Friday, November 30, 2012

Prevent Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and mental decline....

Today's Post:  Friday, 11-30-2012

1.  Whatever is important to you -- if your memory or your ability to mentally manage what you do to succeed in it goes away or you cease to exist, your ability to have and do what you care about is gone.

Do you want that to happen to you?

In our economy, if a large percentage of our best educated and wisest and most experienced people have to be taken care of and can contribute nothing, can they create jobs?  Won’t that make our economy dramatically weaker?

That’s beginning to happen now! 

Do you want that to keep getting worse when it could stop happening?

The various dementias and kinds of mental decline do these things. From minor memory loss to being completely erased as a person in your brain followed by death, they are horrifying.

2.  But they are surprisingly preventable!

We’ve posted on this topic before.

But Parade Magazine recently said that November is Alzheimer’s awareness month.

3.  So I decided to post on some of the many methods that prevent these things.

a)  It’s now known that taking curcumin supplements along with black pepper daily or eating a lot of curried foods with the yellow spice turmeric also with black pepper most days each week, largely prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  The research found this both tends to lower the amount of tau protein that causes the build up the harmful beta amyloid that seems to cause the damage and help your body remove beta amyloid from your brain cells.

(Doing this also is anti-inflammatory for people just now learning to avoid eating excessive omega 6 oils as we discussed in yesterday’s post  or who have conditions like osteoarthritis that feel better and stop getting worse when you turn down inflammation.

And in the book Anti-Cancer, it’s well described that this also helps prevent cancer.)

But there is more help in doing this to avoid mental decline too!

Alzheimer’s disease may be partly caused and definitely speeded up by excessive inflammation and excessive LDL cholesterol causing cardio vascular disease and reduced blood flow to the brain.  This is also the main cause of vascular dementia. 

So besides directly preventing Alzheimer’s disease it is very helpful that eating or taking turmeric lowers LDL cholesterol and excessive inflammation – because it helps ensure less heart disease and maintains good blood flow to your brain.

b)  Taking at least 3,000 to 4,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 tends to help this process particularly in helping to clean out excessive beta amyloid in your brain because doing so boosts the health and effectiveness of the cells in your immune system that do so.

c)  Your brain is like the internet with thousands of nodes and interconnections. 

That means that if you learn enough to multiply the connections five fold, you can lose more of the nodes without turning off the effective communications than you otherwise could.

Then too, in the brain, there is a chance that adding new connections continuously tends to grow new brain cells and may slow down the damage of Alzheimer’s disease.

So people who keep learning and people who already learned a great deal or speak several languages or many of these develop less brain damage and can sustain far more without loss in function. 

In fact, people who speak several languages rarely show any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease even when they have beta amyloid build up and may also have less.

We also now know from brain scans that while talking to people and socializing feels easy, it produces brain activity comparable to the physical effort that a professional basketball player exerts during a fast paced game!

That would predict that people who maintain a lot of friends and acquaintances they talk to regularly would have less apparent Alzheimer’s disease.

And, that is exactly what studies have found!

Secondly, did you know that people who exercise most days of every week produce a nerve cell growth hormone that creates new nerves and brain cells called BDNF?

We now know it does just that!

And, that would predict that as people get older who never exercise, their brains would shrink and people who always exercised would avoid that problem.

And the research shows that is precisely the case.

That means that continuously learning and socializing to add new interconnections in your brain and adding new brain cells AND better circulation to keep from losing brain cells with exercise would be enormously protective.

Your brain, as your internal internet would then always have more nodes and interconnections and able to stand far more damage and still work well.

It does! 

And research has found that keeping your omega 6 levels low and getting enough omega 3 oils and in particular, taking DHA supplements also helps keep you from losing brain cells.

So if you do these things, you tend to turn off Alzheimer’s and multiply the amount of damage your brain can sustain without its performance for either memory or decision making dropping off.

Interestingly, strength training has been found to restore decision making abilities in older people where their decision making abilities had declined.

d)  Vascular dementia is caused by too much drop off in blood circulation and a drop off in blood circulation tends to speed up and may help cause Alzheimer’s disease.

But that’s close to totally preventable! 

People without heart disease or high blood sugar avoid it.

People who do interval cardio a few days of every week, massively crank up the circulation to every part of their body on those days – including their brains.  Research has found that on days people exercise in the morning or while at work, their mental performance goes up.  And it was just reported that exercising after you learn something you want to remember helps you store the information in long term memory.

And, if you also follow a lifestyle that prevents strokes, a total shut down of circulation, and prevents heart disease, doing that besides the exercise, not only prevents heart attacks and strokes, it prevents circulation drop off to your brain.

Slashing your omega 6 intake and increasing your omega 3 intake does this.

Completely, 100 %, avoiding ingesting heart attack starters such as hydrogenated oils also high in omega 6.   (Hydrogenated oils don’t leave your body quickly.  So if you eat ANY on a regular basis, you accumulate and ALWAYS have harmful amounts in your body.)

Completely, 100 % avoiding tobacco smoke both avoids the gradual closure of your blood vessels which even light smoking and second hand smoke cause, it ALSO avoids triggering heart attacks and strokes you otherwise would have escaped.  (Though many people do not, some smokers avoid cancers.  BUT none of them escape this gradual creation of heart disease not even light smokers or brand new smoker!)

Do the things that reduce your small particle LDL that eating hydrogenated oils boosts instead.

Anything that increases your HDL and or lowers your triglycerides does this.  And so does stopping ingesting anything that, like hydrogenated oils that does the reverse.

Two major things that we know directly lower small particle LDL and not only lower heart attack risk but lower death rates are:

Doing vigorous exercise such as interval cardio or strength training almost every week or doing  over 1,000 to 1500 calories a week of moderate exercise or both directly lowers small particle LDL.

So does taking niacin even in as little as one 300 mg dose after a larger meal each day.

Other major ways to boost HDL include eating egg yolks or taking some kind of choline supplements, taking pantothenic acid, B5, of 200 to 300 mg a day and so does drinking red wine in moderation.

Using only olive oil apparently does NOT increase HDL as once thought. BUT eating omega 6 oils also LOWERS HDL while only using olive oil does not.

A huge thing to avoid is anything but the tiniest amounts of high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, foods made out of refined grains, and large servings of real sugar.


People who eat this stuff several times a day or drink soft drinks either regular or diet several times a day develop low HDL and sky high triglycerides – in addition to developing blood sugar problems and gaining fat.

Guess what that means?  It means that ingesting this stuff boosts the dickens out of your small particle LDL – just like tobacco smoke and eating hydrogenated oils.

If you avoid it all except refined grains and real sugar very occasionally, this means that you also remove a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and mental decline!

But in this case, removing these foods and drinks from your life counts DOUBLE in preventing heart disease, strokes, vascular dementia, AND Alzheimer’s disease.


Because in addition to no longer directly causing heart disease with small particle LDL, deleting this stuff from you life along with getting regular vigorous exercise prevents and tends to reverse high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes too!

It seems that excessive blood sugars stick onto both your small particle LDL and the large particle LDL that normally just rolls harmless along. 

Research has found that this acts like adding SPIKES to all the LDL in your blood!

That does the triple -- causing heart disease, increasing inflammation to do more damage and even destroying capillaries!

If you have high blood sugar from ingesting this stuff and not exercising, it directly shuts down circulation to your brain by doing these things.

That’s why slamming the door on ingesting this stuff and exercising every week prevents both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

e) Other things help and other things can cause dementia such as getting enough B12 and other B vitamins and eating wild, organic blueberries on the helpful and damage reducing side and avoiding ingesting aluminum which may help cause Alzheimer’s.

Not getting enough B 12 and other B complex vitamins in older people can cause dementia.  Adding them tends to reverse this!

Eating blueberries not only helps prevent strokes, older people with just some mental decline reversed it when they ate blueberries often!

Avoiding excessive mercury intake helps prevent mental decline.

And, ingesting avoidable aluminum and not using it in deodorants may help prevent mental decline too.

It’s hard to say whether the aluminum in beta amyloid caused it to be there or just got stuck onto it as an innocent bystander.  But since is such a definite finding, it seems prudent to avoid ingesting a lot of it. 

There are double acting baking powders and deodorants that have no aluminum in them.  Some pickle contain alum.  But some do not.  And for most applications cast iron pans or stainless steel plans or aluminum core pans clad 100% by stainless steel avoid adding aluminum to your cooking while direct use of aluminum cookware does not.


That is a lot to do. 

But all of it not only prevents mental decline, it also prevents cancers and heart attacks and strokes and extends your life.  It also slashes the amount of  excess fat you carry.

So why not gradually build up to doing all of it.

Your brain will work better and last longer and so will the rest of you!   

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

A massive but very little known severe health danger....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 11-29-2012

A. “Almost the whole world has been misled to believe that saturated fats are a health hazard when, in reality, it is omega-6 industrial seed oils that are the actual health hazard.”

Dave Brown

Dave Brown found that when he eliminated eating excessive omega 6 oils, an injury he sustained at work that had failed to heal finally did so.

He was eating commercial “mayonnaise” and salad dressings and daily peanut butter sandwiches.

But commercial “mayonnaise” and salad dressings are virtually all made with oils high in omega 6 -- instead of using olive oil only to make them. 

Soy oil and canola oil are in them instead which are both high in omega 6 oils, cheap, and almost all from GMO crops.

And, he found that peanut butter was a massive source of omega 6 oils.

Of course, very high intakes of saturated fats ARE bad for you.

But, it now looks like the majority of good results in heart protection and lowering high blood pressure that come from eating less fatty meats, and eating only very lean meats or poultry -- and fish and beans instead  --

It now looks like come MUCH more from eliminating the very high omega 6 content of fats in animals fed corn which is sky high in omega 6 than it is and was from the saturated fat reduction.

It seems we are descended from people who ate animal foods that in turn ate their natural diets and NOT GMO corn or soy.

Eating animals that ate their natural foods as our ancestors did results in about a one to one balance in omega 3 intake and omega 6 intake.

And, omega 3 oils tend to turn down excessive inflammation while excessive intake of omega 6 oils above that ratio turn on high levels of chronic inflammation.

Many if not most people in the United States today eat well over 10 times as much omega 6 oils as omega 3 oils.  And it ranges from 17 times too much omega 6 to over 30 times too much and often is!

Oops! OMG! & similar comments!

That’s a horrible state of affairs and a major cause of nasty diseases and our extremely high health care costs!

Here’s why:

1.  Many other things cause heart disease.  But the high chronic inflammation such excessively high omega 6 intake causes, helps cause heart disease and multiplies the effects of the other causes!

“It’s well established, at this point, that inflammation, not high LDL cholesterol, is what causes plaque buildup in arteries. Moreover, since excessive intake of omega-6 fats promotes inflammation, and high tissue concentrations of omega-6 are associated with high risk of heart disease….”  Emily Deans, M.D.   She goes on to add other harms of high omega 6 intake caused inflammation as I do here. 

( Dr Deans has written several articles about omega 3 and omega 6.  One is available at:

2.  In the book Anti-Cancer, the author shows research that finds that high chronic inflammation such excessively high omega 6 intake causes, helps cause many if not most cancers.

3.  How about having enough osteoarthritis that you are always in some pain and moving around or doing things in your everyday life always hurts a bit? 

You likely would prefer not to have a heart attack or stroke or cancer some time in the future.

But what about osteoarthritis where once you have it, your quality of life right now is made uncomfortable every hour of every day?

Would you like to avoid getting that?

Recent research found that high chronic inflammation not only makes the pains and discomforts of osteoarthritis hurt more, it ALSO helps cause osteoarthritis directly!

 4.  Is there more bad news for people who don’t know to avoid these excessive omega 6 oils?

YES.  Much more!

Dr Emily Deans lists this in her article that I found,

“Here's the real problem - too much inflammation mediated by a high dietary percentage of the omega 6 fatty acid linoleic acid can be reasonably associated with coronary vascular disease, insulin resistance, cancer, hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, thrombotic stroke, headaches, asthma, arthritis, depression, and psychosis. 

So you can see that such a massive change in our diets in the short term of the past 50-70 years could potentially have equally massive effects on our health.” 

(The corn fed grain fed cattle are fed is super high in the omega 6 fatty acid linoleic acid.  That means its fat has enough to harm you if you eat it.  This has 3 remedies.  Eat only the leanest smallest serving of such beef as you can manage, eat other foods entirely such as wild caught fish or beans, OR only eat beef from cattle ONLY fed grass which does NOT have this problem!)

We covered heart disease and thrombotic stroke has the same causes as heart attacks.  We covered cancer and arthritis.

Here are the other diseases excessive omega intake and its high chronic inflammation cause:

This paragraph adds making insulin resistance worse and causing some cases of hypothyroid. 

a) Insulin resistance is a major cause of high blood sugar and high blood sugar high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes. That causes heart disease and blindness and even at lower levels helps cause Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

b) Insulin resistance and hypothyroid help cause obesity and make it harder to lose excess fat.

c) Asthma is horrible to have, can cause death, and does harm quality of life and is expensive to treat.

d)  Autoimmune diseases – similar to asthma, are horrible to have, can cause death, and always harm quality of life and are expensive to treat.  Worse, the treatments tend to have bad side effects and don’t work very well.  Sounds well worth avoiding to me!

e)  The insulin resistance and the vascular diseases caused by it and those caused by the heart disease process help cause Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  Dr Deans says they have been implicated in causing depression and psychosis too!

Then it gets worse.

These same oils that are cheap, mostly from GMO crops, and very high in omega 6 oils are often hydrogenated to make a fatty tasting food with a very long shelf life for the foods it goes into.  Partially or fully hydrogenated oils and the artificial trans fats in them are a direct cause of cardiovascular disease.  In their case, the damage to your blood vessels happens directly and then the high inflammation follows too!

With Crisco and other hydrogenated oils cottonseed oil is often used.  Not only it is it cheap, high in omega 6 oil, and mostly from GMO crops, since cotton is not really a food crop, it’s often heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides even more than food crops are.

B.  So, besides avoiding the fats of animals fed grain, how to avoid this scourge of diseases all caused by excessive omega 6 oils?

a) Almost every food in your grocery store that is a baked good or a packaged snack or a packaged dessert or a prepared dinner has these oils.

Mercifully it’s on their labels as one or more of their ingredients.

But avoiding these foods has an extra health bonus too!  High fructose corn syrup, excessive sugar, excessive salt, MSG, and refined grains are all fattening or as harmful to your health or both!

In fact, once you remove the oils high in omega 6 both regular and saturated and that list of ingredients there is often nothing else in these foods!

In addition, all these oils are all high in omega 6 and best avoided:

( Never buy or eat them voluntarily!):

Corn oil and soy oil are the most common.  But safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and even canola oil are high in omega 6 oils too.  And, I found out from this research, so is peanut oil.

Similarly if the label has ANY partially hydrogenated oils listed at all, it not only has excessive omega 6 oils, its health harm is like it had the afterburner turned on!  Never, ever eat a food including any of a food with hydrogenated oils of any kind listed on the label!

b)  But some cooking and foods need some kind of oil.  Isn’t there an oil that avoids this problem?

YES!  Extra virgin olive oil has almost no omega 6 oils OR saturated fats.  It’s mostly monosaturated omega 9 oil.

If omega 6 oils are that harmful, it would follow that people who eat olive oil only would have better health.

Has that been tested?  Yes again!

One diet that only uses olive oil is the Mediterranean diet.  People who follow it well including only using olive oil HAVE tested to have less heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic diseases.  Note that the Mediterranean diet is also extremely low in fatty meats from grain fed animals!

c)  You may have noticed that even more than the total omega 6 intake, it’s the one to one ratio with omega 3 oils that is health producing.

Does this mean that it also helps avoid these inflammatory diseases to ensure you get enough omega 3 oil by taking supplements and eating wild caught fatty fish high in omega 3 oils two or more times a week?  (Farmed fish are best 100% avoided because they are heavily polluted and fed grains too!)

Yes again!
I found this in an Everyday Health email article about super foods:

“Eating fish helps cut the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. The fatty varieties may also help alleviate depression.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat at least two fish meals per week, especially wild salmon, herring, and sardines, because those varieties provide the most heart-healthy omega 3s.

Avoid mercury-containing varieties like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and albacore tuna, says Roberta Anding, M.S., R.D., national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. (Chunk light tuna is okay.)”

Omega 3 oils are anti-inflammatory!

And the omega 3 oil DHA is so powerful for brain function and nerve growth, it is likely wise to supplement for it directly in addition to a general omega 3 supplement and eating wild caught fatty fish NOT high in mercury.

C.  Summary:

These oils are in so many foods that it IS a lot of work to avoid them.

And the real foods like wild caught fish; and beef from cattle fed only grass; and cheese and butter from grass fed cows, Kerrygold from Ireland is; eggs from pasture fed hens; and extra virgin olive oil; each DO cost more than the cheap but harmful stuff. 

(Whole Foods is a store now in most communities that carries these foods.)

So is eating organic vegetables and fruits.

But buying the cheap stuff as most people still do in part because they don’t know any better is penny wise and 100 dollar bill foolish because of the resulting health care costs.

And, that doesn’t even count the avoidable suffering and early death and diminished life and capacities that consuming the cheap stuff gives you!   

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lose fat forever like those who did....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 11-27-2012

One key way to succeed in anything as Tony Robbins and many others teach, is to find people who are actually succeeding at doing that thing, then emulate them.

Don’t just copy them but copy their strategy and customize it until you get a version that works but that YOU can do.

The chances are very, very good if you do this with enough of their strategies and keep customizing them to you and making an extra effort to learn to do them well, you will come to succeed in doing that thing too!

Most people fail at fat loss because the fat never leaves or it does leave but comes back.

There are 3 keys to permanent fat loss.

1.  Gradually create a way to eat and mostly enjoy foods and drinks that you can keep doing that is a permanent lifestyle upgrade -- AND which supports the lean and essential parts of you but WITHOUT the foods and drinks that make you fat, make you hungrier, or harm you.

The people who fail, cut back too much and think of their efforts as temporary.

Those who cut back more strategically and as a permanent lifestyle upgrade lose fat they then keep off!

2.  Focus on avoiding the foods and drinks that make you fat, make you hungrier, or harm you.

a) If you like some of these, it makes sense to stop the very worst ones anyway! 

Why eat heart attack starter when you are trying to eat less!? 

Why drink appetite boosters when you can drink things that also taste good that don’t!?

Both regular and diet soft drinks do just that!

Since the companies providing this stuff know it’s addictive, they make it look normal to consume and ensure they taste good.

But if you KNOW how harmful they are and stop consuming them and replace them with things you also like, the addiction IS beatable.

When tempted, focus on the real and harmful consequences and eat or drink something else.

b) For those foods and drinks that are not quite that dreadfully harmful, find a version that is a bit less harmful or fattening but you still really like. Then gradually eat it a bit less often or in slightly smaller amounts.  Then cut that back some more once you get used to having it less often.

We cover what those are in most of our posts because they cause so many diseases if you don’t know to avoid them!

The bonus in avoiding them is that not only does it make fat loss easier and keeping it off doable, you can know you are benefitting your health even during times when you lose less fat.

That helps you keep doing it -- so you keep off the fat you already lost and only need to add a bit to resume losing because you aren’t adding fat back with harmful foods and drinks.

Since most of these foods and drinks also make you MORE hungry, when you avoid them, you can lose fat without too much hunger!  That’s a big key to success.

AND by no longer eating or drinking these things, your chances of ESCAPING  heart attack, stroke, ED, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, other kinds of mental decline, and many cancers go WAY, WAY up!

The harm this stuff causes is all too real and as bad for you as smoking -- which is saying a lot!

3.  Use the methods people who have lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off used too!

There is an ongoing study of such people called the National Weight Control Registry.

“Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.”

& both Wikipedia and this link:   Research Findings -

-- list some of their strategies.

Here are some that I think are most helpful and a bit about why they work.

a) Besides eliminating the worst foods and cutting back gradually on those that are just fattening, they found ways to upgrade what they ate so that they ate a bit less.  98% did that!

Removing junk carbs and harmful oils and adding health OK proteins and nonstarchy vegetables and some monosaturated oils, notably extra virgin olive oil all help.

Watching portion size and avoiding triple portions helps too.

b)  They also found a pattern of foods they liked and were OK with that they mostly ate or prepared at home and rarely ate other things.  They ate many of the same foods each week.

This makes shopping and staying with your lifestyle upgrades far easier.  And once you get the portion size down for those, you only have to measure the things you eat more rarely.  And that happens less often, which makes it easier to do!

c)  They also boosted their activity and amount of exercise until they burned an average of over 2900 calories a week.  94% did that at least some most days of every week.

In fact, 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day or more to do that.

You can’t lose fat with exercise only unless you do twice to four times that much.  But doing what they did enables you to get and stay less fat and still eat more and do it with less hunger.  That makes continuing doable!  AND it more than doubles the health protection you get!

Though it isn’t listed in this study, doing some interval cardio AND strength training every week in addition to more moderate exercise, burns far more calories and protects your health better than just moderate exercise alone.  It also improves your appearance and self esteem more!

d)  Always eat breakfast!

This one is extremely valuable!

People losing fat while always eating breakfast, keep their metabolism up far more than those who skip.  (Regular exercise and eating a higher protein diet also help do this.)

That means they can again eat more and get and stay less fat yet still eat more and lose fat with less hunger.  That makes continuing doable!

Always eating breakfast enables people to avoid harmful and fattening mid-morning snacks and eating too much at dinner because it reduces uncontrollable hunger.

And, it gets even better! The metabolism boost is enough that lean people who always eat breakfast actually eat more calories per day than people who stay fat and skip breakfast!

It’s almost like the breakfast calories are free. 

78% of the people always eat breakfast.  And these facts suggest the other 22% would have lost more fat or done what they did more easily if they had always eaten breakfast.

e)  Weigh yourself regularly.  75% did so at least once a week.  (And, I suspect most of the rest did so once a month or so or when they wanted to check their progress.)

When you stop fattening foods and drinks and add exercise and health supporting foods and drinks, you tend to get good news when you step on the scale.

That helps a lot. 

Then when you have lost the fat, if you let up your efforts a bit too much, you find out in time to correct course.

f) “62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.”

And, my guess is that most of the other 38% watched 15 to 20 hours or less or exercised while watching such as walking on a treadmill at the gym while watching.

This one is quite important for four reasons.

One of the most important is that it cuts back on the amount of commercials for the things that harm you and make you fat that you see.  These things aren’t normal or real foods and do you more harm than good.  But the adds show the opposite to make money for the companies that sell them!  The fewer such adds you see, the easier it is to avoid this stuff.

Second, did you know that you burn more calories while sleeping than you do watching TV?  That means that anything else than sitting immobile in front of the TV burns more calories!

Many people get too little sleep because they watch late night TV.  But if you avoid that and sleep instead, your appetite is much less many studies have found.  Get your local and breaking news online earlier in the day and save the late night shows you still allow yourself for earlier watching.

But the biggest reason is that it’s dramatically easier to get an hour or more exercise most days of each week when you watch TV from no hours to 10 or even 20 hours a week than it is when you watch 28 to 56 hours a week of TV!

g)  Although 45 % succeeded on their own, 55% joined some kind of group to get help either in getting started or in keeping their fat off.

So far, the best group is Weight Watchers.

They are far better than they used to be. And for those who can’t make their meetings, they also have an online version.

They sometimes suggest cutting back a bit too much on total calories and even health OK oils. Cut back less if you need to; but make sure that you keep up that smaller cut back consistently.

They are far better at suggesting vegetables and fruit and stopping soft drinks and refined grain foods than they once were. 

But if you use their methods cut back a LOT more than they suggest on soft drinks and refined grain breads and packaged snacks and desserts and commercial baked goods!

They are far better at suggesting exercise than they once were and their CEO just wrote a book on how helpful it was for him to get into weight training.  But if they don’t make a big deal about exercise, be SURE you do it on your own!   

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 11-20-2012

One year and earlier in the month than this, an email newsletter I get & already got then suggested simply making a list of things I was Thankful for as part of my Thanksgiving celebration for that year.

I took a few minutes and wrote down what came to mind.

Then a couple of days later, I read that list and thought of another set of things that included about as many as the first one!

Wow! That wound up being a big list.

Just like most people, I was all too aware of important things I didn't have or didn't have yet with no expectation that would soon change.

So when I saw the resulting very large list, I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.

Try making a list this year yourself.  Use the balance of the holiday weekend if you are not able to do it before Thanksgiving.

Here’s where it gets interesting.:

There are all kinds of reasons to do this that have great power to improve your quality of life, improve your relationships, and even improve your health!

So, take a moment occasionally to do this at times all year long.

Here are three of them.

1.  Every day you win some and lose some.  From leaving your home for work on days everything goes right to a horrible commute home, and good and bad events or results you got in between, almost every day is a mixed review if you include everything.

But your reality is what you think about and focus on much more than you may realize. 

So, if you notice good things and successful efforts as they happen and recall them later, your quality of life and your mental health will be better.  The bad things did happen.  But if you notice and remember the good ones, your life is actually better just the same!

Research has actually been done and tested this to be a fact. 

In fact, though it’s challenging to take five minutes each day to write a list for that day & take notes during the day when things to put on it come up, they found that many people who were mildly depressed often felt no depression and were happy after doing this for just one month.

What went well for you today you are thankful for?

2.  Notice what people are good at doing.  Be thankful for it.  Look for these things and value the people who have them.

If you are in business and you can find people with great strengths you can put to work and help make their weaknesses safe or compensated for, YOU will be successful. 

Peter Drucker discovered that is a key way to be an unusually effective business leader. 

Even people you know just a bit will often turn out to be good at some things.  If you notice and think well of them because of it, you’ll find people easier to like and work with AND your life will work much, much better than if you don’t.

Self help writer David Schwartz put it this way:  “Look for reasons to like people. It ALWAYS pays” (to do that.)

Though I don’t remember where I read it, I also once read that people in successful marriages almost invariably know several strengths their husband or wife has and value them.

I know from personal experience this is essential at work too.  Because I value the people around me for their real strengths I find I understand them better, find it easier to forgive them when they fall short, and can often work with other people most people find difficult or worse.

And, in work and personal relationships, people are also what they do not just what they can do. 

So if when someone does something you like or that benefits you, if you give them a sincere but short thanks for what they did at least some of the time, that also helps!

To do that though, you have to do 3 things: you have to realize you liked what they did, you have to allow yourself to feel glad they did it, and you have to tell them that you liked what they did – and only that.

If you say anything before or after that you wish it was more often etc that ruins it so bad, you would have been better to say nothing.

“I liked it when you did that, it meant a lot to me, Thanks!”

“Thanks for doing that.”

Just like everyone else you may be too busy to do this every time.  And, people begin to wonder about you having extra motivations if you do it every single time or try too hard.

But if you do it well occasionally & right after they did it, it can really help.

3.  Martin Seligman, PhD, found that some people are unusually resilient and mentally healthy.

He found that what makes the difference is they think of good things as permanent and helpful in many ways and feel anchored by them.  This gives them a mental glow and an optimistic style.  (Sometimes they believe this more than the facts indicate.  So they have to be prudent too to stay safe.) 

And, they think of bad things as limited, temporary, events with specific causes, that can be changed and which only have the limited effects they actually had and are limited to that.

In doing that, they are very precise, accurate, analytic, and scientific in their approach.

Does this make a big difference?  It makes a HUGE difference! 

People who do these two things have more friends and better health and over a lifetime make more money than people who don’t.

What things in your life are you thankful for that are permanent or likely to be around for a long time?

At Thanksgiving, this set of things to remember and be Thankful for can serve you all year round!

What are yours?    

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Monday, November 19, 2012

My monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post:  Monday, 11-19-2012

It’s a bit strange to do my fatloss report the Monday of the same week Thanksgiving is in!

But this year the early Thanksgiving did that and also last week it compressed my yearly Thanksgiving prep and strategy posts with the Great American Smoke Out post on Thursday.

1.  This month’s report is mixed but a bit better than last time.

I gained back a second pound on the scale but lost back the half an inch on my waist.

I am still over 4 pounds less than I was 7 months ago.  So, using the recumbent bike over the last month may have helped me gain less back.

But still, my hope for continued progress on the scale this month didn’t happen. (As I explain later, I do have reason to believe that pound was muscle at least.)

2.  My main effort during the past month was to boost my minutes ridden each day at work on the recumbent bike. 

I did well the week of my last fatloss report post and almost OK the next 2 weeks.  But last week, I lost a whole day due to a plumbing emergency and a half day due to important work which was too demanding to do and still keep the pedals going.

Needless to say this is a short week which won’t help.

But I clearly would gain back the other 4 pounds I lost and lose health benefits if I wasn’t making the consistent effort I have been.

I’m still averaging well over 2500 calories of exercise a week instead of the 1,000 a week only I was getting without the exercise at work.  And, one interesting note is that my estimate of calories burned at work may be low because I get warm doing the exercise bike.  This is true despite not pushing the pace past just keeping the pedals moving!

My goal is to push past 3,000 calories a week total because the people who lost over 30 pounds and still are keeping it off average just a bit less than that, about 2950.

And, my hope is to get to the 3500 to 4,000 calories a week range by boosting my at work exercise to 2500 to 3,000 a week.  That IS a challenge since my best week at work so far was 2,000.  But I’m at work 9 hours a day; and 3,000 calories a week requires me to keep the pedals moving for just 3 hours a day of that. So it’s potentially doable.

Last week, my estimated calories burned was 1600 on the bike and 1,100 from my regular exercises.  That’s 2700 calories for the week total which is less than the 2900 calories a week people get who do the best job of losing all their fat and keeping it off. 

2700 during that week was also less than the 3500 calories a week of exercise tested to have the best health results. 

But, much of the previous 3 weeks was better in my total calories burned and closer to the 2950 per week goal.

3.  The other way I’m working to lose my belly fat is to build muscle.  And there I may have made some further progress. 

That may be why I lost back the half inch I gained on my waist despite being heavier by a bit on the scale.

As I posted last month, I’ve known that reports have it that taking in whey protein right after exercise has been reported to help.  But even though I bought some whey with no stevia in it which I HATE the overpowering taste of, I hardly ever used it because before I used a blender which is a royal PAIN to wash.

Since then though I discovered the good news on whey was WAY understated! 

Research long ago established clearly that taking in protein with the same amino acid balance as your body has builds muscle far more effectively than just getting more protein generally.

Then  just before my post a month ago I found that whey comes very close to having the same amino acid balance as the human body!

With that extra motivation I invented a way to add whey to my first glass of milk I drink right after my exercise.  AND it worked and is continuing to work!  I just use a fork.  Some of the whey blends in OK but I actually use the fork to strain out the rest and simply eat the paste off the fork.  The taste isn’t bad and overall this adds 23 grams of Whey’s effective and amino acid balanced protein each day right when my muscles need it most for repair and gains!

BINGO!  And, taking the whey each morning is something I can do all year long!

My shoulders have NOT yet recovered; but building back from using slightly less weight and taking the whey added together have seemed to begin to do the job! 

My shoulders hurt far less; and that’s while I’m using closer to the weight I want to use than I was doing when they hurt more.

Note that the daily whey adds about 3,000 calories a month to my food intake, 100 a day.  So that would account for the pound gained on the scale.  BUT, it’s quite likely that I gained that pound as muscle.  And, it’s clear if I want my belly fat to shrink, it’s critically important I do that.


Between cutting more calories with the exercise bike at work and adding that extra muscle in my at home strength training, I still hope to see no more weight gains on the scale AND see some lower waist measurements!  I’ll lose fat and add muscle.

If it works, as it looks like it already is, the added muscle will burn more calories and I may also begin to lose weight on the scale too.

We’ll see how next month does though it won’t be until February or March before the total results are in because of the holidays.

At least I know how to eat to minimize the fat gained and the health harm from enjoying the holidays! 

Hope your Thanksgiving is good and enjoyable between now and next month’s post!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

How to stay healthy on Thanksgiving, 2012….

Today's Post:  Friday, 11-16-2012  

There are two ways to a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner.

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

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

There's no perfect way to do either. 

The focus at Thanksgiving & at Thanksgiving Dinner must be on enjoying the day.  Enjoy the food.  Enjoy the company.  And, enjoy the time off work!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 A couple of years ago, blogger Vera Tweed came up with a delightful strategy for thinking about this that I read.

Her idea was to think of the Holiday Season the way an athlete trains for a competition.  Focus on eating right and exercising as if you are in training during the Holiday Season.  Every meal that isn't a holiday dinner or other event, at all your other meals, eat right and only eat right.  And, make sure to exercise during this time.

Her idea that I liked best is to start NOW to do this instead of waiting until January when all you can do is catch up and repair the damage of the holiday season as many people do!

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

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

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

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

A recent article even found evidence that the alpha carotenes in carrots, squash, yams, sweet potatoes, darker greens, and broccoli may be as effective or more in turning off cancers as raw broccoli or cauliflower do with their cruciferous vegetable phyto-nutrients.  Alpha carotene was found to be connected to a 39% lower risk of dying from any cause in fact in the study reported.  Even better, when cooked and eaten with fats or oils, the carotenes of all kinds in food become more bioavailable and likely to benefit you.

Believe it or not, that specifically means that the filling in pumpkin pie is good for you!  For this nutrient, cooked broccoli works in fact.  Yams or sweet potatoes or the filling in a sweet potato pie are also good for you.

Last year I tried making a dairy free pumpkin coconut oil pie filling.  I used two 15 ounce cans of pumpkin puree, the free flowing 9 ounces from a 13 ounce plus can of coconut milk.  I used about half a tablespoon each of allspice, powdered ginger, and cinnamon.  I added about that much dark molasses and 2/3 cup of dark brown sugar.  I stirred those together until smooth over low heat in a cast iron frying pan large enough.  I then whisked together 3 extra large raw eggs in a separate container.  Then I poured that into the rest and using the whisk, I stirred it in for several minutes until it was thoroughly cooked.

I then let it cool enough to be OK putting into the refrigerator in a glass container large enough.

When I tasted it the next morning it was delightful.  I’ll serve it with a bit of pumpkin pie spice to sprinkle on top for people who want that traditional flavor.  But, just as I fixed it, it had more flavor and tasted far better than 95% of the pumpkin pie fillings I’ve ever had.

Serving it by itself this way makes it gluten free and grain free as well.

My wife found out that nonfat Greek yogurt plus dark molasses also work in a pumpkin pie filling as a substitute for evaporated milk.)

If raw vegetables are available in a relish tray, the cruciferous ones and the ones with carotenes are the best for you.  Broccoli florets, radishes, carrots, and cherry tomatoes are particularly good. 

Have very little dip unless you know what's in it.  Some dips have hydrogenated oils.  My wife and I bring the relish tray.  One year we were bringing sour cream with nothing added and hummus with the container showing the ingredients for dips.  Hummus is good for you but avoid overdoing it to leave room for the dinner.  Sour cream is OK in small amounts occasionally; but don't overdo it.  We were bringing guacamole; but no one but me ate any before, so I no longer do that.  But if your family likes it, do bring some.  It's actually a good for you dip.

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

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

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

Here's personal example of that.  I've always loved pie, including the pie crusts. 

But I've found out since that many, if not most, of the pies I'm likely to get at Thanksgiving have crust made with refined grain flour and Crisco, which is basically massive amounts of Trans fats (aka as partially hydrogenated oils). 

What I do now is take small servings of my favorite pie or pies & only eat the fillings.  So I can enjoy cherry or blueberry pie filling, pumpkin pie filling, and/or candied pecan filling; but I leave the crust.  The only exception I might make is to have one single bite of a browned bit of crust since it has the most flavor.  Two years ago I didn't even do that as I no longer had room for it.

This year my wife is making pies with a gluten free flour she has pre-tested to work to make decent pie crusts AND she used Kerry Gold Irish butter from grass fed cows which we bought at Whole Foods. 

Butter tastes about three for four times better than Crisco in a pie crust. And though you want to avoid eating too much butter too often, hydrogenated oils are such a potent heart attack starter, butter is about ten times better for you!

4.  A relish tray with the best for you vegetables and good tasting dips that have no hydrogenated oils and pies with crusts that have no gluten and use real butter from grass fed cows, illustrate another method. 

Arrange to bring foods that you know are good for you or less harmful and which others will also like.  That way you for sure have foods at the dinner you can fill up on or eat at all when you otherwise might not.

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

I found out the hard way once that if you drink much more than that, it prevents you from enjoying the people you really wanted to talk with.  That year I only really got to have the first half of Thanksgiving and lost the rest. 

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

Since I first wrote that, I have since tried Bloody Mary mixes that had bad ingredients and tasted worse!  So be sure to use or have a version with health OK ingredients and that you already know tastes good.)

Red wine is a bit better for you and goes with the dinner. 

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

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

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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