Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to stay healthy on Thanksgiving, 2013….

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 11-26-2012  

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 mostly 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.  Before and after Thanksgiving, 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. 

Cranberries are, along with organic wild blueberries the most health enhancing berries on the planet.  (You can also ask to bring a version you make at home with thawed diced organic cranberries from the frozen food section at Whole Foods with zest from organic oranges and diced organic raisins.  That will have some sweetness and extra flavor with no added sugar or HFCS to worry about!)

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 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.  One year my wife wanted to just buy a dip and all of them but one had 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 alcohol.  They may be unable to stop at 3 if they have 3 or have to drive soon after the dinner and late at night and not metabolize alcohol well.)

 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. (Unfortunately, the Virgin Mary mixes have high fructose corn syrup and are not very good either so only get a Virgin Mary if a real bar tender is making it or you make it from an online recipe you’ve tried and liked.)

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 to be safest, 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!  

Labels: ,

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fix a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner, 2013....

Today's Post:  Monday, 11-25-2013

Here is my 2013 update on the versions I posted in 2008 to 2012. 

There are two ways to a healthier Thanksgiving Dinner. (You can use all the info if you are doing it all or just for the dish or two you bring.)

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

2.  Tomorrow, we plan a post on how to stay healthier eating a Thanksgiving Dinner no matter how it's fixed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.  Sugar.

Real sugar or brown sugar or real maple syrup or dark molasses are least bad for you and most likely to be in some holiday dishes.  (Artificial sugars and agave nectar are NOT OK for health and many hate the taste of Stevia.)  The key is to use real sugar and go easy the days before and after Thanksgiving day and eat the dishes with sugar On Thanksgiving only after eating some protein and vegetables.

You can also take a cinnamon supplement a few minutes before you eat a sweet treat with sugar.  This cuts back on both the blood sugar and the insulin surge to make it less harmful and fattening.

In making the food, you can try making it half with brown sugar or real maple syrup or dark molasses because those have flavor in addition to the sugar.  (If you can get it, C & H sugar from Hawaiian sugar cane is NOT GMO nor is real maple syrup.)

You can then add organic raisins for some dishes instead of the other half the sugar in some dishes.  That adds fiber and a new kind of taste to the dish.

You can use half coconut sugar to make the overall sugar lower glycemic since coconut sugar is only 45 while regular is 65 and half and half is 55 instead of 65. 

Or you can use half of one of those and half erythritol.  That has half the sugar and calories so the glycemic load is less too.  Erythritol is a sugar alcohol but is available in granules much like real sugar.  Like coconut sugar, it’s a bit less sweet than regular sugar; but by being only half the sweeteners the combination with a form of real sugar will be close to as sweet. 
The calories and glycemic load are half as much but check for taste before bringing this version or the half coconut sugar one.  (The coconut sugar has a mild brown sugar like taste & likely will pass.  The erythritol version may or may not.  Be sure to check before bringing it.)
Erythritol is OK in small amounts and only half the sweetener besides.  Unlike the artificial sweeteners it is from natural sources and has no listed health harms reported.

2.  High fructose corn syrup.  (Much of it contains mercury and the research finds it harmful.)

Be very careful to NOT use any ingredients or foods or drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup.  Recent research finds it to be heart attack starter and much more fattening than real sugar!)

3.  Refined grain or rice. (These spike blood sugar more than sugar!  Minimize grain and rice as ingredients and use 100% whole grains instead if the dish works at all that way.)

You can also use quinoa which makes a rice like dish that both has more protein of better quality and is much lower glycemic than whole grains, rice, and brown rice. It also ONLY comes as non GMO. 

4.  Salt.  (Use some but don't overdo it. And, have some salt free choices for those who need them.  For example, be sure to include some unsalted vegetables raw or cooked to counter balance it with their potassium.)

5.  Saturated fat and fat from grain fed animals that is also high in omega 6 oils.  (You're virtually guaranteed to have some.  But where you can in recipes substitute some fat from animals that are 100% grass or pasture fed or substitute extra virgin olive oil.)

6.  Trans fats (aka as  partially hydrogenated oils). (Deadly stuff! Use NONE of it voluntarily.  Use no Crisco or other trans fat based shortening. Use no margarine -- which also is high in omega 6 oils besides the trans fats. Real butter is better!  And real butter from grass fed cows is best if you can get it.  Just use a bit less or when you can, use extra virgin olive oil.)

7.  Soft drinks.  (Both regular and diet, these are the worst fatteners consumed by humans.  The rest of the Thanksgiving dinner feast is enough already! Add no more fatteners!  Since these are the worst known, refuse to bring them or drink them on Thanksgiving.)

8.  MSG.  MSG both fattens even with the same calorie intake AND is thought to be one of the many causes of the damage that causes mental decline too!  Don’t use MSG or foods or spice blends containing MSG or autolyzed yeast or “spices.”

1.  Sugar. 

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

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

Use 10 to 20 % less sugar in the recipe.  The flavored sugars such as brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and dark molasses can make this hard to detect since there is still a good bit of sugar AND their distinctive flavor to make sure the sugar is noticed.

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

Or, use 25% less sugar but replace that sugar with the natural but no calorie sweetener, erythritol.  (Using more than 25% erythritol may not taste as good and will cause your body to crave more sugar.  Try the recipe ahead of time if you can to check it for taste.)

(In 2009, we suggested using Agave nectar or syrup. Do NOT use it!
Since then I tried it and found it not to be a very good substitute for sugar. I found it to have a harsh undertone.

AND it's basically straight fructose which is actually WORSE for you than sugar.  No worries if you like it.  But things like maple syrup or brown sugar taste better and actually are better for you!)

2.  High fructose corn syrup. Currently, this means no store bought pies or other desserts.  Too many of them still contain this.  Do your best to get homemade with real sugar instead even if you have to trade favors with the cook if you don't cook or haven't time. 

Make a strong special effort to not serve or use jam or jelly unless you've read the label and it ONLY has real sugar.  It's changed but at one time, over 90 % of store bought jams and jellies still had high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar. 

Similarly use real maple syrup only in recipes that call for it instead of other kinds. Over 90 % of those that just are syrup for pancakes etc still have high fructose corn syrup while 100 % real maple syrup has only sugar. 

And, either substitute a bit of brown sugar or real maple syrup with a bit of a mild tasting or bland extra virgin olive oil instead of commercial marshmallows as I've read they also tend to have high fructose corn syrup.  At least read the label first or cut the amount per serving in half.

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

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

3.  Refined grain.

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

If you'll serve rolls, do your best to find whole wheat rolls and serve one only to people who ask for one.

Experiment with gravy made with lightly toasted whole wheat flour or gluten free buckwheat flour &/or canned black eyed peas that have been run through a blender for refined grain flour in the gravy.  It also works to add button mushrooms or diced onion that has been sautéed in extra virgin olive oil.  (Minced garlic and sautéed mushrooms and extra virgin olive oil and pureed cooked black eyed peas and a bland extra virgin olive oil make a decent vegan gravy I found.  It also has zero gluten.)

Use whole wheat flour or gluten free buckwheat flour for pie crusts and make pies with a bottom crust only or a top crust only instead having a crust both places.  Or use the lattice style on top.

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

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

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

5.  Saturated fat.

Cook the stuffing on the stove top instead of inside the turkey. (Inside the turkey stuffing soaks up a lot of saturated fat-and in grain fed turkeys omega 6 oils.)

Serve a small pat of butter or two on top of a dish after it's cooked and still pretty hot instead of using more in the recipe.  (You get the great taste but with a lot less of the fat and calories that way.)

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

Also consider adding dried and pitted (& checked for being pitted) dried sour cherries to the gravy and the stuffing.  They add a tasty, festive touch AND help your body process the saturated fat.  Diced cranberries also work and fit the traditional Thanksgiving taste themes.

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

Minimize cheese dishes or make small portions. 

Or use cheese from cows fed only grass.  Kerrygold Killaree Irish Cheddar is one such cheese. (Kerrygold also makes a butter from cows fed only grass.)

Butter and cheese from grass fed cows do have the saturated fat -- but we now know that in moderation  it’s OK for health and even may help protect your heart.  The omega 6 oils in cheese and butter from cows fed GMO corn are NOT OK to eat if you value your health.  Use extra virgin olive oil and other protein foods instead if you can’t use grass fed. At least eat very little and do NOT cook with it.

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

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

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

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

6.  Trans fats (aka as partially hydrogenated oils).

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

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

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

7.  Soft drinks.

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

Club soda and iced tea also work.

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

Do your very best to avoid serving regular or diet soft drinks unless you know your guests will be extremely unhappy without them.  Or if only one or two guests want soft drinks, politely request they bring their own.  At least you won't help enable their bad habit.  If this will cause a problem for them in enjoying the dinner, don't do it.  And no matter what, don't talk about it at the dinner. 

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

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

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

For example, my wife and I also now bring the relish dish.  We include raw organic broccoli florets, radishes, pitted olives, carrot sticks from peeled carrots, and sometimes celery sticks or raw chunks of cauliflower.  We take real sour cream with curry powder; hummus, and a health OK Ranch dressing from Whole Foods for dips.  (Guacamole is OK even good for health but no one but me used any.  So we stopped bringing that.  It didn't work for the rest of my family.  Yours might like it. Try it and see.)

We may try using some of the thick low fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream this year.  If the taste is rich and good enough it does have less saturated fat, calories, etc and it has protein compared with sour cream.

New in 2013!  Maple Hill Farms makes a full fat yogurt from grass fed cows that is available at Whole Foods.  Try that in moderate amounts instead of sour cream from grain fed cows for dips. It’s very rich tasting.

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

Do the best you can.

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

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 22, 2013

Research says fat loss is essential for heart health....

Today's Post:  Friday, 11-22-2013

As many of you saw, yesterday we posted on how the severe impact on heart health of smoking and tobacco smoke exposure is the BIG reason to quit and ban second hand smoke from public areas.

Doctors have known for many years that the more people smoke and the longer they have smoked and even if they smoke lightly, smokers have MUCH more artery plaque buildup than people who have no tobacco smoke exposure. 

Every single exposure to tobacco smoke adds to the plaque buildup.  (The other half the problem is that tobacco smoke also triggers heart attacks in people who would have escaped them or only had them many years later.)

But this also means that anything else that causes that kind of plaque buildup is a direct cause for heart attack, strokes, and Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia from the drop off in circulation.

We’ve known of course that the foods and drinks that make people fat are heart attack starters and do tend to cause just exactly that kind of plaque buildup.

And, we've known that the foods that tend to make people fat often contain oils high in omega 6 that boosts inflammation as well as the heart attack starters boosting inflammation as they damage your blood vessels.

Lastly, people who do the regular, vigorous exercise that causes fat loss also get heart health benefits.

So, since the things that cause obesity cause heart disease and plaque buildup and inflammation, it’s no surprise that the fatter people are the more plaque buildup they have.

But, until just recently, no one had measured both the BMI of people AND plaque buildup to see if this was a strong association or a weak one.

THAT was recently done!

Being fat turns out to be just like smoking! 

If someone smokes at all and the more someone smokes, you can know they have more plaque in their blood vessels even without measuring it directly.

Here’s what the new research found:

The higher someone’s BMI reading, the higher their plaque levels are.

Even if you do more things right and have better health indicators by exercising and eating less of the heart attack starters and less of the inflammatory foods, that means the fatter you are the more plaque you have and the more danger you and your health are in.

(We posted on how to do those things to lower your health risks right away even before you lose much of your fat on:  Tuesday, 10-22 this year.)

There are groups focused on accepting fat people as they are.

They believe two things:

1.  People who are fat deserve to be treated well as individuals and not treated badly without even knowing them or what they have to offer.

That’s completely accurate. 

Everyone deserves to be treated courteously and kindly period!!

AND, there are some people who are quite fat who are really remarkable people well worth knowing because they are such good, talented people.  The fools who write people off before getting to know them, can really lose out more than they may possibly imagine!

2.  They believe that fat people should not be urged to lose their fat.

THAT has just been proved totally wrong!

It’s simple.  This research says that everyone who is more than a little bit fat is risking serious health problems and a shorter sicker life.

Not only does this impact them and the people that care about them, it costs everyone money from the expensive drugs and treatments they will need that they could avoid.

It’s powered by the fact that until now we didn’t know much about helping such people lose that fat permanently and the solutions for some people who need them to lose fat at all were still far less developed than they are rapidly becoming.

Between the harm this research shows they risk by being so fat and the tools that are now becoming available EVERYONE who is too fat should begin to learn those tools and use them.

Telling them it’s OK to do nothing is irresponsible in my view!

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New info on quitting smoking successfully....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 11-21-2013

Most of our healthcare costs -- both for you as an individual and for all of us over our lifetimes -- now goes for almost completely preventable diseases!

Today is the Great American Smoke Out!

It’s held once as a year because some people do quit which helps cut our overall health care costs and saves those people a LOT of grief.

1.  Many smokers do want to quit now and would try if they thought they had a shot at success.

2.  Some smokers might try to quit if they thought they would be harmed by smoking but don’t now believe they are.

3.  And, other smokers, often women, would try to quit or even succeed if they knew how to quit without gaining a lot of fat weight.

So, what’s this new information?

The new information is:

1. There ARE three things that people can do to more than double their chances of quitting smoking successfully.  We even now know how to make it easy to start them!

We list that below.

2.  Some people have heard that smoking causes lung cancer.  But many smokers don’t know any others who have lung cancer.  Some even know that not every smoker ever gets lung cancer.  THAT part is true.  (Even among heavy smokers only one out of four gets lung cancer.)

So, they simply expect to be one of the lucky smokers who escape lung cancer and keep smoking.

Even if they DO escape lung cancer they are thinking they are unharmed by their smoking.

The new information TO YOU is that if you are such a smoker, you are horribly mistaken if you think that! 

That mistake could cost you your life AND 20 or thirty years of healthy life first on top of that.

The truth is that every smoker or person exposed to second hand smoke is harmed every single time at each exposure.  No smoker escapes at all!

How can that be?  Why is that true? 

Most smokers don’t know and keep smoking.

Some smokers keep smoking but do cut back to 5 or 6 a day and then think they are safe because they don’t know that they still have most of this harm because they failed to stop entirely.

Most doctors do know but don’t explain it well.

What happens is that tobacco smoke exposure damages the insides of your blood vessels every single time you are exposed to tobacco smoke.  Your body then tries to repair this damage with a small patch and puts plaque over it.  This happens every time. 

(This damage also speeds up aging of every part of you each time you breathe tobacco smoke.)

If you keep smoking or being around smokers, this plaque builds up.  If you eat too much heart attack starters in your food also this plaque build-up happens MUCH faster.  If you are a heavy smoker it happens even faster yet.

Then your body tends to calcify the plaque and you will then have atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, get high blood pressure, & likely will have to take the drugs for it.

You are then a heart attack waiting to happen.

You may not need to wait long.  Tobacco smoke, we now know, is also a trigger and causes heart attacks in people who would otherwise have escaped them or not had them until years later.

This damage happens a bit to every single smoker every single time.  This damage happens to light smokers.  It happens to brand new teenaged smokers.  And if you smoke it has already been happening to you for longer than is good for you!

3.  Since it is true that quitting smoking tends to cause weight gain, it would be easier for many to try to quit and to succeed if they could quit smoking without that weight gain. 

Even if they could gain 5 pounds and take it off instead of gaining 10 or 15 pounds that stay on, many more people would try to quit and succeed if they knew how to do that and did it.

Here’s the wonderful good news for those people AND for everyone who wants to quit smoking and stop being harmed by smoking.

There are two practices that are easy to start that more than double your chances of quitting smoking!

These two changes also empower you to easily make even more changes that protect your health that you literally would not have been able to do before.

Best of all these two changes are also the essential building blocks of permanent fat loss!

Every single bit of that has been tested and found true.

a)  The most effective of these two changes is to begin regular exercise you do every week.  It even works in the early stages if you only do it once or twice a week. 

Even better, you can do slow motion strength training -- 10 to 15 seconds up and 10 to 15 seconds down  or cardio where you go a bit fast until you begin to be out of breath and then stop or slow way down until you are mostly recovered before you speed up again.

You can do some version of these at home.  You can and should start with a weight or cardio exercise at only a moderately hard level and build up slowly week by week.

Again, best of all, you can start getting benefits with sessions of 4 to 6 minutes each.

How to start? 

Decide which morning works best for you to block out the slightly less than ten minutes to set up and do your session and write or enter a brief note with that day’s date and what you did.

Then when that morning comes, try it out.  Plan to do a bit more next time -- or if it is a bit too hard do less next time or the next part that day.

Give yourself a big cheer of encouragement for starting and write down your exercise session on your calendar for next week.

b)  For some people who already exercise or have an active job, the second main method may be what you want to do first.

Decide what fits you best and which one you will do first.

If it’s not exercise for any reason, the second one has been just as empowering for some people.

The second one is even easier to begin.  The second part of it is a harder for some people so the key for most people is to do the first part first.

People who have been eating foods and drinking drinks that harm their health and fatten them and who switch to foods and drinks that do not, get benefits close to as good and sometimes better than beginning to do the right exercises every week.

Pick one real vegetable that isn’t starchy that you are willing to eat or at least try out.

Go to the store and buy from one to enough to have some once a day for a week.

Then decide where you will eat it in your day.  I take my lunch, so in my own case I added it to my lunch.  But some people add mushrooms and onions to their scrambled eggs at breakfast.  And some people add a small serving to eat at dinner.

Then go buy it and try it out for a week.

Give yourself a big cheer of encouragement for starting and decide whether you want to add a second vegetable to your day or if you want to try a different one next.

Broccoli florets work and are often available in grocery stores or restaurants at the deli section or the salad bar.  You can buy some and take them home.

If you prepare food at home or are willing to do it, you can buy broccoli at the grocery store and wash it and dry it and cut off the florets yourself.

(If you find you can eat broccoli florets or cauliflower florets the good news is that they begin to protect you from the cancer risk you were running up before.)

Or, you can do something even easier that almost everyone can do and eat OK.

Buy one can of green beans at the store and eat a third of the can on three days at lunch or dinner during the week.

To get started it doesn’t have to be hard to do.  In fact if you pick something you are pretty sure you can do or would find easy to do, that’s a GOOD thing!  The essential part is to get started.

People who just begin to do these two things do double their chances of quitting smoking and even without eating ANY less, most people will lose weight too.

And, they begin to get substantial protection from the health harms they had before.

Hope that works for you too.

(I have more to lose yet, but I’ve lost 30 pounds I’ve kept off and did this method myself. It does work!)  

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New guidelines that may increase statin use are a BAD idea....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 11-19-2013

There are several new guidelines for statin use and some even make some sense.

But some of them redefine statins from a specialty drug that reduces LDL cholesterol and inflammation to a generic heart protector that very large numbers of people should take who do not take them now.

One cardiologist with a good understanding of effective heart protection said he saw an estimate that the number of people who have been taking statins in the United States, 45 million, could easily go to 70 million!

I’ve seen evidence that statins are a remarkably bad and limited drug!

I think that evidence strongly suggests that the number of people in the United States taking them should be less than ONE million!

So you can imagine my reaction to having the problem get that much worse!

Here are the most important of these reasons not to use statins for most people who now take them.

First, the doctors prescribing them already do NOT know this key information needed to qualify them to do so.  These guidelines do NOT account for these facts either. 

1.  Several years ago the Berkeley Heart Lab discovered that measures of heart risk factors were remarkably more diverse and numerous than had previously been known and that there are large individual differences, many of them genetic, between people in these readings and how they respond to heart drugs and statins in particular.

They found that most people get little benefit from statins and that for every 100 such people taking statins only one heart attack is prevented.  They did find that some people did get decent protection from statins; but they are a minority.

That test then cost about $600 and is likely more like $700 or more now.  So this wasn’t much used.

BUT, far worse, almost no doctors ever heard this work existed! 

The statin drug makers certainly didn’t publicize it!

But those facts remain!  And, I’m indebted to cardiologist Arthur Agatson who wrote an article saying that a genetic test for just this single difference is only $150 now.

That means that every single prescription for statin drugs given to people who have NOT had this $150 test show they are in that minority is very poor medical practice indeed.

If doctors were properly informed of this, it would be malpractice.  (To be fair, if doctors were that informed many if not most of them would test first.  They simply don’t know enough to qualify to prescribe statins now.)

2.  But why is that such a bad idea and such poor medical practice?

It is even worse than you might imagine in your worst nightmares!

Here’s why:

a) Good studies show that 9% of the people given statins develop type 2 diabetes.  

But type 2 diabetes jumps the risk of heart attack, doubling it for men and quadrupling it for women PLUS causing blindness, and mental decline, and foot amputation, and MUCH higher medical care costs.   You can hardly cut excessive health care costs if you use drugs that cause over NINE times as much harm as the good they do.

This means for example, that if 25 million new people take statins, 2.25 million of them will get type 2 diabetes in addition to those who now develop it from other causes.  That will cost millions more dollars just as our medical care costs are so high they are harming our economy.

b)  Other than stopping eating and drinking foods that are proven heart attack starters such as hydrogenated oils and all the others  --

The MOST protective action people can take to prevent heart attacks and strokes and mental decline AND type 2 diabetes is to do quite vigorous exercise, even if in brief sessions, most days of every week.

People do need to know how to begin doing and how to do these exercises safely.  But that is extremely doable.

And research shows that the more consecutive years people do this the better their protection gets!

It couldn’t be any clearer!

If there is a drug that harms people who do those exact kinds of exercises or even kills some of them, it should be a black box drug with very limited use.

Statins have exactly that effect!  The evidence is in.  The facts show that statins do exactly that.

The research was reported in a New York Times article.  Even worse, the better job people do on these exercises, the more harm statins do them!  This is a horrible state of affairs in my view.

This means that a strong case can be made that even people for whom the genetic tests show statins can be protective, they would be well served to use such exercise and other methods to get this protection – and NOT take statins. 

(The good news is that some statins do this less.  Those can be taken in lower doses and combined with dietary upgrades and other protective methods.  And, there is research suggesting that people who take 200 to 400 mg a day of ubiquinol may avoid some or all of this side effect.)

Once again, doctors rarely have heard of this and yet write hundreds of statin prescriptions anyway.

(Older people who are bed-ridden and have already had a heart attack or have very high risk factors and test in the group that statins help may be the one group for whom statins are a good idea.)

What then do doctors do who want to help their patients avoid heart attacks if they know not to prescribe statins?

There are two answers.

They need to learn the lifestyle upgrades that ARE quite effective in doing that and tell their patients to begin doing them.  (See our recent list of exactly such upgrades and why to make them in our related post a few days ago on why most people do NOT need to take blood pressure drugs because those who do those upgrades already HAVE the protection they need.)

The second thing they need is to have an effective and affordable service that helps people learn and begin those lifestyle upgrades.  We are working on that now and DO plan to offer it to doctors. 

In the same way doctors delegate to statin drugs now with these poor results, we think they can delegate the far more protective lifestyle upgrades to us or a similar service.

So there is hope for the future even with the dreadful news now.  

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 18, 2013

My monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post:  Monday, 11-18-2013

This report is no fun to write as it’s bad news this time

This is another mixed review report. (The bad news this month is in Part I.)

And, the likely results I'm headed for are still promising.  (Why is listed below in Part II.)

Part I:

The bad news first:

I gained back the two pounds I lost the month before.  And, another pound and a half for 3 & a half pounds gained.  Now I’m at a pound and a half over my goal weight

I even ate did continue the strategies I’ve continued to use that lost me the 30 pounds to start with.

I’m now 2 pounds below my goal weight. 

So, on the scale, I could gain 2 pounds of muscle without losing any fat and still be at my goal weight.

I also gained back the half an inch on my waist I had just lost the month before.  BOO!

THIS is the key measure for me. 

So that was very disappointing to me.  I think that the added pound and a half above gaining the 2 pounds back may be measurement error since the week before it WAS just a regain of the 2 pounds.

So I still need to lose a bit over 4 inches off my waist.

Based on the lack of what the bodybuilders call high definition and the small visible rolls of fat on my belly and “love handles” and hips and the equal amount of excess visceral fat likely inside my belly, I think I do have that much fat to lose. 

AND, if I eat mostly as I do now and gain even 10 of the 20 to 25 pounds of muscle I’d like to gain, I believe I can and will lose that fat.

I’d very much like to lose four more inches besides that first four from my waist for a total of 8 more inches and even more health benefits.  But at my age and overall sedentary life now, that may be too much to ask even after adding a good bit of muscle. 

(I suspect my stomach and intestines have been too stretched out to decrease that much even after losing the excess fat and gaining the muscle I plan to gain.  I’d love to be wrong about that though!)

There is a chance I found a way to get an inch or so of this off with a new technique I read about since last time.

For now, I will focus some on being just a bit more restrained on getting treats and hope that helps hold the line besides keeping up doing the things that lost me the 30 pounds to begin with.

I will fight to avoid gaining back any more weight; but at this point my main focus still will be to add muscle.

I also need to boost my metabolism to the extent I can do so. 

a) Adding muscle and the exercises I’m doing do help with that already.

b) There is a supplement available in Scandinavia that may boost metabolism enough to make a difference that I hope to make generally available and use myself.

The study on it found it does this better than the much less effective ones like green tea extract and eating some hotter peppers; and it may be possible it would help.)

I don’t have access to it now.  So I need to do more with exercise for now.

c)  It may be possible to wear a chilled vest around my belly and lower back during the weekday for at least an hour a day.  (I believe there may be a temperature that won’t distract me from my work that I can put up with for that long.  It would be high enough I’d not get too cold but cool enough to burn extra calories.)

The great news is that doing this also changes some of your white fat to brown fat that burns more energy all day long.

Again, I don’t have access to it now.  So I need to do more with exercise for now.

Part II.  The good news!:  Why the likely results soon are better!

Next I list why I’ve NOT been able to add quite a bit more muscle as I need to do to force the loss of my remaining belly fat.

So, why is the future looking better at least to some degree? 

It’s because two months ago, I tried something that solved both of those two problems!  And, I am continuing to do them!

1.  The two reasons why I’d NOT been able to add quite a bit more muscle despite knowing the effective way to do so:

In my at home super slow strength training, I’d been held back by struggling with some issues from a left shoulder injury. 

This injury had prevented me from getting stronger on the exercises that use my left shoulder.  Worse, it kept me from making further progress on several of the exercises where I DID get stronger.

Unlike my right shoulder which healed, my left shoulder seemed to keep getting re-injured.

THAT is finally getting better.  In fact, since last month, my left shoulder IS doing a lot better.

The corrective exercises the physical therapist gave me work.  Here again I’m doing them every week AND have made progress with them too.

By doing those exercises to strengthen my shoulders and mostly discontinuing the injurious style of jump rope I was doing, my left shoulder is finally no longer always slightly injured and is gradually recovering and getting stronger too.

This physical therapist was dramatically more competent and effective that the one I saw years ago

a) I was throwing my whole arms through the motion on my jump rope sessions on every repetition. 

You have to do that a bit to start the jump rope at first each time.  BUT, you can minimize it a bit and then use a wrist snap to keep it going mostly after that.  THAT removes 90% or more from the high impact forces on my shoulders!

The bad news is that I’m still relearning this new form and am still terrible at it.  (Since last month, I’m still bad at it and recovering to the point I was at before.  But I’m now making steady progress and beginning to recover some of the fitness the jump rope had given me before.

 I have gotten slightly better at it.  The best news is that doing my jump rope sessions no longer re-injures my left shoulder.

My fitness before had been better because I was doing my sets without a miss and doing longer sets.  BUT, I was forcing the sets to go well by through my arms through the motion.  So far it has seemed very slow to be able to do the sets without a miss without resorting to that.  BUT I DID manage it once.  So, I think I can do it again and begin to do it more of the time.  Once that happens and I usually do the majority to close all of my sessions without a miss and still NOT resort to that, I think I’ll be back to the fitness level I was at before.

And, that will boost my metabolism a bit!

But my progress on the new form is still not quite there; but it IS better than last month.  So I think I will get it back to where it was before.

b)  I’d been doing all my exercises for which I use my shoulders with a shoulders hunched bad posture.  That was causing them to work twice as hard at an angle they were not designed to do well.

So, she said to make a special effort to lift my chest as I did these exercises.  AND, she gave me two corrective exercises to increase my strength and control over how well I can hold my shoulders in the OK position.

That is still a work in progress.  And it will take some time to get better at it.  It’s a matter of gradually getting stronger over several months

The regular exercises that did pain my left shoulder a lot and my right shoulder some, ARE now much less hard on my shoulders.

The new form she suggested works; and my left shoulder is finally and definitely better.

Now that these exercises no longer re-injure me when I do them, my muscles now WILL heal and gradually allow me to get my strength back, get stronger, and add more muscle mass!

In fact, just in the last month, my left shoulder IS holding up to weights that would have given it fits 3 months ago!

2.   Secondly, most of the muscle I lost since I was younger I lost in my legs and buttocks and lower back. 

But to add that muscle I’d need more space and MUCH more weight to do the needed exercises at home. 

I’d also need a leg press machine or a rack with a setting to keep the weight from going down to the floor. And, when I’m working to the level where I can’t do a complete last repetition, one of those two ways of making that safe are critical.

So I’ve been making no or very limited progress on the exercises I do for my upper body at home and making too little for my legs and buttocks and lower back to add the muscle I need.

So, despite my willingness to work hard and the potential I can tell is really there to add the muscle I need, it had NOT been happening.

However, I AM now doing just that set of exercises at The Perfect Workout once a week; and I’m making steady progress at adding weight each week!

In addition, I’ve gotten a good bit stronger on the calf exercises I’ve been doing at home.

And, there’s more!

Even before my recent progress with my shoulder, I found that I WAS able to do their chest press on their machine without my shoulder holding me back!

Now that I also can hold my shoulders in a better position and they will get stronger, I will now gain the chest muscle mass and arm muscle mass I’ve wanted.

And, they also have machines to exercise the big muscles in my upper back.  And I’m getting stronger and adding weight on those exercises too.

So, I now have a real shot at adding enough muscle to force fat loss from my waist!  Finally!

3.  The other interesting news is that their scale measured me as having 8% body fat and having about 40 pounds of muscle.

So if I can add 20 pounds more, my calorie burn from my muscles has the potential to go up by 50%!!

THAT will keep me lean for sure!

Since my arms and shoulders and legs look like I have 11 to 17 % fat; and my belly looks as if I am at least 20% fat, their body fat percentage is WAY low!  Their number looks to be half or less of the real number!

But to the extent I am a bit more lean than I thought, it may mean that I’ll have to try something like liposuction to cut enough more from my belly.

However, I think it’s just off in my case.  Based on comparing my appearance with people who DO have 8% body fat; I think my overall fat is still closer to 20% at best.

So for now, working very hard to get fifty percent stronger or more and adding that 20 pounds of muscle is my goal.

AFTER I do that and get my body fat measured by a more accurate device; then I’ll think again about adding laser liposuction or something similar such as the cold belly wrap around if I still need to do so.

But based on the experience of other people and how they look after adding the muscle, I think and still hope that may not be needed. 

5.  The PGX fiber I spoke of last time, HAS really helped my reflux by giving the excess acid something to work on during the middle of the night when the acid is most acidic instead of my esophagus.   And, it has given me something to fill my empty stomach a bit.  So I’ve had no trouble avoiding midnight snacks.  But I have been chasing it with one spoon of apple sauce; and I’ll try switching that to ice water plus cleaning the PGX fiber off my teeth and see if that change helps.

It may because the small amount of calories and carbs in the applesauce even that little bit I was getting every night.

I very much hope so because between now and a month from now is Thanksgiving!

The good news for Thanksgiving is that we won’t have lots of leftovers at home as we did last year.  So by being pretty good at Thanksgiving dinner, I think I’ll gain far less than last year. 

And, if that one tweak does help with less applesauce at night, I may even lose back a bit by next month.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Two exciting new benefits found for exercise in new research….

Today's Post:  Friday, 11-15-2013

This is one of our shorter posts but both of these are MAJOR and exciting benefits.

1.  We already know that exercise, particularly regular vigorous exercise, tends to increase the health and vitality of the mitochondria that are the energy creating centers for all cells. 

This slows aging and lowers or eliminates insulin resistance.  It also helps people maintain a positive state of mind and a feeling they have energy reserves when they need them.  It strongly protects the heart and tends to prevent or even help stop heart failure from getting worse.

And, we know that exercise changes the genes expressed in muscle tissue enough that they revert to a more youthful state.

Both of these certainly suggest that exercise might enable people to maintain their ability to move quickly far more than people who don’t exercise.

And, this is supported by the fact that people who exercise can maintain or even improve their strength even into their late 90’s as research has now confirmed.

Now new research has confirmed that exercise does have the ability to prevent the much slower motions of people into advanced age.  The things we already know suggested that might be the case.  But direct evidence of it too is new.

I once read an article about a woman who was literally one of the most knowledgeable people about a martial art who ever lived.  She was 98 years old.  She could watch younger people do the moves who were black belts and give them the precise advice they needed to become even higher level black belts and have it be accurate and doable.  And she still was doing so.

But she could no longer move fast enough or well enough to do the moves herself.

And, of course it’s common to see people over 85 in walkers or wheel chairs or who can no longer live independently from lack of mobility.

We now know this is largely avoidable or even may be reversible to a degree.

THAT is new and important news.

2.  It’s confirmed that exercise delivers far more blood flow to the hippocampus that enables people to remember well and can even improve memory functions that were lowered before.

Exercise also delivers more blood flow to the white matter that connects each part of the brain to the rest with the same results.

Wow!  We already knew that exercise causes the release of the brain and nerve cell growth factor BDNF and as a result people who exercise do NOT lose their white matter and have their brains shrink as people who don’t exercise do.

It is beginning to look as if exercise done well and regularly may be close to the number one way to keep good brain function overall and memory in particular!  

Labels: , ,