Thursday, January 31, 2008

Health OK Snacks for SuperBowl parties...

Today's post: Thursday, 1-31-2008

Why are health OK snacks so important?

It’s not just at the time the SuperBowl happens each year about now that people eat snacks. Many people make snacks as much as a quarter or a fifth of all their weekly food. Some go to a full third of the calories they eat.

The other factor is that the health damaging snack foods are some of the very worst foods people eat while the health OK snack foods are actually good for you.

That means that hosting or taking snacks pot luck style to a SuperBowl party is a chance to try out health OK snacks yourself & introduce them to your friends & family.


First, let’s literally dispose of one category of what NOT to use. Last year, my wife & I were taking snacks to my parent’s house. I knew that two things to use to dip snacks into that are actually good for you & taste great are guacamole & hummus. But my wife wanted to bring some traditional dips as well. I went to an upscale grocery store in our area & went to that section. Ouch !! Even there, there were no health OK choices at all. Every one of the commercially made up dips except the guacamole they stocked had partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats) or high fructose corn syrup with some having both.

(In case you don’t yet know, partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats) & high fructose corn syrup are avoidable health poisons that are not yet outlawed & out of our foods.

Transfats are literally cardiovascular disease & heart attack starters. They have the same kind of effect as using lighter fluid to start up charcoal for a BBQ. The safe amount of those to eat is zero, absolutely none.

High fructose corn syrup is not quite that bad. It only tends to make you fat & trigger type II diabetes. It may be safe to eat on occasion. But eating it in the quantities people do who don’t know to avoid it -- is NOT safe. So, to be sure my wife & I don’t eat it in quantity, we do not eat it all. We also are doing our part to boycott an unsafe food additive by doing that.)

So, for dips at this writing, you have three health OK choices: buy guacamole; buy hummus: or make your own dips. Health OK components to consider running through a blender or adding to after you run the blender to make health OK dips are salsa, vegetarian beans, black-eyed peas, regular baked beans, hummus, nonfat yogurt, frozen chopped spinach, chopped onion, extra virgin olive oil, chili powder, & cilantro.

You can also make a somewhat healthier dip by substituting one of these for part of the sour cream in sour cream based dip recipes. A half hummus, half sour cream recipe would have half the saturated fat of a full sour cream recipe. But it would taste richer than a hummus only version.

Crunchy foods:

People often use crackers for crunchy snack foods. This is an extremely bad idea. Commercial crackers today still tend to use partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats). Almost as bad, they usually are badly over-salted and are made only or mostly from refined grains. About the only food component they contain is calories. So eating them tends to make you fat.

If for variety or for guests who would feel deprived, you would like to serve some crackers, there are two kinds that are almost OK.

Crostini makes an absolutely delicious cracker that is not too salty & uses olive oil instead of transfats. They sell those at Whole Foods Market stores. They do use refined grains. But they taste good & avoid the other health damaging components.

Safeway & other major grocery chains carry RyKrisp or Rye Krisp crackers. At least one of their versions has no fat at all. These are almost a little too crunchy for my taste. But that’s because they have whole grains, which are better for you. But be careful as one or more of the available versions have partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats). Just check the label to see which kind is OK & skip the other versions. The version that has NO fat at all is the health OK one.


Because some people are quite gravely & severely allergic to these, they are likely NOT a good idea for larger groups of people you don’t know well. This kind of allergy to peanuts is so wide-spread now, we suggest you never serve peanuts or mixes containing them to people you don’t know.

Only serve nuts to family or friends you know can eat nuts OK.

However, for people who can eat nuts safely, raw walnuts, raw pecans, & dry roasted almonds are delightfully good crunchy snack foods. Even better, they have so many health benefits, that people who eat nuts regularly live several years longer than people who don’t.

(I’ve found the best store for these to be Whole Foods Market stores. They carry these kinds of nuts in bulk & in packages -- both at reasonable prices.)

(Unfortunately, commercial nut mixes often do everything wrong. We do not recommend those !!

They often include peanuts because they are cheaper. They increase the shelf life by roasting them in partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats) or in polyunsaturated oils like corn or soy oil that tend to break down at that temperature & contain excessive omega 6 oils. Then they usually make them even less health OK by over-salting them.)

Crunchy vegetables:

Broccoli Florets; Cauliflower, Celery, & Carrot sticks work really with dips.

Radishes are also a nice change of pace. They are too small to dip well. But they are both crunchy & spicy.

Protein foods:

B & M Baked Beans are decent simply heated up & served. If you want totally vegetarian Bushes makes a decent, pre-cooked Vegetarian baked beans. Both come canned at major grocery stores.

If you can afford them, real crab meat, lobster meat, & shrimp are all health OK choices.

(Just don’t mix these into dips as some people are allergic to them. Served alone though, people can see what they are & avoid them if they are allergic.)

Cheeses are less health OK because of their sky high amounts of saturated fat. But for special occasions only, they have no other health problems; they are easy to set out in bite sized pieces; they are available almost everywhere; & they come in many varieties with abundant flavor.

Other foods:

Another snack food that works really well is stuffed olives. They are a little too salty to eat at all often. But they are health OK otherwise. And many of the versions taste great. They come with (or you can make them up to contain) sun dried tomato, blue cheese, feta cheese, garlic, blanched almond, etc.)

Fresh strawberries that have been washed & green leaves removed are an absolutely wonderful snack that is also really good for you to eat.


For non alcoholic drinks, Martinelli carbonated apple juice & cranberry juice is a decent choice for special occasions. And, some people like, grape juice, orange juice, tomato juice, &/or V8 juice.

Drinking all kinds of sodas & soft drinks is so harmful to the health of so many people, I personally feel that they should never be bought or consumed even on special occasions.

If you feel differently though, drink as little of them as you can stand.

Here’s why:

They usually contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, a preservative that has been implicated as causing cancer, artificial flavors, water & nothing else besides the carbonation. Only the water is good for you. Sugar is OK only in strict moderation. And the other junk tends to reliably make people fat & cause health problems.

Of the alcoholic beverages, red wine & dark beer actually have extra health benefits. And, beer is a traditional drink for watching football. Even better, there are a huge number of really good dark beers now available.

Most alcoholic beverages, in fact, tend to boost HDL cholesterol.

But make sure to make the quantities small to moderate. Not only can people who drink too much cause problems at your party or get into an avoidable car accidents driving home, if they get into an accident where there is injury or significant property damage, as the host who served them too much alcohol, you can be sued in court.

I hope this post gives you some ideas as to what snacks to avoid year round & some that are either almost OK or are actually good for you to use instead.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Do more than lowering LDL to prevent heart disease...

Today's post: Tuesday, 1-29-2008

The main reason that doctors prescribe statins is to lower LDL to help prevent what the doctors call clinical events – called heart attacks, angina, & strokes by lay people.

There is evidence that if your LDL is over about 120, & definitely over about 160, it’s probably protective to lower it to below 120 or even well below 100.

I subscribe to an online newsletter for doctors & other health professionals called Medscape which had a quote I thought well worth doing a post about.

1. I think it overstates what statins do to some degree.

2. It clearly shows that a doctor who is quite knowledgeable about preventing heart disease believes that you need also to control several other factors to prevent heart disease & lists some of the important ones besides LDL cholesterol.

3. It begins to show how you can get better than statin heart attack protection without having to use statins in many cases.

Here’s the quote which Medscape itself took from a publication called “heartwire”

"The message for me is not that lowering LDL cholesterol doesn't work to prevent disease progression or to prevent clinical events," Dr Steven Nissen (Cleveland Clinic, OH) told heartwire.

"The important thing to remember is how the cholesterol levels are lowered. Statins do a lot more than reduce LDL cholesterol. They also increase HDL cholesterol, decrease triglycerides, and decrease C-reactive protein levels. ….”

1. Statins DO reduce LDL cholesterol; & I’ve read that they also lower inflammation, for which testing C-reactive protein levels is one marker that has been shown to be predictive of heart risk when it’s high.

However, niacin increases HDL cholesterol & lowers LDL cholesterol well. There may be some statins that increase HDL cholesterol; but I’ve not read that any of them do that as well as niacin.

And, I’ve seen no reports that statins lower triglycerides. (There may be such reports but the before & after taking a statin blood tests of someone I know who had both high LDL & high triglycerides showed her LDL reduced nicely & virtually no change in her sky high triglyceride levels.)

Once someone can do it safely, regular & vigorous exercise does boost HDL, lower triglycerides, & do the related lowering of the amount of the dangerous smaller sized LDL that literally sludges up your blood vessels & causes heart & cardiovascular disease. (The larger, “fluffier” LDL particles tend to bounce off & not cause these problems.)

3. In addition, there are sterol supplements & foods high in soluble fiber like beans that have other health benefits that will lower LDL levels nearly as well as statin drugs. This works especially well if you also stop ingesting transfats & reduce the amount of animal based saturated fat you eat. (This means less butter, full fat dairy products, & fatty meats.)

There are supplements that lower homocysteine. Homocysteine when it’s too high acts as a catalyst to increase or cause cardiovascular disease. This blood marker, I’ve read, is more predictive of heart disease than high LDL cholesterol. And, statins don’t lower it as far as I’ve read.

Also, in addition to niacin, eating the right foods -- & stopping the bad foods like transfats, taking the sterols & the supplements that normalize high homocysteine, you can eat fruits & vegetables that are high in antioxidants & take antioxidant supplements.

This also helps prevent heart disease also since oxidized LDL is a cause of heart disease while un-oxidized LDL apparently is not.

These other measures taken together will provide better protection than statins for most people from what I’ve read. And, they do this with added health benefits instead of the potentially health damaging side effects that come with statin use.

The advantage statins have is that they are known by doctors to work to lower LDL levels over 160 & those far over 160.

So, for doctors who do not know these alternative methods & for patients who will only take ONE pill & won’t exercise or eat right or who have very high levels of other risk factors that suggest FAST protection is needed, doctors will prescribe statins.

But if you are willing to make an effort on your own behalf, there are some things you can do that will give you much better heart attack protection than taking statins alone.

Dr Steven Nissen is totally right that optimizing all of the key markers for heart attack protection gives MUCH better protection than just lowering the total level of LDL cholesterol.

So, it looks to me that the two best options are:

a) take statins & do all the other things that statins do not do or do not do well to prevent heart disease.

b) do the other things that effectively lower your LDL cholesterol & do all the other things that statins do not do or do not well to prevent heart disease.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Faster cold relief & recovery...

Today's post: Monday, 1-28-2008

Good news for people with stopped up noses or who tend to get sinus problems.

Recently I read an interesting health news item that said that in children, research had been done that found that using a nose spray with a combination of sterile water & sea salt or simply boiled sea water that had been allowed to cool in kids with colds helped the children get over their cold & its symptoms about 30 to 40 % faster than the children who didn’t get the spray.

That alone is useful info since the thinking now is that kids should NOT take over the counter cold medicines, particularly the decongestant ones. So this is a safe & effective alternative.

Then late last week I got even more useful & related information.

It turns out that it may also help prevent or treat sinus problems & secondary infections & works just as well or even better with adults.

I also got an explanation of why it works, a potentially more effective way to do it, & that you can get sea salt at a health food store or grocery store like a Whole Foods Market & get distilled water & a bulb syringe at a drugstore to do it for yourself or your kids.

(With smaller kids you likely should be very careful they don’t choke on the water by breathing at the wrong time, which is why doing it only a little at a time as a nasal spray might be best for younger kids.)

Here’s that article: (My added comments follow it.)

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription,
visit " (

It appeared last Friday, 1-25-2008.)

An Ancient Practice to Relieve Sinus Congestion
By Joseph McCaffrey, MD, FACS

A stuffy nose and sinus misery are all too common at this time of year. A lot of folks reach for over the counter remedies that may or may not help the symptoms but do nothing for the underlying cause.

Fortunately, there's an ancient practice that works great to relieve the sinus distress and improve your health without having to resort to drugs. But first I want to tell you about one over-the-counter treatment you should avoid like the plague -- decongestant nasal sprays.

These sprays work by constricting the small blood vessels in the nasal passages. As a result, the swollen mucous membranes shrink and congestion temporarily feels better. When the drug wears off, people tend to use the spray again. That's when the problem begins.

Your body very quickly adapts to the sprays, often within a few days. If you continue using them, the blood vessels will be normal size when you're taking them and overly swollen and engorged if you try to stop. The spray has had no lasting benefit and has created its own problem.

Instead of that, how about a method that has been around for over 2000 years and that modern studies (1) show is effective?

The method is saline nasal lavage -- that is, rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution. Ayurvedic practitioners have recommended this for years and now more and more western physicians are as well.

Our nasal passages act like a filter for our respiratory system. Airborne debris, including pathogens and allergens, is trapped in a normally thin layer of mucus and cleared from the nasal passage. If the system is overwhelmed, the debris accumulates, the nasal passages are irritated and the misery begins.

Nasal rinsing helps restore balance by clearing built up material and restoring an environment that allows the mucociliary lining to do its job.

Although the lavage may seem a little odd at first, people soon become used to it.
The traditional tool is a netti pot -- a small pot, usually ceramic, with a spout that is inserted gently into a nostril to instill the solution. Many health food stores carry these. Alternatively, you could use a bulb syringe, which is available in most pharmacies.

The technique is essentially the same with either tool. First, mix a saline solution, using 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (I suggest canning or sea salt rather than the usual table salt) to 2 cups water. Some people find the solution more comfortable if they add a pinch of baking soda (not powder) since it also helps break up mucus.
You'll use one cup of the solution in each nostril. To rinse the right nostril, lean forward over a sink, turn your head to the right and then use the netti pot or the bulb syringe to gently instill the solution. The solution will run out the opposite nostril.

When you're done, clear mucus by gently blowing your nose. Now repeat on the opposite side.

If this all seems a bit too involved, you can find commercially packaged irrigation systems at many pharmacies and online. These will include either a premixed irrigation solution or a pre-measured packet to mix with water as well as a bottle or other method of doing the actual irrigation.
Simple saline sprays are also useful. Obviously, while these won't flush out mucus and contaminates the way a saline irrigation will, they do help maintain moist mucous membranes. This can be especially helpful in the dry months of winter heating.

If you have sinus problems, try these methods to see how soon you can be breathing easily.


1. Papsin B and McTavish A. Can. Fam. Physician 2003;49:168-173.
[Ed. Note: Joseph F. McCaffrey, MD, FACS is a board-certified surgeon with extensive experience in alternative medicine, including certification as a HeartMath Trainer. His areas of expertise include mind-body interaction and cognitive restructuring. Dr. McCaffrey strives to help people attain their optimum level of vitality through attention to all aspects of wellness.”

X * X * X * X

Here are my added comments.:

If your mucus in your nose seems quite thick which would make this procedure take longer & potentially be less effective, here are three solutions to try.

1. Drink a large glass of real juice with vitamin C or two cups of tea or green tea or eat a large bowl of chicken soup or drink a large glass of water about half an hour before you do this.

(Bottom line, be sure you are drinking a good bit MORE water than usual. It really helps you avoid feeling hammered by the cold & is protective against bacterial infections too. Doctors say to do it; but few let you know WHY it is important & what it does for you.)

2. Consider eating something that’s spicy hot such as adding a bit of cayenne pepper to your chicken soup because a side effect of eating spicy hot foods is that it tends to make your nose run & reduces the thickness for you.

3. You can also use the decongestant nasal spray but ONLY ONE, repeat ONE, time just before you do this procedure the very first time if your congestion is horribly thick.

And, be absolutely sure to wait at least 3 days before even thinking of using it again. By that time using the procedure above you probably won’t need it anyway.

A doctor once suggested this way of using Afrin decongestant spray to me. And, it might work really well for you to do it just before you do the procedure in the article the first time you do this procedure for each cold where the mucous is thick.

However, it also might be worth trying this nasal lavage procedure after just the extra water & hot spices the first time; & then only go to the store for the nasal spray if you still need it.

Also, ask your kid’s doctor before using the decongestant nasal spray with kids. It’s not currently thought to be wise; but your doctor may have had good experience with this just using it once idea & OK it if your kid is older.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

WHY walking helps lose fat...

Today's post: Friday, 1-25-2008

New discovery can give you extra leverage in losing fat & keeping it off.

Walking is well known to be one of the better kinds of activity to add to your exercise program to lose fat.

And, even though running produces enough injuries in most of the people over 30 who do it often to be a bad idea, it works really well to lose fat in younger people if it’s carefully done.

Conversely, swimming seems to get you in shape without removing very much fat if any.

Here’s a very powerful reason why -- that is recent & very useful news.:

(I got behind in reading some of my health info email. The following information was in the 12-20-2007 Health Alerts email that I got from

“People may be overweight simply because they sit too much, according to scientists at the University of Missouri.

They found that exercise alone isn’t enough to take off extra pounds — they discovered that the enzymes in our body responsible for burning fat simply shut down when we sit down.”

This quite literally means that you tend to add fat when you sit down & lose it when you stand.

This has a number of very useful implications you can use to lose fat faster & make sure it stays off.

1. If you have time to walk several times a week in addition to the strength training & fitness exercises you do & you’d like to be slimmer, by all means ADD the walking.

2. If you can do it safely & time-efficiently enough, adding even a small amount of walking to your commutes or to your shopping, will pay surprising fat loss dividends to you.

3. It helps explain why the pedometer based tracking of how many steps you take each day & gradually increasing them has been effective in helping people lose fat.

4. It means that indoor exercisers like the UrbanRebounder, treadmills, elliptical trainers, steppers, & the Nordic Track cross country style ski exerciser also work well to help lose fat.

5. It also means that doing household chores like washing dishes, sweeping, & vacuuming do double duty in helping keep fat off.

6. It helps further explain why watching too much TV reliably makes the people who do it fat.

(It’s also an added reason why one of the best ways to lose fat & find time to exercise is to turn off the TV & go the gym two or three days a week – or more. But even two times a week regularly will help, particularly if you do strength training.)

The other way to use this info without giving up TV watching is to watch it while you walk on a treadmill.

(If you watch TV 20 hours a week & walk at a 100 calorie per 20 minute pace, easy walking pace at a slight incline, you’ll burn 6,000 extra calories. And, according to this new info, you’ll be spending 20 hours a week standing up with your fat burning enzymes turned on where you are likely spending those same 20 hours a week now sitting with your fat storage enzymes turned on.)

7. It makes the idea of programming-in standing briefly at your desk a few times each morning & a few times each afternoon sound more likely to help you lose fat than you might expect.

If you’d like to lose some fat that stays off, take a moment & think of a couple things you can do to use this new discovery. Then once you get used to doing them, just keep doing them.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

3 ways to live longer & better…..

Today's post: Thursday, 1-24-2008

A few days ago there were 3 stories in the online news that show how to live longer & better.

1. People who were fit enough to exercise hard on a treadmill lived a lot longer than people who were hardly able to do so.

Of course, some of the difference was likely because someone who is in failing health is less likely to exercise or to test well on this kind of test.

But the pattern of the results suggests strongly that the lack of physical challenge & sedentary lifestyle vs regular, vigorous exercise was the main cause.

As readers of these posts know, progressive strength training & cardio or aerobic exercise that has regular if brief really vigorous bursts are the two best ways to become fit.

Even 20 minutes of progressive strength training on two days a week with at least one day of rest in between each week plus even 10 minutes of really vigorous aerobic exercise on at least three of the other days a week, will put you nearly as close to the most fit category as a much more time consuming set of exercises.

2. People with high blood levels of vitamin C were significantly less likely to have strokes than people who did not.

The researchers said they thought that the people in their study who had the highest levels of vitamin C ate the most fruit & vegetables & that this gave them even more protection than just the vitamin C alone.

It’s now known that eating at least two servings of raw vegetables & two of fruit has many other health benefits, so the researchers may well have been correct.

However, vitamin C by itself is clearly protective for your heart & blood vessels.

So, to live longer & feel better consider:

a) eating at least one serving of raw cauliflower or broccoli each day. (Cooking them is OK for eating them for fat loss; but it removes most to all of their cancer fighting effects & vitamin C.)

b) eating at least one serving of another kind of raw vegetable, whether it’s more broccoli or cauliflower, or tomatoes, green beans, peas, carrots, or salad greens.

& c) taking at least 500 mg a day of vitamin C (& 1,000 or 1500 mg may be better) each day.

2. Older people with high blood levels of vitamin E were literally more physically able than people who did not on 3 separate tests.

In this one, the researchers thought that suggested the people who had high levels of vitamin E at more nuts, seeds, olives &/or extra virgin olive oil, & salad greens.

I suspect that they may also have found that people who eat a health OK diet are also more likely to also exercise.

But, here again, eating these foods is clearly protective of your health in many other ways.

People who aren’t allergic to them who eat nuts regularly have higher HDL readings & live years longer than people who don’t. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most health OK sources of fats & oils and it contains many antioxidants & phytonutrients from the olives it was extracted from besides. Salad greens also have vitamin C, folic acid, & help keep off excess fat.

And, natural vitamin E has been found protective in many ways as well. Gamma tocopherol that comes in the mix of tocopherols from foods apparently helps prevent cancers, for example

So, to live longer & feel better consider:

a) eating nuts like walnuts, pecans, & almonds regularly if you aren’t allergic to them.

b) using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or other oils most of the time.

c) eating salad greens from safe sources several times a week.

& d) taking 200 iu of natural vitamin E with other mixed tocopherols each day.

(There is reason to believe natural vitamin E is both safer & more health protective than man made.

Complex organic molecules like alpha tocopherol have left handed & right handed, or mirror image, versions. The natural forms are only one of these. Man made tends to be the mirror image version or a mix of the real thing & the mirror image version. Unfortunately, only the natural version is effective in most cases. And, the mirror image may be harmful, particularly in larger doses.)

There may be other sources, but Solgar makes a vitamin E supplement with 200 iu of natural alpha tocopherol & some beta, delta, & gamma tocopherols also. I take that one myself.

Between the recent studies & the other documented health benefits of these practices, it’s clear that if you follow them all you’ll likely live longer & in better health.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Superb new way to beat the blues, winter or not…..

Today's post: Tuesday, 1-22-2008

Researchers have found that exercising regularly has all kinds of incredible benefits including turning off or turning down the blues or even moderate depression.

And, last Friday’s health article in the Early to Rise email has really powerful good news.

Doing even a few minutes almost every day of exercise where you periodically do several shorter bursts of considerably more vigorous or faster exercise works best to make you feel better.

Here’s why that’s such incredibly good news.

Walking for an hour is great exercise; but few people can manage to take the time to do that more often than once or twice a week. And, if you are depressed or feeling blue & find the walk boring, in my experience, that tends to blunt any positive effects on your mood.

But what this new finding means is that if you would like to feel a bit better, you can get the job done & done well in just 5 or 10 minutes.

You benefit 3 ways.

1. Most people can fit 5 minutes into their morning or take a 5 minute break later in the day & many can manage 10 minutes as well. That makes it doable.

2. When you have to focus mentally to manage the intensity or speed of your exercise & do bursts of faster or more vigorous exercise alternated with easier or slower & repeat several times, it’s easy to STOP focusing on how you feel or any reasons you have to feel bad. That alone temporarily shuts off feeling bad.

You brain has to help you set up & do moderately easy for a bit & then pretty hard or fast for a shorter time & repeat several times or do moderately easy for a bit & then pretty hard or fast for a shorter time & then a brief rest to recover & repeat several times. That means your mind is too busy to feel bad.

I’ve also noticed that this kind of exercise tends to make you feel able & capable when you do it. And, it tends to get your heart rate up without over-straining yourself since you get to go slower or take a few seconds break every so often.

3. Once you experience that this does help you feel better, you realize that you can & will feel better at least some in just a few minutes every time you do this kind of exercise.

That’s a nice combination indeed !!

Even better, separate research shows that doing this kind of exercise gets you into good aerobic shape faster than steady pace exercise; AND it also works better for fat loss than steady pace exercise.

Here’s where I found this new info myself that this kind of exercise also works better to make you feel better & brighten your mood.:

It was in last Friday’s, 1-21-2008, Early to Rise email & on their website.

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit

“Does Feeling Good Make You Exercise?

By Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS

It's been established that exercise can enhance your mood. But does being in a good mood increase the likelihood that you'll exercise in the first place?

Researchers at Bowling Green University designed a study to answer that question. Thirty-six obese participants in a behavioral weight-loss program recorded their morning, evening, and pre- and post-exercise moods. They also recorded the type, duration, and intensity of their exercise. The findings were clear. People who recorded better moods in the morning were more likely to exercise that day.

If you find yourself feeling positive in the morning, grab the opportunity to exercise right then. It'll make you feel better for the rest of the day.

And while you're at it, up the intensity - even if just for 15 seconds every couple of minutes.

The researchers found that those who exercised more frequently and at greater intensity had the greatest increases in mood.

The highest mood ratings came from those participants who exercised the longest and at the highest intensities.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Jonny Bowden is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. He's the author of the new book The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth. For more information, go to .”

X * X * X

I put what I see as the two most important statements in bold for emphasis.

Here are my other comments.:

That that does mean that 10 or 15 minutes may do more for you than five.

But, remember these two things. They also found that the people who did this almost every day got the best results. And, it’s a lot easier to do a bit more once you get in the habit of doing even 5 minutes of this kind of exercise than it is to start off doing more. Even more importantly, knowing that even 5 minutes will help & doing it instead of waiting until you have 10 or more minutes makes it enormously more likely you’ll do it at all.

The other thing is that if you make doing it at home first thing in the morning a habit, you’ll start feeling better at the start of each day. You do NOT have to feel tip top to do the exercise when you begin. And, this research shows you will feel better when you are done.

Doing this will make you feel better & in more control of your life. And, separate studies have found that feeling in more control helps people feel better also.

Strength training with even light weights can work well for this. (If you lift a weight you can do 8 or 9 times, the first 3 or 4 are easy. Then, breathe out harder & focus increasing your effort a good bit on the last 3 or 4. That makes those last few seem easier. And, it also makes it easier to get to 10 or 11 times & make progress.

Doing a martial arts pattern exercise routine also can work well. Simply vary between moderately slow trying to do the form really well with just doing it as fast as you can for a few seconds once you know the patterns reasonably well.

You can also do this with walking. Simply walk at a normal pace for two minutes & then walk as fast as you can for 15 to 30 seconds. Then repeat the process for a total of 5 minutes (once more) or do four of these if you have 10 minutes, etc.

Another way is to use squats or knee bends as long as you only go down to where your thighs are parallel to the ground. (Going farther is too hard on your knees.) Because this one uses gravity, if you do 20 at moderate speed & then 7 really fast & repeat (with short rest breaks if you need them at first), you can begin to burn a good bit of calories in just 5 minutes.

Important note, with any of these be sure to start a little easier than your hardest effort until you have been doing the exercise for a couple of weeks.

And, if you get out of breath, stop for 5 or 10 seconds before you do the next round.

It’s safer that way. And, it also makes it easier to keep doing since you perceive that your effort is more under your control; & it doesn’t feel as hard. Paradoxically, that means you’ll actually make the fastest progress that way.

Lastly, in case you missed it in our earlier post, be sure to take at least 2,000 iu of vitamin D3 each day in the winter or if you rarely go outside in the summer. That has now been shown to turn off the winter blues as well as the light therapy or better.

Why not do both taking the vitamin D3 AND this kind of exercise? The research suggests strongly you’ll feel a lot better if you do.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Eating protein foods DOES help you lose fat…..

Today's post: Monday, 1-21-2008

Researchers recently established a key reason why eating protein foods tends to help people lose fat.

Eating protein foods suppresses a key hormone that turns off hunger. Even better the hormone, called Ghrelin, stays turned down for a good bit from eating protein foods. This helps you avoid overeating from continuing to feel hungry after you eat.

So, if you eat a bit less calories than you are used to but eat well from lean or nonfat protein foods, you are much less likely to get too hungry to continue eating that way.

Separate research shows that continuing to eat some fats & oils makes losing fat permanently MUCH more likely. However, doing so apparently works through a different pathway as this research showed that eating fat did NOT turn down this hormone.

Carbohydrate foods, & it sounds like this research used fast absorbing carbohydrates like sugars that did NOT come with fiber when eaten, were definitely BAD actors.

Eating carbohydrate foods did lower ghrelin levels at first. But they then reversed & INCREASED them above where they were when the carbohydrate foods were eaten.

This clearly makes it much more likely a person will overeat because this effect ensures they will get quite hungry sooner than they should.

Here’s where I first saw the research reported.:

“Thu Jan 17, 7:20 PM ET CHICAGO (Reuters) –

Diets high in protein may be the best way to keep hunger in check, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a study that offers insight into how diets work.

They found that protein does the best job at keeping a hunger hormone in check, while carbohydrates and fats may well deserve their current nasty reputation.

The study, which will appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at the effectiveness of different nutrients at suppressing ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite.

"Suppression of ghrelin is one of the ways that you lose your appetite as you begin to eat and become sated," said Dr. David Cummings of the University of Washington in Seattle, who worked on the study.

The researchers gave 16 people three different beverages, each with varying levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They took blood samples before the first beverage, then every 20 minutes for six hours afterward, measuring ghrelin levels in each sample.

"The interesting findings were that fats suppress ghrelin quite poorly," Cummings said in a telephone interview. They fared the poorest overall.

"Proteins were the best suppressor of ghrelin in terms of the combination of the depth and duration of suppression," he said. "That is truly satisfying because high proteins are essentially common to almost all of the popular diets."

They also found that eating carbohydrates resulted in a strong ghrelin suppression at first, but ghrelin levels rebounded with a vengeance, rising to an even higher level.

Basically, the carbohydrates eventually made people even hungrier than before they had eaten.“

This research endorses what has become clear is the best way to eat to lose fat & then stay trim permanently.

1. Eat nonfat & lower fat sources of protein. Egg whites, whey, & protein supplements made from them work well.

Since the separate research shows that eating some fats & oils DOES help keep hunger away enough to make continuing to eat right & permanent fat loss much more doable & likely, it’s quite clear that eating high protein foods with some health OK fats & oils also works.

(Eating fats clearly has this effect without reducing Ghrelin however, according to this research. So this must work through taste or another system your body uses to gauge energy intake.)

That means that eating whole eggs, wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils, beef fad only grass, and eating nuts are all good ways to get protein for people who want to lose fat permanently.

Eating beans & lentils also works well. They do have carbohydrates. But, since they are also quite high in fiber, the carbohydrates are released to your body gradually enough over a long enough period of time that by the time the rebound effect overcomes the reducing effect, it will be the right time for your next meal anyway.

Important note: Fatty & grain fed meats & poultry contain enough extra calories as saturated fat & omega 6 oils from the grain they eat that they should be eaten much less often, in smaller amounts, & in as fat trimmed & lean a version as possible. These foods tend to have too much fat & calories for the protein they contain to be good fat loss tools. These fats & oils are NOT health OK as they may cause cancer & have been implicated in causing heart disease. And, since these same animals are often raised around pesticides & given antibiotics which are bioconcentrated in their fat, minimizing your consumption of those fats is wise.

2. Similarly, small amounts of avocado & extra virgin olive oil are also OK. Just don’t overdo the amount. They have MUCH better health effects than dairy fats & polyunsaturated oils high in omega 6 oils. So eating dairy fats & polyunsaturated oils high in omega 6 oils is not wise both for health & for fat loss except in very small amounts & not every day.

3. The other kind of food that reduces hunger is food that is high in fiber since your stomach will give you hunger pains if it gets too empty.

Here again beans & lentils work well as they are quite high in fiber, nutrition, & protein also.

But, the best food category for this is green, nonstarchy vegetables. They do have carbohydrates but the amount is quite low compared with the fiber & nutrition they contain. This is so much the case that your body may burn as many calories to digest them as they contain. Weight Watches lists them as having zero points. That means their experience has shown that green, nonstarchy vegetables have zero net calories when you eat them. This means eating them in abundance will help you feel full but NOT put fat on you.

Yellow, red, & orange, nonstarchy vegetables such as tomatoes, summer squash, & carrots also work.

Somewhat starchy vegetables like pumpkin & sweet potatoes & yams or whole fresh fruits are OK, but like eating fats like extra virgin olive oil, avoid eating too much of them.

4. It’s quite clear from this research that drinking soft drinks, eating refined grain foods, & eating more than tiny amounts of sugar & not doing so every day, is also a HUGE key to not being fat or staying fat.

They found these foods make you less hungry at first & then uncontrollably more hungry later.

Eliminate or cut these back by 98 percent & it will be much easier for you to lose fat.

In fact, if they are a big chunk of what you eat & drink now, this research suggests you will be LESS hungry if you eat protein foods instead. Even better, you may lose 10 or 15 percent of your body weight as fat. if you simply keep doing it.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

New info on fighting type II diabetes…..

Today's post: Thursday, 1-17-2008

(We start with the most important info. But to many of you, it’s old news. The new info is in the article I include at the end of this post.)

Many people today get no exercise. Even more unfortunately, many still drink soft drinks even though there is solid evidence that doing so helps make you fat & sick. Add sedentary jobs &, for most people, getting to & from work with no walking needed.

What does that give you?

This recipe is perfect for creating what is called insulin resistance & unhealthily high levels of blood sugar. So, it’s no surprise that many people are arriving there. And, for most people, as they get older, if that process once starts & gets through the undesirable level to the early stages of type II diabetes, they will often damage their health before they find out what the cause is.

(Since diabetes harms the capillaries that are the part of the blood delivery system where the blood actually delivers food & oxygen to your cells & removes CO2 & wastes, it causes serious harm. Diabetes also apparently makes cardiovascular disease develop faster & become more deadly.

If left undetected &/or if left untreated, it produces effects like fatal heart attacks, blindness, & cuts off circulation to your feet enough to cause the need for amputation. It also ruins your kidneys forcing you to be on dialysis or die.)

The best news is that all this is quite preventable.

The first line of defense is to get your blood sugar levels tested every year or two or twice that often if you are more than a bit too fat.

There are two tests to get each time, which are your fasting glucose level & your HBA1C.

Ideally, you want your fasting glucose level to be 99 or less.

Levels between about 100 & 119 are a warning light & suggest you take action to bring the level down. And, the higher the number in that range, the more undesirable it is. 120 & over may be type II diabetes. Somewhere slightly above that over 126 or so, most doctors will diagnose you as having type II diabetes.

However, since the fasting glucose is a snapshot of a particular time, it may read as much as 10 or 15 points above what is typical for you, so unless you are well over 126, most of the better doctors will look at your HBA1C reading before deciding.

The HBA1C reading is so valuable precisely because it DOES reveal what your typical blood sugar readings have been over the last 60 to 90 days.

If it’s 6.0 or higher (about 5.0 to 5.8 is desirable), your blood sugar level has been too high, & most doctors will diagnose you as having type II diabetes.

(HBA1C measures the blood that is stuck on the surface of your red blood cells. The reason it gives you the moving average of the last 60 to 90 days, is that’s because that’s about how long your red blood cells live.)

In today’s world NOT getting these two tests with reasonable frequency is about as safe as driving on the freeway without being able to see out of your windshield.

It tends to result in avoidable injury or death.

So the first way to fight back is to get both of these tests at least every two years.

And, if you are fat, don’t exercise yet, &/or drink soft drinks more often than two or three times a week, every 6 months to a year is safer.

The second line of defense is even more important as it prevents the problem to begin with.

The bad news is given our current economy & lifestyles, it’s a bit more of a challenge to do.

At least it has extra benefits such as becoming much less fat; having more energy, & improving your sex life.

The two biggest parts of it are to:

1. Get a minimum of regular exercise each week.:

a. Do progressive strength training at least two days a week with at least one day off in between for at least 20 minutes. More is better; but you may find that level a lot easier to fit into your life, particularly at first.

b. Do some aerobic exercise at least three days a week. Vigorous interval training seems to work the best; but even walking for 20 minutes each time is enormously better than no exercise at all.

c. Limiting watching TV also helps as you burn less energy watching TV than you do sleeping !! And, it’s a great way to find the time to exercise if you watch a lot of TV now.

2. Cut out & sharply reduce eating sugars that come with no nutrition & fiber in the same food.

Doing otherwise not only produces type II diabetes, it makes you fat & has been implicated as a likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

a. Soft drinks are so bad in this regard, the most it’s likely safe to drink is two or three a week. None ever is far safer. Oddly, the evidence of the studies is that diet soft drinks have the same effect. Water, tea, & coffee without sugar are far better substitutes,

b. Candy & desserts do taste really good. But eating two or three a week or less is far safer than eating two or three a day as many Americans do now.

c. People did NOT evolve eating grains. Early on when most people ate food made from whole grains & everyone got LOTS of exercise, grains seemed an OK food to eat.

Eating refined grain foods with little or no exercise in your life, however, is NOT safe.

The safest strategy is to eat very little in the way of grain foods; &, except for quite rare treats, NEVER eat refined grain foods.

(Since, so far, well over 90 percent of fast food & restaurant sandwiches are made with refined grain bread, this means ordering your sandwiches “Atkins style” with no bread. This saves the food place money, so only the stupidest with give you a hard time about serving you that way. You may need to be careful they really believe you & serve you as requested though as many are not used to the request as yet.)

c. Eat a LOT more vegetables. Many people eat none if you don’t count potatoes & potato based French fries. Eat at least two servings a day; & 5 or more is better.

d. Eat well from health OK protein foods & moderately from health OK fats & oils.

Wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils has both. So do nuts, which have strong health benefits if you aren’t allergic. Grass fed only beef has both. Beans & lentils are excellent as they have both protein & fiber. Avocados & extra virgin olive oil are excellent. Some lean poultry & eggs are good in moderation.

The bad news is that you may like to eat the kind of “semi-foods” that were popular & which you may be used to & feel deprived that the blood tests show you should stop eating them.

The best way to look at it is that these foods never were safe for people who get little or no exercise to eat. The good news is that you now know this is so; & the tests prove it’s happening to you. This actually gives you a considerable advantage over the unfortunates who don’t yet know any better.

What about drugs & supplements?

There is a safe diabetes drug when taken in small doses called Metformin. But many people cannot abide the side effects of large doses. And, some of other drugs have worse side effects. To be fair, the damage of really high levels of blood sugar is even worse.

Cinnamon spice & the supplements alpha lipoic acid & chromium polynicotinate do seem to help.

For some new info on two drugs it may be best to avoid & an even more powerful supplement, check out this article that came out last Friday.

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription,

“Friday, January 11, 2008

Diabetes and the Drugs to Control It Could Shorten Your Life

By Shane Ellison

I'm often asked, "How can I live to be 100 years old?" My answer is simple, "Just say no to prescription drugs and learn how to control insulin and blood sugar."

Why? Because the populations that live the longest are naturally highly sensitive to insulin.

Conversely, those who die the youngest from conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer are grossly insensitive to insulin or are taking a prescription drug.

In the US, the biggest threat to longevity is type II diabetes caused by high levels of blood sugar and insulin resistance. It has become a nationwide epidemic that can steal 11 to 20 years from a person's lifespan.

To curb the threat, physicians are madly prescribing anti-diabetic drugs like Avandia and Actos. With so many people using them, scientists have learned two valuable lessons about longevity.

First lesson: You cannot use these drugs to increase lifespan.

In addition to eliciting a moderate drop in blood sugar, anti-diabetic meds damage the cardiovascular system.

According to a recent study, Avandia users had a whopping 30-40% increased risk of heart attack and other heart-related adverse events (heart failure) compared to patients treated with placebo.(1) This risk is due to the drug's effect of lowering vital hemoglobin levels.
Hemoglobin is used by the body to transport oxygen throughout the entire 100,000 miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries in the adult body. Without hemoglobin, a condition known as ischemia sets in. This is a fancy term for "suffocation." Clinically, heart attack or heart failure can be the result.

The prescription drug Actos has the same mechanism of action as Avandia -- they both work to reduce insulin resistance. Not surprisingly, it also carries the same risks. Health Canada sounded the alarm about this class of drugs as early as 2001! But unfortunately, the warning has not yet reached the American public.

Commenting on this unannounced danger, the U.S. Congress stated that, "the FDA's apparently callous disregard for the safety of diabetics taking Avandia is very reminiscent of the Agency's failure to move on Vioxx when substantial safety signals first became known. Like Vioxx, Avandia may have unnecessarily risked the lives of tens of thousands of Americans."(2)

Second lesson: You can fix insulin receptors naturally to increase lifespan.
This simply means that insulin receptors found on individual cells have the ability to be "re-tuned" to the insulin message. We learned this from anti-diabetic drugs that can increase insulin sensitivity by jump starting inactive or dying cells. But this benefit from drugs doesn't outweigh the risk of heart attack. Fortunately, if a drug can do it, so can Mother Nature. This is a little-known fact in medicinal chemistry.

Mother Nature always provides the "lead" in the meticulous process of drug discovery. Meaning, before there is a man-made drug for a given ailment, there is a natural substance that will do the same thing.

In the process of designing anti-diabetic drugs, Big Pharma surveyed a myriad of natural products to find a lead compound that re-tuned the insulin receptor. Among them was a substance called corosolic acid, derived from the banaba plant(3) grown in Southeast Asia.

Corosolic acid has proven safe and effective for increasing insulin sensitivity. Remarkably, users have been shown to not only lower blood sugar and insulin levels but also melt fat and build muscle in the process.

But what's really important is that by taking corosolic acid instead of anti-diabetic drugs you will lower the risk of heart attack and naturally improve insulin sensitivity. That means years may be added to your life!

Of course, lifestyle habits such as regular exercise and minimizing sugar intake are pre-requisites to the success of increasing insulin sensitivity and significantly extending your lifespan.

(You can find corosolic acid as an ingredient in several natural products sold in health food stores for glucose control and weight management.)

3. Katsuji H, et al. Journal of Pharmacological Sciences Vol. 93 (2003), No.1, pp. 69-73.
[Ed. Note: Shane Ellison is known as "The People's Chemist." He holds a Master's degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand industry experience with drug research, design and synthesis. He is the author of Health Myths Exposed and The Hidden Truth about Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs.”

X * X* X*

Note that most of the supplements at the health food store are NOT labeled as “corosolic acid” but as banaba extract or banaba leaf extract.

The info I found suggests that it is so effective, you may be wise to start with a minimum amount unless your blood sugar readings are dangerously high.

Here’s why. If in your body it cuts your blood sugar level by 20 percent, that’s good if you were at 120 fasting glucose since you will now be at about 96 which is far safer.

However, if you were at 104 &, in your body, it cuts your blood sugar level by 25 percent, you would be at 78 & possibly feel dizzy and spacey from too low blood sugar.

So, try a little to see how you do before you try larger amounts unless your levels are really high.

And, be sure to follow the steps in the most important section anyway as they both give you the most effective health protection & have other health benefits besides – even if the banaba extract is effective for you.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Update on How to Quit Smoking…..

Today's post: Wednesday, 1-16-2008

Last Thursday, 1-10, I did a post on how dramatically dangerous smoking is for cardiovascular & heart health. The post highlighted that smoking is dangerous even for younger people & so powerful a cause of heart disease that it sometimes even kills people in their 40’s.

I then suggested for people trying to quit that they ask their doctor for a drug called Chantix.

I had gone by the listed side effects that mild nausea was the main problem. So I passed on that reducing the dose of the drug temporarily has been found to help & that taking ginger has been found to increase the level of your body being able to withstand things without giving you nausea symptoms & that might also be a solution.

However, I found some information since that suggests that taking the antidepressant drug Zyban plus a nicotine substitute might be as effective as Chantix in helping people quit.

And, of more importance, an unlisted side effect of Chantix on many people is that it can induce or worsen depression & that this can be severe in some people.

Ouch !!

For many smokers, they smoke in part because their lives have been extra stressful or because nicotine has some antidepressant effects that help them feel a bit better.

To me, this means Chantix is likely NOT a good bet for helping people quit smoking after all.

So I’ve changed my thoughts on this subject.

I now believe that taking the antidepressant drug Zyban plus a nicotine substitute plus some strong support group help is your best & safest way to quit smoking.

Many people do manage to quit cold turkey. So that may be the best thing to try first.

But if you have too many withdrawal side effects or find you have re-started, enlist your doctor’s help & ask for the antidepressant drug Zyban plus a nicotine substitute.

In addition, be sure to get into a support group as that has also been found to help. Your doctor may have a program to refer you to -- or your HMO or insurance company may offer one. If not, the American Cancer Society or the American Lung Association can help you locate one.

The other thing your doctor can do is help you get your HDL & your homocysteine level tested. If you smoke, there is an excellent to very high chance your HDL is under 50, possibly under 35, & a similar chance your homocysteine level is well over 9.0.

You may well find your HDL is something like 27; & your homocysteine level is 13.0 or higher. That indicates damage is happening now that will result in heart disease.

What does that do for you in helping you quit?

If you get a bad reading on either of these tests or a very bad reading like the 27 & over 13.0 example above, it means that smoking is giving you heart disease RIGHT NOW. And, you then do NOT have to guess if you need to quit smoking to protect yourself. These two measures are quite likely to show that you do need to quit or even that it’s imperative that you do.

The great news is that they give you objective proof that you need to quit. And, even better, they tell you BEFORE you die of a heart attack or stroke caused by smoking.

Of course this also suggests that as soon as you quit, you begin doing the things that increase your HDL & lower your homocysteine to help you recover faster from the effects of the smoking you’ve already done & speed up the damage repair & lower the harm to your heart & blood vessels.

Consider taking steps like the following to do that. And, if you do them, you get an extra benefit too. By taking steps to turn down or turn off the damage smoking has caused you, it will significantly increase your motivation to quit.

Here are things that boost HDL. There are many others. But these seem to work well for most people.

Taking at least 300 mg of real niacin after two meals a day for a total of 600 is likely safe & has boosted HDL quite well for some people.

Regular exercise, particularly progressive strength training & interval aerobic exercise, boost HDL.

And, the drink or two a day that has been found to increase longevity likely does so in part because it boosts HDL. (Just drink in locations where smoking is NOT allowed & never smoke at the same time you drink even before you quit.)

Using only extra virgin olive oil instead of oils like corn oil or safflower oil or soy oil also boosts your HDL studies have found. And, it helps reduce your bad LDL if you use it to replace butter when you can.

To lower your homocysteine levels, try these things.:

Try taking 500 to 1000 micrograms of B12; 50 to 75 mg of B6, & 1600 iu or more of folic acid each day. (Note: More than 1000 of B12 & more than 1600 of folic acid is likely OK. More than 100 mg of B6 is NOT as it has caused nerve damage.)

For some people, that may be enough to reduce your homocysteine to below 9.0. If not, try adding 500 mg a day of the supplement NAC. You can also take 500 mg twice a day if your homocysteine is well over 10.0 now or doesn’t drop below 9.0 with the B vitamins & 500.

If your homocysteine is 14.0 or above or still not below 9.0 after the B vitamins & 500 mg of NAC twice a day, try adding the supplement TMG two or three times a day.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To escape pain & disability, read this…..

Today's post: Tuesday, 1-15-2008

Many of us had chicken pox as children. And, it’s possible many people got such mild cases of it they were unaware that’s what they were sick with.

First, here’s the really BAD news.:

What many people don’t realize is that this disease is a two-parter. Apparently your body doesn’t kill this virus, it just keeps it from growing enough you feel well. That’s OK as long as your immune system is on the job. The virus retreat to hide in certain nerves in your body. But you feel well & healthy.

HOWEVER, when you get enough older or when you get extra stressed as an older person, your immune system may suddenly not keep the virus in check. And, when that happens you get part 2 of the disease. This is called “Shingles.”

This usually causes a rash. But it does some MUCH nastier things too. Since it’s flared up from inside your nerves, experiencing really harsh pain is common. But it also often causes permanent nerve damage. This can cause permanent pain. And, it can harm your hearing or your sight.

This means getting shingles can be like being in a bad injury accident in your car. It can ruin your quality of life & disable you.

The much better good news is that this is now avoidable.

There is now a vaccine called Zostavax you can get that either prevents Shingles or makes it a dramatically milder case.

Based on what happened to my Mom & Dad & my fifty year old friend, make a strong effort to get this vaccine soon.

Here’s what WebMD posted when it first came out:

“WebMD Medical News

May 25, 2006 – The FDA has approved the first vaccine for adult shingles..
The agency cleared the vaccine -- known as Zostavax -- for use in adults age 60 and older: studies showed it can prevent shingles roughly half the time.
But experts say they're worried that partial insurance coverage of the vaccine may slow its acceptance by doctors and patients.
Shingles causes a rash with blisters that usually lasts for two to four weeks. The pain associated with the blisters can be quite intense. Once this initial phase is over, nerve pain called postherpetic neuralgia can set in. This pain lasts anywhere from 30 days to months or even years. It can be so severe in some people that it disrupts their lives.”

If you are over 60, get this vaccine ASAP.

I got mine recently & am quite relieved that I got it done.

Since this article was written, the insurance & HMO people have figured out, or at least they have at Kaiser where I go, that it will save a lot of money on treatments to pay for this vaccine.

And, based on my 50 year old friend’s experience, it might well be important for you to ask for it even if you are just over 45.

(Since the approval was for people over 60, you might not get a yes. But you might find a doctor who will give you the vaccine. This might well mean you have to pay for a doctor visit & the shot yourself. But if you have the money, it might be well worth it.)

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Simple ways to live 14 years longer…..

Today's post: Monday, 1-14-2008

The hidden & super extra benefit is that you also cut the number of years you are in bad health.

That means that the people who follow these simple health practices gain even more than 14 years of healthy, enjoyable life. So your actual gain may be more like 20 or 25 years of good life. Not bad.

This news below was in the online news on Tuesday last week. The Reuters title was:

“Four health changes can prolong life 14 years”

Their summary quote & lead paragraph said this: ” People who drink moderately, exercise, quit smoking and eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day live on average 14 years longer than people who adopt none of these behaviors, researchers said on Tuesday.“

(You can find the Reuters health news at or .)

Here are two of the four practices. Another study was reported this week that said that just drinking moderately & getting regular exercise increased longevity. (Both of these practices boost your protective HDL levels & tend to prevent heart disease & strokes. They also help relive stress.)

Not smoking is the third one & may give you the most leverage in protecting your health according to the article. Yesterday, we posted the information on why it’s so incredibly important to not smoke or quit smoking as well.

The fourth one is also important & improves your health now.: Eating five or more servings of fruit & vegetables each day also has multiple benefits.

Eating vegetables tends to prevent people from getting or staying overfat & does it without making people hungry, so it’s a sustainable practice.

Eating raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli & cauliflower each day both protects against all cancers & slashes the risk of the really dangerous & invasive cancers.

And, vegetables not only contain potassium, which helps keep your blood pressure in the healthy range & many vitamins, they contain a truly amazing amount of other micronutrients that protect your health in a multitude of other ways.

There are maybe 12 or 14 other things you can do to protect your health that also work extremely well that we’ve posted about here.

But this list is great because it’s only four things and just doing these four things is extremely protective.

1. Get regular exercise.

Even a small bit of regular walking a few times a week has 40 percent of the benefits of an ideal program the research has found. (Adding even two days of strength training & two or three days of vigorous aerobic exercise even for a few minutes each time gets you to about 80 percent.)

An extra incentive that’s less well known is that both men & women who exercise have better sex lives than people who don’t.

2. Don’t smoke or stay in an area that has second hand smoke in it.

(See yesterday’s post, if you need any convincing to quit if you smoke now.)

3. Eat more than five servings of vegetables & fruit each day. (Five servings or more of vegetables with at least one of them being a raw cruciferous vegetable is even better. Fruit is also valuable; but even one or two servings a day is protective.)

4. The fourth one is a good bit more fun. Drink a drink or two most days.

Red wine & dark beer do have extra micronutrients & health benefits; but the alcohol in other drinks also works. So, if you prefer tequila, scotch, or martinis go ahead & enjoy them.

(Warning, do avoid drinking more than two drinks a day; & don’t drive after drinking more than one or two drinks. People who do sometimes live much shorter lives. This is an avoidable effect in the wrong direction.)

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Smoking is even more dangerous for younger people…..

Today's post: Thursday, 1-10-2008

On Monday night I went to a lecture on preventing heart disease looking for something new that I might use myself & share with you.

The lecturer was Randall Stafford, MD from the Stanford Prevention Research Center & Preventive Cardiology Clinic. This Stanford center has tracked the developments in preventing heart & cardiovascular disease for many years.

Dr Stafford said that one of the worst causes of heart disease to avoid is smoking & breathing second hand smoke.

Most of the causes tend to catch up with people over 65 years old as even though they are harmful they take quite some time to do enough damage to kill you off with a fatal heart attack or stroke.

Smoking is different. Smoking causes heart disease so much faster, it often kills off people in their 40’s & 50’s.

Unfortunately for smokers, all of them are having their cardiovascular system harmed every time they smoke. And, hardly any of them know it.

The big & well known publicity about the danger of smoking was that it makes getting lung cancer a lot more likely. (It also doubles the risk of getting any cancer.)

But many smokers don’t get cancer. And the younger ones tend to not know any fellow smokers who did or who have.

So they just think they’ll continue to be one of the lucky people who don’t get cancer & keep smoking.

The very bad news is that cancer is the LITTLE risk from smoking.

EVERYONE who smokes is giving himself or herself a heart disease causing treatment every time they light up.

Here’s an excerpt from an upcoming eBook on reducing high blood pressure without drugs. It has one of the main reasons smoking produces heart disease; how to get a test to see that it’s already happening to you right now; & tips on how to quit smoking.:

Avoid cigarette smoke.

If you are like me & most other people who are working to get your blood pressure into the ideal range when it’s been too high, you want to get that done; you want it to STAY done; & you want the health protection that gives you.

And, you don’t want to hurt your health or die while you are working on it.

Cigarette smoke (& cigar & pipe smoke) do the reverse of each of these things.

That’s true whether it’s second hand smoke or you smoke yourself and inhale it directly.

Even worse, not only do you die at a younger age, by over 20 years in many cases, the side effects & horrible impact on your quality of life of tobacco smoke make those of the worst blood pressure drugs look mild by comparison. These include erectile dysfunction, heart attacks, strokes, premature aging, emphysema, and pain while walking and foot amputation from PAD, peripheral artery disease. And, what’s NOT widely known is these things happen to virtually ALL smokers to some degree

The lung cancers & other cancers many smokers get that they would have escaped as nonsmokers are just the extras. But they can also ruin your quality of life & kill you just fine.

When you first inhale tobacco smoke, within a few seconds or a couple of minutes, your blood pressure goes up quite a bit. This IS temporary. But if you are still at a reading of something like 145 over 95 & this surge from smoking of something like 24 over 17 could easily put you at 169 over 112. And, that’s high enough to cause you damage before the effect wears off.

Smoking also causes a near immediate increase in Carbon Monoxide in the blood of smokers when they smoke. And enough of it remains hours later to such an extent that you can do a simple fingertip test & tell if someone smokes or is exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke. This means the cells of smokers are usually partially starved for adequate oxygen.

But the most harmful effect of smoking is that it is a direct & multiple cause of damage to your heart, lungs, & blood vessels.

SOME smokers get cancer. (The cancers many smokers get are just an extra, horribly bad, side effect.)

Unfortunately, most smokers are totally unaware of the main harmful effect that ALL smokers get & only know that some smokers get cancer & think they won’t be one of the unlucky ones.

But ALL smokers get their heart, lungs, & blood vessels damaged. This damage increases plaque build up in your arteries so they are thinner & resist the flow of blood. And, the more this happens & the longer it goes on, the higher your diastolic & overall blood pressure will be. Even worse, this process stiffens your blood vessels & prevents them from relaxing or responding when you need for them to during sex or exercise or emergencies and to relax afterwards.

Smoke increases your homocysteine levels which damages the inside of your arteries which your body tries to repair with glue-like LDL cholesterol which causes this plaque build up. And, smoke reduces your levels of the HDL cholesterol that cleans up excess LDL cholesterol in your blood vessels; & smoke even keeps the HDL you have left over from working very well. In addition, particulate air pollution tends to trigger heart attacks & strokes and other health problems. In rooms where people smoke the particulate air pollution is extremely high.

The effect on your arteries is like a city street where everyone throws their garbage in the street; most of the garbage men have been fired or laid off; & the ones still on the job have the flu. Imagine how easy it would be to drive down a street like that. This is one of the reasons people with high blood pressure tend to get worse over time. And, smoking puts all the causes of that problem on steroids. That makes them worse & happen more & happen faster.

Many smokers who learn this information simply quit cold turkey & never start up again.

Unfortunately, many other smokers find they are more strongly addicted & have trouble not starting up again.

The good news is that doctors now have an extremely effective drug to help smokers quit, called Varenicline with the trade name Chantix, that basically turns off the addiction while smokers quit & get used to not smoking. I’ve even read that smokers who take it LOSE weight instead of gaining it.

This drug works significantly better than Buprion or Wellbutrin, also known as Zyban, & MUCH better than placebo or taking no pill at all.

According to the website full prescribing information section, about seventy percent of people taking the higher & slightly more effective recommended dose have no problem with it. The rest have some degree of nausea. If that’s bad enough to be troubling, the site recommends having your doctor cut you back to a dose of half that much which is about seventy-five to ninety percent as effective.

However, taking a capsule of ginger before the meal you are recommended to take the Chantix after may also work. It has been proven to sharply increase how much it takes to make you feel nausea. A supplement company called New Chapter makes a supplement they call GingerForce that would be ideal for this.

My guess is that this will solve the problem for many, possibly most, people. And cutting the dose in half PLUS taking the ginger will work for many of the rest of the people.

The other thing to remember about this drug is that taking it is temporary. The more the nicotine is cleared from your system, the more the addiction to it is cleared from your brain physiology, the more you come to look on quitting smoking as an escape from a horrible & deadly trap, the more fully you understand why & how powerfully true that is, & the more you find to relieve stress, socialize, boost your energy level quickly, enjoy life, & feel better, the sooner you can stop taking it safely if you do get side-effects.”

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New way to prevent heart disease....

Today's post: Wednesday, 1-9-2008

On Monday night I went to a lecture on preventing heart disease looking for something new that I might use myself & share with you.

The lecturer was Randall Stafford, MD from the Stanford Prevention Research Center & Preventive Cardiology Clinic. This Stanford center has tracked the developments in preventing heart & cardiovascular disease for many years.

The news Dr Stafford delivered was extremely powerful. It expands what we can do to prevent or reverse heart disease. It increases the leverage we can bring to bear to do it. And, it also is an extremely valuable new way to measure cardiovascular risk.

Here are the three pieces of background you need to understand how very valuable this new method is:

1. It’s extremely protective to have high levels of HDL cholesterol.

According to a recent email I got from Dr Al Sears, it was reported in JAMA that people with HDL levels of 65 or over had only an eighth of the cardiovascular disease of people with less than 35.

Put in use-oriented language, that translates into,

“Raise your HDL enough & your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, & stroke drops by nearly 90 % from just doing that one thing.”

Doctors have tended to underuse this information as there have been no drugs that safely raise HDL levels.

>>> Regular exercise, particularly vigorous interval training and progressive strength training; taking the vitamin niacin (300 mg a day to 1,000 mg in divided doses like 300 mg after each meal seems to be both safe & effective}; & moderate, regular drinking raise HDL levels. (Over 2 drinks a day & drinking more than one drink before driving are NOT wise, however.)

So does eating right & taking some supplements. Using only extra virgin olive oil instead of polyunsaturated oils or butter seems to help a lot. Choline, Zinc, & Chromium supplements also help. (Avoid taking over 50 mg a day of zinc.)

2. Ever wonder why almost every health expert in the country is trying to get transfats banned & virtually all of them makes a very strong personal effort NOT to eat any?

It’s pretty simple, eating that junk CAUSES cardiovascular disease. I’ve not read of any class action lawsuits on this yet. But the evidence is overwhelming.

Here’s how it works. Cardiovascular disease is caused by having high levels of oxidized LDL particles that are physically small enough to go into the molecular chinks in your artery walls. LDL that’s physically larger may sludge up things a bit; but it bounces off & doesn’t do lasting damage.

Eating transfats turns your larger and safer LDL particles into the smaller, denser, & dangerous kind that DO cause permanent damage.

But, the prevention challenge has been that the test which shows whether your LDL is the harmless (or very much less harmful) kind or the really dangerous kind costs about $600 to $800. So it’s not been used outside of small research studies for the most part.

3. High triglyceride levels are known to be a heart disease risk but have not yet gotten much attention by doctors.

Lowering LDL levels does work to prevent heart attacks. Doctors know statin drugs do that and often prescribe them. (Niacin, eating right, & taking sterol supplements are also quite effective in lowering LDL levels.) But, there are not really safe & effective drugs that lower high triglyceride levels. And the risks posed by high triglyceride levels are less well known. Understandably, doctors tend to stick to things they know well & things they know will be helpful.

You can lower your triglyceride levels by cutting way back on eating sugar; NEVER eating or drinking high fructose corn syrup; eliminating refined grain foods; by eating a lot of vegetables, & particularly by eating lots of onions. Eating wild caught fish that’s high in Omega 3’s and taking omega 3 supplements also seems to help. Regular exercise, particularly vigorous interval training and progressive strength training also helps.

Taking the supplements chromium & alpha lipoic acid may also help.

Note that these are the same factors that tend to prevent or improve type II diabetes. So doing these things also protects your heart from the effects of excessive levels of sugar and insulin.

Doing this set of things also tends to trim off excess fat which is a very nice extra benefit indeed.

Here’s the news. The physiology underlying these three measures interacts. And, the HDL and triglycerides interact in a way that apparently determines the size of your LDL particles.

We know this because:

>>> It’s been found that the ratio between HDL & triglyceride levels is a very accurate estimate of what the much more expensive test of your LDL particle size would find if it were done.

(Dr Stafford presented it as the Triglyceride level divided by the HDL level.

That would make a lower ratio desirable. So, the desirable reading is 1.0 or less where the level of HDL is high enough & the triglycerides are low enough, 75 each for example or 70 for triglycerides & 80 for HDL that there’s clearly enough HDLs to process the triglycerides & your LDL cholesterol. Decent would be about 2.0 or maybe 3.0 with something like 50 HDL & 100 to 150 triglycerides. A reading of over 3.0 is undesirable. And, a reading of 10.0 or more -- from something like 320 triglycerides & a 32 HDL level -- is so high risk it’s scary.)

This is a HUGE lever we can use to prevent heart disease.

It has a large number of really useful implications or corollaries.”

1. We can detect the bad guys, the tiny high density LDL particles, cost effectively with just two of the cheaper tests we already are using !! Just take the HDL level and the triglyceride level and divide the triglycerides by the HDL reading.. The answer will show you how many of the bad guys you have.

2. And, this one is also HUGE. If your HDL is high & your triglycerides are low you have an extremely low risk of cardiovascular & heart disease. Conversely, if your HDL is low & your triglycerides are high, you are in serious trouble even if you haven’t had a heart attack or other symptoms yet. This ratio measures both at once.

3. So, if you do the things that increase your HDL; do the things that lower your triglycerides; do the things that are known to make your LDL particles larger; & avoid the things that make them smaller, particularly by NEVER eating transfats, YOU can take control over your risk of heart disease.

Many other people beside me are recommending many of these practices in part because they have many other health benefits besides protecting your heart.

In summary, this news allows us to see in part WHY these practices protect your heart and blood vessels. AND, it gives us an extremely powerful way to measure if there is a problem and to see if our efforts are solving it once we start to use these practices & have been doing them for a few weeks.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Supplements that help prevent dementia…..

Today's post: Friday, 1-4-2008

I read a recent article about this last week. And, I thought it worth passing along the info to you. I subscribe to an email on health topics from the people at

A. Here’s my report on their 5 points. I add two of my own under B. at the end of the article.

1. They quote a study that found that older people who supplemented with a small amount of daily beta carotene for over 10 years had better verbal memory than those who had not.

There are two ways to get that much beta carotene yourself. Most multivitamins today use beta carotene as their source of vitamin A, so by simply taking one such multivitamin & mineral each day, you can get a good bit of beta carotene.

But be sure to do the second method also. The carotenoids (or carotenes, if you prefer) seem to have the most health benefits & deliver them most safely if you get mixed carotenoids from the foods you eat. Carrots, sweet potatoes, orange & yellow colored squash, tomatoes & tomato sauces,& pumpkin, which you can easily buy as unsweetened pumpkin pie filling, are all high in carotenoids. So are broccoli and spinach and kale & other green leafy vegetables it may surprise you to know. The dark green pigment in them hides the orange & yellow carotenoids; but they ARE still there. In addition, eating these vegetables has many other health benefits including help keep excess fat off of your body.

2. They also quote a study that showed that people with Alzheimer's disease & other kinds of mental decline all had low levels of the Omega 3 called DHA for short. Even better, the people with high levels of DHA had half the risk of getting any kind of mental decline.

Here again there are several ways to get DHA. I personally do all three since DHA & other omega 3’s seem to help prevent depression & improve thinking skills in healthy people – plus, they seem to lower the unhealthy inflammation that helps cause many diseases.

You can take DHA directly as a supplement. Both Whole Foods Market & Source Naturals sell it. You can take Omega 3 supplements that have both DHA & EPA that are based on thoroughly purified fish oil. I take the one by Nordic Naturals. And, most potent of all, you can eat at least two servings a week of a health OK fish that is high in Omega 3.

(Since omega 3’s & omega 6’s seem to compete in your body, it may also help you get the balance that favors high blood levels of DHA to take in far less omega 6’s than most people. Grain, oils like corn oil, & the meat of animals & poultry fed grain instead of their natural diet are all high in omega 6’s. Beef fed only grass, poultry only naturally fed, & extra virgin olive oil are great substitutes. Grass fed beef is available & even has omega 3’s. Naturally fed poultry will become available I think. And, extra virgin olive oil is very low in both omega 6’s & saturated fat. It’s high in the monosaturated omega 9’s.)

3. Many kinds of mental decline are caused by circulatory problems. Since niacin both lowers the circulation damaging LDL cholesterol AND boosts the protective HDL cholesterol in your blood, it has been shown to prevent heart attack, stroke, & other circulation problems.

Not surprisingly, the people who took in the most niacin in their food had 80 percent less risk of mental decline. I take 600 mg a day of extra niacin, 300 mg after breakfast & 300 mg after lunch. And, I eat wild caught salmon two or three times a week which is one of the best sources of niacin also. (Taking the niacin after my meals help prevent the flushing response most of the time, while I get the flush every time if I take it on an empty stomach.)

Whole Foods Market sells real niacin in 300 mg tablets for a very reasonable price. (Their no flush niacin looks almost the same, so be careful to get the real niacin. I take two of the no flush niacin tablets a day also. But there is far less evidence that it works. And, it costs more besides. If you only take one, be sure to get the real niacin.)

4. Homocysteine levels in the blood of over 9.0 cause faster aging & circulatory problems including the related mental decline & heart disease. B complex vitamins support health nerves including those in the brain. And, lots of folic acid from supplements & leafy green vegetables over 2 grams a day plus 50 to 75 mg a day of B6 (more B6 is harmful by the way) & 500 micrograms or more of the methyl form of B12 all lower homocysteine.

So, it should be no surprise that people who have low homocysteine levels & high levels of B vitamins tend to get a LOT less mental decline. The data show people with high homocysteine & low B Complex vitamins were predictably likely to get mental decline. (Note: all smoking & second hand smoke exposure BOOSTS your homocysteine levels.)

5. The last point in the HSI article is that those who take both vitamin C & E each day are also less likely to suffer mental decline. Note that the natural forms of vitamin C & E are the safe and effective ones. So in addition to taking vitamin C, be sure to take the vitamin E supplements made from natural sources & eat plenty of fruits & vegetables that are high in natural vitamin C. (Solgar makes a 200 iu mixed natural vitamin E that I highly recommend & take myself.)

B. My two points that were not in their article.:

1. Taking Curcumin each day may be nearly as important as all of the above in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is available from many companies as a supplement. Some of these may be called turmeric supplements since Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric.

The evidence suggests that Curcumin empowers your immune system to clean out the amyloid plaque from your brain enough to prevent the Alzheimer’s you would have gotten if that amyloid plaque accumulated too much over time.

Turmeric is a key component in curries. And, people from India who eat a lot of curry in their food seem to hardly ever get Alzheimers disease.

Now, with Curcumin supplements, you can enjoy curried food occasionally if you want; but you no longer need to eat it every day to get protection from Curcumin.

2. Eating blueberries has been shown to almost literally rejuvenate older brains & improves mental performance. In addition to eating blueberries every week, you can take bilberry extract supplements which have other health benefits & may be a close enough cousin of blueberries to have this effect. And, you can eat many other kinds of berries as they are all high in natural vitamin C & have enormous other health benefits. They are also a good for you food that tastes good !!

C. There are even more supplements that lower homocysteine & protect your brain. But if you use these 7 methods, you’ll get very good protection indeed.

Dr Dharma Khalsa has a book Brain Longevity you can read. And, he sells many of these other supplements if you want even more protection.

D. It also helps to avoid mercury build up as mercury tends to destroy nerves. Avoid eating fish high in mercury like king mackerel & swordfish. And, don’t eat tuna too often as it has some mercury. Also, if you or a relative gets mental decline, be sure to get a blood test for mercury as a good bit of excess mercury can be removed & it has reversed mental decline in some cases when that has been done.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Want to lose some holiday fat? Good news for women …..

Today's post: Thursday, 1-3-2008

I read a recent article about some research that was done into gender differences in weight & fat loss.

The good news is that many, if not most, women do make an effort to lose excess fat.

But the much more challenging bad news is that most women who do try to lose fat tend to not get the job done & few get permanent results. Eating better & exercise, particularly strength training, work if you keep doing them. But many women try to eat less of what they already eat until they get too hungry & give up. That never works to lose fat permanently.

According to this source, men are enough more used to doing things consistently by policy & to use self discipline in order to achieve things that they often actually do the things that result in long term fat loss.

The good news is that there are several strategies that can help women reverse this.

The one I’ve seen be most effective is at the end of this post.

That means that once a man knows that both regular & diet soft drinks will tend to make him fat, he’s much more likely to stop drinking them.

Most women find this more difficult. I’ve seen that many women switch to diet soft drinks & keep eating as they were before or return to it too often. Even if a woman is good about the food, studies show that switching to soft drinks simply doesn’t work. The studies show this consistently.

This may be because people add the calories they didn’t get or the sugar they didn’t get from their soft drinks to the other things they eat. I suspect it also may be because the foods like French fries & sandwiches, hot dogs, or hamburgers that tend to go with soft drinks even if they are diet soft drinks are made with potatoes stripped of their fiber-, containing peel & with refined grains. They are, or have been until recently, often cooked in transfats. These things are fat fertilizer.

Similarly, once he knows that today’s commercial baked goods tend to be made with transfats (though that will mercifully change soon we hope) & sugar & refined grain flour, most men can get themselves to simply stop eating that stuff 95 to 100 % of the time. (Each of these things tend to make those who eat them fat.)

Women often use such foods as treats or eat them in social situations. This makes it challenging for many women to give them up. (It’s not impossible though.)

And, when men learn that eating MORE green nonstarchy vegetables can help them lose fat & get more health protecting nutrients, men are more consistent in doing just that.

Women, however, do much better than most men in eating salads. But often they eat too little protein foods with their salads or add large amounts of bad fat containing salad dressings.

(Moderate amounts of healthy fats & proteins in a salad can solve that problem. Foods like walnuts, avocado slices, extra virgin olive oil, shrimp, chunks of lean chicken, or canned Alaska wild salmon work much better for fat loss than most commercial salad dressings. And, by adding them the salad prevents hunger longer. Even small bits of cheese can work well for this.)

Then, when it comes to exercise, unfortunately, women do too little of the most effective kind.

Even though the cardio or aerobic exercise & Pilates type exercises women tend to do, do have health benefits & help some to produce fat loss, strength training is much more effective.

As a recent post here suggests, fewer women do strength training than men. Fewer of the women who do strength training do the kind of focused & progressive strength training that does the most good for fat loss when compared with men. And, because of having much lower testosterone, the women who do focused & progressive strength training well, still don’t get quite the results that men do. But it’s still the most effective kind of exercise to lose fat even for women.

So, if you are a woman & want to lose any excess fat pounds you may have gained over the holidays & then some, if you do all these things, you have a good chance of losing that fat.

It may be more difficult at first than it is for a man, but you can substitute water, tea, coffee, or even real fruit juice or milk for soft drinks.

You can eat sandwiches Atkins style by eating the meat or cheese etc & the tomatoes & lettuce etc & get salad or an extra vegetable serving to replace the cheap refined grain bread as a food.

You can eat strawberries & pecans or cooked “Old Fashioned,” less refined, oatmeal instead of refined grain toast for breakfast.

You can do strength training well two or three days a week. Personal trainers & many gyms will gladly show you how. (It may not work as well for women as for men. But it will improve your health. It will improve your sex life. And, even though it may be less than it would do for a man, strength training will cut fat off your body.)

So, if you want to get rid of some holiday fat, try these steps. They do work.

Are you debating making the effort? Or, do you need some extra motivation?

Here are some considerations to consider that suggest doing it is wise.

Even more important, one of these tests can & has given women a huge amount of extra leverage in eating right & exercising enough for fat loss. I’ve seen it work.

Each of these steps makes type II diabetes much less likely. Each of the steps will make you healthier in other ways. And, each of them will tend lower your risk of cardiovascular disease which helps prevent heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, & mental decline -- & sexual dysfunction.

If you are still debating, get your fasting glucose; & the glucose moving average test, HBA1C; & HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, & triglycerides done. You may find readings bad enough to make it really important to follow this plan now.

Readings of over 110 on fasting glucose, over 5.9 on HBA1C, HDL of less than about
50, or triglycerides of much higher than 150 can really hurt you. And, this set of things will go a long, long way towards moving those indicators to where they should be. It’s been tested & found to work.

Here’s the fat loss secret weapon for women. You can also get the blood sugar measuring device that people who have type II diabetes use from your doctor even if you test OK. And, your doctor may insist on it if you test badly.

Why does that help you with fat loss? Because when you exercise right & eat right, it will give you normal & desirable readings. AND, when you eat foods with too much sugar, refined grains, starches, etc & too little vegetables, and OK protein & fat sources, it shows excessively high readings. In addition, you get instant feedback that the readings are better on the days you exercise.

There’s no waiting for the bad news on the scale until you eaten badly & not exercised for a week. You see the results soon enough to take action to prevent the bad news at the end of the week.

It still may not be fun at first until you find health OK foods you actually like & get used to eating them.

But, it’s a way that I’ve seen work that will give you a HUGE amount of extra leverage.

It may be enough to help you succeed when you never did before in losing fat that you keep off.

If you’d like to lose your extra fat & keep it off, why not try it?

(Separate note:

If your LDL is 130 or over, that’s a problem also. And, although exercise will bring LDL down & even better, will make it safer by making your LDL larger & less able to stick to your blood vessel walls, you might want to try niacin or beta sitosterol ( or other sterol) supplements since they reliably lower LDL. The food & drink changes suggested here also help do these things. Statin drugs also work; & if your LDL is way over 160, your doctor may prescribe them. But they cost more & have more side effects.)

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