Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beat flu, fevers, colds, and infections....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 8-30-2012

This one is more doable than most people yet know!

As you likely know, this IS the best time of year to find out how because:

 This time of year is when children start school and begin to give each other colds and flu.

Plus in the soon to come cold weather, the weather outside and over-dry air inside make flu viruses more easy to catch.

Here’s some information on how to beat this and either stay completely well or get over it fast and without complications.

Some of this stuff has long been known to work but not one average person in ten knows about it yet!

And, some of the information in this post is from new research not even most doctors have heard about yet.

A.  The first thing to do is to avoid getting sick in the first place.

1.  Of course do the obvious things. 

a)  Try not to sit just in front of someone who is sneezing like crazy.  (I caught a bad cold that way once.  But as I was unable to escape then, you may not be able to avoid this one.  That makes the other strategies in the post so valuable. That’s because they can prevent you from being sick even with that exposure or help you get well so much faster.)

b) Wash your hands before you eat and first thing when you come home from work or errands. 

(Besides the airborne route, most colds and flu are from getting the virus on your hand or fingers and then getting into you from there.)

c) You WILL want to touch the corner of your eye or your nose.  (Everyone does that many times each day without even knowing it. But when a cold or flu virus is on your fingers, this touching delivers it into you!)

Have clean toilet paper or Kleenex within reach at home and at work and if you can do it safely, when you are in the car.  Then try to catch it if you are about to touch your eye, face, or nose and put the clean tissue between your finger and what you touch!

2.  Get flu shots each year and pneumonia vaccine at least once each 10 years.

Why get sick with either one when you can prevent it!?

Flu shots are often available to people free through their medical plan.  Many grocery stores and drug stores make them available at low cost too.  I’ve seen prices of $20 and $25.

Pneumonia vaccinations also cost about $25 but you need them only tenth as often.  Your medical plan or doctor or local health department can help you get one.

Both flu and pneumonia can kill you not just make you sick.  And even if you only get sick it can prevent you from doing what you want or need to do, cost you extra money, and it WILL make you feel lousy.

But some alternative health writers point out that these shots don’t always work.

The bad news is that’s true.

But they almost always work for some people!  Here’s how to be one of those people:

Take at least 5,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 from August first to at least 8 weeks after the shot.  Do this even if you normally take 2,000 or 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 or less--though hopefully not less!  (2,000 to 3,000 iu a day is your body's real minimum daily requirement!)

If you haven’t got that early start this year, do what you can.  Even starting the same day as the shot and continuing for at least 8 weeks will help.

Adding the vitamin D3 makes the flu shot something like three to five times more likely to work!

(If you take that much D3 all year long, you’ll also get far less flu, colds, and infections and get over any you do get faster and more reliably.  Similarly, if you’ve not been taking the vitamin D3 and get sick, you’ll still get well faster and develop more immunity if you start taking the vitamin D3 even that late.)

Here’s why this is.  Recent research has found two things about vitamin D3 and your immune system. 

Vitamin D3 is to your immune system’s killing cells what bullets are to rifle and machine gun armed soldiers.  If your vitamin D3 is low which it is still in most people, your immune system runs out of bullets when with enough vitamin D3 it would be many times more effective.

Vitamin D3 also dramatically increases the accuracy of the detection parts of your immune system.  With lots of vitamin D3, your immune system sees and goes after harmful viruses and bacteria and even some early cancer cells much more reliably and quickly.  (And, just as important, your immune system becomes much LESS likely to attack parts of YOU.  This helps prevent and even cure autoimmune diseases such as MS, lupus, and Rheumatoid arthritis.)

So with the vitamin D3, when you get a vaccine, your immune system learns faster, better, and more reliably what to attack if it shows up.  Then if that virus does show up, your immune system’s attack will be quick and powerful.

Does that mean that taking at least 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 all year round is important to do to stay well?

 You bet it does! 

Most people today hardly ever go outside much where most people did until 50 to 100 years ago.  So most people got that much vitamin D3 from sun exposure most of the year.

So this information is relatively new and research just discovered it in the last 10 to 15 years.

Vitamin D3 is very protective and costs little. Knowing to take that much is one of the most important parts of this post. 

The key thing here is that taking it and even a bit extra just before and just after a flu shot or other vaccination is extremely protective when just getting the shot by itself might not be.

B.  What if you do get sick and get a fever?

I was lucky and recently got an email from reminding me that fevers are actually a tool that your immune system uses to make you well.

The higher temperature of a fever directly harms some bacteria and viruses. But of most importance, parts of your immune system only show up in force when the other parts bring on fever.  The extra heat triggers their release!

Guess what that means?

For most fevers, taking something to turn it down will make it take longer to get well or even prevent you getting well at all in some cases.

Yet most people take some over the counter drug to do just that when they have fever. 

Worse, they may take extra.  This not only reliably keeps them sick longer,  these drugs, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin, are often harmful in larger doses and even have some risk in smaller doses sometimes.

1.  So, to get well quickly and safely, avoid treating most fevers at all other than with tons of water etc.  

Doctors say to take plenty of water if you are sick or have a fever but all too often do NOT make the HUGE big deal and BIG case to do it that this advice deserves.  

Did you know this?  With extra water, you still feel sick. BUT you AVOID dehydration, weakness, clumsiness, extra complications, and possible death.

You may be too sick to feel thirsty or your kids may be.  But you are sweating more or mouth breathing or both and your body needs extra water to fight off being sick in addition!

2.  Only treat fevers of 104 or 105 or more or that ALSO have scary symptoms like delirium or seizures and only after drinking LOTS of water if at all possible.  Taking the medicine itself  with extra water is also a good idea.

3.  Treat fevers as little and for as short a time as possible.  

(Fevers both help your immune system kill bacteria and viruses, they call up your immune systems killer cells and other reinforcements as we just noted.)

4.  Be SURE to add or slightly increase vitamin D3 and vitamin C.  Adding extra vitamin A, and zinc, and probiotics for a short time can also help.  

Taking extra zinc works best if the total is less than 100 mg a day and it may work best on the first one or two days after you find you are sick and not be that effective at all after that. I fact, taking a lot of zinc, over 100 mg and or doing it for more than two days, begins to lower your resistance instead of boost it!

(Taking a good amount of these BEFOREHAND can prevent fevers by preventing the illness in the first place.)

5.  Cut WAY, WAY back on sugar.  Even if it's just for the duration of the flu season or when you are actually sick, it will help.

(Doing this close to that much sugar-cut-backs all year round slows aging, prevents disease, notably heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and helps prevent and can help reverse obesity.

But doing it extra while you are sick and have a fever helps you get well faster and lowers your calories to make up for being less active so you don't gain extra fat while you are sick.)

The article I got in my email reminded me of this and notes that:  “In a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition as far back as 1977 reported the adverse (effect) that sugar has on the immune system.”

& “Each subsequently higher dose of sugar created a corresponding decrease in the activities of the subject’s white blood cells. The group that had consumed the largest amount of sugar had essentially no functioning white blood cells within an hour after consuming the sugar.

The immunosuppression occurred for up to two hours after consuming that sugar, but the adverse effects of no blood cell activity persisted in some instances for up to five hours.”

Don’t know about you.  But that sounds to me like a HUGE negative effect! 

Does that mean that drinking soft drinks instead of water as part of the extra water is a bad idea.  Yes it does!

Even if you don’t skip sodas for health or fat loss reasons the rest of the year, when you are sick ONLY drink water!

(By the way the people who sent me the email got the article they ran from.

“The Importance of Fever   Submitted by Intelligentactile on August 23, 2012 – 12:30 pm”

“Childhood fevers can be frightening, mostly because they are misunderstood.”)

Their advice for parents on managing fevers without OTC drugs for these reasons is in the article.  But their advice is every bit as sound for adults!)

6.  Program in extra rest.  

Drinking extra water can enable you to do some of what you need to do most because you won’t suddenly become weak and the like if you drink the extra water.

But do what you can to get extra rest. 

Go home early.  Take a morning off so you can sleep in.

Simply don’t watch TV for less than world shaking events and go to bed early.

Anything that takes extra time or effort to do that you can drop or postpone for now, DO IT!

7. And keep up the extra water. Being sick you may miss being thirsty and with a fever and mouth breathing you’ll lose water quickly too.

This is a BAD and dangerous combination! 

So simply override all that.  Set a few times often during the day to drink extra water. 

Then when the inevitable happens and you need to visit the bathroom, as soon as you are done, drink a glass of water! 

That works even if you are too sick or busy to remember to drink water at a particular time. It’s a reliable and hard to miss signal! 

And, remember, when you do go, you just removed some water from your body.  If you have a fever, your continuing to do OK even though you are sick and getting well quickly depends on you adding back that water right away.

C.   Do what you can to avoid bacterial infection and get rid of it without antibiotics or help any antibiotics your doctor gives you kill it off to get well faster and avoid leaving resistant bacteria left over.

1.  Taking vitamin D3 at least 3,000 iu a day, at least 500 mg a day of vitamin C, and astragalus-- an herbal supplement,  and a probiotic supplement year round will help you avoid getting sick.

Doing these things will help you get well faster when you get sick.  But doing them while you are sick with a virus also helps you avoid getting a bacterial infection to begin with.

And, they will make an antibiotic you take work faster and more thoroughly.

2.  Make sure you get the pneumonia shot and take extra vitamin D3 to help ensure it works. 

Avoiding a secondary infection with pneumonia not only will avoid you being sick longer and worse, it can save your life!

3.  Make sure to keep up the extra water and eat hot spices and spicy foods daily if you can manage it.  Both these actions help avoid getting slow moving, sticky gunk that hangs around your nose and lungs for bacteria to grow in.

4.  This one is quite new.

What if you could multiply the effectiveness of your immune system so much, your body would not only fight off mild bacteria better, it might be able to fight off MRSA and other antibiotic bacteria possibly including C Diff?

The testing to be sure this works is still brand new.

But the evidence it works looks good.  The huge thing though is how powerful it may be.

I just found this within the last few days.  (I subscribe to Medical News today.)

“Vitamin B3 May Help Kill Superbugs

Nicotinamide, commonly known as vitamin B3, may help the innate immune system 
kill antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria, the so-called "superbugs".  

In lab work done with mice and human blood, researchers found high doses of the vitamin 
increased the ability of immune cells to kill the bacteria by 1,000 times.” <<<<<

This is a HUGE multiplier of effectiveness.

Added to vitamin C and vitamin D3 and astragalus and probiotics this could help cure someone with MRSA or possibly C Diff! 

Secondary bacterial infections from colds and flu certainly would leave sooner if it proves that effective for most people.

What is nicotinamide?  You may have thought vitamin B3 was niacin.

Niacin IS vitamin B3 too. 

Nicotinamide or niacinamide is a form of the vitamin that has NO flushing effects and though it also seems to lack the heart protection of niacin performs all the other functions of vitamin B3.

You can take 100 mg a day of niacinamide as a preventive measure all year round in addition to whatever niacin you make take for heart protection reasons.

For example, the B Complex supplement I take 2 of each day is Stress Formula B Complex + C from Solgar.  They include 100 mg a day of niacinamide for vitamin B3 because it does the other functions of B3 but has ZERO flushing effect.

But, given this new research, if you get a bad cold or the flu or pneumonia or a chest cold or a secondary chest or sinus infection, besides getting your doctors other advice and following it, it might well pay you to get a 100 mg a dose of niacinamide by itself or even 500 mg and take one every four hours until you are well.  Most health food stores carry it and it’s available online. 

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rules for fat loss....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 8-28-2012

This one is relatively simple.  Some things people do make them fat.

And, some things people do cause people to lose fat or help them do so.

Some things help people keep doing the right things or help them keep fat off in other ways.

If you STOP doing things in the first group that make you fat, you will stop gaining weight and will usually lose some of the fat doing those things put on you!

Similarly doing lots of the things that remove excess fat or help you keep doing them to keep the fat off -- will remove your fat and keep it off!

And, if you do both almost all the time, guess what happens?

You lose your excess fat and keep it off!

The most important thing is NOT whether you call these strategies rules or helpful to know facts.

The most important things are to:

Learn what they are.  

Almost always stop doing the fattening things or stop them totally.


Do as many of the things that take fat off and keep it off as you can manage to do and that are effective for you – and upgrade your life to make them a continuing habit.

For some people calling stopping the fattening things rules and doing the fat removing things rules, makes it easier to do them.

The important thing is to know them and do them – & to stop doing them for the fattening ones!

That said, if a fat loss coach with years of successful experience calls them rules, it makes sense to see what he has to say.

And, in doing what he has found works in practice consistently it can be quite helpful to think of his guidelines as rules you follow personally.

People who are well organized and systematic and who use good workable systems do better at everything.  They have better health and live longer too recent research has found.

Such people can be adventurous and playful and creative too.  In fact that’s the winning combination.

A study of what made the difference between jet aces and seemingly similar pilots found that the aces were both better organized AND more mentally flexible!

They’d systematically try new things while being careful and taking precautions until they could safely do things other pilots couldn’t do or were afraid to try.

That’s the winning formula to follow when trying out rules developed by someone else.

Immediately adopt the ones that make sense to you that are clearly doable.  That gets you started and will improve your results.

Then try out the ones you are less sure you’ll find doable.  Since these are proven rules, try to make adjustments and work arounds instead of just tossing the ones you find difficult to do or don’t like.  Do it part of the time instead of every day.  Try something similar that you can do.  Try out doing it half way.  Experiment until you have something you can do and actually do that gets results.  Then make what you find you can do your rule for now.  Try upgrades every once in a while.  Watch for things other people found work great that make the rule quite doable instead of difficult. Then try them out!

In short follow the best rules and do what the jet aces did with the rest!

Bob Harper is the fat loss trainer for the TV show, The Biggest Loser.

A Parade article on Sunday, 8-26-2012 about him and his book, “The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin by Bob Harper and Greg Critser (May 15, 2012)” sparked this post for example. (His book is available on .)

The Skinny Rules presents a list of 20 straight forward rules that will help you lose weight.

(Some of his rules are easier for some people to do than others.  Each of them is something he found effective for people who followed that rule.  And some are more important and effective than others.

The article writer, asked Bob what he has found to be the most important fat loss mistake people make.

His answer is something I know about so I was quite interested.  But the most valuable thing is that he added something he found that he know from his experience that doubled what I know and explained why part of what I know happens!

His answer was that people often skip breakfast thinking that the calories they avoid will add to their fat loss find that it has the REVERSE effect!

So one of his rules is Always eat breakfast!

What did he find to explain why he found this so very important?

NOT eating breakfast and skipping it causes a massive slow down in your metabolism he has found over and over again.

I already knew that quite often people who always eat breakfast eat MORE calories than people who don’t BUT they are LESS fat!

Bob’s answer explains how breakfast is almost a free calorie time to eat.  If you always eat breakfast, you BURN up far more calories than if you don’t.

(You also will need to eat less and lunch and dinner and will be far more likely to turn down fattening mid-morning treats.  People who skip breakfast are often very hungry by mid-morning and again at lunch and dinner.  Then the calories they skipped at breakfast, get added back double or in more fattening forms or both!)

Thanks to Bob Harper, we also now know people who always eat breakfast also burn up MORE calories than people who always skip breakfast.

With that double of burning more calories and better appetite control all day long, always eating breakfast is an excellent rule to follow!

In the reviews of his book on Amazon, people found some of this other rules less easy to follow. 

But always eating breakfast is clearly a sound rule.  (Research found that it’s helpful for men and dramatically effective for women.  It’s a good rule for men.  But it’s an essential rule for women.

To get started if you’ve not been eating breakfast, your breakfast can be small at first if you have been eating very big dinners and aren’t yet hungry in the morning.

One fat loss coach found that even eating one string cheese and a few grapes or one boiled egg and half a banana can work.  The key thing is to insist on eating a small breakfast first.

Then eat a bit less at dinner mostly cutting back on starchy and sugary things.

Then you will be hungrier in the morning and can eat a bit more.  And that makes you less hungry for fattening things and boosts your calories burned all day.

For more of Bob’s thoughts and experience, you can buy his book on Amazon.

And, you can check out his blog or column on Parade’s website at .

I do always eat breakfast and tell people it’s an important fat loss tool.

Thanks to Bob Harper and Parade I now also know it’s even more proven than I yet knew. 

And thanks to Bob Harper I now know a major reason why always eating breakfast is so important and why it works so well. 

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Enjoy Foods You Love -- Without Stopping your fat loss....

Today's Post:  Friday, 8-24-2012

A week ago Jillian Michaels sent an email titled:  “Enjoy Foods You Love Without Cheating”

Some foods & drinks you should hardly ever have and some never -- just for health reasons.  And one of the best ways to cut calories for fat loss is to stop buying and ingesting these foods and drinks.  

(Hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, foods made with refined grains, and soft drinks are prime examples in this category.)

Since many of these foods also make you MORE hungry even when your body doesn’t need the calories, doing this is a superb way to have easy fat loss!  That’s because NOT having them cuts calories and makes you LESS hungry!

However, the successful 3 part strategy for doable ways to lose fat you can keep doing so the fat you lose stays off for good is this:

1.  Eat in a way that supports your health and losing fat without hunger.  (That causes you to lose fat without hunger a BIG key to success and keeping it off.)

2.  The second key is eating foods you enjoy for enough of your foods that you enjoy life too.
(I like eating and I like eating some foods a great deal.  Most people do.  People who stop doing this for fat loss reasons often give up their fat loss.)

3. The key to fat loss and keeping the fat off is to do both things!  Enjoy eating AND lose fat you keep off.

The purpose of her email was to make this exact point and highlight ways she uses to do this.

Finding strategic ways to have treats you enjoy without losing ground as she describes IS sound.

It helps to have similar but much more OK treats and some of those can even be more often -- as she describes.

(I’ll include her strategies before I comment on them. 

This is for two reasons.  You may be more able to do both things by reading her words because you may think more like she does than like I do. 

And, if you do like her style, by all means subscribe to her email or try her support group.  The whole point is your success.  You may like her stuff!)

  She put it this way: 

“Here's a big mistake people make when they set out to lose weight: They say to themselves, "Okay, I'm on a diet, so I'm never eating [insert tempting high-calorie food here] again." And then, inevitably, they slip up and binge on that food. They beat themselves up about it, write off their entire healthy-living experiment as a failure, and give up.

Sound familiar?

Living a healthy life is all about balance. You have to learn how to walk a line between self-denial and self-indulgence. It's the middle ground between the two that offers the best foundation on which to build your new life.

Denying yourself little pleasures such as the occasional glass of wine or chocolate truffle will only make you feel deprived, frustrated, and ultimately hopeless about maintaining your discipline. A temptation is a lot less powerful if it isn't totally forbidden. This is where moderation comes in.

I will never be able to give up all the edible goodies life has to offer, but by practicing moderation I've found a solution to my weaknesses that I can live with every day. There's room for all foods, no matter how "bad" they are; it's just a matter of being conscious and careful of how often you eat them and how much. It's fine to have a piece of cake now and then — just not every day, and not the whole cake.

I can already hear what you're thinking: "If I eat a little bit, I'll want it all." We all have at least one food that we truly can't eat a little of without going overboard. Mine is ice cream. If you know that a particular food has that kind of trigger effect on you, try choosing an alternative.

I will often have a few bites of organic dark chocolate instead of ice cream so that my sweet tooth will be satisfied but I won't end up with an empty ice cream carton in my hands. If your weakness is potato chips, try having some air-popped popcorn as a snack instead.

Trust me — in time you can adapt so that small amounts of "cheat" foods will not set you off on a binge.”

Here are some of my ideas that also work.

1.  Try to make a very strong special effort to eat versions of foods that are trans fat and hydrogenated oil free every single time.  And, only eat foods where this stuff might be in the food something like three or four times a YEAR or less.  Besides being fattening and in fattening foods, it stays in your body for days after you eat it causing heart disease!  That’s because your body take days to just get rid of half of it!  So if you eat it more often than that, you’ll create heart and other diseases.

2.  The better news is that you can often eat versions of these same foods home made with more natural ingredients so you can have them a bit more often.  The other way to go is fat free or eat only the parts that have no added fat.

Jillian suggests having air-popped popcorn.  That works two ways!

It avoids microwave popcorn that has tons of fat calories—all trans fats by the way -- and another toxic ingredient too. 

And, since you have to work more to fix it, it becomes easier to have it a few times a month instead of a few times a week.

Unless I  know  a pie was home made with real butter in the crust, I know it has shortening and only eat the filling.  I prefer the pies with real butter since I like the crust.  But either way I wind up taking in fewer calories and still enjoy a pie treat occasionally AND I protect myself from the trans fats in the shortening.

You can also eat more healthful and just as enjoyable treats.

“I will often have a few bites of organic dark chocolate instead of ice cream so that my sweet tooth will be satisfied but I won't end up with an empty ice cream carton in my hands.” 

You do have to not do this too often because of the sugar or eat small amounts as she describes.  But dark chocolate is a feel good treat that has health benefits too!

The other strategy is to eat enjoyable foods that are shown to not fatten you and that are actually good for you.  Chilled washed and leaf trimmed fresh organic strawberries or slices of kiwi fruit and many kinds of raw or dry roasted nuts, if you aren’t allergic, are just some of the foods that taste great with no harmful ingredients and WITH health benefits.

Another is to brew cocoa that is totally unsweetened.  You can use enough for it to be quite chocolatey but it has no sugar.

Another strategy that helps avoid binging and helps you eat treat foods less often is to eat them in restaurants.

For example, instead of bringing home a big container of ice cream and eating it all during a week whether it takes you all week or one day, gives you that much sugar and extra calories that week.  But buying one scoop of that same ice cream as an after dinner treat when eating out, is only that one scoop!

And you may only do this a few times a year while buying a container of ice cream at the grocery store could happen once a week.

You get an ice cream treat both ways.  But your control on how much ice cream you eat in a year and whether or not it slows or partly reverses your fat loss depends on your strategy for having it.

Give yourself many completely health OK treats most weeks is another strategy that rewards you every week without slowing your fat loss or stopping it.

For example, every week I have wild, organic blueberries chilled three times.  I have a total of two dark chocolate bars eating only half a bar at a time.  I have both raw walnuts and raw pecans for lunch each week day.  I eat two ripe bananas and several no sugar applesauce servings each week.  And I have two triple strength unsweetened cups of hot cocoa each week.

I do eat chocolate cake and other treats.  But I only do this a few times a year.

Meanwhile I have treats I enjoy every single week.

By using the strategies I use and the strategies Jillian uses, you too can have treats in your life without stalling or giving up your fat loss.  

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

New hospital danger to avoid....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 8-23-2012

One of the now most dangerous and little known problems in being hospitalized today is to get an infection there that is like a super diarrhea where the bacteria is very resistant to antibiotics.

It’s called C. Difficile  or C Diff. now.

My Dad a few years ago went to the hospital for a hip replacement and had it and was to come home.  But he had to stay something like 10 days longer because he contracted this bug.

He was able to recover and came home.  His doctors finally found an antibiotic that worked.  Even at that, it was a horrible experience to go through.  And, it wasn’t cheap!

But since then, the situation with C Diff has gotten worse!

Now C Diff is as likely to kill people as car accidents!

Here’s two recent web links about this:

“c diff  now causes 30,000 US deaths a year compared with 32,000 for car accidents”

C. difficile -

In recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, more severe and more difficult to treat.

The first one is the attention getter of course.

But there are 3 ways to protect yourself from this disease.

1.  Protect your health and stay safe while driving so you avoid being hospitalized!

Protecting your health is a big but doable job.  Driving safety is a lot easier and shorter to learn, so I’ll summarize the key points here because not driving safely is also most likely to cause you an unplanned hospital visit.

2.  Make getting C Diff less likely and recovering from it more likely in yourself even if you do go to the hospital for some reason. 

3.  Ask your doctor who practices at the hospital you are most likely to be in to help you be sure that hospital knows and is following the state of the art steps to prevent two thirds of the cases of this stuff in advance!

1.  Protect your health and stay safe while driving so you avoid being hospitalized.

If you use the information in our posts and similar information on eating right and exercising and avoiding tobacco smoke and taking key supplements, you may well avoid being hospitalized with heart attacks, strokes, and cancers, and other problems!

But for many of you, the most likely surprise visit you’ll make to a hospital will be if you are injured in a car accident.

So, here’s a couple of quick words about avoiding that since we’ve not covered that lately.

a) ALWAYS wear your seat belt if you are driving or in a moving car.   

Here’s why to wear your seat belt even for two block trips:

Most accidents happen in the short trips you make every day because the amount of them is so huge.  And, even at low speeds, an accident can injure you enough to send you to the hospital if you are foolish enough to not be wearing your seat belt.  If you ARE wearing your seat belt, you’ll likely walk away uninjured from the same accident.  That’s a huge difference indeed!

At higher speeds, even if you wear your seat belt, there is some chance an accident will kill you or sent you to the hospital.

So, why wear your seat belt?

Because you are only a third as likely to die or be injured enough to have to visit the hospital or have to stay there long if you are wearing your seat belt. 

By wearing your seat belt, even at high speeds you improve the odds in your favor by three to one!

As Jack London once said, when you can do that, “that’s the way to bet!”

b)  If you need to use your cell phone while driving, use a hands free set up; have a consistent way of using it that needs little attention; drive safely and pay your first attention to that; and let the person you are talking to know in advance or right at first that you are driving and may need to stop talking or listening at times; and for some conversations that are more demanding set  a time to talk instead of having that conversation while driving.

If you can’t do that, turn your cell phone off and don’t turn it on to make calls while you are driving.

c)  Absolutely refuse to text while driving even if you text a lot.  No excuses. 

If you text, you WILL take your attention off your driving at times for long enough that should you need to be driving at those times, you also WILL be in an accident.

Such accidents are often spectacularly horrible too. 

People have run over little kids who were holding hands with a parent.  People have literally driven into concrete posts and oncoming traffic. 

Such accidents often will send you to the hospital; and if that’s all that happens, you were very lucky.

Do yourself a favor and refuse to ever go there!  NEVER text and drive.

d)  Don’t drive after more than 3 drinks.  Yes, you are more likely to be in an accident after even one drink. 

But the accidents that are likely to send you to the hospital become much more likely after 4 or more drinks.  Have someone else drive. Spend the night.  Or wait several hours to recover first.  Or, of course stick to two or less drinks!  And if you know you’ll be driving, one is better at least until you get home.

e)  Tailgating is like playing Russian Roulette. 

Avoid pointing a loaded gun at your head and don’t tailgate.  And, if you are forced to which happens at times, realize the danger you are in and remove yourself from it as soon as you can.

When you stop, leave enough room to go around if the car you are behind dies and can’t move.  That will start you out with enough following distance at low speeds.  And, a side benefit is that you will often save yourself a lot of time going around other cars that for whatever reason didn’t start moving when the light changed, etc.

Then stay back enough that you can count thousand one slightly fast between when the back of the car in front goes by a point and when the front of your car does.

The slow count of thousand one, thousand two is safer but dramatically less practical. 

However, just the doable gap I just described, improves your odds by over five or ten to one compared with less which is dangerous tailgating!

ALWAYS maintain that minimum safety margin.

In fact, one Taxicab company owner bought a money losing taxi business and totally insisted his drivers follow this one rule.

Overnight, the drivers were in so many fewer accidents, the company became profitable.

2.  Make getting C Diff less likely and recovering from it more likely in yourself even if you do go to the hospital for some reason. 

This is particularly important to do if you are scheduled for surgery and you know days or weeks in advance when that will be.

And, it’s a good idea at all times too since these methods protect you from other illnesses and you can have something send you to the hospital by surprise.

Here’s the list and the first two are most important.

Take at least 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 every day.  And, 5,000 to 10,000 iu a day may be better and is likely to be if you haven’t already been taking enough vitamin D3.

a) Recent research has found that the killer cells in your immune system need and use vitamin D3 to arm themselves and become fully effective.  If they find no vitamin D or too little of it, they may fail to protect you when they otherwise would have succeeded.

b) Take probiotics once a day.  These bacteria are those in yogurt and similarly beneficial bacteria of other kinds.

If you do that, when the bacteria of C Diff show up, their potential turf in your gut is populated by good guy bacteria that will fight them off because that’s the probiotic bacteria’s home turf at that point!

Just doing these first two things is critical.  I’d not want to be hospitalized today without them!

Not only do they make you far less likely to get C Diff, doing them makes it more likely you’ll survive and recover if you do get C Diff!

But you can double that effect with these:

c)  The supplement astragalus is also good to take as it strongly strengthens your immune system.  In fact, this effect is so great taking astragalus helps make getting cancer initially less likely AND makes is it less likely a cancer you got rid of will come back.

d)  Taking an Agaricus Blazei supplement or other extracts of other mushrooms may be as helpful as taking astragalus but I’ve researched that less.

e) Take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, some extra zinc, and at least 500 mg a day of extra vitamin C.  People who do this also have stronger immune systems.

f) Work hard to be easy to like and live with and be good to the people around you.  That boosts your immune system too.

g) Be prudent with your money.  Money problems can cause enough stress to lower your immune response.

3.  Ask your doctor who practices at the hospital you are most likely to be in to help you be sure that hospital knows and is following the state of the art steps to prevent two thirds of the cases of this stuff in advance!

You haven’t time and likely aren’t in a position to ask the hospital if they are doing these things or point out they should be now that C Diff has become so dangerous.

But your doctor goes to that hospital often and is at risk personally.

And your doctor knows his or her patients he or she has successfully treated could die anyway from C Diff if that hospital is not yet taking these preventive steps.

Those 3 steps can cut YOUR risk from C Diff by an enormous amount.

You can cut your risk from C Diff by using them.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New heart health danger to avoid....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 8-21-2012


Heart failure is NASTY stuff and best avoided.  The current treatments aren’t very effective so heart failure tends to be progressive.

It starts out just being a bit short of breath because when your heart doesn’t pump well you get fluid in your lungs.  But it progresses to cut backs in circulation you need in the rest of your body and being so weak and so short of breath that walking a few feet to the bathroom is extremely hard to do.  Even talking much can be difficult.

The growing negative impact on your quality of life is extreme.

Personal note:  My father got this stuff, heart failure, and decided a life where he was no good to anyone and a burden to my Mom instead of a support was no longer worth living.

He stopped treatment and then stopped eating to reduce the time he was a burden.  He succeeded in that at least.

This was tragic because he was a really good guy and mentally as sharp at 87 as he was at 17 and his wisdom and knowledge were still an asset to everyone in our extended family.

Of course every way you can protect your heart and prevent cardiovascular disease helps prevent heart failure. 

(My Dad’s was mostly caused by heart damage from the heart attacks he survived. 

And, it was worsened by the statins he was prescribed.  Unfortunately, his doctors didn’t know how to prevent future heart attacks without using statins. Many doctors still don’t know to avoid the use of statins for this reason and many others.)

Regular moderate exercise and interval cardio are directly preventive of heart failure. And for older people, taking CoQ10 or its more powerful version, ubiquinol, also helps prevent heart failure and may even help treat heart failure effectively according to one research source I found.

The new threat to avoid:

So, you can imagine how attention getting it was for me when I read that the common antibacterial soap component, triclosan, has been found to produce muscle weakness in general and heart failure in particular!

I read this in Medical News Today’s email that I get:

“Introduced in the 1970s, the compound triclosan has become an increasingly popular ingredient in many antibacterial soaps and other personal-care items, such as deodorants and mouthwashes.  However, as the chemical’s popularity continues to grow, a recent report has raised concerns about some frightening risks that triclosan could pose to public health.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has revealed that exposure to triclosan is linked with muscle function impairments in humans and mice, as well as slowing the swimming of fish.  By reducing contractions in both cardiac and skeletal muscles, the chemical has the potential to contribute to heart disease and heart failure.

Primarily used in antibacterial hand soaps, triclosan can also be found in a number of bath and household products, including mouthwashes, toothpastes, deodorants, bedding, washcloths and towels, kitchen utensils and toys.”

Triclosan may well even be in tap water also due to how dreadfully much has already been used!  And, it’s still being used.  So this will become more and more likely for several years.

(Note that this also means that any strength training you do will be less effective. 

And if you do no strength training at all, you will be weak indeed after exposure for years to triclosan.)

What to do:

Avoid all the products that contain triclosan and work to drink and cook with filtered water if you possibly can do so!

Always read labels to avoid triclosan before you buy or use such products!

Compared to most people, I already had a low exposure to it because of several things I did long ago.  We also use bottled, filtered water to drink and to cook with.  

(We tried an in-sink reverse osmosis filter but it failed due to bad installation and we decided for now not to spend the several hundred dollars to have it redone right.)

Antibiotic resistant bacteria on your skin can kill you. 

And it’s been a few years ago I think since news came out that the use of triclosan in antibacterial hand soaps and other products was helping to breed such resistant bacteria!

So for antibacterial hand soaps at least, I’ve avoided the stuff, triclosan, ever since. 

I use Ivory liquid hand soap and have since then. 

Properly used, liquid soap by itself removes bacteria from your hands quite thoroughly -- without making the bacteria antibiotic resistant. 

And, with this new research, we now know washing your hands without triclosan avoids harming your muscles and heart also!

(The bacteria on your hands and the dirt on them gets embedded in the oils on your hands. 

Regular liquid soap massaged into your hands without ANY water & with a hand washing motion that covers all of your hands, combines with those oils and the bacteria in them.

Then continue with warm or hot water until the soapy feeling is almost gone. And then wash your hands with cold water until the soapy feeling is all gone.

It’s simple and fast and the bacteria are gone but not made antibiotic resistant.  The soap removes the oils and bacteria.  And then the water removes the mix of oils an bacteria for you.

You also do not have ANY need for a soap with triclosan!)

I also tend not to use many of the other products triclosan is in.  And should I wish to use such products occasionally I can read the ingredients on the label. 

However, the fact that some fools may add it to new sheets and towels, etc, is an upsetting thought indeed.

I hope that laws will be passed to ban triclosan now.  And, if not, have laws passed making its use mandatory to disclose both on new products and on a permanent tag on products such as towels and sheets.  It should immediately be banned from toys!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

My monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post:  Monday, 8-20-2012

A.  This month’s report is much better news in several parts.

1.  My biggest news is that the local man, Bryan Wassom, who created an exercise desk using a recumbent bicycle lost 18 pounds in 9 months and lost enough inches from his waist he had to have his clothes redone to fit.

When I was so enthusiastic about the health and fatloss benefits when I contacted him, he offered to give me one to beta test here in my office day job.  (He had used it and found it workable in his home office but had not yet had someone in a regular office use one.)

So, I’ve used the recumbent bike exercise desk now for two weeks as of last Friday. 

The less good news is that it is much harder to work in my office than it was.  My office is a bit too small to be a good fit for the exercise desk.  And, it is so much more exercise to do than the floor exerciser I got that I can operate sitting in a normal chair that I’m only able to use it a bit over an hour a day instead of the five or six hours I’d expected to use it.  (That will get better though.)

2.  The results are already beginning to look very good however!

By adding the use of the exercise desk even for what I was able to manage at first and only for half the month, instead of measuring the same as last time, I lost half a pound.  But the really big success is that I lost about 3/8 inch from my waist and half an inch from my chest and hips.

This means that the actual fat lost may have been closer to one and a half pounds in 2 weeks.  It did NOT come from muscle at least.  And, for the first time, I lost a bit more from my waist than from the rest of me.

(I was able to maintain all my food cutbacks and controls too during the month.)

Projections don’t always work of course. 

But this does potentially project to a pound off on the scale and three fourths of an inch off my waist by next month by using the exercise desk for 4 weeks instead of two.  

And the projections from there suggest that by four months from now, I’ll have lost a total of 4 pounds on the scale and three inches from my waist!

Plus, that may be conservative if I can gradually boost my time each day to even two hours a day or more as Bryan, the creator of the product, did.  (By the end of the 9 months, he was able to ride it for about four hours a day or even more sometimes.)

3.  I also discovered a way to increase my strength and muscle building efforts, see my post last Thursday, 8-16 where I describe it.  So far, it’s working for me and will enable me I think to add a few pounds of muscle right away – even BEFORE I can get to the gym once a week to use heavier weights too.

If this keeps up, I may be able to lose another half inch to inch off my waist by four months from now.

If I manage both those, I’ll lose 4 inches off my waist to go with the 3 eighths of an inch since last month.

That could mean that by Christmas I could finally stop looking fat due to my fat belly.  It might even mean my reflux disease would stop and I’d get a decent drop in my slightly high blood pressure.

B.  Last month I asked myself:

But what more do I need to do to add muscle and lose fat enough to restart losing a pound or so each month on the scale until I lose the then 7 pounds I was over my goal weight and 10 to 20 pounds more fat than that too off my belly?

I now have two answers to that I’m already doing that look so far as if they are working well!

The four strategies I’d come up with by last month are these:

The most important two are the two that I believe will make the most difference.  I’ll describe those two first.  The third one may help but my main motivation for adding it is to see how well the Weight Watchers people teach what I already know.  The fourth one I’ll try but don’t now have high expectations for it.

1. Adding more muscle is already working better due to my new exercise at work and my new method for my strength training at home.

Then, I still plan to add, once I get a bit more control over my schedule, to go to the gym one night a week for access to heavier weights which may help, particularly with adding muscle to my legs.

(Using a light moderate weight for two thirds of the way down squats every other week and for deadlifts every week will likely add at least 10 pounds to my legs, buttocks, and lower back muscles.)  (Doing heavier bench press and lat pulldowns in a similar style every other week with the deadlifts may also help.)

One set a week of two normal speed repetitions and then five slow speed both up and down repetitions with a light moderate weight will likely avoid hernias and knee problems using a heavier weight might cause.  But if I build up to what I think I’m still capable of, I think it will do the job.

I can’t do the 335 pounds for reps in the full squat or the 415 pounds in the deadlift that I once did in my twenties.  But if I can build up to two thirds squats with 275 and deadlifts with 315 for such slow repetitions I may regain a good bit of the muscle mass I had then.

Tim Ferris found that doing such intense exercise takes a week to recover from.  But that also means I can be effective for muscle building going once a week.  That’s far more doable than going two or three evenings a week.

If I even add 5 pounds of muscle, that may well burn enough extra calories to lose 15 pounds of fat and 10 pounds on the scale. 

And, I think that is likely doable.  I just need to get myself into a position where I can add it also.

2.  I’m already pedaling my exercise bike at my desk at work while I write this.  (I was just hoping to do so eventually when I wrote my report for last month.)

At worst, by using this most of each workday, I’ll burn enough calories to remove something like 10 pounds of fat and add perhaps 3 pounds of muscle. In fact, the early results suggest that I’ll do that even just pedaling it part of the day at first!

If I do these two things well, the worst case is that I’ll reach my goal weight, lose 6 and a half pounds on the scale, and lose likely at least 3 inches from my waist.

The best case is that I’ll be more muscular than now but 14 pounds lighter and 7 pounds LESS than my goal weight and will have lost all 6 inches of excess fat from my waist.

3)  In addition, because it may help me lose a pound or two of fat, and it WILL help me know who best to refer to Weight Watchers to, I plan to join the Weight Watchers online program at some point.  (I know enough that if I could make a weekly in person meeting one evening a week, I’d use it for the one day a week strength training instead.  But I may be able to try the online version soon.)

4.  If and only if I’ve got these first 3 things successfully in place while continuing to do the things I already am doing, I plan to try the two supplements that I posted on recently that seem to help people lose belly fat. 

Taking them may help; and losing an extra inch or more off my waist would be great!  But since they are a bit pricey, I think their effectiveness may be minimal, and KNOW the first two things work and the third one might add some extra results, those 3 are my priority.

C.  I’ll keep up the efforts I’m already making. 

I have now lost about 18 and a half pounds since I was at my fattest and before my first fat loss effort and now 10 and a half pounds this time that I have kept off.

I firmly intend to keep that fat off!  So I will keep up the things I do to keep it off!

PS:  I’ve not yet found an at your desk exerciser I can use at my current work that would NOT require a different desk at all and that would cost a third or a fifth of what the recumbent bike plus desk costs.

So, since I’ve not been able to find what I need and eventually want, I may have to find a company to make it.  (I know a design that will work and recently found out it wasn’t patentable even when it first was put into volume use.)

The version that for sure would retrofit to existing desks and be smooth enough to ensure you could use it and work without using it distracting you from work, might well be patentable however.

In addition to its proven fat loss benefits, I found out that having such an exerciser at work would improve my memory and mental sharpness on the days I used it!  I posted that news several weeks ago.

The recumbent bike is clearly better for fat loss than the exerciser I have in mind; but far fewer people can use it.  And, once I have lost the fat, I hope this easier to use version that gives me back my desk space access will keep it off.

If not, I hope to have a bigger office and a personal assistant to do the things for me that are harder to do from the recumbent bike now.

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