Ask A Geek Anything, Volume 25

Good morning, and welcome to Ask a Geek Anything volume 25

Another week of the spot on the interwebs where we’ll answer anything that won’t get us slapped in Kansas City… (OK that’s a lie, we’ve answered several things that got us slapped, and GODS WILLING we’ll answer many more that get us slapped)

First up, is Fluffy Geek who asks- What diet is best for weight loss?

and our Physical fitness Goddess and no longer quite so fluffy Amanda Fuesting answers:   There’s no simple answer to this due to individual differences in metabolism, body chemistry, and nutritional needs. I am going to first suggest that if weight loss has been a serious problem for you that you consult your primary care provider for guidance, as that will be the person with the best idea of your individual needs. It also needs to be said that weight is not always an indicator for overall health. You don’t need to be skinny to be healthy, and body type plays into this a lot. What you need to focus on is a diet and lifestyle that promotes overall health.

That said, I can give you some very good general advice for overall healthy diet choices that will help you shed some of that extra fluff. First, avoid fad diets like the plague that they are. Don’t avoid all carbs. Don’t avoid all fats, or even all saturated fats. Don’t even cut out 100% of the treats that you allow yourself. If you attempt to deprive yourself of any one thing, you will want it badly, and binge on it later. Further, your body needs carbs, fats, and proteins right along with all of the nutrients that come with food. Trying to cut all of any of those things out will make you less healthy.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet that contains fewer calories than you burn in a day, and you will lose weight. Do you like steak? Excellent! Have a lean cut of steak, with a side of steamed vegetables, and don’t hate yourself for that roll with butter. Replace that cheesecake with a small bowl of fresh fruit that is sweet enough to fill the craving for desert. Do you like to snack? Replace your chips with a sliced apple and peanut butter (if you aren’t allergic to nuts of course), some lightly salted popcorn without butter, sugar snap peas, or other fresh vegetables (I eat sliced peppers like potato chips). There are thousands of recipes for light healthy snacks online, which brings me to my next bit of advice.

Learn to cook. You don’t need to be able to make a gourmet meal, but you need to be able to follow a recipe more complicated than warming canned soup in the microwave. This will save you a lot of money over eating out, provide you with an opportunity to try new ingredients in different ways, and give you access to a lot of healthy options that you just won’t get out of packaged food that is loaded down with sodium and calories (while being typically light on nutritional value). I understand busy work schedules (my shifts run 13.5 hours on average), so I really advise making dishes that you can put in fridge and warm up as needed. You can make ahead for the week on whatever day you have free, and be set for the whole week. It’s okay to cheat and order a pizza now and then, or grab a quick burger every so often. Just don’t make a habit of it. The more you get into the habit of cooking; the easier it will get, the better you will get at it, and the faster it will go. I will sometimes make a huge pot of basic homemade soup and warm it up for three or four days adding different seasonings every day to relieve the boredom and liven it up. I swear I know 150 ways to use hot sauce. Find what you like, expand on it, and find healthier ways to make it.
Next, drink eight full glasses of water every single day, and more is fine. (Please consult your doctor is you have cardiac or renal restrictions on fluids, of course.) A lot of people I know drink 2,000 calories in just soda every day. Make sweet drinks a treat that you have one of every couple of weeks. Drinking more water and fewer sweet drinks will instantly cut the calories you’re taking in, while making you better hydrated at the same time. It also allows you to feel “full” with less food if you have a glass or two of water with a meal. Because I am a coffee fanatic, I’ll also add that you should skip the overpriced sugerfest of coffeehouse drinks, and make coffee at home. Invest in a good thermos, so you can enjoy hot coffee all day. Try to avoid sweetening your coffee to the point that it’s more like caffeinated sugar. Black coffee has no calories at all, and several studies have indicated that there are some health benefits to drinking coffee. (Decaf gives the same benefits, so whatever the mechanism of action is has little to nothing to do with caffeine).

Whatever you’re eating or drinking, make sure to take in fewer calories than you burn if you want to drop weight. This will require some effort on your part to figure out just how many calories you burn, and exactly how many you need. Once again, these are questions that your primary care provider can help with, as the answers are unique to you. I will leave exercise out of this, as your question was restricted to diet (and also because I don’t know your specific health condition and what exercise you may not be able to physically do), but it is worth mentioning that even the light exercise of walking can be a tremendous help in your weight loss goals.

Excellent advice Amanda!  Next up, is Bored to tears in Boston, who asks: History bores me. Aren’t there any historians who can write in a way that I won’t fall asleep?

and Declan Finn answers, Hi, I’m  the resident history nerd (see, that freaking masters degree with worth SOMETHING). I think I can settle that with a collection of historians you might find of interest.

If you’re interested in World War Two cultural history, Rabbi David Dalin and Ronald Rychlak as two awesome and superior writers. Rychlak tells a history of World War Two like it’s a novel, and his footnotes are like short stories (Hitler, The War, and the Pope, 10th anniversary edition if you can swing it). Dalin has done both a history that was like a series of short stories (The Myth of Hitler’s Pope), and a biography of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem called Icon of Evil … for good reason.

Richard Overy … wow, this guy is awesome. He breaks down World War II in such a way that it’s understandable and even a little thrilling. If you ever thought that bombing the ever living crap out of Germany did nothing, you’ll be rethinking that after this book.

Michael Oren is another one who tells history like he’s telling stories. Of particular interest is his bookSix Days of War, where he interviewed everybody on both sides. Fun fact: The Israelis blew up the largest Mig fighter jet airforce – 300 planes – in about three hours, most of them while they were on the ground. Because that airforce belonged to Egypt. Cool, huh?

Martin Gilbert – may he rest in peace, Gilbert was the historian on Winston Churchill, and has done solid World War II material.

Simon Schama is a British “art” historian, but dear Lord can this man spin a yarn. While better known for his PBS specials, don’t hold those against him. He can turn a phrase better than most historians (even some on this list) and you can hear the sarcasm as you read. It’s awesome.

John Keegan’s The Face of War is an interesting study, if only because he recreates battlefields using all five senses – Waterloo smelled of gunpowder, and sounded like hail as the bullets hit the armor of the French cavalrymen … that sort of thing.

And then there is the great and terrible Victor Davis Hansen. Want a breakdown of Sparta? Want a perspective on the ripples of one battle? Want to know why Lew Wallace sucked on the battlefield? He’s done a little bit of everything except World War II. Start with Carnage and Culture. Just go from there.

See? History Isn’t that boring.

And if you’re interested in learning history through fiction (that IS NOT Dan Brown’s bullcrap), I recommend the Sigma novels of James Rollins, or even The Pius Trilogy by someone with a strange Irish name that no one has ever heard of.

Now I’m going to weigh in on this one as well, because while I don’t have the Masters degree that Declan does, I’ve been a History nerd since I was in high school (yes smartass they did have history back then, and NO it was not in hieroglyphs, nor was it a three page pamphlet. {fuckin kids, get off my lawn!}) Dan Hampton does a GREAT job of putting you in the cockpit of combat aircraft from the first world war, to Gulf II, in “Lords of the Sky”.  While there are some surprising holes (doesn’t’ mention anything about the Japanese perspective on combat, and in fact gives the entire Pacific theater a pass, which I blame on being an Air Force pilot, doesn’t mention Major Bong…) His book is way worth the ride.

Then there’s James D Hornfischer, author of “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors”, “Ship of Ghosts” and “Neptune’s Inferno” among others.  WOW.  The man’s work reads like a novel, (something by Clancy or Brown) except every word is true and it’s all painstakingly researched.  If you’re not careful you just might learn something.

There’s also most of the old Bantam War series, a group of historical documentaries published by Bantam at various times in the 60s and 70s, to include “the Phantom Major” (also published as “Who Dares Wins” the story of the founding of the SAS) “Stuka Pilot”,(about the most decorated aviator in Nazi Germany), and many others.  In short, if you’re not enjoying your history reading, you my friend are NOT reading the right books!

Well, we’re way over length for the week, so I’m going to sign off now with what has become our standard ending (and folks I mean it, we NEED Questions):   remember, you can e-mail us questions at askageekanythingowg@gmail.com or contact us through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/askageekanythingowg . We have all the old articles there and will update it every week with new ones, as well as take questions from posts. If you’re so inclined, we’d appreciate it if you could like and share the page, because we’re running really low on questions to answer!  If you don’t ask it, we can’t answer!Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week.

About morrigan508

A retired submarine sailor and former cop, author of the John Fisher Chronicles, as well as a contributing author of the Otherwhere Gazette.

4 comments on “Ask A Geek Anything, Volume 25

  1. “it was not in hieroglyphs, nor was it a three page pamphlet.”

    So was it in cuneiform? -ducking and running for cover-
    I think some of mine was in petroglyphs – which may explain why I have forgotten so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had a Chief read aloud from “Last stand of the Tincan Sailors” as we (“we being the USS Blue Ridge) were transiting through the San Bernandino Strait a few years back. Mind, I was trying to sleep at the time, so I didn’t appreciate it as much as I otherwise might have. And since I will be serving aboard a tin can my own self very shortly now, I need to track down a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll second the recommendation for Keegan’s “Face of War”. It was outstanding.

    Samuel Elliot Morrison’s history of World War II is long and exhaustively detailed; his “European Discovery of America” is shorter and better.

    Winston Churchill’s 4-volume “History of the English Speaking Peoples” is definitive, and an easy read, while his 6-volume “The Second World War” reads as if the Prime Minister of England, responsible for the conduct of the war, was writing it. Oh, wait… He was!

    Liked by 1 person

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