Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Follow the Process: Rise & Shine

Under the comb
The tangle and the straight path
Are the same.
-Heraclitus

Rise and Shine! For those of you struggling on your New Year’s Resolutions, keep it up! Bit by bit life’s a cinch! Trust the process. Many of us have today off, so it’s a perfect day to regroup, refocus, and get back on track. I know I’ve got some mileage to make up too!

Make this your AM alarm and you’re sure to get out of bed and get moving!

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Honey-Green Tea Kombucha Part 2: Bottling

Our first batch of kombucha has been fermenting for 7 days now. It is time for bottling! Kombucha may take longer to ferment depending on the ambient temperature. I tasted our batch after 7 days and felt it was the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. However, if the temperature is cooler in your house, it may need up to 10 days of fermentation. After 7 days, taste it every day by pouring it into a glass until it is to your liking.

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Green Tea Kombucha all ready to be honeyed and bottled!

1. With clean hands, lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set on a clean plate. Measure 2 cups of starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for your next.

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Scooby along with a baby scooby (left) and 2 cups reserved starter tea (right)

2. Divide 3/4 cup of honey equally among the containers you are using to bottle the kombucha. One batch makes six-16 ounce bottles, so I put 2 tablespoons of honey in each bottle. Pour fermented tea over top. Leave at least 1-inch of headspace. Cap the bottles and shake each bottle to dissolve the honey.

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3. Store the kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight until carbonated, typically 1-3 days. Refrigerate to stop carbonation. Consume within one month.

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Bottled kombucha with the next batch already fermenting!

Brewing kombucha at home was so much fun. It can seem intimidating, but was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Now that my scoby is ready, I can make 6 bottles of kombucha a week. I can’t wait to try new flavors by adding fresh fruit, fruit juices, and spices! Kombucha is a great alternative to drinking water. It is healthier than drinking soda and is full of probiotics. I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Happy Brewing!

-Lisa

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Monday Afternoon Humor: Sad Desk Lunch

Another work week is upon us. Here’s a funny health video from our favorite radiologist turned Atlantic Magazine columnist to help you get through another Monday with a smile on your face.

Enjoy!

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Honey-Green Tea Kombucha

It has been 2 weeks and Scooby the Scoby is now ready to make kombucha. Yes, Scooby is a slimy, jelly-like glob. Let’s admit that he looks kind-of disgusting, but this mass of bacteria and yeast is what turns sugared tea into fermented tea, also known as kombucha. For my first batch, I am going to make a Honey-Green Tea Kombucha recipe from True Brews by Emma Christensen. This involves a basic recipe for kombucha with the use of green tea. Honey has antibacterial properties which can actually weaken the scoby, so the honey is added after the fermentation process during bottling.

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Scooby the Scoby (Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)


Honey-Green Tea Kombucha: Part 1

From True Brews, By Emma Christensen

14 cups water

1 cup white granulated sugar

8 bags green tea or 2 tablespoons loose green tea

2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha

1 scoby

1. Bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled.

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2. Remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar and gently place the scoby on top. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band.

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3. Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it will be undisturbed. Ferment for 7 to 10 days. Check the kombucha and the scoby periodically.

4. After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle!

Check back in 7-10 days to see the addition of honey and the bottling process!

-Lisa

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The Marathon Challenge: Recap

“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any moment.”

-Viktor Frankl

On October 26th, 2014, I joined the thousands of others who participated in the Marine Corps Marathon. As my first marathon, my primary goal was to finish. In that regard, I was successful, finishing 213th in my division of 1143, in 3:45:51.

Here are my splits:

Location Net Time Clock Time Time of Day Pace Pace Between
Start 00:00 2:12 7:57:12
5K 25:39 27:50 8:22:51 8:14 /mi
8:00 /mi
10K 50:31 52:42 8:47:43 8:07 /mi
8:07 /mi
15K 1:15:45 1:17:56 9:12:56 8:07 /mi
8:00 /mi
20K 1:40:38 1:42:49 9:37:50 8:05 /mi
8:07 /mi
13.1M 1:46:10 1:48:22 9:43:22 8:05 /mi
8:10 /mi
25K 2:06:01 2:08:12 10:03:12 8:06 /mi
8:23 /mi
30K 2:32:04 2:34:15 10:29:16 8:09 /mi
8:50 /mi
35K 2:59:32 3:01:43 10:56:43 8:15 /mi
10:28 /mi
40K 3:32:06 3:34:17 11:29:18 8:32 /mi
10:05 /mi
Finish 3:45:51 3:48:02 11:43:03 8:36 /mi

I’m pleased—what more is there to say, I finished my first marathon and came in under my goal time of 3:45:99.

MCM swag

MCM swag

Perhaps it’s cliché, but the marathon taught me about myself. The first few miles passed slowly and while I was eager to get going—part of me wanted to stay close to the 3:35 pacer—I knew it better to methodically trust the process and stick to my internal clock. As the race progressed others fell one-by-one; I remember a steep hill at the 5k mark where some began walking—the process was taking care of itself. Around the 10-mile marker I must’ve passed the 3:35 pace group because I saw them behind me after the course took a hairpin turn. I continued to feel great, keeping a steady pace, and watching the miles pass.

At mile 20 fatigue set in; my thighs and calves cramped up. I had to stop and stretch. The cramping worsened over the last 10K. Frustrated, I considered walking. Each step felt like a thousand little knives stabbing each leg. I wondered how I would cover the last 6 miles. I reminded myself I already ran 20. I kept telling myself “yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” I followed everyone else’s lead, sucked it up, and kept running. What other choice did I have? At some point the 3:35 pace group passed by, I felt deflated; but I remember the crowd cheering us. The energy was electric, the current palpable. I wouldn’t walk to the finish—I couldn’t. It was not pretty, my form broke—it was horrid actually—but I crossed the finish under my realistic goal. I remember smiling. The pain was over.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture from the finish, but I imagine my smile looked something like it did when Lisa and I finished our first half marathon.

Our first Half Marathon

Our first Half Marathon

A PA that sutured my eyebrow weeks before, and ironically also ran the MCM, correctly predicted the outcome of my race. She told me that day in ED that I would feel exhilarated upon finishing and that I’d be signing up for another marathon soon. Now that January is here my training for the Providence Marathon in May 2015 is under way. I’m excited to see what I can do.

-Ryan

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The Marathon Challenge: Sunday Run Recap

4 days left!

I’m amazed… I actually signed up to run a marathon in a city I have to fly to and I’m not running with anyone I know either… I’m actually about to fly to DC for two nights. My only full day there will be spent running a marathon and then I plan to celebrate by taking a 7-minute ice bath followed by a 3 to 5-hour nap in my hotel room. The next day I’ll fly home. That’s it—crazy!

Here’s the overview from my Sunday run; below are my splits (miles 1-5 were with Lisa):

MI

DURATION

AVERAGE PACE

CALORIES BURNED

9.61

1:18:15

8:08

1,090

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Mile # Pace (min/mi) Climb
1 mi 8:19 -2
2 mi 8:21 13
3 mi 8:28 16
4 mi 8:41 11
5 mi 8:54 28
6 mi 8:14 -15
7 mi 8:05 8
8 mi 7:41 -14
9 mi 7:23 0
10 mi 6:47 4

-Ryan

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The Marathon Challenge: Steady Your Nerves, Alter Your Perspective

“What such a man needs is not courage but nerve control, cool headedness. This he can get only by practice.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Steady your nerves; control your emotions. My team was given a tight deadline at work last Friday, a few colleagues complained our supervisor deadline was unrealistic. Today, one asked why I seemed so happy despite the mountain of work in front of us; she couldn’t understand why I remained outwardly unfazed (75 pages of SAS output suggested our primary and double data entry didn’t match. The solution–systematically checking the source documents for the right answers–may take more than a week). I responded, “does getting upset provide us with more options?”

Parts one, two, and three of Ryan Holiday’s book “The Obstacle is the Way” are respectively titled perception, action, and will. My marathon training and concurrent reading, and re-reading, of Holiday’s book ingrained this lesson in my mind. As Holiday argues in part one, “obstacles make us emotional, but the only way we’ll survive or overcome them is by keeping those emotions in check.” By first stepping back to steady our nerves and take control of our emotions we can remain objective in the face of adversity and alter our perspective. The mountain then becomes an ant hill.

The same could be said of my fundraising experience for Joslin’s Marine Corp Marathon team. Truthfully, I started late; if I tried again, I would solicit with greater intensity, sooner. I would use e-mail, snail mail, the telephone, and social media. I would pour my efforts, time, and resources equally into every approach. I would track where donations came from and through what means. Then, I would put all my efforts into the avenues that proved most efficient and effective.

Honestly, when I first signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon, Joslin asked me to raise $1,000; I raised $358. To many, that glass would seem half empty; to me, it’s full. Even if half-filled with water, the remainder is air. I raised $358, the missing $642 is the lesson.

The realization reminds me of a photograph I took in Lithuania. The sentence below, found on the side of an art museum in Vilnius, roughly translates to: everyone is an artist, but only artists are aware.

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egnahc ta kool uoy sgniht eht ,sgniht ta kool uoy yaw eht egnahc uoy nehw

-Ryan

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Marathon Challenge: Sunday Evening’s Run Results

I did it! I finished my 20-mile training run without injury. My feet have a few blisters to prove I ran the distance and my body is sore from head to toe, but I finished and neither of my knees took a beating.

Here’s the results:

Distance (mi) Time (hh:mm:ss) Pace (min/mile) Calories
20.01 2:54:36 8:44 2275
Intervals (mi) Pace (min/mi)
12 Slow 8:54
5 Fast 8:06
3 Slow 9:06
Miles Pace (min/mi)
1 8:44
2 8:29
3 8:37
4 8:49
5 9:17
6 9:08
7 9:06
8 9:03
9 9:08
10 9:04
11 8:47
12 8:32
13 8:12
14 8:07
15 7:56
16 8:02
17 8:15
18 9:08
19 8:52
20 9:16
21 10:12

If you’re so inclined, please contribute to my Crowdrise fundraiser for the Joslin Diabetes Center High Hopes Fund.

See you on the road,

Ryan

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The Marathon Challenge: Building My Inner Citadel

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”-Marcus Aurelius

Recently I finished reading “The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph” by Ryan Holiday. I first came across it through the blogger and author Tim Ferriss’ book club. As a fan of Tim’s podcasts, I decided to use the library of “our fair city” Cambridge to give the book a try—I’m glad I did. Holiday’s book was instructive for its honest and straightforward examples of how to apply stoic philosophy to everyday obstacles in life. Stoic philosophy helped me stay positive through a sponsor audit at work.

This week I crossed the 30-day threshold until the Marine Corps Marathon so I wanted to explain my motive for running in more detail than my crowdrise page allowed and discuss what I’ve learned about overcoming obstacles from Holiday’s book and my two most recent training runs.

The first full marathon I attempted was the 2014 Cox Providence Marathon. In the case of Cox, I suffered a knee injury in the final month of training that forced me to defer my entry to May 2015. During a final 20-mile training run in the lead up to the race my right knee progressed from no pain, to a dull tolerable pain, to a severe throbbing one. I had to walk the final five miles after completing the first 15-miles. The experience taught me to always run with my cell phone and a bus pass. Walking, limping rather, with that taste of defeat in my mouth isn’t something I’d like to relive, it was a bitter pill to swallow. The knee pain persisted for weeks afterward; it eventually subsided, but the “what if” never left.

With that, the 18-mile training run I finished last Sunday taught me a valuable lesson. Whenever I talk to co-workers about my training I often get the impression they think it’s insane to run 18 miles. To be frank, I agree; honestly it’s boring, painful, and slow. Lisa would agree that I dread my long runs. Last Sunday’s 18-mile run took me 2.75 hours; I can think of innumerable things I’d rather do with that time. I set the halfway point in front of my apartment building purposefully in case I needed to stop, but also to build perseverance. If I can keep running after 9-miles when the exit is right there and I know I have 9-miles more to go, I see the investment as a net positive.

Life is full of obstacles, many of which may take years to overcome. If I can persevere when the exit is right there, I will eventually succeed. The reward, in the end, is worth it.

-Ryan

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Week 12, Day 80: Sub 3:45:00 Marathon

Here’s the results:

miles
8.94
hours
1:14:20
mins/mi
8:19
calories
1,011

INTERVALS, PACE, CLIMB
(S)low: 2.00 mi, 9:10, -7
(F)ast: 1.00 mi, 8:01, -6
S: 1:00, 10:03, -3
F: 1.00 mi, 7:37, 9
S: 1:00, 10:37, 1
F: 1.00 mi, 7:37, 4
S:1:00, 9:36, -3
F:1.00 mi, 7:39, 8
S:1:00, 10:21, -4
F:1.00 mi, 7:12, -8
S:1:00, 9:26, 3
F:1.00 mi, 7:21, -2
S:1.00 mi, 12:44, 7

Here’s my crowdrise page for Team Joslin.

See you on the road.

-Ryan

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