestimate the abundance of nature and go in for more expensive and better looking produce, which is not only not in harmony with nature, it is also heavy on your pocket. I will elaborate why seasonal produce, fruits in particular, are a great choice and add up to your immunity and well being.

Fresher: seasonal produce is always fresher than fruits stored in cold storage that lie in an icy chamber for months together before being considered for selling. Apples, pears, grapes, California oranges are some examples that people often buy in all seasons because they look good due to the chemicals applied on them and they cost more.

Cheaper: because it is seasonal, it will always be cheaper. Fruits like jamuns, starfruit, jujubes, etc. are not intended for a year-long sale, which means no shortage in the market. When farmers harvest abundant produce in season, the cost of the produce goes down. There are lesser transportation charges as the produce is available locally.

Nutrient rich: when fruits are consumed immediately after harvesting, they are higher in nutritional value like anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, folate and carotenes, that reduce when stored for a longer span of time. Off-season fruit is also low in phyto-nutrients.

After seeing the pros of seasonal fruits, it is vital to talk about the kinds of seasonal fruits and their benefits.

Jamun (black plum) – Jamuns are packed with vitamins and minerals like  iron, manganese, zinc, calcium, sodium and potassium. The Gallic and tannic acids present in jamun are powerful antioxidants that fight disease. People suffering from diabetes swear by this fruit and consume not only the fruit, also its bark, leaves and seed.

Water melon – A fun fat-free delight, this fruits is high in water and fiber. An excellent summer fruit, water melon helps control body temperature, inflammation and blood pressure. Rich in Vitamins like A, B, C, water melon has high concentration of lycopene.

Mangoes – The king of fruits and everyone’s favorite, mangoes are indeed a juicy delicacy. Mangoes are sweet but have low glycemic index. This fruit is packed with selenium, Vitamin A, E and C. It helps fight inflammation and is high in anti-oxidants.

Jujube (ber) – My favorite! This fruit fights cancer, it strengthens immune system, aids in weight loss, promotes healthier skin, improves digestion and is packed with Vitamins.

Star fruit (kamarak) – extremely low in calories, it is high in Vitamin C. Star fruit is rich in antioxidant phytonutrient polyphenolic flavonoids. It is a good source of B-complex Vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6). Small amount of minerals and electrolytes like potassium, phosphorus, and zinc and iron are also present.

Peach – The peels and the pulp of peaches possess antioxidant properties that help boost skin health, fight cancer and obesity. Peaches are rich in phenolic and carotenoid compounds, which possess anti-tumor properties. To add to it, it has a delicious taste to it.

Strawberry – Strawberries are storehouses of several nutrients. The fruits help improve eye care, aids in brain function, provides relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, gout and various cardiovascular diseases. It boosts immunity.

There are several other seasonal fruits like guava, cherries, plums, grapes etc. Remember to have them all when they are harvested and restrain from eating cold stored fruits to optimize health. The next time you want to have an apple this season, ditch the idea and grab a bowl of black plums or jamuns or grab a guava.

This is how you can make drinking water safer, purer

Water is the elixir of life and no life can sustain without water. A human being consumes two to three liters of water every day on an average and this brings us to a standpoint where we need to think how safe is our drinking water and how does water storage affects drinking water.

In the olden times, our kitchens thrived on steel and clay pots. Now, it is plastics, which is not safe. We tend to store water in all sorts of plastic bottles, jugs or containers, worse is Pepsi, Coca-Cola bottles. It can be a low grade or high-grade plastic but we need to remember that plastic is plastic. Plastics carry lot of chemicals and bacteria. Drinking water from plastic storage tanks is not safe. These containers are made using several chemicals like polyethylene, polypropylene, bisphenol, high density polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate and cross linked polyethylene. These chemicals cause several health risks.

When you store water in plastic bottles, harmful substances like fluoride, arsenic and aluminum are produced, which can be poisonous for the human body.

Storing water in plastic containers is not safe as harmful chemicals such as BPA in plastic, cause a health risk by clinging to the water molecules. Dioxin production takes place when plastic melts in hot environment and with every passing year, summers are becoming unbearably hot. Imagine how much plastic can actually get mixed with water when it comes in contact with scorching sun. When water is left in plastic bottles under the sun for a longer time, heating takes place and this releases a toxin called Dioxin, which when consumed can accelerate breast cancer. Our RO systems are connected to the overhead water tanks that are made of plastics mixed with colours and dyes.

Biphenyl A, which is found abundantly in plastics, is responsible for diabetes, fertility issues, early puberty in kids and behavioral problems. Plastics lead to liver cancer and a reduced sperm count and this happens primarily due to a chemical called phthalates present in plastic.

Another stupid concoction that is sold in plastic bottles is ‘TONIC WATER’ or ‘VITAMIN WATER’. These are simple marketing gimmicks to fool people like you and me. Not only does the concoction gets deteriorated as such bottles stay in transit and logistics for a long time before it reaches supermarkets, these bottles are also exposed to varying temperatures. I mean, a truck driver, who delivers plastic bottles with water or such fancy waters is the least concerned about your health. He parks his truck in the sun for I don’t know how long, may be days together, before he finally gets them to a supermarket. In the process, the water has already deteriorated. In addition, the Tonic water has high-fructose corn syrup and chemical additives that should never ever go inside your mouth.

Plastics tend to influence our immune system. The plastics when ingested cause havoc on the immune system.

Now, that enough has been said about plastic bottles storing water, the question arises how to store water and remove impurities from drinking water.

I would suggest the traditional clay pot, also called ‘Matka’. Water stored in a matka or earthen clay pot is devoid of BPA. The water is cooler than water stored in plastic containers. It is also known to enhance metabolism and adds a natural taste to water. Matkas or earthen pots are made of two types of mud clay: the first is taken from the surface of the earth and the second after digging more than 10 feet deeper into the earth.

Clay is alkaline in nature and doctors state that an alkaline diet kills cancer cells. The alkaline clay interacts with the acidity of water and neutralizes the pH balance. If you have gastric problems or acidity, try having water from a matka and it will help cure the problem.

As stated earlier that plastic bottle water causes the sperm count to fall, clay pot water helps improve the level of testosterone in your body.

Clay is nature’s answer to remove all forms of radiation from the body. So, imagine what it can do to water. Obviously, make is safer and purer for consumption.

I once did a story on uranium’s presence in the water in Punjab’s Malwa region, which was picked up by news channels and scientists from various countries and had led to a massive research on the subject. During one of the interviews, I was told by a professor, who was well read in the concerned subject that storing water in clay pots can remove arsenics and uranium from water.

What happens when a toxin bonds with a clay? When toxins and clay unite, an electromagnetic bond is formed which often converts the toxin into another compound thereby neutralizing its toxicity and is harmless to the body.

Apart from matka, water can also be stored in glass and steel containers but clay pot remains by far the best way to store and purify water.

Happy drinking!

 

The military diet: review and more

What is military diet? Putting it simple, it is a simple diet plan aimed at inducing quick weight loss and can aid ten pounds of weight loss in just one week.

Wow! Really? Yes, it is for real but again like every diet, only if you stick to it by the book. No substitutes and absolutely no cheats.

No diet is a magic pill and ultimately it boils down to how much you take in Vs how much you expend. The whole concept of military diet is the ingredients working together in a way that leads to weight loss. The only condition is that just stick with it and see for yourself.

Why is military diet better

This diet is good for over eaters and people who like to binge simply because it does not exclude any food group. Also, the portions on this diet are clear and this makes you unable to overeat if you stick to the diet. The best bet is that no one feels deprived of anything as there is sugar, salt and carbs too.

It is real weight loss

Unlike several diets that only lead to a loss in the water weight, military diet makes you lose actual weight. The body tends to retain water when you eat loads of salt and consume soda but when you eat healthy and drink water, the body flushes out excess water. This diet will also make you lose some water weight but fat too as it is a calorie deficit diet.

The Military Diet Day 1

breakfast 

½ Grapefruit
1 Slice of Wholegrain Toast
1 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter
1 Cup of Tea/Coffee

Lunch 
½ Cup of

1 Slice of Wholegrain Toast
1 Cup of Coffee/Tea

Dinner 
3oz of meat

1 Cup of Green Beans
½ Banana
1 Small Apple
1 Cup Vanilla Ice Cream

 

 

The Military Diet Day 2

 Breakfast 
1 Egg
1 Slice of Wholegrain Toast
½ Banana

Lunch 
1 Cup of Cottage Cheese
1 Boiled Egg

5 Saltine Crackers

Dinner 
2 Hotdogs without buns

1 Cup of Broccoli
½ Cup of Carrot
½ Banana
½ Cup of Vanilla Ice Cream

The Military Diet Day 3

Breakfast 
1 Slice of Cheddar Cheese
5 Saltine Crackers
1 Small Apple

 

Lunch 
1 Egg Cooked to Your Liking
1 Slice of Wholegrain Toast

Dinner
1 Cup Tuna
½ Banana
1 Cup of Vanilla Ice Cream

Results

You must be wondering that what is the period of doing this diet and for how long can it be followed. Well, again, you have to follow it for three days atleast and then continue eating normal but not exceeding 1500 calories with little sugar, not an overload of both salt and sugar. You can again get back in case you want to lose more weight.

 

The diet is to the point, just right and has no frills attached. Just follow it and see the results. Do it only if you are high on willpower otherwise you will leave it in between and end up feeling frustrated.

Get ready to face some difficulties but if you really want it, then you will sail through. You do not have to be an exercise freak while doing this else you will start feeling hungry. But, don’t restrain if you follow a basic and simple exercise routine, which doesn’t burn too many calories.

The reason why it is so popular is because this diet works. This diet is for you if you really want to lose weight fast and that too without investing much into fancy foods and diet foods.