Cycling. Health. Covid. Diet.

GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
606
269
UK
There are varied reasons why an individual might choose to cycle (e-bike or not), but I’m sure for many people, the health benefits are a primary driver. Speaking personally, getting back into shape was the no1 thing that made me want to get back on two wheels (and the hills around where I live was the no1 reason to buy an ebike to let me achieve that original goal!).

However one thing I’ve come to realise, and this is especially true the older you get, is that you can’t exercise yourself out of a bad diet. If you want to be healthy, you need both. Exercise AND a good diet.
And of course, right here, right now, as well as all the other commonplace ailments, we have Covid-19 to deal with. The data indicates that its more likely than not you’re going to catch it at some point, and the only thing that’s going to protect you is your own immune system and general state of health. The statistics also show that its people with co-morbidities/existing medical conditions are the ones by far most likely to die.
So it seems logical that everybody should be doing as best they can to improve their general state of health and get their immune system in peak condition. Which means exercise and diet.

I see a fair bit of talk about the exercise side of things, but not so much on the diet aspect. So I thought I’d start this thread to hopefully instigate a discussion on what people are doing or thinking about changing regarding the food they eat (or the exercise for that matter). Either because you’ve already altered your eating habits when you started cycling and exercising some time ago, or maybe the current situation has given some urgency to re-evaluate your nutritional strategy?

Experiences or thoughts welcome.
 

GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
606
269
UK
I’ll kick off the experiences. There’s a whole bunch I could add to this, but I’ll start with one interesting observation:

When I started back cycling, I was surprised how much of a physical wreck I was! I live in a hilly area and I really struggled just to cycle out of the village. But of course that’s where the e-bike excelled, and bit by bit, my distances and ride times got longer, and I slowly got fitter and fitter, to the point that I now often take a non electric bike out.
But one thing I was really suffering from was aching joints. And this didn’t go away. The fitter I was getting, just meant I could cycle longer, faster and harder. The aching was pretty much the same, and it would often wake me up multiple times in the night with hip and knee pain. This probably went on for a couple of years, and frankly, I put it down to old age and the impending onset of arthritis! You know what they say “old age doesn’t come alone ….”

I would say my diet wasn’t particularly ‘bad’ at this point either. I rarely ate what most average people would consider ‘junk’ food. However when my fitness had increased to what seemed a decent level, but my fat levels were not dropping as I’d hoped, I decided I needed to be a bit more drastic to get the weight loss I wanted, so a number of things happened.
Firstly, I was a bit of a bugger for milky coffee. So cutting those out was an easy way to cut a good few hundred calories out of the diet per day. Shortly afterwards, the wife suspected she might have a dairy intolerance (as many people do – but most don’t even realise it!), plus, although she didn’t have Celiac disease, she might also have a slight gluten intolerance (as many people do – but most don’t even realise it!) so we totally stopped buying anything with dairy and it ended up that I also was eating a lot more gluten free produce as well.

So my diet change at this point was really to lose weight (and that did also happen slowly) as well as just eating what my wife was eating to make things more convenient. But after a month or so, I suddenly realised that I wasn’t being woken up in the night with aching joints any longer! It hadn’t even registered with me. I’d just gone back to ‘normal’ over a period of a few weeks with the aches getting less and less.
Halleluiah! A miracle!! No, not really. I’d just inadvertently eliminated the two most common foodstuffs that cause an autoimmune inflammatory response, even though at the time, I wasn’t aware of how common dairy/wheat issues are.
This was about a year ago. The aching stayed away. Until I went on holiday over Xmas where the hotel had an all you could eat buffet …. Typically, I ate all I could … dairy and bread included … and surprise surprise … it came back.

Anybody else tried eliminating wheat/gluten/dairy from their diet?
 

nigelbb

Pedelecer
Sep 19, 2019
211
188
Males are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as females & 35% of those who dies are non-white. Not much to be done about of those risk factors but those who are overweight are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as those with a BMI of less than 25.
 
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sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
2,645
2,085
Anybody else tried eliminating wheat/gluten/dairy from their diet?
Good points. I only have wheat cereal and milk for breakfast (+black coffee) and bread and cheese for lunch (+more black coffee) ... I must think about it. Can't get the flour for the bread at the moment anyway.

I used to be involved in a Cystic Fibrosis charity; breathing/lung issues related to Covid. In the UK the importance of teams with doctor but also physio and dietician was recognized as a really valuable norm. In the mainly eastern european countries where we operated the value of the physio and dietician was not so accepted (especially by some of the doctors). In fact, there generally were very few physios and (almost) no dieticians
 
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PC2017

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 19, 2017
759
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Scunthorpe
existing medical conditions are the ones by far most likely to die.
Bugger - I am T1D and if I stay in to protect myself I can't exercise + I still need shopping but I have limited this to butcher, home bargains and aldi and only when times are less busy - I am gluten, lactose intolerant and stay away from FODMAPs but I haven't lost any weight the year I have gone without, but this could be a side effect of insulin but that's topic for the boffins - As for exercise I have got fitter since the ebike, without it I wouldn't go anywhere in the winter - my aches are less joint pain and more muscle but even the docs are stumped on that one I think it goes back to the days before I was diagnosed, high blood glucose can cause untold damage.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
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I think I've been the opposite of many. As a very fit unpowered cyclist in a hilly area who enjoyed storming up tough hills, I finally only bought an e-bike to pull a large trailer when in my late sixties. And it spoilt my fitness as I got more used to the assistance, though increasing age also helped with that of course.

Now due to a heart condition and being 84 I no longer cycle and walk for exercise.

But my weight at under 65 kilos and a BMI of 23 has remained constant, probably as much due to the fact I've eaten healthily all my life. No junk foods ever, minimal processed foods and never prepared meals.

I've never been aware of any signs of food allergy until very recently with an odd change. I can no longer eat an omelette or scrambled eggs without quickly feeling very sick, yet eggs used within recipes have no ill effect. Very odd since it's recognised problem for children but very rare in adulthood.
.
 

GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
606
269
UK
Bugger - I am T1D .....
.... insulin ....
Yes, it seems people who are diabetic are at particular risk. Especially from Covid-19.
When I started to seriously look into health and diet, it was a bit of a shock to see the figures on how many people have or will get diabetes. I think at one point, I was probably heading that way as well.
Most people with diabetes are type2 of course. But the good thing about that is for the vast majority - its diet that's caused it in the first place, and there's lots of evidence that changing what you eat can not only let you control it without drugs, but even cure it.

Type 1 is more problematic. Previously, I'd been told that T1D was one of the small number of diseases that was genetic and you were born with it, however it appears that for a number of people who didn't have it from birth, it can be caused by an autoimmune reaction - again, a food related issue! And even if you can't cure this type, changing your diet can drastically reduce your reliance on insulin.

In my research, I've come across a number of things from Dr. Cyrus Khambatta (who himself has T1D) One of the most fascinating podcasts/youtube videos I've seen about diabetes was Rich Roll interviewing him and Robby Barbaro (also T1D).
If anyone has diabetes, its well worth checking out. Even if you haven't (yet!) got it yourself, I found the back story of the two individuals super interesting, and it certainly helped me understand both types of diabetes a lot better than I originally did.
Here's a link to Rich's webpage where there is some background info and a link to the videos etc.
http://bit.ly/richroll499B
Warning ... the whole podcast/youtube video is a long one!! But hey .... what's a couple of hours if it can change your life :)
 
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PC2017

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 19, 2017
759
118
Scunthorpe
I'd been told that T1D was one of the small number of diseases that was genetic and you were born with it
And interestingly until recent it was not considered hereditary, I have a family history of miss-diagnosed T2 being T1 and my mother was, as mine is classed as LADA and even though I do think lifestyle and diet (heavy drinker) played a big part in my onset, in my case several severe infections was the main cause. I will certainly check out them links as even I don't fully understand my condition and I have been 5 years diagnosed this October, however the latest figures have me a little more concerned for the long term, especially if/when the social distancing is lifted people in my boat will have to be subject to further measures unless a vaccine can be found soon, if that's even possible.
 

Tarka

Pedelecer
Jan 29, 2019
112
89
I'm mid 60s and have knackered hips and knees from years as a plumber. I can walk, although hills are a struggle, my ebike gets me out to places in the countryside where I can stop anywhere I please and enjoy the view and fresh air.

I also drive a car but the ebike is for more local journeys and makes hills become flat. I had given up on cycling until I discovered motor assist.
 

thirteen

Pedelecer
Jul 16, 2014
100
44
West Sussex
Anybody else tried eliminating wheat/gluten/dairy from their diet?
Yes, because of a need to reduce my cholesterol levels, I cut out dairy completely.

Although I had no prior indications of being dairy intolerant, the resulting health improvements have been eye opening.

I have also dropped 2.5 stone in 2.5 years.

To be fair, I did overdo the cheese and butter quite considerably. Mrs Thirteen had been telling me I would enjoy coffee a lot more if I learned to drink it black. She was, as usual, correct.
 
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artspeck

Pedelecer
Nov 21, 2016
78
27
83
Sunderland
What hasn’t been mentioned here is vitamin C and vitamin K.
Since starting to take these just 2 weeks ago it has freed up my aching joints to the extent I can now walk 3 miles again without problems. I’m doing this daily now as I’m in total lockdown because of age and medical problems. Check it out here from a doctor
 
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GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
606
269
UK
I finally only bought an e-bike to pull a large trailer when in my late sixties. And it spoilt my fitness as I got more used to the assistance
Indeed. I'm currently doing my best to use a non powered bike wherever possible for this very reason. However I've come to the realise how important regular exercise is (meaning its better to cycle say 5 times a week at a moderate intensity as opposed to blasting it flat out for hours once a week on a Sunday!), so I find a hardish ride one day on a normal bike, then effectively a 'recovery ride' on the e-bike the next day works wonders! Rinse and repeat ...

Now due to a heart condition and being 84 I no longer cycle and walk for exercise.
But my weight at under 65 kilos and a BMI of 23 has remained constant, probably as much due to the fact I've eaten healthily all my life. No junk foods ever, minimal processed foods and never prepared meals.
Sorry to hear of your heart condition. Although a constant 65kg and a BMI of 23 sounds as if you have managed to look after yourself. Good on you for that!
Do you think you've effectively had to fight the system though in terms of eating healthily? I find its do-able, but there is so much forward planning needed to make sure you don't rely on processed foods. For people travelling for example - just look to see what's available in fuel or service stations !?! its 99.99% junk food! I tend to prepare most foods in batches now and take containers into work with me.
Would you have any specific food advice for the 'younger audience' here? :)


I've never been aware of any signs of food allergy until very recently with an odd change. I can no longer eat an omelette or scrambled eggs without quickly feeling very sick, yet eggs used within recipes have no ill effect. Very odd since it's recognised problem for children but very rare in adulthood.
That's an interesting one. I'll have a ponder on that.
One thing I will say is that it seems many (a majority?) of people can actually appear to tolerate things that they actually have an intolerance to (as opposed to an allergy), in fact, your body can often develop an addiction to things that in reality, aren't doing you any good.
I read an utterly fascinating book by a physician called Theron G. Randolph. I think it was called 'Allergies - your hidden enemy'. Its a pretty old book now (often available on ebay SH for a couple of quid). It describes dozens and dozens of case studies that this doctor had come across over decades - he was a specialist in how different foods and chemicals in our environment affected his patients. A real eye opener.
I used to be someone who poo-pooed people who seemed to be a bit 'ultra sensitive' with various things (my wife for example really seems to suffer being in an enclosed space with people wearing perfume!). Now I've read that book - I understand! Lots of observations on others now clicked into place and I have much more empathy with them and their conditions.
There's a really interesting case study of one guy who thought the only food he could handle properly was eggs .... yet it turned out it was eggs that he was allergic to!!
 
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nigelbb

Pedelecer
Sep 19, 2019
211
188
What hasn’t been mentioned here is vitamin C and vitamin K.
Since starting to take these just 2 weeks ago it has freed up my aching joints to the extent I can now walk 3 miles again without problems. I’m doing this daily now as I’m in total lockdown because of age and medical problems. Check it out here from a doctor
I've been taking quite large doses of Vitamin D all winter as there is reasonable evidence that with lack of sunshine in the UK we are all deficient & there is moderate evidence of boosting immune system & fighting off respiratory viruses. This may account for the fact that when I developed COVID-19 my symptoms were relatively mild (dry cough, muscle & joint pains, loss of sense of taste & smell, fatigue). On the other hand my partner just had a dry cough & mildly sore throat for a couple of days & doesn't take any vitamin supplements. She is complaining about her hay fever now when she wasn't complaining about COVID-19.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
48,819
26,486
Do you think you've effectively had to fight the system though in terms of eating healthily? I find its do-able, but there is so much forward planning needed to make sure you don't rely on processed foods.
Not really, my father was Italian, working in catering and doing almost all the cooking and food preparation when he was at home, so I grew up cooking with fresh ingredients from an early age. I hardly use any processed foods beyond some fundamentals like bread and very rarely baked beans. In my working years even when working late I would still always cook a meal for myself.

Out of curiosity on a few rare occasions I've experimentally tried a supermarket ready meal. My opinion of them is very low and most ended up in the bin!

Would you have any specific food advice for the 'younger audience' here?
With today's English audience I could write a book!

Seriously, and noting the panic buying of pasta and rice, presumably out of a fear of fewer potatoes, it should be borne in mind that the majority of the vitamin C in the UK diet comes from potatoes. So if no spuds and not enough fruit and veg, use vitamin C supplements.

Frozen peas though are as good as fresh for a health point of view, but if short of fresh fruit and veg, use dried fruit as nibbles. Such things as sultanas and prunes will supply some of the trace elements we need, plus fibre, while being much healthier than a packet of crisps when watching the box. A few nuts are good too but they are 70 to 80% fat, so don't go mad.

Otherwise, always try to eat fresh and cook from fresh ingredients. After all, most of the population have all the time in the world for that now, so none of the "not enough time" excuses are valid.
.
 

GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
606
269
UK
Yes, because of a need to reduce my cholesterol levels, I cut out dairy completely.
Although I had no prior indications of being dairy intolerant, the resulting health improvements have been eye opening.
Doesn't surprise me. I've seen some statistics that say around 65% of humans have lactose intolerance, but even for those that can process it, the question becomes - is it a 'natural' foodstuff for adult humans? and when you think logically, the answer has to be a resounding no! Milk is a designed as a super fast growth inducing substance to get baby animals quickly up to a decent size, not something adult animals consume. Also ... cows milk is designed specifically for ... er ... baby cows! Not humans. We've been conned by the milk industry to make us think its 'healthy' and 'good for strong bones' etc. (I've actually read studies where long term statistics show osteoporosis and hip fractures actually INCREASE with increasing milk consumption!?!).

I have also dropped 2.5 stone in 2.5 years.
Good stuff!
You know .. I don't live by the scales (I tend to use the mirror more as a judge of how I'm doing), but I've just gone and weighed, and I'm a bit (pleasantly) shocked. Seems that I'm myself now 3 stone lighter than I was at my heaviest (and that would have been around 3 years ago when I started looking after myself more, so we're probably on a similar slimming trajectory!)
Mind you, I still think I have a way to go ... so I must have been a real fat barsteward back then :D

To be fair, I did overdo the cheese and butter quite considerably
.

LOL. Aye. I like cooking, and the easiest way to make things 'special' and 'delicious' is to slather them with oodles of cream or cheese and/or fry them in oceans of butter!! Pity it kills you in the end. Even though I don't use the stuff any more, my mouth is still watering thinking about it. :)
Mmmmm ... pizza .....mmmmmm

Mrs Thirteen had been telling me I would enjoy coffee a lot more if I learned to drink it black. She was, as usual, correct.
If you're good with it being black, stick with it. However for anyone who thinks they might miss the milk or fancy a latte, the best milk substitute I've found by far taste wise is Oatly barista edition (in the grey carton).
Oatly barista
You can shake it up in the carton before pouring and it really goes deliciously creamy and frothy.
Even though I used to drink oodles of coffee and for most people, I don't think a cup here and there is a problem, I'm pretty sure now that caffeine adversely affects me personally. So I've mostly switched to a coffee substitute as well for when I fancy a 'nice cuppa'. I like Yannoh
https://www.limafood.com/en-gb/product/yannoh-r-instant-2

People will tell you that your taste buds change over time when you swap to new foods. I was initially dubious, but now I'm a believer. I now actually PREFER a Yannoh with Oatly over a coffee with cream (tastes too much like greasy cow now LOL)
 

John F

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 3, 2013
411
50
Yes, because of a need to reduce my cholesterol levels, I cut out dairy completely.

Although I had no prior indications of being dairy intolerant, the resulting health improvements have been eye opening.

I have also dropped 2.5 stone in 2.5 years.

To be fair, I did overdo the cheese and butter quite considerably. Mrs Thirteen had been telling me I would enjoy coffee a lot more if I learned to drink it black. She was, as usual, correct.
Why do you need to reduce your cholesterol levels? Try reading "The Great Cholesterol Con" and "Too Many Pills" for a more modern and informed view.
 
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GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
606
269
UK
Males are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as females & 35% of those who dies are non-white. Not much to be done about of those risk factors...
I'm not so sure about that. The questions we should be asking need to revolve around WHY Males are twice as likely to die? WHY there seems to be a higher mortality from Covid-19 in the non-white population?

For the latter - I've seen two theories bandied around. One is that the higher death number so far are being reported in areas of lower income/higher poverty, where there is more reliance on cheap, processed junk food as opposed to fresh, organic etc.
The second theory is that darker skin, while being more protective from harmful effects of solar radiation, unfortunately has the side effect of reducing the ability of the body to produce vitamin D from a given dose of sun.
You can do something about both of the above once you realise its a potential problem.

The Males vs Females one is interesting. I don't recall seeing much discussion on that one (although no doubt its out there).
If I had to take a guess (and I'm sure this will be a contentious one among the male population ;) ) , I'd say that on average over the whole Uk population, women seem to be a bit more more sensible on a number of health matters. They smoke less. They are less heavy drinkers. And observation would lead me to believe that they don't eat quite as much junk fast food / takeaway stuff.
So males can also do something about that!
 
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GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
606
269
UK
.. I grew up cooking with fresh ingredients from an early age.
That's interesting. Children learn from their parents as you have, but now, we have a generation of adults where many DON'T prepare and cook meals from scratch using fresh ingredients. Hmmmm... what does this mean for the future?

I hardly use any processed foods beyond some fundamentals like bread and very rarely baked beans.
LOL ... well I'm probably a bit OTT at the moment with this healthy eating. I actually make my own baked beans whenever I can!
(Can anyone guess why I'd do such a crazy thing when a tin of beans is so cheap?)

it should be borne in mind that the majority of the vitamin C in the UK diet comes from potatoes. So if no spuds and not enough fruit and veg, use vitamin C supplements.
Sensible advice, although I'd go one further and say do everything one can FIRST to increase the fruit and veg.
I haven't come across that statistic that most Vitamin C in the UK comes from potatoes. Not sure if that's an indication on how good potatoes are, or how lacking in fruit and veg the typical diet is. Something tells me its the latter!

Frozen peas though are as good as fresh for a health point of view, but if short of fresh fruit and veg, use dried fruit as nibbles. Such things as sultanas and prunes will supply some of the trace elements we need, plus fibre, while being much healthier than a packet of crisps when watching the box. A few nuts are good too but they are 70 to 80% fat, so don't go mad.

Otherwise, always try to eat fresh and cook from fresh ingredients.
Yup. Very sensible. Its not rocket science is it?

After all, most of the population have all the time in the world for that now, so none of the "not enough time" excuses are valid.
I agree again - but I wonder, how many people HAVE actually changed what they are eating?
This thread isn't exactly overflowing with people talking about how they are rethinking their diet because of the Covid panic. Is it because they actually aren't that worried? or is it because a radical change in eating habits isn't something they are prepared to do?

An interesting question to ask is - do you eat to live? or do you live to eat ??
 
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nigelbb

Pedelecer
Sep 19, 2019
211
188
That's interesting. Children learn from their parents as you have, but now, we have a generation of adults where many DON'T prepare and cook meals from scratch using fresh ingredients. Hmmmm... what does this mean for the future?
Tim Harford (BBC Radio 4 More or Less & 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy) made the interesting observation that while his mother had plucked & gutted a chicken he never had but it was possible that his children wouldn't even prepare a mixed salad!
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
48,819
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Children learn from their parents as you have, but now, we have a generation of adults where many DON'T prepare and cook meals from scratch using fresh ingredients. Hmmmm... what does this mean for the future?
I'd say a continuing decline into a population that watches others cook on TV, rather than cooking themselves.

I haven't come across that statistic that most Vitamin C in the UK comes from potatoes.
Here are the nutrition facts for a potato, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:

Potato Serving size: 1 medium (5.3 oz. / 148 g) Calories 110; Calories from Fat 0 *Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Vitamin C . . . . . . . . . . . 45% Daily requirement.

LINK
.
 
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