immersion. – life+running

immersion.

I’ve become a reading machine — Mark got me a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas, and I’ve been mowing through books like it’s my job. I always loved reading, but, — this may sound terrible — holding books has become tedious to me since my hands are so small, and the books I want to read are usually pretty big. I was spending more time fumbling with the book to get a comfortable grip than I was reading. But the Kindle Fire is the perfect size, and I love it (so far). I even made a cute case for it (complete with glasses-wearing hipster deer):

another kindle fire case that i made (for myself this time — $25 if you seriously really want me to make you one) // lifeplusrunning.com

Lately I’ve immersed myself in a series of books, documentaries, and articles related to health, nutrition, and fitness. I’ve obviously got a vested interest in these topics, but I’m not an expert. And up until now the opinions I’ve formed on these subjects were based on my own personal experiences and ideas, and not scientific research or expert sources.

However, I’m making a concerted effort to change my approach to forming my opinions on health, nutrition, and fitness (and other aspects of my life). In fact, I’ve become so interested in nutrition that I’m debating on whether I want to continue my masters degree in graphic design, or switch to a nutrition-related scientific field. The latter would require me to take some basic undergraduate science classes before pursuing a graduate degree, and the former could be done AND I could supplement the degree with my interest in nutrition by taking 2-3 classes in nutritional biochemistry or nutritional science in addition since my graphic design degree requires several non-degree credits.

And, as I mentioned last week, I will be having regular guest posts from a registered dietitian, and a nutritional biochemistry student (or, as I like to call her, an “expert-in-training”). If I do take a nutrition class, I’ll share info with you. And as I read more books and watch more documentaries, I’ll review some of them for you.

Anyway. Long explanation. And to go with that long explanation for my sudden interest in research, I have a long list of materials that I’ve read and watched in the past month that have helped me begin to form more educated opinions on the matters of health, nutrition, and fitness. I’ve got a bunch more in queue (mostly to read).

Film

All of these movies have a similar theme: our Western diet of processed food is making us sick, and if we start eating mostly plants, we will feel better. Some of these films focus on where our food comes from (Fresh and Vegucated in particular), and what we can do to make sure we’re getting the most nutritious (and humanely treated) food sources. I enjoyed Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, and Fresh the most — to me, these were the most entertaining, and informative.

Written Word

Given the voice and opinions of most of the items listed, I should mention that my full-time job is for an agricultural college within a land-grant institution, which translates into my day job being very focused on industrial agriculture and agribusiness, but our college has interests (and majors, students, and research) in the environment, bioeconomy, and health fields. I’m getting a well-rounded view of the topics that I’m interested in, though my reading and viewing materials may suggest otherwise.

I also picked up a lot of free K-12 science books on subjects that my school was lacking, or that I failed to take in high school, such as biology, nutrition, and basic chemistry. I’m hoping that my newfound interest in very (very) basic nutritional biochemistry will help me gain some of the knowledge that I missed in grade school, and that I can finally be friends with a science. That, and I hope some of this knowledge will help me not feel so stupid when my friends, who are mostly engineers, are geeking math and science.

Again, I’m far from an expert, but I’m hoping to start to back up my opinions that I share with you with examples from experts.

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What do you geek? 

21 Comment

  1. I “geek” the very same things you talked about here . . . which ultimately led me to enrolling in classes at IIN. I’ll be graduating next month (gahhhh!), and will be a certified health coach! Yay! I still have my “day-time” job (teacher), as I spent a lot of time working on that, but I just couldn’t ignore these other topics that I was passionate about researching. Who knows where this will take me now, but I have loved pursuing/studying/researching what interests me! So cool that you enjoy some of the same things!

    1. chimes says: Reply

      It’s funny because everything and everybody keep(s) leading me back to that. I’m worried I wouldn’t be able to get a job that I enjoy with that certificate/degree/whatever you’d call it, but I know it would be very interesting for me to study.

  2. Cute hipster deer!! 🙂
    I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on Vegucated and Forks Over Knives! I’ve read a few books on your list. I have all of Michael Pollan’s and got to see him speak about 4 years ago (and sign my books!). I totally geeked out when I met him.
    I geek out over food, spices, beer, etc. And FONTS. 🙂

    1. chimes says: Reply

      I really enjoyed vegucated, but forks over knives and a few of these other movies blend together. I didn’t like how they showed ONLY the bad animal treatment in vegucated. It is possible to eat meat that’s humanely treated, and from an animal that’s possibly actually happy (if there is such a thing — I think so, Barney is pretty happy).

    2. So jealous you met Michael Pollen! Very cool!

  3. I read and watched very similar stuff before and during my change in diet and learned so much. I also happened to visit China around that time and experienced first hand a lot of what people talk about as it relates to nutrition (since the chinese have been adopting many of our bad nutrition habits). It’s very eye-opening!

    1. chimes says: Reply

      Yes — I can’t remember which movie i saw that tidbit about China adopting our Western diet, but it was frightening.

  4. Love that case! Hipster deer!!

  5. The Kindle Fire is so amazing-I got one for Christmas and I can’t put it down! Thanks for listing those books, too. I’ve been looking for a few new ones to download and study!

    1. no problem! they’re good ones.

  6. Thanks for the suggested reading list! I will get these downloaded ASAP! 🙂

    1. No problem! Add to that “why french women don’t get fat” and “why we get fat, and what to do about it”. I have a bunch more in queue that I want to read, including those.

  7. I’ve been getting interested in health topics lately as well but I’ve struggled to know where to look for the best informative, non-biased information. Thanks for the book suggestions…I’ll take a look!

    P.S. I would take nutrition classes if I were you. I wish I had in retrospect…the topic is so interesting to me now!

    1. You bet your cute little butt that I’m planning on it. I dropped 2 of my classes (as I know we discussed) but one was a food/nutrition class. I’m thinking about taking 2 classes over the summer or fall so I can get financial aid to get a new computer (yeah, not how you’re s’possed to do it, but a long-term loan is better than a short-term credit card bill with high interest, and my lappy is dying). Anyway. long response there, but i’m going to! I might even sign up for the class I’d dropped (if there’s room) yet this semester if my grad course isn’t too terrible. I think I’ll have time, and I can get the financial aid and get my laptop (I sound like a terrible person! haha).

      1. Lol good! I really do wish I would’ve.

        And no judging, my roommate used to use her financial aid money to go shopping for clothes. Yours is legit, at least.

        And macs are freaking expensive, so I don’t blame you there. (Best to buy in the fall to get the full student discount/add ons.)

        1. haha i might be trying to do it now … mostly because there was an intro class that is online this semester, and i feel like it’s going to fill up in the fall since it’s a complete intro class.

          1. I’m sure you can handle it, you seem pretty on top of things. And that’s probably a good point…intro classes in fall always fill up!

        2. Considering that I’m reading a bunch of nutrition stuff in my spare time … I think I’ll be okay. I opted for the 100 level class over the 300 level class I was originally enrolled in … I figured that’d be easier. I’m hoping that since I’m a grad student i’m exempt from the biology pre-req b/c i didn’t ever take any hs biology …

          1. Yeah you should have a good footing already. Hope so. I don’t think biology would be a lot of fun! (And I bet it’d be hard.) I never took biology either. Took chemistry because I thought I wanted to grow up to be a darkroom photographer…lol.

  8. I always feel like I never read because I’m not finishing actual novels. But the reality is that I read ALL.THE.TIME! I’m constantly reading health and nutrition related articles and books. I’ve checked out basically all the nutrition documentaries from our library and love them all. I’ve watched them all from you list above. My favorite was Fresh! I’m such a nerd I even take notes while watching them! Lol. I haven’t completed it yet, but am working on a round-up/summary/my take post of the documentaries I’ve watched lately.

  9. […] soluble fiber is a healthy way to reduce cholesterol. I’ve been reading about fiber in my K-12 nutrition book (snicker, snicker — I know. It’s embarrassing, but it was free on Kindle) and have decided […]

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