Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bouncy bounce

Bounce your cares away. And maybe some flab?

Ashley Macha, Arizona Republic, Jan 27, 2012, says trampoline fitness centers are springing up—at least out here in the desert, where we are so cutting edge don’tcha know.

The tramps are not for kids anymore. They have classes that focus on calisthenics, core exercises, and aerobics.

The gym trampolines are also arranged in a safer way than your backyard number—where you can go sailing off…oopsie.

It can cost $7 for 30 minutes.

Bouncing for an hour can burn 1,000 cals, according to some experts.

I have heard this can be hard on your knees—but it is fun. Be careful, though—we don’t want incidents.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Skinny on fashionistas

Diane von Furstenburg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, issued guidelines on age and fitness of those human coat hangers we call models.

Even a Victoria’s Secret model, where curves are supposedly celebrated, said she didn’t eat solid food for 9 days before a show.

Diane also decreed that models be 16.

Some models eat cotton wool or tissue to feel full and not absorb calories.

Kate Moss herself once said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

Some models are naturally tall and thin. Others purge or have other disorders.

Diane has not gone to the BMI charts yet—but Spain has. No BMIs under 18 on the catwalks.

There are too many skeletons on the runways, as one Milan expert put it.

The New York fashion world is supposed to keep an eye out for eating disorders, keep healthy food available at shows, and raise awareness of the dangers of smoking.

Yes, cigs, heroin, and a glass of champagne after the show is the staple regimen of some of these women.

How can they model Spanx at this rate?

We look at Harpers Bazaar and some of those gray-faced women look fierce and deranged. Maybe a nice burger?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Good news for heart and stroke patients

Loyola cardiologist John Moran, MD, says for patients with a familiar partner and setting, sexual activity is safe and no more strenuous than golf.

I guess that means nothing too exotic or exciting.

If you have few or no symptoms during normal activities, sex is safe, too.

In fact, sex and intimacy are important.

I would add—so is overcoming fears and misgivings. Those can cause stress, too.

And if you are recovering, ask about using Viagra or the like--I think there are some caveats.

Now—the question remains—sex or golf?

That may not be the easy call you think it is.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reversal on diverticulosis?

I was once hospitalized with horrible stomach pains—paralyzed intestine—but they also found I had diverticulosis—pouches in the colon wall that could fill up with sharp bits or crud and get infected or puncture.

Gotta love the hospital.

Anyhow, I was told to up the fiber. The paralysis gave way after 5 days on an NG tube (you so don’t want that EVER, just incidentally).

The problem is that salads and raw veggies make my stomach hurt. Irritable bowel—the diverticulosis—don’t know why.

Now…wait for it…scientists at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Med School say high fiber may raise the risk of diverticulosis.

“We may have been wrong for decades,” one doc said.

Check out the Feb issue of Gastroenterology for more.

Diverticulosis affects about one-third of adults over 60—most don’t have symptoms, just little divots in the tissue in there.

The fiber idea was to ease constipation and pressure on the colon with its little divots.

But these docs studied 2,104 patients from 30 to 80 and found that those with the lowest fiber were 30% less likely to develop diverticulosis.

They did not make dietary recommendations.

Well, I made my own—since big salads make me hurt, I don’t eat them everyday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The catch--even with insurance sickness costs a ton

People without jobs—even if they have health insurance—are less likely to go to the doctor, get checkups, and fill prescriptions.

To me this is sort of a given.

But the CDC seems surprised.

Private insurance is no guarantor of better care—well, shocking.

First, 48% of unemployed adults have insurance, the CDC says. That did surprise me—seemed like a high number. Eighty-one percent of employed adults do.

Now, some are saying (some?) that insurance reform will not make things better for the unemployed.

People can’t afford to use care—even if they are forced to buy it…

High copays, high deductibles—bills keep coming even after deductibles are met. Oh, this mess is a a tricky one.

It’s enough to make you sick.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No nap, no niceness

They did a study. Of course, most Moms will tell you toddlers get cranky when they miss their naps—but Univ of Colorado researchers studied this anyhow.

Missing naps also made the tots dumber. Toddlers between 2 and a half and 3 yrs old, missing a single daily nap, had a poorer understanding of how to solve problems.

Many young children—the docs added—are not getting enough sleep. This can shape their emotional brains forever!

They tested the kids with puzzles—some of which had a wrong piece that would not go in. They studied the kids’ faces as they worked.

The ones that had missed naps had more negative emotional responses. The napped toddlers also had less “confusion” on their faces when the did the puzzles with the wrong pieces. They also tended to adapt better to the frustration.

A sleepy child may have fewer coping skills—and this can be a problem in a daycare environment.

Or—at home—the researchers concluded.

Well, yeah…

If only this ended in toddlerhood.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vitamin D--could be too much

Stephanie Desmon, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Jan 23, 2012, says Vitamin D—so lauded these days for bone health and also heart protection--can cause harm if above the low end of normal.

Increasing levels of Vitamin D in the blood are linked with lower levels of a popular marker for cardio inflammation—c-reactive protein or CRP. That sounds good—but for adults without cardio symptoms but with relatively low Vit D levels, lower levels of inflammation were found.

This led them to say that higher levels of Vit D did not curtail inflammation more. This appears in the Jan 15th American J of Cardiology.

Be sure the supplement is indicated for you. And—I would add—make sure your doctor knows about these findings.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three years? I don't know, girl

Three years ago, according to accounts, Southern cook Paula Deen learned she had Type 2 diabetes.

Three years ago—yet I can personally recall her and her two hunky Southern “boys” slamming in the whole butter sticks and scooping in the mayo as they put together some stunningly high cal dishes.

Such as Fried Cheesecake.

This was her franchise—the whole butter stick. And condensed milk—plenty of that.

I am a large woman. I distrust fakey sweeteners and put sugar in my coffee, but we don’t eat dessert everyday. Yes, I eat fast food once a week and Italian also once a week. We don’t diet. And we are pretty big.

But I am not on TV ladling out this stuff and teaching people to make it. And we don’t have a diabetes problem—yet, anyhow.

I don’t want to judge—but Paula, three years is a long time to delay a scale-back. Now one of her sons is going to remake Mom’s recipes in yet another Food Network offering. Recipes are being tweaked at their eatery—The Lady & Sons. Never let a crisis go to waste, no matter how long it lingered..

Maybe—at least—the other half of the butter stick did not need to be thrown in—Paula would do that—“Oh, what the heck, let’s use it all, y’all.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wild rice? No--grass seed

Want to have some laffs with the kids or at the next cocktail party? Check out the Food Fact Machine from Natural News.com.


You can click on a button that says “Generate a new fact” and you get some weird trivia with comments and answers.

Yup—wild rice is really grass—not rice. Many bottled “teas” contain no tea. Some soy protein is made with explosive industrial chemicals.

There are also downloads—“25 Amazing Facts about Food” and “25 Amazing Facts about How Food is Made and Where it Comes From.”

Is it always good to know everything? Oh—you are such a philosopher!

As for those eggs--were the chickens eating blueberries? Nah--the egg color comes from the breed and they taste like any other egg.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can yoga wreck your body?

Have you seen the recent stories in the NYT Mag (Jan 5, 2012) and elsewhere about how killer yoga is?

Apparently yoga is not for the faint-hearted and you have to be in good shape to even do it.

I went to an ashram nightly in the 1970s—yoga is more than bending into a pretzel or standing on your head. It’s meditation, chanting, breathing, centering—these don’t require physical prowess, though they can improve your physical well-being.

Beginners should go to a reputable place—the articles allege that some teachers are taskmasters—bending hapless students this way and that. I have had a teacher gently press my back or something—not torture.

Apparently, more yoga casualties are going to ERs and docs these days. They have pulled muscles and ligaments. Pop!

I know of one pose—which used to be called the Wrestler’s Bridge—with the back flat and top pf head on the ground that is really not very neck friendly.

Ramesh Bjonnes offers some tips:

Easy does it. The term asana (pose) means easily held.

Combine yoga with meditation.

Listen to your bod..pain means stop.

Yoga is not competitive.

We had some pretzel people in one class, I recall—I did not try to emulate. Now, I am such a mess I probably could not even walk in.

Time passes. It sure passed me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two extra legs--what's the difference

We have three four-leggers around here someplace—two cats and a weird little poodle dachshund deal.

Our third cat Elsie had to be put down at 15. She was so thin, so creaky she could hardly walk. A mother-daughter vet team came to the house. I still think about my Top Cat.

Irene Kraft, LA Trim es, Jan 10, 2012, talks about the obvious fact that millions of Americans have woven animals into their families in a tight knot. I think of it was the animal faction and the human faction.

These animals don’t kill mice or bring down game—they just walk around being animals.

Like people, they can have annoying traits—the big cat has decided the litter box is a bore—yup—on the floor. The smaller cat hides all day and comes out a night when I make a bathroom run. I am a captive fur petter.

And the mutt—better believe he has quirks. Sleeps on the spaghetti of wires at my feet. All wound in, snoring. He barks at air molecules outside—there’s one! YAP YAP YAP. But at night, he sleeps under a bed pillow—all warm and drowsy…only his nose poking out.

According to this article—vets are more sensitive to what people are feeling than they used to be. Personally I wonder if this isn’t sensitivity to what people will pay for. I know—I am mean.

There are now grief support groups. You can talk about how much you loved the animal without some dope making you feel like a jerk.

There is no wrong way to grieve. Write a poem, this author suggests. Conduct a service. Keep the ashes or scatter them.

I miss my dog Spencer—my first ever dog. So much. Every day. Then I see that little nose come out from under the pillow to collect the first petting of the day, and I get up—time to feed everyone.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Keep your weird cooties at home

Why do they call them “colds”? Because you don’t feel so hot? But are you sick enough to stay at least home, if not in bed?

CareerBuilder says yes—keep your crud at home. It could be the flu, also.

Yet, a recent survey showed more than 3/4s of workers came to work sick sometimes.

If you are a team leader—lead by example. Home!

Maybe you can work from home if you don’t feel too punk.

Most companies try to prevent sickness—some offer free flu shots.

Encourage people to cough into their sleeve (I have NEVER seen anyone do this, have you?)

Wash hands with soap and hot water for as long as it takes to sing the ABC song.

And clean your phone, keyboard and pen with antibacterial goop.

And stay away from coughing, sneezing people who did not read this.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hey--this sounds like cooking

I am not so much a bad cook as a non-cook. I heat up. I call out (in richer times). I had a friend who was a chef. He used to go to the market and get what was fresh and THEN decided what to make with it.

Until then, I thought even high-end restaurants had a set menu and bought the supplies to make it. This was real cooking! For that you need knowledge, techniques.

Karen Fernau wrote in this area in the AZ Republic, Jan 11, 2012. She talked about the five “tastes.”

These are sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami.

A chef said it’s science and like painting a picture.

He begins with a dominant taste. And adds the others to compliment. Cinnamon in tomato soup…or black pepper and marshmallows…

My ex- used to put cinnamon in boxed chocolate pudding and serve it at dinner parties. People raved!

Our taste buds vary—I like savory, salty. My kid and sister like sweet.

The umami thing was discovered in the late 1800s by Escoffier. It’s a savory-tasting protein. Examples: miso, beef, bacon, MSG, Parmesan.

Concentrate on taste…Don’t rule out foods. Don’t add sugar, savor natural sweetness in fruit. Cut bitterness with something else—it doesn’t like to be alone. Add sweet butter or creamy salad dressing.

Eat slowly—taste what you are eating.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Let's see--maybe we can't afford to

Health care spending in 2009 and 2010 grew at the slowest rate in 50 years.

The govt (yes, ours) says it’s the high unemployment and reduced income.

In other words—even with insurance, people can’t afford to go to the doctor.

People scrimp—the govt’s word. They also mentioned financial uncertainty.

Well, yeah! Fewer hospital admissions in 2010 than 2009. Duh.

Fewer doc visits.

More people put off going to the doctor.

Now the insurance companies MAKE you go—no doctor appointment, no prescription, hope you live, see ya.

I am finally going to the eye doctor—the $35 copay made me delay most of last year.

Oh, well…this is what the word WHATEVER was invented for.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Finding a doctor

They better start building more psychiatric hospitals in this fast-moving managed care environment—a doctor is in a network, you have a certain network, he or she is out, shazam, can you change networks or practices—do you want to?


I have been put through the trials of the damned trying to find a new eye doctor (remember my last one let his partner’s 15-yr-old son work as a tech during the summer and poke me in the eye?).

First, I went to the American Academy of Ophthalmology—looked up cornea specialists. Compared that list to providers from my Medicare Advantage plan. Even the online provider list is not accurate, and forget the printed one.

Found a guy—checked his creds with the medical board—no lawsuits. Talked my primary into referring me (3 calls). Then could not afford the $35 copay for 3 mos—referral expired.

Tabled it Started over this month. This time the primary said I had to come to her first—my insurance company wants me to come twice a yr—my insurance company? What? Anyhow, I talked her into the referral (3 calls). I would come to her when my BP pills expired.

Ooops—the doctor had left the other practice. OK—who there could see me? They named someone. I had another referral sent (2 calls). Oh, no—he was the wrong one.

I tried the practice where the first one had gone. He was not signed with my insurance. Can’t remember how many calls by then.

They recommended someone else. An optometrist. I need an ophthalmologist. OK—named someone else.

I think I am going. I have three months.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Do you need a trainer?

Marilyn Preston, AZ Republic, Jan 6, 2012, says she is perky as all get out. Well, how nice, Marilyn.

Anyhow, someone asked her how to choose a personal trainer—and as luck would have it, we learned that she IS a personal trainer.

A good trainer is your cheerleader, she says, your taskmaster, your coach. If you are reluctant to lift weights, a good trainer will help you select the right way to build up. Also, it’s important to lift correctly.

If the trainer keeps saying, “No pain no gain,” lose him or her, Marilyn says.

A good trainer also is a teacher—the right foods, and not cans of goo, either.

Look for a certification from the American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, or the National Strength and Conditioning Assn.

Try the trainer out first before committing to a long program.

On "Roseanne’s Nuts," Roseanne Barr had a trainer. The woman kept making her exercise. Finally, Roseanne walked over to her car (they were outside in Hawaii working out), got in, and drove off.

The trainer asked, “Is she coming back?”

Roseanne’s boyfriend Johnny said, “I doubt it.”

But hey, you might like your trainer. Make it so.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Young at head

My sister is always saying she can’t think of two things at once. I wish I could only think of two things at once.

Our brains, our brains!

Dr Wes Ashford, creator of the memory screening test, MemTrax, has 10 tips for keeping the old noggin sharp.

Take an interesting class. Do crosswords or Sudoku. And I would add—fight for your economic life.

Exercise, aerobics and strength training.

Keep making friends.

Eat your veggies. Get your Vit D levels checked, some people are low on it.

Watch your weight! Of course, why didn’t we think of that?

Wear seat belts, a bike helmet (if biking). Improve balance by brushing teeth standing on one foot.

Monitor your thyroid. Tell the doctor about muscle pains.

Watch your blood pressure. Ask your doctor about statins—and I might add, look them up yourself.

Try to get good sleep. Check to see if you have sleep apnea if you keep waking up.

Screen your memory every so often. What would be good for that—why MemTrex! www.memtrex.com.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Big FAT cliches

In today’s Arizona Republic, there was an essay by a self-identified lawyer and jogger pretending to be obese and sneering at his pretend family for being slobs and slugs and texting and eating fast food.

This was accompanied, of course, by the picture of headless overweight women in jeans.

He even had the pretend father forget his wife’s name—I guess from some exotic form of food poisoning.

I am sick of being lectured, however supposedly cleverly, by weekend athletes. Worse—by runners, who often are every bit as fanatical as foodies. You know them—bony, staring eyes, always taking their own pulse.

I am sick of the headless fat bodies---the NYT ran one of a woman’s fat rolls in a leotard—why not a picture of a woman complete with face eating a salad—plenty of salads go into plenty of overweight people. Chew on that one!

When someone loses some weight—the big pants! OMG, the big pants. The only thing more clich├ęd is two people inside one pair!

And the word obesity…epidemic…blah blah…

I am sick of the whole mess.

Lunch time! And just IN TIME!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Yoops! Falling risks

I am one—a Falling Risk. They put this on a big red bracelet if you enter the hospital as someone over 60.

My sister and I—and our 94-year-old mother—all mince around in a gingerly fashion, hoping not to be dashed to the floor with broken bones.

The CDC says 20K people die from falling each year.

Falling also accounts for 15% of injuries and workers comp for those still gainfully employed.

Mike Ross, author of The Balance Manual, and a exercise physiologist at Loyola, says bodily changes as you grow older increase falling risks.

Equilibrium and balance come from the inner ear and brain. As we age the eardrums thicken and balance is new precise.

Aging also breaks down cells in the nervous system—slower signals to right uourself.

To prevent falls, check your footwear—look for traction, especially on icy sidewalks.

Keep a shovel and salt handy for icy days.

Make sure your railings are strong.

Slow down—think.

As for help—see a big expanse of ice—like parking lot—ask for an arm.

Strengthen your legs—a couple of times a week, get in and out a chair repeatedly.

That last is great unless you have arthritic knees.

All I can say is take your best shot—and hope the shot doesn’t get ya.

What about those I am Falling and I Can't Get Up doodads? I can't afford it--and probably it would not work if I needed it. Look--I know how life is.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Night people, whooo are you?

Tia Allbright, associate editor of CorePerformance.com, has some tips on working nights—and staying in good health.

First, there are definitely night people in this world—my daughter is one. Her Dad was one.

But trying to reverse the clock can have consequences. A recent study showed people who worked 3 or more night shifts a month were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

You need to try to get steady rotations—not be all over the board. Changing every week is too often.

You need 8 hours of sleep in every 24—takes naps that add up to that, if you have to do it that way.

Avoid energy drinks. Too strong.

When you do sleep, darken the room. Use earplugs or a white noise machine.

Eat dinner before your shift and snack every two or three hours to avoid pigging out when you get off.

You can do it—in fact, it suits some people very nicely. Those would be the “owls” of this world. I know some.