Happy Easter my Peeps

Good morning everyone, and happy  Easter. If you don’t celebrate Easter, still, happy Easter. Let’s just be happy because we are all each others peeps.

my peeps

I went to a good friends 75th birthday party last night. We grew up together. That was just an attention grabber, of course we didn’t grown up together. I’m almost half his age, but I am gaining. The 3 quarter century year old is my wife’s uncle, Shiek Mohamed. The party was a great time because of the variety of people that attended. An event that took place over 60 years ago made the party possible.

I never met Iboo Mohamed, my father-in-law, who was Shiek’s oldest brother. He was from Guyana. Dr. Mohamed passed away before I met my wife.

guyan map

Only kitchen table family stories have given me enough information to construct a picture of Dr. Mohamed’s life. As much as I am interested in the man that gave my wife some of her genetic blueprint, I rarely ask questions about him out of respect for him. His friends and family loved him, and especially my mother in law, that I am certain of.

Iboo Mohamed was born to poverty in Guyana in 1936, he was the oldest of 8 children. The American dream brought him to the United States in 1953. His intelligence and work ethic led to his dentistry practice, and a chance encounter with my mother-in-law led to their three children. One of those children, his youngest daughter, is my wife. Now back to the party.

Social gatherings are an interesting study for me. I use to have to have some wine to lift my spirits at events like last night’s party, but I have learned I can be just as interesting and comical, and party attendees too, without a buzz. Think about it this way, if I drank last night, I wouldn’t be writing this story at 8 am today. Because when Healthy Homeboy drinks adult beverages, the health is out the window, and I am just “Homeboy”.

Martini with Olives

Once the obligatory hello’s, and hugs and kisses were out of the way, people at the party settled in and the comfort level increased. The adult drinks started flowing, conversations got louder, sharing i-phone pictures and videos became the adult entertainment, and laughter ensued. Then the birthday cakes came out, yes cakes.

One cake had a big 75 on it for Shiek’s birthday, and another cake had a bunch of names on it for anyone attending the party who was born in March. My wife and I are March babies, so our names were on the cake too. When it came time to eat, my wife and I ate our names.

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A crowd gathered around the cakes to blow out the candles. The newly turned 75 year old, his 3 teenage grandchildren, his 2 teenage grand-nieces, and teenage grand-nephew were ready for “happy birthday to you” singing, blowing out the candles, and consumption of cake and ice cream, and that’s where it hit me. Iboo Mohamed, my father-in-law, who passed away before I could meet him, played a large role in this picture, without physically being there. (Uncle Shiek is in the green shirt, and I apologize for the clarity, or lack thereof, of the picture.)

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Because Dr. Mohamed came to this country over 60 years ago, made something great of himself and then brought his brothers and sisters to the U.S., those teenagers were in the picture. It works like this:

Dr. Mohamed comes to this country. His brothers soon follow, in large part because of him. His brothers get married to women they meet here in the U.S., and they have children. Those children have children, resulting in the teenagers in the picture above. Confusing, but true and incredible.

Here’s another one. If Dr. Mohamed never comes to the U.S., he never meets Beverly, my mother-in-law. My wife would have not been born, and I would not be writing this exact post! I wouldn’t even have this blog, because she set it up for me.

So what the heck is this post about Healthy Homeboy? It is to let you know how special you are. Think of all the events that took place for you to have the parents you have, and be where you are today. Go ahead and retrace the steps. You are a statistical improbability, but you are here.

Happy Easter!!

Quien es Alvin?

stockton map

In central California, there is a rich agricultural region called the San Joaquin Valley. One of the cities that dots this region is Stockton.

I was in Stockton a few weeks ago, just visiting. I still have family there. A friend and I drove north from Los Angeles to Stockton. It was a very nice 5 hour drive, especially because I convinced my friend to do most of the driving. When you live in CA, like I did for about 30 years of my life before I moved to Maryland, you can easily forget how beautiful it is and how nice and predictable the weather can be. My visit and drive reminded me of California’s beauty. Thank you Wright brothers, because of you California is always a flight away. A very long flight, I might add.

When we arrived in Stockton, we got off on MLK Blvd, which use to be known as Charter Way. My old high school, Edison High School, is on MLK Blvd. My friend was driving as we passed Edison High on our right. I gazed at it for a few seconds and thought “Wow, 23 years ago I graduated from there. Time sure does zoom by.” I looked at the odometer in the car we were driving so I could measure the miles from my old high school to where I use to live. We weren’t going exactly to where I use to live, but somewhere close by to meet my father, close enough.

edison high school logo

We arrived where my father was, and I did the math and some adjustments. “Wow, I use to walk about 1.5 miles from school to my house” That’s about a 30 to 40 minute walk, easily. I wasn’t amazed at the distance or time of the walk, because when you’re a teenager you can and will walk anywhere and any distance. The part that amazed me was Alvin’s kindness. Quien es Alvin?

Alvin was a student in high school with me. He was in with the in-crowd at school because he was a jock and a cool teenager. You could say he had natural swag. I don’t know all the sports he played, but I know he played basketball. He was 6 foot plus. If I had to guess, he was at least 6ft 2 inches. I was about 5 ‘8’ at the time, so he seemed gigantic to me. We were both about 16 years old.

bmx and graffiti

I was a Latino kid from the south side of Stockton. I was into BMX bicycles and graffiti, and spoke English at school and mostly Spanish at home. Alvin was African-American, tall, lean, played organized sports, and spoke only English. Well, I saw him order tacos from a taco truck on a few occasions, but that’s not real Spanish. My memories of Alvin have faded, time does that, but his sincere kindness I will never forget.

I use to play basketball against Alvin. That’s a lie, sorry. Technically, he practiced against me while I played my heart out, but still, we played. There was a park that divided the apartment complex I lived in, and the “neighborhood with homes” complex he lived in. The park was large, it had handball courts and basketball courts. That is where he practiced and I played, in the same game.

One of the kind things that Alvin use to do when we played one-on-one basketball was that he would make rules. The rules favored me. The first rule was that he couldn’t dunk on me. Oh, did I forget to tell you, Alvin could dunk! I am not talking on lowered elementary school courts, or barely getting the ball over the rim dunks. He could dunk with two hands and power, on a 10 foot high rim. So there was no dunking on the 5 ‘8’ skinny Latino kid from 6th St. He never dunked on me.

I did enjoy watching him practice his dunks though. I would even throw him alley-oops sometimes. He was like a real life LeBron James, but LeBron was only 2 years old at the time, and Michael Jordan was yet to win a championship. I know, it was a long time ago, don’t remind me.

basketball court

The next “Alvin rule” during our play was that he couldn’t rebound the ball inside the paint, that means close to the rim or in the free-throw area. Think about it, he could jump higher than me, and he was taller, I had no chance. We did play winner take out though, so he had to basically make a basket to get the ball back, if not, I would get the rebound.  Getting a rebound against Alvin was such an accomplishment that when I did get a rebound, I felt like I scored a point. He also couldn’t leave his feet to block my shots. Even with his self-inflicted, feet glued to the floor rule, he blocked my shots. Damn you Alvin!

Before I continue with Alvin’s kindness, I must write a realization; playing with Alvin forced me to jump higher, learn to rebound, and shoot the ball with a high arc to get it over a tall defenders reach. So kids, practice hoops against the tall kids. Now, back to the kindness.

Remember I told you I would walk home from school for about 3o to 40 minutes? I walked because back then, school buses didn’t bus to where I lived. I have no idea why. I also didn’t have money to ride a city bus, so I walked home, no biggie because kindness was just a stroll away.

Alvin would see me walking home sometimes, get off of the city bus, and walk all the way home with me. Can you believe his kindness? He did not have to do that. Or sometimes, one of his friends with access to a car would be giving him a ride home, I would be strolling along on Charter Way, and he would yell “Hector!” out of the passenger’s side window. He would have his friend pull over. Alvin would get out of the car and walk all the way home with me.  Again, he did not have to do that.

On our walks home we would talk about Michael Jordan and how awesome he was. Remember this was 1988 or 1989. Jordan was taking the NBA by storm. We had no internet, i-phones, or i-pods, because the technology didn’t exist yet. We weren’t hooked up to music or media, so we just talked, imagine that.

On one of our walks home, I noticed that Alvin was walking on his tippy toes. I looked up to him and asked “Why are you walking on your tippy toes?” He replied “to get my calves stronger so I can jump higher.” I thought “Oh no, he’s wants to jump even higher!” I don’t know if he noticed, but I started walking on my tippy toes next to him.  Unfortunately, I did not reap the “walking on your tippy toes all the way home” benefits that Alvin did.  All I got was worn out shoe tips and sore calves.

Humans love to ask why? We are not robots, so we inquire about things. Although it feels like children have more “ask why” neurons, we all ask why. Why did this happen? Why did she do this? Why did he do that? Why did they act that way? Why did he act that way? Even if psychology or philosophy is not your thing, you do ask why. Or is that just me?

I have thought about Alvin’s kindness towards me many times. Why did he do it? Why did a teenager from a better socio-economic background than my own walk home with me, if he didn’t have to? In school, we hung out with different crowds. I don’t even think his friends knew he was my friend, and vice versa. In the hallways we just did the cool “what’s up bro?” nod whenever we saw each other.

My conclusion: When God made Alvin, he created a kind child, and his parents nurtured and encouraged his kindness.

On one of our walks home from school, Alvin invited me to his house. With backpacks securely strapped to our backs, we passed my apartment complex, cut through the park, walked a few blocks, and we were at his house. It always has amazed me how much neighborhoods can change from block to block, for better or worse. In his neighborhood’s case, it was for the better.

We walked into Alvin’s home. He introduced me to his mother and we went to his room. He had sneakers and sports stuff everywhere. I was in awe. He put on his basketball sneakers on off we went to the basketball courts. The homework could wait.

original jordans

We said goodbye to his mom that day. And 25 years later, I must tell her what I forgot to tell her on the way out the door. ” Mrs. Alvin’s mother, I thank you for raising a kind teenager. I don’t know if you know this, but your son, when he doesn’t have after school activities, walks all the way home with me, even when it’s hot as hell outside. I appreciate that. They say humans are a reflection of their parents. You must be a kind and caring woman.”

And sometimes, maybe kindness just happens. No need to ask why.

M.Y.A.

The following is just opinion. It is not intended to diagnose, cure, blah, blah, blah….I hope you know that Healthy Homeboy doesn’t cure people. If I did, I would be rich. I just help people get in better shape and try to tell entertaining stories along the way.

jumping-jacks

Today’s recommended workout is M.YA. It is a simple workout that you can do almost anywhere and you should do for the rest of your life. It doesn’t require pre-workout motivation, supplements, or hype up. You” just do it.” Hey Nike, I better get a check for that plug. M.Y.A. works. It has been around since the beginning of time. Well, I don’t know that for sure, but I am sure M.YA. has been around for a long time. How do I know? My grandmother told me so. She even did M.Y.A. as a child.

I will tell you what M.Y.A. is shortly, but I need your commitment first, especially if you are on a weight loss plan. Are you committed? I need you to promise me, and more importantly yourself, that once you know what M.Y.A. is, you will participate and spread the palabra. On a scale of 1-10, I need your commitment level to be at a 10 for this one. M.Y.A works best when commitment levels to it are high, like Ray Lewis winning the Super Bowl commitment high. Go look in the mirror and say “I am committed to M.Y.A. at a level of 10. Healthy Homeboy has nothing but good intentions regarding my health and fitness and I trust him. He is my homie.”  I am serious, go do it.

Ok, now that I have your commitment, it is time for you to know what you just blindly committed to. Don’t feel bad, I once blindly committed to a 4 year program. It was called the Marines. Go ahead and exhale now. This is nothing like the Marines. It does not require machine-guns, gas masks, grenades, or sleeping in jungles and eating crappy food. If you quit or even fail, which I doubt, you will not be dis-honorably discharged from my program. I will continue to help you, after I scold you of course.

Here it is. The most important release of information since the Zapruder film. Just kidding, but I would like to think what I am about to bless the world with is important. M.Y.A. stands for “Move Your Ass!” That is correct. If you want to lose weight, get in shape, or stay in shape, you must Move Your Ass. It even works in Spanish. Mueve Tus Nalgas!

dezeen_travolta_4

“Healthy Homeboy, can you be more specific? How do I move my ass?” You are probably thinking, or you’re probably thinking “This fools crazy.” Either way, I have your attention. So away we go with M.Y.A.

Exercise class at Covenant. (A-J Photo/Joe Don Buckner)

There are endless ways to move your ass, as even dormant asses already know. You can ride a bike, walk, jog, run, swim, or dance. You can play a sport with friends, or just shoot some hoops at the local park by yourself. Just do something, and preferably not the Wii. I want real movement that doesn’t involve electronics other than headphones for some musica.  Humans are built to move.  Just look at how many muscles are in your legs, from the hips on down. We have a lot of leg muscles, and they are large and strong, so use them por favor.

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How much M.Y.A should you do? People don’t like to hear the following answer, and once they do, they think “that sucks.”  YOU MUST MOVE AT LEAST AN HOUR A DAY, FIVE DAYS A WEEK. I know, it sounds like a lot, because it is. Think about it this way, even children are asked to move an hour a day. The NFL has a program that encourages children to move 60 minutes a day. I think it is called “Play 60”. Adults need to move too. My plan is for adults and children alike. It is called “M.Y.A. 60.” In case you haven’t noticed, we not only have an epidemic of kids playing/moving less and less, but adults move less and less everyday too.

I have some rules for M.Y.A. The first rule is that you cannot count what you do in everyday life as movement, unless you have a job that demands movement like construction workers, house keepers/cleaners, personal trainers, landscapers, professional athletes, etc. So for example, if you park a few spaces further away than normal at work or at the mall causing you to walk a bit more than usual, that is called life, and not exercise. If you go to the mall and walk around shopping and maybe have a snack or meal, that is also called life. I know it feels like exercise and you are moving, but you are just living and doing what humans have always done, which is move. I want you to move more. M.Y.A. is “in addition to”  your regular movement. Oh, before I forget, taking the stairs at work only counts if it is at least 10 flights up, and you take it up to work and back down, every day. Sorry, just trying to help you lose weight.

My second rule is that you should try to do your M.Y.A. outdoors as much as possible. Get some fresh air in your body. Oxygen is good for you. Fresh air and movement helps headaches, back aches, depression, stomach issues, joint stiffness, and a  bunch of other ailments. The crazy part about all the ailments I just mentioned is that statistically you probably have one of them, if not more. Don’t feel bad. Prilosec, Advil, Tylenol PM, Pepto-Bismol and Bengay sell because of its demand, and not for “in case of.”  Here is some disclosure for you. I get migraines and muscle stiffness sometimes, and guess what, movement helps. It helps most when it is warm outside, and I break a sweat.

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Clean, outdoors, not in front of the TV or computer oxygen is the best. Dr. Oz hasn’t talked about it yet because big business hasn’t figured out how to beautifully package oxygen and sell it for big bucks. Don’t laugh, water has already traveled the capitalistic path from free to expensive that oxygen might travel someday. Every time I pay a dollar or so for 16 ounces of water, I do the math and realize that a gallon of water, 128 ounces, would cost me about 8 dollars. Ouch!! That’s almost twice as expensive as gas. Seven Eleven must be making a killing. No wonder they are always open. Dang, I remember when we use to drink water out of water fountains and water hoses, or was that just me. Next up for sale, Oxygen by Pepsi. So start walking outside before they charge for oxygen. Organic, grass-fed oxygen will of course be the best and most expensive.

And now, a reality check. There is no app for exercise and proper eating. Sure, there are apps to help you track what you eat, drink, and how much you move, but you still have to do it. You must have Marine like discipline. No app can do it for you, but I am sure they are working on it. You have to M.Y.A. on your own. You have to say goodbye to sugar drinks and drink water. You have to say no to dessert. You have to commit to movement. Weight loss is entirely on you.

And now, some good news. If you are trying to lose weight and you start moving 5 hours per week and drinking mostly water with your meals, you will lose weight. How much will you lose? That, my amigos and amigas, I do not know, but it will come off. Weight loss is like long-term investing.  It will not happen overnight, and you will have peaks and valleys, but in the long run, you will succeed.

People who judge others vs Mrs. E.

Dear person trying to lose weight,

Hello, how are you doing today? I want to thank you for finding my blog and reading this letter. I wrote this because I have always wanted to get in contact with people trying to lose weight and help them. I have weight loss knowledge and helpful opinions, so why not share them.

I want to lift your spirits because I know that excess weight can be excess emotional baggage, and no one needs that. I have never been overweight, but I have battled vices in my life. Food consumption can be a vice.  And don’t be fooled, very few people haven’t battled some type of vice. Behind closes doors people abuse legal and illegal substances, curse their kids, and commit many acts that they later regret because their souls tell them it’s wrong. The soul is rarely wrong. So relax, and believe me when I tell you that few perfect people exist. I have yet to meet one. Besides, perfection can be boring.

I want you to stop beating yourself up about being overweight. It’s not worth it. Try to change your mindset about your weight challenge. I know it’s difficult, but just try it.  Let’s look at you being overweight as a blemish on your “driving your life” record. Yes, for the most part you will maneuver through life in the vehicle called “the human body”. But unlike cars that can be bought, leased, and traded in for the latest model every few years, you get just one body, the one you have, so let’s not wreck it.

So what, you have some pounds to lose. It’s no big deal. Some points will be deducted from your “driving your life” record, but that’s it. The good news is that I am the weight loss lawyer. My Alma Mater is U.O.L., University of Life.  Come on, let’s go to court. I will represent you and state your case. Don’t worry, you don’t have to say a word. I got your back, front, and sides, like your favorite sweater or something.

Court Room

“All rise. The honorable Judge Fitness will now preside over the following case. People who judge others vs. an over weight person. The defendant is being charged with being overweight and not doing anything about it.”  I think it’s called apathy in educated circles and not giving a shit in others.

My turn to talk. You just stand to the side and sip some unflavored water. If you get hungry, have a fruit or some trail mix from my backpack.

“Hello your honor. How are you today? I am here representing my client, Mrs. Emotional Eater. From here on I will call her Mrs. E.”

Judge Fitness is in great shape. He doesn’t wear a robe, just shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops. He even rides a stationary bike during court hearings.

The judge addresses me in a stern voice, while pedaling away and going nowhere. “Healthy Homeboy, you know it will be very difficult to clear your client’s name. She’s been overweight for a few years, most of her adult life I might add, and she hasn’t done what she should have to lose weight. She should know better.”
I risked being banned for life from court, I mean the gym, with the following statement to the judge.

“Your honor, with all due respect, may I use your words against you?” I was scared but confident, like a rookie NFL quarterback.

Judge Fitness looked at me, almost frowning, still pedaling and said “Watch your words, don’t get yourself in trouble here. If you wish to use my words against me, you better state one hell of a case. No donuts or shenanigans in my court room. You understand, counsel?” I understood the donuts part, but shenanigans I had to google on my i-phone.

“Yes sir. I won’t let you down, eat donuts, or be a shenaniganizer, scouts honor”

“Proceed, Healthy Homeboy”

It was time to get my Johnny Cochran on, the Mexican version.

“Your honor and people of the court, I am here to tell you that there is a flaw in what Judge Fitness just said. Judge Fitness’s flaw is also the jury’s flaw, when it comes to judging overweight people, and I will prove it.”

The jury and spectators gasped, followed by everyone’s participation in silence. They couldn’t believe I put the word “flaw” and “Judge Fitness” in the same sentence.  Some people even blushed because I was putting them on front street about how they judge overweight people. Judging others is easy. I’m guilty too. I continued,

“Just a few minutes ago the honorable Judge Fitness said that my client, Mrs. E., should ‘know better’ about her weight. I have a question. Should she know better, and why would she know? Why and how would someone know something if they have never been taught? My client has been taught many things in life, but food consumption and its proper portion size was never one of them, and neither was exercise.

Let us look at my clients history of things taught to her. As a toddler she was potty trained, and look at how she’s done in that part of her life. Let the record show, since she broke up with diapers, never has she had an accident. Well, one time she did pee in her neighbors pool, but that’s because she was having a great time and the margaritas were running right through her. But other than that time, she has had a clean record in the potty department. She was taught well.

When it came to the importance of  education, her parents taught her well too. She got her degree in astrophysics and works at the Pentagon. She ‘knew’ what to do in school because she was taught right and applied what she learned. She was not born an astrophysicist. We should not expect people to just know things. No one is born an engineer, doctor, lawyer or farmer. We are given knowledge, and only then can we apply it.”

Judge Fitness was listening without facial reaction. I knew I was making him uncomfortable though, because he was pedaling faster on his stationary bike, and still going nowhere, damn stationary bikes. As for the jury and spectators, I had them right where I wanted them, in the court room.

“Your honor, I ask that you clear my client’s name and take the ‘weight gain’ points off of her record. Mrs. E. is a hard-working woman who through no fault of her own ‘didn’t know any better’ about weight gain and its loss, but not because she was lazy, as you and some of the jury may assume, but because she lacked the knowledge. My client is kind and full of good deeds and desires. She’s always there for her friends and family, and even puts others before herself.”

Judge Fitness interjected “What does her good deeds and kindness have to do with anything?”

I responded in a very excited but respectful tone.

“It has everything to do with everything, your honor! It shows she is human and she cares. Like the rest of us, she has emotions too. She is not a machine that goes through life on auto pilot. Well, sometimes when she’s watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’ or ‘Sex in the City’ reruns  she is on auto pilot, but other than that, she’s very involved and active in her existence.  Plain and simple your honor, because she was never taught at home or in school how to eat correctly and exercise, her name should be cleared. It is unfair to expect someone, anyone, to execute a plan without instructions. Weight loss is a plan, your honor.”

Judge Fitness got off his stationary bike and walked over to me in his best buff guy gym walk, chest out and everything.  He stood with his feet about a foot away from mine, and his face about six inches from my face. Like a Marine Corp drill instructor he made a demand out of a question. “Is that all son?”

I decided to take a gamble, hell, my life’s been a gamble, and push my luck. I took a deep breath and slowly asked “Your honor, may I ask you a question?”

“Be careful son, and don’t mock me. Yes, you may.”

“Your honor, do you know how to juggle?”

“No, I do not.”

“Do you know why?” I asked kindly.

“I guess because I never learned, or was never taught.”

Gotcha!

“Exactly your honor, exactly.”

After a short recess the jury came back with a verdict. “We the jury find Mrs. Emotional Eater innocent of the charge of ‘she should know better’ when it comes to her weight challenge. Her name will be cleared under the following conditions. Within the next six months she must, under the guidance of Healthy Homeboy, learn how to eat and move correctly. She will also learn what her food triggers are so she can begin avoiding them. Once she has that knowledge in hand and brain, and stamped on her soul and refrigerator, she will ‘know better’. We the jury also expect Mrs. Emotional Eater to submit the proper paper work for a name change once she learns how to lose weight and follows through, like she has in every other area of her life. Her new name will just be Mrs. Emotional, because that is what we all are, emotional.”

Yours Truly

Healthy Homeboy

Educate Yo Self

Hello everyone. It’s about 5:45 am here in AZ. My body must still be on east coast time because I am wide awake, without caffeine. This time of year, Arizona has beautiful weather and baseball spring training, and that’s why I am here. Yesterday I saw the Dodgers play the Chicago Cubs in the middle of the hot day, and at night I saw the Padres play the Kingdom of the Netherlands. My best friend of 28 years has accompanied me on my trip. Hotel rooms and gas are cheaper that way, and he’s also fun to hangout with.

There is a World Baseball Classic going on right now and I think that is why the Kingdom of the Netherlands is here in AZ. When I saw on our baseball schedule that we would be watching the Netherlands play I thought “that’s interesting, I didn’t know baseball was such a big sport in the Netherlands that they have a national baseball team”. We arrived at the game on time,  7:05 pm. It was about 75 degrees with a light breeze, perfect.

Once we were in our seats, I  took in the scenery. Food vendors and adults with adult beverages in hand was the common sight. It’s a beautiful stadium too. We sat directly behind home plate, about 10 rows up. For a few seconds I stared at the outfield and over the outfield walls, to the grassy areas where people were sitting, eating, and sipping on something. I am always amazed at how far a baseball that is struck with a wooden bat has to travel for it to be a home-run. Four hundred feet plus is f-a-r. Think about it, that’s longer than a football field, including both end zones.

It was the Netherlands turn to bat. The Padres pitcher started off the Netherlands player with a few off speed pitches, curve balls or something. The Netherlands player did not bite. He didn’t even flinch. He just watched the ball go by and into the catcher’s mitt. You could tell that he was waiting for a fastball.  On about the third or fourth pitch, the fast ball came whistling towards home plate and S-M-A-C-K, return to sender, he crushed it. The ball went so for and so high that the left fielder stood motionless, looked up, and admired its trajectory as it landed in the grassy patch behind right field. On the grassy patch, a mad scramble ensued and some lucky fan got himself a home run souvenir.

By the time the ball cleared the fence and became a souvenir, the Nertherland’s home run hitter was rounding first base in the customary home run trot. I must admit, I was admiring and thought “That must be a pretty cool feeling. To just trot around the bases, in no rush, as the opposition, your teammates, and fans look on”. I got a perfect look at the Netherlands player as he was trotting down the third base line towards home, and I got a slight surprise. He was black. I thought “What the heck? I didn’t know the Netherlands had a black population”. Then I looked even closer, and I realized the player that had just crossed home plate was Andruw Jones. Andruw Jones is a professional MLB player! My jaw dropped. A few pieces of popcorn fell out even. I thought “I didn’t know Andruw Jones was Netherlanian, or whatever you call someone from the Netherlands”.

My lack of education on world history and geography reared its ugly face. It sucks to be misinformed or non informed, that’s why I read, but I wasn’t outwardly embarrassed because no one knew what I was thinking. I was just a dummy to myself for about one inning. The i-phone in my pocket was put to great use as I learned that the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of the Netherlands of course, but it also consists of Aruba, Curacao, and Saint Maarten or Saint Martin. So that’s where Andruw Jones and all the other naturally sun tanned players on the “Netherlands” team came from.

Maybe its just me, but if you tell me that the Dodgers are going to play New Zealand in baseball, and I show up and over half the NZ team is black, that would confuse me, just a bit. Or if I went to watch the Padres play Jamaica in baseball, and the Jamaican team was two thirds white, that would also confuse me, just a bit. Is that just me?

I understand that most countries in the world have skin color diversity. Migration, conquests, and slavery have definitely made the world more colorful, but I had no idea about the Netherlands. Who new? I came to a small Arizona stadium to simply watch some spring baseball, and I ended up learning a bit about the world. I also learned that even I, Healthy Homeboy Hector, have the ability to blindly and ignorantly assume, and be completely wrong.

I think that my assuming of what someone might look like by just knowing what country they are from or what nationality they are, started when I was a pre-child, before birth. It was a few months before I would be  born and I asked God where were my future parents were from. He said my dad was from Mexico and my mother was from El Salvador. I created a picture of what they might look like in my head, there’s that damn assuming again, and once I was born and I saw my parents for the first time,  my assumption of them was pretty accurate. Then I asked God what nationality would my future wife’s parents be and God said “Guyanese and Black”. I created a mental picture of what my wife might look like, there’s that ugly assuming again, and I was pretty accurate with my mental prediction of her too. She has a natural tan and I love it.

For the record, there were some white folks sitting directly behind me and they were having the same conversation, out loud I might add, that I was having in my head about the Netherlands and its black players.

The Netherlands won, and I learned never to judge a team by its uniform, but I still judge books by their cover. I once saw a book with zombies on the cover and I looked inside, and guess what the book was about? Drum roll please…..zombies.

Sugar Drinks and Weight Loss

Probably the #1 question I get regarding weight less goes something like this. “Hector, what is the easiest and best thing I can do for weight loss, or to maintain a current weight?” The answer, without hesitation is to replace all sugar drinks you consume with water, as much as possible. Don’t believe the commercials, you don’t need Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water, or any other performance enhancing calorie containing liquid. Those sugar drink making companies are after the high performance of their stocks and pockets, not your health. And I don’t want to hear that “Kobe and LeBron drink Gatorade and they’re not overweight”. Well for starters, we don’t know what they are really drinking out of those tiny cups that say Gatorade during a game. And second of all, if you look like LeBron or Kobe, you have my permission drink all the sugar drinks you desire. Now back to my story.

sugar drinks

At the gym, I have seen people busting their arses on a cardio machine. I observe as they are in true, bust arse, look good for the summer workout mode. They have their nice expensive headphones on, connected to an i-something, and listening to some music that inspires them and gets them in the zone. They’re also sweating, so I know they are working hard. And then, my fitness heart is broken. I look in front of them, to where those cup holders are on the cardio machine, next to all the bright lights on the display that lets you know how hard you are working compared to you treadmill neighbor, and what do I see? In the cup/drink holder I see some sugar performance drink that they sip on and finish while they do cardio. It doesn’t make sense to drink calories while you burn calories. I wish I could say something to them, but people hate to be told what they are doing wrong. So I will tell you about it, and you can spread the Healthy Homeboy palabra.

If a person burns 300 calories working on a cardio machine, but during the workout they drink 200 calories from Gatorade, the net calories burned is 100. If the same person drinks only water throughout his or her workouts, they will burn what the machine says and even more if they go do some weights after their cardio battle. For most people, the purpose of working out is to burn calories and to create a stimulus that your body will respond to by becoming stronger, and with fat burning, leaner. Don’t sabotage the calorie burning part of the equation by consuming crap calories during your workouts.

sugary-drinks

Now, to everyday life. Let’s say someone drinks a 32 oz Coke, Pepsi, Arizona Ice Tea or any other sugar drink throughout the day, everyday, weekends included. That’s about 300 calories of junk calories that the human body does not need and has zero nutritious value. If someone decided to follow my advice and trade in water for their sugar drinks, they would be creating a daily 300 calorie deficit in their bodies without having to set foot in a gym. That’s a very simple way to start losing weight, WITHOUT having to exercise. Now, if you add exercise to that water for juice trade, the weight will really start to fly off. It works, trust me.

So my advice for you today is, if you are on a weight loss journey, trade in your sugar drinks for water. I must remind my 21 and over crew that alcohol is also liquid calories and adds soldiers to the opposition in the “Battle of the Bulge”. If a person creates a daily 300 calorie deficit by giving up sugar drinks or the evening 3 beers and replacing them with water, in a week they will have avoided 2100 calories or in essence, burned them off. In a month that’s about 9,000 calories which is about 2 and 1/2 pounds of fat loss. In 12 months, that’s easily 20 t0 25 pounds of weight loss, and may I remind you that this is WITHOUT EXERCISE, just liquid diet change.

I don’t always drink liquids while I workout, but when I do, I prefer water. Stay healthy my friends.

Hello Everyone

Hello everyone. Wow, my first blog entry. I thank you readers for taking the time out of your busy lives, especially parents, to read my words. Parents are so busy.

So, what is Healthy Homeboy about? Well first, let us look at the word homeboy. What’s its definition? Homeboy: a boy or man from ones neighborhood, region, or hometown. Sounds pretty accurate to me except for one important factor in the Homeboy world. For someone to be your true homeboy, you have to be friends with that person.  Just because they are from your part of town does not make them your homeboy or homegirl. You must have more than a just hello and goodbye relationship and be good friends. Confused? Don’t worry, I will do my best to clear up the homeboy definition confusion.

Let’s say some politicians from opposing political parties are at a local pub in Washington DC getting their buzz on. Inebriation beckons because they have had a long day serving their constituents doing what’s best for the people, we hope. Sequestration and filibustering have replaced the “fiscal cliff” as the newest emergency, and there they are, a Republican and a Democrat getting faded off the Goose. (That means they are getting intoxicated drinking Grey Goose). So, the question is, are they homeboys? Can the Republican, after having three Martinis look over at the Democrat and say “Wudup homie?”, and really mean it? The truth is that he or she can say “wudup homie”, but it will lack conviction because they are not true friends, and they both know it. They do not see eye to eye on many issues, and sometimes, they even talk negative behind each others back like high school kids. True homies don’t do that.

Homie, homeboy, or homegirl, is just another term for friend. Here is your friend definition reminder. Friends care about friends. Friends will go with friends to eat and pay for that friend if they are financially unstable for whatever reason. Friends babysit other friends kids with joy and appreciation for the opportunity to share time with someone elses children. Friends lend friends money and don’t put a “pay back by date” on the loan. I know, that’s a tough one. Friends listen to friends and are a shoulder to cry on, a face to laugh at, and a person to just chill with. Friends can get into a verbal fight, and then laugh about it and be friends again. Now ask yourself, how many friends do you have? That’s exactly the amount of homeboys and homegirls you have, plus one. The plus one is me.

Today is your lucky day. I am your homie! Don’t rub your eyes for clarity, and it is not a type-o. You have gained Healthy Homeboy, that would be me again, as your friend. Your probably thinking “How could I be your homie if we haven’t even met?”  I will make you a deal. If you are reading these words you either care enough about me and my writings that you are reading as a sort of favor, or the word health has brought you to my blog. Either way, you care about me or your health, and I am good with that. The deal is, you care about me or yourself and in doing so you have gained a friend. You have gained an internet-homie. I just made that term up. On a side note, if you are already my friend, and you read my blog, you are a true homie. No need to tell you who you are, but I will pretty much do anything for you.

Ok, now that we have answered the age-old “what is a true homie?” question, and Confucius and Plato are happy in heaven, I will tell you why I put the word healthy in front of homeboy. I am about health and fitness. I am about many other things, but health and fitness are a large part of my life. It is what I do and I enjoy it. Since my teenage years and then my young adult years in the Marines, I have been about working out and staying fit. I have never done steroids. Heck, I only weigh a few lbs north of 180, if I did anabolic steroids I would be much bigger/buffer. I just try to eat clean, lift weights, do some cardio, and try to teach others that same lifestyle so they can lose weight and be fit.

I like to teach. My blog will contain useful workout and weight loss information laced with fun paragraphs and stories. Life is too short to not share valuable and useful information, and life is way too short to not laugh during the journey. I plan to write about many things. Even if I am having one of my migraines, which I call “my-grains”, because it feels like only I get them sometimes. I will keep it positive. I might write about relaxation techniques that help headaches. I might blog about stress-busting techniques. Anything will be possible, and I promise to keep it positive. Negativity is everywhere and I defininetlely don’t need to contribute to it.

Sometimes I will just post a short story. Most of my short stories are non-fiction. Inspiration for stories comes from anywhere and at any moment.

I will also be posting exercise videos and workout routines for those interested.

Thanks again for your time. Have a great day and remember, just because you can digest it, doesn’t mean you should eat it.