“People Who Say That Running Is Fun Are Lying to You,” Outside Online recently had to claim.
I’d still say that I do it for fun, but in the process, maybe I took things a little too easy.
The case that got me thinking about individual experience and the need for some “self-experimentation” – see my post on The N = 1 of Life Advice – came almost literally from a case… From samples of Pure Encapsulation’s Daily Immune (Immune Active, as it’s called in Europe) supplement, that is.
Supplements in the form of multivitamins had, not that long ago, been the subject of a scientific analysis regarding their efficacy. The result: It’s all a waste of money.
For most people with an averagely healthy diet – or let’s make that an averagely diverse diet, because there probably isn’t much of a need for what most people would consider especially and particularly healthy foods, either – multivitamins are probably unnecessary.
Share that insight, though, and you are more than likely to be met with a lot of resistance.
Who eats a healthy diet nowadays?! Surely a little bit of an insurance against deficiencies is not a bad thing?! Can’t they just leave us feeling better for just a little money?!
These, certainly, were the kinds of comments I encountered when I shared that research.
I myself am a person who hardly ever takes even an aspirin, so I’d tend to concur.
Then I went to a Foodblogger camp, and I heard people react in the usual way foodies do when there were those ‘pills’ there. The opinion I overheard was a “What do those drug-pushers think; as if you’d need such artificial supplementation when you can just eat a diverse diet!”
The supplement sample was interesting, though.
There are some extracts of supposedly helpful plants in it, including some I had or have been growing myself such as Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus, Wu-jia-pi), which is supposed to have adaptogenic/tonic properties.
There is Vitamin D, which my sports doctor highly recommended I should supplement (having checked my levels of it).
There was the zinc often enough lauded as helpful for the immune system.
As these things go – read my article on the n=1 of life advice and go on learning about science from there – I can’t say that anything I experienced has to hold true for anybody else.
I can’t even be certain, given that I’m only one person and I’ve only had one winter’s experience, that my own experience will hold true even a second winter.
But, I can say that I used that Daily Immune / Immune Active supplement throughout the winter, and it was the first winter that I never caught a cold. My wife did, and the winters before, we always managed to infect each other.
Not this winter, a.k.a. flu season.
This is definitely not medical advice, nor even anything more than one person’s anecdotal experience of one single winter – but it’s enough that I think supplements (and diets) may be some of the best cases for the n=1 argument:
Assume that what holds true for the average holds true for you and be critical – but also check (in all things medical, with your doctor) if maybe something not-average will be the case with you.
If you want to try out Pure Encapsulations, have a look at their range of products e.g. at Pharmaca – and yes, this is an affiliate link; nothing was sponsored unless you count the samples I got from them, though. In fact, at the moment, you can’t even get the same Daily Immune / Immune Active I used at that link.
As much attention as “paleo” has received as the latest fad diet, the people who are looking into its basic tenet as a guide to what a human is meant to experience – how we are to live, not just to eat – are much fewer.
It may be understandable only too easily.
“Do you want us to go back to the Stone Age?!?” is a popular reaction to e.g. environmentalists’ calls for degrowth and to remember lessons from earlier times, after all – and surely we wouldn’t want to literally live like cavemen.
That said, if you believe that maybe we are not physiologically well-adapted to eating modern foodstuffs (yet), it is all the more likely that we are not adapted to many other modern conditions.
How we are not at home in our bodily being is one of the fundamental ways we are not “at home:” We think of “our bodies” when that is, in fact, what we are before we even develop a sense of self, remain even if we lose our mind, and always are as an integrated whole.
One particularly good case in point is our understanding of our hearts and heart rate in running.
St. John’s Day, as in: Midsummer Day, the day of the summer solstice, is almost upon us.
It will be the time for mountain solstice fires again, then, and fittingly for both that day and climate change, St. John’s Wort has just come into bloom here, already.
Having looked towards FKT as “fully known trails / terrain,” I have reason to look back at everything that I had encountered during the recent ‘trails of spring’ (#1: Winter’s Last Hold at the Traunsee, #2: Wild Leeks in the Leitha Mountains)
Flowers, pretty as they often are and useful as plants can be, have been among the prominently noteworthy things.
In making plant diversity more obvious in all their many colors and pretty shapes, flowers are good illustrations of the lack of at-home-ness we often have: They are obviously there, they are obviously all different – but how many do you recognize?
And if you want to argue that there is just no need to do so, let me ask what’s the need to recognize different brands of cars or clothes when you can’t eat them, can’t use any but your own, and won’t even interact with the vast majority of people who use them, so that the social cues inherent in them aren’t of any effect.
At least you could enjoy seeing the flowers and knowing what they are; and in knowing them, you could probably find some that could be used as food or tea or medicine, too.
And simply knowing the places you live more intimately, from the roads to the trails, from historic buildings to blades of grass, makes for a different – and better – connection with life.
In all the connected technology and social media connection all around the world, we are all too little connected to the places where we actually are, anyways.
But of course, as a human being, everything that moved was more noticeable also to me; the closer to potential prey or predator, the more so.
The sheep grazing not far from the road just recently struck my eye,…
…as did the mountain goats using the trails as their paths through the still-snowy landscape of a month or two before.
There were also other things.
Not just small animals such as the fire salamander trying to hide away between stones…
…but also more and more flowers. The ones that started emerging just as soon as the snow was melting, and the ones that only came up much later, now that we are moving closer to summer…
Of course, there is much more to be seen than I took photos of; and there is a lot that could be said about them all.
There are commonalities, such as the wild leeks (ramson) that grow in both the Pannonian landscape of the Burgenland I usually live in and the Salzkammergut part of the Alps I regularly visit to run mountain trails, and there are differences between these two areas.
In fact, there are differences just between different mountains and different faces of a single mountain, between the woody hills and the agricultural floors of the same flat landscape.
It’s just a matter of making oneself at home in these places enough to notice it all.