Tag Archives: Health

The Diabetes Debate: Whose Fault is it? (part 1)

Katie: Welcome to Pass the Blame. I’m your hostess, Katie Robles. With us today is the talk of the body, Pancreas. Thanks for granting us this interview, Pancreas.

Pancreas: Happy to be here. I want to set the record straight.

Katie: Pancreas, your body has been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 and many organs are laying the blame on you.

Pancreas: It’s not my fault and they know it.

Diabetes Debate 1Katie: Isn’t diabetes—in its essence—a lack of insulin? And as the pancreas, isn’t it your job to make insulin?

Pancreas: I’ve been making insulin perfectly for decades, Katie. Decades! I’ve done my job.

Katie: You’re saying this problem is new? Everything was fine when your body was young?

Pancreas: Absolutely.

Katie: Don’t some children have diabetes? Couldn’t your body have been covering for you until now?

Pancreas: No, no, no. Juvenile diabetes is totally different: the pancreas in those cases can’t produce insulin. I can. I did. I do!

Katie: Calm down, please, Pancreas, we’re just trying to get the facts. Maybe it would help if you explain what it is that you do.

Diabetes Debate 2Pancreas: You know what glucose is?

Katie: Glucose…as in sugar?

Pancreas: Yeah, close enough. When you eat, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose.

Katie: Carbohydrates?

Pancreas: You know: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes—

Katie: French fries?

Pancreas: Yes, and lentils, beans, fruits, milk products, and the list goes on. They all break down into glucose which is fuel for your cells. No glucose, no energy. Blood delivers the glucose to every cell in the body, but cells are paranoid: they don’t let just anything in. You have to have the right key.

Katie: Let me guess: insulin is that key?

Diabetes Debate 3Pancreas: That’s right. Without insulin, the cell doors stay locked tight and glucose stays in the blood.

Katie: And the cells have no energy?

Pancreas: Right.

Katie: And you say you still make insulin?

Pancreas: Yes, I do.

Katie: Then why is your body diabetic?

Pancreas: Body was pumping in extra glucose for years and I produced extra insulin to compensate. It worked for a while, but eventually my keys didn’t fit the locks anymore.

Katie: Why is that?

Pancreas: I don’t know, but it’s the locks that changed, not the keys. I didn’t have a word for it at the time, but Brain has been reading pamphlets and she says it was Insulin Resistance. I worked overtime making insulin and that helped a little.

Katie: Body had no idea something was wrong?

Pancreas: Not consciously, no. Skin says she made a dark circle on the back of body’s neck, but Eyes never saw it, so Body kept doing her thing. Over the years a bunch of Belly Fat moved in, Body stopped exercising, and my insulin keys only worked part of the time. That’s when the finger pointing started.

Diabetes Debate 4Katie: What do you want our audience to know, Pancreas? Set the record straight for us.

Pancreas: I’m a hard working organ; always have been. My product is the key to glucose absorption in cells and if the key isn’t working, maybe they should blame the lock.

Katie: Pancreas, a few organs have noticed that because you produce so much insulin, body has been feeling hungry. Body eats more, more glucose circulates, and you make more insulin. I give no credence to the conspirators who claim you’re trying to wag the dog here, but why don’t you simply slow down insulin production?

Pancreas: Look, orders come in, I fill them. I’m not authorized to do anything else. But my production units are so overworked they’re starting to break down, so those conspirators might just get their wish.

Katie: Thank you, Pancreas. We’re going to take a short bathroom break because Bladder is full, but we’ll be back in a moment.

Part 2

Healthiest Hearts in the World

tsimane heartsThe Tsimane people of Bolivia have the healthiest hearts in the world. You can read the details for yourself, but here are the highlights applicable to us today:

How much healthier are their hearts? By age 75 only one third of the Tsimane show signs of clogged blood vessels (and therefore the risk of heart attack) compared to 80% of septuagenarians in the United States. That’s a LOT healthier.

Why are their hearts healthier? You’ve probably already guessed the answer: diet and exercise. The Tsimane’s diet is roughly 25% wild game and fish and 75% plants (fruits, nuts, rice, maiz, etc). For exercise, they average over 15,000 steps per day plus the extra exertions of bending, lifting, climbing, hacking, hauling, pulling, carrying and so forth involved with farming and hunting.

tsimane hearts 2Why does this matter? There are many factors preventing us from living like the Tsimane: winter weather, for example, or the fear of giant jungle tarantulas. But it gives us confidence that when we exercise and when we eat plants, our hearts are benefiting. Today we can walk an extra ten minutes, climb the stairs, and turn to fruits and vegetables to fill our plates and be our snacks. We might not have the healthiest hearts in the world, but we can still make our doctors proud.

 

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:15a

Eating For Cancer Prevention (Part 3 of 5): Cruciferous Vegetables

broccoli gunHow do cruciferous vegetables fight cancer? That’s just it: they fight. They’re warriors. Cruciferous vegetables are the military of Food-dom. They kill cancer cells and defend against terrorist-toxins.

The key is getting the ammo into the guns. The ammo is sulfur containing chemicals called glucosinolates. Think about the taste of broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts; there’s something in the taste of cruciferous vegetables that packs a punch. Some websites called it sulfur, others called it mustard oil; it’s the same thing that makes horseradish potent, skunks stink, and rotten eggs smell. Mmm, the thought makes one hungry, does it not?

So in one part of the plant cell is the ammo: glucosinolates. In another part of the plant cell is an enzyme called myrosinase. Sounds like a sandwich spread made of rosin and it’s mine, but we’re going to call it Gun. When you chew, juice, or chop the plant cells, the ammo and Gun are free to join. Loaded guns, as we know, are more effective weapons than empty ones. These glucosinolate and myrosinase loaded guns are cancer fighting sulfur compounds.

120403153531-largeDo sulfur compounds sound familiar? That’s the secret to garlic’s cancer effectiveness too. If you want to know more about how sulfur compounds fight cancer and kill tumor cells, read my post on Garlic for cancer prevention. I don’t want to repeat myself, but all of that applies here.

I know what you’re thinking: Tumors are like enemy countries; the body knows where they are and can focus an attack. But what about toxin terrorists that roam the body; the ones that can start a new battlefront anywhere, any time? I’m glad you asked.

The Cruciferous Military doesn’t just ride in with guns blazing; it also organizes the Let’s Incapacitate Venom Enzyme Rangers (or L.I.V.E.R.), an Anti-Toxin-Terrorism Task Force that removes carcinogens from the body. Detoxification has two phases: Phase One is a transport visa and Phase Two is handcuffs.

In Phase One, the toxin is burned with oxygen and enzymes to make it water (rather than fat) soluble. This makes it easier for the body to remove the toxin (pee is water, not fat); it’s essentially giving the toxin a travel visa.

unclesam-worldwarii-poster-6201139-oPhase Two’s handcuffs are made of enzymes and sulfur. Once a toxin is handcuffed, it can’t do any damage and can safely be shipped to the small intestine (which leads to the colon and eventually to the light of day). However, L.I.V.E.R. doesn’t have detention cells. If there aren’t enough handcuffs, the toxins remain free to circulate the body on their travel visa and are now called “free-radicals”. Free-radicals can do more damage that the original toxins. Cruciferous vegetables provide the sulfur that L.I.V.E.R. needs to make enough handcuffs to safely transport toxins out of the body.

Cruciferous vegetables also help promote healthy estrogen metabolism in the body, so there’s a link to hormonal cancers. I didn’t get that far in my research, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Keep your Military strong by recruiting cruciferous soldiers several times per week. Brussels sprout bullets for everyone!

 

“Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” Exodus 1:10

 

Images courtesy of me (broccoli), www.everystockphoto.com (Uncle Sam), drliesa.com (veggies).

What kind of water is best for weight loss?

drink-waterThe wet kind!

Most things you consume in a liquid state will keep you hydrated; some just have extra benefits or extra pitfalls that come with them. For example, juice has all of the vitamins and sugar found in fruit, but none of the fiber and mandatory chewing that slows down calorie consumption.

So here’s a quick 4 question quiz to see if you know how to keep your body hydrated and on the track to good health! I’ve included a few hints to help you along the way.

gila-monster-hissing

1. What percent of your body is water?
a. 30% like a gila monster after a day in the desert sun.
b. 60% One man actually lost 25 pounds of water weight in 48 hours to “prove” that scales are useless. That’s approaching gila monster humidity and he was promptly rushed off to get an IV drip.
c. 90% like a jellyfish.

water glasses2. How many ounces (total) of water should you drink each day?
a. 8 ounces – your blindingly bright yellow or orange colored pee should tell you that this is not the correct answer. Bad blog reader, bad! Most water bottles aren’t even that small.
b. 8 8 ounce glasses – correct, but don’t be lazy, do the math.
c. 64 ounces. Correct! (8oz x 8 glasses = 64) That’s 8 cups of water, or 4 pints, or 2 quarts or one half gallon, or three hours sipping at a water fountain. (I’m glad fountains exist, but when you’re thirsty, they’re maddeningly slow to drink from. Some sort of wall hose would be preferable.)

coffee3. Which of the following beverages count towards your 64 ounces?
a. Coffee and tea. It’s water with natural brown food coloring. Don’t believe me? Check out this myth-busting research.
b. Juice and lemonade. It’s still mostly water, just watch the sugar intake. Sip and savor, but save the chugging for water.
c. Soda. Nope, not even close. It’s liquid, but your body has to use all the water it contains to flush out all of the chemicals it also contains, so you end up not hydrated.

4. Which of the following are benefits of drinking enough water?
a. Flushing out toxins. This is obviously good, right? No commentary needed? Why am I still typing?
b. Energized muscles. Not feeling up for a little exercise? Drink some water; dehydration causes muscle fatigue.
c. Hydrated skin that looks good. Eat your heart out, Maybelline! Moisturizers create a barrier that helps keep moisture in your skin, but if the moisture isn’t coming from the inside out, that barrier is ineffective.

Two footnotes:
drop1. If you need an answer key, leave a comment and I’ll contact you; I have some magic beans I’d like to sell you.
2. Gila monsters have more like 70% water in their bodies, not 30%, but they LOOK so darn dry! And in the dry months they survive by not urinating for months. Gross, but so very cool too. The point is, you are not a gila monster. Raise your glass and drink up! A toast to your health!

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

 

Images are from:

http://www.volusia.org/services/public-works/water-resources-and-utilities/

https://beccasbyline.wordpress.com/2011/09/

http://diabetesdailypost.com/learn-why-you-need-to-drink-8-glasses-of-water-per-day/

http://savenaturesavehuman.blogspot.com/2012/05/gila-monster.html

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/coffee-and-hormones

Yoda’s Yoga

images (5)“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Oh, if only I had a little green linguistically challenged trainer who could hang on my back, spouting guru encouragement and inspiring me by lifting spaceships out of ponds. Instead, I have four little beige people I must dress and cobble and herd out the door like protesting cats. I feel like Luke when he sizes up that spaceship: I don’t think I’m strong enough. herdingcatsAnd why am I herding booger spurting beige cats wearing Spiderman masks into the spaceship stuck in a pond? To exercise. Be it rounding the block or driving to the YMCA, I am determined to burn a few hundred calories.

But I must be my own Yoda. “Use the Force, Katie.”

It’s great advice, actually: Do or do not, there is no try. Don’t think about it, just do it. When I think about going to the Y, I often talk myself out of it. I’ll go later. I’ll do some crunches while I watch TV tonight, I promise. It might rain. It’s raining. It did rain. Ooo, my weekly StumbleUpon email just arrived. I should probably clean instead. Pitiful.

There was one day just before Christmas when I finally tired of the filth that was my house (why clean in December when you can shop for presents?) and I cleaned for 3½ hours straight. That was a good workout. “The Force is strong in this one.” Unfortunately, that kind of cleaning bug only hits me on a solstice.

bigyoda2So I try not to think about it. Just do it. (Yes, Nike, I will accept sneakers as payment.) There is always something else I could do with that time, but nothing else I should do. And all of the stuff that needs to get done still gets done because exercise increases my energy. It’s kind of magical. Like Yoda.

“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

He is the REAL Force.

 

Images are from:

http://www.starwarsreport.com/tag/yoda/

http://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2012/10/classic-image-wisdom-never-dies.html

http://imsdemons.pvp101.net/2013/12/guide-herding-cats-or-brief-guide-to.html

Be A Better Loser

I’m a pretty good loser, but with help, I’m a great loser.  Help can be an app, a website, a book, an accountability partner, a support group, or a lock on the fridge.  For me, it was Loseit.com.

2013 Summer 605When I first started losing weight, I didn’t want help.  Don’t give me a list of rules.  Don’t tell me any foods are off limits.  Call it stubbornness, call it arrogance, call it refusal to let go of a baking addiction…the point is, I wanted to do it on my own terms.  Also, on my bad days, I did NOT want to have to tell someone how bad I was.  My shame is my own, thank you very much!  But after four months of losing weight and two months of plateau-ing, (P.L.A.T.E.A.U. stands for Please Let my Attempts Take Effect…ARGH!! U’ve got to be kidding me!  Really body?  All this effort and the scale doesn’t budge?) I was ready for help.

P1010980Loseit.com is a free, easy, online calorie diary of sorts.  You know it’s quick and easy if a stay at home mom with four computer-crazy little kids can use it.  When I sit down at the computer, I have about 70 seconds before the boys swarm all over me, asking for a turn.  One of them will actually climb up the back of my chair and onto my shoulders.

Anyways, you create an account, telling them how much you weigh now, your weight goal, and if you want to lose 1, 1.5, or 2 pounds a week.  I love the realism here; notice that you may not choose to lose 20 pounds per week.  They calculate how many calories you should eat each day to reach your goal.  You type in a food and it tells you how many calories that food has and adds it all up for you.  So easy!  No math skills needed!

P1010979You can also create custom foods (such as a favorite homemade soup recipe or how you take your coffee) and name them.  Whole meals can be repeated with one click; useful if you eat the same thing for breakfast five days a week (like coffee, juice, and oatmeal), and previous meals are automatically saved and available to add; useful if you have leftovers for lunch the next day or you cook similar dinners every week.

You can also enter any exercise you do which ADDS calories to your daily allotment.  They even include housework and gardening.  If there’s chocolate in the house, my home gets a good cleaning!

Loseit even has a community feature where your friends and family can join as friends and see one another’s progress and leave comments.  It’s a great way to stay encouraged and be held accountable….as much as you want to be!

P1010981By the way, I am not being paid to talk about Loseit.  I wish I were.  If anyone would like to pay me, I would enjoy that.

So, how does this help?

Imagine that you’ve lost fifteen pounds and need a new outfit to go out with your girlfriends.  You have $80 to spend on clothes and your favorite brand of jeans is on sale for $40. At the store you find a fabulous shirt that you love, but it costs $60.  If you buy the shirt, you can’t buy the jeans.  So, you have to choose: marvelous shirt and mediocre jeans OR spectacular jeans and second rate shirt.  No, put those credit cards back in your pocket!  In this metaphor, debt turns into love handles!

That’s what Loseit does for me; it helps me budget.  I want to eat marvelous everything, all day, all the time.  But that’s how I gained my weight in the first place.  So, a budget example: After entering my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and exercise, I have a whopping 150 calories left for snack time.  I want to have a brownie and a cappuccino, but I can’t do that and stay within my calorie budget, so I have to choose: a brownie and tea OR carrots and cappuccino.

Not so bad, is it?1

Loseit has shown me where my calorie bombs were hiding; those foods that seemed innocent, but in reality have a lot higher count than I imagined.  Muffins, for example, and spaghetti.  The first time I entered my breakfast of muffins into Loseit, I cringed: the muffins used up almost half of my allotment that day!  Score one for the learning curve.  And over time I’ve learned which foods I can fill my plate with and still have room for treats.  (Vegetables!  Not surprised?  What, have you been reading my blog or something?)

Loseit is not the only website out there, but it’s the one I know.  The point is, at some point most of us will need some help, be it encouragement, accountability, or a dose of reality.  So, when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to get help!

“Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone…and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me, and lives!” Habakkuk 2:4

How To Force Your Spouse To Lose Weight

You can’t.

End of post.

Why are you still reading?

Unless HE chooses to lose, it’s not going to happen.  You can lead a spouse to water….

So, if you can’t sit on his chest and force feed him carrots, what can you do?

2013 Summer 603There are a few things you can do to help him get healthy, just remember to treat your spouse like a grown up and not a child who can be tricked into eating asparagus because you call them “magic wands”.

1. Read this blog to him.  (Not necessarily today’s entry unless he’s familiar with me; start at the beginning with Sex, then move on to Soup and Two Fisted Eating.  Starting any conversation with the word “sex” makes your husband already like where the conversation is headed.)

2. Get him to bed on time.  It’s very simple and similar to the method we discussed for getting yourself to bed on time.  An hour before he should be asleep, step between him and the TV and strip.  Then smile and walk upstairs.  He will follow.  If you have “wobbly bits” (best Bridget Jones’ Diary quote ever) that haven’t seen the light of day since birth (yours or your childrens’), it’s okay to remove one or two selective articles of clothing to give him the general idea.  For some men, this can be as little as a sock.

3. Stop buying donuts.  And any other junk food he can’t resist.  If he asks you to buy a certain item, buy it, but buy the smaller package.  Men thrive when they are respected; treat him like the grown man that he is.

If your man is overweight, there’s nothing wrong with having an “I’m concerned for your health and I want you to join me on this weight loss journey” conversation; in fact, you probably should have one of those.  But if he’s not ready, don’t push it.  No one wants to live with their personal trainer.

2013 Summer 6104. Exercise together.  Ask him to take a walk with you.  If your spouse doesn’t exercise often, keep it simple, sweat-free and short.  Ten minutes, maybe twenty.  After dinner walks are also a great way to release some gas without him noticing.  Or perhaps it’s without you noticing his.  Either way, it’s great.

If he’s competitive, ask him to hold your feet while you do sit ups while watching TV.  If you brag a little, he’ll probably try to beat your record.

5. Add more vegetables to his meals.  He won’t fall for the “magic wand” gimmick, but neither will he notice if an extra veggie is added to his casserole.  Speaking of casseroles, try making it in two small pans and freezing one for later.  It’s hard to go back for seconds if there are no seconds.

6. Offer water.  Don’t take offense if he doesn’t drink it; he’s not rejecting you.

7. The Number One best thing you can do (which is, of course, why it’s listed as #7) is to be a good example.  When I began to serve myself smaller portions at dinner, I also began to serve my husband smaller portions.  It was easier to dish up two identical plates and if he wanted seconds, he went and got them.  He discovered that he liked the smaller portions, re-started his habit of working out in the mornings, and dropped twenty pounds in three months…less than half the time it took me to lose twenty pounds.  SIGH.

2013 Summer 607But the point is that my example helped get him started, and now his example helps keep me on track.  If I’m on my way to the kitchen at 9:30pm for a cookie and pass by my husband eating an apple, I think twice about that cookie.  If he’s playing badminton with the kids, I’m likely to join in.  If he offers me a drink of his water, I find that I’m thirsty.

Do what you know you should do, and let him follow at his own pace.

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” Titus 2:7a