Friday, January 29, 2010

8 Ways to eat a low carb, VEGETARIAN diet....

Today's Post: Friday, 1-29-2010

Low carb diets test as successful at causing weight loss and of mostly excess fat. They also recently tested as more successful than other diets that lost the same pounds in lowering high blood pressure.

Vegetarian eating styles tend to result in better health.

But how do you combine both?

1. Focus on slashing sugars, refined grains, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners to close to ZERO. Those are the carbs that fatten and harm your health worst. They also cause rebound hunger. Minimize whole grains also.

2. Focus second most on gradually ADDING several servings a day of many kinds of organic, nonstarchy vegetables. They have the most health value and are the most filling compared with the carbs and calories they contain.

For good health and fat loss, those two steps alone are 80% of the best strategy.

3. Eliminate almost all kinds of fats and oils except those from extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and nuts. Eat those in moderation but every day. (For the one exception, omega 3 oils, see # 4 next.)

The Mediterranean diet with these foods has great health results. These foods taste good; and it’s much easier to stay on a diet that has them. Most other fats and oils make you fat and sick.

4. Eat some health OK animal protein foods! Almost all health producing diets have very little meat from gain fed animals and LOTS of vegetables. But some kinds of health OK animal proteins improve things. So being a vegan vegetarian is NOT necessary for health reasons. Protein is the best food for turning off hunger.

Wild caught fatty fish & purified fish oil supplements produce good health with their omega 3 oils. Whole eggs have few calories, superb protein, and B vitamins. Nonfat and very lowfat milk in moderation works. Whey protein supplements are good. Some grass fed beef is OK.

5. Eat some low and moderate carb plant protein most days. Mushrooms and lentils work best. Beans and lentils cooked at home with no or little salt work best for health; and some canned with no added oils and low amounts of salt are OK.

6. Eat some whole organic, fresh fruit. Eat mostly the low glycemic ones like apples, berries, and cherries.

7. Drink 100% organic cranberry juice, low sodium V8, and low sodium tomato juice or combined vegetable juices. These have the most nutrition and the least sugars. Only drink one a day of cranberry juice; but two servings a day of vegetable juice are OK.

8. Use abundant spices other than salt in traditional recipes or invent your own. Crushed garlic, onions, curry, chili, basil, rosemary, sage & other spices, particularly when used with extra virgin olive oil, add tons of flavor AND nutrition with close to zero carbs.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why and how to take in less salt....

Today's Post: Thursday, 1-28-2010

A few days ago several online health news sources reported that people in the United States and many other countries take in far too much salt.

They say the evidence suggests that if this was improved it would save thousands of lives and cut medical costs.

They go on to talk about efforts in Australia and New York City to have food providers cut back on the salt in their foods.

First, it’s important to know that the average person in the United States now ingests a truly HUGE amount of salt.

Some experts say that taking in 2500 mg a day of sodium or less is protective. Others say that 1500 mg of sodium or less is even more protective.

There’s some evidence this is the case.

In one of those stories I found that in the United States men consume an average of 10.4 grams a day and women 7.3 grams. That’s 4 to 7 times too much for men & 3 to 5 times too much for women.

The first key to fixing this for you as an individual is in this information that I found in the same article: It said that people get 75 to 80 % of their salt from processed food.

With the exception of canned vegetables to some extent, the most healthful way to eat has very little processed food.

It mostly consists of eating whole foods and works even better if the foods are organically and naturally raised.

But Not eating processed foods is even more valuable than just the salt you stop ingesting. Not eating the processed foods such as snacks, desserts, and other foods not only slashes your salt intake, it helps you avoid refined grains, excessive sugar intake, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), other preservatives, artificial flavors and sweeteners and food coloring, MSG, oils high in omega 6, and corn and soy that has been genetically modified.

So, almost always NOT eating that stuff not only will slash your salt intake, it will make you less fat and dramatically improve your health.

The second key is that in the same way that restoring the balance between omega 3 oils and omega 6 oils to the ratio our bodies evolved to use improves your health, in addition to using less salt and ingesting less sodium eating far more foods that have potassium and magnesium has dramatic health benefits. In addition, supplementing with magnesium can help.

So, after you prune out the obvious sources of huge amounts of added salt from NOT eating processed foods for the most part, if you also eat some organic whole fruit and several servings a day of organic, nonstarchy vegetables and increase your potassium intake in your food, you gain in a host of ways.

Even people who have normal blood pressure find their readings go down when they switch to eating this way; & it does wonders for helping people with high blood pressure reduce it enough they can avoid medication or take less.

The name for this natural food with lots of whole produce and with far less salt way of eating is the DASH II diet.

Other studies show that combining eating less salt with added potassium and magnesium reliably lowers blood pressure.

Third, eat some foods raw instead of cooked so they need no spicing up; & use other spices such as curry, garlic, basil, and the like instead of salt. Salt imparts a more lively and warm feel to your food. But so do these other spices. That means that by using them well your food will taste good without any salt in some cases and far less in others. For convenience, I’ve found that powdered garlic and a store bought curry spice I like work best for this.

Some spices that work well are a bit too harsh if they are added to a nonfat dish; but if extra virgin olive oil is added you get the double benefit of a much mellower taste effect and many of the key nutrients in the food such as the carotenes actually become more bioavailable and you actually get more from your food. These spices tend to be hot such as chili powder and red pepper and some curries.

Fourth, have the food brought to you unsalted or only very lightly salted if you can. Then taste it & only add enough salt from a salt shaker that the food tastes right to you. That way you get the food salty enough to enjoy. But if the salt is added to the food before, it may well have five times that much salt. This is a great way to go. You get the better taste you want while your body gets a fifth as much sodium.

Fifth, avoid MSG in your food. The S stands for sodium and that sodium affects you just like the sodium in salt (sodium chloride.)

That can be hard to do since the people who make it and add it to your food would prefer to leave it in. The people who make it get paid when it’s used. And the people who add it do too since MSG tends to result in people eating MORE of that food.

So, they often do NOT list MSG on the label. They’ll list autolized yeast or hydrolyzed protein or “spices” instead.

(By the way, at Whole Foods recently, I FINALLY found a mustard that does NOT include “spices” on their list of ingredients. Annie’s Naturals brand has only real mustard and NO MSG or unnamed, “spices.”)

Many Chinese restaurants now no longer use MSG and will say so on their menu or outside signs -- and most of the rest will leave it out of your food if you ask.

And, there is a second reason to avoid MSG besides the sodium. Studies in China comparing places that used lots of MSG and those that used none or very little found the places where lots was used had far more fat people. In other words, you eat enough more when MSG is used to spice your food, you WILL be more fat. Since you can make foods taste good enough to enjoy without MSG, why use it?

So what does all this sodium avoidance and balancing get you?

Your chances of having a heart attack or stroke go down by quite a bit.

Your chances of getting stroke or one that causes lifelong disability go down by a lot.

And, your chances of getting kidney disease or having your vision harmed go down.

We even recently found out that your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease go down.

And, last but far from least, your chances of needing the doses and kinds of hypertension drugs that quite literally can make you feel sick all the time go down too.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More ways to slow aging and protect your health....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 1-26-2010

There was a story in the online news on Wednesday, 1-20, last week that said that some of the very beneficial effects from using fish high in omega 3 oils & purified fish oil supplements is because the omega 3 oils keep your telomeres from unraveling.

As long as you live, your cells are continuously being renewed. When telomeres, the caps on the end of DNA, are intact, the copies are exactly the same as the originals. But as you age some of your cells are copies of cells where the telomeres got worn off and are NOT perfect copies. This all too often means those cells are partially to completely defective & may not work to keep you healthy and alive.

So, in a very real way, things that keep your telomeres long enough to ensure perfect copies slow or stop aging.

Yesterday, Dr Al Sears had an email selling his information on increasing telomerase which actually rebuilds telomeres that have been fraying.

He has evidence in his email that suggests the methods he has found do work.

But you don’t have to use his methods to gain from using ways that help keep your telomeres longer.

Here are 6 things I’ve seen evidence also protect your telomeres from fraying.:

1. As many of you know from reading our blog or seeing it elsewhere, eating fish high in omega 3 oils & taking purified fish oil supplements to get adequate omega 3 intake plus almost eliminating most large sources of omega 6 oils sharply reduces excess inflammation.

Since this set of things will also benefit your heart and make heart attacks less likely, it may well be that if you do both things, it will both lower excess inflammation AND help keep your telomeres from unraveling.

Refined grains and foods made from them harm you by forcing fast rises in your blood sugar and rebound hunger. This tends to make you fat and at risk to get type 2 diabetes. In addition, these grains have high amounts of omega 6 oils which increase inflammation.

So, you can be less fat, healthier, AND possibly slow aging too, if you simply stop eating these foods.

Eat some walnuts for a healthier way to get the modest amount of omega 6 oils your body actually needs. Stop eating refined grains and foods made from them. Eat only modest amounts of whole grains and foods made from them or very little. Eat mostly beans, lentils, nuts, and nonstarchy vegetables for fiber instead.

Eat only protein foods from animals fed only grass or their natural diet instead of those that are grain fed. OR, only eat the leanest or fat removed versions to avoid ingesting the omega 6 oils in that fat. This has the added bonus of avoiding the bioconcentrated pesticides and herbicides the grain was grown with that are also in the fat of grain fed animals.

Oils made from grains and some seeds, such as soy, corn, safflower, and canola are all high in omega 6 oils. These oils all tend to increase inflammation.

Olive oil and extra virgin olive oil have monosaturated fats or omega 9 oils. Unlike the omega 6 oils that lower your HDL and tend to trigger inflammation, these oils leave your HDL high but do not increase your LDL. Use those oils instead of omega 6 oils.

2. Smoking very definitely speeds aging by up to 25 %. So it looks like avoiding tobacco smoke both by NOT smoking and avoiding second hand smoke will very likely protect your telomeres.

3. There is now abundant evidence that people who get regular exercise and regular and vigorous exercise age up to 25% less than people who are sedentary. So it also looks very likely that getting such exercise regularly will protect your telomeres.

In addition, such exercise tends to prevent insulin resistance, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease directly.

And, it triggers your body to produce new brain cells and release other growth hormones to cause your body to repair itself.

Lastly, exercise tends to cause increased blood flow and good intake of oxygen and removal of CO2 and other wastes to keep your cells healthy in that way.

4. Excessive and prolonged stress tends to degrade telomeres.

So everything you do to avoid that kind of stress and remove it when you can will protect your telomeres.

This ranges from making prudent choices such as NOT driving drunk and always wearing your seat belt to making a strong focused effort to solve or safely escape the problems that stress you to doing something like meditation or quiet reading or tai chi that enables you to turn off the stress response long enough for you to recover.

5. Vitamin C, when you take 500 mg a day or more, may also help keep your telomeres from shortening.

Similarly, supplements such as turmeric or the curcumin in the turmeric and some other supplements tend to help prevent excess inflammation.

6. Brushing your teeth in a way that brushes at the gumline and brushes your gums
AND flossing each day plus taking CoQ10 or in its ubiquinol form plus seeing your dentist regularly for a check up and teeth cleaning -- each helps to prevent gum disease.

Since gum disease causes severe inflammation; & it looks like excess inflammation shortens your telomeres, doing these things to keep your gums healthy not only allows you to keep your teeth and prevents heart disease, it may well also protect your telomeres and slow aging.

Dr Sears also quotes evidence that keeping your telomeres long enough not only slows aging so you can live longer but also shows that people with intact telomeres or longer telomeres enjoy MUCH better health and have less disease.

He lists these different sources.:

• The Los Angeles Times reported that scientists found
“the death rate from heart attack was three times higher for men whose telomeres got short the fastest. The death rate for women was 2.3 times higher.”

• Journals of Gerontology reported that “100-year-olds in good health had “significantly longer” telomeres than those with health problems.”

• American Heart Association: reported that “people with shorter telomeres in their immune cells had twice the risk of death from heart failure as patients with the longest telomeres.”

• Psychosomatic Medicine reported that: “women with shorter telomeres are more likely to be overweight and insulin-resistant.”

• American Association for Cancer Research in one of its journals “published a potential link between telomere length and colon cancer.”

• Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that “people with short telomeres are more likely to suffer from weaker immune systems and greater heart disease risk.”

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Better doctors are coming soon....

Today's Post: Monday, 1-25-2010

There are already many truly good doctors. I’ve had some and met some others. But many aren’t quite there yet. There are three reasons to be hopeful that better doctors are coming soon & for more people.

1. Last Wednesday, 1-20-2010, there was an article on the online HealthDay news that about 75% of current medical school students were at least open-minded or positive towards alternative medicine.

Their thinking seems to be that at least some of it seems to actually work to help people to get and stay well -- AND many people are willing to volunteer to use it – even when they have to pay out of pocket to do so.

That means that a doctor who knows what parts of alternative medicine actually work and which parts many people will do willingly -- will be able to more effectively help people to get and stay well.

There are many good doctors from those who already know a good bit about effective alternative medicine that works and already have seen good results using it to those who don’t know but are good doctors willing to work at making their patients well and are at least open-minded.

I was very fortunate to have such a doctor at Kaiser for a bit.

Unfortunately those doctors are still far from 75%.

But, this survey data suggests that in a few years, it will begin to be 75% of all doctors.

Since, I’ve seen excellent results in my own blood tests from using better eating, exercise, and supplements to get better readings and even excellent readings, I admit to a preference for 100 % of doctors knowing and using information similar to that which got me this kind of results.

(Based on my family history, my LDL would be over 160 if I ate like the average American. But even eating better and exercising regularly, it was 130. By increasing my niacin from 300 mg once a day to twice and adding 3 tablets of beta sitosterol supplements with sterols, it now consistently runs between 95 and 106.

Too many doctors today still would have looked at my family history & the 130 reading on my LDL and my age, & put me on statins. I’ve done as well with what I’ve done as statins likely would have on my LDL; and, from what I’ve read, my 90 and over HDL and under 50 triglycerides would NOT be as good. (Niacin improves those readings while statins tend not to do so.) Plus I’ve NOT had ANY worries about most of the side effects of statin drugs.

So, it’s really nice to see that about 75% of medical students look like they’ll use what they find out from patients like me or already know the information from their own study.

These are the doctors of tomorrow.

2. Dr Mark Hyman and others have begun to practice what he calls Integrated Medicine.

Instead of looking briefly at the symptoms and labeling them as a disease or condition and then prescribing a symptom removing drug, doctors will ask questions about diet and exercise and current stress levels and smoking PLUS use the blood tests and even, genetic tests, now in some cases, to see what current functions in the patient are not right or may not be right unless they are in the highly desirable range.

In that way, doctors can prescribe specific lifestyle changes, supplements, and drugs when necessary, to repair the CAUSES that particular patient has that are causing the current symptoms.

This kind of medicine is more custom-tailored to the patient. And, since it focuses on repairing or turning off the specific causes involved, it is usually more effective than a less accurate approach that only consists of using a general label. And best of all, it helps the patient prevent the problem from returning.

As this kind of medicine is more taught and practiced, more doctors will use it. And there will be more doctors who see their patients get well and stay well.

This too is beginning to happen.

The tests are here. This strategy is becoming more known. And more doctors know how to use lifestyle changes and supplements and which drugs are best and safest to add to those and when. My hope is that is on it’s way to becoming a way of practicing medicine used by almost all doctors.

3. In surgery and in some other parts of medicine, doctors already know how to do near magic things --but ONLY IF nothing out of over 10 variables goes wrong.

There’s a very important new book out on how using checklists every single time they should be used helps both rushed people with OK memories and people with so, so memories ALWAYS remember to do the critical stuff.

The author is someone called, Atul Gawande. His book is called, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. It’s in hardcover & available at bookstores and on Amazon. He shows how in piloting technically advanced planes, surgery of all kinds, and in building construction, checklists make a job that is nearly undoable safely or reliably both safe and error free.

Since this approach has been tested in a hospital in a very economically disadvantaged neighborhood and in other places with extremely good results in preventing infections and lowering costs by avoiding mistakes, it’s virtually certain more doctors and hospitals will soon use it and be MUCH safer and effective for their patients because of it.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Overcome the health harm from sitting too much....

Today's Post: Friday, 1-22-2010

Last Wednesday, 1-20-2010, there was a health news story on the AP online news that had results of a study showing that sitting too much causes health harm; and, according to this study, regular exercise was insufficient to overcome this health harm completely.

Further, it looks like virtually everyone today sits too much, well over 4 hours a day, & that doing so tends to cause type 2 diabetes, obesity, & heart disease. That much sitting also tends to increase the death rate & shorten people’s lives. This last point explains AP’s headline on the story.:

“Experts: Sitting too much could be deadly” was AP’s title.

It seems it matters not why you are sitting, the harm is from going over a certain number of total hours for any reason per day or per week.

In an editorial published this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences said that the genes which regulate the usage of glucose and fats begin to malfunction after 4 hours of continuous sitting.

(In a related study, Jean Mayer, PhD found that below a certain level of physical activity, about half an hour a day of moderate exercise, people were hungry for MORE calories than they were burning up while above that level they only got hungrier if they used and needed more and their appetite matched what they actually were using.)

In a separate study in Canada, also noted in the AP article, it was found that people who sat more had a higher death risk, whether or not they exercised.

The story also quoted statistics showing that most people sit half their waking hours. So, if you sleep 6 or 7, which is close to average today, most people including me and thee, sit for 8 & a half to 9 hours a day or more.

Worse, if the average person watches TV 30 hours a week, which is about what I’ve seen quoted, this is particularly harmful since you burn fewer calories while watching TV than you do when you are asleep. Needless to say this also means that your circulation is very low, your muscles and motor nerves are not getting any action when this happens. This suggests that most of us get over 4 hours a day of this kind of sitting which is most likely to be harmful to our health.

Similarly, a recent story found that teens while sitting while using some form of media (from texting to video games, to watching TV, to email & using the internet on a computer) now average over 8 hours sitting a day by just while using some kind of media.

So, it’s simple. Virtually everyone sits too much now for good health.

But surely there must be something that can be done to overcome the health harm from this.

Here are seven things you can do that I think will work. Five you can try as soon as this afternoon while two you may have to work a bit for several days or longer to set up.

Some you may like and find easy and some you may not. Do what you can!

1. Drink multiple cups of tea or green tea or clean water or vegetable juice each day. (More than 3 cups of coffee will disrupt your sleep; but it takes far more tea or green tea to do this.)

If you do this, every so often, you’ll need to get up take a bathroom break. That provides regular breaks in your sitting each day.

(Note that soft drinks, both regular & diet, tend to make the health harms of sitting greater and so are NOT a good idea for this use.)

You can even prime the pump a bit extra by getting a drink of water right after you get out of the bathroom.

2. Part of the health harm from sitting may well come from NOT going outside and getting enough vitamin D from sunshine. We now know this causes everything from depression, to heart disease to autoimmune diseases to cancer to rickets & more.

You can overcome this in two ways.

You can take a daily walk outside each day for 20 minutes as part of your lunch hour. Surprisingly, this actually can give you a surprising amount of vitamin D even on an overcast & rainy or snowy winter day. (Your eyes adapt to the lower amount of light so it looks dim. But the actual amount of light measured by a meter is well over 10 times what it is inside even if it does NOT look that way.) Of course, this also can be part of your regular exercise to do this & has other health benefits from doing it.

And, it’s quite inexpensive to take enough vitamin D3 to overcome this part of the problem. We know that it takes at least 1700 iu a day of vitamin D to work. 400 to 800 will avoid the very worst deficiency states but little more than that we now know. The woman I posted on last time now takes 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 in the winter & 5,000 iu a day the rest of the year. That may be close to the ideal amount. It definitely is safe as I posted on yesterday.

3. In the same way that fat people who exercise have better health than sedentary thin people, things like regular strength training and interval cardio and regular walks and other regular moderate and vigorous exercise WILL largely offset the harm from sitting too much.

It may well be wise to do more than that if sitting too much is that harmful. But, the health records of the people who do regular exercise shows that it is somewhere between mandatory for good health & very highly recommended.

In short, if you sit much, you’re really asking for it if you don’t get regular exercise.

Harry Truman and a woman Venture Capitalist mentioned in Tina Seelig’s recent best seller, “What I wish I knew when I was twenty” both did as a matter of policy was to have many face to face conferences while going on a walk outside.

It looks like they were on the right track. (I presume the woman Venture Capitalist still does it.)

4. Virtually all the kinds of health problems they now think sitting too much causes are all also caused by drinking soft drinks and eating sugary or overly salty junk foods and packaged snacks and desserts and other commercial baked goods using mostly refined grains and harmful fats and oils.

So, if you eat and drink this way now, AND sit too much, you are getting a double dose of trouble!

So one cure is stop doing it!

Stop eating or drinking anything with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils and oils high in omega 6 such as corn and soy or refined grains and/or which has had tons of salt added to it. Stop ingesting that stuff; and paying the people who make and sell it now for making you fat & sick.

Instead, learn to eat vegetables and health OK fats and protein foods and some regular amounts of fresh fruit as well. Many kinds of traditional cuisine use spices to make such real food taste good. Some of the dishes are delicious in fact. Start finding out more of these ways of eating you like and learn to only eat that way.

Only eat sugary treat foods once a week or less if at all & only eat versions that leave out the most harmful ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils and oils high in omega 6 such as corn and soy.

5. Find a way to get your TV watching to 10 hours a week or less most weeks. ONLY watch the shows you like best. Stop watching anything that’s OK but not great or just to pass the time. If you need someone to keep you company when you are alone and bored, listen to the radio while you do something active or phone friend. Sometimes exercise instead of watching TV. Use faster input media for most news stories than sitting passively watching TV. (Reading the stories that actually interest you on Yahoo is both dramatically faster than watching TV news and much more focused on your actual interests. Using, slow as it is to access sometimes, is faster than sitting through half an hour of local TV news to see the weather on TV.) Tape many shows & edit out the commercials to see more of what you want in less time.

6. It may well make sense to either get a timer that flashes a light in a color you find OK every 20 to 30 minutes & stand up, if only for a few seconds as soon as you can after the flashing starts every time.

Since this is quiet, it will not disrupt you if you are on the phone when it happens. And, you can continue writing or looking at the internet too. Simply continue without interruption but stand up while you continue.

7. The fix that I think makes the most sense is for a company that makes bicycles or exercise equipment now or a startup specializing in it to do is to make several versions of an under the desk or in front of the couch miniature exercise bike.

Then people can simply keep it going while they sit even if their pace it varies in speed and is rarely if ever done fast.

This will keep up their circulation and normal metabolism but can be done without distraction once you get used to it & without having to worry about getting sweaty -- as you might do if you were focusing on it and doing it as fast as you can.

I’ve not seen such a thing myself. But if one already exists, given this information, internet sales also would work and may happen soon!

Five of these 7 things you can literally begin within the next few days. If you want to stay healthy, I think you owe it to yourself to do your best to do all five of them.

Getting the kind of timer I describe or an under the desk mini-exercise bike style exerciser may take a bit longer.

But it looks like it may be important to add them when you can.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Prevent injuries and speed healing with vitamin D>>>>

Today's Post: Thursday, 1-21-2010

Last Saturday, I spoke to a woman who broke some of her ribs when she fell off of a bicycle.

She saw a doctor close to where she works who is one of the pioneers in using vitamin D3.

He dramatically, though for just 3 weeks, increased her vitamin D. The results may interest you.

Her pain stopped more than four times sooner than the doctors at the emergency room told her to expect. Then when she got an x-ray at the point when the doctors were checking to see if the progress they expected to see towards full healing, about 25% there, had happened, she was 100 % healed.

I then began thinking about the news story I saw recently that found that calcium was ineffective in improving bone strength; but calcium plus taking vitamin D at the same time DID increase bone strength.

Then I remembered the number of athletes and others that have had to stop their work outs or stop playing their sport due to stress fractures in their feet. (I had gotten a mild one myself not that long ago as well.) And, I suddenly realized that taking a bit more vitamin D3 ahead of time might prevent these. And, it definitely looks as if it would help heal them more quickly.

In addition, many injuries from exercise happen to your tendons. Complete breaks detachments, tears, & inflammation all happen to tendons. Tendons are attached to the bone and I’m pretty sure contain some calcium to increase their strength. So, I believe these uses for extra vitamin D that can prevent bone fractures and help any you do get heal rapidly may well do the same for tendons also.

Similarly, studies have found that vitamin D3 helps prevent muscle pain. What if this is because it helps prevent injuries and heals them quickly in much the same way?

If these things are true, it could be a major help to exercisers who do progressive strength training or progressive interval cardio, to the military for training new soldiers, and to professional athletic teams and all athletes.

This is speculation & wishful thinking on my part so far. But, it’s what one brilliant psychologist called an “experimental” question.: If you try it, does it work? As he points out, it’s silly to argue about it. It’s NOT that kind of issue. So, check it out.

And, I am personally going to do so & pass the idea on to the athletic teams in my area.

As some of you have read, one of my goals for this year is to lose 32 pounds of fat and gain 18 pounds of muscle to net a 14 pound loss on the scale and a more than 4 inch reduction of my waist.

Jumping exercises, jumping jacks, jumping rope, and jumping on a minitrampoline, see: , all have a track record of success in doing that kind of thing exactly.

One proponent of jumping rope played in the NFL and virtually never got injured -- which he attributed to his jumping rope in addition to the other drills and strength training he did. But when he stopped playing, he got out of the habit of jumping rope. As many people do who stop exercising so much and get older, he gained a good bit of fat on his tummy.

Then he decided to see what he could do by resuming his jumping rope that he used to do. He rapidly lost over 20 pounds and several inches off of his waist.

So, since I can fit in 5 to 10 minutes of exercise in four places in my week, I’ve decided to do jumping jacks 2 of those days every other day and jumping rope the other 2 days. My performance goal is to do 8 sets of 98 for jumping jacks and for jumping rope at the four sessions by the end of the year.

But I’m writing this post in part because in beginning this effort, I noticed some soreness in my Achilles tendon and my left foot where I had been injured before.

Oops! THAT could jeopardize my using this method which looks as if it might be a major contributor to the success I want in taking excess fat off of my waist.

By being very slow in my build up and doing it regularly, those twinges have gone away for now. But I’m not doing that much yet.

So, instead of taking 3200 iu a day of vitamin D3 as I have been doing, I’m going to add a 5,000 iu capsule of vitamin D3 each day in addition to that. I’ll then be taking 8200 iu of vitamin D3 each day.

(In case you haven’t read the other current research or my previous posts on vitamin D3 -- For today’s people who live mostly inside, away from the sun – or use sunscreen in the summer or both, the real minimum daily requirement is between 1700 & 3,000 iu a day; and the RDA or ODA, recommended or optimum daily amount, is between 3,000 iu a day and 10,000 iu a day, particularly in the winter. You can get too much vitamin D3, taking 50,000 iu a day for more than a month or two might be too much. And Wikipedia lists research showing that 100,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 clearly is too much. But all the current research shows that 10,000 iu a day or a bit less is completely safe and may even be desirable in some cases.)

If by next January, doing this both prevents my old Achilles tendon injury in my right leg and the previous stress fracture in my left foot from acting up as I keep doing more jumping each week, I’ll be doing a follow up post on this – as I will if it isn’t enough to prevent these problems.

But, as I’ve just written, there is some real reason to believe that this will work.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Simple & doable works in fat loss....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 1-19-2010

Today, Tuesday, 1-19-2010, HealthDay News had this headline & subhead.:

“Complex Weight-Loss Plans Erode Dieters' Resolve
--The more complex a person's diet plan, the sooner the person will abandon it, a new study finds."

To put that study into positive & usable terms, simple & doable works in successful fat loss.

The research a good plan is based upon can be quite complex. Your planning can be moderately complex.

But if you can’t DO it day in and day out without huge amounts of futzing -- or it always feels overly complicated and hard, that’s a problem.

If you learn the basics of successful fat loss; put the ones into practice that you can already do; & then gradually build a customized version that allows you to keep doing more parts of that plan and doing each part better – but which is simple and straight-forward to do, THAT will work.

But at each stage, each part should be simple and doable.

Here are the basics of fat loss. They are NOT that complicated. And, once you get used to doing them, they can be just as automatic and simple to do as what you may be doing now instead.

1. For example, there are foods and drinks that not only make the uninformed people who consume them fat and sick; there are those that are somewhat fattening but either are not that bad for you otherwise or even have some health supporting or nutritional value. And, there are foods and drinks that help you stay trim or don’t slow you down that also actually are good for you and your health.

I agree with fat loss expert, Jillian Michaels, simply throw out the foods and drinks you now have that make you fat and sick. As she points out, they aren’t any better for the people you might otherwise have passed them on to. Then don’t buy them again or keep them if people give them to you. If they aren’t in your home, it’s not complicated to avoid them!

This includes all regular and diet soft drinks; any food or drink with high fructose corn syrup or trans fats or the hydrogenated vegetable oils they are made from; & all packaged snacks and desserts that contain those things &/or are mostly made from refined grain and salt or sugar otherwise.

2. Then do buy and eat the things that actually support your health or help you lose fat from beef fed only grass to wild caught salmon to beans and lentils and any and all nonstarchy vegetables you’ve learned you can eat. The more foods in this category you buy, learn to fix, and either find a way to enjoy or at least be OK with eating regularly, if not super often, the better your plan to lose fat will work. And, as you do that, doing it everyday is NOT rocket science, you simply get used to doing it and it becomes almost automatic after awhile.

3. Then gradually cut back to a low moderate or low or occasional level on the foods that are only moderately fattening if eaten sometimes but not every day.

For example, real 100 % grape juice and oatmeal have some legitimate value for your health. But they are higher in sugars and calories in the case of grape juice and carbohydrate grams and calories in the case of oatmeal than other foods you should eat more of.

For example, a boiled egg and a serving of lentils has many of the B vitamins, and much of the protein, and soluble fiber that oatmeal has; but fewer carbs and calories. In addition, if you add brown sugar to your oatmeal when you eat it, substituting the boiled egg and a serving of lentils also cuts back on your sugar intake. But by eating the oatmeal sometimes and the boiled egg and a serving of lentils sometimes, you can have the oatmeal and brown sugar you like but take in fewer carbs and calories overall. I’ve tried this successfully. And to make it doable during the week when I’m pressed for time, I boil and peel the eggs for that week on week-ends & also prepare the lentils for that week. Neither of those foods are hard to get into my breakfast or slow to put in a bowl during the week. I just stuff them in, eat them, & go.

Similarly, if you have grape juice sometimes and 100 % real cranberry juice sometimes, the cranberry juice has less than a sixth as many grams of sugar and less than half of the calories and also has other health benefits. You can still drink the grape juice and enjoy it; but by drinking cranberry juice half the time, your over-all intake of sugars and calories goes down.
Again, it’s not complicated. Simply add the cranberry juice to your grocery list and pour that instead of grape juice every other time.

4. Do some kind of strength training or interval cardio at home during your morning if only for 15 minutes.

(I’ve found if I always do the same set of exercises each weekday at the same time in the morning, I simply plan my morning around that time.)

5. If you can, find a way to do a bit more exercise each week.

(Similarly, I’ve now added a few minutes of interval cardio three evenings when I just get home from work on the 3 days each week when there’s a place for them and once on Sunday afternoon. Again, this is not rocket science.

Today is Tuesday, which is one of those 3 days for me, so when I get home from work unless it’s 2 hours late or something like that that rarely happens, when I get home, I’ll do those few minutes. I get home; change into my at home comfortable clothes; do my few minutes; spend about 15 seconds writing down how many reps and sets I did that day; & then have dinner.)

6. Find a way to watch less than 10 hours a week of TV.

I’ve already posted that you burn less calories watching TV than you do sleeping. I’ve posted that something like 90% of the people who have lost over 30 pounds they’ve kept off for 5 years or more watch less than 10 hours a week of TV. And, I’ve posted that if you watch even 5 hours a week less TV than you do now, you just found five hours you can use to exercise without taking other time from your life and the things you like to do.

And, it also is important to notice that 90% of the foods and drinks advertised on TV are in the throw out and never ingest category. It can really help a lot to watch less of those ads.

But, it seems that watching less than 10 hours a week of TV may be even more important than that. Sitting that still for the additional 20 hours of TV the average person now watches has been found to be as harmful to your health as NOT doing any exercise. In addition, it harms your body’s normal food intake regulatory system so you feel hungry when you don’t need more food or fail to notice when you’ve eaten too much. Your body becomes more leptin resistant; your insulin levels go up; your chances of getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease go up; & you tend to deposit more of the calories you take in as fat.

This story was online yesterday.:

“Is too much sitting as bad as too little exercise? Mon Jan 18, 7:32 pm ET PARIS (AFP)

Sitting all day may significantly boost the risk of lifestyle-related disease even if one adds a regular dose of moderate or vigorous exercise, scientists said Tuesday.”

So, it’s not rocket science. Watch less than 10 hours a week of TV & you can avoid most of that.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

If you're quitting smoking this year, this new information will help....

Today's Post: Monday, 1-18-2010

You or someone you know may be trying to quit smoking this year. If so, some really useful new information that can double your chances of success, or much more, just came to my attention.

You may have a friend who smoked and who died from a heart attack recently and not want to have that happen to you.

Or, you may have had a heart attack you survived & your doctor let you know that if you quit smoking, your chances of avoiding another heart attack or surviving the next one if you have it would both go up.

Or you may have realized how much you spend on cigarettes and would like to do something more constructive with all that money each month.

Or you may have read the info we posted on in this blog before that 25% of heavy smokers do get lung cancer and decided you would do something to avoid that happening to you!

No matter what your motivation, there are a whole list of things we now know to multiply your chances of success. Doing them in combination can work wonders for you.

I recently found an article in a newspaper section that came with the ads & sales flyers called, , & it was in their January, 2010 issue.

I’d known that the best strategy for most people is to try an attempt first to quit cold turkey. If it works for you, you’re done.

If the side effects keep you from staying off, the best fall back method is to get both a prescription for Zyban, the safer & more desirable of the 2 drugs for this purpose I think, that replaces the exact kind of antidepressant effect that nicotine has PLUS use a short acting and an as needed fast acting nicotine replacement.

But regardless of whether you stop cold turkey on your own or after you see the doctor and get the prescriptions, this article had two extremely valuable keys to success.

The Zyban, the nicotine replacement, and doing regular exercise even if it’s light moderate -- all, each of them separately, just about double your odds of quitting.

What this article had that was so valuable is that:

Beginning the methods on this list you’ll use and using them regularly for two weeks before your quit date ALSO doubles your chance of success!!

Two, I’d already known that doing regular exercise while quitting doubled your chances of success by itself. But this article had WHY this works! It seems that just like the Zyban and the nicotine replacements do, regular exercise turns down nicotine cravings!

1. So, you have a decent shot at quitting without the doctor’s help if you use an over the counter nicotine replacement like a nicotine patch and do regular exercise for 2 weeks before your quit date. Between using both the nicotine replacement AND the regular exercise even if it’s just a slow walk of 10 minutes 6 or 7 days a week – AND the 2 week head start – you will multiply your chance of success on your first pass by up to an almost unbelievable EIGHT times.

(You can add a fast-acting nicotine replacement after your quit date also -- such as an over the counter nicotine replacement like nicotine gum.)

2. Even better, if your high probability of success try on your own effort doesn’t quite work, you’ve already begun the regular exercise & experienced using a nicotine replacement. Just continue them until you see the doctor. Then after you do, add the Zyban or the nicotine replacements your doctor has found to work best for another 2 weeks again before you try to quit the second time.

You are now using FOUR methods that each double your chances of success, the two week lead in time before you quit, the regular exercise, the nicotine replacement AND the Zyban. That gives you up to a totally amazing SIXTEEN times better chance at success!

3. Other tips.:

a) If you are already doing regular exercise, take it a bit easy, but do it as regularly as you can each week. Doing it that regularly provides the leverage you need.

And, since you have been smoking and more intense exercise has been found to boost blood pressure even after you finish each session in smokers, until you recover from the effects of your previous smoking, hold off trying to do more or a lot more in terms of intensity until a few weeks after you quit. And, then build up very gradually for awhile.

b) Consider taking other supplements that have antidepressant effects or help combat the heart disease and cancer causing effects of the smoking.

Taking 5,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 has reversed seasonal depression, SAD. Even better, it has been shown to protect your heart about that well too.

Taking purified fish oil, Omega 3, and DHA supplements has been found to both reverse mild depression but ALSO lower triglycerides and help prevent the more dangerous rhythm problems in heart attacks that make them more likely to be fatal. So taking those supplements will help prevent both heart attacks and fatal heart attacks plus you’ll feel better too.

(Both vitamin D3 & these omega 3 oils also each have other health benefits.)

If you take the vitamin D3 AND take turmeric or curcumin supplements you are also less likely to get most cancers. (Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric.) And, if you like curried food or that spice on other dishes, eat that more often. The yellow color in curry spice is from the turmeric they contain.

If your LDL cholesterol is high, you can also lower that to protect your heart and without taking drugs by taking sterols such as beta sitosterol.

So, by taking these supplements as you quit and right after, you improve your chances of success both at quitting and at avoiding the health problems you are quitting to hopefully prevent!

These new methods give you an excellent shot at quitting successfully.

By all means try them!

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Fat loss breakthrough, 2 – fish oil also lowers appetite....

Today's Post: Friday, 1-15-2010

You may find this hard to believe; but 10 days ago I found this news story on Monday, 1-4-2010.

(Unfortunately, I somehow forgot to enter the news service on which I found it.)

Low blood levels of the hormone, leptin, increase hunger, while higher levels tell your brain you are full and increase calorie burning. There is some evidence you have to do the other things needed for good health and for fat loss for your body to react properly to increases in your blood level of leptin or to high levels of leptin. But low levels are likely to make you over-eat and apparently also will slow your metabolism.

Further, research recently reported found that low levels of leptin tend to cause type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

That means anything safe to ingest that causes your leptin level to increase is more valuable than gold. It quite literally will make you trimmer and protect your health as surely as forcing this to happen by using a lever.

The story on Monday, 1-4-2010 reported that scientists from Iceland found that who people who ate salmon felt more full and satisfied two hours later than those who either didn't eat seafood or ate cod, a fish with far less fat than salmon.

These researchers apparently then found that taking in a high level of omega-3 oils increased blood levels of leptin.

That’s exciting news.

Eating wild caught salmon or sardines or mackerel or herring –OR taking DHA or omega 3 supplements made from purified fish oil each will increase your blood levels of omega 3 oils.

And, THAT will increase leptin which in turn will make it easier for you to stay trim (to lose excess fat and not gain it.) And, it also will sharply reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Important notes:

1. Farmed salmon is so heavily contaminated with pollutants it should be banned from human consumption. Worse, it has far less omega 3 oils. And, even worse than that, it has been shown to harm the wild salmon near the farms which would otherwise have lived to be safe to eat wild caught salmon. So, NEVER willingly eat farmed salmon.

Unfortunately, most restaurants still serve farmed salmon. And, if you ask they will say if theirs is farmed or wild caught. The good news is that more and more of the better and more upscale restaurants carry wild caught salmon now.

2. Wild caught mackerel is an inexpensive fish high in omega 3 oils. But a variety called King Mackerel is apparently higher on the food chain and is far too high in mercury to be safe to eat.

3. As we posted on at some length in our last post, there are several things you can do to lower your intake of omega 6 oils. Doing this in addition to increasing your omega 3 oils will protect your health and enable you to benefit far more from the omega 3 oils in preventing inflammation and other diseases.

I strongly suspect that taking these other actions to reduce omega 6 oils also helps enable the omega 3 oils to be more effective in increasing leptin as well.

So, if using omega 3 oils to increase leptin and its positive effects interests you, by all means read our last post that we did yesterday on Thursday, 1-14.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fat loss breakthrough – Lose inches from your waist....

Today's Post: Thursday, 1-14-2010

You may have seen one of the many stories covering the recent information documenting that fat on your butt, hips, and legs is not only less harmful but possibly beneficial to your health while fat on your waist and belly is a threat to your health.

The articles point out that this is known to be a fact; but we don’t yet know how to use this knowledge to help people lose fat and stay healthy.

But we do!

This is a bit of a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

We know that different actions produce more belly fat or less than produce more fat on your butt, hips, and legs.

That means we can make sure to do the actions that produce less belly fat and stop those that produce more.

And, we can do the actions that cause us to gain the benefits of the fat on our butt, hips, and legs. That way we can have the health benefits of such fat without needing too much of it; lose more belly fat than fat on our butt, hips, and legs; and best of all take actions that both prevent health harm and help lose more belly fat.

I. What produces excess visceral and belly fat?

a) Ingesting too much sugar; ingesting artificial sweeteners; (& therefore drinking any soft drinks other than club soda); eating refined grains or the foods made from them; eating starchy vegetables such as potatoes without the skin; eating too much of even whole grain foods; and eating too much high glycemic fruit such as pineapple and mango; and drinking more than just a bit of fruit juice all, each one of them, let alone doing more than one, add belly fat.

If you want to have less belly fat, fewer inches on your waist, and far better health and lower doctor and drug bills, eat none of these foods or eat dramatically less of them by cutting out half of them and then doing it again and perhaps even cut them in half a third time -- while totally stopping any that you can right now.

b) You can add drinking too many alcoholic drinks, particularly beer, to that list.

For men more than 2 drinks a day and 14 a week begins to harm your health more than the benefits you get. And, to keep fat off your belly while keeping the health benefits of some drinking, such as higher HDL and heart protection, drink less than 2 drinks most days and average less than 11 a week.

Since most women are smaller and metabolize alcohol about half that well, to stay healthy, rarely drink more than one drink in a day and average 7 a week or less. And, to keep fat off your belly while keeping the health benefits of some drinking, such as higher HDL and heart protection, drink enough less to average less than 5 & a half drinks a week.

c) A sedentary lifestyle with no exercise at all produces excess visceral and belly fat even in people of normal weight as measured by their BMI!

Even a few minutes of walking a few times a week helps reverse this. Half an hour of brisk walking a day for 6 or 7 days a week is better.

d) Getting no vigorous or muscle building or firming exercise also produces excess visceral and belly fat even in people of normal weight as measured by their BMI!

Even 8 minutes of vigorous interval cardio 3 times a week and 20 minutes of strength training twice a week with at least a day in between can help reverse this. As long as you build up to it gradually and don’t overdo to the point you are injured or too tired, more is better for this also if you want to lose excess belly fat.

e) Eating far more servings a day of a variety of nonstarchy vegetables than most people now do and some servings each week of lower glycemic & organic fruit such as berries also helps since it gives you good nutrition with few calories or blood sugar surges. That means you are less fat without being hungry. And the fewer blood sugar surges and the vigorous exercises help you have a lower insulin level. A high insulin level causes your body to deposit MORE visceral and belly fat.

f) Other than omega 3 oils in supplements and fish, get almost all your fats and oils from nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil. In addition to the massive health benefits this gives you directly, these monosaturated oils tend to cause you to have lower insulin levels and less belly fat. Prevention Magazine even has a book out on this called the Flat Belly diet.

Note that people trying to lose fat are more likely to keep doing it until all the excess is gone and then keep it all off IF they follow this last step. Studies have actually documented this. Just keep your intake moderate of these monosaturated oils, STOP eating the less healthy kinds, and do all the other steps.

Note that each of these doable steps both will help you have less belly fat AND each one has separate health benefits that are directly health supporting or health protecting.

II. How can you get the benefits of fat on your butt, hips, and legs without having too much of it or even having somewhat less?

a) Other than omega 3 oils in supplements and fish, get almost all your fats and oils from nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.

Note that people trying to lose fat are more likely to keep doing it until all the excess is gone and then keep it all off IF they follow this last step. Studies have actually documented this. Just keep your intake moderate of these monosaturated oils, STOP eating the less healthy kinds, and do all the other steps.

It seems that fat on your butt, hips, and legs stores the fatty acids in such foods. And, it gets better! This fat releases leptin. And, leptin turns down your hunger; prevents insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and has recently been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

You can stay healthy and get this effect by eating the monosaturated oils and omega 3 oils from supplements and wild caught fish.

Note that people trying to lose fat are more likely to keep doing it until all the excess is gone and then keep it all off IF they follow this last step. Studies have actually documented this. Just keep your intake moderate of these monosaturated oils, STOP eating the less healthy kinds, and do all the other steps

b) STOP eating almost all the other kinds of fats and oils. They each are actively and directly harmful and even can cause you to gain belly fat -- NOT fat on your butt, hips, and legs.

Stopping these fats and oils both protects your health directly AND avoids having too much fat on your butt, hips, and legs without causing less benefits from it.

Excess saturated fat of animal origin causes too high levels of LDL and contributes to excess levels of the small particle LDL that causes heart disease.

Grass fed animals have less fat overall and far less excess saturated fat. So either only eat foods from animals fed only grass OR eat only the leanest versions of meat from grain fed animals. (In cooking, you can add back extra virgin olive oil to compensate if that makes the meat too lean.)

It also helps when eating meat to have it with onions or garlic or some red wine or dried sour cherries or beans as these foods help your body process or remove excess saturated fat.

Also, meat from grain fed animals and oils high in omega 6 oils such as soy, corn, saffola, canola, etc are each too high in omega 6 oils, particularly when you don’t get enough omega 6 oils or eat the foods that cause excess belly fat. So don’t use ANY of those oils except canola when there’s no other alternative. Excess omega 6 consumption, particularly without getting enough omega 3 oils, causes inflammation. And that inflammation helps cause heart disease and heart attacks and may help cause cancer and senility. For the same reason, either only eat foods from animals fed only grass OR eat only the leanest versions of meat from grain fed animals. (In cooking, you can add back extra virgin olive oil to compensate if that makes the meat too lean.)

In addition, pesticides and herbicides, in addition to causing cancer and reproductive harm, may through off your body’s fullness signals that enable you to stop eating when you should. And, since you get more of them in your diet from the fat of grain fed animals fed grains sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, either only eat foods from animals fed only grass OR eat only the leanest versions of meat from grain fed animals. (In cooking, you can add back extra virgin olive oil to compensate if that makes the meat too lean.)

For the same reasons, go very easy on butter or cheese from grain fed animals or only use nonfat or very lowfat dairy such as nonfat or 1% fat milk or nonfat or lowfat yogurt OR get them from animals fed only grass.

And, of most importance in this list, ingest or eat absolutely NO transfats or the hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats!

These fats are heart attack starter. They cause your small particle LDL that directly causes heart disease to go up sharply each and every time you eat them. Should you eat less of them? NO. That’s not enough. They are so harmful, you should eat absolutely none if you possibly can manage it. Never eat them voluntarily.

There is even some evidence eating transfats or the hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats increases your belly fat.

Fat from transfats or the hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats has calories you will BENEFIT from giving up!!

And, by eating foods with omega 3 oils and foods with monosaturated oils such as extra virgin olive oil and nuts, you’ll get enough fat to help you have enough leptin to turn down your appetite and give you the nutrition you need as well.

This is a large set of things to do.

But the more you do them, the less belly fat and internal visceral fat you’ll have; the less excess fat on your butt, hips, and legs you’ll have, and the fat you do have on your butt, hips, and legs will give you the health protection and more controllable appetite you want.

The bottom line is that we DO know how to have less belly fat and most of its bad effects and how to get the benefit of fat on your butt, hips, and legs without having too much of it.

Now you do too.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fat loss exercises even you can do....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 1-12-2010

1. If you are totally out of shape and over 60 pounds overweight, you may need to start with walking and going to a gym twice a week or getting some graduated but light dumbbells for use at home.

You may simply now be too heavy to do the more advanced exercises that use jumping until you have built up some strength in your legs and lost down to being 40 or 50 pounds overweight or less or doing both things.

But, you can stop drinking all soft drinks including diet drinks; and simply stop eating foods made from refined grains; and simply stop eating foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. Surprisingly, dumping that stuff actually makes you a bit LESS hungry and by itself may cause enough fat loss to enable you to do more advanced exercises. For example, the average person that heavy can often lose 40 to 60 pounds with that one step. (For example, I no longer ingest that stuff & am still 15 pounds overweight and 32 pounds overfat. I shudder to imagine the shape I’d be in if I did ingest that stuff and was 40 to 60 pounds fatter!)

In addition, you should begin today or by the end of this week to start doing regular exercise.

Dr Al Sears teaches a version of interval cardio called PACE. Even though I like his work and recommend it to you if you want to get more specific advice, see , even without using it, you can make use of the principles of interval cardio to start from where you are and take small but regular steps to improve from now on -- and to both rapidly -- and for most people, more safely than using many kinds of longer cardio, get into far better shape. It may take a year to really make a huge amount of progress. But you make fast progress literally from the first week or two.

Suppose you are so heavy you can only take about 5 steps before you get a bit out of breath.

That’s actually no problem in terms of getting better.

a) Do something like this: get by a doorway or wall it’s safe to lean on for support. Then take 2 steps away and 2 steps back. Then rest for 10 or 20 seconds or a bit longer if you need to. Then repeat that a second time and a third time.

Next time, the following day, try to take 3 steps away and 3 back. Once you can do that all 3 times increase it to 4 steps. After that take 5 steps away and 5 back. Don’t rush it but keep doing just a bit more each time. And be sure to stop and rest until you feel rested enough to do the next set.

Then after a couple of weeks start doing more sets each time. Then when you can do 8 sets each time, go back to taking more steps.

Eventually you will be able to walk outside for at least 20 steps and be able to rest by simply standing still.

Later, you will be able to walk without stopping for up to a mile. When you begin to approach that, walk briskly until you feel a bit out of breath then slow way down until you feel rested enough to walk briskly again. In the initial stages it’s OK to stop for a few seconds instead. But within a few weeks you’ll begin to be able to just walk more slowly for a rest.

b) Consider joining a gym or at least visit one to learn about 10 or 12 exercises you can do for your arms and upper body that use dumbbells. (Dumbbells give you better increases in strength and muscular control than the machines. In addition, any exercises you do in the gym with dumbbells, you can do at home. You have to be pretty well fixed for funds to install the machines in a home gym. But you can get the dumbbells on eBay used or buy them new at Sears for far less money.)

The wonderful thing about this is that in the early stages, you do NOT need to be lighter already to do them safely. In fact, you can do many of the best dumbbell exercises while sitting down on a chair.

Once you know how to do those exercises, you can get a small set of single dumbbells of weight you can do now ranging in steps to about 3 times that much. (You can always get more later.) This won’t take up much room since you only need one of each.

Then, for each exercise do a few repetitions with your left hand and the same number with your right hand for each set. That will give you enough rest between arms you will eventually not need any more time between sets. That makes your exercise session take less time.

Start with a weight you can do at least 5 or 6 repetitions, or reps, with and do them in good form. Then try to add just one more each rep on most days you exercise. But if you begin to have to work hard to add one more, it may take a couple of weeks to add the next one. The important thing is to use the next size larger dumbbell for 5 or 6 reps once you can reliably do 12 reps with each hand.

(Important note, while walking & other interval cardio exercises can be done 7 days a week, strength training with dumbbells should be done every other day because you make a good bit of your progress on the rest days when your body builds more muscle or stronger muscle after each exercise session. No rest days equals much less progress and benefit. Plus it’s a waste of time.)

Remember, the more walking you can build up to and the more weight you can use in your dumbbell exercises the more muscle tissue you’ll have and the more calories you’ll burn while you exercise and even for quite a while after you exercise. This means you can lose fat without having to cut calories enough to get too hungry to continue. That helps make it possible to lose all your fat AND keep it all off.

(If you are that overweight also see #3 below.)

2. If you have already begun exercising or did regular exercises once when you were younger and are in good health now – and you are 40 pounds or less overfat, you may be able to lose fat faster and in shorter interval cardio sessions.

There are 3 ways to do this. The reason you can’t be too heavy is that all 3 involve jumping.

Here are the 3 exercises.

Jumping jacks. Skipping or jumping rope. --and Jumping on a mini-trampoline.

If you are still a bit too heavy or your feet or knees won’t allow the slightly harsher impact of jumping jacks or jumping rope – and you can afford $160 or so, consider a mini-trampoline. The “Urban Rebounder” available at works. In fact, as of today, they were on sale for $89.95 with a stabilizer bar to hold onto for safety and 6 workouts to try.

But if you are a bit less heavy and have a hardwood floor or carpeted wood floor at home, jumping jacks and jumping rope also work.

These are also the two exercises you can do right away. You need no equipment at all for jumping jacks and good quality jump ropes are available at your local sporting goods store for $25 or $30.

But, be prepared to start more slowly than you might have expected! All jumping exercises are quite intense and vigorous. In addition, jumping rope requires you to gradually learn to do them rhythmically and in a controlled way. Both things require a bit of time to master.

I speak from experience since these two are the ones I realized I could add in four sessions of 5 to 10 minutes each every week & where I had times to fit them into my busy week. My hope is to add about 9 pounds of muscle in my butt, lower back, and legs and lose about 14 or more pounds of the 32 pounds of fat I intend to lose – over a year’s time.

I can already do interval cardio on my daily commute by running for a short distance and then walking briskly and repeat for a bit over half a mile each way, two times a day, including almost always running up the ramp to the trains I take. And, I can do over 50 pushups reliably.

Guess how many jumping jacks I now do at the beginning!

I started with 3 sets of 14 with a short rest in between sets and called it a day.

I now do those two days a week.

When I was a kid, doing 50 jumping jacks was easy. And, since I’m not totally out of shape I was shocked to find them so difficult at first. But the good news is that I think this also means that by gradually building up to 8 sets of 98, a number I like better than 100, and doing each set of 98 fast in a minute or less, I may reach my fat loss goal because that’s SO much better than I can do now. In addition, running up the ramp to the train will be ridiculously easy and I’ll not need to catch my breath a bit at the top as I do now.

I’ll use the same system I just recommended for a beginning walking program. My next goal is to go up to 4 sets of 28. (I did 3 sets of 21 last time.)

And, my initial jumping rope experience was even worse. I’d do one and then land on the rope or not jump in time. Each time I did that I’d start over immediately. I think the most I’ve done without messing up is about 3 or 4. In addition, I’d have to stop briefly to move back to the spot where the rope has enough clearance because the jumps moved me forward instead of leaving me in the right place. And, I’m still at two sets of only14.

But I’ll soon get a better jump rope and get used to it and by the end of the year I expect to be doing 8 sets of 98 in less than one minute each just like the jumping jacks. And, again, that’s so much better than I can do now, that encourages me to think that once I’ve done it, I may well reach my fat loss goal.

And, if I can do it, most of you can also.

The really good news is that most people can fit in sessions of 5 to 15 minutes a few times a week. And by using strength training with dumbbells and jumping exercises, you CAN gain muscular weight and lose even more fat weight. And, THAT will remove INCHES of belly fat off your waist. (My own goal is to lose over 4 inches off my waist this year.)

These two kinds of exercises also will make sharp improvements in your HDL cholesterol level and in your ability to avoid too high levels of blood sugar.

3. What if you would exercise but have no time?

The chances are excellent you watch more than 10 hours a week of TV. You won’t want to stop watching some shows or events. But if you stop all the ones that are OK but not great -- & record some for watching later, commercial free, you can watch the equivalent of 15 hours of TV in 10 or less and have a lot of the time you now spend watching TV for exercise and do it while keeping much to most of the TV watching you like best.

Two other thoughts to keep in mind to motivate you to do this –

a) You burn more calories sleeping than you do while watching TV; and a large percentage of the ads on TV are for foods that pay the makers for making you fat.

b) The National Registry for people who have lost over 30 pounds and kept them off for over 5 years finds that almost all those people watch 10 hours a week of TV or less while the average person comes closer to 30 hours a week of TV watching.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Four strategies to prevent Alzheimer's or other senility....

Today's Post: Monday, 1-11-2010

1. Build up your brain so well it can be heavily damaged and still work pretty well.

It turns out that, in part, your brain is like the over-all internet. The more centers of information and learning you have and the more the interconnections between them, the more powerful and damage proof it becomes. If each function has 12 versions and 120 interconnections & that goes down to 4 & 40 the function may still work. But if each function only has 2 versions and 20 interconnections, and you lose a third of those you have less than one version and zero function left. That’s a huge difference. But note the amount of damage percentage wise is the same in both cases.

The even better news is that even people over 80 can learn new things and increase the power of their networks and their brain. It was once thought only children, particularly of 4 years old or less did this. They do it better to be sure. But much older people still have it too -- we now know.

a) Reading useful nonfiction and surfing for and reading useful information online works to do this.

b) Learning two or more languages well is so effective that the rate of Alzheimer's or other senility in people who have done this is a mere fraction of what it is in people who only speak one language.

c) Doing some kind of mental exercise with things like playing card games such as bridge regularly, or doing cross word puzzles or solving chess problems seems to work.

d) But one of the best ways to do this not only FEELS easy, it pays other dividends.

f you learn to relate to people well and often and regularly converse with the people you see regularly and your friends and your family, your chance of getting Alzheimer's or other senility goes down sharply. That’s partly because your life becomes much more interesting and fulfilling. And, it’s partly from the stress relief that social support network gives you & even direct help on solving your problems at times.

But the hidden and most important way this protects your brain may be the exercise it gets when you do it. It seems that your brain processes MORE information when you converse with someone than it does solving chess problems or almost anything else you do that requires concentration. We do it from such a young age, it FEELS easy. But studies of brain activity reveal it runs your brain almost full out. And, I’ve noticed you’ll often visit memories and associations that might have gone unused for many years when those topics come up in conversation.

2. Turn off the causes.

a) Mercury and lead in your bloodstream can cause Alzheimer’s like symptoms. And, if you have too much of either of these and get enough of it removed with treatment and find out how to stop getting more, your symptoms may well disappear. Dr Mark Hyman was able to reverse seeming Alzheimer’s in a patient who actually had high blood levels of mercury as his largest problem. If you or a loved one develops symptoms have this checked.

b) Get enough vitamin B12. Vegetarians who don’t take supplements, people too poor to get much animal protein in their diet, and people who due to aging or taking acid reflux drugs don’t digest their food well enough can all be deficient. So, taking a multivitamin with B12, taking an B complex supplement with B12, and taking 500 to 1,000 mcg a day directly will prevent B12 deficiency and will also help lower homocysteine levels which may also protect your brain and heart. If you or a loved one develops symptoms have this checked.

c) Grow new brain cells and get your brain adequate circulation all your life. If you fail at this, your brain will shrink, and it will malfunction from lack of incoming nutrition and lack of oxygen and lack of getting rid of CO2 and other wastes.

d)Regular exercise grows new brain cells and maintains your circulation, including in your brain, and even slows aging in your cells.

e) Getting enough choline and DHA provide two of the key building blocks your body need to build new brain cells well and to form new interconnections. Eat some egg yolks or wheat germ a few times a week. Take lecithin or choline supplements, That will not only give you choline for brain cell building but choline increases your HDL which improves your blood circulation by removing excess cholesterol. Also eat wild caught fish high in Omega 3 oils. Take purified fish oil omega 3 supplements that contain DHA. And take DHA supplements either derived from purified fish oil or the algae they get it from. The omega 3 oils also lower excess inflammation which helps prevent heart disease and keep your circulation good to your brain.

f) Get your blood lipids like HDL, LDL, & triglycerides tested and do nondrug things to see to it they are all in the desirable zone to prevent heart disease and keep your circulation good to your brain.

Regular exercise and NEVER eating trans fats or the hydrogenated oils they are in are the two most essential ways to do this. Eating right otherwise and taking niacin and sterol supplements also can give you a lot of leverage in achieving this.

Taking choline and getting it in your food and the same for DHA and other omega 3 oils also helps.

g) Avoid or reverse excess blood sugar levels. High levels damage your capillaries and cause BOTH age related vascular senility AND Alzheimer’s disease by harming the circulation to your brain.

AND, in last Friday’s Total Health Breakthroughs, Jon Herring reports that insulin resistance from not exercising and eating too much sugar and refined grains not only causes excess blood sugar but also causes damage directly in your brain as it produces excess insulin itself. This is such a direct cause some researchers believe Alzheimer’s disease is partly a form of diabetes and some call it type 3 diabetes.

The solution is to get regular exercise each week, particularly vigorous interval cardio and strength training. Never drink soft drinks. Don’t eat refined grains or foods made from them. Never ingest high fructose corn syrup. Aim for less than 5 teaspoons a day of sugar, less than a fourth of the average unfortunately. And, take alpha lipoic acid and chromium polynicotinate supplements. Get your fasting blood sugar and HBA1C tested and keep them below 99 & 5.7.
If they aren’t, consider trying harder on all the basics and adding biotin megadoses and HCA supplements.

h) Taking NAC, n-acetyl cysteine, and PS phosphatidyl serine also seem to prevent senility by increasing your disposal of metals and toxic chemicals in NAC’s case and maintaining a flexible cell wall in your nerve cells to preserve normal function.

i) Taking CoQ10 and/or ubiquinol helps maintain the mitochondria that produce energy inside your all cells – including brain cells.

3. Prevent the causes from producing damage.

Alzheimer’s disease is caused in part by the build up of amyloid protein and plaques in your brain and the resulting damage.

a) Taking turmeric or curcumin supplements, the active ingredient in turmeric and eating foods spiced with curry in which the yellow color comes from the turmeric in it enables your body to clean our or remove the amyloid protein in your brain. Often eating curried food or spicing your food with curry spice and even taking one capsule a day of turmeric or curcumin supplements will do this. Few people in India get Alzheimer’s disease despite a diet too high in grains and sugars. Now that we know that turmeric or curcumin helps your body remove amyloid protein from your brain in at least one way and maybe more, this makes sense since most kinds of cuisine from India make heavy use of curry.

b) Taking 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 or more may have some of the same effects as turmeric or curcumin and taking both together may be wise.

4. Clean up the damage.

a) Taking turmeric or curcumin supplements and eating curried food or spicing your food with curry spice looks to be so effective at removing amyloid protein from your brain , particularly when combined with taking 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 or more, it may be possible to reverse early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

b) Heavy use of cell phones is likely not a good idea due to their possible link to brain cancer. BUT, the risk may be small. And some recent animal studies suggest that it may reverse Alzheimer’s disease.

This is a surprise but a welcome one.

So, it looks to me if you do all of the above except the heavy cell phone use unless you need it, your can reduced your odds of Alzheimer's or other senility at age 85 from 50% to well under 5% and maybe to zero.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

New ways to prevent joint pain....

Today's Post: Friday, 1-8-2010

1. Prevent the damage that causes osteoarthritis.

Here are three ways to prevent osteoarthritis. If your natural cartilage is still protecting your joints and cushioning them properly, you completely avoid one of the main causes of joint pain.

a) Subject them to far less wear by avoiding gaining excess fat or getting rid of any you’ve gained. This helps prevent excess wear in the joints in your feet, knees, and hips. (Many of our posts list ways to avoid gaining excess fat or getting rid of any you’ve gained. And, later this year we will publish an eBook and set up an ongoing online service to help people do this as well.)

b) Take supplements that tend to prevent your cartilage from breaking down. Most people have heard that glucosamine may do this and seems to have some positive effect on reducing joint pain. But the new information I just found out about recently is that a supplement known mostly as an antioxidant and cancer fighter, selenium, was found to help prevent osteoarthritis.

In his email yesterday, Dr Al Sears says that a Press Release from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Nov 18, 2005 talks about a study showing that your risk of getting osteoarthritis can be reduced by 15 to 20 % or more by getting enough selenium. Apparently the greater the selenium intake the less likely osteoarthritis became.

Selenium is thought to help prevent cancers by helping your body kill them off in their early stages. The evidence for preventing specific cancers is mixed. But some studies have found that effect. And, since there was a study finding the death rate from some cancers was lower in people taking selenium, selenium may help in treating cancers also. (Note that since selenium is an antioxidant, this may not be the case while undergoing chemotherapy.)

Taking a 200 mcg supplement of selenium each day provides a robust amount of it. And, now we know that if you want to avoid joint pain by not having your cartilage break down, it may make sense to take that much for that reason alone.

(HOWEVER, note that you should NOT take more than that in supplement form.

Except for brazil nuts each of which has more than 200 mcg supplement of selenium, you may get between 5 & 60 mcg a day of selenium from your food if you eat other nuts and organically grown produce. That 200 mcg a day plus that much from your food is very clearly desirable to have and may prevent osteoarthritis and joint pain if you get that much selenium.

But two times that much every day or more begins to be toxic. So only take 200 mcg a day of selenium and not twice that much or more. And, only eat one brazil nut occasionally if you take the 200 mcg of selenium. With selenium more than the optimum amount is worse NOT better.)

c) I’ve not seen the studies myself. But the owner or my local health food store says that taking the supplement, hyaluronic acid, will also help prevent or even partially reverse damage to your cartilage by causing your body to grow new cartilage cells. In one study of knee osteoarthritis doctors actually injected it directly into the knee and stopped the joint pain.

2. Prevent excess inflammation. This can prevent joint pain even if you do have osteoarthritis.

a)Turmeric supplements can prevent inflammation and they also may prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric may even help reverse early stage Alzheimer’s disease. You can also take curcumin supplements as this is the main active ingredient in turmeric. And there is enough turmeric in curry to be protective if you eat foods spice with curry often. (Turmeric is what makes curries yellow.)

For joint protection, turmeric not only turns down inflammation, it helps avoid having your body build extra new blood vessels into the inflamed area which also helps avoid having irritated joints become painful.

One man I read of had joint degeneration bad enough that it normally would have caused him pain in his hips. But by taking several capsules a day of turmeric he was able to delay getting hip replacements for many years as he had no pain from it.

b) Taking 2,000 iu a day or more of vitamin D3 has many of the same positive effects as turmeric we now know. And just this week a friend told me he found that taking that much D3 worked so well on his pain and inflammation that we was able to stop taking Motrin for his pain.

c) Taking purified fish oil capsules daily and eating two or three servings a week of a wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils like salmon or sardines, herring, or anchovies also reduces inflammation well enough to enable people taking aspirin or NSAID’s like Advil or Motrin for joint pain to get somewhat better pain relief with the fish and omega 3 supplements than with the pain relievers! (I take two capsules a day of Nordic Naturals’ Omega 3 supplement, one capsule of DHA by Jarrow since that omega 3 has brain protective and enabling effects. And, I eat a can and half of wild caught salmon each week.)

d) As long as you don’t overdo it when you are actively injured, regular exercise actually has been found to reduce levels of inflammation.

e) It also helps to eat very little sugar, no refined grain foods, and only eat meat once or twice a week and then eat either very lean grain fed meat or meat from animals grass fed only which is naturally lean from that diet. Eating that way minimizes inflammation. The foods you avoid cause inflammation.

I recommend you do all of the above. Not only will that tend to prevent or reduce joint pain by reducing your inflammation, reducing your inflammation also has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease!

3. Prevent gout. Gout literally puts sharp uric acid crystals into your joints!

a) Only eat meat once or twice a week and then eat either very lean grain fed meat or meat from animals grass fed only which are naturally lean from that diet. Eating grain fed meat once or twice a day or more tends to cause gout.

b) Avoid averaging too much alcohol intake per week and per day. Drinking in excess tends to cause gout or make it worse.

For men, don’t drink more than four drinks in a single day even if you aren’t driving or 14 or more in any week and never keep drinking over that for weeks at a time. (Most women by reason of being smaller and not metabolizing alcohol nearly as well should max out at half those numbers.)

c) Eat sour cherries, drink 100 % cherry juice some days, &/or eat organic dried sour cherries or take cherry extract. The active ingredient in sour cherries has been shown to lower the uric acid that causes gout.

d) Also take two or three capsules a day of celery seed extract. The active ingredient in celery seed extract apparently lowers the uric acid that causes gout -- and reduces inflammation too! In addition, you also get a mild blood pressure lowering effect of something like 9 points by taking that much.

I’m pleased to say that I recently began taking two capsules a day of celery seed extract and found that some mild joint pain I’d begun to develop in my joints mostly stopped.

So, there are three ways to stop or reduce joint pain. Keep your cartilage healthy and intact. Minimize any pain by keeping inflammation low. And prevent gout.

None of them require aspirin or NSAID’s to work.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Inexpensive way to feel better AND lose more fat....

Today's Post: Thursday, 1-7-2010


Many years ago I started taking a supplement called Chromium Polynicotinate. (I take 200 mcg of Chromium Polynicotinate from Solgar each day.)

1. Dr Julian Whitaker found that Chromium helped his patients lower their total cholesterol.

And, either because of the chromium and/or the niacin bound to it, I believe that some of the credit for the HDL readings of over 90 I’ve been getting are due to my taking Chromium Polynicotinate.

2. Chromium is in whole grains. One of the reasons eating refined grains tends to produce type 2 diabetes is that chromium is apparently essential for your body to process sugars and other high glycemic foods like grains. Unfortunately refined grains no longer have any chromium.

So, by already taking Chromium Polynicotinate,
instead of getting type 2 diabetes when my blood sugar was too high -- at 115 it was still below that level instead;
AND just cutting out about half my sugar intake and adding 200 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid and continuing to exercise was enough to lower it back down to 87.

Had I not been taking 200 mcg a day of Chromium Polynicotinate, I might well not have been so fortunate.

3. One study found some health problems with the other common chromium supplement, chromium picolinate. (Since it caused damage to DNA, it may well speed aging or cause some cancers or hurt your future children if you have any.) So, since that might cause a problem and Chromium Polynicotinate has extra heart protection benefits, I take and recommend Chromium Polynicotinate instead.

>>> HERE’S the new information today’s post is about.:

Taking 400 to 600 micrograms a day of Chromium Polynicotinate was found to increase blood levels of dopamine.

1. Dopamine is the feel good blood messenger. Having higher levels makes you enjoy and notice the good things in your life more. Having low levels makes you feel mildly depressed or more depressed in some cases. Among other things, if you have enough dopamine, you enjoy your sex life more.

So that means taking Chromium Polynicotinate at 400 to 600 micrograms a day makes you feel better.

(This also will help with increasing your heart protection and improving your HDL and LDL test results and will likely also help you keep your blood sugar levels OK and help you properly process the sugars you do still eat.)

2. But here’s the fat loss effect. One of the drugs that has worked to cause fat loss works by including an anti-addiction drug that prevents you from enjoying eating sugar.

So when sugar is less rewarding and addictive, you eat less of it and fewer packaged snacks and dessert treats & tend to lose excess fat.

But that’s not the only way to get there. It seems that people who are too fat and who are addicted to sugar and foods like packaged snacks and dessert treats need the extra reward those foods provide -- because they are LOW in dopamine!

That means that instead of feeling rewarded enough by eating savory foods or fresh fruit, since they are low in dopamine, they need the extra reward feeling they get by eating junky but feel good and sugary foods.

But that plus the news that taking 400 to 600 mcg a day of fewer packaged snacks and dessert treats increases dopamine means that instead of having to pay up to take an anti-addiction drug that may decrease your enjoyment in life by blunting your reward system, you can take a bit of extra Chromium Polynicotinate and feel better and more easily eat less fattening foods too!

So for less than $15 a month you can feel better and more easily lose or keep off excess fat too by taking 400 to 600 mcg a day of Chromium Polynicotinate.

When you add up the benefits, Chromium Polynicotinate is well worth adding to your supplements if you don’t already take it.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Health Resolutions you can achieve, Part 2....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 1-5-2010

a) Since I value self-improvement and have a ways to go on some things, I read a few articles about New Year’s Resolutions to see if I could learn any tips that might help me on my two main resolutions.

Wow !! I am so glad I did.

I learned something incredibly valuable I had no clue was so.

At least according to the stories I read it’s true.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Caroline Zinko quoted research saying that 40 % of the people who set resolutions actually were still on track to achieve them 6 months later!

And, another article said that 65% of the people made at least some progress towards their goals in their resolutions. That includes the 40 % who basically succeed and another 25% of all the people who set resolutions who get at least some progress out of doing so.

This is about five times better than I thought was the case because of all the bad jokes about people who don’t get anywhere at all with their resolutions.

b) I already knew that you are more likely to achieve goals if you:

Write them down.

Have a deadline or target date by when you plan to achieve them.

Pick only the one, two, or three most important goals to work on.

And, perhaps most important of all, you make a list of things you can for sure do that will make your goal more likely to happen or even happen for sure –
AND, begin doing the items on your list within two or three days of writing them all down.

You actually have no direct control over achieving your goal. But you do have absolutely direct control over whether or not you take the steps to achieve it.

Part two, today’s post, is about improving your health. (Part one in yesterday’s post was about Fat Loss.)

It will include some information on fat loss also. But, it is mostly focused on ideas for improving your health.

I. The most important one is that we now know how to take a reading on various key aspects of your health.

If you take those readings & take action on those that are in the danger zone or not yet in the desirable zone, your health will be better, often dramatically better, you’ll age more slowly, you’ll live longer, and your later years will be less restricted and far more worth living.

Some of these tests do cost money. The often cost less in many medical plans since the are a preventive measure.

But they are critically important and can even save your life.

They can even prevent you from needing to spend even more money later on drugs.

A new friend got his measures tested and his doctor saw that his triglyceride level was 750. (That’s painless; but as dangerous as playing Russian Roulette with 5 of the 6 chambers loaded. It’s like a warning sign saying, “Expect severe heart attack soon!” He had a good doctor who explored what sort of junk he had been eating to cause this and was able to bring it down enough and soon enough by eating far better well enough that his doctor was able to avoid giving him 6 drugs to protect him from it. But he might well have died before I met him if he’d not gotten this test!)

In my own case, I was doing a lot of things right; but my doctor had me take a fasting glucose test when I had my heart health indicators checked. My reading was far too high but still short of having type 2 diabetes at 115. At that time I didn’t know that was too high myself. And I’d never have guessed I had that problem. Since he flagged it so early for me, I was able to take just a few steps to eat less sugar and take some supplements and brought it down to 87. But I might have type 2 diabetes now if I’d not been tested.

Dr Mehmet Oz said this about these tests: “You can’t fight a problem if you don’t know you have it.”

It’s like trying to drive on the freeway at rush hour without being able to see out of the windows. Ouch!

A. Some are of these measurements are easy to do.

1. Measure your waist at the navel.

If you are a man, and you measure less than 36 inches, that’s in the desirable zone. If it’s 40 or more, that’s in the danger zone. (If it is 40 inches or more, see yesterday’s post and read this one also.)

If you are a woman, and you measure less than 31.5 inches, that’s in the desirable zone. If it’s 35 or more, that’s in the danger zone. (If it is 35 inches or more, see yesterday’s post and read this one also.)

2. Get your blood pressure tested.

If it’s over 160 over 100, that’s the danger zone. And, despite their occasionally obnoxious side effects and even harmful side effects, you should probably try drugs to bring it down.
AND, you should also use the nondrug methods to remove the causes which will likely allow you to stay below that level and gradually stop taking the drugs.

(A low dose ARB plus a low dose Calcium channel blocker may be enough and will usually minimize side effects. Beta blockers work but do little to reduce the risks you take the drugs for and make you feel like hell. Diuretics work and are cheap but have both unpleasant side effects and sometimes have harmful ones. Only take those if you also have fluid retention or congestive heart failure or at least take them after you’ve tried the first two and then add a lower dose at first to the first two drugs. That will also minimize the side effects.)

If it’s something like 119 over 79 or a bit less, it’s much more desirable.

If it’s between about 135 over 85 and 155 over 95, it’s too high but short of needing drugs; but you should take action to lower it. And, take strong action if it’s in the higher part of that range.

(Eating dramatically better and cutting out excessive salt and taking certain supplements, &/or getting some form of effective stress release like doing Tai Chi will often do the job if you aren’t fat. Getting regular exercise, even walking, if you haven’t been doing it can help a lot. If you are too fat, fixing that is the best and most important way to lower your blood pressure.)

Many pharmacies and drugstores have a tester. And you can buy testers at or or at a local drugstore for about $60 or so. And, today most doctors will also test your blood pressure – or they’ll have their nurse do it.

B. But some of the most important tests are the key blood tests.

Triglycerides and fasting blood sugar are two of the more important ones.

Here’s a list and the danger and desirable levels for each.

1. HDL cholesterol is protective so high numbers are better. Over 60 is desirable. Under 45 is in danger zone. Under 40 is in the scary zone.

2. LDL cholesterol is better if it’s low. Under about 110 is desirable. 129 and over is not. Over 160 is in the danger zone.

3. Triglycerides are now recognized as extremely important. Under 150 is desirable. Under 100 is far better. Over 200 is in the danger zone. Over 300 is in the scary zone. (Small wonder the 750 my friend got scared his doctor on his behalf!)

4. Lp(a) is also a lipid that reveals heart attack risk. Recent studies found it likely is a direct cause of heart disease. So low is far better. 12 or more is beginning to be in the danger zone. Under 10 is safer. And, 6 or less is far better.

5. Fasting blood sugar is better if it’s below a certain level. 99 or less is important to achieve. 89 or less is better. 100 or more is risky. 115 that I had is borderline dangerous. At between 120 & 135, doctors diagnose you as having type 2 diabetes and you will be harmed if it isn’t lowered. And, it’s only successfully protective if you remove the causes by eating far better AND adding vigorous exercise even if you improve the reading with drugs also.

6. HBA1C is an even better blood sugar measure.

Fasting glucose can be too low or too high by 10 or 15 points. Since it’s a snapshot at a particular point in time, it may well be too high if you get it done right after you just ate too many holiday treats -- while it may well be too low if you just visited a friend for a week who eats healthier food than you usually do.

Since HBA1C measures the sugar on your red blood cells that live about 60 to 90 days it’s an average of every day over the last 60 to 90 days. So it’s extremely accurate.

5.6 and under is desirable. 5.7 to 5.9 is a bit too high. 6.0 to 6.9 will get you diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. And, 7.0 or more will begin to harm you primarily by beginning to destroy your capillaries and messing up your blood circulation which then can cause blindness, foot amputations, and every kind of cardiovascular disease.

And, it’s only successfully protective if you remove the causes by eating far better AND adding vigorous exercise even if you improve the reading with drugs also. Other than lower dose Metformin, the drugs to lower blood sugar have enough side effects you’re far better off if you don’t take them unless you get above about 8.0.

So get tested soon. Hopefully you’ll still be, as I was, at a low enough level to avoid going there in the first place.

But make it a priority resolution to get tested soon!

II. Other really important ways to protect and improve your health.

A. Take at least 1,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 in addition to the 400 iu in your multi. A total of 3,000 iu a day to 5,000 iu is better. This we now know prevents many cancers and autoimmune diseases. It protects your heart and helps prevent each kind of mental decline. And, it helps you get far fewer colds and flu sessions due to it boosting the effectiveness of your immune system.

B. Brush your teeth everyday at the gumline in addition doing the biting surfaces. And floss every time you brush your teeth. This helps prevent bad breath, having to get false teeth & gum disease treatments so it also prevents high dental bills. But the really important news is that it also prevents the inflammation that tends to cause some cancers and heart disease.

C. Get some kind of regular exercise each day even if it’s just 5 minutes of calisthenics or a 10 minute walk. If you can, do at least 15 minutes a day of strength training or interval cardio each day. And, try to get in a walk of 20 minutes or more each day also if you can.

Like taking vitamin D3, this has health results that are akin to taking a wonder drug.

It directly slows aging by preventing your telomeres from getting frayed, prevents most disease that aren’t caused by germs or viruses, it grows new brain cells, and even will improve your sex life.

The National Weight Control Registry studies people who lose 30 pounds or more of fat and keep it off. They almost all exercise; & 90% average an hour a day.

Last but far from least, since I just found out today from Jon Herring at Total Breakthroughs that building muscle with strength training or interval cardio has been found to increase your muscle mass which in turn increases your body’s immune system defense against germs and viruses too.

Exercisers get sick less from almost everything. They live longer and age more slowly. And they are much more likely to stay mentally sharp.

They also look better and enjoy sex more.

If you aren’t doing it yet, start doing some exercise this year even if it’s just a little & keep it up.

D. Stay away from tobacco smoke if you possibly can.

(Lot’s of second hand smoke is between about half as bad as smoking yourself and 100 % as bad depending on how much exposure you get.)

And, of course, if you smoke quit.

The “little” risks from smoking include that it causes 30 to 35 % of ALL cancers by itself; and it is the major cause of lung cancer. Heavy smokers only get lung cancer 25% of the time. So many smokers just assume they’ll be in the lucky group that doesn’t get it.


Few smokers know it, unfortunately, but the big risk of smoking is that increases your rate of aging and is a direct and sufficient cause of heart disease and lung impairment. Worse, every single cigarette you smoke directly or by being near a smoker adds a measurable amount to your cardiovascular disease. Smokers tend to die young and die of heart attacks and strokes. Many of the rest of them die young of cancer.

And before that the cardiovascular effects often cause PAD, peripheral artery disease, that makes it hurt to walk and can lead to foot amputation. They also cause ED that can ruin your sex life even before they kill you with a heart attack or cancer.

If you smoke, check out your heart disease blood test indicators and your lung function. Even if you are a teenaged smoker, they’ll be far worse than healthy people get. A key test to get besides lung function is homocysteine. To stay healthy, it’s ideal that it be 8.9 or less. In smokers it tends to be well over 12.0 or even over 15.0. Whether your doctor believes it causes heart disease itself or is only an indicator similar to smoke for a fire, it’s clear that the high homocysteine readings of smokers show that their heart and blood vessels are being harmed.

For some people, quitting cold turkey works.

But if you try that and it doesn’t do the job, get your doctor to help you get a nicotine replacement and the drug Zyban, a kind of antidepressant that mostly turns off tobacco cravings by doing what the smoke did do. That will double or triple your odds of success.
And, include beginning a moderate amount of exercise each day if only for a few minutes each day. That will double your chances of success again. (The combination of both will increase your chances of success by six to nine times!)

Use other methods to lose weight or prevent gaining fat. As Jillian Michaels put it, smoking makes you ugly and even dead. That’s not a recommended kind of beauty method!

E. If you are too fat, eat better and exercise better.

(See yesterday’s post.)

The National Weight Control Registry studies people who lose 30 pounds or more of fat and keep it off. They almost all exercise; & 90% average an hour a day.

Here are three other methods, besides regular exercise, that the people they studied who kept fat off also do.

1. 78% eat breakfast every day.

(The ones that eat some kind of protein and avoid sugary foods and refined grains do better when they do.)

2. 62% watch less than 10 hours a week of TV.

(You burn more calories when sleeping than you do watching TV. Most commercial TV ads today are for foods and drinks that will make you fat and sick. So it also helps to see less of them. Lastly, exercising instead of watching TV is often the only way you can make time for exercise. So, watching less TV for that reason both stops an activity that makes you fat and replaces it with an activity that removes it.)

3. 75% weigh themselves once a week.

(Since it’s the fat, not your scale weight directly that counts, it may make more sense to measure your waist each week and your weight once a month. But it is clear that measuring so you can take action early if the measure goes in the wrong direction does help.)

We’ll also have some information for sale later this year that will help people manage the process of successful fat loss even better so keep checking our posts.

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