Monday, November 30, 2009

Two new ideas on escaping colds & flu & more....

Today's Post: Monday, 11-30-2009

Jon Herring is the new Editorial Director at Total Health Breakthroughs.
(See .) Thanks to Jon, it’s again worth reading sometimes.

A week ago last Wednesday, on Wednesday, 11-18-2009 Jon did an article about 3 lifestyle changes he made that in part helped him go from getting colds or flu once or twice a year to one time in several years.

(It is important to note that his body likely learned to beat all the stuff he once got sick from in addition to the 3 things he mentions. Elementary school teachers catch everything for several years; but after they have taught for 10 or 20 years they rarely catch anything. So that effect is real too.)

But each of the 3 things he changed DOES have evidence it is protective.

We already have posted that taking at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 boosts the effectiveness of your immune system so much it prevents many if not most cancers and many if not most cases of colds & flu, BY ITSELF. For some people 5,000 iu may be better. You can get tested to see your blood level of vitamin D. But virtually everyone should get 400 iu from a multivitamin and an extra 2,000 iu. That’s fast and really inexpensive. Even better, it makes you LESS likely to get autoimmune diseases where your immune system thinks part of you should be attacked. Plus vitamin D protects your bones and your heart and blood vessels we now know.

But Jon adds two additional methods, one of which gives you other multiple health benefits & one of which may well do so.

1. The average American gets 22 teaspoons a day of some kind of sugar. That’s in addition to even more high glycemic carbs from refined grains in breads and breakfast cereals and snacks and desserts.

Jon quotes convincing evidence that this excessive amount of sugar and high glycemic carbs from refined grains has been TESTED as cutting the effectiveness of your immune system by 90%.

So, if you stop drinking soft drinks; eating any food or drink with high fructose corn syrup; and cut your intake of real sugar in half and then in half again, you will boost your immune system massively. It also will help to eat nonstarchy vegetables or whole grain foods instead and never or almost never eat refined grain foods again.

Even better, if you have been eating and drinking a lot of that stuff, you may well lose 20 or more pounds of excess fat without getting any hungrier or doing anything else!

For example, one study found for every soft drink a day, regular or diet, that people drink daily, they are 15 pounds fatter than they would be if they drank real water instead.

If you are 50 or more pounds overweight, this one change could literally be a lifesaver from the fat you’ll lose. The ten times boost to your immune system is just a bonus!

2. Jon also began taking 200 mcg a day of selenium. (More than that can be toxic, so more is NOT better. But that much seems safe from what I’ve read.)

I had heard that doing so may prevent some cancers although the early studies have not verified that for many kinds. However, I did read of study that found that people who took that much selenium were dramatically less likely to die from any cancer. So selenium may help avoid the more dangerous kinds of cancer rather than prevent all kinds.

But Jon quotes some amazing information on taking selenium as an antiviral and immune system booster for preventing virus infections, & making the ones you get milder and leave sooner.

One group of mice were given human flu virus (& the flu) with no extra treatment and another also got selenium supplements. The mice which did NOT get selenium had worse lung symptoms and DAMAGE and their symptoms also lasted much longer.

This may well mean that taking selenium not only may prevent the flu; but if you do get swine flu or a “seasonal” flu that attacks your lungs, you may also be dramatically less likely to die from it

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to stay healthy on Thanksgiving, 2009....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 11-24-2009

There are two ways to a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner.

Yesterday’s post was about ways to prepare a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner.

This post today is on how to stay healthier eating a Thanksgiving Dinner no matter how it’s fixed.

There’s no perfect way to do either. The focus at Thanksgiving & at Thanksgiving Dinner must be on enjoying the day. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the company. And, enjoy the time off work!

My Brother in Law once said at Thanksgiving Dinner that he did NOT want to hear anything about what he shouldn’t eat for Thanksgiving Dinner just in case I had any ideas of doing so.

I didn’t then; & I won’t this year. I agree with him. I believe as he does that the focus at Thanksgiving & at Thanksgiving Dinner must be on enjoying the day. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the company. And, do nothing to distract from that focus. If anything, help make it happen instead!

That said, here are some ways to stay a bit healthier and leaner and still enjoy the food.

1. Focus on the people. Find out what people have been doing and catch up with what’s been happening with them. Enjoy the people you enjoy; and be mellow, courteous, gracious, and if necessary, a bit forgiving with the rest.

2. Practice the strategic sandwich method. Eat a bit less food and make virtually all of it be the healthiest you know how – and, keep up your exercise routine to the very best of your ability at least two weeks before and particularly for the two weeks AFTER Thanksgiving. If necessary, do some kind of workout in your room if you are away from home or cut the intensity a bit; but do your very best to exercise several days a week the two weeks before & after Thanksgiving (& before Thanksgiving next year.).

This method works. Once when I was getting the amount of exercise each week that I should be before and after Thanksgiving and eating right otherwise, I ate very well at Thanksgiving to the point of being very slightly stuffed. And, I gained ZERO pounds for November and December both.

3. Eat strategically. Eat well from the healthiest foods; eat a small portion for one serving only of the less healthy foods that you enjoy; but have them and enjoy them; and do your best to edit out the worst for you foods.

a) The turkey and the vegetables are the best for you. So eat well and generous-sized but not very large portions. (You need to not overdo those so there’s enough to go around and YOU have room for at least some of the other foods.)

Cranberry sauce may have sugar and even some kinds have high fructose corn syrup; but the cranberries are a superfood you likely don’t eat often; and they add a festive air and are a great pair with turkey or gravy and mashed potatoes, flavor-wise.

Many people rarely have green beans or Brussels spouts or yams or sweet potatoes or cooked onions; but they are often served at Thanksgiving. They are all good for you. And, they fill you up so it’s much easier for you to eat smaller portions of less health OK foods than you otherwise would. If they aren’t your favorites, try pairing them with a good tasting food. Eat some green beans and then immediately eat a bit of stuffing with gravy and cranberry sauce for example.

b) Stuffing, particularly if it was cooked inside the turkey; gravy; mashed potatoes; the filling in the pies, and many other dishes have great flavor but include less than healthful ingredients. If you are exercising and eating right otherwise and have no serious health problems to be very careful of, the strategy I use is to have some of them; but hold myself to one small serving.
That way I enjoy them but avoid overdosing my system with their less OK ingredients. And, having had turkey and vegetables first I don’t have room left to eat a large amount anyway.

c) Soft drinks, rolls, biscuits, pie crusts, most commercial jam currently, and candied marshmallow topping for sweet potatoes are the worst foods and drinks for you in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Simply don’t eat as many of those as you can manage. Or, if you do eat some, have tiny, quarter of normal sized portions. And, only eat the ones that you most enjoy.

If you’ve already eaten well from the healthier foods that’s much easier to do.

Here’s personal example of that. I’ve always loved pie, including the pie crusts. But I’ve found out since that many, if not most, of the pies I’m likely to get at Thanksgiving have crust made with refined grain flour and Crisco, which is basically massive amounts of Transfats (aka as trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils). What I do now is take small servings of my favorite pie or pies & only eat the fillings. So I can enjoy cherry or blueberry pie filling, pumpkin pie filling, and/or candied pecan filling; but I leave the crust. The only exception I might make is to have one single bite of a browned bit of crust since it has the most flavor. Last year I didn’t even do that as I no longer had room for it.

4. Limit your alcoholic drinks to one or two or at most three if you drink. And, drink when you first arrive or at the start of the Dinner. That way, if you need to drive afterwards, the effect will have mostly worn off plus it will be buffered by the torrent of dinner.

(Some people are better off not having any. The Martinelli’s sparkling juices in yesterday’s post over ice can be a decent festive substitute. I love the flavors in a Bloody Mary. So I also recommend the Virgin Mary drink as it almost the same flavor.)

(And, if you do have more than 3 drinks leave later or stay over or have someone else drive. That way you can enjoy Thanksgiving next year too!

Also, whether you drink or not, on your way to and from your Thanksgiving dinner, drive defensively with great care and be sure everyone is wearing a seat belt.

Statistics show that there are more alcoholically impaired drivers out on Thanksgiving & related accidents than on New Year's Eve. That was on Yahoo news on Weds, 11-25- 2009.

And, if you are in an accident, wearing your seat belt triples both your chances of surviving and of walking away with no inuries at all.)

Do the best you can with these strategies. Enjoy the day and the people.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vitamin D also helps prevent strokes & heart attacks….

Today's Post: Monday, 11-23-2009

Last Monday, 11-16-2009, the AFP online news had a story about a study that was done on 27,686 Utah people of 50 or older with no history of cardiovascular disease to see if being low on blood levels of vitamin D tended to increase the number of people who went on to get heart attacks and strokes.

(The researchers decided to do the study on people from Utah to do it on a group that smoked little if at all and also tended not drink alcohol or to drink it heavily.)

Yikes! The researchers found that people with very low vitamin D levels were 77 % more likely to die early than those with normal levels; 45 % more likely to get some form of cardiovascular disease; 78 percent were more likely to have a stroke, & twice as likely to develop heart failure.

The researchers noted that a large number of people die of these diseases; and study co-author, Heidi May, pointed out that vitamin D deficiency is easily treatable.

The news story also noted that other studies have shown that Vitamin D also helps regulate key body functions such as blood pressure, inflammation and glucose control -- all connected to heart disease.

Two thirds of the people in Utah, they found, do not get enough vitamin D. (The story I saw does not say so. But I believe this was all of the group who had less than 30 ng/ml.)

Their very low group had blood levels of less than 15 ng/ml and the group considered high or normal had over 30 ng/ml.

X*X* X* X*X* X*

They reports I’ve gotten suggest that optimum blood levels of vitamin D are closer to 80 to 100 ng/ml.

I’ve also heard that one of the most predictive measures of heart attack risk is the calcification of arterial plaque; and that blood levels of 80 to 100 ng/ml of vitamin D help to prevent this from happening or getting worse and may even help reverse it.

Since the human body will tend to use 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 if it’s available; vitamin D also helps boost immunity preventing both colds & flu and many cancers plus it helps prevent the SAD form of depression; AND 1,000 iu capsules of vitamin D3 are so inexpensive, it looks like taking 2,000 iu a day or somewhat more of vitamin D3 in addition to the 400 iu in your multivitamin, may be extremely protective – and even easy to do.

In fact, doing this one thing is beginning to look like as valuable a way to protect your health as getting regular exercise or NOT smoking.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fix a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner, 2009....

Today's Post: Friday, 11-20-2009

Here is my 2009 update on the version I posted on Monday, 11-24-2008.

There are two ways to a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner.

Today we talk about ways to prepare a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner.

Next week, we plan a post on how to stay healthier eating a Thanksgiving Dinner no matter how it’s fixed.

There’s no perfect way to do either. The focus at Thanksgiving & at Thanksgiving Dinner must be on enjoying the day. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the company. And, enjoy the time off work!

My Brother in Law once said at Thanksgiving Dinner that he did NOT want to hear anything about what he shouldn’t eat for Thanksgiving Dinner just in case I had any ideas of doing so.

I didn’t then; & I won’t this year. I agree with him. I believe as he does that the focus at Thanksgiving & at Thanksgiving Dinner must be on enjoying the day. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the company. And, do nothing to distract from that focus. If anything, help make an enjoyable stress free dinner happen instead!

That said, there’s a very large list of ways to make the dishes for the Thanksgiving Dinner either better for you or less bad for you -- for those dishes you make yourself.

If there is a family favorite that you’ve made forever that has not so great ingredients, make it anyway or move it just a bit in a healthier direction to make it a bit less bad for health. Do your best to make a version that people will still really like.

However, to the extent you can reduce or replace any of these with healthier alternatives, it’s a good idea.

1. Sugar.
2. High fructose corn syrup.
3. Refined grain.
4. Salt.
5. Saturated fat.
6. Transfats (aka as trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils).
7. Soft drinks.

1. Sugar.

Make or serve slightly smaller portions of foods with sugar. Even 10 % less will help. (More than 20 % less will likely cause a request for bigger portions or a second helping.)
Make enough for 1 and a half servings each instead of two or three.

Let people serve themselves that food. That way people who prefer to not eat the sugary food get no sugar from it all.

Use 10 to 25 % less sugar in the recipe.

Substitute raisins or sugared dried cranberries (You have to make dried or sweetened cranberries yourself such as using un-dried cranberries cut in half and then simmered in real maple syrup but only use the cranberries. The store bought dried and sweetened cranberries use high fructose corn syrup) or walnuts or pecans for part of the sugar if no one is allergic to the nuts. For some foods, bits of bittersweet dark chocolate might work. If it will work in the recipe OK, use flavored sugars, brown sugar, honey, or 100 % real maple syrup. The flavor will make up for the sugar reduction somewhat. If the recipe works with it, add cinnamon for the same reason. In addition, it helps your body handle the sugar you eat it with.

Or, use 25% less sugar but replace it with the natural but no calorie sweetener, erythritol. (Using more may not taste as good and will cause your body to crave more sugar.)

Or, replace up to half the sugar with agave nectar. It tastes good & used half and half with the other half being real maple syrup or brown sugar or half of each, it will be sweet enough but agave nectar has a lower glycemic index than sugar so the combination will also be a bit less hard on your body than straight sugar.

2. High fructose corn syrup. Currently, this means no store bought pies or other desserts. Too many of them still contain this. Do your best to get homemade with real sugar instead even if you have to trade favors with the cook if you don’t cook or haven’t time. Make a strong special effort to not serve or use jam or jelly unless you’ve read the label and it ONLY has real sugar. Over 90 % of store bought jams and jellies still have high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar. Similarly use real maple syrup in recipes that call for it instead of other kinds as over 90 % of those still have high fructose corn syrup while 100 % real maple syrup has only sugar. And, either substitute a bit of brown sugar or real maple syrup with a bit of a mild tasting or bland extra virgin olive oil instead of commercial marshmallows as I’ve read they also tend to have high fructose corn syrup. At least read the label first or cut the amount per serving in half.

(Since I wrote this it came out that about 30 % of all high fructose corn syrup including in name brand foods is contaminated with mercury. Has this been fixed since then? I very seriously doubt it.)

(Pretest such recipes before you cook the one for the Thanksgiving Dinner though, for best results!)

3. Refined grain.

Use organic, sprouted grain breads (such as Food For Life Ezekiel or Genesis Bread) for bread or toast crumbs for the stuffing. They contain sprouted whole grains and are higher in fiber and protein than refined grain breads. Even many diabetics find these breads do NOT spike their blood sugar like refined grain breads do.

If you’ll serve rolls, do your best to find whole wheat rolls or serve one or make available one and a half each instead of two rolls.

Experiment with gravy made with lightly toasted whole wheat flour &/or canned black eyed peas that have been run through a blender for refined grain flour in the gravy. It also works to add button mushrooms or diced onion that has been sautéed in extra virgin olive oil.

Use whole wheat flour for pie crusts and make pies with a bottom crust only instead of one on top as well.

Also try to avoid commercially baked pies if you can. With the possible exception of those from Whole Foods Markets, or a custom, to-order bakery, they all contain refined grains.

Even worse, most to almost all commercial pie crusts use shortening or other hydrogenated vegetable oil and trans fats. That stuff is heart attack starter. So do NOT us or eat commercial pie crust except those that only use butter or use slightly healthier oils as the special pie crust shells at Whole Foods do. (Since I discovered that, if I’m served commercial pie, I eat the filling only and leave the crust.)

4. Salt. Try to use no packaged or commercial foods as they virtually all have added salt and two or three times as much as they should or have the salt when it’s not needed. If you can, make it yourself instead &/or use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned. And, use a bit less in recipes that otherwise would be a bit salty. (Unless you are making a dish just for someone who cannot have ANY salt, leave in at least a quarter teaspoon or so per serving or two as a recipe that normally has salt tastes “off” with none at all. And, or, use sea salt as it has salts of other minerals besides sodium in it. Of course, in many dishes, you can substitute a bit of minced raw garlic or a very small bit of cayenne pepper for some of the salt for a dish that still tastes good. (Pretest this before you cook the one for the Thanksgiving Dinner though, for best results!)

5. Saturated fat.

Cook the stuffing on the stove top instead of inside the turkey. (Inside the turkey stuffing soaks up a lot of saturated fat.)

Serve a small pat of butter or two on top of a dish after it’s cooked and still pretty hot instead of using more in the recipe.

Where you can, substitute extra virgin olive oil. For example you can strain out the fattiest bits out of the turkey drippings and mix that half and half with extra virgin olive oil for the gravy. Or you do 2/3 turkey drippings and 1/3 extra virgin olive oil. If you include lightly toasted whole wheat flour &/or button mushrooms or diced onion that has been sautéed in extra virgin olive oil or a bit of minced, fresh garlic, the extra flavor makes up for less turkey broth.

Also consider adding dried and pitted (& checked for being pitted) dried sour cherries to the gravy and the stuffing. They add a tasty, festive touch AND help your body process the saturated fat

To the extent you can, let the turkey drippings drip out of the turkey before it’s served.

Minimize cheese dishes or make small portions.

Precut butter into small pats instead of serving it by the quarter pound.

Lastly, to the extent you can, include onion and fresh minced, garlic in the foods unless one of the guests will dislike them or be allergic. They help your body process the saturated fat.

If you can reliably get a truly pasture raised turkey to cook, it will have less saturated fat and omega 6 oils even before it’s cooked than a grain fed turkey will.

Use whole wheat flour for pie crusts and make pies with a bottom crust only instead of one on top as well. Also try to avoid commercially baked pies if you can. With the possible exception of those from Whole Foods Markets, or a custom, to-order bakery, they almost all use Crisco which has trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils. Use butter instead. It’s better for you than Crisco. You just make pies with only a bottom crust so there’s a bit less butter in them.

6. Transfats (aka as trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils).

Avoid buying commercially baked cookies or biscuits as most still have this junk. And, either substitute a bit of brown sugar or real maple syrup with a bit of a mild tasting or bland extra virgin olive oil instead of commercial marshmallows as I’ve read they also tend to. At least read the label first or cut the amount per serving in half.

Use whole wheat flour for pie crusts and make pies with a bottom crust only instead of one on top as well. Also try to avoid commercially baked pies if you can. With the possible exception of those from Whole Foods Markets, or a custom, to-order bakery, they almost all use Crisco which has trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils. Use butter instead. It’s better for you than Crisco.

To repeat, most to almost all commercial pie crusts use shortening or other hydrogenated vegetable oil and trans fats. That stuff is heart attack starter. So do NOT us or eat commercial pie crust except those that only use butter or use slightly healthier oils as the special pie crust shells at Whole Foods do. (Since I discovered that, if I’m served commercial pie, I eat the filling only and leave the crust.)

7. Soft drinks.

Serve Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice, their sparkling cranberry, apple juice blend or a similar combination and 100 % real fruit juice instead.

Club soda and iced tea also work.

In very careful moderation, Champagne or a Sparkling Burgundy or Sparkling Pinot Noir also works.

Do your very best to avoid serving regular or diet soft drinks unless you know your guests will be unhappy. Or if only one or two guests want soft drinks, politely request they bring their own. At least you won’t help enable their bad habit. If this will cause a problem for them in enjoying the dinner, don’t do it. And no matter what, don’t talk about it at the dinner.

But the evidence now is that drinking abundant amounts of regular or diet soft drinks is about as bad for you as smoking. It just makes you fat and tends to cause type 2 diabetes & heart disease -- instead of directly causing cardiovascular disease and cancers as smoking does.

8. Add some good for you foods that help people fill up without the extra amounts of less good for you food components.

Be sure to include good tasting vegetable dishes and a salad or two served without dressing that people can add their own serving of dressing to; and provide a couple or three almost OK kinds in various flavors.

For example, my wife and I also now bring the relish dish. We include raw organic broccoli florets, radishes, pitted olives, carrot sticks from peeled carrots, and sometimes celery sticks or raw chunks of cauliflower. We take real sour cream with curry powder; guacamole, and a health OK Ranch dressing from Whole Foods for dips.

9. As we discuss next week in how to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner no matter how its fixed, in your own eating, eat a bit more of the protein foods and a lot more of the healthier vegetable dishes and smaller servings of the less healthy stuff that you actually like and virtually none of the less healthy stuff that you find OK but not great. That way you’ll certainly be full enough to feel like you’ve been to a feast and eat foods you enjoy -- but with minimum damage!

Do the best you can.

Then focus as much as you can on enjoying the food and the people. It won’t be perfect; but it can be better. Let yourself enjoy it; & focus on the parts that ARE going well.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If you smoke, tests can show you are being harmed NOW....

Today's Post: Thursday, 11-19-2009

Today, as some of you may know, is the annual Great American Smokeout where many health oriented groups publicize the idea that quitting smoking is a good idea and suggest stopping if only just for today. (See for more information.)

If you smoke, as horribly bad for you as it is, why do you continue to smoke?

For many people it IS quite addictive. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

Unfortunately, most smokers only know that some smokers get lung cancer.

But most of them have not met someone this happened to so it doesn’t seem real so they assume it won’t happen to them and their motivation to quit is NOT very high or even if it is a bit high for some reason, it’s not enough to get them through the quitting process.

Oops! The truth about smoking is about 1400 times worse than that times ten!

Not only that, if you smoke, its serious harm to you is NOT something that happens only later if at all, it’s happening to YOU every day you smoke and it’s MUCH worse than lung cancer if it goes on long enough.

Here’s the deal. For every smoker who dies of lung cancer, several die of other cancers they would not have gotten if they didn’t smoke. And for every smoker who dies of any cancer there are several who die of some form of heart disease, heart attacks, fatal vascular senility, stroke, etc. The damage to your blood vessels is a reliable cause of erectile dysfunction. And, smoking speeds up the aging process too.

If lung cancer is a mouse that might not catch you, OK; but the giant, elephant sized, risk of heart disease already has you in its grasp and is beginning to squeeze you to death.

The cigarette companies don’t stress that much, do they?

You may not initially feel this happening.

But if you might be willing to quit to avoid it, did you know you can get tested to see that this process is actually happening to you already -- and is happening to you now even if you smoke only a few cigarettes a day or are in your teens?

1. HDL cholesterol helps prevent heart disease; yours should be over 50; and over 70 is even more protective. Have yours tested if you smoke. Chances are excellent yours is under 40. And whatever the reading is, if you smoke, your HDL is only about half as effective as it should be, so your effective HDL is about HALF the indicated reading.

2. The research is not clear whether lowering high homocysteine after the damage is done will help; but people who have readings of under 9.0 tend to get little heart disease and mental decline. And, people with readings well above 12.0 do tend to get heart disease and mental decline.

Have yours tested if you smoke. Smoking increases homocysteine levels. And, if you smoke, your homocysteine level may well be double what it would have been otherwise.

If you’re younger, it may be 16 when it could have been 8. If you are older, it may be 22 when it could have been 11. Ouch !!

3. Even people who are exposed to secondhand smoke have been found to have a 30 percent reduction in circulating vascular endothelial progenitor cells, a kind of cell involved in the repair and maintenance of a healthy blood vessels. Have yours tested if you smoke. It may be half what a healthy nonsmoker would have – AND it will test that way NOW.

In each of these three tests, you can see that smoking is already causing damage to your blood circulation and creating future heart disease and other really nasty diseases. And even worse, it’s disabling your body’s ability to repair the damage.

4. Breathing is also necessary to continued life. Doing it well also is a key to staying mentally sharp and being physically able.

If you smoke, have your breathing function tested NOW. Then listen as the doctor tells you how old you’d have to be to get that reading as a nonsmoker. Even new teenaged smokers are shocked at how old their lung function makes them.

Wouldn’t you try to get away if some thug tried to throw you into a concentration camp where they forced people to suffer and undergo horrible diseases?

The cigarette companies ARE that thug. If you still smoke, they’ve got you now.

It’s your life that’s at stake.

Now that you really know how bad it is, I wish you good luck in getting away soon.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

8 good health and fatloss guidelines....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 11-17-2009

Here are 8 Weight Watchers Good Health Guidelines AND my upgrades.

In each case I list the Weight Watchers guideline I read once exactly as I found it then.

Then, I post my comments and information I think is a substantial addition or upgrade for each guideline.

1. “Eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day.”

Better. Schedule 5 servings of nonstarchy vegetables & two of fruit for each day.

For fatloss, being sure to eat the 5 servings of nonstarchy vegetables each day is critical.:

They have marvelous nutrition, particularly if you get organic vegetables, have a lot of water and fiber so you don’t get hungry, and very tiny amounts of calories.

This is so much the case, Weight Watchers itself rates them as having zero points contribution to your net food intake.

Adding such vegetables until they are 60 or 70 % of your food intake by volume is far easier than eating less food and far better for you. And, you have far fewer problems with hunger than eating less of everything; but at the same time, doing that can mean eating as little as half the calories you otherwise would have.

2. “Choose whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and oats, whenever possible.”

Better: Make it a personal mission to eat virtually no refined grains or foods made from them. Then limit your whole grain foods to the highest fiber or most health supporting ones & limit those to just once or at most very few times a day, such as two or three small servings on just some days.

Barley, wild rice, whole grain breads made from sprouted grains, “old fashioned” oatmeal are OK in moderation.

(For many people even brown rice is too high on the glycemic index to eat. A mix of half wild rice and half brown rice or half pecan meal and half brown rice may be OK if you really want to include brown rice.)

Also note that Bob’s Red Mill has a whole buckwheat product that is tested as having no gluten. Rice flour has no gluten but is virtually fiber free and is basically a refined grain.
As far as I know lentil flour has a relatively low glycemic index and does have fiber. Lentils aren’t a grain; but half lentil flour and half rice flour might be low glycemic enough to be an OK choice to make baked goods with no gluten.

3. “Include two servings of milk products – low fat (1%) or fat-free – each day.”

Not bad just as stated.

Three or four servings is OK if it fits your over-all plan. And, whey protein, nonfat yogurt and occasionally 2 % fat yogurt are other good choices besides 1% and skim milk. (Though it’s somewhat less critical in such lowfat dairy products, organic milk from naturally fed cows is likely far better for you than from cows treated with hormones and antibiotics and fed grain.)

4. “Have some healthy oil (olive oil, canola, sunflower, safflower or flaxseed) each day.”

Better: Use virtually only extra virgin olive oil. Some avocado oil, or sesame oil, or walnut or almond oil occasionally is likely OK. Some sources say that coconut oil is a health supporting oil also.

Interestingly, people who eat some health OK oils each day are as lean or leaner than people who try to eat a very low fat diet; but they are far healthier and their food often tastes better.

Canola and safflower oil are NOT health OK choices in my opinion. Many sunflower oils are not good either. Flaxseed oil is not that great to begin with. Now there is evidence most of it comes from genetically modified sources that may cause allergies and other health problems. Soy oil, corn oil, and safflower oil also are in this group.

All these oils are far too high in omega 6 oils which most people already get too much of and which produce inflammation if eaten in excess.

One category of food to never eat is:
anything containing any amount of trans fat, or transfat, other than zero;

AND never eat any food with partially or wholly hydrogenated vegetable oil even if it reads zero trans fats -- since such readings may conceal foods with 0.499 grams of trans fat and multiple servings can contain a lot.

This stuff is literally heart attack starter and increases the amount of the small particle LDL in your blood that is one of the main causes of heart disease.

5. “Ensure that you are getting enough protein by choosing at least a serving or two of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or dried beans each day. Many dairy products are also good sources of protein.”

Better: Cooked beans and lentils, raw and dry roasted nuts, and wild caught fish not high in mercury are the best choices if you aren’t allergic. Low fat and very low fat dairy are decent choices.

Eggs are good choices if you don’t overdo the amount or cook them with bad oils or fats. (Eggs from chickens that are organically raised and pasture fed are ideal.)

Beef from animals fed only grass or similar bison can be OK, as is even grass fed lamb on occasion. Meat and poultry and fish from animals and fish fed only their natural diet are much leaner, have dramatically less omega 6 oils, and have less than a tenth or maybe even a hundredth of the pollutants that are in the fat of grain fed animals.

6. “Limit added sugar and alcohol.”

This really should be two points.

6a) Eliminate most sugar intake –
and on those occasions you do eat sugar, choose only foods you really, really like and eat them only a handful of times a week or a month.

The average person in the United States eats 22 teaspoons a day of sugar or its equivalent. The average person who is too fat may well eat, or drink, a total of 44 teaspoons a day. The amount that is safe, OK for your health, and dramatically less fattening is closer to 1 to 4 teaspoons a day with 1 or 2 being better. That means eating a food with sugar once or twice a week at most.

Artificial sweeteners have been found to also cause rebound hunger and to help make or keep people fat. And, in the opinion of myself -- and many other health writers -- they are far less safe than many believe to consume.

In addition, the most ingested form of sugar now is high fructose corn syrup and about 30 % of all high fructose corn syrup was found recently to be contaminated with mercury. That is almost certainly still true. So one way to improve your health and eat far less sugar is to never willingly ingest high fructose corn syrup.

Since every daily soft drink you drink tends to add 15 pounds of fat to your body according to a study I read, one great way to get rid of a huge amount of high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners AND be less fat with no increase in hunger at all is to simply never drink any soft drink with either kind of ingredient.

One way to use sugar when you do use it that may work for you is to usually use a flavored sugar where the sugar is only part of the enjoyment so you need less to have the food taste good. Real maple syrup, dark molasses, honey, and brown sugar all work for this.

Another solution is to use one part one of these flavored sugars and two parts agave nectar as it’s sweet but has a much lower glycemic index than regular sugar.

A third solution is to use a noncaloric NATURAL sweetener. Xylitol and erythritol are two that are sweet but have no added flavor you may dislike. But it may be much better for you to have half a flavored sugar or agave nectar and half a noncaloric NATURAL sweetener than having a noncaloric NATURAL sweetener only. Otherwise you may get the same extra rebound hunger people who use artificial sweeteners get. (For the record, some people like the strong taste of the noncaloric NATURAL sweetener, stevia. I don’t recommend it at all since to me it tastes like badly made artificial marshmallow flavoring; & it’s so strong a taste it overpowers the food and can’t be masked.)

6b) On most days drink zero, one or two drinks a day and less than 14 a week if you are a man. And, if you are a woman drink zero or one drink a day and less than 7 a week.

At that level of moderation, and at that level only, alcoholic drinks tend to be safe, increase your HDL cholesterol, reduce stress safely, and can be fun to drink and drink while you socialize.

But every drink you drink is like drinking a soft drink fat loss wise, it does not reduce your hunger or may even increase it slightly; and it does have calories and Weight Watchers assigns it points. The less you drink, the less resulting fat you’ll wear.

And, above that moderate amount, drinking tends to cause health problems of many kinds, has excessive costs to buy, and causes accidents many of which are fatal or incur dreadful legal liabilities.

7. “Drink at least 6 8-ounce glasses of water a day.”

Recent health writers have debunked this one. And some drinking water sources aren’t that pollutant free.

But, every time you drink unpolluted water -- or green tea or coffee with no added sugar or nondairy creamer and use only lowfat dairy if you use it -- instead of drinking soft drinks, you will improve your health and you will be far less fat!

8. “Take a multiple vitamin-mineral supplement each day.”

This IS a good idea.

Start there at least. This helps avoid the worst deficiencies and will enhance your health dramatically at very low cost. And, if you do any calorie reduced dieting, you may not get enough of some nutrients if you don’t take vitamin-mineral supplements.

Then find out what vitamins and minerals are not at desirable levels in your vitamin-mineral supplement and take some of those in addition. For example most vitamin-mineral supplements have the old RDA of vitamin D of 400 iu. We now know the really desirable level of vitamin D3 intake is 2,000 iu a day or more. Similarly, vitamin-mineral supplements tend to have suboptimal levels of magnesium, chromium, and zinc. Extra niacin can lower your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and boost your HDL which protects your heart.

If you can afford it, then find those supplements that protect your health in addition to those supplements. For example, turmeric or the curcumin taken from turmeric lowers inflammation and many researchers have evidence it also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. And, omega 3 supplements lower heart damaging triglycerides and inflammation.

Just as people who take vitamin-mineral supplements are healthier than people who take nothing, multiple supplement takers who add these other supplements are healthier than people who just take vitamin-mineral supplements.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, November 16, 2009

3 more ways to prevent senility....

Today's Post: Monday, 11-16-2009

We’ve posted several times on ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and “age onset” vascular senility. We’ll review those briefly at the end. But there are 3 new ones that are of interest.

1. You’re doing the first one now!

In case you’ve not yet seen it, there is a health news article that has been so popular it’s been featured for four weeks titled: “Web Surf to Save Your Aging Brain” that was originally in Health Day News on Yahoo online health on Monday, 10-19, 2009.

It seems that researchers found older adults who started browsing the Web achieved improved brain function after just a few days.

The researcher, Dr. Gary Small, from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said that when they studied people who had little Internet experience who began surfing the web, after just a week,” “there was a much greater extent of activity particularly in the areas of the brain that make decisions, the thinking brain -- which makes sense because, when you're searching online, you're making a lot of decisions," he said. "It's interactive." “

Since our brains literally add new interconnections when you learn new things and more of those make our brains more able to keep functioning effectively even when sections are damaged, that quite literally means that people who learn new information from the internet are also getting extra brain development and protection from senility. (Other studies have found that college educated people, people who regularly solve puzzles or play chess or cards, and people who speak two or more languages get far less senility from this same effect.)

2. Do strength training.

Last Monday, 11-9, Reuter’s Health had this headline:

“More muscle power means lower Alzheimer's risk”

Older people with stronger muscles are at reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease & for lower risk of fading mental function short of or as an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease

Researcher Dr. Patricia A. Boyle published the work she and her team did in the November, 2009 issue of the Annals of Neurology. (aka: Archives of Neurology, November 2009.)

They tested the strength of nearly 1,000 men and women in their breathing muscles, arms and legs. The people ranged from 54 to100 & averaged 80

During their 4 year follow up a bit less than a seventh of the people developed Alzheimer's disease.

Even after they adjusted for age and education level-which can influence the development of senility, the muscle strength they measured had a strong influence on the risk of the disease. Those in the top 10 percent for strength were 61 % less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than the weakest 10 percent. And, the stronger people also had less decline in their mental abilities in that 4 years even if they didn’t get Alzheimer’s disease.

(Other studies have found people with above average grip strength live longer.)

The article did mention the possibility that mental decline might have cause the weakness or some third factor might have caused both the mental decline AND the weakness rather than any strength exercising being the only cause.

And, there ARE some things that are in both categories that you can find.

But, since people who get exercise regularly of any kind tend to be at least somewhat stronger than people who get none and have MUCH better circulation, people who get some kind of strength training definitely have better circulation than people who do not. And poor circulation helps cause BOTH Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. So, strength exercise does in this way prevent mental decline and increase strength.

Even more important, we now know that exercise causes your body to build new brain cells. Further, strength training and interval cardio cause more growth hormone release than less vigorous exercise. This one is likely the biggest cause of this effect.

So, in conclusion, things that weaken you or your nerves may cause both muscle weakness and mental decline; but it’s virtually certain that people who do regular exercise, particularly strength training will have less mental decline.

3. If you’ve read this post long enough, you’ve seen our occasional posts that people who brush and floss well every day – and see their dentist every 6 to 12 months for teeth cleaning and any needed repairs will get less bad breath, be healthier, live longer, and research shows a good bit less likely to get a heart attack than people who don’t. They’ll also keep their teeth instead of having to pay for expensive gum disease treatments and false teeth.

Now it seems there is evidence that the vascular inflammation you prevent by taking proper care of your teeth and gums also helps prevent mental decline.

Last Thursday, 11-12-2009 Reuters Health had a story with this title:

“Trouble thinking? Better see the dentist."

They found a study showing that regular brushing, flossing, & trips to the dentist will likely help older people keep their thinking skills intact.

Researchers found that people 60 and older with the highest amount of gum disease bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, were three times more likely to have trouble recalling a three-word group of words.

They were also two times more likely to fail three-digit reverse subtraction tests.

People with the lowest levels of this gum disease causing bacteria did much better in the tests than the people with the most.

The article said that previous research has established a strong association between poor care of your teeth and guns and: heart disease, stroke and diabetes, AND Alzheimer's disease.

Their study found lower mental skills even in people who had not yet developed Alzheimer's disease who had not done well taking care of their teeth and gums.

(The article was in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, November 2009.)

So, each day at least once, I prefer just after breakfast each day, brush your teeth thoroughly, top and bottom at least 3 ways, the biting surfaces first, then all the way round top and bottom right at the gumline; then all the way round top and bottom just above the gum line. (I get best results doing the at the gumline step twice.)

Notice that most of the work involves some brushing of your gums. That’s because good gum health is the biggest key to preventing over-growth of this harmful bacteria and keeping your teeth!

Then, as a last step, floss in between all your teeth all the way round top and bottom, I do that twice.

And, in my gum check ups at the dentist, since I’ve adopted this system, I consistently get OK to great readings on my gums. Before, I was developing some not OK places. Not anymore though.

Here’s a short list of the other things that help prevent senility and Alzheimer’s disease.

a) There’s some evidence that taking 2,000 iu or more of vitamin D3 and a turmeric or turmeric derived, curcumin supplement daily each independently help your immune system clear the amyloid plaque in your brain before it causes damage. They apparently help your macrophages eat up and move the stuff. Since each of these supplements also have other health benefits and vitamin D3 is inexpensive, this is a great step to take.

b) Anything you do that prevents damage to your circulation or helps prevent heart disease also helps prevent both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Many of our posts are on how to do just exactly that – and do it effectively without needing to use statin drugs as well.

Eating right, regular exercise, and supplements such as niacin and sterol supplements can go a long way towards doing this. Even better, you can get your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides – and HSCRP inflammation tested to see that these practices are moving you into the desirable zone.

Secondly, it’s extremely important to get your fasting glucose tested and your average for the past two or three months, the HBA1C, tested also. You need to keep your fasting glucose under 100 and under 90 is better. And, you need to keep your HBA1C at 5.9 or better such as 5.7 or less. Above 120 & 6.0 you can get diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes, worse as the numbers get higher than that, it starts to destroy your capillaries all over your body, including your brain and some research even suggests it directly triggers Alzheimer’s disease.

Eating right, particularly cutting WAY back on sugar and no longer eating ANY refined grains plus being sure to get regular vigorous exercise with progressive strength training and interval cardio and taking the supplement alpha lipoic acid, 200 mg a day, and 200 mcg a day of chromium polynicotinate, and 400 to 600 mg of magnesium all help to keep your blood sugar where it should be.

c) Socializing regularly also helps. It lowers stress levels usually and we now know is far more mentally challenging than you might believe. It just seems easy because you get so much practice.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, November 13, 2009

3 ways to fight flu AND protect your heart....

Today's Post: Friday, 11-13-2009

Recently I found three ways to fight flu and protect your heart at the same time.

1. On Wednesday this week, health writer Frank Mangano sent out an email with a study that described that French scientists fed three groups of mice the same control diet for 16 weeks.

One group got the standard food for mice; a second group also got some bilberry extract; & a third group got more bilberry extract.

The mice getting some bilberry extract had 25% less plaque build up in their blood vessels than
the mice that got none while the group that got more bilberry extract had 36% less plaque build up in their blood vessels.

Of course, findings in mice don’t always hold true in people. These are likely to I think. There are several reasons for this. All berries tend to increase your beneficial HDL when you eat them; & if you eat them instead of sugar which tends to LOWER your HDL, that’s even more beneficial. And that effect directly explains the French scientist’s findings. When your HDL goes up the amount of the small particle LDL that creates plaque in the walls of your blood vessels goes DOWN. Further, eating bilberries or taking bilberry extract is known to improve the circulation to your optic nerves and has improved vision and night vision from that effect.
And, eating blueberries tends to reverse vascular dementia, particularly in its early stages, by improving circulation in your brain – and, bilberries are a kind of blueberry.

This may help your immune system too. But that’s not the method that also fights flu.

There is a combination supplement that contains both bilberry extract AND a known flu fighter that apparently has antiviral effects on flu viruses.

Nature’s way once sold a bilberry extract that had only bilberry extract. They changed their formulas since then and added elderberry extract also. Elderberries may have heart protective effects but are best known for cutting the intensity of flu symptoms and the duration of the illness.

So, if you do as I’ve done and take three a day of Nature’s Way Bilberry extract supplement – which also contains elderberries you’ll protect your heart AND the antiviral effects of the elderberries will protect you to some degree against severe flu symptoms. Even better, those effects may help your immune system fight flu viruses enough, you may also be less likely to get the flu in the first place.

2. Health experts used to think that 400 iu a day of vitamin D was enough to ensure the best results for your health. As we’ve posted, it isn’t we now know.

Our bodies will use at least 3,000 iu of vitamin D3 a day if it’s available. Our bodies will make over 10,000 iu of vitamin D3 with moderate sun exposure on your skin during the summer with no ill effects. And, studies that found health benefits from taking vitamin D3 found that it took at least 1700 iu of vitamin D3 daily to get the best results.

So, if you take at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3, your health will be far better than if you take less than 1,000.

And, we now know that vitamin D3 tends to prevent calcium from being deposited in the plaque in your blood vessels. That tends to prevent high blood pressure since it prevents your arteries from getting calcified, stiff, and inflexible. But it also, according to some studies I heard about, is extremely protective against getting heart attacks.

But vitamin D may be even more valuable as it seems to greatly strengthen your immune system and as a result tends to help your immune system destroy many kinds of cancer in their earliest stages, prevent bacterial infection, AND prevent viral infections, including flu.

I take 3200 iu a day of vitamin D3; & I’ve heard the people who have been researching its health effects often take 5,000 or 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3.

Taking an extra 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 may well help you prevent a heart attack or getting the flu at all. And, it’s surprisingly inexpensive to do so.

3. Many people who die from getting the flu are actually killed by bacterial pneumonia they get after their lungs and immune system are weakened by the flu. Recently it was in the news that this is likely also true for swine flu. But if you teach your immune system how to clobber pneumonia in advance, even when weakened by the flu, you won’t get bacterial pneumonia.

And THAT is quite doable. You can get the pneumonia vaccine that prevents 80 to 90 % of all the kinds of bacterial pneumonia. Unlike the flu vaccine that you have to get every year, the pneumonia vaccine is good for at least 10 years and possibly longer.

Even better, there is now a new version of pneumonia vaccine that instead of preventing the 8 most common forms of bacterial pneumonia, it is designed to prevent the 13 most common forms. If it tests out well, instead of preventing 80 to 90 % of bacterial pneumonia, it may prevent over 95%.

So, by all means get the older version now that is available. And later when the new version becomes better known and available get that one too.

But there is even better news. There is one of the kinds of bacteria that is a major cause of bacterial pneumonia. And, that kind apparently harms your heart of the health of the inner surface of your blood vessels. People who show that they have been infected by it are a good bit more likely to get heart attacks.

So, by getting the pneumonia vaccine, it looks to me that you’ll also eliminate a cause of you ever getting a heart attack.

The name I’d seen for this bacteria was: Chlamydia pneumoniae. That apparently has been changed as Wikipedia had this:

“Chlamydophila pneumoniae is a species of Chlamydophila bacteria that infects humans and is a major cause of pneumonia. Until recently it was known as "Chlamydia pneumoniae", and that name is used as an alternate in some sources.”

The Wikipedia entry says that this bacteria tends to produce chronic inflammation. And since such chronic inflammation is a cause of heart disease, that may be how it boosts heart attack risk.

But you can prevent it from harming you either by pneumonia when your body is weakened from the flu or from getting a heart attack by getting the pneumonia vaccine.

So, you CAN fight the flu and protect your heart in at least these 3 ways.

1. Take Nature’s way Bilberry Extract (that includes Elderberry extract.)

2. Take at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3.

3. And, get the pneumonia vaccine.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to lose fat when others are not into it in your home....

Today's Post: Thursday, 11-12-2009

Earlier this week a man who realized he needed to lose at least 10 pounds of fat wrote in to Dear Abby saying that he was having great trouble in doing so because his wife refused to stop buying cookies, ice cream, and other dessert treats and he found he was unable to not eat them when they were still in the house.

He was also concerned that his “preteen” kids might get into trouble with being fed this kind of food by getting too fat later in life.

He was considering splitting up even though the rest of his marriage was going well.

Dear Abby suggested he not consider ending an otherwise good marriage. (She did not in the newspaper version explain why that was sound advice or stress it much although in her private or complete response she may have done so.)

She mostly agreed that he and his wife should stop stocking up on such things and being sure they were stocking up on health supporting and not fattening foods for the good of their kids & that he should insist on this as their parent.

I think that is sound goal but might well be very unhelpful advice either for persuading his wife or his own fat loss success.

In this case with her answer in her printed column and her authority in giving advice, that might help persuade his wife.

But there ARE several things I think would have been better advice.

So, I decided to do this post.

1. First, given that they have kids he cares about and the rest of the marriage is OK, it would be really tragic mistake to end his marriage or even threaten to in a way that made that more likely.

It’s so hard on kids when their parents divorce that given a choice between them being fat or going through that, being fat is better.

Plus, divorce is so hard on the people that undergo it that unhappily married people average healthier and happier than divorced people.

BUT, there is something that can be done. The marriage and family counselors that Abby herself often recommends can fail to save a really troubled marriage. But when two people find that they can’t seem to be heard by their spouse and can’t manage to create a win, win resolution, a good marriage or family counselor CAN insure that each person really gets the reasons and concerns of the other person and can almost always help the family create a win, win resolution.

This would be a huge asset for this man to do. He would hear that his wife feels safe eating those foods and doesn’t want to be pushed into not being able to do as she likes in her own home. And she would really hear instead of dismissing it that to protect his health and the health of their kids some kind of compromise position needs to be reached.

She might even find that her assumption that eating those foods is really safe is more flawed than she initially believed. (Abby’s answer, as she gave it, might help do that part.)

2. In war and in sport, where failure is NOT an OK option, giving in to obstacles however challenging is not acceptable. In the military, it’s well to understand the reasons if you fail; but the right answer to being held accountable to overcoming them is, “No Excuses.”

So the first thing for him to do immediately is to find at least four or five things he CAN do to succeed in losing that fat even if his wife brings home MORE of that junk.

Management consultant Peter Drucker found that focusing on DOING the things you CAN already do is a key to being effective in business. It works in fat loss and other parts of your life too.

Further, if he can’t afford the family counselor or she won’t go with him, he can teach those things to his kids and simply tell them to go very easy on those foods and why.

That way he can succeed and help his kids even if his wife stays exactly the same.

So, here are some ideas.

a) Losing 10 pounds of fat CAN be done with exercise alone.

(Above 20 or 30 pounds unless you make your job or business work overlap with getting a lot of exercise, few people have enough hours in the week to lose that much with exercise alone.)

But since you CAN do it with 10 pounds, that’s something he can do right away. Does he do one or two sets or five or six of progressive strength training in a few minutes at home at least 3 days a week? Does he do at least two to four sessions of vigorous interval cardio of even 8 minutes a time each week at home? Does he go to the gym to strength train for at least half an hour twice a week?

If not, doing those things, even just the two things at home, might well lose him 10 pounds of fat although since he’ll also gain muscle the scale may only say he lost four or five.

Similarly if he can take a brisk hour walk at lunch time at his work three or four days every week or walk from where he gets off the train to work instead of taking a bus in his commute on most days, he might get in enough extra walking to lose 10 pounds. (One woman who did this wound up with two twenty minute walks each day and gradually lost 30 pounds.)

He can do such things even if nothing changes in his kitchen at home. And, he can teach his kids to do similar things.

b) If he’s like most of us, he could eat his breakfast at his desk or workplace and he likely already has taken a lunch to work many times.

So, even if nothing in his kitchen changes, he CAN make sure that his breakfast and lunch and possibly a late afternoon snack are health OK protein foods and raw nuts and organic vegetables and some organic fresh fruit.

And, if he eats enough at those meals AND eats a lot of those kinds of foods for dinner at home FIRST, he will find that he’ll lose the 10 pounds and find it much more doable to eat less of the ice cream and cookies.

c) In a recent post we described a recent study that found that people who fail at fat loss look at a sweet food and ONLY think of how good it will taste. But people who lose fat and keep it off look at a sweet food and think first of the negative consequences of eating it BEFORE they decide to eat any and how much if they do.

If he wants to lose fat and not have it return, he would do well to learn that skill and mind-set.

One way I’ve found to do that is to read the labels if the food was bought at the store. If it has high fructose corn syrup, about a third of which is likely still contaminated by mercury, or any partially hydrogenated oils or any listed transfats above zero since that stuff is like heart attack starter, I find it easy to take a pass even if I realize I’d like the food tastewise.

Or if he has his wife at least bring home higher quality treats that only have butterfat and sugar, he probably can get himself to have a serving half as large as he would have had before and a piece of whole fruit with some fiber too it instead of just eating a lot of it.

Lastly, he can see to it that their kitchen also has fresh fruit and savory foods that he actually likes but have no sugars or bad fats that he can eat when he gets hungry and wants a food that tastes good.

3. And, he can see if he or his wife’s doctor can succeed in talking his wife into getting her fasting blood sugar and HBA1C levels and her total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides tested, the doctors call that the “lipid” panel, tested every 6 months or at least once now.

That’s so useful as a disease prevention tool, many insurance plans will allow you to get those tests at no charge.

Since eating ice cream and commercially baked treats like pastries and cookies and cakes tend to send ALL those measures in the wrong direction, his wife might already find she has ample reason for bringing very little of that stuff home herself.

So, he CAN lose the fat without waiting on his wife to help him.

And there are two ways that very well might work to get her a bit more on his side and protect her and their kids too.

Divorce is NOT necessary to solve his problem.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New information on preventing cancer & preventing prostate cancer....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 11-10-2009

We’ve posted many times on ways to prevent all cancers and on ways to prevent prostate cancer.

But both are such dangerous diseases both to your life and health AND to your quality of life, when there is new and useful information on these subjects, I like to post it and add some of the other information we’ve already posted for those who haven’t yet seen it.

The original news story that I read that regular exercise reduced the risk of getting prostate cancer was welcome news. But there are so many reasons to get regular exercise, I didn’t rush to post about it. Many if not most of you already get regular exercise for one of its many other benefits.

A. However, two new pieces of information came to me recently in my health emails.

1. Since the unaggressive form of prostate cancer can often safely be ignored and treating it often does more harm than good, though it’s certainly desirable to prevent that form of it, it’s far less critical than preventing the aggressive form of prostate cancer that has to be completely and quickly treated or it will kill you and make you suffer too.

The exciting news is that the missing piece of the study in the report I originally saw is that regular exercise is even more effective at preventing the aggressive form of prostate cancer than it is the less aggressive form!

In his email last Thursday, 11-5, Dr. Robert Wascher posted a well done essay on the study showing that regular exercise tested as preventing prostate cancer.

The study was just published in the Journal of Urology.

After statistical adjustments were made for other known prostate cancer risk factors such as age, race, bodyweight, prostate specific PSA levels, and family history, the men who did regular exercise most days, had a 65 percent lower risk of prostate cancer when compared to the men who got none.

And, even less regular exercise was found to make it 86 percent less likely in those men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer at all that their cancer was the aggressive kind.

That means that the men who did regular exercise most days got quite a bit fewer prostate cancers and even then, those who still got prostate cancer were far less likely to get the aggressive and dangerous kind. That means their protection from the aggressive form of prostate cancer from exercise was quite strong

Dr Wascher did point out that the study did NOT examine other activities health oriented people who exercise also often do that are cancer preventive such as staying away from tobacco smoke and eating cruciferous vegetables. (My examples, he just stated the overall point.) So the exercise might have had help from such other actions regular exercisers tend to take.

However, since exercise tends to reduce excess body fat and slow aging -- & both of those effects directly help prevent cancer, I suspect strongly the exercise itself was the primary cause of this effect.

2. Even more interesting, it seems a study has also been done that shows that vigorous exercise is effective at preventing ALL cancers.

Dr Al Sears had this one in his email this morning.

He found that vigorous exercise done for shorter periods of time was more effective in helping people lose fat than doing longer sessions of steady state cardio. Since people are short on time and want to lose excess fat, that is very valuable to know.

He then developed a teaching method to help his patients, many of whom were not yet doing any exercise at all, to build up safely to doing vigorous exercise that he named PACE.

(His website is .)

(You can build up gradually to vigorous exercise in other ways, such as jumping rope or doing progressive strength training of course.)

I had heard similar information from other sources. And the finding that vigorous exercise of even a few minutes, as in one or two, done several times a week, helped lower high blood sugar and HBA1C readings, lends some real force to demonstrating this effect is real.

But the same effect may also prevent cancer.

In his email this morning, Dr Sears includes that a study newly published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which studied men in Finland over 16 years found that high intensity exercise cut their risk of getting any cancer in half.—AND that the higher the intensity of the exercise, the lower their risk of getting cancer.

(The study title was "Intensity of leisure-time physical activity and cancer mortality in men, " Not only does that suggest that men in this study who got regular vigorous exercise were less likely to get cancer, the study may also have found they may have been less likely to die from any cancers they got.)

So the bottom line is that both doing some moderate exercise several days a week and doing some really vigorous exercise a few times a week or doing both will prevent cancer and prevent the most dangerous kinds of cancer possibly even better – including prostate cancer.

Dr Sears has measured the amount of improvement in delivered oxygen from doing vigorous exercise and found that it is extremely effective. And in his email today, he suggests that it is this extra oxygen which helps your body fight off cancers or kill them so early you never really contracted them.

He may well be right. But it’s also true that your immune system has several components that kill off and get rid of dangerous cells, bacteria, and viruses such as killer cells (which may use the extra oxygen) and macrophages that simply swallow them up and escort them out. And, since these are transported in the blood, increasing your circulation and the percentage of your cells it gets to clearly also helps your immune system become more effective.

The key, other studies have found, is to rest or slow to a much lower pace in between sessions of vigorous activity enough that you avoid overtaxing your immune system.

B. Here are some of the ways that we’ve posted on that help prevent all cancers and that prevent prostate (& possibly breast and ovarian cancers in women).

1. To prevent all cancers:

Avoid tobacco smoke,
avoid all unnecessary radiation,
avoid all use of pesticides and herbicides you can inside and outside your home,
avoid using room air fresheners that spray chemicals into the air you breathe,
buy organic fruit and vegetables as much as you can afford to do,
eat as little fat from grain fed animals as you can by eating grass or pasture fed and organically raised or wild caught animal proteins or consuming the lowest fat versions of conventionally raised animals. (Pesticides and herbicides are bioconcentrated in the fat of animals fed grains that come from farms where they are used.)

Eat many kinds of vegetables on most days and several kinds of cruciferous vegetables each week.

If you begin to get too fat or are too fat, eat enough better and exercise enough more that you lose at least some of your excess fat.

And, take at least 2,000 iu of vitamin D3 a day and a curcumin or turmeric supplement daily. Doing this strengthens your immune system enough, particularly your macrophages, that they each have been found to protect you from all cancers AND Alzheimer’s disease.

Taking the supplements resveratrol and CoQ10 or its active version, ubiquinone, may also help.

And, drinking 8 to 10 cups a day of green tea or one or two cups plus taking a daily green tea extract supplement may also help.

2. To prevent prostate cancer and the aggressive form of it (* very possibly breast and ovarian cancers as well):

Do all or most of the things that prevent all cancers. They prevent these cancers also.

One source found that those who take 3 mg a day of boron had half the prostate cancer of those who do not.

And, of even more importance, men who ate at least one serving of either raw cauliflower or raw broccoli each week had half the risk of getting the aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Cooked broccoli or cooked cauliflower are still excellent foods for helping you lose or keep off excess fat and broccoli has carotenes that you may actually get more of from cooked broccoli. But they have been found to NOT have this protective effect against cancer. Heating the vegetables apparently destroys the cancer fighting substance.

Lastly, organic vegetables have more micronutrients than “conventionally” raised vegetables do. So eating raw broccoli or cauliflower that have been organically grown will have the most cancer protection.

Now we can add regular moderate exercise and regular vigorous exercise to both lists!

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, November 09, 2009

Three little known ways to speed fat loss....

Today's Post: Monday, 11-9-2009

As those of you who read our posts regularly know, and those who read our posts last week know, we believe that 90 % of your ability to lose fat and keep it off is determined by:

1. NOT eating the fattening foods or drinking the fattening drinks;

2. eating health supporting foods that turn off your hunger better and that humans evolved to eat;


3. Getting vigorous exercise, ideally both some interval cardio & some strength training each week plus getting in some more moderate exercise such as walking or dancing each week.

However, most people who are working to lose fat or keep it off would like some extra leverage. And more and more of these extra ways to speed fat loss are being discovered.

Here are three I’ve learned of in just the last few weeks.

1. Taking a good vitamin and mineral supplement daily may help some people do better at fat loss.

Some people really do have extra trouble losing fat well due to low thyroid. And, some people with low thyroid have that problem due to iodine deficiency.

Added salt, other than a bit occasionally and a bit in some recipes is undesirable in a culture where too much is added to so many kinds of foods. And, sea salt which contains salts of other minerals besides sodium is better for you than using iodized salt.

But virtually all good vitamin and mineral supplements contain the RDA of iodine, 150 mcg per day. (You can read the label to see if a given supplement had iodine.)

(A recent study also found that taking the RDA can improve mental performance in people who have not been getting enough iodine.)

So, taking a good vitamin and mineral supplement daily not only supports your health in so many other ways, for some people, it may double their success at fat loss.

2. Oddly enough, coconut and coconut oil has been found to both: increase HDL, the beneficial cholesterol, and help with fat loss – plus help people lose belly fat.

Recently, Doctor Al Sears (see: ) in his emails did an excellent write up on this.

It seems that studies have found that, just like extra virgin olive oil, substituting coconut oil for oils like, corn, safflower, and canola oil that are high in omega 6 oils, using coconut oil lowers insulin which helps reduce fat storage and belly fat AND it increases your HDL cholesterol.

You can substitute extra virgin olive oil for butter, for margarine, and for oils that are high in omega 6 & increase your HDL, lower your belly fat, and improve your over-all health and decrease your risk of heart disease.

But it would be nice to have another health OK choice.

Apparently coconut and coconut oil do so but with an extra kick.

They may also do better at actually increasing your fat loss. Dr Sears says the research he found suggests that’s so.

They can be used when you want to have higher cooking temperatures than extra virgin olive oil can handle.

They can be used in cooking, such as making a more health OK kind of pie crust or a more health OK kind of dark chocolate fudge where you need saturated fat that you cannot use extra virgin olive oil for and get good results.

Lastly, since most people find that coconut and coconut oil tastes really good, you can substitute them for sugar in some treat foods and enjoy them as much as you would have the versions with sugar that are far more fattening.

Even better, and of particular interest with colds, regular flu, and swine flu about, coconut and coconut oil contain lauric acid which has considerable anti-viral effects.

3. There was a study done that found that pregnant women who took probiotics containing the most common probiotic bacteria gained less excess weight than matched women who did not. And they also gained quite a bit less belly fat.

Even better, and of particular interest with colds, regular flu, and swine flu about, other studies have found people who take probiotics each day have more resistance to these things, get less of them, and get lighter cases if they do than people who don’t take probiotics.

None of these 3 are strong enough to cause fat loss if you do none of the three basics. But if you do them, these three things may well increase your fat loss and help you lose more belly fat.

Best of all, two of the three things, also have documented antiviral effects. So, two of them can also boost your protection from swine flu.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, November 06, 2009

The three best kinds of food for fat loss....

Today's Post: Friday, 11-6-2009

Earlier today, I read the new version of Total Health Breakthroughs.

(After it stopped its initial format that I found usually informative, for a while they stopped running the same kind of health information they were. They have begun to show signs of building back to what they were; & today’s article was quite useful.)

In this issue, their new editor tells the story of how when he was a younger man who exercised regularly, he still was at least 20 pounds overfat.

He also found he seemed to be hungry at all hours of the day; & his mood and energy bounced around quite a bit.

At that time, he was eating a lot of refined grains and other fattening foods such as pizza, breakfast cereal (mostly the kind made from refined grains from the sound of it), bagels, sandwiches, chips, & soft drinks.

As many people have, he began to study what foods people ate before 10,000 years ago. (Clearly, that’s what hundreds of thousands of years of evolution set up our bodies to use well.)

Then he did three things.

He continued to exercise.

He stopped eating the refined grain foods listed above & stopped drinking soft drinks.

Instead, he ate lots of salads made with greens, a variety of colorful vegetables, vegetable juice he made at home with a juicer, and for protein he ate whole eggs, grass fed beef, pasture fed poultry, and wild caught salmon – plus he ate some cheese and dairy foods. He also snacked on nuts and whole fresh fruit.

The result was interesting. His mood and energy improved and were more stable. He lost the 20 pounds -- virtually all of it fat since the fat in his face and in his belly were visibly reduced to a more normal and desirable look. That fat was gone.

But the really interesting part is that he completely stopped being hungry all the time.

It seems that he found either before or after he did this that almost all the foods he was eating when he lost the fat have close to zero glycemic index and glycemic load.

That means that his blood sugar was at desirable levels and not kicked into high levels several times a day by eating the refined grains and sugars he had been ingesting.

The rebound hunger he was getting from the fast-acting, high glycemic foods he was eating went away and was replaced by the more effective and long lasting turning down of his hunger from the protein, health OK fats, and fiber he then began to eat.

He points out that this way of eating eliminated the high glycemic (60 & up on the glycemic index) foods that he had been eating and replaced them with foods that were mostly low glycemic (20 or below on the glycemic index.)

He then provides a link to some foods that have been rated by glycemic index and glycemic load.

It was no surprise when the three food groups he had mostly been eating rated as zero on both glycemic index and glycemic load.

(Since glycemic load is the best indicator of what a food will do to your blood sugar as it takes the amount of carbohydrates into account and the glycemic index, that’s a valuable addition.)

Here are those 3 food groups that ranked zero on glycemic index and glycemic load.:

1. Nonstarchy vegetables. These include such foods as:

Cooked cabbage, raw cauliflower, green beans, spinach, & mushrooms -- & though not listed, raw broccoli florets, radishes, asparagus, and other salad greens such as kale and romaine lettuce, etc.

The salads and cooked vegetables he ate contained these foods or others like them.

2. Raw or dry roasted nuts. Pecans, walnuts, and almonds were listed in the zero, zero group.

He snacked on nuts in part.

3. Eggs, meats, seafood, and fish also were listed in the zero, zero group.

He not only ate these foods, he ate the safest, least polluted, and most health supporting kinds.

He did also eat some fresh fruit and dairy foods and juiced vegetables which have low moderate to moderate ratings on the glycemic index. But with the majority of his foods from the zero, zero, list, the overall glycemic load of his food and drink was clearly at an average glycemic index of less than 20.

The result was hunger-free and effective fat loss. (He was gradually getting fatter and almost always hungry before.)

He did continue to exercise. But the kinds of foods and drinks he stopped and those he switched to clearly did a great job.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, November 05, 2009

More on setting up your home for effective fat loss....

Today's Post: Thursday, 11-5-2009

From my recent post on Monday this week (11-2-2009):

“I read a recent news story reporting that people who had exercise equipment in their homes and virtually no fattening, packaged foods or soft drinks often were quite successful at fat loss.

And, the people who had no exercise equipment in their homes and lots of fattening, packaged foods and soft drinks were usually not successful if they tried to lose excess fat.

That seemed so basic and obviously true, I didn’t bother at that time to note which news service or who did the research.”

In that post I expand on those two themes and give tips and examples on how to bring in less fattening foods and more exercise equipment that when used will help you lose fat.

Then on Tuesday, 11-3, Health Day ran a story on that study or one very like it.

Their initial line in this version of the story was :

“If you want to lose weight, exercise and diet are crucial. But a new study says other factors appear to play a role, too -- including the number of TVs in your house and the presence of exercise equipment.”

The study compared the homes of people who lost least 10 percent of their bodyweight -- and kept off the weight for five or more years to people who were overweight or obese and were still fat.

As we discussed on Monday, the people who lost that much weight and kept it off were about three to four times more likely to exercise than those who were obese or overweight. (That means some of the people who were still fat were exercising at least some.) I’ve read separately that the people who have lost that much fat weight almost all exercise. Plus they average about 2900 calories a week of exercise.

(Even some exercise helps; & as we’ve posted before some kinds of exercise such as vigorous interval cardio and progressive strength training work best.) But up to about 3500 calories a week, more exercise IS better than less.

Here’s our today’s topic that was NOT in the earlier news story or my post on Monday.

Those who lost weight had fewer televisions in their home in addition to having far fewer or no fattening foods on hand and more exercise equipment in their homes.

Here’s why fewer televisions help plus some ideas.:

It’s really quite simple really. One of the most effective fat loss methods known is to watch less TV.

It seems that watching TV burns fewer calories than sleeping! Worse, a large percentage of the advertisers for broadcast TV are the makers and providers of the foods it’s worst to eat or drink. Even worse than that, the people who eat those foods or drink those drinks watch TV at the same time & fail to notice the large amounts of that stuff they are ingesting. Further the ads and even some of the shows make that lifestyle seem typical and normal.

Unfortunately, over the last 35 years, it HAS become typical.

That’s why something like half our young adults were recently found to be too fat to be in the United States armed forces.

It never was normal in any desirable or long term sense of that word. And, it’s absolute death to being able to lose excess fat weight.

So, if you do several things to enable yourself to watch far less TV, your chances of losing excess fat go up every time you take a step in that direction.

1. Having fewer TVs is a great idea for many people.

Older children and teens who have TVs in their own rooms reliably do less well in school. They also are reliably much fatter than similar kids who do not. Not only do they do less studying and homework, they read less even on subjects they are interested in and they are far less likely to do any exercise or play any kind of sports. And, they see far more of the ads for fattening foods and drinks and consume far more of them.

So, if you no longer want that stuff in your home to tempt YOU, pulling your kids room TVs will help. They’ll be less likely to bring it home themselves and be more OK with you not buying if for them.

2. The same thing is true of having a TV in your own bedroom. You’ll watch fewer hours of TV each week and see less of those ads. Even better, you’ll sleep a bit more which also helps fat loss and helps prevent depression and high blood pressure. Better yet, surveys found that your sex life will improve!

3. Be much more selective in what you watch.

You get far more news and news far more relevant to your own interests by reading newspapers or going to . In reading print, your intake speed is at least double, and after factoring in ads, it’s likely at least triple what it is watching TV news. Then since, you no longer have to sit through stories of no interest to you, the speed difference is closer to five or ten to one faster than watching TV news.

Only watch TV news for news where the visual scenes are important to you. Or occasionally you may get important local news faster by watching the TV news.

But do that kind of viewing mostly on rare special occasions and you’ll be far better informed and a good bit less fat.

Discontinue watching TV as a baby sitter for yourself. By all means keep watching the 10 or 20 percent of the things that you really like the best. But simply read or exercise or talk to real people or even do housework instead of watching TV for that time. Your life will be more varied and interesting & you’ll be far less fat.

4. Consider making the main or only use of your TV to watch movie DVD’s on weekend nights when you aren’t doing something else. makes watching movies you really like this way an inexpensive and super easy thing to do.

If you are short on money, subscribing to NetFlix and discontinuing your cable TV will save you a good bit of money. You can always get the TV cable back for some kinds of breaking news and sports when you have more money.

5. Try picking two nights a week when you would otherwise just sit home and watch so – so TV and taking a class on Tai Chi or going to the gym. That gives you a double, you not only watch less TV, you get more quality exercise at the same time.

6. Another thing you can do is to watch the TV you do still watch while exercising on a stationary bicycle.

Remember, every TV you can sell, donate, or give to the electronics recyclers will make you less fat AND cut your utility bill.

And, every hour a week you stop watching the TV’s you still have will help you be less fat – either helping you lose excess fat or not gain any or both.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Junk foods may increase your odds of depression....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 11-3-2009

Yesterday, AFP reported a study done in London on people in civil service jobs which found that the people who mostly ate processed & fatty foods such as fried foods, processed meat, high-fat dairy products and sweetened desserts were more likely to report being depressed than the people who instead ate lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish.

The story said that eating a diet heavy in processed food had a 58 percent higher risk of depression. And that the people who ate more whole foods such as fresh vegetables, fruit and fish had a 26 percent lower risk of depression.

Apparently the study suggests the researchers had some way of removing the effects of not smoking and of doing regular exercise and STILL found this effect.

The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The article had several theories the researchers suggested for why eating the more health OK foods helped people escape being depressed.

They suggested that the high level of antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables could have had a role in creating this effect – noting that previous studies found higher antioxidant levels were associated with a lower risk of depression.

Secondly, eating lots of fish may protect against depression because it contains high levels of omega 3 oils which they said stimulate brain activity. (These oils, though the article didn’t say so, have definitely helped prevent or reverse depression.)

They also said the reduced risk of depression might be due to the combined effect of consuming beneficial nutrients from many types of food.

X* X* X* X* X* X* X*

I think they are likely correct on the three things they said helped make eating the more health beneficial foods protective against depression.

But they seem to have missed a couple of things.

The data reported seemed to show that the negative effect of eating the junkier foods was worse for increasing the risk of depression than eating the more health supporting foods was protective.

So, I think some guesses on why that was found are in order.

Here are mine.

Eating a lot of fatty meats and high fat dairy products and sweet desserts tends to cause heart disease and over time decreases circulation to the brain.

That same diet also tends to cause high blood sugar levels & type 2 diabetes, particularly when combined with no exercise. That tends to harm circulation to the brain also AND it can often produce mood swings and feeling tired and sluggish at times during the day. So, since that leads to quite literally not feeling quite well, it seems clear to me that would tend to cause depression.

My second point is different. When you find associations between two things it’s often the case that instead of one causing the other or being the only cause, some third factor is causing BOTH the effects.

I think that’s definitely likely in this case.

People who are less well paid or live in neighborhoods where people have less money than average tend to have more eating places and stores offering fatty meats and high fat dairy products and sweet desserts while people who are better paid or live in neighborhoods where people have more money than average are more likely to have a good selection of fruits, vegetables, and fish.

Such people are often less educated, feel in less control of their lives, are less optimistic, less informed about health, and less proactive. And people with those characteristics are well known to be more prone to depression.

As a result of these factors, such people both tend to eat more fatty meats and high fat dairy products and sweet desserts AND to be more likely to be depressed with those predisposing factors causing both the food choices and the depression.

Eating more vegetables, somewhat more whole fruit, and more wild caught fish not excessively high in mercury is likely to help prevent depression.

So is eating far less fatty meats and high fat dairy products and sweet desserts; moving to a smaller place in a better neighborhood in some cases; becoming more informed about health, and taking proactive control of your health.

So, is learning to become more optimistic and proactive in general.

Lastly, it helps to do the things that prevent depression that were not researched in this study such as getting regular exercise, increasing your amount of social interaction each week, and taking omega 3 supplements and at least an extra 1,000 iu to 3,000 iu of vitamin D3 in addition to any other sources such as sun exposure or from multivitamins or in food.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 02, 2009

Set up your home for effective fat loss because it works...

Today's Post: Monday, 11-2-2009

I read a recent news story reporting that people who had exercise equipment in their homes and virtually no fattening, packaged foods or soft drinks often were quite successful at fat loss.

And, the people who had no exercise equipment in their homes and lots of fattening, packaged foods and soft drinks were usually not successful if they tried to lose excess fat.

That seemed so basic and obviously true, I didn’t bother at that time to note which news service or who did the research.

But, I wish I had now -- because I suddenly realized how important this finding is.

It gives people who really want to lose excess fat a really powerful way to load the dice in their favor and sharply increase their chances of success!

And, since people have to drink and eat something, the third piece of information or strategy that follows from this is that if you don’t have lots of fattening, packaged foods and soft drinks, you are much more likely to have whole fruit and vegetables and other low glycemic good for you foods such taste enhancers like spices and garlic and onions.

1. So if you have lots of fattening, packaged foods and soft drinks in your home and want to win at fat loss, a great first step is to get a large garbage can (or a set of grocery bags to use to give away the stuff if you are too thrifty to be comfortable just tossing it) and get it out of your house.

Boxes of commercially baked cookies, boxes or bags of snack foods, all soft drinks, all white bread and bread not totally whole grain, cake mixes, any sugared breakfast cereal, and most candies should all go out.

Then get apples or cherries or berries and shelled, raw or dry roasted nuts, and snack vegetables like baby carrots or radishes or broccoli florets or cauliflower florets and low salt vegetable juices and green tea or black tea and unsweetened cocoa and coffee or soda water to have to drink & for snacks.

And, buy more vegetables for cooked vegetable dishes and salads and some extra virgin olive oil and real garlic or garlic powder from the spice section and onions and some kind of vinegar you like for these dishes.

2. If you have rugs, get a large towel you can use to lie on for crunches and pushups and other exercises you do at home and on the floor or buy mats like they use in gyms. If you are willing to do skipping rope as an exercise (it’s very effective in causing fat loss), get a good jump rope for about $25. If you are willing to try a mini-trampoline (also very effective at causing fat loss) check out . Their mini-trampoline costs about $150. If you are willing to do dumbbell work as strength training, get a set of fixed weight or a few adjustable dumbbells and plates. (I’ve found that a great way to do this cheap is to just get one dumbbell at each weight—instead of two. Then I do an exercise for each arm one at a time which allows me to do exercises virtually nonstop since each arm rests while the other is being exercised.) If you can afford to get more equipment like a gym-quality treadmill or elliptical trainer or recumbent exercise bike you can use while watching the TV news or sports or a Nordic Track or a Bowflex or Total Gym strength training station that can also work. Then use the equipment several times each week.

Then find your favorites or those your are at least OK with in the health OK foods and drinks and ingest those instead of bringing home the stuff that made you fat in the first place.

And, keep using your exercise equipment several days each week.

I believe about half of all Americans now obese (really fat) or very over-weight just did these two things without any other effort to restrict the amount of food, most of them would lose most of their fat. A woman who is 120 pounds overweight might easily lose 80 pounds of that in about a year and a half for example.

And, the converse is also true. I’m about 15 pounds overweight and 30 pounds overfat. If I stopped eating vegetables and doing regular exercise and had sugary cereal for breakfast instead of oatmeal and fatty meats and white bread and cookies and my favorite commercial desserts each day and drank several soft drinks each day, in a few months I could easily be 60 pounds heavier and fatter. Yikes!

But that stuff never comes in our front door.

And, I do have a towel and dumbbells and a NordicTrack that I use every week and exercise virtually every day even if it’s just 5 minutes of crunches. (Most weekdays my total exercise session is just 15 minutes or so first thing in the morning just before breakfast.)

So I don’t carry that extra 60 pounds of fat around that I’d otherwise have.

I also haven’t had a heart attack triggered and partially caused by that lifestyle. (To be fair, I do take some supplements that, according to my blood tests, are effective at giving me extra heart protection.)

If you have kids, this may be more challenging as they may be used to the bad stuff and all their friends may still eat it. But consider this. One mother who insisted on doing this found her family grocery store bills dropped a few hundred dollars a month!

Labels: , , , ,