Saturday, October 31, 2009

Eating healthy candy this Halloween

Feature Entry: Eating healthy candy this Halloween

The MoneyWalker loves candy, he loves chocolate, and he love loves figs. So why not leave the Hersheys and the Reese’s in the bag and reach for a bag of Figamajigs. These fat-free fig bars are covered in dark chocolate. They come flavored with almonds, raspberries and mint and were named Healthiest Candy of 2006 by Forbes and given a Healthy Snack Award by Shape in 2007. The nutrition editor of Readers Digest informs us that dried figs are a nutritional powerhouse and pack more health benefits than most dried fruits? They’re full of fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron. Plus, figs are sweet to boot, especially when dipped in chocolate! Look for other great treats for Halloween and other times by checking out their recommendations.

Journal Entry: Current weight = 175.0; Total coinage/paper last four days = $6.89. One find was a crumpled dollar bill; one walked netted four curb quarters; and this morning’s walk yielded an asphalt nickel and a wheat penny. Also, a check for one hundred dollars was submitted to the New Orleans Friendship House, an agency that provides shelter, resources, and spiritual and personal counseling to battered women and their children. Moreover, several articles of clothing have been washed and recycled to needy citizens in the Mid-City area of New Orleans.

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interaction Statistics and Weight Loss

Journal Entry: 10/26/09: Coinage = $1.26, 96 pennies (one wheat), 4 nickels, 3 dimes; Glass bottles = 8; Ground scores = 3; Best coinage = 3 asphalt coins (coins hammered away from New Orleans’ asphalt streets). It has turned chilly in New Orleans, a perfect time for a light jacket. The MoneyWalker placed a washed light jacket on a special hook on a street pole with this sign attached, “Washed, please take!” The jacket, a ground score from an earlier walk, had been retrieved from a curb site. It lasted on the pole less than 30 minutes. Someone is walking warming today. Giving back is a good feeling.

Journal Entry: 10/27/09: Weight = 175.2; Coinage = $1.26, 41 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 2; Ground Scores = 2; Best coinage find = a fence find consisting of one quarter and two pennies. Tip: I have found that people throw coins away, usually pennies, especially along the fences that separate the drive throughs of fast food franchises from establishments next door. So, when I check drive throughs, I look especially closely next to the fences as well as the areas near the pay windows. This morning the MoneyWalker found a quarter and two pennies along the fence of a Burger King drive through.

Feature Entry: Interactive statistics and weight loss

The MoneyWalkers just returned from a five-day mini vacation to the beaches of Destin, FL with three other couples—great friends. We have been taking this twice yearly trip for several years. We all met years ago at the University of New Orleans’ Faculty Women’s Club. Five of us are professors and all are teachers, three from public schools. Although representing different disciplines, our long friendship is due in part to a respective appreciation of statistics.

At Destin, the women enjoy shopping and the men hang out, take walks, philosophy, and read. Two of us enjoy checking out the thrift stores for used books and brick-a-brac treasures (the MoneyWalker collects small ducks, small boats, and cassette tape recordings). One book from an earlier post was _Perfect Weight_ by Rubin Jordan, 2008 (Siloam Publishing). Chapter 11, “Think for Your Perfect Weight” reminded me of interactive statistics and weight loss.

The chapter featured a testimonial by Carol Green, and executive chef from South Africa. Carol, after years of dieting and sporadic exercise still found herself to be consistently 20 lbs overweigh. She finally found a third step that has brought her back to her perfect weight—to eat while relaxed: “How you receive your food is important. Make every meal an occasion. Pray over your food. Eat calmly. Eat with joy every bite.” It was the interaction of diet, exercise, and stress management that produced the desired result.

She noted while studying to be a chef in Lyon, France that most French citizens eat hearty amounts of eggs, butter, and cream, but weren’t overweight. She noted that “French people ate their meals sitting down. They weren’t in a hurry to eat, preferring stimulating discussion and a leisurely pace with their knife and fork along with a glass of Bordeaux, even in the middle of the afternoon. No matter what they had pressing on their schedules, the French took their time whenever a meal was served.” We Americans can learn from the French. Too often, we eat on the run, wolf down our meals, and fail to appreciate the food or the time to prepare it.

In summary, it is the statistical interaction effect that might be missing from our attempt to lose weight. It is not just exercise and diet that needs our attention, but also stress free eating. Why not eat better food, sitting down, while enjoying stress-free and stimulating conversation.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Money walking as an art form

Journal Entry: Weight = 172.4; Coinage = $3.16; 71 pennies, 9 nickels, 10 dimes, 4 quarters; Glass bottles = 4; Ground score = 1; Best coinage find = 2 quarters in USA Today vender.

When this hobby began two years ago, finding thirty cents was considered a good walk. Now, sometimes it seems that finding money is an art form. Photo taken recently from New York Museum of Modern Art. Don't miss it.

Found one wheat in all the pennies.

Off to see friends for a few days.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lewis Percy and the Culture of Walking Cont.

Journal Entry, October 17, 2009: Weight = 173.6; Coinage = $1.63, 53 pennies, 4 nickels, 4 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass Bottles = 1; Ground Scores = 3

Journal Entry, October 18, 2009: Weight = 174.4; Coinage = $2.85, 145 pennies, 2 nickels, 11 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles = 3; Ground scores = 6; Best coinage find = three dimes and ten pennies from a residual walk to purchase a newspaper, an eight block walk. Also my alias friend at the 17th street canal bridge is now just leaving the pennies on the embankment barrier at ground level, not throwing them down onto the concrete apron that lines the sides of the canal; 50 pennies and 1 nickel. This new behavior has happened several times lately. Also, an excellent series of dime finds were experienced during the afternoon walk, just after the Saints defeated the New York Giants.

Journal Entry, October 19, 2009: Weight = 174.4; Coinage = $2.07, 57 pennies, 3 nickels, 6 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 8; Ground scores =2; Best Coinage find = a wad of change left out at the car wash.

Journal Entry, October 20, 2009: Weight = 172.4, Coinage = $.88, 18 pennies, 1 nickel, 4 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles = 2, Ground scores = 1; Best Coinage = a hunch find of pennies thrown against a retainer wall.

Feature Entry: More Percy Walker and the Culture of Walking

Anita Brookner’s (Booker Award winning novelist) protagonist Lewis Percy, like most of Brookner’s leads are avid walkers. What follows are a list of what Lewis thinks about or attempts to accomplish with his long walks:

1. Giving shape to emotional energy—resolution walking
2. Walking and stress management
3. The habit of regular walking
4. Places that Lewis walks
5. Walking as a way to pace living—reflective walking
6. Utility walking—to the store, the bank, the post office
7. Walking to combat sadness; boredom
8. Walking as a way to shape reality
9. Walking and joy; walking and sorrow
10. Maintaining good health
11. Walking and romance
12. Companion walks
13. Evening walks

I wonder if Lewis is a money walker? I don’t think so! In future blogs, the MoneyWalker will be exploring in more depth several of these cultural aspects of walking. But in the meantime, having found seven dollars and forty-three cents in four days of fitness walking is noteworthy and yet another way to look at the culture of walking. For the walkers that follows this blog, are there are other aspects similar to those of Lewis that guides your walking? Do you have different ones?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Ventral striatum and money walking

Journal Entry: Coinage = $1.57, 57 pennies, 2 nickels, 4 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles picked up and deposited in the dumpsters = 8; Ground scores = 2, 1 nearly new t-shirt that will be washed and recycled in the MoneyWalker street-side give away program and one profressional grade 3/8” socket; Best money find = one 11 penny curb scatter followed two houses later by a two penny scatter.

Finding money this close together but apparently unrelated is called a grouping. Why is a money find of 13 cents more rewarding than the .62 cents (two quarters, one dime, and two pennies) found at the McDonald drive-through? You must ask my ventral striatum. As for me, I prefer the quarters, my ventral striatum, the brains reward center is busy during the 4+ mile urgently and intensely searching for money.

As it turns out, the ventral striatum is wired with neurons that are connected with other parts of the brain that deal with problem solving. In the MoneyWalker’s case, the problem is finding money. But there is another issue that effects the firing power of the ventral striatum—competition. When others are trying to solve the same problem and when the problem is difficult to solve, a successful coin score registers much stronger than if the coin is relatively competition free. When a problem is solved the ventral striatum is happy. (Caution, keeping the ventral striatum happy is very "addicting" and is the source of the MoneyWalker's intrinsic motivation strategy.)

Now back to the debate. Who goes walking up to McDonald drive-throughs looking for coins? Just crazy people like the MoneyWalker. On the other side, people walking along the street are always subconsciously vigilant concerning coins and money. Most people will stop, bend down, and pick up something as value-less is a modern penny; and definitely a nickel, dime, or quarter. Thus, a penny scatter along a curb will often register stronger and longer than two quarters at the drive-through as for as the ventral striatum is concerned--more competition.

At least that is my SWAG theory (scientific wild-assed guess) SWAG theory belongs to many, but one being B.B. Suran, Ph.D.. Check out his funny and informative essay.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Anorexia and the Walking Culture

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.4 Coinage = $1.17, 37 pennies, 1 nickel, 5 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass Bottles = 2; Ground Scores = 2; Best coinage find = .46 at the Mikimota restaurant and Sushi bar drive up. I regular check this money spot but rarely score. This morning’s 1 quarter, two dimes, and one penny made me forget how much I dislike sushi.

Feature Entry: Anorexia and the Walking Culture

Yesterday, the MoneyWalker stated that Barbie, now 50, was a role model for us all. In the nicest of way, The Numismatist, and Ms. MoneyWalker agrees, suggested that yours truly was misinformed and provided misleading if not dangerous advise; that Barbie was anorexic for crying out loud.

For most, turning 50 is a milestone. Looks improve for some; others keep their girlish figures or rippling abs. Still others pull together a wardrobe that expresses their personality. But it's rare to have all three - unless you're made of plastic and your name is Barbie (NYT partial quote). Born Barbara Millicent Roberts on March 9, 1959, in Willows, Wisconsin, Barbie, the 12 inch doll is the top-selling toy in the world. What say you readers? Is Barbie a worthy role model? Is she anorexic?

As for the MoneyWalker, he must recant on this issue. If Barbie influences some members of the walking culture to pursue walking in order to obtain unhealthy thinness (anorexia), then Barbie cannot be held as a role model.

According to the American Psychological Association
“The cardinal feature of anorexia is refusal to maintain body weight over a minimal normal weight for age and height. (APA, 1987, p. 65)

In their chapter of Louis Diamant’s edited book, Psychology of Sport, Exercise, and Fitness: Social and Personal Issues, 1991, J. A. Prout, R. V. Kappius, and P. S. Imm indicated that 14% of anorexic patients over-exercise and are characterized by an obsessive impersonal ego-dystonic urge to move (ego-dystonic, a person's behavior, thoughts, impulses, drives, and attitudes that are unacceptable to him or her and cause anxiety). Prout et. al. indicated that anorexic individuals that are exercise compulsive walk great distances, rarely settle, have a sense of inner restlessness, and spend their time doing vigorous physical exercises. Such exercise finally leads to exhaustion and then depression.

Our protagonist Lewis Percy often fell into this walking trap:
“As he walked along the Fulham Road his pace slackened and his euphoria…gradually ebbed away, leaving sadness and confusion in its wake.”
He also had an eating disorder.

Anorexic? Be careful out there.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Newspaper headline warnings and reminders

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.4 (Weight up, week-end company gets the MoneyWalker too often.); Coinage = $2.02, 82 pennies, 3 nickels, 8 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass Bottles = 12; Ground Scores = 2; Best coinage find = one dime on a “hunch” detour.

Feature Entry: What follows are several newspaper headlines with a few comments:

Holiday shopping season is near!” It is time to develop a firm holiday strategy for portion control. The MoneyWalker will practice his habit of first taking a beverage glass and not sit down at holiday parties. Then he will make extra efforts to mix and mingle. It is very hard to eat, talk, and hold food saucers. Also, he will avoid the cheeses and concentrate on the fruits and vegetables. Also, he will double his intention to weigh every day.

“Mattel creates a more diverse Barbie!” Yes, but she is still thin. She obviously practices portion control, eats a healthy breakfast, and regularly exercises. She is a role model for all of us.

“The best revenge!” In Joy Hirdes’s Friday Times –Picayune feature “A personal look at living well,” she featured Mandy Vicknair, a teacher’s assistant. Mandy, a grandmother dropped seventy pounds in a spin class. Mandy talks of the importance of gaining family support for losing weight: “I told my family, this is hard for me but y’all have to help.” We must be firm with our "enablers" and tell them to cool their negativie insistencies.

“High BMI can cut women’s life expectancy!” Says Maria Cheng, AP medical writer, “Being fat in middle age may slash women’s chances of making it to their golden years. For every one-point increase in their Body Mass Index, women have a 12 percent lower chance of surviving to age 70 in good health when compared to thin women.” Other studies have found the same for men.

It is early, but the MoneyWalker is developing his holiday strategy now. Can't wait to show off my six-pack abs come this January.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Culture of Walking--Creative thinking

Journal Entry, Oct. 8, 2009: Weight = 173.2; Coinage = $.86, 26 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes, 1 quarter.

Journal Entry, Oct. 9, 2009: Weight = 171.0; Coinage = $1.14, all pennies, 1 wheat, 1 asphalt; Glass bottles = 9; Ground Scores = 4; Several penny scatters and a big haul at the 17th street Canal.

Journal Entry, Oct. 10, 2009: Weight = 173.0; Coinage = $1.78, 18 pennies, 3 nickels, 7 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottle = 1; Best Coinage find = bumper crop of curb finds, 24 cents residual found walking to a neighborhood garage sale. For my son-in-law, purchased the book How to Live with a Neurotic Dog.

Journal Entry, Oct. 10, 2009: Weight = 173.0; Coinage = $1.78, 18 pennies, 3 nickels, 7 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottle = 1; Best Coinage find = bumper crop of curb finds, 24 cents residual found walking to a neighborhood garage sale. For my son-in-law, purchased the book How to Live with a Neurotic Dog.

Feature Entry: While reading Anita Brookner’s book Lewis Percy, the MoneyWalker was stimulated to write in the margin, “a walking culture, through the observations of Brookner and her characters.” Her characters walk early and often. On page 12, it was about shoes, about the elements, and about loneliness: “Conscious now of the dark, of the cold, and of the thin soles of his shoes, worn out with all the walking he imposed upon himself…”

To have fun, Google the expression “the culture of walking.” I especially liked this one by Bryan Appleyard a British blogger. He observed:
Nietzsche wrote somewhere that 'Only thoughts which come from walking have any value'. Nuanced and understated as ever - but he's onto something. I'm convinced there's an essential link between thought - in particular the processes that turn thought into words - and walking. And I suspect that the thoughts and language of a walking culture take different shapes from those of a sedentary culture, i.e. the one we now inhabit.

Reminder to self—it is time to buy new walking shoes. Then if I can just capture a few well shaped walking thoughts for my blogs perhaps I can get beyond these writing blocks that are beginning to plaque the MoneyWalker.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Walking Culture, a time for rumination and nobility of thought

Journal Entry: Weight = 173.2; Coinage = $.69, 9 pennies, 1 dime, 2 quarters; Glass bottles = 5; Best Coinage find = 64 cents in curb finds, two quarters, a dime, and four pennies. The MoneyWalker’s ventral striatum, the brain's reward region, is joy filled with all monetary finds, but finding coins along the curbs provides the most satisfaction. Two coins were especially nice, an old quarter and later an old dime; old in the sense that they had been ‘walked over’ many times and were laden with street corrosion.

Feature Entry: Anita Brookner, the winner of the prestigious UK Booker Award, has written more than twenty literary novels, all featuring lead characters that are dedicated walkers. The MoneyWalker is a big fan. The current read is Lewis Percy. Lewis, like all of her characters, battles with a hostel vortex of depression. Each chapter chronicles his “will to meaning” as a defense against being dragged under to a life of misery.

One of Lewis’s most successful strategies is his constitutional habit of taking long walks:
“Whatever the reason, he was not anxious to get home without some kind of interval rumination, some time to call his own. The idea of covering a long distance appealed to him. Gentlemen in Trollope, to whom he was devoted, even more than to his early heroes, covered vast distances and were thus able to sustain their noble thoughts. He resolved to walk home regularly, and to tell Tissy to expect him an hour later than his usual time.”

Thus, two of the benefits of those that subscribe to the culture of walking is the opportunity gained for rumination—time to reflect on serious matters of the mind; and second, to find time for noble thoughts.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Culture of Walking, Part I

Journal Entry, October 4, 2009: Coinage = $2.62. These totals represent pocket change from the MoneyWalker’s trip to Connecticut, New York, and D.C. Just over a dollar in change were found on the streets of New York City, about 80 cents in one location. It is difficult to find lost money during random virgin walks regardless of the venue.

Journal Entry, October 5, 2009: Coinage = $3.21, 121 pennies, 8 nickels, 11 dimes, 2 quarters; Bottles retrieved = 14; Ground scores = 3. Most of the coinage was found in the infamous canisters at the car wash. The plane landed at 12 noon and by 2 p.m. the MoneyWalker was walking the curbs. Two extra pounds of body fat had to be measured and reduced.

Journal Entry, October 6, 2009: Coinage = $1.35, 105 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 quarter; Glass Bottles = 4; Ground Scores = 5; Best Coinage find = a long lost quarter in an asphalt crevice. The MoneyWalker doesn’t break stride, but he always looks extra careful in the cracks and crevices. Big day at the seventeenth canal.

Feature Entry: When travelling, searching for lost coins is not a necessary motivation device. In a city like New York, the visual excitement is more than ample. It is fun to walk in the Big Apple. Move away for Times Square and the tourist and you will find that the streets are filled with “professional” walkers.

The city has a culture of walking. These folks walk fast paced and with a mission. Time is money. And walking is usually the fastest way for most destinations in that Manhattan is a compact city. There are taxis galore, but most people walk. Moreover, the visual vistas are magnificent with ample parks, interesting architecture, and culturally diverse people with their dress and personal habits. Compared to most U.S. regions there are few overweight people, nor dogs.

The next several blogs will feature other aspects of the culture of walking. Many thoughts will be taken from the British author Anita Brookner that peppers her excellent literary novels with protagonists that are avid walkers.

In the mean time it is back to the big four for the MoneyWalker—daily weighing, a heart smart breakfast, portion control menus, and a four mile zoom walk.