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Monday, February 25, 2013

Breaking News: Mediterranean Diet and Heart Disease

A study was publicized today that suggests that about 30% of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people who are considered at high risk if they switch to a "Mediterranean Diet" - one rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables.  Published in the New England Journal of Medicine's website today (Monday February 25th), apparently the study ended early (after only 5 years) because the results were so clear that continuing it would have been unethical.  The researchers said that more research is needed to establish the diet's benefit for people at low risk.  The study's results immediately caused some critics to respond - Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish among them.  Esselystn (of Forks Over Knives fame) promotes a vegan diet and does not recommend olive oil.  Dr. Ornish (promoter of a low fat diet) challenged the study's conclusions that it was more effective than a low-fat diet based on the study's methodology and control's group diet.  He also took exception with the statements that the diet reduced heart attacks, death from cardiovascular causes or death from any cause but did not challenge the conclusions about the Meditteranean Diet's effect on reducing strokes. 

While there are some definite distinctions between the Meditteranean Diet, Dr. Esselstyn's recommended diet and Dr. Ornish's diet including the fact that Esselstyn does not support consuming oils, Esselystn and Ornish promote vegan diets (whereas the Meditteranean diet allows eating eating fish, poultry, eggs, and cheese), and the Meditteranean Diet definitely includes the consumption of more fat than Ornish Diet - commonalities include heavy consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods and absolutely no red meat.  As the researchers who released the results of this study (suggesting the positive implications of following the Meditteranean Diet), Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish are all promoting some common dietary habits - whether you follow a Vegan Diet like Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish promote that is very low in fat or the Meditteranean Diet - either option is SIGNIFICANTLY healthier than the Western Diet (one that is high in saturated fats, red meats, junk food, and low in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood and poultry).   

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Quote of the Day - from Ben Affleck

This may be one of the shortest posts I ever write on the Blog but Ben Affleck's comments tonight upon "Argo" receiving Best Picture inspired me to post it. 

"It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life 'cause that's going to happen.  All that matters is that you gotta get up"

Thanks Ben and congrats to you and Argo.  Great lesson for everyone.  Whatever it is in in life that you're trying to do (lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, beat an illness, win an Oscar, achieve a dream, etc.):

"It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life 'cause that's going to happen. All that matters is that you gotta get up"


http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/oscars-2013-ben-afflecks-oscars-speech-18586776



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Incredible Power of Blueberries

See It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions' Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ItsNotRocketScience52Resolutions.  Today's tip (and incidentally, a resolution in the book - for which I've added the direct Amazon link to over in the links section) is to try to add blueberries to your diet this week. 

Blueberries are known for their antioxidant qualities and have been shown to lower high blood pressure.  We dedicate a whole resolution to blueberries in the book detailing even more of the incredible benefits of eating them.  This (and 51 other anti-aging and healthy living resolutions) await you in the book.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions - available via Amazon Kindle Bookstore

It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions - the book that my friend and co-author Kim Williams and I wrote on reversing aging, getting healthy, and looking great - is now (as of today) for sale via Amazon in the Kindle Bookstore.  Here is the link is It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions (Kindle version at Amazon Kindle Bookstore)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Get in the FLOW!! - It Will Reduce Your Stress and Make You Look and Feel Younger

After a few days of intense work on the book, which as a reminder can be purchased at http://www.fiftytworesolutions.com and now has a Facebook page too at www.facebook.com/ItsNotRocketScience52Resolutions, I'm back to the blogging.  It all reminds me of possibly my FAVORITE resolution in the book.  It is Resolution #9 and to read all about it, you have to buy the book, but essentially it advocates Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do!!

The stress and negative energy of working at a job that you dislike can kill you!! Only you can make a change, discover what you love, and pursue that passion with a vengeance.  It (finding what you love and making it not just your avocation but your vocation) actually has the effect of making you look and feel younger. It is that job where you look as forward to Monday morning as you do to any other day and time of the week (like some people look forward to Friday afternoon at 5 PM).  Some people were born to be police officers and that's their passion, others were put on this Earth to be artists or musicians or writers or caretakers of animals. Obviously, almost everyone has to pay the bills and be realistic and sometimes people don't  discover their true passions until later in life but as stated in the Resolution #9 chapter, "..it's never too late to make a positive change in your occupation and/or vocation." Remember, life is short and the stress and unhappiness that result from working full-time in a job that you dislike can harm your health, raise your blood pressure and stress level, and basically - speed up the aging process.

I think I already knew it but the last year has really made me realize that my real passions are writing and exercise/sports.  Through writing It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions (the book), articles for LIVESTRONG.com, and this Blog - I feel younger and have found what it is that allows me to achieve "Flow."  Flow (proposed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) is a positive psychology concept that essentially is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.  It is the mental state of operation where a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.  You can read more about Csikszentmihalyi and Flow on the Internet and elsewhere but if you are able to find the activity that allows you to perform in Flow and also make a living doing it, you are lucky and and will have probably achieved Resolution #9 and are Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do.  Find the Flow!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions (The Book)

We beat the release date by a day.  It's here!  It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions (a book on reversing aging, getting healthy and looking fabulous) is on the market.  For only 4.99, you can buy the book at www.fiftytworesolutions.com.  It is currently available in PDF format.  Our website has a link to purchase the book.  My co-author and friend Kim Williams and I hope that you will purchase it and enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed preparing it for you.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Release

I have really exciting news - in a book that is line with the type of content and recommendations that I talk about on this Blog - my co-author Kim Williams and I will be releasing an e-book this weekend.  If you want to read more about easy tips to help you get and stay healthy, look great, and even slow and in some cases reverse the aging process (what is referred to as biological aging - meaning aging of your internal components) - look for more information this weekend when we go live with the website.

The website will contain a link to where you can buy the e-book on Amazon for Kindles and Kindle apps on your smart devices for only 4.99.

I'll post the website address when we go live.





  

"Survey Says.....- Plant-Based Diet beats the "Southern Diet" -- Researchers find strong nexus between DIET and STROKE

It's Not Rocket Science folks - and yet a major study is out today that says that people whose diets are heavy on deep-fried foods and sugary drinks like sweet tea and soda are more likely candidates for serious health consequences - in this case, a stroke.  In a federally funded study (funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, drugmaker Amgen, Inc. and General Mills Inc.) and presented at an American Stroke Assocation conference yesterday, University of Alabama researchers in what is being called the FIRST study completely isolated on diet and stroke found that people who ate about 6 meals a week featuring fried foods, processed meats, and sugary drinks had a 41 percent higher risk than people who ate that way only about once a month.  In contrast, people whose diets were high in FRUITS, VEGETABLES, and WHOLE GRAINS had a 29 percent lower risk.  Lead researcher Suzanne Judd said that "the message for people in the middle is that there's a graded risk" - meaning that the likelihood of suffering a stroke rises in proportion to each meal like this referred to as a "Southern Meal" in a week.

Interestingly, the study surveyed 20,000 people ages 45 and older from all 48 mainland states and sorted responses about diet into five diet styles.  Two of them were referred to as "Southern" and "Plant Based". 

Southern - Fried foods, processed meats (lunch meat, jerky), red meat, eggs, sweet drinks and whole mil

Plant-based - Fruits, Vegetables, Juice, Cereal, Fish, Poultry, yogurt, nuts, and whole grain bread

For 5 years of follow-ups after the survey, nearly 500 strokes in the respondents occurred.  Of the 5 diet styles, researchers only saw clear patterns with these two dietary styles (Southern and Plant-Based).  As mentioned above, 41% more strokes occurred in those who ate the highest amount of foods in the Souther Diet versus those occurring in the survey portion who ate the least amount of those types of food and 29% fewer strokes occurred in the the group of those who ate the highest amount of foods in the plant-based grouping compared with the people who seldom at that way.  Researchers say that the trends were completely independent of other risk factors for stroke.

One MORE reason to eat a diet that is highly plant-based and whole-food and stay away from those items in the "Southern" dietary style.  Again, I'm not a Rocket Scientist but the evidence is pretty clear - want to be healthier, live longer, and avoid being the sufferer of a significant negative health event like a stroke - eat healther!! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are you positive? You should be! It can help you live longer.

Positive thinking and a general sense of optimism is essential for stress management and can even improve your health.  Researchers have since 2000 concluded the following about the impact of optimism on health:

1.  There is a nexus between a more optimistic outlook and a lowered risk of heart disease in older men (Harvard, 2001)
2.  Optimistic women have less thickening of the carotid artery walls (University of Pittsburgh)
3.  A positive mental outlook is associated with reduced evidence of coronary heart disease and total mortality in postmenopausal women (Women's Health Initiative Study, 2009)

Conversely, research at the Mayo Clinic has shown that having a pessimistic view can increase the risk of mortality in patients by as much as 19%.

So have what's known as a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).  Have a "glass half full" mentality, deal with what comes your way, and face challenges head on with an optimistic and upbeat approach.  You will not only more effectively be able to deal with the situation in the present but your future will be brighter (and longer).

Is Laughter "the Best Medicine"?

Research repeatedly shows that laughter is one of the best things you can do for your health.  Cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore (MD) found in 2005 that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels. Using laughter provoking movies to gauge the effect of emotions on cardiovascular health, the researchers there showed for the first time that laughter causes the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, to dilate or expand in order to increase blood follow.  Studies had already showed that nexus between mental stress and the narrowing of blood vessels, a nexus confirmed by this research.  The 2005 research built on research by the same scientists about 5 years earlier that found that people with heart disease responded with less humor to everyday life situations than those with a normal cardiovascular system.  Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Maryland said "We know that exercising, not smoking and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease. Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list."

What other benefits are achieved by simply laughing?  Laughter burns calories, lowers blood pressure,  increases the flow of oxygen to your tissues, strengthens the immune system, decreases blood sugar levels in diabetics, helps with relaxation by relieving physical tension and stress, improves sleep, triggers the release of the feel-good chemicals known as endorphins even helping to relieve the discomfort of pain, increases memory and learning, and improves alertness and creativity.

So find what makes you laugh and partake more frequently in that activity.  Read joke books, comic strips, watch comedies on TV, go see the newest comedic release in the theaters, rent funny movies, or just spend time with good friends or family members who you know will make you laugh.

Don't be so serious!  Laugh a little!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Exercise Every Day/Read "Main Street Vegan" by Victoria Moran

This might be one of my shortest posts so far and ever (including the future) but I feel so strongly about these two that I don't want to bury the power of these two resolutions in a sea of other words:

1.  Exercise every day - choose something that you love doing and that makes you feel better and look better (for example, I love my rowing machine.  I can put on my headphones and listen to great music and go into a zone for at least 30 minutes while getting a great all body workout) and do it EVERY DAY.  It doesn't have to be the same thing but do something every day for at least 30 minutes.

2.  Pick up a copy of Victoria Moran's Main Street Vegan:  Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World.  Dr. Neal Barnard said that this book is "exactly the guide you need to make changing the menu effortless.  Victoria Moran covers every aspect of plant-based eating and cruelty-free living, with everything you need to make healthy changes stick."  This book follows the It's Not Rocket Science approach with its emphasis on practical "baby steps" and it includes GREAT recipes.  I bought a hard copy of it and LOVE THIS BOOK.




Sunday, February 3, 2013

20% Resolution/80% Execution

The Super Bowl kicks off in about an hour and I'm thinking about all the people who made News Years Resolutions this year to eat less, exercise more, and lose weight.  I'm wondering, after watching all the commercials and news stories about the amounts of various snack foods that people have bought for this year's Big Game, how many people have already given up their healthy resolutions and have fallen back into bad habits.  This happens every year - millions of people with good intentions make healthy resolutions but can't execute for very long.  Now - the treadmills purchased for Christmas sit untouched, the gyms are raking in the dollars and their membership rolls are high but the percentage of members who work out is starting to dwindle, those diet books and exercise DVDs are starting to again collect dust.

This happens every year.  Why?  Because, like much in life and business, it is all in the execution.  One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Edison - "Vision without execution is hallucination."  As with anything else, successful healthy resolutions are not worth the paper they're written on (or the napkin they were scribbled on during some New Year's Eve party) if they are not followed.  The title of this post is 20% Resolution/80% Execution because execution of such resolutions is at least 4 times as important as the resolutions themselves........and probably a lot more.

So now that it's February and the Super Bowl is over, pull out that sheet (or napkin) of  at least your wellness resolutions and re-commit to get fit or in other words - EXECUTE.  Don't get discouraged. Whatever it is (lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, etc.) is an aspect of your life that didn't get to where it is now over night and you are not going to improve it over night.  Just put one foot in front of the other and EXECUTE.