Friday, June 29, 2012

Breakfast with dessert

The Endocrine Society reports that a carb-rich, protein-packed breakfast—with dessert—cuts cravings all day.

This prevents weight regain, according to researchers. The work was done at Tel Aviv University in Holon, Israel.

They took 200 nondiabetic obese adults, who ate one of two randomly assigned low-cal diets of 1,600 cals for men and 1,400 for women.

One group are a low-carb breakfast of 304-cals with 10 grams of carbs. The other ate a 600-cal breakfast with 60 grams of carbs, wityh a small sweet included such as chocolate, a doughnut, cookie, or cake.

Both diets included protein in the morning—tuna, egg whites, or low-fat milk.

In 8 mos, both groups lost an average of 33 lbs. However, in the last four months, the low-carb group regained 22 pounds, while the dessert group lost 15 more.

The docs said carbs and protein made people feel fuller and reduced cravings for sweets later in the day.

Maybe this is how French Toast and pancakes got their start.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ah, sounds of summer

According to Loyola, summer is nice and all, but it’s dangerously noisy.

Concerts, blaring parades, fireworks, construction—ouch.

Boy do they live in a more exciting place than I do—seriously, parades?

Still one in 10 people has a hearing loss that affects their ability to understand speech. My kid is 30 and she says she NEVER hears me.

Try these on for comparison sake:

Soft whisper—30 decibels
Conversation, typing—60
Expressway traffic—70
85 decibels—earplugs needed here and above
Lawnmower, subway—90
Rock concert—115
Shotgun blast—

Shotgun blast? Well—you see where this is going.

Loud noise can kill nerve endings. They don’t come back. Ear buds deliver the killing levels right into the ear.

So, do what you want. Who wants to hear all this nonsense so well anyhow? Of course, if you do…then heed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Do women ever outgrow fat obsession?

My mother is 94 and still hesitates to eat a candy bar. After saying, “I shouldn’t,” she wolfs it down.

She is tiny and thin and always has been.

People never seem to get over the should and shouldn’ts regarding food. Or some people.

Janice Lloyd, USA Today, says a recent survey in the International J of Eating Disorders says 62% of those polled said weight or shape has had a negative impact on their lives.

It has ruled mine! Especially with a fat-hating thin mother.

Thirteen percent of women 50 and older have eating disorders—still.

These have physical and emotional consequences. Forty-one percent in this study checked their weight every day. More than a third had been on a diet for at least half of the last five years.

Older women ran the gamut of approaches—pills, excessive exercise, diuretics, laxatives, and vomiting.

Food can regulate mood in these difficult times.

Well, duh.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Family dinner

You know those big Sunday feeds on NBC’s “Blue Bloods”? I always wonder what the food cost.

Our family ate together Thursday and Sunday nights. Otherwise, my father dined alone, the way he liked it.

The Family Dins always turned into horrible renditions of everything we kids had done wrong, anyway. Often tears were the dessert.

My adult kid lives with me and we eat at different times…I tend to each early, and I mean early—like 2 PM! I am hungry then and that finishes the day.

Every person is different.

They looked into this at Temple, and said family dinner was waning due to heavy work schedules. For fathers—the mothers had in earlier studies been tagged with being too busy (guilt, guilt).

Temple looked at 3,709 parents of teens, many from racial minorities and lower income groups—only 64% of the dads were employed full time. Yet they often worked long hours.

Fast food figured. Parents were less inclined to provide and push the ever-popular veggies.

Parents also had stress levels that contributed to less food prep.

Some possible changes—let teens help with shopping and cooking. Teach them to cook.

My Mom was a home ec teacher—no wonder we can’t cook.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Take me out to the munchies

McKenna Grant, USA TODAY WEEKEND, June 22, 2012, says ballpark food has really hit it out of the park.

Hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jack, have given way to porkchops on a stick and oysters.

Each park is throwing in local delicacies. Target Field in Minnesota offers walleye on a stick, deep fried cheese curls, and Minneapple pie.

At the Marlins Ball Park—look for Cuban sandwiches. And stone crab. This is also where the fresh-shucked oysters reign.

Crab cakes in Baltimore, fish tacos in San Diego…

OK, I am hungry now.

Bring your wallet, though—these snacks aren’t cheap.

I remember when nachos were exotic. Of course, I remember a lot of things.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Yes, you can overdo exercise

Fitness obsessives are like anorexics. Tatiana Boncompagni, Marie Claire, July 2012, talks about some women who push, pull, run, lunge and force themselves to trembling exhaustion all day. All for the Size 0-0.

Yes, there is now one with TWO zeroes.

This can backfire big time. It does not take this to reach top conditioning.

The good news is that more people are exercising. There are 50% more marathon finishers than in 2000. Yoga is huge. Intense boot camps are everyplace.

Fear makes people overexercise. They feel that if thy break the spell, fat will fly in and glom all over them!

They like the control—the routine.

But the tireder you get—the worse your form—and the more likely an injury. You can even screw up your metabolism. Or get a heart issue.

Work out smarter---not longer, one expert says. Alternative hard and easier, high impact and low.

I promise you no fat is waiting to fly out and clap onto you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Knees--what a pain

There is a book out called NEVER GET OLD. But I digress. Knees are the bane of older people’s existence. OK—my existence.

I scampered across a tennis court in livelier days and tore a cartilage and had surgery on the left one when I was 14. The right one is horrible just from hauling my fat around. Thanks for telling me to walk an hour a day, docs. Those diets? Also did not work.

Anyhow, I am creeping about and don’t want any fancy-schmancy replacements or radiation from x-rays or ANYTHING that will have unintended consequences like my bad eye did. So I creep.

Dr Michael Bernstein, Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group in Carmel, NY, says even runners are not doomed to knee pain.

Then he says—get this—that on average for every 1000 hours of running, there are 4 injuries Of these, 42% are knees.

The most common knee pain of runners is runner’s knee—the kneecap moved improperly and irritates the surrounding cartilage, which wears away and causes pain in front of the knee and underneath the kneecap.

It’s important to train properly. Increase speed and distance gradually. Rest 1-2 days a week. Alternate short and long runs.

You should also cross train. Running tends to overdevelop the muscles in the backs of the thighs—this can lead to runner’s knee. Add cycling and elliptical.

Strengthen the muscles—this stabilized the joints. Use one-legged resistance and one-legged balance routines.

And, of course, wear the right shoes. There is no one right answer to this. Talk to a specialist.

If it hurts, stop. Let the body heal—thus sayeth Dr. B.

It's been my experience in a family of runners that they don't take days off or lighten up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Palette for your palate

Carolanne Wright,, says the more colors you can eat, the better.

The colors in fruits and veggies contain 25,000 bioactive ingredients for health. Phytochemicals protect plants from pests and UV rays—and can protect people, too.

The key is to harvest in the varied hues.

Red/purples are packed with anthrocyanins—antioxidants that protect against aging, Alzheimers, and heart disease. Buy red wine, strawberries, tomatoes, red apples, prunes, blueberries, purple grapes, eggplants, and beets.

Greens protect against cancer by inhibiting carcinogens. Look for kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

White/green—this is the onion/garlic area. Anti-tumor. Eat pears, endive, celery, and white wine.

Yellow/green—This is lutein and zeaxanthin to protect the eyes. Mustard greens, arugula, collars, spinach, corn, avocado.

Orange/yellow protect against heart disease. They also contain Vit C. Tangerines, peaches, papayas, oranges and pineapple.

Yum! Remember—5-9 servings a day.

Frozen is OK. So many people tell me they have to throw out fresh veggies that have gone over.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flipflops are so handy--darn!

Mount Sinai School of Medicine Orthopaedic docs says flipflops are fine by the pool, but for all day and pavement and regular wear—not so much.

First, they make you modify your natural gait. You grip with your toes—this can lead to changes in muscles in toes, legs, hips and back.

They also can cause arch pain and even numb nerves.

If you don’t put sunscreen on your feet—ouch!

Flipflops also do not absorb shock on hard surfaces.

Your feet can roll off and get cut or burned on hot asphalt.

Also—I have noticed—they can chafe or hurt the between-the-toe part.

We never have any fun on this blog, do we?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Confidence in your doctor

As my readers know, I am something of a skeptic about medical care. I hate being condescended to, rushed, told crap, and given any old test just to get me out in the requisite 15 mins.

Here in Arizona, I have received pretty cursory or even bad treatment. Yes, part of it may be my attitude—I decided 20 yrs ago not to get weighed unless a medicine dose was based on my weight. This has led to numerous discussions.

Tomorrow I am going back to my eye doctor. I am blind in my right eye due to complications of four surgeries to correct a detached retina. I am also missing a lens in that eye—not worth it to put one back in, they decided.

Soooo …

I just want this doctor to know who I am in case I have another problem.

Anyhow, I was reading some letters in the NYT June 11, 2012, about whether doctors actually know best. Two were from doctors saying patients demanded weird tests—not their doing. One said “patient knows best” was regrettable.

I am the opposite. I ask about a test—what would it show. If it would show something I won’t correct—such as taking a statin (which I actually do not need)--I won’t do the test—why, if I won’t do the cure?

Another talked about the imbalance—how the physician is put above the patient. That writer said lose the white coat (it’s a germ-catcher anyhow), talk while both are clothed, call each other matching names—no more Dr Jones and Suzy, don’t say “Doctor” without a modifier, and replace patient with “customer.”

I don’t know about that last one—but sure treat the patient as a valued customer—lose the 2-hour waits (we patients know every day does not have a huge emergency in it). Maybe even call later like the vets do to see if the person is feeling better. Talk to the patient—not gaze into a computer screen. Don’t take calls during the visit.

I know, I know—I am a dreamer.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Get the most from the pediatrician

We once went to a doctor who had a sign that said—“We only answer one question.”

Yeah, good times.

Anyhow, Loyola has some tips for the pediatrician visit—and the first one is lose the small talk and ask the most important questions first. Usually those are disturbing for some reason and people leave them for last. Last may not come.

Try to stick to THREE concerns.

Make use of the office nurse. Ask them your questions. They know a lot.

Make sure the doctor has your phone and address—often this is wrong in the chart.

If you need permissions for school, fill out as much as you can.

Don’t bring friends of the kids to the doctor. Sibs can also wander around and get into things.

Schedule the annual physical before the end of the summer.

Good advice—we had a 75-yr-old German pediatrician. She was old school, baby. But you could get info from her.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oh, this is too much, Wendy's

We went to Wendy’s the other day and they asked if we wanted salt on our fries. Since when is this a serious question? Why not hand us a dirty old potato if you can’t fix the damn fries?

I am sure this is some twisted National Nanny deal—like the 64 oz sodas being banned in NYC.

Don’t they say to drink 8 glasses of water a day—that’s 64 oz. Just live with it—if people want sugar, it’s not up to some shriveled up rich guy who probably lives on arugula and Perrier (in a big cup).

Speaking of Wendy’s, ours has fallen off the cliff. They always get the order wrong…leave out things, such as straws. They also started charging 30 cents for a pack of ranch dressing.

You can get a bottle of the stuff for $2.50.

Man—this is enough to make us eat health food, I swear.

Oh—and the other day we ordered two Value fries, a chicken sandwich, no soda, and an exec burger, and a value burger—and it was $16!!! For that—I want a waiter. Maybe even a Cabana Boy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weight training should not injure you

Weight training—resistance training—it means hefting something heavy. Dr Yarif Maghen of Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group in Carmel NY, says weight training is safer than other forms of exercise, but still has some risks.

More than 970,000 weight training injuries went to the ER between 1990 and 2007.

Of course, they want you to ask the doctor first. What is the doctor going to say—no, don’t exercise?

Then talk to a fitness consultant. This I can see.

Be sure to use proper form—the fitness consultant can advise you. Lift with control—no jerking.

Start low and work up. If you have not been lifting for a while, start with low weights, maybe fewer reps.

Do some aerobics first to get limber.

Be sure to breathe! Exhale as you lift! Keep breathing.

A routine that causes fatigue at 12 reps—this may be enough for toning.

Above all, pay attention, put your brain into every movement.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Watch those wire grill brushes

A friend has a sort catch on one side of her throat and is facing a “scoping.” Could it be from cleaning the grill with a wire brush? You know—a stray wire lodged in her neck?

Apparently, this is sort of common—or the wire pieces get past the neck into the intestines and poke through there—very bad.

One hospital in Rhode Island started looking for this—and found 6 of these in 18 months.

I also found a film on YouTube showing a youngster with a bristle lodged who had to have 3 hrs surgery and got a 4-inch scar in his neck.

If the bristle gets down in the intestine, you may need part of your intestine removed—big pain, big scar, big cost.

One doctor said use the hose instead. Works for me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pet meds

As I said a few days ago, my dog Jim was ailing—is ailing—not sure which. He would not get more than once inch from me—even followed me into the shower…a first. He would not eat.

Finally, I got the mobile vet who came in her truck and looked him over. She thought he might have congestive heart failure. She prescribed Vetmedin, a heart concoction—said I could get it from Costco. I am not a member and the person who is in my life did not offer to run to Costco, so I went to the company on TV—1800PETMEDS.

Yipes! $90!!! I said, well, I was going to get it from Costco. She said—we price match Costco—and also some internet sites…I went to some and found it for $55. She matched it. I don’t think she planned to tell me this—so I am telling YOU this. Ask about it.

There was also a story in the Arizona Republic by Georgann Yara on a compounding pharmacy around here that specializes in pet medicines. It’s called Diamondback Drugs.

This place not only makes up individualized meds for dogs and cats, but also zoo and aquarium animals—sometimes inserting the meds into Rice Krispie Treats. They also have flavors such as banana and tuna.

They get requests from all over the world.

Check out

Jim does not need this yet—but good to know.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Listen for rattlers

One snake is nice enough to at least warn you.

My Dad used to mimic a rattlesnake’s metallic buzzzzz sound. At least we assumed that is what it was—we only knew about Dad’s version—we never heard a rattler in the…um…flesh.

I did used to watch some ER show where a Dr Sean Bush specialized in treating snake and spider bites. The venom sort of dissolves stuff in your body…not a good thing. The antivenin was also tricky.

The University of San Diego’s System Toxicologist is warning about snake bite for this summer. It is not just a movie staple or joke—8,000 people a year are nailed by venomous snakes.

This is the time of year for it. And venom is more toxic in summer than winter.

Overall, actually, the venom is getting stronger. Why? The docs say maybe survival of the fittest as wild areas shrink, only the gnarliest survive and breed.

You can be bitten by a poisonous snake and no venom may be injected—but there is no way to know this. You need a hospital either way!

If you are in the wild, which you probably are, immobilize the bitten area. Go slowly toward a vehicle. Keep the heart rate low if you can.

What about the other approaches? Ice can cause another injury—frostbite. Tourniquets can be too tight and concentrate the poison and make it worse. Suctioning—the sucking deal—is ineffective because the venom is probably too deep. This can also introduce bacteria.

Hospital! And hope Dr Bush is on call.

PS A visiting Norwegian guy got a snakebite and his hospital bill was $147,000. Just thought I would add that. Maybe a nice movie instead of a hike?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

THINK--ride inside the car

“Car surfing.” If you have to ask, you are above the age of idiocy.

This is when (mostly) teenage males cling to the outside of a moving car.

This would be because their brains are not fully formed and they think this is thrilling.

Surgeons at Loyola point out that this is an excellent way to make sure your brain never fully forms.

Since 1990, at least 99 people have died of this.

Or gotten hideous and painful road rash or lasting head injuries.

But of course, this is still shown in movies—making it look cool and edgy.

Mostly, it’s butt stupid. Ever heard of sudden stops—swerves, speed bumps? The car stops and you don’t?

Yeah—huge oopsies. Lifelong oopsies.

What a shame--your parents loved you so much.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Hearing aid sellers say these can help tinnitus

Alison Stanton, AZ Republic, June 6, 2012, says 50 million adults suffer from weird ringing and noises in the head. Tinnitus.

Usually, says one hearing center owner, this comes from loss in the high frequency ranges.

Head injuries can also cause this.

Of course, this requires you go to some doctor in order to try to stop it or sleep better.

There is no cure. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) helps you get used to it. Or you can BUY some device to create a masking noise.

So there are approaches. But hang onto your wallet would be my advice.

For more info, go to American Academy of Audiology, audiology, org, or American Tinnitus Association,

I get this sometimes for a few minutes—a hummmm….you?

I guess it comes in much worse forms.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I am aging, not gone

MORE Magazine was touted as for women of a certain age, which I took to be 40 and up, but which they apparently take to be any age insecure enough to care exclusively about wrinks and crinks and assorted aging topics.

Which laser is for which affliction—"hag hairs," “coffee drip” brown stains (on your skin, not your blouse, isn't that charming?).

MORE also had a story recently about siblings taking care of aging parents and how they don’t always get along. Well, gosh—really? And of course, there was the obligatory musing about how 60 is the new 40 or however that goes.

I am 68 and feel every second of it! I am not striding through the neighborhood in toreador pants, looking forward to my next low-cal smoothie.

I use leftover creams that have failed my sister. I secretly think hand lotion would be as good. Even a failed hand lotion.

My mailbox is stuffed with ads from forward-thinking crematoriums…oh, ick, go away. (Jeez, now watch Google put ads on here for those.)

This is all stupid. Forget the reversible skirts, the ebay originals, the creams made from the afterbirth of minks, etc. Just live, breathe a lot, be glad you can—and try to do something to help someone.

Did this help you?

If not—sorry. I meant to. I thought maybe you were cynically challenged.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Artisanal ketchup

What is artisanal—made in small batches—all artistic? I don’t know. But it’s hot now.

I tried some artisanal ketchup—now that is a pretty downmarket item to be artisanal but what can I say?

It was delicious! Sweet and tangy.

New Jersey tomatoes are famous—huge, flavor packed, you can imagine yourself with a salt shaker in the garden plunging into one like a big apple!

These babies do not ripen in a train car with gas—they suck down nutrients from the vine out in the field until ketchup-ized.

You can get this from

Oh—and this stuff has 60% less salt, 50% less sugar, and 25% fewer cals than the “H” kind in the tall bottle.

Yuh-um! Like summer on the tongue.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Just when you thought you knew SPF

Sun Protection Factor—that mysterious measurement we have all gotten confused about for years.

Well, the FDA changed it and the new value is coming out this summer…now. For some companies…maybe.

OK—in the old system, SPF of, say 15, meant you could use it and stay in the sun 15 times longer before becoming pink and burned than you could if you didn’t use anything.

Now, the number also measures not only the burny UVA rays but UVB—the skin cancer and aging rays. Thus, the term broad spectrum, which also used to be used but sort of in a cheating way by adding some little dab of something.

Is this clearing this up for you? Bottom line—to be broad spectrum, the lotion must really fend off UVBs, not just pretend to.

And if it’s above SPF 15 and truly is broad spectrum, it will say “Reduces risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.”

Also—the waterproof and sweatproof stuff—well, it never was, and won’t say that anymore.

SPF 100—kind of not true, either. You won’t see that anymore. SPF 50 is about the best it can be.

But some manufacturers will still say 100—because the FDA did not say they couldn’t.

OK—have a nice weekend.