Friday, February 24, 2017

I admit it--I had a fat cat

My cat Chubby Butters was almost 20 lbs when I rescued him. The shelter said he had to be  on a diet and no carbs. I went to Petsmart and carbs were not listed on the food. I added up all the other nutrients, subtracted from 100 and got that most of the cat food was 30% carbs.

I then limited his amounts, even though he was aggrieved. At the next vet visit, he had gained 8 lbs.

Yipes.

So he was fat all his 11 yrs he lived until near the end--when he lost some. But, believe me, this was not deliberate.

Now, we are told, 59% of cats and 54% of dogs are overweight (Assn for Pet Obesity Prevention).

Yet, pet owners and veterinarians disagree on what to do. What about corn and grains--bad or good. Raw diets? Organic?

Obesity kills millions of pets prematurely, the pet obesity people say. It costs in sadness and money.

Yet, when asked about their own pets' weight, owners and vets report they are normal (81% of owners, 87% of vets).

The survey also showed that many vets do bring up the pets's weight (half of owners said it was never raised). Of course, the vets said they did.

So what about that food?

--61% of owners and 25% of vets said low-grain or no-grain was best.

--Raw diet? 35% of owners thought this was best, but only 15% of vets.

--Corn? 73% of owners thought it was bad for pets, while 48% of vets agreed.

So what to do...

We may be back to limiting quantity--you saw where that got me. My other cats in the same household at the same time were normal weight. I did notice, Chubby begged for food the most--and I think some of this might have been out of boredom.

If it was hunger, it sure made him grumpy--he bit me so badly one time I had to get a tetanus shot.

I have one cat left--she is tiny and skinny as a skeleton, although very spry at almost 20. Every time I stand, she runs to her dish to be fed. So go know.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Would you like to peer into the future?

We all know people who consult fortune tellers to try to find out their future. There seems to be an assumption that people would like to know their personal prospects.

But do they? Do you?

Personally, I don't want to know about any future ailment or disability if there is nothing I can do about it.

Now, the American Psychological Assn has studied this and found that most people would not want to know about future events that will affect them--even IF these events would make them happy.

In other words, most people would say no thanks to the powers that made the Greek woman Cassandra, daughter of the king of Troy, such a great fortune teller.  In fact, her contemporaries thought she was cursed having this "gift."

Two studies--of more than 2,000 adults in Germany and Spain, Spain, found that 85% to 90% of people would not want to know about upcoming negative events, and 40% to 70% would not even want to know about happy ones.

The prefer-not-to-knows are more likely to buy life insurance. The closer one is to the event, say death of a spouse, the less that person wants to know the details.

The only thing people did want to know was the gender of a child coming in the future.

So how does this track with all the cancer and genetic screening we are told to want and get?

Deliberate ignorance is widespread, the researchers noted, more or less dodging the question.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Parents doubtful they are getting kids to eat healthy diets

My child eats sugary cereal. She bakes cookies every week, My child is 35.

Did I provide a good example? Yes, and no. We always ate a varied diet--all the food groups. I have had lifelong intestinal issues and am not crazy about raw foods such as salads due to pain. She eats some salad.

She used to work at Wendy's--we ate more fast food then. Now almost never.

Still, we are both large women. Our lab numbers are OK so far.

Researchers at the University of Michigan did a survey of (guilty) parents. Only one in six said their children's diet was nutritious. A fourth said their diet was somewhat healthy or not healthy at all.

Most parents, the researchers said, know healthy food is better for their kids--but work schedules, play schedules, and food preferences make meal prep frustrating.

You can spend time and money on a health meal and the kids won't eat one bite.

It's all too easy to slip into a fast food mentality.

The parents polled also said it was difficult to tell which foods were actually good. Phrases such as all-natural, low-fat, organic, and sugar-free abound--and there may be a big difference between the term and the nutritional value.

For lots of parents, too, healthy foods are not available--this is the so-called "food deserts."

Is awareness of this a start?

Can kids be co-opted into helping shop well--maybe as a challenge?

Can kids pack their own lunches or help make their own dinners?

How about kid cooking classes to get them interested?

Remember, the average kid cannot buy Twinkies and HoHos--you would have to. So don't have that stuff around. It's a start.

I remember when my daughter was about 10, she begged to get "fruit leather," which for some reason, I found to be an expensive and stupid food--basically pounded jam. I refused many times and endured many meltdowns. Now I wonder--was fruit leather really that horrible?

Maybe an occasional compromise would make all this go better.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hey, there might be a good use for fat cells

Yes, you can buy a stuffed
fat cell...what is science
coming to?
Ah, those magnificent fat cells--they never seem to die, just multiply or the ones you have get fatter.

They cause inflammation in nearby tissues. They make you look wobbly-blobbly.

But now--get this--researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn say fat cells may be better than, say, skin cells, for anti-aging treatments.

Seems they chronologically age better. Wait--don't hang up. Chronological aging is the natural life cycle of cells--in the body, not manipulated in a lab. The Penn folks developed a system to collect and store cells without forcing them to replicate in a lab.

This is when the researchers found that human fat cells make more proteins than originally thought.  This gives them the ability replicate naturally and stay stable.

The cells are very robust, one researcher said. They can potentially be used in the future.

Stem cells are currently used in anti-aging treatments. They take them from various parts of the body, but now the fat cells may be the most promising.

At present, these cells are not approved for direct use by the FDA. But stay tuned.

Maybe those fat cells will turn out to benefit us after all--in situations other than preventing starvation.

I wonder about the FDA approval statement, though--don't doctors lipo out fat cells and inject them into other areas of the body as a way to make women look younger? I guess that doesn't count.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blue Monday--does your job suck?

Robert Camarote, Government Executive magazine, Jan 18, 2017, says a lot of people are unhappy at work--no or paltry raises, no new skills, and a bad boss.

Even people with a good salary and a nice manager may be disgruntled. Our relationships and community ties seem to be lacking compared with past generations. We chase fame and image--which come with anxiety and depression. And our expectations are too high--all that "you can be anything you want" stuff.

We lack clear purpose and don't see how our work is helping.

Most of what we do may be internal reporting, performance measuring--how does that help anybody?

There is, in short, no obvious benefit.

Both employers and employees rarely ask--is this job important? Is it needed?

People with a direct connection to the customer can say--look, you might need this, I made it for you, I can explain it to you, if it breaks I can fix it for you.

This gives clear purpose.

So how can everyone's job edge closer to this ideal? That is up to managers and even to you, the employee...

How about it?

We can't spend our lives frustrated and moping around.