Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vegetables are in all the health supporting eating styles....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-31-2011

The Mediterranean Diet, the DASH II Diet, health-supporting vegan diets, partially vegarian diets such as lacto-ovo vegetarian, and diets that include meat that also result in good health are the health supporting and health creating and protecting ways of eating.

They all have vegetables and mostly nonstarchy vegetables in common. In fact, within each kind, the people who eat the most vegetables tend to have the best health.

Cruciferous vegetables and the onion and garlic family of vegetables, the vegetables with carotenes, greens, and other nonstarchy vegetables have multiple health benefits.

They prevent cancers and tend to prevent obesity due to have a lot of water and fiber and nutrients and few calories. People who eat the most vegetables tend to have the most alpha carotene in their bodies. A recent study found that people who have high blood levels of alpha carotene have better overall health and a lower death rate than people who don’t.

The DASH II diet capitalizes on the ability of vegetables to reverse and prevent excess body fat and their high amounts of potassium to lower or prevent high blood pressure.

The Mediterranean Diet produces good health in part because it uses extra virgin olive oil instead of the inflammatory omega 6 oils such as soy and corn oil -- and instead of fatty meats and dairy fat which in excess tend to cause heart disease. It produces good health in part because it includes red wine, garlic, and seafood. But, even with the Mediterranean Diet, those that eat more vegetables and less refined grain foods are healthier.

Vegan vegetarians who take supplements of the nutrients missing in that diet such as B12, zinc (& the amount of copper to balance that zinc), and some iron AND who eat plenty of vegetables and tend to eat more nuts, beans and lentils, and traditional soy products such as tofu instead of isolated soy protein foods and grains tend to have the best health. (It can also help for them to eat quinoa which has a more complete amino acid profile and eat a variety of vegetable protein sources or take hemp based protein supplements.)

Lacto ovo vegetarians who take zinc (& the amount of copper to balance that zinc) and who eat whole eggs or egg yolks) AND who eat plenty of vegetables and tend to eat more nuts, beans and lentils, and traditional soy products such as tofu instead of isolated soy protein foods and grains tend to have the best health. (Egg yolks are high in B vitamins, quality protein, and have bioavailable iron.)

People who eat meat in a healthful way and eat an abundance of several kinds of vegetables can also have good health. It helps if they follow a Mediterranean or DASH II diet with plenty of vegetables other wise. It helps if they only eat meat on some days instead of several times a day. And, it helps a very large amount if they only eat meat from animals fed only grass or only eat the very leanest and most fat trimmed of the meat from gain fed animals.

Each of these eating styles produces good health.

But they are all mostly vegetarian with stylistic variations. And, the more actual vegetables they contain and the more variety of them they eat each week, the healthier they tend to be!

Note that you can add extra virgin olive oil, spices, garlic or onions or both, or tomato sauce or nuts or cheese to vegetables to add more taste and variety of tastes.

And, not that if you are short the prep time many vegetables need, pureed vegetables such as those found in baby foods and the unsweetened pumpkin puree I’ve started eating work well. Also you can use a blender to make vegetable juices or pureed vegetables yourself. Any good blender works and if you want super pureed and can afford it, the VitaMix blender works well.

You can also buy tomato juice and V8 juice.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Overcome roadblocks to actions to protect your health or help you lose weight....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-28-2011

Good news!

Have you failed at making positive health changes -- or have trouble getting started -- or trouble with continuing to do the actions that protect your health or help you lose weight?

Here are some ideas to overcome these common problems. They have been proven to work.

1. The most valuable single one comes to me from Peter Drucker, Tony Robbins, and sports.

Peter Drucker made the best and most general statement of it.

Effective people think of all the things they CAN do to achieve results and find one of the most promising and do that right away.

They simply ignore the things they can’t do at first. He found that people often find they CAN do more to get the results they want than they have time for. So they start with the most doable or most promising or the ones that enable them to do more and get started on those.

The pro football coaches that win put it this way, “Take what the defense gives you.” Same idea. Avoid wasting much time on things that won’t work and energetically do what WILL work. You often get great results that way.

What if you still can’t get started or think of anything you believe will work? Tony Robbins had a system that worked brilliantly to solve this.: He had his clients ask themselves this: “What things can I do that MIGHT work?”

He found that was a great way to get people to see the things they could try and realize they had hope of success. They found that they could try some of those things and see if one of them worked. Usually they found one that did work and got the things they wanted but hadn’t believed they could have.

2. Rev. Robert Schuller had the best next step. People who succeed persist in doing the things that work. But people who persist in doing things that don’t work can fail. So, he came up with brief way to say the solution. Use “Experimental Persistence.”

In short, be very committed to the result you want and persist in working to get it. But experiment. Try things that might work that you can do. Keep doing the ones that work. The ones that don’t work, stop doing them and experiment with what might work instead. And keep on doing what works and experimenting with what might work. Use “experimental persistence!”

The study done at Harvard by David McClelland on people who achieve found exactly this factor.

But he found one more key thing. They tended to go most with moderate challenges. For their experiments, they passed up things that were super easy but not very productive once they got started. And, they weren’t overoptimistic to the point of trying things that really had little chance at all. They focused on things that were moderately challenging, that really might work and be quite productive with just a bit of luck or extra effort and did those.

3. What can you do to increase your level of belief enough to get started?

Affirmations have been popular. “I will get this done.” etc.

But if you say this about something you actually have no faith you can do and haven’t been taking action on, it’s a total waste of time. It doesn’t work and nothing happens.

But some social science research and the self help innovator Noah St. John in particular found what DOES work.

The social scientists found that people who simply assume they could do something got less results than those who asked themselves IF they could do something.

Noah St. John found out why and how to use that strategy.

He calls it “AFFORMATIONS.” It starts like an affirmation but winds up going to the first strategy by forming it as a question.

Why CAN I achieve this goal? Why am I achieving this goal with less effort than I expected? Why am I able to do this now when I wasn’t before?

His idea is brilliant and many of the people who have used it well have achieved much more than they though they could at first.

It starts with the positive belief of the affirmation but then makes it believable with the real things you can do and reasons why you can do it.

I can do this. Now let me ask myself why. OK. Since that’s what I can do that will enable me to do this, let’s get started.

4. Today Jillian Michaels email had some other useful ideas.

a) What if you don’t like something you can do that will help you achieve your goals? One of her students said this or something like it. “What you don’t like doing limits what you can achieve. When will you stop limiting yourself?”

Where you go next is a matter of personal style.

I like have your cake and eat it too strategies like, “How can I pay someone else to do this who doesn’t dislike it as much as I do?”

or What can I do to get the same result that I dislike less or even LIKE to do?

(I just used this one. In adding more vegetables to cut down on the fructose in the apple sauce I was eating in order to lose more fat, I tried eating thawed spinach that from a package of chopped spinach instead. It was too slow, it was too messy, and I despised the taste. But I realized I could try unsweetened pumpkin puree. It isn’t as good as applesauce. But it’s OK. And I’ve eaten it since and lost some weight on the scale already!)

My wife is more practical than I and often achieves more in some challenging situations.

Her mantra is “If this gets me what I want, it’s the right thing to do. I’ve learned that I can simply disregard not liking it since I know it gets me what I want.”

b) One of Jillian Michaels’ people added an upgrade or perhaps she said it, “Find a way to actually LIKE to do the things that were hard for you at first.”

Some people manage to do that. And, they get great results because of it.

c) One woman said, "I hate doing something that I am not good at, or something that I don't pick up quickly." But she began bicycle riding anyway until she could do it. And, she found that the positive experience of “getting it” once she had gotten into it enough was so rewarding that it made keeping on easy!

In starting things that others can do that you hate being bad at in the beginning, this one is a great one to remember!

In short, focus on things that might work and that you can do. Try some that look effective. Keep the ones that work or that you get better at doing. And, keep trying new ways when something doesn’t work.

Start right away if only writing a list of things that might work. Pick a couple to try. And, keep going.

5. In protecting your health and losing fat weight, it also helps to think strategically about and focus on upgrading your lifestyle in ways that do those things & in ways you can keep doing once you’ve learned how.

Focusing on doing something temporarily as most people have done with weight loss, gets TEMPORARY results. In short, it always fails!

But the people who make lasting lifestyle upgrades, get permanent results and succeed!

Try these five strategies. You may well find you can succeed in a way you couldn’t have imagined before.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Important new cancer prevention discovery....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-24-2011

A new cancer prevention discovery for prostate cancers may well help prevent many other kinds of cancer. In addition, it might be effective as a treatment of existing cancer.

I. First, here’s a short list of how to prevent most cancers.

1. Completely avoid tobacco smoke. Unfortunately, it is still so prevalent it causes 30% of ALL cancers – NOT just lung cancer.

2. Take 4,000 to 8,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 – or up to 10,000 iu. A recent study found doing this prevents about half of all cancers and autoimmune diseases. Lower amounts are too low to reliably get this effect.

3. Avoid unnecessary X-rays and other sources of radiation & avoid sources of unnecessary chemicals such as chemical room fresheners, artificial colors, and sources of chemicals known to be harmful such as farmed fish and avoidable use of pesticides and herbicides.

4. Do the things we discussed in yesterday’s post to keep your chronic inflammation down.

Eating curried foods often with the spice turmeric and taking the supplement curcumin daily that is derived from turmeric is a way to do this that has heart benefits and is also strongly protective against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, in the book, Anticancer a new way of life by DR David Servan-Schreiber, he reports that eating curried foods with turmeric or taking curcumin becomes many times more effective at preventing cancer if you eat it or take it with black pepper.

5. Eat abundant amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables, some cooked cruciferous vegetables; other nonstarchy vegetables; vegetables high in carotenes – particularly cooked in this case and eaten with extra virgin olive oil; and onions and garlic every week.

II. In two emails this week from Natural Health Dossier I got information on a new and related discovery.

The new information is that combining substances in raw cruciferous vegetables with turmeric or curcumin multiplies their anticancer effect also.

Dr. Ah-Ng Tony Kong, a professor at Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy has dedicated his work to studying cancer prevention and treatment. He's published over 25 peer reviewed studies.

His new work was published in Cancer Research.

The prostate cancer rate in the U.S. is much higher than in India and nearby countries.

Dr. Kong states that turmeric "significantly retarded" growth of cancerous tumors.

In a recent study, he used turmeric on human prostate cancer cells to evaluate how effective it is "to prevent and possibly treat prostate cancer."

Similarly, the article said that a source at the University of Maryland Medical Center stated that turmeric "may help prevent, control, or kill several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon."

Yet another study, this one by Dr. Dorah Deeb and published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics agrees found turmeric "has been shown to exhibit chemopreventive and growth inhibitory activities against multiple tumor cell lines."

Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, a professor at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, also said "Extensive research over the last 50 years has indicated this polyphenol can both prevent and treat cancer," says Dr. Aggarwal.

The author of the email also said that some research shows that turmeric “stops the growth of blood vessels that supply cancerous tumors.”

Dr. Kong combined turmeric with PEITC, which is found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and watercress. He used turmeric and PEITC together on human prostate cancer cells in his study.

“"The bottom line is that PEITC and curcumin, alone or in combination, demonstrate significant cancer-preventive qualities," says Dr. Kong.
He discovered that using PEITC and turmeric together produced even stronger effects. “

We already know that eating raw broccoli or cauliflower florets at least once a week cuts the risk in half for men to get the aggressive and deadly form of prostate cancer.

It already makes sense that eating them several times a week is likely to be even more effective.

Now it seems that taking curcumin when you do that or dipping them in a dip with a curry with turmeric and black pepper will likely multiply that effect!

Similarly, since cruciferous vegetables in general and these two in particular, help prevent other sex related cancers such as ovarian and breast cancers and prevent other cancers too, I strongly suspect this combination will improve the cancer protection from most cancers.

That’s unusually good news!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Effective pain relief without OTC drugs....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-24-2011

Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil Motrin etc), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) do have some risks and side effects. Except for acetaminophen (Tylenol) most people can take them occasionally with few problems. But taking several a day as many do, is risky!

1. Everyone should have real aspirin on hand because if you do get a heart attack, chewing up a couple and chasing them with a bit of water as soon as you think you are having one does increase your odds of surviving if you are having a heart attack!

But taking aspirin a lot or daily can cause intestinal bleeding and even death as there are often no symptoms. So, if you often have headaches, muscle aches, or joint pain, taking aspirin day after day may not be wise.

2. Ibuprofen (Advil Motrin etc) & other NSAID pain relievers in that group are also not a great idea for frequent use. The three risks that I think important are that:

If you are taking them, the emergency heart attack use of aspirin no longer works;

I’ve read that some studies have found they actually cause further joint damage when taking daily for joint pain;

& they can make blood-thinning supplements and drugs work too well creating bleeding problems.

3. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has caused liver damage, liver failure, liver transplants, and death.

For people who drink more than one or two glasses of alcoholic drinks a week or take niacin or statin drugs to lower bad cholesterol, it’s far safer to not take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Doing those things stresses the liver ahead of time which makes taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) risky.

And, though the liver stress on people who don’t do those things from acetaminophen (Tylenol) seems variable. Some people can take 3 or 4 extra strength Tylenol with no problems. But enough people have had liver damage problems taking that much that acetaminophen (Tylenol) may have a warning label soon with these risks listed.

What to do instead?

1. Don’t do the things that produce pain on a daily basis in many people. In our post on Nondrug ways to prevent or remove joint pain, on Friday, 2-25-2011, we described how:

Avoiding intake of excess omega 6 from corn & soy oil (extra virgin olive oil avoids this problem);

Avoiding fats from grain fed animals; and eating no refined grain foods and a bit less of even whole grains plus eating fish high in omega 3 and taking purified fish oil omega 3 supplements;

AND, eating curried foods with turmeric and taking curcumin supplements derived from turmeric work together to remove or prevent chronic inflammation.

This prevents a lot of frequent pain and has even turned off joint pain as well as the OTC drugs do in some studies.

Even better, doing this set of things prevents heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.

People who exercise regularly without overdoing it and those who eat onions and garlic often also tend to have less aches and pains.

Why take OTC pain meds for frequent pain you can simply not have in the first place?

So, I highly recommend this solution!

2. Ginger also works as well or better than OTC drugs to lower inflammation and so often reduces pain that well too. (It also tends to prevent nausea and motion sickness and is related to turmeric. So many of its effects are similar.)

You can add powdered ginger to sweet or savory foods. (I’m quite fond of the taste of ginger and cinnamon combined in the few sweet dishes I eat.)

You can cook many savory foods using diced ginger root after it’s been peeled. In the right foods it adds a very nice spicy touch.

I’ve even taken to putting a spice container capful of powdered ginger into a half of a glass of water, stirring, and then adding enough water to fill the glass and drinking it down. The taste is a bit strong; but it produces a very nice afterglow effect in my mouth that I’ve come to like.

Yesterday, Dr Al Sears had this long list of pain relief benefits of ginger in his email on this subject.:

“A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine looked at ginger along with traditional pain medications. They found that ginger can reduce pain in the muscles and joints by as much as 25 percent.

Taking raw and cooked ginger daily can be an effective pain reliever – even for inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis. That’s because inflammation is the root cause of all kinds of problems – from arthritis and back pain to muscle aches.

Ginger contains 12 different compounds that fight inflammation. Some block the Cox-2 enzyme which triggers it. Some lower pain-receptor and nerve-ending sensitivity. Together they work almost the same as anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.”

3. He also notes that Devil’s claw that we covered in our post on joint pain we just noted, works well.

“Despite its name, Devil’s Claw has many healing properties. Studies have proven its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and even lower back pain.”

The information I got before that previous post was that Devil’s Claw also helps prevent or turn off hip pain.

4. Acupuncture works to turn off pain for some people and in larger cities licensed practitioners are available. One doctor in the United States became believer in it after seeing an operation in China done with only acupuncture as an anesthetic! There apparently is some ability of acupuncture done correctly to release the body’s own natural opiates.

5. For nerve pain or diabetic nerve pain, four 500 mg capsules a day of ALC, acetyl l-carnitine, and taking the B1 related supplement, benfotiamine also has been found effective.

6. Lastly, massage helps specific area muscle aches and for chronic pain management in general when done as little as once a week.

And, people who practice Tai Chi daily are significantly better able to deal with chronic pain.

So by preventing pain, using these steps to reduce inflammation and pain, and using the ways to help manage pain if it is chronic, you can usually get as good a pain relief result as you can with OTC drugs.

When you do these steps instead of taking OTC pain relievers, you also have much lower risks and other health benefits.

That’s a combination I like!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to lose weight without giving up....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-22-2011

Some people lose fat and keep it off.

But until now most people who have tried to lose fat weight have tended to give up within a few weeks or months.

One source says that the two main reasons given by people who give up are that they get too hungry or miss enjoyable food.

The most basic problem is that most people think of losing weight or fat as a temporary starvation or deprivation to be put up with or endured.

They then use methods that make them hungry a lot or even worse, trigger their body’s fail-safe famine response. Oops!

When that happens, your body lowers your metabolism and cuts down your feeling of energy to ensure you burn less calories. It prevents you losing any fat reserves you don’t absolutely have to have to survive. And, it makes you something like five times as hungry.

In addition, they often use methods that produce hunger and are likely to trigger that response. They then get tired of doing that and being always hungry or they trigger the famine response or both. Small wonder that they quit!

Effective and permanent fat loss comes from a very different strategy.

This involves making sustainable lifestyle upgrades that cause smaller calorie cut-backs and do not cause extra hunger or trigger the famine response.

Many of these are quite simple.

1. Stop ingesting things that feed you calories without making you less hungry. Stop ingesting things that make you less hungry at first and then make you hungrier later.

Regular and diet soft drinks and foods made from refined grains fit the bill.

Switch from soft drinks and diet soft drinks to chilled club soda – water that is carbonated only, spicy vegetable juice, ice water, green tea &/or black tea with no milk or sugar added, &/or coffee with no sugar – black, with some 1% lowfat milk, or cream sometimes.

If you have been drinking 3 or 4 soft drinks a day and are like many people today, over a couple of years you may well lose 45 to 60 pounds of fat. GUESS WHAT?! You will also be less hungry than drinking the soft drinks during that time. That’s like a fat loss thunderbolt! Doing this gives you lots and lots of fat loss and no boost in hunger.

Refined grain foods have much the same effect. They boost your blood sugar more than sugar. They make you less hungry at first but more hungry later and provide virtually no fiber to make you less hungry that way. The blood sugar and insulin boosts also tend to cause your body to add fat.

Eat much less grain and only 100 % whole grains when you do; and always eat it with health OK oils or protein to help it cut down your hunger and avoid that sabotaging blood sugar boost. (Extra virgin olive oil or nuts or avocados are all good for this.)

And, eat more nonstarchy vegetables and beans and lentils instead. They have more nutrition, much more fiber, and turn down your hunger better and longer, particularly if you eat beans and lentils, because they have more fiber and protein. But, these foods have a hidden surprise, because they can often turn down your hunger better AND they have less calories.

2. Get regular exercise that helps you burn more calories. No, you can’t eat lots of sugary treats from a few hundred extra calories burned a week from exercise because they have more calories than that. BUT, you can eat quite a bit more good for you foods and still run a lower calorie balance.

That means that you lose weight and fat but with less hunger. And, because that’s what our bodies are evolved to handle easily since before about 100 years ago when most people got that exercise, you do NOT trigger the famine response.

Best of all, these exercises have dramatic health benefits from improving your self-esteem to protecting your heart and slowing aging. And, you get these benefits soon even before they help you remove all the fat.

Progressive strength training and interval cardio each week can be done in as little as 15 minute sessions most day. They add muscle and cause you to burn extra calories for up to several hours after you do them. Doing both gives you extra health benefits too.

If you have time beyond that, regular walking, regular Tai Chi sessions, or doing moderate things you actually like such as dancing or gardening all help also.

3. Always eat breakfast. The sooner you get protein in you when you first get up each day, the better your fat loss will be. Getting too little protein tends to cause the famine response and getting it early in the day has the reverse effect. You have more energy and lose fat more easily and are less hungry for sugary foods the rest of the day.

But best of all, people who always eat breakfast have more control over their appetites the rest of the day. AND, they both eat more calories than fatter people who don’t and are less fat.

In short, always eating breakfast is a stealth way to lose fat without being too hungry because you can actually get away with eating MORE and still lose fat

4. Eat a stricter version of your health oriented foods and drinks every other day. And, at least once a month, allow yourself some of the foods you find extremely tasty but which tend to fatten you if you eat them several times every day.

This allows you to net fewer calories over a week than never being strict. But because you get a regular break from making an extra effort it’s more doable for you. But the huge hidden benefit is that the fat and weight come off and you do NOT trigger the famine response. That has actually been researched and tested to work!

For fattening foods that you have actually liked, a three part strategy is very effective for many people.

If the food was a 6 out of 10 or less, you can deal with not having it. You really didn’t like it that much and can hold out for those treats that you rate 8 or 9 or 10.

Know what the health harm is from the components and bring those to mind when you are tempted. That mental focus literally lights up your higher brain centers and those that give self control. You know better and remember you do.

The other one is that you can tell yourself. No I can’t have that now. But since it is a 9 or 10 for me I can have it later. Then once a month, have some. Since it’s a rare treat and one you really like, you get more out of it that way.

5. Find dozens of ways to make savory dishes of health OK protein foods and nonstarchy vegetables and beans. The more of these you know how to fix or where to buy, the more you will enjoy eating the goods for you foods.

That way, you DO get many foods you actually enjoy every week and every month.

That also helps a very great deal.

The summary is that lifestyle upgrades that give you more good for you and nonfattening foods and more and better exercise have multiple benefits.

You get the health benefits even before all the fat comes off.

Each part of it is sustainable can be part of a lifestyle you often enjoy.

And, since you keep doing it, over time most of the excess fat comes off. Best of all the excess fat never returns!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Little known fatloss news & my monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-21-2011

Since last month, I learned three key things that can do a lot to help fat loss. They are little known. But they can generate a lot of leverage in your favor.

So far, as you’ll see, I’ve not known them long enough or worked out how to use them well enough to test them in myself. But, they can speed up fat loss from the start if they are put into use right away. And, they can restart stalled progress or help you lose the last few pounds of fat.

1. Fructose in whole fruit and in real fruit juice tends to fatten you. That was very important news for me since I’ve done many things right but not removed the fat from my tummy despite that.

I was getting 3 servings a day of fruit until I learned this: One serving of a whole fruit each day rotating between kinds. One 8 ounce serving of fruit juice. And, one serving of applesauce with no sugar.

Note that for many people, particularly people younger than me, or who have less sedentary jobs, or who exercise three times as much each week as I do, this may be less of a problem.

It also has had health benefits. The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and phyto-nutrients in each of these is valuable. And, the soluble fiber in the applesauce which also has quercetin helps keep LDL cholesterol down to desirable levels.

What I’ve done is to cut back in a way that will lose as few of these health benefits as possible.

a) I was alternating between grape juice and 100% pure cranberry juice already. (People who drink a glass of either fruit or vegetable juice each day are less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease, for example.) So, now I alternate between low sodium, “spicy hot” V8 and 100% pure cranberry juice Monday through Friday, drink one grape juice on Saturday, and no juice on Sunday. This cuts my intake of fructose and total sugar from fruit juice but doesn’t stop the practice that tends to protect me from mental decline. It also cuts calories a good bit – enough to lose a couple of pounds from that alone.

I tried switching from applesauce to chopped spinach and stopped immediately. The stuff tasted horrible ( & I can eat raw broccoli florets with no problems); it had a surprisingly small amount of fiber; and it gunked up my teeth. That was NOT as working strategy for me at all! But then I hit on substituting unsweetened pumpkin puree. I miss the sweetness of the apple sauce to be sure. But the pumpkin has more fiber, is palatable, and has carotenes the applesauce did not. It also has a bit less calories besides having less fructose.

It’s early; but so far this is working!

Between the parts, I still get the three servings a day but have essentially switched out half of the fruit and fruit juice for vegetables. And, I’ve kept the most important fruit, three servings of organic wild blueberries a week at 100 % of what I have been eating.

2. Milk tends to spike insulin despite having a low glycemic index. Oops! That means that it tends to cause your body to have slightly too much insulin, so it tends to put any extra calories at all straight into your fat deposits – more so than a lower and more normal insulin level will do.

THAT makes a BIG difference to me as I’ve been using nonfat and 1% lowfat milk as a staple food for years and years. Healthwise, that’s actually not bad. I’ve gotten a food source of calcium, abundant vitamin B2, some B12 and the animal form of vitamin A, some potassium, & not that much fat with either saturated fat or omega 6 oils. And, I’ve gotten some higher quality protein to add to the proteins I get from plant sources. Best of all, milk has been accessible, convenient, and relatively cheap.

Nonfat cottage cheese has most of these positives and does NOT spike insulin. So, I’ve begun to experiment with working to replace half my milk intake with nonfat cottage cheese and filtered water.

These are two “stealth” pieces of information because both fruit real fruit juices and nonfat and 1% lowfat milk are basically good for you foods otherwise! And, a key principle of effective fat loss is to stop ingesting health harmful foods and drinks and replace them with health supporting ones.

But for some people, including me, they don’t work too well for fat loss, particularly for removing the last few pounds of fat from my belly.

I hope I’ve cut back enough to see results! Over the next few months, we’ll see.

3. Just a few days ago, I learned that having blood sugar averages or spikes above the desirable level tends to partially block adding muscle and strength even if you do the right exercises.

This one I have less evidence for than the first two. But if it’s true, it may well mean that cutting back on fruit and fruit juice will help me gain some extra muscle from the exercises I already do. If it does, that will remove inches from my belly also!

My monthly personal report is mixed again -- since February.

I gained a pound on the scale; but none of my measurements went up. So, it might have been that I added muscle.

However, it was NOT paired with losing a pound or two of fat as I would have much preferred!

And, the trend is not good. I was well below my desired weight on the scale in November by two or three pounds. Now I’m two pounds over. So I’ve gained about a pound a month since then.

The good news is that the food changes I just listed should lose me at least a pound of fat a month for a bit.

The other news is that my left arm injury might yet heal properly and for sure is no longer holding me back from doing my kettlebell exercises and beginning to do more of them.

So, by a few months from now I expect that will add a few pounds of muscle and lose enough fat from the greater calories used to lose some fat and gain some muscle. So that too has promise of taking inches off my waist.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Useful new information on heart protection & more radiation protection....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-18-2011

The sailors when ships sailed the sea using wind and sail for power had a saying.

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.’

This is a shrewd and interesting saying that suggests that many events that are creating some bad effects, can often do good in other places. With wind, a wind that makes it truly challenging to sail towards the West may well also make it much easier to sail East.

This week, I found something that is very like that.

In this case, information was published that showed that a supplement that definitely protects your heart and may slow aging and halt cancers, is very much more effective if it’s taken with alcohol.

It seems that research done close to or just after the Chernobyl radiation release found that the resveratrol in red wine and purple grape juice and other plant sources is protective against radiation AND that it is much more effective if taken with alcohol.

(That may be one of the several reasons why red wine, which is not extremely high in resveratrol seems to deliver benefits from the resveratrol it does have.)

So, if you are taking resveratrol supplements for their proven heart protection or in hopes of slowing aging a bit, which was the original finding, this means that whether or not, you are also trying to protect yourself from radiation, taking 100 mg of the trans resveratrol form (the effective version) a day with a drink at dinner may give you as much benefit as taking many times that much, perhaps 10 times or more, without the alcohol.

Red wine also has other phytonutrients that have other health benefits and Burgundy, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandels have an extra ingredient that helps lower LDL cholesterol. So they deliver extra heart protection.

But for purposes of boosting the effectiveness of taking resveratrol, vodka, gin, beer, or white wine may work just as well, if you like them better.

(This was in an article by Lucinda Gunnin from the Yahoo Contributor Network last Tuesday afternoon, 3-15.)

The same article noted that a Boston University School of Medicine study in 2009 found that antioxidants take after radiation exposure can reduce tissue damage from the radiation exposure.

That means that Dr David Brownstein’s suggestion to take extra vitamin C up to a bit over 3,000 mg a day after exposure may be sound.

Taking extra mixed natural tocopherols with 200 iu of the alpha kind and eating raw nuts and avocados for vitamin E and taking 200 mg of alpha lipoic acid to boost the effectiveness of the vitamin C & E in addition to the extra vitamin C may be a good idea.

Eating blueberries and other foods that are quite high in antioxidants would also make sense.

The extra benefit even if significant radiation does not make it the United States from Japan is that it has now become much better known that you can get much better heart protection and possibly more slowing of your rate of aging if you take your resveratrol supplements with a drink at dinner.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Added ways to prevent hearing loss....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-17-2011

Of course, it makes sense to get and use ear plugs or even to add noise- protective ear muffs if you are going to operate or work near something like a jack hammer or work right next to large jet engines in operation – or are going to super loud rock concert -- which is most of them.

It also makes sense to be particularly careful with the volume in listening to music through an earpiece since that sound and energy transmission is so direct and unobstructed.

But, what if you already got some exposure to loud noises in the past or might be near an accidental explosion or something similar in the future?

Thanks to the email I got from Dr Al Sears today, it turns out that many good health practices can help solve that problem. You can increase your ears’ ability to recover from or withstand loud noise if you do!

That’s important since being unable to hear people can be a safety hazard or can cut you off from socializing. And, hearing aids are a bit of a pain and expensive.

Further, in part due to not doing as Dr Sears suggests -- or lack of socializing from not hearing people, people who have hearing difficulties were recently discovered to be more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

Here’s the good health practices Dr Sears identified and my comments:

1. “The Blue Mountain Hearing Study followed almost 3,000 people for eight years. It found that people with the highest weekly intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a 42 percent lower risk for developing age-related hearing loss”

First, eating fish high in it helps. Smaller size mackerel, herring, sardines, and wild caught salmon work. (Avoid all farmed fish due to the pollution in it.)

Taking a daily supplement of omega 3 from purified fish oil or algae or both and eating walnuts also can help.

In addition, you’ll get better results if you sharply cut back on excessive sources of omega 6 oils from corn oil, soy oil, safflower oil, and to a large extent canola oil and use extra virgin olive oil instead. Avoiding animal fat from grain fed animals or minimizing it severely also helps since the grains, primarily corn, are quite high in omega 6.

The data from the study Dr Sears found suggests there may be a directly protective effect from omega 3. But both boosting it and lowering omega 6 is also protective to your heart and blood vessels by sharply lowering excess inflammation and helping to keep your blood flow good.

That better blood flow also will help protect your hearing AND the part of your brain receiving the input.

Similarly, taking curcumin and eating curried foods that contain the turmeric curcumin likely will add to this effect. Doing those two things also lowers excess inflammation well AND directly works to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and may even lower LDL cholesterol!

2. “In a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people with hearing loss had 38 percent lower levels of vitamin B12, and 31 percent lower levels of folate.”

There are several ways to prevent being low in these.

Eating health OK animal protein foods such as wild caught fish, 100 % grass fed beef and lamb occasionally, some eggs, and nonfat and very lowfat dairy and full fat dairy foods occasionally from cows fed only grass all work to give you vitamin B12.

Even better, or if you are a vegan, you can take larger doses of B12 such as 500 to 1,000 mcg in small tablets that dissolve in your mouth or do so after chewing a bit without swallowing right away. This works even if you take acid reflux drugs or have poor digestion.

Folate is in most nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, and asparagus; virtually all darker greens such as chard, kale, and spinach; and from beans and lentils. And, each and every one of those foods is good for your health and waistline to eat!

You can also take 800 mcg tablets of folic acid which may help. But the form of folate in foods is slightly different and may work better plus the foods have all the added health benefits.

Lastly, I think all B vitamins work best as a team. So, I take the balanced B complex formula Solgar makes called Stress Formula, B Complex plus C in addition.

3. “One of the symptoms of manganese deficiency is hearing loss.”

Dr Sears lists parsley, nuts, and black tea as having this. I read blueberries do also.

And, many multivitamin plus mineral supplements have some manganese.

10 mg a day TOTAL from both food and supplements is good. But this is one to avoid taking in amounts two or more times as large as that has some effects that mimic mental illness. (I eat nuts, drink black tea, and eat blueberries.
And I take a multi plus I take 10 mg of manganese just 3 days a week, Mon, Weds, & Friday only.) I’ve read it may be harmful to get more.

“4. You’ll also want to avoid statin drugs and NSAID pain relievers.

A brand new study published a few weeks ago found that people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs did significantly worse on hearing tests than people who were not taking them.”

(A combination of eating better, taking niacin, and sterol supplements lowers LDL close to as well as statins and delivers dramatically better heart protection with far fewer side effects – including this one. Statins also lower inflammation but doing the things in number one above do so as well or better and again have other health benefits instead of side-effects!)

Also, avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers because they have been shown to increase the risk of hearing loss. They also are a fairly common cause of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Not only is tinnitus aggravating and nerve-racking, but it decreases your ability to hear other things because of the background noise.”

(Again, doing the things in number one reduce inflammation as well or better and also have other health benefits instead of side-effects!)

“5. Selenium is a mineral and antioxidant, which has a protective effect against hearing loss.

A study from Taiwan showed that selenium protects your ears from toxicity in the environment. The more selenium you have, the better your hearing is.”

Taking 200 mcg a day of selenium works and is likely a good idea for many reasons.

And, even one Brazil nut a week can work since it is so high in selenium.

But, similar to manganese, selenium is a supplement that is quite harmful to overdose.

Do NOT take a lot more than 200 mcg plus a bit in your multi or eat Brazil nuts by the handful each week!

6. In your skin, a diet of abundant and multiple kinds of carotenes prevents or sharply minimizes sun damage and speeds healing. It works better than sunscreen to a large degree plus not turning off your skin from making vitamin D! Dr Sears has often done emails on these subjects.

But I personally believe these protective and healing effects of a diet of abundant and multiple kinds of carotenes extends to hearing!

Dr Sears didn’t include this one since he had no direct study to quote supporting it.

But I think such a study would show that effect. So, since the benefits of a diet of abundant and multiple kinds of carotenes to your skin and in preventing cancers and more are so large, if it does not, getting a diet of abundant and multiple kinds of carotenes is well worth doing.

My bet is about 10 to one the healing and protective effects are so strong that this protects your hearing. We DO have a recent study showing that people who do this and have high blood levels of alpha carotene as a result and have fewer diseases, better health, and live longer than those who do not. Another recent study found that a high carotene intake causes a glow in your skin that makes you LOOK better and healthier.

Taking a multi with 5,000 iu of vitamin A as beta carotene can help. (More beta carotene from supplements may not only not help but be harmful. Eating more beta carotene in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or yams IS helpful since it has the other plant nutrients and fiber with it that make it protective and safe.)

Taking 30 mg a day of lycopene, the carotenoid in tomatoes, helps prevent prostate cancer and may prevent some breast and ovarian cancers as well. You also get similar effects from drinking tomato juice and even more when you eat tomato or pasta sauce from cooked and pureed tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil.

Broccoli and greens such as kale, spinach, and chard are high in carotenes as well.

So are squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, and pumpkin puree.

So if you protect your hearing in these ways, you will hear better and your overall health will be dramatically better too.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

OMG, Poor Japan, ways to protect yourself from radiation....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-15-2011

So far the radiation release from Japan’s earthquake damaged nuclear reactors has not been high enough to send a lot of radiation across the Pacific.

It’s too early to tell if that will get worse. If it does, the jet stream will send the radioactivity along the coast of the United States from Alaska to Southern California-- getting to Southern California in 11 days.

It’s also too early to tell if foods from Japan will need to be avoided.

Meanwhile, I found two articles with things to do to protect yourself from radiation.

The good news is that almost all of them have other health benefits in addition.

One of the dangers from radiation is increased creation of cancer cells. Since your immune system removes many of these, keeping your immune system strong and avoiding things that cut it back makes good sense.

1. Unfortunately, sugar and refined grains tend to turn down your immune system. But between high fructose corn syrup and real sugar the average person has been consuming a bit over 7 Tablespoons of sugar a day. So cutting back sugary treats enough to get down to 3 Tablespoons a week or less makes good sense. The good news is that many people who manage this will lose well over 10 pounds of fat by doing this. Some can lose as much as 60 pounds over a year’s time. Not drinking any regular or diet soft drinks at all is a good start for many people as we’ve posted on before.

2. Potassium iodide can protect your thyroid gland if taken before radioactive exposure.

“The FDA has approved two different forms of KI—tablets and liquid—that people can take by mouth after a nuclear radiation emergency. Tablets come in two strengths, 130 milligram (mg) and 65 mg. The tablets are scored so they may be cut into smaller pieces for lower doses. Each milliliter (mL) of the oral liquid solution contains 65 mg of KI.

According to the FDA, the following doses are appropriate to take after internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine:

Adults should take 130 mg (one 130 mg tablet OR two 65 mg tablets OR two mL of solution).
Women who are breastfeeding should take the adult dose of 130 mg.
Children between 3 and 18 years of age should take 65 mg (one 65 mg tablet OR 1 mL of solution). Children who are adult size (greater than or equal to 150 pounds) should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.
Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age should take 32 mg (½ of a 65 mg tablet OR ½ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing infants and children.
Newborns from birth to 1 month of age should be given 16 mg (¼ of a 65 mg tablet or ¼ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing newborn infants.
The protective effects of a dose of KI is about 24 hours. KI is available without a prescription, and a pharmacist can sell you KI brands that have been approved by the FDA.”

Source Naturals also makes a potassium iodide supplement in the 32.5 mg size.

So, if you read of core meltdowns in Japan and much more radiation release than has yet occurred and live or will visit the West Coast or Hawaii, you might want to get a supply from your local pharmacy, health plan, or health food store.

The supply may run short. So if you see that news, make your purchases as soon as you can. In Hawaii, you’ll have a couple of days, five days in Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland, about a week in the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley, and 11 days in LA and San Diego.

Buying a bit this week might make sense, just in case.

3. A substance called glutathione makes cancer from radiation less likely.

Detoxification benefits from boosted levels also helps cancer patients better tolerate their treatment.

Higher levels of glutathione also make all illness less likely and all kinds of mental decline less likely. The supplement NAC, n-acetyl cysteine, boosts glutathione release in your body. That supplement may also prevent mental decline in part because it also lowers homocysteine which a recent study found damages your brain.

Lastly, the amino acid Cysteine in NAC is a sulfur compound and taking it also protects you from radioactive sulfur to some degree. (NAC’s smell is from the sulfur.)

500 mg or two 500 mg a day of NAC is the usual amount. Jarrow and other companies make NAC supplement that you can buy at your local health food store.

4. Other supplements that have sulfur or may help boost glutathione include alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoic acid may help glutathione release, it helps your body get more use out of vitamin C and vitamin E and is itself an antioxidant. It also is protective to some degree against sugar intake. Deodorized garlic and eating garlic and onions fits here. Glucosamine sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) help many people avoid or have less joint pain. Sulfate of course has sulfur and the S in MSM is sulfur.

5. Dr Russell Blaylock also lists these supplements & foods.

“Gingko biloba can be protective even after exposure to radiation. Beta-glucan protects the bone marrow. Curcumin also can offer protection after exposure, particularly against breast cancer. He also suggests garlic extract, ginger, melatonin, and magnesium.”

Ginkgo is a blood thinner as is garlic extract. So people taking blood thinning drugs need to be careful. But 60 mg a day of Ginkgo is likely OK for most people and deodorized garlic supplements taken once a day is heart protective. There are beta-glucan supplements; but it is also high in oatmeal which is far cheaper. Curcumin and over 4,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 each tend to prevent cancer with or without extra radiation to combat. Ginger is related to turmeric, the source of curcumin. And taking magnesium supplements and eating foods from away from the affected areas that are high in calcium also is protective since your body will wind up with less of the radioactive versions.

6. The article I found online said that these ingredients also help (My comments are inside the parentheses.)

*”Green tea
*Miso soup (has an ingredient found to be protective from radiation)
*Spirulina, chlorella and the algaes (kelp, etc.) (& wakame and other seaweed foods also fit here.)
Brassica vegetables and high beta carotene vegetables (Cabbages fit here, other cruciferous vegetables fit here. Broccoli fits both there and high in beta carotene as does Kale. Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes and dark greens such as chard are all high in mixed beta carotenes.)
Beans and lentils (High in non-animal protein if animal protein gets contaminated and high in fiber to move any contaminated foods more quickly out of your body. Also cheap and a good food for fat loss.)
Potassium, calcium and mineral rich foods (Safe supplements for potassium and magnesium exist; but calcium is far more safely gotten from foods.)
*High nucleotide content foods to assist in cellular repair including spirulina, chlorella, algae, yeast, sardines, liver, anchovies and mackerel
cod liver oil and olive oil (Vitamin D3 and retinol or animal derived vitamin A up to about 5,000 iu a day can substitute for cod liver oil.)
Avoid sugars and sweets and wheat (This likely means refined grain wheat; but cutting back on even whole grains except oatmeal may be wise also.)
A good multivitamin/multimineral supplement “

The foods I’ve starred* would be best bought this week or from locations other than Japan if their situation gets bad enough since these foods might pick up radiation.

But the article in which I found them noted that after the atomic bombs fell on Japan, the survival rate of people with radiation exposure who ate “brown rice, miso and tamari soy soup, wakame, kombu and other seaweed” and no sweets had a better survival rate than people with less exposure who did not.

It seems that sodium alginate, iodine, and fiber and other things in these foods is very protective.

Let’s hope and pray that the situation in the either Japan or the United States does not get anywhere near that bad.

But also note that things like the vegetables and beans and lentils recommended and taking supplements such as NAC, alpha lipoic acid, and minerals such as magnesium and avoiding sweets are protective of your health at all times. So taking that set of supplements, eating those foods, and dramatically limiting foods with sugar and eating no foods with high fructose corn syrup or refined grains will make you far healthier and less fat at any time.

So adding them now, just in case, is a great idea.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Full body scans at airports likely NOT a good idea....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-14-2011

The need for this level of airport security given the continued existence of terrorist groups that initially caused it to be put in place is quite clear.

So, this change is likely to be with us for quite a bit.

But for those of us who fly often or who have had recent medical X-rays or radiation treatment or CAT scans, the extra radiation may be a bad idea.

There has been little or no disclosure of how much radiation these scanning devices deliver or how well calibrated or maintained they are.

The once a year survey promised recently for a future time is not much disclosure.

Also, the kind of radiation is important. It's terahertz wave radiation (THz).

A Los Alamos National Laboratory study found that THz waves "unzip" DNA, creating "bubbles" in DNA's double strand that may interfere with gene expression and DNA replication.

That can cause cancer or cause harm to any future children the people subjected to it might have.

A physics professor, Peter Rez, also stated that the THz radiation dose in full-body scanners is 10 times higher than Department of Homeland Security claims.

University of California at San Francisco scientists say radiation to the skin may be even more of a problem from these devices and may be dangerously high.

In fact, a doctor in the department of biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins Medical School said that, "statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays."

The UCSF scientists add that if the scanner software fails, passengers could receive "severe burns, if not worse."

Such events can also happen from human error and have already occurred in baggage x-ray scanning. Recently the Centers for Disease Control did an investigation which found that baggage x-ray machines sometimes emitted excessive radiation which went undetected by TSA employees. In some cases, scanners also had missing or disabled safety features.

Of course, they likely are more careful with the scans of people. But at this stage, there is no guarantee they are using the careful check list driven monitoring necessary to prevent this.

So it may be a good idea for most people to put up with the alternative method instead in most cases.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

To feel better and be safer after the change to Daylight Savings Time....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-11-2011

Every year about this time, we have to get up an hour earlier each day but gain an hour of daylight each evening with the Change to Daylight Savings time.

But our body clocks have to reset and since that changes happens this Sunday, 3-13-2011, most of us will have to get up an hour earlier for work, starting this Monday.

But we can ease the transition and make it easier on us by doing it in stages over the weekend.

We can get up 20 minutes earlier tomorrow morning, 20 minutes earlier on Sunday, and the last 20 minutes earlier on Monday.

Or we can keep it simple and just get up half an hour earlier on Sunday and another half hour earlier on Monday.

And, we can get a bit smoother start on Monday by doing a bit of extra set up time on Sunday night.

It can also help to be sure to do some exercise tomorrow, Saturday, and on Sunday -- even if it’s just a 15 minute walk.

That helps ensure we sleep better for two nights ahead of having to start our day that hour earlier on Monday.

You’ll feel better and help your body make the transition more easily by doing these things.

They will also help you be sharper on your way to work on Monday. That’s important since there are consistently a bit more accidents on the Monday just after a switch to Daylight Savings time.

And, setting up the Sunday night before also helps ensure we don’t have to rush getting to work on Monday.

The third strategy is to both take it a bit easier and be extra careful and cut the other drivers some extra slack as many of them will be a bit out of it.

That can help you avoid being in an expensive or harmful accident.

The email I got earlier this week, said that these strategies do work, particularly the getting up earlier over the weekend before Monday. So I decided to do this post.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Important new kinds of medicine becoming more available....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-10-2011

1. Effective prevention and personal responsibility are beginning to take over the practice of medicine. This change may not be perfect or complete or done as soon as we need it to be. But the evidence for it is solid and the case is developing more and more momentum.

This week our local free newspaper covered a new book by a well known and highly regarded local doctor. His views often influence medical research and programs at Stanford.

He comes from a family of doctors and is himself old enough to have seen many changes in medicine.

His book is about the needed changes and improvements in medicine today.

It’s available at & is new enough it may also be at your local bookstore.

Next Medicine: The Science and Civics of Health - Hardcover (Jan. 3, 2011) by Walter Bortz MD.

His other books are on how to live a healthy life that is also a long one.

He points out that medicine now needs very much to begin to teach people to take responsibility for managing their health and inform them how to do this.

Current medicine is good at throwing fast fixes for some things that need it and often uses drugs.

But Dr Bortz points out that it not only is less wasteful and easier on people to prevent many diseases in the first place, it is often far more effective than doing a rush job after the fact.

I’ve not yet read his book. But, he is absolutely correct. Because the approach he advocates is not in universal use yet by every doctor and doctors are now so pressed for time, it isn’t yet being practiced enough. Much of his book is his ideas on how to change this.

Because of the high medical costs and disability and suffering it now causes that this is not yet the mainstream practice, I’m very pleased he has written this book.

Also, some of the reasons why he is correct may not be in his book.

There is now a massive amount of correct and tested information on what kinds of preventive actions are effective.

But so far, though there are doctors like Dr Bortz who keep up to date on this field, most haven’t the time to do so.

And, most medicine is still focused on the expectations created by antibiotics over 60 years ago.

(For a very moving description of how that time affected medical people, read the stories by veterinarian Alf Wight who wrote as “James Herriot” as he experiences the change from when he could tell a farmer what their animal had but could do little to make it better to being able to make it improve dramatically and with great reliability when bacteria were the cause.)

Both doctors and the public came to expect that doctors would have drugs like antibiotics that would create good, reliable, and very fast fixes for things.

The problem is that even effective drugs often cannot reverse the damage that has built up over many years the way antibiotics clear out harmful bacteria.

But, in addition to that, many drugs only deliver partially effective effects and some even deliver side effects that cause damage about as often as they create good outcomes.

Statin drugs only prevent a small fraction of heart attacks, 3% according to one study I saw while they also tend to cause about 3% of the people taking them to get eye cataracts that they would otherwise have escaped.

That’s not yet well known – including by many doctors.

Yet eating right and regular exercise and completely avoiding tobacco smoke over a decade ahead of time confers closer to 100 % protection.

But most doctors don’t yet know that and even the ones that do have no good idea of how to help people begin to do these things. Worse, some try unsuccessfully and then give up trying.

Meanwhile, lured by the example of the antibiotics that WERE so effective most doctors tend to prescribe drugs instead.

So, Dr Bortz is SO right in saying that the medical profession needs to learn these things and how to keep people well by using them effectively.

And, he is quite correct that it needs to be done as a system change.

The best news is that due to the clear evidence this approach is correct and badly needed and pioneers like Dr Bortz, this kind of medicine will gradually become mainstream.

2. We are beginning to know enough about the multiple systems people’s bodies use and how to test them with accurate high tech methods so that we can tailor the treatments precisely to those that will make the patient better.

This approach is also a coming thing. It’s pretty simple why. In something like 90 % of the cases it gets faster and far more complete results for individual people than just putting a label on the overall diagnosis and handing out the common drug for that condition.

You can make a case for calling this approach individualized systems medicine.

But it’s best and most knowledgeable champion is Dr Marc Hyman who calls it Integrative Medicine.

By systematically checking the systems of the body of patients who come to him who are ill or not functioning well and doing a particularly thorough job on those that can cause the symptoms or prevent healing, he is then able to correct many of these systems to function well and as they should.

In many cases, that does the job without needing the more general drug that doctors would have prescribed after only labeling the condition.

And, in other cases, it shows other drugs to be needed and combining those with the traditional drug and the indicated nondrug methods then produces a cure or effective treatment when the more general drug alone would fail.

It is precisely shaped treatment based on that individual at that time and is often dramatically superior to a more generalized, less informed, and less exact treatment that is more commonly in use now.

So, to me, since these two trends or medical paradigms produce dramatically better results, I think they each will gradually become mainstream medicine.

Once that happens, fewer people will need to see doctors for treatment of illness since they will usually stay well. And those who do see doctors for treatment of illness, will reliably get better and with far fewer side effects than is now the case.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Strategies for permanent fat loss to keep the weight off....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-8-2011

Yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle had an article suggesting that lifestyle upgrades that move people away from fattening snacks, commercial packaged desserts, most fast food, and soft drinks and replacing them with real food is becoming the mainstream recommendation for fat loss and weight loss.

Their article was titled, Forget Calories, focus on nutrition.”

In it, they note that Weight Watchers has upgraded their points system such that it rewards people who replace junky and sugary foods with fruits and vegetables IN ADDITION to cutting back on total food intake. Too often before, people who were still eating fattening foods but just less of them, were getting lower point totals. So this is a significant improvement to Weight Watchers program.

This is a real improvement to the Weight Watchers program for two reasons. Its clients will be in better health and the fat and weight they lose is far more likely to stay off.

In the article, Heather Schwartz, a dietician at Stanford Hospital said that if people only reduce calories, they do lose weight but they almost always gain it back.

If you temporarily cut calories only, when you stop you regain the weight.

But if you eat less foods and drink no drinks that directly make you fat and replace them with foods high in nutrients and fiber and you maintain that as a lifestyle upgrade, you get a far different result.

Not only do foods such as broccoli and blueberries and lentils boost your blood sugar less and directly make you fat less than stuff like white bread and fast food French fries, they also have fewer calories.

The huge difference is that making this upgrade in your eating avoids making you hungrier at the same time it cuts calories.

That makes it sustainable. So, the fat and weight you lose with the lifestyle upgrade is just gone. It will not return.

Conversely, if you still eat the fattening, high glycemic foods but less of them, you will feel much hungrier from the effect of the blood sugar surges even in the beginning of cutting back on calories.

Then, after a while the every day cut-back of more calories and often of protein as well, triggers your body’s famine response.

Your energy levels go down to ensure your fat stores last until the famine is over. You stop losing fat even at the lower calorie level. And, you get MUCH hungrier and for more fattening foods too!

That ensures your fat and weight loss will be temporary. It kept the people we are descended from alive in very severe famines

So, the famine response has its good points. It’s a survival fail safe built into us.

But NOT if you want to lose excess fat and keep it off.

To succeed, you must cut calories or burn more without triggering this fail safe.

I. So, cut back on calories a bit by upgrading what you eat and drink.

1. Have 2 or 3 treat foods a month instead of a day.

2. Completely stop eating and drinking things that make you fat.

Eliminate foods that contain high fructose corn syrup some of which was tested recently as containing mercury and which also makes you fatter than real sugar.

Eliminate all soft drinks.

The regular kind has high fructose corn syrup and even if it has sugar, when you drink them you add calories WITHOUT GETTING LESS HUNGRY. Then the blood sugar crash later makes you hungrier. That’s the perfect storm to guarantee you get and stay fat!

Surprisingly, diet soft drinks also make and keep people fat and harm your health too. So eliminate those. (See our post on Tuesday, 3-1 last week.)

Virtually eliminate foods made with refined grains. Eat fewer grains at all and to the extent you possibly can, only eat foods that are 100 % whole grain when you do. Refined grains are higher glycemic than sugar and have no fiber. Also note that white rice is a refined grain too.

Also, if you eat grains, be sure to exercise every week on most days and take chromium polynicotinate to help ensure your body can process them.

3. EAT MORE of nonstarchy vegetables and lower glycemic fruit.

Many people eat no vegetables at all if you don’t give them credit for French fries!

Eat some raw vegetables, eat some salads, eat some cooked vegetables, or drink vegetable juice. Twice a day is better than none. And five times a day is better than two.

But increase gradually so your digestion can acclimate to the increased fiber.

Add one more a week. Find the ones that you like or at least can tolerate occasionally. The goal is not to try them as a temporary fix but to find a way to eat them every week. So, if you hate a kind of vegetable after giving it a good try, try a different kind or make the original one more palatable.

For example, raw broccoli florets are extremely effective at preventing cancer. And, they are high in carotenes as well.

But, if you hate raw broccoli florets, raw cauliflower florets also are extremely effective at preventing cancer too. So eat those instead. They have a MUCH milder flavor and are a bit crunchier.

Or trying cooked broccoli with extra virgin olive oil and spices you like to get the fiber and carotenes. Or use a cheese sauce from cheddar cheese from cows fed only grass with the cooked broccoli.

Blueberries and other berries are lower glycemic than ripe bananas. So eat more berries than higher glycemic ones such as bananas.

4. Health OK protein foods and oils also cut back on hunger and allow you to keep losing fat.

Some foods are both.

Nuts if you aren’t allergic to them that are raw or dry roasted have both health OK fats and protein plus they have fiber. They turn off hunger quite well as a result.

Beans and lentils are lower glycemic than even whole grains and have abundant fiber in addition to their protein.

Wild caught fish and seafood from unpolluted waters that are not high in mercury also have health OK protein and health supporting oils.

Meat from animals fed only grass and dairy products from cattle fed only grass are high in protein and their fat is almost OK in moderation.

Some eggs and occasional meat or poultry with as much fat removed as possible and nonfat and very lowfat dairy from grain fed animals is OK -- but only in moderation. Their fat is more harmful and more fattening due to the way they are fed.

Abundant protein intake turns down your hunger. Even better, it tends to prevent the famine response when you eat that way!

II. Always eat breakfast! People who do get more calories and nutrition than people who don’t -- and without gaining fat! So, they get to eat more and still can lose excess fat and keep it off.

This is true for everyone. But it is about triple strength in women for some reason. So while it is very useful for men, it is virtually imperative for women who want to lose fat and keep it off.

III. Exercise is one of the most important keys to losing fat and keeping it off.

The reason is very much the same as for eating breakfast. People who exercise can eat more and still lose fat and keep it off.

They burn more calories from the exercise, from the after exercise boost of metabolism after vigorous exercise, and gain muscle that also burns more calories.

Exercise also has multiple and massive health benefits. And people who exercise have higher self esteem. This is even true for people just getting into it,

Do some moderate exercise several times a week if you possibly can. Walking, gardening, tai chi and others all work. More is better up to an hour a day. But, even 15 minutes twice a week is better than none.

Do both strength training and interval cardio every week. These burn extra calories after you are done with each session and help build muscle and by doing both you also minimize blood sugar surges and excess sugar and insulin in your blood.

Simply put, they are a direct force to keep excess fat off of your body.

And, even 10 minutes three times a week of interval cardio and 20 minutes twice a week of strength training is effective though more is better.

Doing those first thing in the morning at home works well for almost everyone.

And, for some people, doing them in groups fewer times a week but with the extra social support is important. This is often true for people just getting into exercise. And, it’s often true for women. (That’s why CURVES is a good resource for many women as they provide that service.)

IV. Keep careful track of the key things.

Keep records of your exercise each week. People who do are dramatically more successful in continuing to exercise. So they are also more successful in losing fat and keeping it off.

Keep track of what you find are the key things to monitor in what you eat and drink.

Routinely eating health OK, nonfattening foods and virtually only such foods is often far easier than keeping track of every single thing you eat and is as effective.

But for some things -- that can differ from person to person, keeping track every day will be important. For me, that’s alcoholic drinks. If it was neither bad for me nor fattening, I’d be happy to drink two to four drinks most days. But drinking more than two is harmful in many ways and, for me, averaging more than 1.5 drinks a day over each week is fattening. So I keep a log and enter how many drinks I had that day every day and total it once a week.

Weigh yourself and measure your waist and hips at least once a month and keep a record.

That way when you make an extra effort and it works, you get the positive feedback.

And, when you do a bit too little, you see the results which helps provide the feedback you need to correct course and/or do something extra to compensate in the next month.

(I’ve been posting once a month on my own progress to model both the way I handle progress and how I handle bad months. Sometimes I also include information new to me that you might also find helpful.)

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Key fatloss upgrades to lifestyle help lift depression....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-7-2011

Reuters Health had a story today on a review of studies of lifestyle upgrades in weight loss programs and found they lifted the mood of the people doing them.

They note the two most likely reasons for this.

The people who did exercise as one of the lifestyle upgrades tended to have their moods lifted most often.

And, social support often helps improve mood. So those programs with groups doing the upgrades may also have helped.

1. The big one is exercise. That’s no surprise.

People who begin strength training improve their self esteem and do right away and do so sooner than they begin to lose fat from the added exercise.

That’s partly psychological from a feeling of being more in control and experiencing that your body can do the exercises.

But, particularly strength training and interval cardio also release more feel good neurotransmitters; and doing the exercises that are vigorous enough they command your attention helps take your mind off more negative things.

In addition, significant health benefits to blood sugar and circulation and heart health indicators also begin to show up even before the fat comes off. This too may help people feel better physically and lift their mood.

The really nice thing is that strength training sessions and interval cardio sessions of 8 to 20 minutes a day at home can make a significant difference.

Or, a program like CURVES for women or a personal trainer or going to a gym where the regular members help each other can help you get started and provide social support. And even two or three sessions a week can help.

2. Not eating or drinking things that fatten and eating foods that actually give you nutrition that do not make you fat also may well lift mood.

If you drink soft drinks or eat sugary snacks or salted snacks made with refined grains several times a day, your blood sugar goes on a roller coaster ride and the lows can cause a bad mood. Conversely eating health OK protein foods and fats and oils with vegetables and whole fruit tends to deliver a much more stable flow of energy. It helps to always eat a protein or fat food with fruit or real fruit juice and eat it first if possible since that reduces the blood sugar boost of the fruit or fruit juice.

These foods along with nonstarchy vegetables fill you up without making you fat.

So with more nutrition and less blood sugar and insulin surges, you feel better, eat a bit fewer calories without getting extra hungry and also lose fat – besides feeling better.

Also, many of these commercial sweet and salty snacks have a high level of omega 6 oils like corn or soy in addition to the extra omega 6 in the refined grains. If you stop eating them and use extra virgin olive oil and take omega 3 supplements and eat wild caught fish high in omega 3, this has been shown to lift mood and prevent cancers and heart disease.

Also, people who make this food and drink upgrade and get more omega 3 and less omega 6 are less irritable. That makes feeling bad from getting into arguments with people you are close to less likely. So, you are less likely to feel bad from doing so.

So, upgrades in what you stop eating and drinking and the healthier alternatives you begin to eat and drink more of instead also can boost your mood in these two ways.

The best news is that if you make these lifestyle upgrades and keep doing them, you keep losing fat and gradually lose more fat than people who stop doing them and the fat you lose never returns!

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Friday, March 04, 2011

One thing prevents cancer and prevents muscle wasting from chemo....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-4-2011

Last Monday, 2-28, HealthDay News had this story, “Fish Oil Seems to Help Cancer Patients Preserve Muscle.”

The study done at the University of Alberta in Canada was quite small. But the results were quite definite.

It was in the Feb. 28 online edition of the journal Cancer.

Over the 10 weeks of the study while both groups got chemo for lung cancer, one group got 2.2 grams a day of the omega 3 oil, EPA, from purified fish oil while the other group did not.

The group who got the omega 3 supplements lost no weight and kept their muscle tissue mostly intact. The group that did not lost about 5 pounds during the 10 weeks, most of which was muscle tissue.

Lona Sandon, registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas in Dallas, was quoted as saying this in the HealthDay article,

"Malnutrition is a big concern with cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation,"

"Because first of all they do have wasting from the cancer itself, which is very metabolically active and eats up your energy stores. And then with chemotherapy, there is some inflammation that's detrimental to the heart and muscle, as it can cause muscle breakdown. And preservation of lean muscle tissue, we know, leads to better outcomes."

This actually understates the potential importance of this study for three reasons.

1. People with more weight loss and muscle wasting are more likely to die while those who do not have any are far more likely to survive.

So preventing wasting and weight loss from it is not just a better outcome, it’s very significant better outcome!

2. Such levels of omega 3 intake and inflammation lowering also have been found to help prevent cancer.

That means that there is an excellent chance that the cancer the chemo is killing is less likely to return when this is done.

(See the book, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition by David Servan-Schreiber (Dec 31, 2009) which is now available on for more information.)

3. But there is still more! Dr Servan-Schreiber and others have shown that when you also cut way down on the excess omega 6 oils most people eat currently and take curcumin supplements or eat curried foods that contain the turmeric that has curcumin in it, you both dramatically cut down on excess inflammation, and you prevent cancer.

(Here are some key ways to do that. Make a strong special effort to NOT eat meat from grain fed animals since they are mostly fed corn which is very high in omega 6 or eat it much less often and only the leanest most fat trimmed versions. Virtually stop eating foods made with refined grains and eat more vegetables instead since the grains are high in omega 6. And instead of the oils high in omega 6 such as corn, soy, saffola, and canola, use extra virgin olive oil which is not.)

But you do more than that. Cutting excess inflammation also prevents heart disease. There is even evidence you prevent Alzheimer’s disease by doing so. Other studies have found you tend to prevent or reverse depression by doing so.

And, there is still more you can do. Earlier in the week, we did a post on the research showing that taking 4,000 iu to 8,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 tends to prevent cancer, Separate studies have found it also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

The last point I’ll make is that the study found that the people with the highest blood levels of omega 3 lost the least muscle tissue.

Other studies have found that eating fish two or three times a week that are high in omega 3 oils often produces blood levels of omega 3 higher than taking supplements. In addition, fish is high in protein which may also help in maintaining muscle mass.

And, of course you can take omega 3 supplements AND eat fish two or three times a week.

Note that farmed fish is not safe to eat due to high levels of pollutants and has much less omega 3 and more omega 6 since it is also fed grain!

The good news is that canned sardines are inexpensive, quite high in omega 3, and are wild caught fish. (Not everyone can deal with their strong smell. But sardines are a superfood otherwise.)

Also, canned Alaskan salmon is all wild caught. It’s also relatively inexpensive.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Two ways to make very lean meat tender and one to make it tasty....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-3-2011

There are 3 reasons to want to use very lean meat.

1. Game animals and those fed only grass or their natural foods produce meat that is less likely to make you fat or harm your health. That’s because they don’t eat the starches in corn and other grains nor the excess omega 6 oils in corn or the herbicides and pesticides in the grain. They also move around a lot unlike the cattle and other animals purposely penned up in feed lots or stalls to fatten them.

So, these meats are quite lean. They not only have far less omega oils and less saturated fat, they have less total fat too.

2. Most of the health harming things in the meat from grain and factory farm fed animals is in the fat. So if you buy leaner cuts, and trim all the visible fat and then do it a second time, you avoid most of the excess saturated fat, excess omega 6 oils, and the bioconcentrated herbicides and pesticides too as most of those are in the fat. It also may make sense to cook such meats in two stages and pour off the fat that can be drained off after the first stage before doing the final cooking or cooking with other ingredients you intend to eat to remove more of the fat.

But you wind up with very lean meat when you do that.

3. One of the reasons animals are penned to fatten them is to make them tender due to the higher fat content. So, until now, fattier cuts have cost more. So, if you buy the cheaper cuts to save money – which a lot of people are now doing, again you get leaner cuts of meat.

But you can cook lean meats in a way that makes them tender instead of like eating very tough leather.

I. One way that does the job and makes cooking meat or dishes with meat as a key ingredient is to use a Crockpot or other “slow cooker.” This has two other advantages too. It is much more time efficient for busy people who work as the meat or meat dish can be slow cooking while you are at work. It also avoids the potentially carcinogenic by products of cooking with high heat and also cooks the meat thoroughly to kill off any bacteria or harmful life forms in the meat without making the meat tough.

But, with such lean meats, even though slow cooking makes them tender enough to eat without having to chew forever, it still leaves the meat a bit less tender than you might like.

II. But that problem has been solved too!

With grass fed beef or lamb or bison or game, there is a device you can use before cooking that does the job.

And, with grain fed meat and cheaper cuts of grain fed meat, using this device before the first stage of cooking not only makes the end result a good bit more tender, it allows more fat to be cooked off and drained before you finish cooking the meat in stage 2.

I’m indebted to Chef Narsai David and his cooking feature that is sometimes on radio station KCBS in San Francisco for this one.

He heard of this device; tested it and found it works great; and did a feature on it.

It’s called the Impressor by Butcher’s Kitchen. is the website where it’s sold for $69.99. And they also have videos so you can see how to use it. It’s essentially a way to use a grid of tiny piercing knife blades to cut the fibers of the meat and make multiple small holes in it.

So, if you know these reasons to use lean meat and want to enjoy eating meat occasionally each month and every month, this is a really good tool to use.

As I remember, when Narsai David got the excellent results with it, he used it all over the piece of meat either twice or three times rather than once.

But the results he got were well worth it.

III. The other problem with lean meat is that many of the flavors that make it taste so good such as onion and garlic and other spices work best when they blend into and are carried by fats and oils. But, with lean cuts of meat or lean cuts you have trimmed or cooked part of the remaining fat from, these flavoring effects are reduced.

That’s easily solved by including some extra virgin olive oil in the cooking process. This oil has many documented health benefits instead of health harms; but it works as well or better carrying and blending with these flavors to make the meat it’s cooked with taste good.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Diet soft drinks fatten and cause more strokes and heart attacks....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-1-2011

Millions of people drink diet soft drinks instead of regular soft drinks in an attempt to avoid the fattening effects of the high fructose corn syrup in the regular soft drinks.

Some even do so to avoid the health harms from the high fructose corn syrup in the regular soft drinks.

But the results show that diet soft drinks fail at both of these things.

1. For at least 95% of the people who drink them, they are about as fat as the people who drink the same amount of regular soft drinks.

There are 3 reasons for this.

Diet soft drinks and sugar free sweeteners cause your body to expect a sugar fix with the result that your body craves sugar and sugar foods to such an extent that people take in as much sugar daily as they would have drinking regular soft drinks. Simply put diet soft drinks act as an appetite increasing drug. And, this is rooted in the biology of your body since even lab rats have been found to have this effect.

Second, drinking diet soft drinks makes eating fast food and similar food seem normal. Those foods are high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and refined grains.

Third, in the same way, diet soft drinks are part of the lifestyle of people who do not eat several servings of vegetables and real fruit each day.

Each of these things tend to cause people to be fat. But the drug-like boost in sugar craving even tends to fatten people who eat well otherwise.

2. More recently in the news, a study reported on Feb 10th of this year found that people who drank diet soft drinks daily experienced a 61 % higher risk of stroke and heart attack than people who drank none.

That’s a very large effect!

Of course the factors we just discussed contribute to this effect. They each tend to cause high triglycerides which tend to cause heart disease and which now have separately been linked to increased stroke risk.

But Yahoo Contributor Network’s Linda Ann Nickerson did a story onFriday, Feb 11, 2011 – last month -- which suggests that the aspartame commonly used in diet soft drinks during the study may also have caused part of the harm.

If that’s true, quite a few other things besides diet soft drinks may be wise to avoid.

Here’s her list from her article:

“Besides diet sodas, what other foods contain aspartame?

Aspartame (containing aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol) may be found in thousands of low-calorie beverages and food items. Items frequently containing the artificial sweetener may include breath mints, diet ice creams, diet jams and jellies, diet soft drinks, flavored waters, low-calorie juices, powdered juices, powdered sweeteners, snack bars, sugar-free candies, sugar-free chewing gums, sugar-free gelatin, sugar-free medications and more.

On food product labels, Aspartame may be identified as Equal, NutraSweet or Spoonful. Some products may simply list "artificial sweetener" as an ingredient.

This artificial sweetening agent, used in the vast majority of diet soft drinks, was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974.”

She also notes that in some people aspartame has been linked to: “Alzheimer's, birth defects, brain tumors, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, fibromyalgia, lymphoma, mental retardation, migraine headaches, Parkinson 's disease and other ailments.”

Later in her article she adds:

“attention deficit disorder (ADD), epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.”

She also reports that people who have these things report getting worse after ingesting something with aspartame.

Also note that Sucralose another artificial sweetener contains chlorine which in other compounds produces life threatening and health harming effects.

But even if these other health effects of artificial sweeteners turn out to be incorrect or quite rare, they all act as drug-like boosters of sugar craving.

So, the conclusion is clear.

If you want to get or stay slim or if you want to protect your health, never drink diet soft drinks. And, avoid artificial sweeteners otherwise!

Drink water, tea, coffee, green tea, or even water that’s been carbonated only instead. Even some real fruit juice is OK. And real vegetable juice actually helps people lose weight when they drink it daily!

And, if you want a sweet treat, eat something with real sugar. Just stick with once or twice a month (or a week if you also exercise and aren’t fat.) But avoid doing it two or three times a day!

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