Hugging and Chalking

This blog is about obesity and the inanity/insanity it spawns, the encroaching lawsuits and growing diet industry. Obesity is a matter of genes and personal responsibility. You can have an endocrine problem, or you can have a balance problem (too many calories and too little exercise). It’s not where you eat, but how much you eat; it’s not McDonald’s fault, or Mama’s fault, or Washington’s fault if your body is too fat or too thin. Rosabelle.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Just two minutes?

There’s something in my personality that’s very skeptical when I’m told something is easy or quick.  Like, buy blessings bags to end poverty (school packs) or it’s easy to lose 15 pounds for that new Easter outfit.  However, 2 minutes does sound doable, so I copied this from the Silver Sneaker newsletter and I don’t want to lose it, so I’m putting it in my blog. When I replace my ink cartridge, I may even print it.   Filing e-mail articles IS NOT easy, no matter what they tell you about Windows 10!  And why do they always give a handsome, muscular young man or woman to imitate.  I want someone about 75 to limp out to the limited space in a condo to do this!

Exercise # 1: March

Do the move for 15 seconds

How to do it: Stand tall, and engage your core by imagining you’re about to receive a punch in the gut. March in place, raising your knees as high as you comfortably can. Bend your arms, and let them swing naturally as you march.

Exercise #2: Step Over

Do the move for 15 seconds

How to do it: Stand tall, and engage your core. Visualize an imaginary line in front of your toes. Step over the line one foot at a time, and then step behind the line one foot at a time. Continue stepping forward and back, moving as smoothly as you can.

Exercise #3: Side Step

Do the move for 15 seconds

How to do it: Stand tall, and engage your core. Step out to the side with one foot, and follow it with your other foot, tapping the floor. Repeat in the opposite direction. Continue alternating, moving as smoothly as you can.

Exercise #4: Uppercut Reach

Do the move for 15 seconds

How to do it: Stand with your feet comfortably apart, toes forward, and knees and hips bent slightly in a shallow squat. Engage your core, and hold your arms at your sides with elbows bent.
Pulse up and down slightly, and push through your feet to stand up. At the same time, reach your right hand up and across your body to your left side in an uppercut motion. Allow your right foot to pivot.

Pause, return to starting position, and reset your balance. Repeat the pulse and uppercut reach with your left arm to your right side. Continue alternating, moving as smoothly as you can.

Exercise #5: Step Back

Do the move for 20 seconds

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, and engage your core.
Step your left foot back and slightly out to the side. Return to starting position, and repeat the movement for 10 seconds. As you step, move your arms naturally, but continue to keep your core strong.

Return to starting position, and repeat with your right leg for 10 seconds.

Exercise #6: Step In and Out

Do the move for 15 seconds

How to do it: Stand with your feet comfortably apart and knees slightly bent, and engage your core. Visualize an imaginary line between your feet. Step your feet in toward toward the line one foot at a time, and then step out from the line one foot at a time. Continue stepping in and out, moving as smoothly as you can.

Exercise #7: Squat to Curl

Do the move for 15 seconds

How to do it: Stand with your feet comfortably apart and toes forward. Engage your core, and hold your arms at your sides with elbows slightly bent.

Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower yourself into a shallow squat. Push through your feet to return to standing, and curl your hands to your shoulders, making sure to bend from your elbows and not your wrists.

Pulse back down into a shallow squat, lowering your arms. Continue alternating, moving as smoothly as you can.

Exercise #8: March

Do the move for 15 seconds 

How to do it: Stand tall, and engage your core. March in place, raising your knees as high as you comfortably can. Bend your arms, and let them swing naturally as you march.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Vitamin B 12 and the aging brain

Jane Brody wrote a recent piece for the New York Times saying she eats a well balanced diet and hasn't felt the need for supplements, although does take Vitamin D. However, now she is looking into B12 supplementation at age 75.

 “Depression, dementia and mental impairment are often associated with” a deficiency of B12 and its companion B vitamin folate, “especially in the elderly,” Dr. Rajaprabhakaran Rajarethinam, a psychiatrist at Wayne State University School of Medicine, has written.

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Monday, April 03, 2017

B vitamins and the brain

The VITACOG trial, a preliminary clinical trial in subjects with high plasma homocysteine levels, showed that the brains of those who received B-vitamins shrank significantly less rapidly than those of the placebo group, particularly in areas that are associated with early pathological changes in Alzheimer’s.

Author believes there were flaws in the analysis. 

What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin B12? (from NIH fact page)

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anemia. Nerve problems, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include problems with balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue. Vitamin B12 deficiency can damage the nervous system even in people who don’t have anemia, so it is important to treat a deficiency as soon as possible.
In infants, signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include failure to thrive, problems with movement, delays in reaching the typical developmental milestones, and megaloblastic anemia.

Large amounts of folic acid can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency by correcting megaloblastic anemia, a hallmark of vitamin B12 deficiency. But folic acid does not correct the progressive damage to the nervous system that vitamin B12 deficiency also causes. For this reason, healthy adults should not get more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid a day.

What are some effects of vitamin B12 on health?

Scientists are studying vitamin B12 to understand how it affects health. Here are several examples of what this research has shown:

Heart disease

Vitamin B12 supplements (along with folic acid and vitamin B6) do not reduce the risk of getting heart disease. Scientists had thought that these vitamins might be helpful because they reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a compound linked to an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.


As they get older, some people develop dementia. These people often have high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Vitamin B12 (with folic acid and vitamin B6) can lower homocysteine levels, but scientists don’t know yet whether these vitamins actually help prevent or treat dementia.

Energy and athletic performance

Advertisements often promote vitamin B12 supplements as a way to increase energy or endurance. Except in people with a vitamin B12 deficiency, no evidence shows that vitamin B12 supplements increase energy or improve athletic performance.

What are some effects of vitamin B6 on health? (from NIH fact page)

Scientists are studying vitamin B6 to understand how it affects health. Here are some examples of what this research has shown.

Heart disease

Some scientists had thought that certain B vitamins (such as folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6) might reduce heart disease risk by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. Although vitamin B supplements do lower blood homocysteine, research shows that they do not actually reduce the risk or severity of heart disease or stroke.


People with low levels of vitamin B6 in the blood might have a higher risk of certain kinds of cancer, such as colorectal cancer. But studies to date have not shown that vitamin B6 supplements can help prevent cancer or lower the chances of dying from this disease.

Cognitive Function

Some research indicates that elderly people who have higher blood levels of vitamin B6 have better memory. However, taking vitamin B6 supplements (alone or combined with vitamin B12 and/or folic acid) does not seem to improve cognitive function or mood in healthy people or in people with dementia.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Scientists aren’t yet certain about the potential benefits of taking vitamin B6 for premenstrual syndrome (PMS). But some studies show that vitamin B6 supplements could reduce PMS symptoms, including moodiness, irritability, forgetfulness, bloating, and anxiety.

Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

At least half of all women experience nausea, vomiting, or both in the first few months of pregnancy. Based on the results of several studies, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends taking vitamin B6 supplements under a doctor’s care for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Can vitamin B6 be harmful?

Not from food, but taking high levels of vitamin B6 from supplements for a year or longer can cause severe nerve damage which goes away when you discontinue.

What are some effects of folate on health? (from NIH fact page)

Scientists are studying folate to understand how it affects health. Here are several examples of what this research has shown.

Neural tube defects

Taking folic acid regularly before becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. But about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Therefore, all women and teen girls who could become pregnant should consume 400 mcg of folic acid daily from supplements, fortified foods, or both in addition to the folate they get naturally from foods.

Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required food companies to add folic acid to enriched bread, cereal, flour, cornmeal, pasta, rice, and other grain products sold in the United States. Because most people in the United States eat these foods on a regular basis, folic acid intakes have increased and the number of babies born with neural tube defects has decreased since 1998.

Preterm birth, congenital heart defects, and other birth defects

Taking folic acid might reduce the risk of having a premature baby and prevent birth defects, such as congenital heart problems. But more research is needed to understand how folic acid affects the risk of these conditions.


Folate that is found naturally in food may decrease the risk of several forms of cancer. But folate might have different effects depending on how much is taken and when. Modest amounts of folic acid taken before cancer develops might decrease cancer risk, but high doses taken after cancer (especially colorectal cancer) begins might speed up its progression. For this reason, high doses of folic acid supplements (more than the upper limit of 1,000 mcg) should be taken with caution, especially by people who have a history of colorectal adenomas (which sometimes turn into cancer). More research is needed to understand the roles of dietary folate and folic acid supplements in cancer risk.

Heart disease and stroke

Some scientists used to think that folic acid and other B-vitamins might reduce heart disease risk by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. But although folic acid supplements do lower blood homocysteine levels, they don’t decrease the risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that a combination of folic acid with other B-vitamins, however, helps prevent stroke.

Dementia, cognitive function, and Alzheimer’s disease

Folic acid supplements with or without other B-vitamins do not seem to improve cognitive function, but more research on this topic is needed.


People with low blood levels of folate might be more likely to suffer from depression and might not respond as well to treatment with antidepressants as people with normal folate levels.

Folic acid supplements might make antidepressant medications more effective. But it is not clear whether these supplements help people with both normal folate levels and those with folate deficiency. More research is needed to learn about the role of folate in depression and whether folic acid supplements are helpful when used in combination with standard treatment.

Can folate be harmful?

Folate that is naturally present in food is not harmful. Folic acid in supplements and fortified foods, however, should not be consumed in amounts above the upper limit, unless recommended by a health care provider.

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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Anti-aging product, Basis

What is Basis made of and is it effective in anti-aging? Aging is not considered a disease, so the anti-aging supplements on the market can by pass the strict FDA requirements for a drug.  Research since 2013 has been exploding. Basis is a product put out by Elysium. The ingredients are all available at various stores that sell supplements, but I like this company for its outstanding Board.

Basis is a proprietary formulation of two ingredients — nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene — in capsule form. The compounds restore levels of the coenzyme NAD+, which declines in humans beginning in our 20s, and support healthy sirtuin activity. NAD+ and sirtuins regulate more than 500 areas of cellular health.

The sirtuin family of histone deacetylases (HDACs) was named after their homology to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene silent information regulator 2 (Sir2). In the yeast, Sir2 has been shown to mediate the effects of calorie restriction on the extension of life span and high levels of Sir2 activity promote longevity.

Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Take Pterostilbene – Selfhacked (has pictures, charts)

The 4 Things You Have to Know about Pterostilbene

A Review of Pterostilbene Antioxidant Activity and Disease Modification (cites other articles)

The Anti-Aging Pill


Sirtuins in aging

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nutrition and lifestyle in healthy aging

Today, researchers are struggling to find a compound or an “elixir” for long life, while common people are taking dietary supplements with the intent to preserve mental, physical, and emotional health into old age. Most dietary supplement programs include combinations of vitamins, antioxidants, and other constituents, some of which have been shown to have significant health benefits in controlled clinical studies. Specific nutrients provide all the necessary building blocks to support telomere** health and extend lifespan.
This is the case of folate [56,57], vitamins (B, D, E, C)[58] zinc [59] and polyphenol compounds such as resveratrol [60], grape seed extract and curcumin [61]. 
Several foods -such as tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel,halibut, anchovies, cat-fish, grouper, flounder, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, kiwi, black raspberries, green tea, broccoli, sprouts, red grapes, tomatoes, olive fruit- are a good source of antioxidants. These, combined with a Mediterranean type of diet containing fruits, vegetable sand whole grains would help protect our chromosome ends [62-70]. 
**Telomeres are long sequences of nucleotides at the end of our chromosomes, forming with specific proteins complex, an “end caps” which preserve genome stability and lead a cell to correctly divide.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Interview with Sandra Aamodt about mindful eating

Jean Fain is the author of had an opportunity to interview neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt about her ideas on the downside of dieting. Ms. Aamodt has a Ted Talk and a NYT editorial piece about mindful eating. Why you can't lose weight on a diet

Q. As a therapist specializing in eating issues, I’m well aware of mindful eating’s many benefits. But for those who’ve never stopped and savored a raisin, how do you define mindful eating and what advantages does it have over dieting? 

A. I define it as eating with attention and joy, without judgment. That includes attention to hunger and fullness, to the experience of eating and to its effects on our bodies. As we learn to clearly observe how food tastes and how it makes us feel, we naturally start making more satisfying choices. Mindful eating views food as an ally, while dieting treats it as an enemy, leading to constant struggles between willpower and temptation. That's one reason that the results of mindful eating look better in the long-term than in the short-term, while dieting shows the opposite pattern.

Q. After three decades of trying and failing to lose the same 10-15 pounds, you resolved to stop dieting and start eating mindfully. What prompted that resolution?

A. I didn't exactly fail to lose those pounds. Instead I succeeded one time too many. The main trouble with diets is that they work in the short term, but they fail in the long term. As I started to look into the research showing that almost all dieting is yo-yo dieting in practice, I realized that my story was typical, a result of my brain working as it should to protect me from starvation. Knowing that, it didn't make sense to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. The resolution, which I made for New Year's in 2010, was an experiment. I didn't know how well it would work, but I knew that I needed to try something new because the old way was costing a lot of energy and delivering little payoff.

Q. Judging from the firestorm your recent NY Times op-ed incited, not everyone is ready to ditch dieting and their big weight-loss dreams. In fact, if Reddit commenters are any indication, dieting is as popular as ever. So, I’m curious, who are your ideal readers and how do you hope your book impacts them?

A. My strongest hope is that parents will read the book and realize that expressing anxiety about children's bodies is not going to make them thinner. Instead, it's likely to lead to weight gain and increase the risk of eating disorders. The easiest place to break the cycle of diet obsession, I think, is at that parent-child relationship, before a lifetime of weight cycling has gotten started. The other class of readers I hope to reach is people like me, who are tired of repeated dieting that isn't getting them anywhere and looking for a better way.

Q. While you couldn’t be more clear that mindful eating doesn’t guarantee weight loss, you can be sure that a good number of readers will expect to lose weight doing as you’ve done -- eat mindfully without restriction for six months to a year. What do you have to say to them?

A. Whether or not you hope to lose weight, the process of learning to eat mindfully will go better if you don't make that a goal. Part of the point of mindful eating is to loosen the grip of cognitive controls on your food choices, so you can let the brain regulate hunger as it's done successfully for hundreds of thousands of years. Try mindful eating for the benefits you can count on, such as developing a good relationship with food or being able to apply your willpower to being a better partner, parent, or worker instead of using it up in repeated attempts to fit into smaller pants.

Q. As of your 2013 Ted Talk, you’d lost 10 pounds. How goes the weight maintenance?

A. I'm still wearing the blue dress I chose for that talk. As long as my lifestyle is stable, my weight stays the same. Last year I had an injury that stopped me from exercising for several months, and I gained five or 10 pounds. When I became active again, my weight dropped back to normal within a month, without any particular effort.

Q. You say you can’t learn mindful eating from a book, and I couldn’t agree with you more. How did you learn to eat mindfully and how do you suggest readers do the same?

A. I learned on my own, without any previous training in mindfulness. I started by deciding to pay attention to how my body felt before and after eating for an entire year. It ended up taking me about six months to learn how to eat mindfully. Early on, I had trouble figuring out whether I was hungry, I think partly because I was invested in getting the "right" answer -- the one that agreed with my preconceptions about whether I should be hungry at the moment. I also had trouble detecting fullness before I'd overeaten. With time and attention, both hunger and fullness signals became stronger. Now I automatically notice when it's time to stop eating, even if I'm deep in conversation. Shaking off the guilt and learning to fully enjoy food was a slower process, which has greatly enhanced my quality of life.

For people who don't feel comfortable learning on their own, there are a variety of books and workshops that provide mindful eating exercises. But no matter how you approach the experience, you can't skip the exercises and expect to learn anything just by reading or listening. Mindful eating requires experimenting -- "playing with your food," as Jean Kristeller says -- until you learn what works for you and how it feels to eat according to hunger. 

Q. How do you understand why mindful eating helped you stop eating donuts, but not ice cream?

A. The simple answer is that I learned to taste my food. When I was dieting, there was so much chatter in my head about "should" and "must" and "don't" around food that it often drowned out the basic experience of eating. Once I learned to pay less attention to those voices and more attention to the physical sensations, I discovered that I didn't like some of the foods I'd been using to cheat on my diet, like donuts or Doritos. But I still love other treats, like ice cream and strawberry shortcake.

Closing Thoughts….
Yes, even the most mindful eater can gain weight as Aamodt did when she got sidelined from exercise. Fortunately, mindful eating has taught her to trust that, even if life throws her a curve ball and she gains a few pounds, her weight generally takes care of itself. In my professional opinion, that’s as good as it gets. 

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The neglected health blog

My goodness; where does the time go?

I eventually lost 35 pounds and got back to a size 8.  But as always it's a struggle.  At my regular blog I wrote quite a bit about exercise and chocolate.  Yes, chocolate (dark) is good for weight loss.  Also, I've continued on the exercycle, and I'm at 2,588 miles in 17 months.  The little online record for biking across the country with photos lost its funding, so now I just track it in a notebook. Can't walk much; developed bursitis in my left leg last August after having it clear up in the right in June, so it has to be the stationary bike.

Update: The bursitis ended near the end of June.  I added Fish Oil to my diet, and either that did the trick, or it's a placebo affect.  Either way I'll take it.  Can walk 5-10 miles a day as long as I stay away from hills and do it no more than 2 miles at a time. Now (October 10) I'm at 3,291 miles.

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