Shape Up! – Week 81

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

This is week 81 in my series of Shape Up!  The weekly post on what I did over the last week in my quest to getting healthier.

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Today, I am kind of sleepy.  For the last couple of nights, I have struggled getting some sleep.  On Saturday night, I could not fall asleep.  On Sunday night, I slept for over 12 hours.  And on Monday night, my body felt so cold that I had to put two huge blankets over me to stay warm.  No, the apartment was not too cold and the apartment was at 73 degrees.  During the day, I felt really tired and fatigued.  So what could be causing this you ask?  Just take a look at this on my right leg.

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Yep, that is a nasty sore.  While walking along Greenbrier Dear Rd. last week, I guess a tick somehow got attached and tried to go inside the skin.  I did remove the tick and killed it, but as you can see, my body is not reacting to the tick bite very well.  After doing some research, I found out that this tick bite could have released a disease inside my body.  So here I go, I think I have Lyme Disease.  First symptoms includes joint pains, chills, fever, and fatigue.  Symptoms down the road could include severe fatigue, a stiff, aching neck, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or facial palsy.  If you let symptoms go for too long, you could experience severe headaches, painful arthritis and swelling of joints, cardiac abnormalities and even mental disorders.

Yes, if I was employed and had money, I would have already gone to a doctor to get this checked out.  But when you have been unemployed for 25 months now and hardly have any money, you can’t go see a doctor.  Obviously, if the City of Anniston had sidewalks along Greenbrier Dear Rd. instead of tall grass and trash, I would have probably not gotten this tick bite.  See, walking on the side of the road is very dangerous.  Ticks can bite you, you can step on trash and broken glass, you can step onto fire ant mounds, and some car drivers will serve towards you almost hitting you.  Ahh, the joys of walking!


So for now, my walking days are over.  My legs are stiff and sore because of this bite.  And I wonder if I will be able to go see a doctor to get the antibiotics I need to treat this bite.  Of course, I still have the cap from my tooth that is still off as well.  With my birthday on August 15th, I wonder if I will end up in the emergency room instead of celebrating my birthday.  Yes, I hate being negative again, but I really don’t have anything positive to talk about right now.  Maybe my 27th year on this Earth will be better for me.

This is what I ate last week:

Tuesday: Chicken Breast, Rice, Sweet Tea.

Wednesday: Hot Dogs, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Thursday: Pork Chops, Rice, Sweet Tea.

Friday: Burgers, Fries, Sweet Tea.

Saturday: Pizza, Sweet Tea.

Sunday: Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea

Monday: Burger, Fries, Sweet Tea.

Have a great week everyone!


Shape Up! – Weeks 79-80

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

This is weeks 79-80 in my series of Shape Up!  The weekly post on what I did over the last week in my quest to getting healthier.

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For a few days last week, I was walking like crazy.  I had to walk from my apartment on Greenbrier Dear Rd. to the library in downtown Anniston.  The walk from there to back was around six miles of walking per day just to access the internet.  Here’s a map for you to look at!


From Google Maps.

I took some photos of my route that I am going to share.  Alabama lacks sidewalks in many places!  That meant I was walking alongside the road in the grass.  At times I had to dodge fallen trees, tall grass, trash, and even hypodermic needles, yes I saw a few.  Walking along Quintard Ave. and Noble St. was good because sidewalks were present.  But walking along Greenbrier Dear Rd. was a pain because there were no sidewalks and I was walking up Greenbrier Mountain.  Yes, I was tired!

On the return trip home, I began by walking down Noble St.  There are ped signals to help you cross the busy roads along Noble St.  And I was glad to walk on sidewalks.  The only portion lacking sidewalks was around a curve.  I had to walk around tree branches, glass, and trash while walking on the road without getting hit by a car.


Then I turn onto E St. to connect to Quintard Ave.  The reason, because the traffic light has ped signals.  The light at Greenbrier Dear Rd. does not have ped signals.


Then I begin the climb up Greenbrier Mountain.  The first part has curbs and I walk alongside them.  Then the road has no curbs and I take a risk walking along the side of the road.  It’s easier to walk on pavement then walking in the grass.  You never know what’s in the grass.


At the top, there are guard rails on both sides of the road which means I have to walk in the road.  It’s no fun having cars go by you at 45 mph.


Then I go downhill which is very easy.  I enjoy the view overlooking Anniston and Oxford.


Then I get home and sit down and drink a lot of water!


Sure, I know I am burning a lot of calories while walking for six miles and over a mountain twice.  But it’s dangerous when there is no sidewalks to walk on.  The side of the road is littered with trash, tall weeds, and fire ant mounds.  The city has said that sidewalks will be coming to Greenbrier Dear Rd. soon.  I hope it happens soon!

By the way, New York City will never be able to limit the size of sugary drinks. The Supreme Court’s Appellate Division found that the city’s Board of Health “failed to act within the bounds of its lawfully delegated authority” when it moved to ban sugary drinks of more than 16 ounces in New York City food service establishments.  So next time you go to New York City, you don’t have to worry about using a small cup for your drinks.  A drink size ban will never work ever!  People must have self-control over what they decide to consume.

This is what I ate last week:

Monday: Hotpockets, Sweet Tea.

Tuesday: Fish and Chips, Sweet Tea.

Wednesday: Chicken and Dumplings, Sweet Tea.

Thursday: Chicken TV Dinner, Sweet Tea.

Friday: Tacos, Rice, Sweet Tea.

Saturday: Pizza, Sweet Tea.

Sunday: Tacos, Rice, Sweet Tea

Monday: Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Have a great week everyone!

Shape Up! – Weeks 77-78

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

This is weeks 77-78 in my series of Shape Up!  The weekly post on what I did over the last week in my quest to getting healthier.

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This week I wanted to talk about those candy bars that many of us enjoy.  Did you know that you average candy bars have ingredients like corn syrup, color dyes, artificial colors, preservatives, and who knows what else.  This means candy bars are not so healthy to be eating at all.  Now, some teenagers have set out to re-create some of our favorite candy bars to be much healthier!  The healthy candy is called UNREAL, and the company makes five types of candy including chocolate shelled candy, peanut butter cups, and chocolate bars!  The difference, these candies are made using natural ingredients!

Unreal was the brainchild of Nicky Bonner, who came up with the idea at the age of 13 after his father took away most of his candy after trick-or-treating.  Nicky’s dad did not like the idea of having so many chemicals in candy today.  And after Nicky did some research, it turned out that his father was right.  With Nicky’s father help, Nicky talked to doctors, food scientists, and several other experts all over the world.  He also spoke to Adam, a renowned chef in Spain.  Nicky had an idea to create an indulgence, without all the bad stuff.  That is when UNREAL was born.


The candy from UNREAL is without the use of corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, artificial flavors and colors, or even GMO’s.  The sugar is also reduced as much as 40% from your average candy bars.  To get the taste just right, they literally tested hundreds of recipes to generate just five different candies. Along the way, they had to work out how to produce the candy at a cost that would allow them to sell it at the same price as the old candy.  This was critical.  It’s one thing to sell an expensive bar at a fancy health food store.  It’s another to give everyone a new option that costs the same at the checkout of your grocer or convenience store.  So how’s the taste?  Here’s a taste test from Consumer Reports.

This candy company has gone back to the basics with UNREAL.  The company is not going to stop with these five candy products.  The company hopes to expand the line to sodas, snack foods, and other candy in the near future.  Let’s hope UNREAL will be very successful!  We all can eat healthier!  Learn more about UNREAL at:


Before I wrap up, I wanted to talk about my special CrowdRise fundraiser project.  I have set a goal of $500 for my special birthday fundraiser for Edify, whose mission is to improve and to expand sustainable, affordable Christ-centered education in the developing world.  The fundraiser will end on August 15th (my 27th birthday).  If you can, please donate at:

This is what I ate last week:

Monday: Steak Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Tuesday: Steak Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Wednesday: Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Sweet Tea.

Thursday: Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Sweet Tea.

Friday: Hotpockets, Sweet Tea.

Saturday: Fish and Chips, Sweet Tea.

Sunday: Chicken Breast, Potatoes, Sweet Tea

Monday: Hot Dogs, Mac and Cheese, Sweet Tea.

Have a great week everyone!

Shape Up! – Week 76

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

This is week 76 in my series of Shape Up!  The weekly post on what I did over the last week in my quest to getting healthier.

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This week I am talking about some of the newest fast-food items that are very unhealthy.  Fast-food joints are known for their unhealthy selections.  Yes, many fast-food joints do offer some healthy alternatives like salads.  But admit it, 99% of people goes to fast-food joints to enjoy unhealthy stuff like burgers, fried chicken, french fries, and ice cream.  People will also wash down their fast-food meals with a coke or sweet tea.  So most people know that they are going to gain a little weight by eating at a fast-food joint.


McDonald’s is offering their highest calorie menu item ever!  In Japan, the McMega Potato looks like a double portion of their large french fries.  Just look at how big this is!  If this was put in front of me, I would eat it all!  A single container of McMega Potato equals nearly half the caloric intake recommended for the average adult in one day, and has more than double the calories of one of McDonald’s Big Macs.  You could eat FOUR McDonald’s Hot Apple Pies and still not hit the number of calories this thing has.  It’s basically the most ridiculously gluttonous and absurd thing fast food has ever offered to the public.


Let’s talk about Burger King and their bacon sundae.  This thing has vanilla soft-serve swirled with fudge, caramel, and bacon crumbles, garnished with sugar and a piece of bacon.  This desert, if you want to call it that, has 510 calories along with 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar.  This desert has a diabetes future written all over it!

20130528-253222-hardees-carls-jr-superman-super-bacon-cheeseburger-realityAnd then there’s Hardee’s with their Super Bacon Cheese Thickburger.  The burger features six strips of bacon woven into a crispy bacon nest.  You can also order this burger “epic style” with 12 strips of bacon!  Just listen to these nutritional facts, the Six Dollar Super Bacon Cheese Thickburger has 1010 calories and 73 grams of fat!  After reading that, you wonder if the fast-food companies are wanting to make people fat?  These fast-food items are all heart-attacks waiting to happen!

Yes, if the consumers wanted healthier items, the fast-food companies would offer healthier items and not offer these items high in calories and fat.  We need to make smarter decisions at these fast-food places.  If you are one of those people who can’t eat healthy at a fast-food place, don’t go to a fast-food place.  There are healthier alternatives you can choose from, you just have to make an effort.  I found this video very interesting, what if animals ate what is offered at McDonald’s?  Here’s the results!

This is what I ate last week:

Monday: Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Sweet Tea.

Tuesday: Fish and Chips, Sweet Tea.

Wednesday: Bratwurst, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Thursday: Fish and Chips, Sweet Tea.

Friday: Hotpockets, Sweet Tea.

Saturday: Hotpockets, Sweet Tea.

Sunday: Pizza, Sweet Tea.

Have a great week everyone!

Shape Up! – Week 75

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

This is week 75 in my series of Shape Up!  The weekly post on what I did over the last week in my quest to getting healthier.  This week, you will get The Southern Geek – Vlog Episode 6 instead of the normal video diary!

In this edition of The Southern Geek, I am talking about the controversy around Paula Deen and the south.  I talked about this issue on my last Sunday Discussion post.  View it below!

As you know, Paula Deen is known for her way of cooking.  She likes to use a lot of butter and fat in her dishes.  That’s what makes her dishes taste so good!  Paula Deen was raised in the south where she learned to cook in a southern way.  Many people who are born in the south also learns to cook in a southern way as well.  Many southern dishes are either fried, or laden with butter and fat to make them taste so good.  Many southerners also likes to over-induldge at the dinner table or at the buffet line with many unhealthy items.  This is why the south is the most obese region in the country.


Some people criticized Paula Deen for her style of cooking because it contributed to obesity and disease.  But don’t blame all the obesity and disease problems on chefs like Paula Deen.  There are other factors that goes into the problems in the south.  The first, some people in the south are very poor.  These people often have to choose the worst types of food to feed their families.  If you don’t have hardly any money like I do and are on food stamps.  What’s can you afford?  A pack of cookies for $1 or a bag of apples for $3?  A pack of Roman noodles for $1 or a pound of beef for $5?  Or a 2-litter bottle of soda for $1 or a gallon of milk for $5?  Get the idea.


Another factor in the south is exercise.  In many places, the only way to get around is by car.  There are no sidewalks or bike paths along many roads in the cities.  Sometimes I will walk in the grass along a 4-lane highway and boy it’s not fun!  Having to cross intersections without ped signals and having cars honk at you and people heckle toward you makes the experience worse.  Sure, there are some places where you can walk like in the parks.  But having to get in a car just to walk kind of makes the whole point useless.  You should not have to get in a car to just exercise.

road-sign-1Some people also likes to ride a bike to get some exercise.  But in the south, the roads are not made for cycling.  Many cyclists experience some drivers who heckle them, throw things at them, and even try to run the cyclists off the road.  Some car drivers feels like cyclists don’t belong on the road and they should be banned because they don’t pay taxes.  But guess what, all roads are made for cars, bicycles, and pedestrians.  Cyclists and pedestrians have a right to be on a road, except for interstates.

And then there are health problems.  Poor people can not afford to go see a doctor or a dentist for preventive care.  I have not gone to see a doctor or a dentist for over five years now.  Some people have gone much longer than that.  The cost of healthcare is way too high in America.  Yes, I feel like healthcare is a right for everybody.  You should not have to suffer with poor health just because you are poor and no one will give you a chance to succeed.  America can do better.

The south can turn these trends around!  The region and states needs to make healthy food more affordable, build more sidewalks, widen some roads for cyclists and pedestrians, and make sure all people receives preventive healthcare.  There are chefs transforming the southern dishes that many people are used too as well.  The south can become more healthy, we just have to do it!

This is what I ate last week:

Monday: Chicken Breast, Brown Rice, Sweet Tea.

Tuesday: Steak Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Wednesday: Steak Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Thursday: Chicken Breast, Brown Rice, Sweet Tea.

Friday: Hotpockets, Sweet Tea.

Saturday: Homemade Bread, Sweet Tea.

Sunday: Burger, Fries, Sweet Tea.

Have a great week everyone!