Friday, May 30, 2014

Forget the BLT--how about a CAP?

Matthew Kronsberg writes about the fabbie BLT and how you can riff off that theme, in the May 17-18, 2014, WSJ.

The ingredients complement--he says. The tang and squish of tomato, the salty bacon crunch, the freshness of lettuce. Ambrosia!

He maintains you can get this same heavenly matchup with other ingredients, too.

BBM--Butternut squash, Boston lettuce and Merguez. Mer-what? It's a sausage.

Or a BGS--beet, gribeness, and sorrel. I think gribeness is crispy chicken skin.

My favorite (in theory)...PKR. Pork rind, Kimchi, and Rhubarb. First you have to make rhubarb mayo. Good luck with that... Kimchi is fermented fish sauce.

I think avocado is good on a BLT--how's that for daring?

PS A CAP is cauliflower, argula, and pickled raisins.

I still like to see "bacon" listed.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tips for feeding of your HS athlete

Leslie Bonci, a sports dietitian for the NFL, MLB, and NHL and also director of sports medicine nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says parents need to be nutrition coaches.

These days, calorie counts of school lunches are being scaled back because of the obesity brouhaha, and many active kids need intelligent food programs to keep up with their schedules.

Remember, good nutrition also helps kids get better grades.

Parents should focus on giving and teaching kids what to eat--not what to avoid. They need speed, stamina, and recovery.

Hummus with quinoa chips is good--and no, it doesn't taste "healthy."

Or: peanut butter, veggie protein and honey on a whole wheat tortilla with banana slices.

Trail mix with whole grain cereal.

Or how about a taco salad with brown rice, greens, beans, and salsa. She also recommends "veggie crumbles"--whatever those are.

As for supplements--parents need to do research. She likes Twinlabs "Clean" series.

She also says athletes are trending more toward plant-based diets--not just steaks.

Parents need to be supportive, too--and one way is to provide yummy foods that sustain and build growing bodies.

Teens can eat! I remember my brothers polishing off a box of cereal and a quart of milk--and this was after dinner.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My readers don't GET jet lag

I am too glopped up to hop a plane anymore--but you aren't.

Jim Waterhouse, a prof of biological rhythms at John Moores Univ in Liverpool, says if you are crossing three time zones and staying no more than three days, don't reset your body.

Say you are going from NY to LA for two days. Get up at 3 am, sleep by 8 pm. This takes in normal business hours. When you eat may be weird.

If you do want to reset--don't eat for half a day at least--or on a long flight, fast the entire flight and eat the next normal meal at your destination.

Drink plenty of water no matter what you do. And no booze. A booze nap is not restful.

Caffeine can take up some slack--but not less than six hours before sleep.

Melatonin--a hormone--makes you sleep. Try 5 mg before what bedtime would be at your destination. And then a bit before bed.

Getting some exposure to strong light in the morning when going east can help. When traveling west, get some light in early evening to stay up longer.

Or--just wander around yawning.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The eyes have it--or should have it

The BrightFocusFoundation encourages regular eye exams--blah blah. How often do we hear that?

How often do you listen?

I had a detached retina--and four disgusting surgeries later, that eye is blind. I am no poster child for early detection.

But things like macular degeneration and glaucoma--it's good to nail them ASAP.

You should get an eye exam every year or at most every two years.

Those at risk for glaucoma are over 60, particularly Hispanics, and African-Americans over 40.

For macular degeneration--a family history puts you at risk. Being over 60 is also a factor--and being Caucasian.

Eye exams aren't embarrassing--they don't hurt. Your eyes will be dilated and going out into the sun without shades is uncomfortable. They will give you some funky little disposables, which I actually like.

To take advatnage of all the info BrightFocus offers, go to (Copy and put in your browser.)

The site will help you find a doc, give you questions to ask, show you videos, and if you already have trouble seeing, will let you listen to audios.

I listen to a lot of audios now....believe me, you want to keep your good vision.

Friday, May 23, 2014

What if you think your child will be fat?

I was a fat kid and am a fat adult. In between, I was a failed dieter.

So, of course, I listened to the audio of Dara-Lynn Weiss's book: The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet--A Memoir.

My sister was the "thin" one--she said, "Don't get that book." I didn't listen. Now that we are over 65, by the way, my sister is not stick-thin anymore and I am a steady sturdy weight. We both have bad joints and gimp around pitifully.

This author's child is age 7 when the author starts to worry about the girl's weight. She is in the 98th percentile of weight. That BMI stuff.

A typical wealthy NY mother, the author loves organic, whole foods, etc. Her husband is large and the girl's brother is underweight and indifferent to food except pasta.

The author wrings her tiny hands (she is a small but thinks she is fat and spent all her life agonizing over the scale) and tries to cut back portions. This does not "work."

Then they go to some nutritionist--as a family--and learn some system designating foods as green lights, yellow, red--and prescribing how many of each the person can have.

I know this mother loves her kid, but you might cringe at her persistence. She calls other mothers and babysitters--don't serve this or that to my child. She rips a half-finished cup of ramen out of her child's hand. She won't let her eat salad because her meal is over. They read menus online and decide ahead what they will order when they eat out.

The "diet" allows unlimited fruit--and the girl eats a lot of it. I would not have liked the sound of that. The idea is to munch moderately.

I went through a lot of similar things as a child. Yes, if someone in your family is large or as we say "has the tendency," don't have empty foods around--sugary treats.

My own child is six inches taller than me--and not thin. Should I have done all this? It wasn't in me.

I remember her late dad looking at her as a toddler and saying, "Is she getting fat?" I was furious.

In the end, in my case, my sister got somewhat larger--my brothers, too. Life--gotta love it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

School nurses save you money

Genevra Pittman, Reuters, May 19. 2014, writes about a Mass program with school nurses in schools full-time (the trend now is for them to circulate between schools).

This saved money on medical costs and lost time for parents and teachers.

Still, fewer than half of public schools have a nurse full-time.

They measured 22 things nurses do these days (not just a cool cloth for a headache), such as testing blood sugar and administering physical therapy.

They looked at the time parents would have to take off work to cover this and emergencies that crop up.

They found big savings. Teachers spent 20 minutes less a day on health issues.

Basically they decided every dollar spent on full-time nurses returned $2.20.

You can check this out in JAMA Pediatrics, May 19, 2014.

When I was a tot, there was a nurse' office and you knew it. If you threw up or had bad cramps, you went to the nurse. I think that was good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Talking physical

Always somethin'--as Roseanne Rosannadanna used to say.

Now, Medicare is urging--and even paying--participants to trot over to the doctor for a non-exam physical--the doctor quizzes you on whether you know basic facts (great not demented), can follow directions (a report of a woman being asked to take a piece of paper off the doctor's desk and place it on the floor), can get out of a chair without pressing on the chair arms, have a living will, sometimes even whether you have firearms in the house (nunya), or have been abused by someone in the home.

A lot of questions!

They also send incredibly detailed questionnaires about your health. I toss them. I also did not go to the talking physical. I am sure they will turn me in for that. I hope the re-education camp is air conditioned.

This is way more than I want the govt to know about me--even for study purposes. It's bad enough that my health plan sends me letters saying please take your medicine--or offers me "special plans" for certain conditions. They have also offered to send a doctor to my house--but not when I actually needed that.

Time was, if you wanted to get medical attention, you got it and the insurance company paid a certain amount. Now the insurance company is in charge!

And what is this stuff in the TV commercials about tell your doctor your medications--shouldn't the doctor know that or tell you?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Food combos

Joy Bauer, RD, writes about combining foods for max nutrition (Woman's Day).

First, if you have tummy trouble, it's good to combine calcium and inulin--a type of fiber. It's in Fibersure, Activia Fiber, artichokes, garlic leeks, bananas, whole wheat flour and asparagus. How does grilled asparagus with parmesan sound?

You also need Vitamin D to absorb calcium. Milk is a calcium source, of course, cheese, almond milk, kale, broccoli. Vit D is loaded into salmon, sardines, light tuna, and cow's milk.

Vitamin E and Vitamin C are good for eyes. The Vitamin E can even help prevent macular degeneration--a crappy old people thing. Vitamin E is in almonds (butter), peanuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and soybeans. Vitamin C is in citrus, of course, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, tomatoes, and potatoes.

For more energy, combine Iron and Vitamin C. Iron is in meat and some plant-based foods (beans). Add C for absorption. Bean burrito with salsa? Oatmeal with strawberries?

Ever heard of Vitamin K? It's in kale, spinach, chard, broccoli, cabbage. For a healthy heart and bones, combine K with "good" fat--say from nuts. How about broccoli sauteed in olive oil?

These are just a few of the winning combos. I looked and looked--Danish was not on there.

Instead of getting wrapped around the axel trying to figure the combinations, I would say eat fresh, healthful grub.

Monday, May 19, 2014

How long have these eggs been in here?

According to a story in OneEarth, Winter 2013, the average American family throws out 15-25% of the food it purchases--thousands of dollars a year.

The National Sources Defense Council says this is because of misunderstandings about labeling and a lack of federal regulation.

They have a report out called The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Labels Lead to Food Waste.

Even cities can create their own standards. Baltimore's laws differ from Maryland's. It's a mess.

You see "sell by"..."use by"..."best by".."enjoy by"--but are these dates the food "expires"?


Some are dates where the store must remove the item from the shelves. Or it may mean the most tasty time.

They are not really about safety. We have noses for that.

To me the suggested changes were also confusing--sell by replaced by best  by, for instance.

I still don't know how long eggs are good. Pretty long. You heard it here first.

For info, go to,asp.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

OK--say you do get a sunburn

I lived in the era before sunblock and got a couple of blister-burns when I was in HS. Second degree! Eeek--this is supposed to make me cancer fodder. So far so good.

Anyhow, say you do forget to reapply your block or stay out too long and redden--what next?

First, it hurts. Take frequent cool showers to draw out the heat. Pat yourself almost dry, then when damp, apply a moisturizer. Aloe vera is a  good ingredient--or smear the goo from a leaf of it in your yard.

Do not put on a deadener--benzocaine--as this can cause allergies over a large surface.

How about Noxema--is that still around? It helped.

Consider and aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain.

Drink lots of water.

If you get blisters like I did, don't pop them.

Stay out of the sun or wear thick clothing over the burned areas. Sun on the burn will quickly remind you--ouch!

Remember, the sun is a big ball of radiation. Handle with care.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Here we go again--sunscreen

UVA rays--damage, no sunburn.
Am I looping? After almost eight years, probably.

Adam Friedman, MD, director of dermatological research at the Montefiore Medical Center in NY, tries to spell out the latest FDA thinking on sunscreen.

First, sunscreens claiming to be waterproof and sweat proof weren't. Now these are "water resistant." If it says 80 mins, reapply before that.

Sunscreens with SPF-2 to SPF-14, can prevent sunburn, but not cancer or premature aging.

The FDA, by the way, has yet to decide whether SPF-50 is really good additional protection.

Whatever the value, you need to glom it on--a full ounce--usually people use a quarter of this.

Sunscreens now protect against two types of rays--UVB and UVA. UVA does not cause sunburn (warning) and thus is more dangerous.

Look for products with a few blocking agents--ecamsule, cinoxate, octyle salicytate, and oxybenzone.

Apply at least a shot glass full of 30-50, reapply every two hours--what the heck, wear a hat and clothes, also.

Me, I stay in.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Eeek--Pollen Vortex #1 and Pollen Vortex #2 coming!

Joan Lelach, MD, has 27 years of experience treating allergies and is an attending physician at Montefiore Medical Center in NYC.

After the Polar Vortex--doesn't a Pollen Vortex sound scary?
She sees a second Vortex when grass pollen and ragweed begin to overlap in late July and August. Something about global whatever.

She advises:

Keep your grass short. If you are cutting it, wear an allergy mask.

Do not hang your wash outside--pollen bonds to cloth.

Pollen counts are worse in the early morning--jog at 10 at nite.

Rootology is a mixture of Chinese herbs to restore free breathing  in less than 20 minutes. This is a supplement to your other allergy meds.

Keep car and house windows closed. "Recirculate" air.

I know I write about allergies a lot. They blow.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Know someone with cancer--this is what it's like

Bryan Bishop is the sidekick known as Bald Bryan to radio and podcast personality Adam Carolla. I recently picked up Bishop's "cancer memoir" titled Shrinkage.

We have all seen actors vomiting from chemo and regrettably many of us have known non-actors who have undergone cancer treatment. But this book--kind of self-absorbed, kind of breathless and very candid--with "corrections" from Bishop's beloved wife Christie--really lays out the brutal effects of  trying to shrink an inoperable brain stem tumor.

Of course, the couple is also trying to get married, manage without jobs, juggle well-meaning families, and describe and fight back against certain doctors lacking in the charm department. Dr. Drew, for instance, has been known to pronounce "death sentence" when he hears of people's diagnoses--and he is one they like.

We all know chemo can make you throw up and lose your hair (Bishop's was already gone, so no problem). But what you will learn is how chemo and radiation slam the entire body--Bishop could not dress himself, walk without help, eat without help, or even speak clearly without slurring as his brain was bombarded.

Despite being quite the acerbic wit (he has a chapter on the biggest "douchebags" he ever met--Mount Douchemore), Bishop is sort of hanging on for dear life and his wife takes the brunt of everything.

If you complain as I do sometimes about feeling crummy sometimes, this book is the cure for you!

My sister and I always say--what if we had something really really bad? Well, Bishop did.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Quit ragging on old people

I see it on Chelsea Handler and in real life--people making fun of old people--they can't read their phones, don't have phones, are slow walkers, write checks at the supermarket (the horror) on and on.

You may be having your turn now, but if you keep on having your turn until you are "old," you will be quite surprised at what happens to you.

No matter how much kale you wad in, and how many marathons you run, stuff will start to flicker and fail.

The Dorothy Parker line, "What fresh hell is this?" will begin to resonate. Maybe all of a sudden you are short of breath walking 50 feet...what fresh hell...?

Or a limb will start to hurt--you can't raise your arm to do your hair. WFH?

Or you stand up fast and almost topple over. Ditto.

Maybe you write checks because you don't like giving out all your info to the tender mercies of the internet.

I read a book called (I am sure she thought cleverly) "Incontinent on the Continent." Some little smartass takes her mother to Italy and then calls Mom "excess baggage." The twit also claims to never see a disabled Italian. She is embarrassed half to death because Mom has a walker.

What a jerk.

The next time you feel like sighing at an older woman reaching into her purse, or an older man starting a long complaint about some item of merchandise, can it.

That will be you someday--when you can't see those little phone buttons. How will you cope then?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Parents! Question the kids' athletic programs

You can't send your precious kids out to play vigorous sports without knowing how serious the school is about protecting them.

This is not a matter of faith. It's a matter of research.

The National Athletic Trainers Association says find out who comprises the sports medicine team. Sometimes schools rely on trainers or parents with first aid training--look into this. NATA says the coach should not be making medical decisions.

Does your school or league have an action plan in case of emergencies?  Who--specifically--will be there to render aid.

Is all athletic equipment in working order? This includes frield goals, flooring, gymastics apparatus, and so on. Also--check medical equipment once a month.

Be sure coaches are qualified and don't lets kids do things that are ill-advised or too dangerous. All should have CPR training.

Clean showers and locker rooms to kill dangerous pathogens. Don't let kids share towels, razors, water bottles and other gear.

Many schools have Automated External Defibrillators--be sure someone can use it.  Also make sure they are on the sidelines--every time.

You may not get a second chance to check all this.

For more info--go to

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

OK, I am fixated on the crawlies

See below--insect time! Now, I learn there is special clothing permeated with permethrin that significantly reduces tick bites.

I know several people struggling with Lyme and its aftermath. You don't want this.

The poison clothes supposedly hold up through 70 washes.

They did one study of 67 workers--all reported tick bites. During the first tick season, 84 bites were recorded by 64 siubjects, This compared with 493 bites by 63 people in the untreated clothing group. Yow! Big difference.

In the second season, it was 181 bites compared with 281.

I guess you find these duds by googling...

Might be worth it if you frisk around outside a lot.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Bzzzz--Here come the bugs

Insect bugs, not viruses and bacteria. My daughter has already gotten one bee sting.

Janyce Sanford, MD, chair of the Univ of Alabama Dept of Emergency Medicine, recommends insect repellant with DEET along with long sleeves and pants.

DEET is poison, but 10-30% concentration is approved for kids over 2 mos. Ten percent lasts two hours, 24% five hours. Follow directions, don't just hose the kids with it.

Ticks out in the wild can carry Rock Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease depending on the area of the country. Wear long pants, tight at the bottom, inspect for ticks periodically.

For those with allergies, bees and wasps can kill--an EpiPen is recommended. You will need a prescription.

For hiking or camping, you can assemble a First Aid Kit. Assorted bandages, Tylenol, Benadryl, aspirin, the EpiPen if appropriate, an inhaler for asthmatics, foldable splints, alcohol wipes, and so on.

Know where you are going and what lies there.

Don't be a woods dope.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Some hospitals have special areas for teen cancer patients

 Teens and young adults, sadly, sometimes get leukemias, thyroid cancer, germ cell cancer and some other types not as common in children and adults.

And according to Laura Landro, WSJ, Apr 29, 2014, cancer in this age group hits a vulnerable group. They don't belong in the adult wards--or the pediatric wards.

Often, too, this age group does not hang out at the doctor's and may be diagnosed late. Also cancer acts differently in this age group.

Seattle Children's is one hosp that has created special areas for teens and young adults.

The teens preload iPods with music that helped them cope.

The staff knows about sensitive the young people are about their looks (losing hair, looking ill). Also sometimes friends visit, sometimes not. The units help patients understand.

They also help the youngsters deal with fear. One patient said he was OK on fear until he was told he was cancer-free--then he began to worry about it coming back.

The young adults are also consulted on being in trials and must sign alongside their parents.

It seems to come down to respect and insight.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Trampolines may not be so much fun

It sounds good on paper--flexing the knees, soaring, moving, moving...But trampolines brought almost 300,000 people, mostly children to ERs just with broken bones between 2002 and 2011.

The Indiana School of Medicine has been looking at these "exercise devices."

In all--not just fractures--more than a million people went to the ER as a result of bouncing in that time period.

About 60% of the bone breaks were in arms, forearms, and elbows. Just 4% were in the back, spine, head, and sternum.

The average age of most injuries was 9. Older kids jumped higher and with more force and sustained more axial skeletal injuries.

Also--surprise--the docs decided teens were risk-takers.

And by the way, these injuries were almost all sustained at home. One researcher said tramps should not be allowed in backyards.

That would be one approach. Not buying one would be another.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Chemo for breast cancer--may lead to unemployment

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center did a study. Nearly one-third of breast cancer survivors who were working when treatment began were unemployed four years later. About 746 women took part.

Thirty percent said they were not working four years after. Women who had chemo were most likely to be in this group.

Mot wanted to work--55% of those not working said it was important for them to work. Almost 40% were looking for work.

Many doctors believe people may stop working during treatment, but will "bounce back" over time. This seems to refute that.

Is it the "chemo brain"? The new appreciation of life without monotonous work? Just generalized malaise or not being the same? Discrimination--supposedly illegal--by employers?

My personal feeling is one's life may take off in a different direction.