Sunday, March 30, 2008

Never Too Late to Get Healthy

My wife and I love to go walking at "Two Rivers", a beautiful, riverside nature reserve in Little
Rock. Typically, when we go early in the a.m., we see herds of deer numbering 50 or more, flocks of gulls, pairs of graceful cranes, groups of honking Canada geese, and others. You just never know what you might encounter on any given day.

Last time, we saw a wizened, bearded old man, hooked up to an odd bicycle contraption, loading concrete blocks into a basket/trailer. He noted our curious look and said "I used to weigh over 300 pounds, have lost 50 in the last 3 months, and have a goal of 160 pounds". He went on to say that he and his wife decided to start getting "healthy" this past year and that she walked while he pulled this weighted-down bicycle contraption to enhance his workout and increase his calories burned.

We had a delightful spontaneous dialogue and I suggested he get a copy of the book I have blogged about, "Younger Next Year", which he promised to read.

I wondered how he had come up with this approach, why he had waited so long to get healthy, and what his background was, but it reminded me that there are many ways to achieve our goals and most of them will work if we are committed to good nutrition and a consistent exercise program.

Your comments are always welcome...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It'll be Easier when they are Grown? Forget it!

This post is about being a parent of adult children. I have six of them. Although my youngest is only 20, I can now say that all of my children are, essentially, adults. Having six kids at any time can be a challenge, to say the least. But I well remember thoughts I had when we had three in diapers, couldn't stray 6 feet from them, and never got a full night's sleep. I thought to myself: "It'll be so much easier when they are all in school". Then, when they all got in school, I said: "It'll be so much easier when they all go away to college". Then, I remember thinking, "It'll be so much easier when they get married and have a life of their own".

Sadly, through all of these phases, I have learned a hard lesson: being a parent never gets any easier. The issues simply change. When children grow into adults, the issues become more worrisome and, occasionally, heartbreaking. I lose a lot more sleep now than I did when all I had to do was help change diapers, feed a child, or lend moral support in the middle of the night to my wife as she tended to a squalling baby.

Scraped knees and assuring a nutritious intake at mealtime gave way to conflicts with friends and threatened social isolation; painful tongue lashing/criticism from coaches; heartbreak over relationship breakups; worry about the impact of academic difficulties; problems finding (or holding) a job; relationships with in-laws; young family financial problems and on and on, ad infinitum.

I encounter a lot of young parents these days who, amusingly, also relate that "It's hard now, but it'll get a lot easier when they grow up some".

I no longer hesitate in saying: "Forget it!".

Friday, March 7, 2008

Nutrition News Today

Two nutrition items came out in the news today that should be of interest to eDocAmerica readers:

1. Foods rich in Vitamin C may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. A study of 1985 men published in the journal, Prostate Cancer and Prostate Disease, showed that intakes of vitamin C-rich foods, such as peppers, broccoli, and spinach, were associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer by about 50%. Interesting, vitamin supplement showed no benefit. Eat your vegetables!

2. Washing potatoes before frying them may reduce cancer risk. A suspected carcinogen acrylamide is created when starch-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, such as frying, baking, grilling, or roasting. This chemical is reduced when the potatoes are soaked before frying, according to a study published in the current issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Hope this information may save a life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Drop the Antidepressant?

Last week, many of the national television, print, and Web media had a story about antidepressants only helping persons who were severely depressed. So, should folks taking these medicines (118 million prescriptions in the US for this family of medicines in 2005 makes for a lot of folks) stop taking them?

There are good reasons not to drop antidepressants based on this one news item.

First, like all science, one report seldom makes for a definitive conclusion. It is sensible to discuss the report with one's physician before the next antidepressant refill prescription is made but wait and see how the medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and the Food and Drug Administration respond. And, don't expect that a report contradicting the bad press on antidepressants will necessarily get the same media attention.

Second, there are indications for antidepressants other than for treating depression. The report did not address using these medicines for assisting with pain control, treating anxiety disorders, and other uses. All that was questioned was the treatment of depression that is less than severe.

Third, going "cold turkey" off most antidepressants can make one feel bad for days to a few weeks. This drug withdrawal is not usually dangerous but can make one feel very anxious, irritable, out of sorts - all sorts of symptoms that might have been present before one started on the antidepressant but in this case, these symptoms are due to the body readjusting (too quickly) to the withdrawal of the antidepressant. One's physician should be willing to work out a slow tapering of the antidepressant over a period (ideally) of several months in order to avoid these withdrawal symptoms.

So, don't ditch the antidepressants due to one news story. Discuss any such decision with your doctor.