Thursday, January 29, 2015

Health OK Super Bowl snacks, 2015....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 1-29-2015

This is an updated edition of our post from this time last year, 2014 & going back to 2008.

Why are health OK snacks so important?

It's not just at the time the Super Bowl happens each year about now that people eat snacks.

Many people make snacks as much as a quarter or a fifth of all their weekly food. Some go to a full third of the calories they eat.

The other factor is that the health damaging snack foods are some of the very worst foods people eat while the health OK snack foods are actually good for you or at least not that bad.

That means that hosting or taking snacks pot luck style to a Super Bowl party is a chance to try
out health OK snacks yourself & introduce them to your friends & family.

Dips:   (We list several health OK dips at the end of this section.  But first we say why to be sure NOT to use virtually all store bought dips!)

First, let's literally dispose of one category of what NOT to use. One year, my wife & I were taking snacks to my parent's house. I knew that two things to use to dip snacks into that are actually good for you & taste great are guacamole & hummus. But my wife wanted to bring some traditional dips as well. I went to an upscale grocery store in our area & went to that section.

Ouch !!

Even there, there were no health OK choices at all.

Every one of the commercially made up dips (except the guacamole) they stocked had partially hydrogenated oils (which contain trans fats) or high fructose corn syrup with some having both. 

Those are both now known to be heart attack starters!  And, the high fructose corn syrup also is a proven fattener!

(In case you don't yet know, partially hydrogenated oils-- which contain trans fats -- & high fructose corn syrup are avoidable health poisons that are not yet completely outlawed & out of our foods.

Trans fats are literally cardiovascular disease & heart attack starters. They have the same kind of effect as using lighter fluid to start up charcoal for a BBQ. The safe amount of those to eat is zero, absolutely none. (Trans fat causes your LDL to become the tiny particles that go into the cracks in your artery walls, build up, and then restrict or block blood flow!)

2013 New information: 

Manmade hydrogenated oils and the trans fats connected with them are so hard for your body to clear, you only clear half of what you eat within a couple of weeks or more as shown by research.


Guess what that means?

If you allow yourself just a little bit of foods containing them but most days, after a couple of weeks, there is enough of them in your system to cause heart disease and cause your blood lipids like HDL and LDL cholesterol  to show much worse readings.

It’s likely ten times as protective to NOT eat any of this junk ever -- as it is to take statin drugs AND that’s if you are one of few people in the genetic type they give some protection to!

Do NOT buy or eat such dips! 

You and your friends at your Super Bowl party will be far safer without eating hydrogenated oils. 

And, you’ll help penalize the folks who put heart attack starter in their foods!

High fructose corn syrup is not quite that bad we wrote before.  Oops!

New information for 2013:  High fructose corn syrup IS heart attack starter too!

New research shows that high triglycerides are more likely to help cause heart attacks, strokes, and deaths than high LDL cholesterol.

Guess what food component makes triglycerides go up the most?

Yep, it’s high fructose corn syrup!  From the research I’ve read it does this more than regular sugar AND so far, people still eat or drink HUGE amounts of it.

So ingesting high fructose corn syrup doesn’t just help cause 2 diabetes and we now know it’s the most effective fattener known new research found this year* --
high fructose corn syrup is a very effective heart attack starter too!

(Sugar lowers your appetite so you may eat a bit less before the rebound hunger it causes kicks in. 

Brain scans show that eating or drinking high fructose corn syrup does NOT register to lower your appetite and may even boost it a bit and then you still get the rebound hunger later too!)

2014:  New research found that free fructose in high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar does in fact cause you to eat more and not turn down hunger as much as real sugar or food to do this.

(And there’s more, about 30% of the high fructose corn syrup contains mercury, a nerve toxin that can cause Alzheimer’s like symptoms!)

So, to be sure my wife & I don't eat high fructose corn syrup in quantity or eat any that contains mercury, we do not eat it all. We also are doing our part to boycott an unsafe food additive by doing that.

(As of 2008, between 30 % and 55% of the products, including name brands, that contain high fructose corn syrup also contain mercury because a mercury compound is use to make the high fructose corn syrup used in those products.  Also note, if high fructose corn syrup is listed first or second on the ingredients list, it’s more likely the product contains mercury.

2015 update:  Since it has NOT been in the news that this has been fixed, I seriously doubt that it has been fixed.

So we currently recommend you completely avoid buying or ingesting high fructose corn syrup.)

So, for dips at this writing, you have three health OK choices: buy guacamole; buy hummus: or make your own dips.

Health OK components to consider running through a blender or adding to after you run the blender to make health OK dips are salsa, cooked pinto beans, cooked black-eyed peas, regular baked beans, hummus, nonfat yogurt or Maple Hill full fat yogurt from cows that are grass instead of grain fed, frozen chopped spinach, chopped onion, extra virgin olive oil, chili powder, & chopped cilantro.  For some dips, garlic cloves work or if you want to not have it that garlicky, use a bit of garlic powder spice.

You can also make a somewhat healthier dip by substituting one of these for part of the sour cream in sour cream based dip recipes. A half hummus, half sour cream recipe would have half the omega 6 oils of a full sour cream recipe if from grain fed cow. But it would taste richer than a hummus only version.

2008 addition:  Real sour cream is not exactly a health food due to its high saturated fat content. 

2015 addition:  The saturated fat is now thought not to be an issue!

But if the sour cream is from cows fed GMO grains high in omega 6 oils and complete with herbicides and pesticide residue in the fat, eating less is a good idea!

So Maple Hill full fat yogurt from cows that are grass instead of grain fed and a bit of apple cider vinegar for half and hummus with no oil or with olive oil half and half would be better than sour cream from grain fed cows used in this half and half dip.

Almost anything compared with dips with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil almost IS a health food by comparison.  As an occasional dip treat, we found that real sour cream with a good bit of a good quality, multiple ingredient, curry powder makes a great dip.  Again trying this with Maple Hill full fat yogurt from cows that are grass instead of grain fed and a bit of apple cider vinegar is even better.  (Whole Foods carries Maple Hill full fat yogurt from cows that are grass instead of grain fed.)

We’ve taken to bringing 3 dips when asked to provide them:  Hummus, guacamole, and this curried dip.  I particularly like having about 2 or 3 fresh veggies with each of the three dips.  That way, I get a lot of the fresh veggies and two thirds of the dips are actually good for me to eat.

With the Maple Hill full fat yogurt from cows that are grass instead of grain fed and a bit of apple cider vinegar instead of sour cream, that now is all three dips!

Crunchy foods:

People often use crackers for crunchy snack foods. This is an extremely bad idea.

Commercial crackers today still tend to use partially hydrogenated oils (which contain trans fats). Almost as bad, they usually are badly over-salted and are made only or mostly from refined grains. About the only real food component they contain is calories. So eating them tends to make you fat.

2015 addition:  As bad as those are, the hybrid GMO wheat that is turned into refined flour to make these is possibly even worse!

So pass on crackers with ANY of these ingredients which is virtually all of them!

If for variety or for guests who would feel deprived, you would like to serve some crackers, there are two kinds that are almost OK.

Crostini makes an absolutely delicious cracker that is not too salty & uses olive oil instead of trans fats. They sell those at Whole Foods Market stores. They do use refined grains. But they taste good & avoid the other health damaging components.

Safeway & other major grocery chains carry RyKrisp or Rye Krisp crackers. At least one of their versions has no fat at all. These are almost a little too crunchy for my taste. But that's because they have whole grains, which are better for you. But be careful as one or more of the available versions DO have partially hydrogenated oils (which contain trans fats). Just check the label to see which kind is OK & skip the other versions. The version that has NO fat at all is the health OK one – or almost OK at least.

2013 Update.  More recent information shows that wheat tends to be fattening and more and more people are going to wheat free or gluten free ways of eating.

Since I don’t eat crackers and my wife still is OK with nonfat crackers, I’ve not shopped for crackers that are gluten free yet.  The good news is that eating gluten free is now popular so there are gluten free crackers and likely Whole Foods carries several kinds.

And, the even better news is that because wheat has tons of gluten, every gluten free bread, cracker, cookie, etc is wheat free too!

2014 update, while it may be OK for onetime events like the Superbowl, both wheat AND gluten even in those not supersensitive to it tends to be fattening, so it is best to leave it out.

There are two ways to do that and still have a base for snacks that are usually on wheat bread or crackers.

You can peel and slice yams or sweet potatoes or even a larger zucchini on the diagonal and not too thick.  Then gently sauté them in extra virgin olive oil or fry them at low temperatures in coconut oil.

That works well to replace wheat crackers.

Another new option is to use a no wheat, high protein, high fiber bread called Paleo Bread.
Toasting this gently and then using half slices or quarter slices for snacks instead of wheat based crackers also works.

You can also do two versions one with the sliced vegetables and one with the Paleo bread.

So you now have two ways to do gluten free and relatively nonfattening snacks that used to take wheat crackers.

Chips:  Most potato chips and related snacks are messy to clean up after. 

People tend to massively overeat them.  And, this is true to such an extent that they wind up being as fattening as soft drinks in the people who eat them every week -- which is pretty bad!

They also are heavily over-salted. 

The real fans of one or the other of the teams will likely ramp up their blood pressure pulling for their team.  

They could do without super salty chips adding to the effect! So, the advice from here is to leave potato chips out totally.


Because some people are quite gravely & severely allergic to these, they are likely NOT a good idea for larger groups of people you don't know well. This kind of allergy to peanuts is so wide-spread now, we suggest you never serve peanuts or mixes containing them to people you don't know.

Only serve nuts to family or friends you know can eat nuts OK.

However, for people who can eat nuts safely, raw walnuts, raw pecans, & dry roasted almonds or slivered almonds are delightfully good crunchy snack foods. Even better, they have so many health benefits, that people who eat nuts regularly live several years longer than people who don't.

(I've found the best store for these to be Whole Foods Market stores. They carry these kinds of nuts in bulk & in packages -- both at reasonable prices.)

(Unfortunately, commercial nut mixes often do everything wrong.  

    We do NOT recommend those !! )

They often include peanuts because they are cheaper. They increase the shelf life by roasting them in partially hydrogenated oils (which contain trans fats) or in polyunsaturated oils like corn or soy oil that tend to break down at that temperature & contain excessive omega 6 oils.

Then they usually make them even less health OK by over-salting them. Yikes!)

Crunchy vegetables:

Raw Broccoli Florets; Cauliflower Florets, Celery sticks, & Carrot sticks work really well with dips.  If you can buy them as organic vegetables.  Whole Foods is great for this as they usually have most of these vegetables as organic vegetables!

2013 addition:

(Carrots are a superfood because they contain the most alpha carotene which we now know is one of the most effective causes of good health known.

But make your carrot sticks pretty thin -- about a fourth of an inch diameter or less.  The fatter ones can hurt your guest’s teeth if they bite into them too hard without chewing chunks off first.)

Radishes are also a nice change of pace. They are too small to dip well. But they are both crunchy & spicy.

Protein foods:

B & M Baked Beans are decent simply heated up & served. If you want totally vegetarian, Bushes makes a decent, pre-cooked Vegetarian baked beans. Both come canned at major grocery stores.

2013 addition:

(Canned beans are a bad idea for year round use due to BHA or worse kinds of  trial replacements in the linings getting into the food which is harmful and fattening.

You can cook beans from scratch and make your own baked beans.  But if you haven’t time, at this writing I THINK using canned beans very rarely for special occasions is OK.)

If you can afford them, real crab meat, lobster meat, & shrimp with the tails removed are all health OK choices.

(Just don't mix these into dips as some people are allergic to them. Served alone though, people can see what they are & avoid them if they are allergic.)

Cheeses are less health OK because of their sky high amounts of saturated fat – and if from grain fed cows, they are also too high in omega 6 oils.

2015 note:  The high saturated fat is now thought to be OK as long as the cows the cheese is made from are grass fed only.  Kerrygold Irish cheese is such a cheese; and some other cheeses from Europe also are.

But for special occasions only, they have no other health problems; they are easy to set out in bite sized pieces; they are available almost everywhere; & they come in many varieties with abundant flavor.

Other foods:

Another snack food that works really well is stuffed olives. They are a little too salty to eat at all often. But they are health OK otherwise. And many of the versions taste great. Pitted olives come with (or you can make them up to contain) sun dried tomato, blue cheese, feta cheese, garlic, blanched almonds, etc.)

Fresh strawberries that have been washed & green leaves & stems removed are an absolutely wonderful snack that is also really good for you to eat. Strawberries are best used only if organic as the not organic ones are quite heavily sprayed.


For non alcoholic drinks, Martinelli’s carbonated apple juice & carbonated apple cranberry juice are decent choices for special occasions. And, some people like, grape juice, orange juice, tomato juice, &/or V8 juice. You can also try 100 % cranberry juice mixed half and half with Martinelli’s or club soda for a lower glycemic and tarter but still festive drink.

(Drinking all kinds of sodas & soft drinks is so harmful to the health of so many people, I personally feel that they should never be bought or consumed even on special occasions.

If you feel differently though, drink as little of them as you can stand.

Here's why:

1.  They usually contain high fructose corn syrup*, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, a preservative that has been implicated as causing cancer and thyroid disease, artificial flavors, water & nothing else besides the carbonation. Only the water is good for you. Sugar is OK only in strict moderation. And the other junk tends to reliably make people fat & cause health problems. 

(See the previous comments about high fructose corn syrup -- and the mercury in it!)

2.  Diet soft drinks believe it or not are even more fattening and harmful to your health direct research has found. 

That sounds impossible doesn’t it? 

In addition to possible harm from the artificial sweeteners for some people, it seems that ingesting something that tastes really sweet with no sugar in it causes your body to lower your blood sugar when it started out not high.  You then have low blood sugar and begin to strongly  crave real sugar and the foods it’s in. 

This means that in practice drinking diet soft drinks acts as a powerful drug to make you eat even more sugar than you would have had you drunk a regular soft drink.  And, you’ll eat a LOT more than if you drank water or tea or coffee.

Would you take a drug that was an appetite booster for sugar and sugary foods so strong it was virtually irresistible? 

NO.  You likely would not if you didn’t want to get fatter and more likely to get type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

If those are things you too would like to avoid, do NOT drink diet soft drinks!

Of the alcoholic beverages, red wine & dark beer -- actually have extra health benefits! And, beer is a traditional drink for watching football. Even better, there are a huge number of really good dark beers now available.

New last year:  I just found out that beers like Michelob Ultra and Molson Ultra taste as good as regular beer but with far lower sugar and carbohydrate content.  So if you want a beer that’s OK if you are trying to lose fat even at a party, those can be good choices.

Most alcoholic beverages, in fact, tend to boost HDL cholesterol.

But make sure to make the quantities small to moderate. Not only can people who drink too much cause problems at your party or get into an avoidable car accidents driving home, if they get into an accident where there is injury or significant property damage, as the host who served them too much alcohol, you can be sued in court.

For your own drinking, drink one or two early in the party and if you drink another have it be early in the second half.  The longer the time between when you drink and when you drive, the safer you are.

If you will drink or do wind up drinking more than that, take a cab or have someone drive you home

(I’ve found that two pints of dark beer early and then drinking hot chocolates after that keeps me feeling festive but hangover free the next day.)

I hope this post gives you some ideas as to what snacks to avoid year round & some that are either almost OK or are actually good for you to use instead.

2010 addition:

Some people serve chili at Super Bowl parties.  Here are three alternatives.:

1.  If you use exclusively beef from animals fed only grass, any good chili recipe you find or like is good at least on special occasions.  (Grain fed beef has excessive fat, saturated fat, omega 6 oils and tends to have pesticides and herbicides bioconcentrated in its fat.  Beef from cattle fed only grass is a bit more intense in flavor and avoids these problems.)

And, you can make up your own recipes. It’s not at all hard. Make one and taste it on Saturday; and if you like it or find it decent, save some to reheat and have during the Super Bowl.

2.  Use any kind of cooked beef you like that comes from cattle fed only grass.  Use hamburger, shredded cooked beef or chop cooked beef into quarter inch or a touch bigger cubes. 

Use any good tomato sauce or pasta sauce with no oil added plus the amount and kind of mild extra virgin olive oil you like.  (Or you can buy Muir Glenn pasta sauce at Whole Foods which, in its Four Cheese, Italian Herb, & Roasted Garlic & some other varieties has some olive oil; & it comes in glass bottles -- not canned where you have to worry about BPA.) I use Muir Glenn and then add some extra, extra virgin olive oil for a richer taste.  (Avoid any kinds, if you can, that use soy or canola oil.  Those have too much omega 6 oils.)

Then add a good chili powder.  Spice Islands and many other companies make these.  Add a bit and taste.  Then consider your likely guests in deciding how much to add or whether to add a bit of red pepper also.  The ideal is to make it spicy but not so harsh or hot that some people won’t like it.

(You can add, mild cooked green chilies, chopped onions sautéed in olive oil, mushrooms, etc.

And, you can set out several kinds of add-ons, diced sharp cheddar cheese, diced raw onions, mushrooms if you don’t include them in the chili, or diced, fresh, organic tomatoes.)

Simply stir the ingredients together over low to moderate heat until heated through and your chili is done.  (This presumes you cooked the meat first.  Or, you can put everything into a crock pot and run it on low for several hours which both cooks the meat without overheating it and melds the flavors together.)

Unless you have guests coming you know hate garlic, it also adds a lot of taste and health benefits to add it.  Use two or three or four cloves, depending how much chili you’re making,.  Then peel, dice, and crush them and stir them in after the chili is cooked and just before it’s served.

3.  You can also make 100% vegetarian chili.  You can substitute whole, cooked beans or blenderized, cooked beans or canned black eyed peas or canned cooked lentils for the grass fed beef.  You can even make it with hummus. If you add enough good tomato or pasta sauce, chili powder, extra virgin olive oil, and other spices the flavor is just as good as the grass fed beef version.  (I like the versions with the blenderized cooked beans as it’s smoother and easier to eat than the whole cooked, bean versions.)

From 2011: 

We do NOT recommend sandwiches on refined grain bread or chicken wings fried with a breaded and spicy sauce.  (Refined grain breads both fatten you and tend to harm your health.  They are nice for a kind of edible holder or temporary plate.  Use paper napkin or fork or a real plate instead!)

But skinless chicken thighs with or without the bone or the smaller part of chicken wing in the bone with the wing part removed before cooking where they are slow cooked with a spicy sauce or marinade can be served with paper napkins or forks if boneless and plates or small paper plates can work. 

Cooking them overnight in a crock pot works and blends in the flavor too.  Olive oil with garlic powder and red pepper to taste can work.  Coconut milk with diced garlic and diced, peeled ginger also works well.

You can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them after they are cooked into bite sized pieces and serve on plates with a small fork.

Or you can cook hamburger patties using grass fed beef and serve them Atkins style on plates with a fork.

Using garlic powder and a pinch of salt and adding a bit of olive oil to compensate for the grass fed beef being lean and add some dried sour cherries and diced onion before the patties are cooked and then cook them over moderate heat in a cast iron frying pan.

Annie’s Natural Foods makes a yellow mustard with no MSG and a ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup.  Both are also made with organic ingredients.

Last point.:

Super Bowl parties are a special event.  So, people will be watching the game.  Plus, this is one of the few times a year they watch the commercials.  So, it is understandable that they will eat while watching. 

Our recommendation is to not worry about this for the Super Bowl game.  If the snacks are health OK, stop there and let people enjoy the event.

But, one of the surest ways to get fat the rest of the year is to eat while watching TV!

Watching TV is fattening by itself, particularly if you watch over 15 hours a week. 

And, snacking even on health OK snacks tends to cause people to concentrate on the TV and just keep eating even though they are no longer hungry. 

People who do both AND drink soft drinks and eat fattening snacks while watching LOTS of TV are virtually all obese (very fat!)

So, THAT we do suggest avoiding!

From an earlier version of this post:

I read a good idea. 

Set up the table where food is served in a different room than the TV. 

That way people get a bit of a break from sitting to get food and they’ll eat a bit less.

A related non-food idea was if you have two TV’s and enough room, have a TV in one room for the serious fans and a second one in a room where people are there mostly to socialize.

Whether you bring things to a party or host one, I hope you enjoy the game!   

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why PS supplement may reverse brain aging....
Today's Post:  Tuesday, 1-27-2015
There are many things you can do that can prevent mental decline in one of many ways and a few that actually have tested to reverse it at least in its earlier stages.
But there are two that got my attention with a specific result that showed a very strong effect! 
They both were tested to improve the mental test scores of middle aged and older people to the level of people who actually were 12 years younger!
1.  One was eating blueberries several times a week.  Eating organic blueberries several times a week has two known strong effects to possibly explain this result.  Their very high level of antioxidants may prevent damage to nerves and brain cells.  And, their high level of natural vitamin C and its co-factors and anthocyanins and other phyto-nutrients is known to help prevent strokes or harm from small strokes to the blood vessels everywhere and in the brain in particular.  So when you eat them your nerves get both kinds of protection and seem to also regain some function!
2.  The other is taking a supplement called Phosphatidyl Serine.  Years ago I read of it having that strong a brain protective effect and have taken it since.
The information I got then was that it produced this 12 year performance improvement. And that this was because as cells age their outside membranes get oxidized or otherwise stiff and less permeable which cuts down incoming nutrients and keeps cellular damage inside your cells instead of allowing your body to remove it. BUT, if you have been taking Phosphatidyl Serine, the cells become and remain more permeable and your brain nerves function better.
Here is a quote with this information:
“Phosphatidyl Serine, which has been known for years to shore up memory function as we age and, in fact, was revealed many years ago to actually make your brain 12 years younger. It works by rejuvenating your brain cell’s membrane, which then allows nutrients and so on to get through to your brain cell.
Plus PS, as it’s called, protects against the ravages of stress- induced cortisol damage, which is quite detrimental to optimal brain health. This has all been scientifically proven.”
But it seems that while the protection and results are quite real, and Phosphatidyl Serine may well get those results in part for those reasons, Phosphatidyl Serine may be dramatically even more effective than this information suggests!
Phosphatidyl Serine may ALSO act as a cellular messenger or be the releaser of a cellular messenger that allows for both the removal of completely destroyed neurons AND the complete repair of those neurons that can be repaired.
Here’s that Medical News Today story and a couple key quotes from it:
From MNT 9 January 2015

“Two new studies involving the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia have identified a unique molecule that not only gobbles up bad cells, but also has the ability to repair damaged nerve cells.

Known as the phosphatidylserine receptor, or PSR-1, the molecule can locate and clear out apoptotic cells that are pre-programmed to die as well as necrotic cells that have been injured and are causing inflammation, said CU-Boulder Professor Ding Xue, who led one study and co-authored the other. Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is a natural process that kills billions of cells in a typical human body each day.

But it is the finding that the PSR-1 molecule also can help reconnect and knit together broken nerve fibers, called axons, that has caught the attention of both science teams.
"I would call this an unexpected and somewhat stunning finding," said Xue of CU-Boulder's Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. "This is the first time a molecule involved in apoptosis has been found to have the ability to repair severed axons, and we believe it has great therapeutic potential." "
[I added the bolding above.  It looks likely that a way to boost both these processes is to take Phosphatidyl Serine. This is because its documented track record suggests it does exactly these two things!]  

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Powerful reason why exercise protects your heart....
Today's Post:  Thursday, 1-22-2013

We already knew that BDNF can prevent and reverse all kinds of mental problems.  (See the next section.)  But recent research shows that it also provides profoundly important protection for your heart too!

1.  We know that depression is caused by brain damage and that boosting BDNF long enough to repair the damage can lift such depression.  (Talk therapy to help you think more productively about making good things happen and more accurately about why bad things happen also helps.  But, boosting BDNF repairs damage to your brain that causes depressive feelings and is also worth doing.)

(BDNF is the growth hormone for nerves and brain cells released when you exercise.)

This is further supported by research into how to turn off PTSD. 

Even a 12 week course of talk therapy if at all well done turns off PTSD in many people and at least turns it down enough to reduce the disability it causes.

But it also has been found that if you get people with PTSD to do regular exercise you get a similar result.  AND, the more vigorous and frequent the exercise is the better this seems to work. 

Here’s why:  You can see damaged areas of the brain in people with most cases of PTSD if you scan the brains of people with it.  When people exercise and release BDNF these damaged areas are repaired or partially so. 

How do we know?  When the follow up scans of people who exercise are done the repairs show up. Guess what?  The more repair the scans show, the more symptom relief the people report!

2.  We know that exercise and the BDNF it produces keeps your brain's white matter and interconnection centers from disappearing gradually.  Since this white matter connects you to your memory center, it causes problems if it disappears in this way. 

So, one of the key ways to prevent mental decline is to get regular exercise every week for exactly this reason.  Vigorous exercise is both more effective and time efficient--  making it more likely you can sustain enough exercise each week to work. However, moderate walking most days also has been proven to protect your white matter if you walk enough miles a week and do some on most days each week.

3.  We know that eating or taking choline, DHA, and bacopa act strongly to assist exercise in boosting BDNF release. Choline and DHA also increase your heart beneficial HDL and reduce the amount of the small particle LDL you have that causes heart disease.  So, if you both get regular exercise AND eat these things or take them as supplements you get more of that kind of heart protection AND your body releases more BDNF.

4.  And, we know that vigorous strength training and more intense but briefer cardio cause fitness better and faster than mild or moderate exercise even for quite long periods and release regular growth hormone. So they may also do this by releasing more BDNF!

Last week Medical News Today reported a new study showing that BDNF provides several other kinds of heart protection too!

 “….nerve-growth factor called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) - helps sustain the ability of heart muscle cells to contract and relax properly.

There is a possible biochemical link between depression and heart disease, two disorders that often occur in tandem, but with a relationship that remains poorly understood.”

I think this specifically means that regular vigorous exercise most days of every week and eating or taking choline, DHA, and bacopa can help prevent or even treat AFib and heart failure! 

When the nerves to the heart don’t transmit the signals they should or do so only partially or intermittently or not at the right time occasionally, AFib and heart failure happen or happen more often or happen to a lager degree.

The reason exercise can help prevent or treat these things is that regular, vigorous exercise not only makes your heart muscle stronger, the BDNF it releases keeps your heart’s  nerve based control system working right!

Here’s the link to the Medical News Today story.

Protein sustains both 'a sound mind and a strong heart'
BDNF protein, known to act as a natural antidepressant, enhance learning, power 
nerve cell growth and nourish blood vessels, has also been found to maintain 
heart muscle vitality.  
Note that this also strongly suggests that people with AFib or heart failure should never be given statins or beta blockers.  That’s because statins and beta blocker have each been shown to prevent exercise from having these effects.
It’s also worth noting that there are ways to lower high LDL and small particle LDL that are more effective than statins that do NOT do this.
And, there are also ways to lower high blood pressure that are more effective than beta blockers that do NOT do this.
Many of my previous posts have been on ways to lower high LDL and small particle LDL that are more effective than statins and have other health benefits instead of such side effects.

And, I’ll be posting in the future on ways to lower high blood pressure that are more effective than beta blockers and have other health benefits instead of such side effects.  

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My monthly fatloss report....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 1-20-2013

This month’s report is a mixed review with some positive and some negative events to report.
I both gained some leverage and lost some. 

That status seems like AND IS where I’ve been stuck for some time!

My hope of course, is that I’ll gradually make progress by relentlessly continuing the things that have lost and kept off the fat I no longer have;
having the things I’ve added get traction and gradually help lose some more fat;
-- AND find things with more leverage that work well when I try them -- and then keep doing them also! 

(See the news at the end of this post.  I have found a new way to remove extra belly fat that might work!)

1.  Here’s my immediate progress section first:

The news this month is likely temporary; but it is NOT good. I gained 2 pounds since last month.  AND, that means I’ve gained about 5 pounds in 5 months.  So I’m now 9 pounds over my goal weight and need to reverse the trend!

After running about half a pound LESS than last month the first three weeks -- the last week, I gained 2 & a half pounds. Ouch!

Though eating a large plate of multiple kinds of vegetables, 8 kinds!, last Friday was likely good for my health, it was about that much heavier than the few mushrooms I’ve been eating on Fridays.

To be fair, that extra 2 and half pounds was likely temporary and had I weighed what I did the week before, the gain over 5 months would have been more like 2 pounds.

But this is NOT good either when I want to lose more fat than that 9 pounds!!

BUT my waist still measured exactly the same.

I had the flu most of the time since my last monthly report.  My waist remained the same because of the extra work coughing up the debris in my lungs. 
But the things I put in place to get rid of the flu while a bit slow to get rid of it DID make it much milder as a chest infection and generator of bacterial chest infection. 

So instead of losing 5 pounds and a half inch on my waist from so much coughing as I did last time I got to sick, my waist only remained the same and I did not need to burn so many calories coughing.  This was good in that I was able to work and function better and didn’t feel quite so bad.  But this time the flu didn’t help with my fat loss any.

In fact, having to cut back so severely at first on my strength training and even more on my new PACE cardio routine, just losing a half inch on my chest and gaining a half inch on my hips was likely added fat and reduced muscle even more than the scale indicated.

The much better news is that I’ve already almost got back to the level I was at when I got sick and that was working.

So by next month those readings should be better.  (Just before I got the flu, my new cardio program had reached my goal of 98 reps for each of the 5 new short sets of very vigorous cardio.)

Last month I wrote:

Apparently, the progress in my new PACE or high intensity cardio session of 5 sets I added of abdominal exercises -- both toned my muscles and tightened them up or maybe added some of the three pounds over the last two months as muscle.

I’ve now gone from 14 reps to 90 of the 98 reps I plan for each of the new 5 sets!

Clearly it has helped me to gain muscle instead of fat.  I may well be burning 300 calories or more each week than I was a few months ago.

But due to the stress I’ve been under recently, my other two efforts to lose fat by taking in less calories as I gained the muscle actually were not quite enough.

And, though it is again a bit glacial in speed I’m doing a bit better on my strength training.

So between the two I really might have gained the two pounds as muscle. 

But it’s not quite what I wanted either.  I’d hoped for a net effect of three or four pounds less fat too.  

I’m finding mixed review with this one.  On one exercise, I do keep doing better each week.

But my try at forcing faster overall progress while successful for the first two weeks then was more than I could recover from and progress stalled a bit. 

Maybe getting a couple of key stresses behind me and adding back two supplements, quercetin and astaxanthin, that help with recovery may help.

2.  But some things are still OK including my plan to drink less wine:

The last 4 weeks I drank closer to 32 glasses of wine, two 8 glass weeks, a 7 and a half glass week and an 8 & a half glass week added up to 32..  That’s decent and better than it was before.  And, I think it will be back to closer to 28 next time.
And, that was still 4 glasses less than the 36 the month three months ago!  So that part was a success.

3. I have kept up the added vegetables.  I’m actually doing well with maintaining it each week!

Losing enough more fat to cut it from my belly fat as I want to do will mean adding even more vegetables than I eat now as Vitamix drinks.

Two months ago I bought and read a book that suggests that both adding even more vegetables AND taking one week in four where I also eat less of many other foods – other than vegetables, may produce net and sustainable fat losses.

I’m still limited in what I can do now.  BUT, I am on the right track and will do what I can get to now and plan for much more when I can.

4.  As I mentioned above, one of the continuing good news stories is my strength training.  The progress is still VERY slow but if I continue getting stronger every week or two AS I HAVE BEEN for the past several months and continue for another few years and am able to add back more safe to do leg exercises and make that progress with them, I will keep adding muscle when most people 15 years younger than I lose that much muscle or even more in the same time period!

(I’ll resume that in full in one or two more weeks full after my temporary but significant cut back for the flu.)

I now do two sessions a week for upper body strength training.  At one, I am doing more reps at the slightly faster slow speed and fewer reps with a heavier weight than I was using. The progress is a bit slow; but it IS happening.  At the second session two days later, I use a couple of notches less weight BUT I do more reps and at the slower slow speed.  In that session, I have done 23 reps last time with each hand in an exercise that was MUCH harder for just 9 reps not long ago.  I was at the point I can jump the weight for those sets! 

And, in that second session, I did try doing an instant second part of each set with a lighter weight to help force the muscle to grow more.  It’s too early to tell about those hoped for results.  But I am already doing a bit more repetitions in those second parts of each set.

(That’s the one that worked great at first but I wasn’t quite recovering from well enough to continue. So to resume it effectively, I need to find out how to get my recovery better.)

My leg strength training is mostly better.  My ONE substitute for the leg press on the machine is gradually doing better. 

I dropped the one that was both too hard and tweaking my knee tendons.  The other is one at a time lunges several times with each leg while holding dumbbells to add to the effort.  I was adding five pounds twice a week.  Now I’m at 89 pounds, the equivalent of adding 178 pounds or more with two legs, I’ll have to add the weight more slowly after that.  But I can begin to do more and slower repetitions.  (This part is working so far, I’ve gone from 8 partial reps on each leg to 9 full ones.)

My new goal is to do 14 full reps at a superslow speed all the way down and up with each leg while holding 89 pounds – like over 178 pounds with two legs., I think I’ll add enough muscle in my legs, lower back, and butt to cut my belly fat a bit.

My one leg at a time calf exercises are still making excellent progress on my right leg. 

I had to scale all the way back to zero and more on my injured left Achilles tendon.

The good news is that I’m now OK with my left Achilles tendon. 

But last month in my effort to get back the strength in my left calf, it simply wasn’t strong enough yet.  Worse, my strong effort did have some effect -- it gave my left foot arch a mild stress fracture.

The good news is that I’ve thought of a way to both take it much easier on my left calf and foot now and build back the strength more gradually.

My goal is still to get my left calf back to what my right calf can do.  But it’s beginning to look like another several months.  So, it’s a bad news good news report:  the original injury seems to have healed but getting back the strength while the second injury heals while it will take longer will more reliably do the job than what I was doing.

So, I just keep my right leg exercises the same until I can gradually build back my left leg to do that weight again -- 35 to 37 pounds plus all my bodyweight for 16 superslow reps.

(My right calf has gone from 12 hard to do reps to 16 somewhat easier ones.  So my left calf now has even more catching up to do!)

Even though it’s irritating to have to wait a few MORE months for my left calf to catch up, maybe six months or so, I think it will eventually.  (This confidence is boosted by the time I got a worse stress fracture in my right foot and which is strong and healthy now.)

Then if all keeps going well, I’ll need to buy a new 40 pound dumbbell as the 35 pound with the 2 pound wrist weight will not be enough to be challenging.

(I also have made enough gains in my arm exercises to go to the 40 pound dumbbell for the one exercise that has both been easiest AND in which I’ve made the most real strength gains!)

Overall, my muscles LOOK a bit bigger, particularly my arms and shoulders; and though my middle is still fat, my thighs have some definition and are clearly hard and toned.

So even though I’ve not gained enough muscles in size or weight to increase how much they weigh and the calories they burn as I’d like to do ---  After another year or so, I may gain a pound or two of muscle at an age when most people lose 5 pounds of muscle instead!

5.  My progressive short sets of high intensity, interval cardio were a mixed review. 

But the overall news was better last month!

(I kept my two weekly sessions of 4 sets of back to back abdominal exercises and my weekly 10 minute session of intense variable cardio on my Nordic track where I was already at a high level I’d worked up to gradually.)

My new cardio 5 sets that had gone to 62 last time on the way to 98 each that I plan, I had gone I recovered from the two minor injuries in each of two sets and am now to 90 in all 5 sets. Next time I expect to be at 98 each.

6.  It’s just a matter of time too to the day I can get and use the Vitamix to boost my vegetable intake enough to lose some fat that way.   

And, I did just find out that removing a few things for a week once a month may enable me to lose fat that week every month.

And, by maintaining the extra vegetables all month, that plus the continuing improvements in my exercises may really get me there.

So the conclusion is that despite being hammered more than usual by outside negative influences, I’m still maintaining most of my efforts that lost fat for me to begin with.  AND, I’m still adding promising new things that are working already or might work.

AND, I plan to both continue doing that and have even more in the pipeline for as soon as I can manage to add them.  

7.  New this month:

One of the health emails I got had a new supplement that you had to pay to get and get information on that promised to almost wipe out the effect of stress on abdominal fat.

This sort of thing usually is smoke and doesn’t work in practice. 

But it WAS a potential solution to the exact problems I have.  If true, it would enable me to lose as much as the entire 24 pounds of belly fat I’m still carrying.

I then looked up the information that WAS in the ad on Google to see if there was more information elsewhere for free.

Here’s what I found: 

The effect may in fact be real but not enough by itself to do more than half the job without adding a safe way to boost my level of growth hormone closer to my youthful levels.

(And the existing supplements using it have other ingredients to help it boost heart health which I’ve already done.  So not only are those likely a bad fit for me, they might not be entirely safe as my heart indicators have almost gone past optimum now!)

However, this class of active ingredient is in lemon and orange peel. 

And, at Whole Foods I can get the organic lemons and oranges that would make them safe to add to my Vitamix drinks often enough to at least lose 12 pounds of belly fat.

This is VERY interesting to say the least. 

Last month while eating at a restaurant, I got a fish dish and ate most of the lemon rind.  I found this easier and far less sour than eating the main part of the lemon!

And, I got some organic lemons and an organic orange at Whole Foods to try in the next few days. I was also able to eat the peel for those with no trouble eating them.  But the set up was a bit more time to do than I have had since.

I suspect that I need the Vitamix to add enough EVERY DAY consistently enough to do much. 

And I think I may be more in need of the safe growth hormone boost I don’t yet know how to get.

But I’m experimenting with what I can do by eating a few each week.

If it only helps me cut 3 pounds of belly fat instead of gaining them in the next few months, I’ll be very pleased.

(Our preparation for moving into a smaller space PLUS the flu derailed my plan to add this every day since my last report.

But when I can get back to it, not only it may have the effect in the study and cause some belly fat loss, I may be able to eat the organic lemon or orange rinds instead of a slice of Irish grass fed cattle cheese that has more calories.  So it might also help me lose a pound or so overall.)

Then when I do add the Vitamix and more frequent consumption, I may lose another 9 pounds of belly fat.

The other possibility is that adding back the two faster recovery supplements might enable me to do more on my strength training and get some growth hormone boost and lose more belly fat from that.

So, the conclusion is that some of what I’m doing and will keep doing is working. 

And I have several planned improvements likely to work and these two very promising new things that might.  

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Help if you got the flu....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 1-15-2015

Last month on Tuesday, 12-9-2014 we had a post titled Escape colds and flu and pneumonia and more….

We did that post for two reasons. 

One is that there were early reports this flu season had started early and might be worse than some previous years. 

The other was the information that olive extract was not only somewhat effective at combating both cold and flu viruses and the bacteria that can set in if you get a bad case of those, it tested to do so much more strongly than I had yet read about.

So, some of the methods in that post will help you if you got the flu or got it anyway after beginning some of the things in that post.

I did myself.  My wife put out a large effort to visit her much older Aunt on the other side of the country.  Then her evening flight back was delayed and became a middle of the night flight. This apparently lowered her resistance the bad flu going around there. It lowered my resistance.

She got the flu very shortly after that.  And after she came down with it and exposed me to it every evening and night and early morning, in a few days I got it too.

Apparently this year’s flu is very strong. Even though the things I was doing such as are in our 12-9 blog post kept it a bit mild and kept it a bit milder for my wife, we both seemed to not get over it very fast. 

1.  One of the things we did that were in the 12-9 post is to take 5,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 or more.

But for avoiding or getting quickly rid of such a strong flu that may not have been aggressive enough.

Because an extra 25,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 slammed my case of the flu to a stop in about three days, and the flu is so nasty this year and so many people have it, I thought it important to do this post to get out that word alone!

(Next we cover two things that always help that we have posted on before.)

Vitamin D3 is to your immune system what electricity or gasoline or diesel fuel is to your car.   The more you get the stronger and better armed your immune system becomes.
And, I had read that in one very bad year for flu in Europe many people died.  Then some research was done that found the almost all the people who died were severely deficient in vitamin D3.

The owner at my local health food store has believed in vitamin D3 even more than I have.  In particular, my intake of 8200 iu a day got my D3 blood level to 83 on one test and 82 on another.  That’s high enough to be quite health protective.  And with 15,000 to 25,000 easily  possible from summer sun exposure and quite safe, 8200 iu a day clearly is also!

But when I caught the recent bad flu and it seemed unusually slow to get over it, the owner of our local health food store said that it would help to take 50,000 iu a day of D3. 

That's likely safe; but I'm a bit more conservative than that normally. 

But I was tired of having the flu hang on though, so I added an extra 25,000 iu a day
-- and immediately, literally that day and the next two days, my flu got much less and shortly I got over it.  So, it DID seem to help!

To be accurate, I had been doing all the other things I know to make it go away.  So some of that good effect was likely from the cumulative effect of those and I was possibly close to getting over it anyway.

But I think 90% of the effect was from the extra vitamin D3 for two reasons. 

a)  Almost immediately two things happened for me, I totally stopped feeling sick on the very first day AND despite feeling better my fever went up boosting the dickens out of my immune response without discomfort to me.

b) Since my wife started the extra vitamin D3 the same day I did and got the same effect, I am convinced the vitamin D3 did the job.

So if you are sick with the bad flu now or get it or one like it later, this is for sure one to try I didn’t know about a month ago!

(Stores that sell supplements as a sideline, carry up to 5,000 iu of vitamin D3.  So you can take an extra 5 a day of those.  But you can get 25,000 iu capsules at many health food stores which is more convenient to take.)

Here are the two things that are always good to do if you get a bad cold or flu:

2.  Drink extra water!

Doctors always say to do this.  But the style is such that it comes off like, we can’t do much to make your cold or flu go away but try these.

That’s horrible and truly unfortunate because drinking enough water is critically important for three reasons.

a) Drinking extra water will keep you much more able to function and avoid feeling light headed.

So, it’s dramatically better than not being able to walk around and feeling extra depleted on top of just feeling sick.

It’s powerful effect that benefits you.  Always do it for that reason.

b) It’s safer, much safer, because the dehydration you get otherwise can
be directly harmful,
cause falls and accidents,
and dehydration from being sick may set you up for getting dangerous follow on bacterial infections like pneumonia.

c)  Because of the drying effects of the fever, which in and of itself boosts your immune system and helps you kill viruses, it’s extremely easy to get dehydrated because you don’t feel thirsty; plus what thirst you do have may not be as noticeable due to feeling sick.

So do two things.  Schedule extra tea or water breaks by the clock.   And, do what I call rotating water:  as soon as you have to visit the bathroom because of  the extra water intake, RIGHT THEN, replace what you just lost by drinking some more water.

3.  Chest congestion makes you feel worse and having it while you try to sleep can impair your breathing and effective rest or the extra coughing can slash your sleep a lot.

Worse, the gunk can grow bronchitis germs or even pneumonia.

But did you know that it’s partly optional to keep it around?

Studies found people who always eat hot, spicy foods usually don’t have those problems.

What I just found really effective and not too harsh is to do two things:

When you get up and have coffee add about 10 to 14 shakes of cayenne pepper.  (This also helps your sore throat feel better once the hot, spicy feeling wears off.)

Add bedtime, do the same with decaf!

And, in both cases, keep some paper towels or toilet pepper handy for the runny nose and stuff you will cough up and be rid of!  

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