Thursday, 12 February 2009

Hola de Guatemala!

I'm sorry I haven't written in a while but I'm in Antigua, Guatemala now!
It's a great little city that has maintained it's traditional customs (ie. women carrying baskets on their heads is a common site in Antigua) but has adopted some modern customs.
This is evident in some of the restaurants I've seen. In this small town that's about 1.5km x 1.5km, I've seen a Subway, a McDonald's, a Dominoes Pizza and a Burger King! The fast food restaurant that is more popular in Guatemala (and Central America) is Pollo Campero.

Nonetheless, most Guatemalans eat 5 meals a day, 3 main meals and 2 snacks.

Breakfast is typically eaten early (7-ish) and consists of mosh (porridge) and fruit, eggs, beans and tortillas or toast with marmalade, and coffee.

Their first snack is taken at 10-ish and typically is atole, a sweet corn drink.

Lunch is the main meal, usually taken at 1-ish, and can include soup followed by meat, rice, vegetables, and a simple salad. Fresh fruit or fruit juice may follow the meal.

Their second snack is at ~4pm and is usually a pastry and coffee.

Dinner, at 7-ish and can include black beans, tortillas and eggs or sweet bread, beans, artichokes, rice and meat. Fried plantains, flan (caramel custard), or fresh fruit are popular desserts.

More pictures to follow!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Take the stairs!

I'm sure that, at some point, you resolved to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Researchers from the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland decided to see what happens when people actually follow through on this resolution.

69 sedentary (less than 2 hrs exercise a week) employees were asked to exclusively take the stairs instead of the elevator for 12 weeks.

The result:

VO2 max (used to measure aerobic capacity) increased by 8.6%.
The mean increase of aerobic capacity corresponds to a 15% decrease in all-cause mortality risk.

Body fat decreased by 1.7%.

Waist circumference decreased by 1.8%.

Diastolic blood pressure decreased by 2.3%.

LDL (lousy) cholesterol decreased by 3.9%.

Although the results of this pilot study need to be confirmed in a larger randomised controlled trial,
maybe these results will motivate you to ditch the elevator...?!