Tag Archives: humor

Do You Have a Good Heart?

Kind hearted, his heart went out to her, from the bottom of my heart, have her heart set on it, let’s have a heart to heart. So many of our expressions demonstrate what humans have known for thousands of years: the heart (and the blood it pumps) is the literal and figurative center of our physical being. If a heart stops, a life stops. We’re going to take the next few weeks to learn about the heart and how best to care for it. Turns out it’s not that hard; easier than taking care of a guppy. I mean puppy. Guppies are way easier.

Label Circulatory System Picture Of A Circulatory System With Labels Human Body DiagramYour heart contracts (or pumps) rhythmically every second of every day of every year of your life. The force of the contraction (labor flashback! Anybody else grimace when they read that phrase?) pushes the blood through the arteries beginning with the big ones near the heart and ending with the teeny tiny itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini capillaries in your toes, organs, eyeballs, and everywhere in between.

Blood is the transportation system of the body; it is every highway, byway, back road and railroad put together. Wait, blood is liquid. Let’s make it all rivers creeks and wetlands and tributaries. Imagine if the whole world was like Venice, Italy. Don’t worry, my imaginary Venice is full of pasta and gelato too. It may be best to think of the heart as HeartDOT (Department of Transportation).

Map2_VeniceOnLineHeartDOT makes sure that traffic keeps moving. Blood delivers oxygen, nutrients, medical personnel (white blood cells), hormones, repair crews, and a host of other goods and services to the body. It also transports the body’s junk (dead viruses, bacteria, toxins, etc) to the Kidney Export Service for permanent removal from the body. HeartDOT doesn’t make the goods or the trash, it just keeps the flow moving.

Imagine for a moment that the entire world’s shipping and transportation shuts down. No boats, planes, rafts, not even people swimming from place to place. Each person is stuck at home. Within a few weeks, food runs out and people starve. Medical emergencies end in tragedy. Nothing new can be built. Trash piles up. Human life ends. In the grand scheme of our Earth-wide analogy, death takes weeks or months. Since the average heart beats 60-100 times per minute, blood transportation works much faster than our Venice Earth analogy and death takes mere minutes, not months.

river trafficNow imagine that transportation around Venice is not shut down, but travel has slowed. Storms have washed silt into the waterways, making them narrower. A tanker sank in the lagoon and traffic bottlenecks as vessels go around it. Priority is given to those carrying food and oxygen, but repair crews are delayed and trash removal is minimal.

A heart can fake it until it makes it for years, but the longer it has to struggle to pump, the more likely it is that it will stop working altogether (heart attack) or that blood flow to major organs will be interrupted (stroke). The good news is that if you read my blog regularly, you already know how to take care of your heart! The same healthy habits that help you lose weight also help your heart stay healthy…and help prevent type 2 diabetes and stroke, keep you looking younger…It’s a win-win-win-win-win.

Tune in next week for Put Your Heart Into It: Exercise and Heart Health!

 

Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

 

Venice map (Venice Online), circulatory system (humananatomylibrary.com), river traffic (http://www.neatorama.com/2006/09/16/traffic-on-river-thames/)

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The Diabetes Debate: Muscle Mania (part 3)

Katie: Today we’re discussing who’s to blame for Body’s recent diabetes type two diagnosis. We’re talking with special guest, Muscle.

Muscle: Wassup, yo.

Katie: Your Body’s blood glucose level, that’s what’s up. Any comments?

Muscle: Yeah, Dude. I have plenty of glycogen. Tell ‘em to put me in the game!

Katie: Glycogen? What’s that?

diabetes-debate-9.jpgMuscle: It’s this stuff that gives me energy. I store it until I need it. I’ve been dying to use it, man, but Brain’s been keeping me on the bench.

Katie: Did she say why?

Muscle: Straight up excuses. She’s busy, she’s tired, blah, blah, blah. I need to move, dude!

Katie: Will you exercising help Body lower her blood glucose level?

Muscle: Yo, man, I don’t know, I leave that brain stuff to Brain. All I know is that I store glycogen, when I move I use it, then I get more.

Katie: Where does glycogen come from? How do you get more?

Muscle: From the blood. It’s called glue…something. After I exercise, I suck in the glue thing, change it to glycogen, and save it so I’m always ready to move. I want to do squats so bad!

Katie: Wait, glue-something…do you mean glucose?

Muscle: Yeah, that sounds right. Can you ask Brain if I can do some squats?

Katie: Do you need insulin to suck in the glucose?

Muscle: The what?

Katie: The glue. Do you need insulin to take the glue-thing out of the blood?

Muscle: Nah, man, after I exercise I’m so hungry for it that I just take it. No insulin needed.

diabetes-debate-10_0001.jpgKatie: So if Body had exercised when she was insulin resistant, then you, Muscle, could have lowered her blood glucose level without insulin?

Muscle: If that’s what I said, then sure.

Katie: That’s amazing.

Muscle: Yes, I am. You should see me when I flex.

Katie: Muscle, my assistant just handed me some research. It says studies have shown that exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. One study showed that even if Body overeats, exercise will help her regulate her blood glucose level.

Muscle: Cool. I work with Heart a lot. She says she feels better when I move too.

Katie: I was just discussing the blood glucose level’s affects on the cardiovascular system with the Kidney Twins! Exercise is extra important for diabetics because diabetes increases Heart’s risk of a heart attack. Look at this study: exercise plus moderate weight loss—as little as ten pounds—lowers Body’s risk of type two diabetes by 58%!

Muscle: Sweet.

Katie: Let’s get Brain in here. We need to ask her about your squats.

Muscle: Cool, but before we talk to Brain, Bladder’s full again.

Katie: Then I suppose we’ll take a break. Stay with us: we’ll be right back.

Part 4

The Diabetes Debate: blood glucose levels (Part 2)

Katie: Welcome back to Pass the Blame. We’re here with Pancreas discussing her body’s recent diagnosis of type two diabetes. And we have two special guests with us, organs who say they’ve been cleaning up after her for years. Let’s welcome the Kidney Twins!

diabetes 5Kidney 1: Hi, Katie. Hello, Pancreas. You certainly keep us busy.

Pancreas: Hmph, again with the finger pointing. I blame the system. If only the…Katie, why are you laughing?

Katie: Because the body is a series of systems and you blame the sys…never mind. Kidney, what did you mean when you said you clean up after Pancreas?

Kidney 1: Remember how she said that when glucose can’t enter a cell it stays in the blood? Well, after a while, the blood fills up with glucose. It’s not safe and somebody has to remove it.

Katie: That somebody is you?

Kidney 1: That’s correct. We remove glucose the way we remove anything that shouldn’t be in the blood. We turn it into urine so it can be pumped out of body.

Katie: Your twin doesn’t say very much.

Kidney 1: She’s calculating how much urine needs to be produced and it’s more and more these days. We’ve been working overtime.

diabetes-6.jpgPancreas: You’re not the only ones.

Kidney 1: If you did your job and moved the glucose into the cells like you’re supposed to, we wouldn’t be up to our elbows in liquid waste!

Pancreas: Oh, boo hoo! I was working overtime way before you! I’m doing everything I can!

Kidney 1: It’s not enough! I’m not sure if what we do will be enough. The blood glucose levels are all over the place. It’s like a roller coaster in the blood stream and we’re going to lose Foot or Eyes!

Kidney 2: There, there, Kidney, don’t cry. Save the water for the urine. We’re not that far along yet. Brain is pushing the thirsty button almost constantly now, and body is drinking more. We’ll get ahead of it.

diabetes-7.jpgKatie: Ladies, can we agree that you all look exhausted and move on from there? Thank you. Now, what would happen if you all took a day off? What’s so bad about the blood glucose levels being high for a while?

Kidney 2: Glucose messes with the nitric oxide in the blood.

Kidney 1: The more glucose there is, the less nitric oxide there is. Nitric oxide makes the blood vessels relax and open wide.

Katie: So without sufficient nitric oxide, the blood vessels are stressed out?

Kidney 1: They become stressed, yes. They stay tight and hard and constricted which makes it harder for the blood to flow.

Katie: And if the blood can’t flow freely…

Pancreas: Then Body gets high blood pressure and eventually the body parts farthest from the heart don’t get enough blood.

diabetes 8Kidney 2: The nerves become damaged. It’s called neuropathy. Sometimes neuropathy causes pain or tingling and sometimes it causes numbness.

Katie: That’s why you’re worried about Foot; she’s far from the heart. Why are you worried about Eyes?

Kidney 1: High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels feeding the retina. When you mess with the retina, you mess with your vision. Eyes can lose focus or even become blind.

Katie: Wow, no wonder you ladies are working so hard.

Pancreas: We can’t give up.

Katie: We’ll be right back with a special guest who says she can help reduce Body’s glucose problem.

Part 3

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

Sing a Song With Saint Patrick

To the tune of Oh Danny Boy, lift your fork and belt this out with me:

image

 

Oh eat your greens, the greens, the greens are calling

From head to toe they do a body good.

The vitamins and nutrients are flowing.

Tis you, tis you, must eat and I must too.

 

But come ye back for more greens on your plate.

Some mustard greens, spinach, kale, and chard.

Cholesterol goes down, they help my arteries.

Oh leafy greens, Oh leafy greens, I love you so.

 

And if you eat your greens with all that fiber,

They help your colon clean out all the junk.

Greens help your bones because they’re full of calcium,

So kneel and thank our God for making greens.

 

And I shall eat my greens for their B vitamins

That turn to glucose; gives me energy.

Greens boost my vision health. Oh, greens are wonderful.

I’ll simply eat my greens until you come to me.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)

Escargot Go Go!

snail-tshirtRight or left? Chicken or fish? Stairs or elevator? Sneak a piece of chocolate now when your kids might catch you and you’ll have to share or later when they’re asleep but you’ll probably end up eating the whole bag?

Decision making is part of life and a new study could shed light on how exercise helps us make decisions more quickly. I say could because the results might take a while: scientists are studying snails to try to pinpoint the link between exercise and decisiveness. That’s right, folks, snails. You know, the first animal you think of when you hear the word “exercise”.

snail-exercisingThe scientists put the snails into uncomfortably shallow water,  “forcing” the shell-haulers to walk around the tank looking for deeper digs. Then they put the snails on dry land to see how long it takes them to make a decision (right or left? stairs or elevator?) and act on it. Apparently, snails who have been walking for a couple hours decide faster than snails who’ve been been soaking in deep water for hours. Why study Speedy Gon-mullusks? Their nervous systems are simple and straightforward so scientists can draw conclusions quickly.

snail-quoteThe thought of snails with sweatbands and Spandex shell coverings is funny, but do you have a better reason than that for bringing this up, Katie? Barely. I mean, yes! And here it is: if exercise can improve the mental capacity of a snail, then imagine what it can do for us! Exercise-even walking at a snail’s pace-not only strengthens bones and muscles, helps fight heart disease and a host of other medical woes, improves sleep, and boosts energy, it also  increases blood flow to the brain which helps the brain work better and-as the snails will testify-faster. Some of us feel like snails when we exercise, but this escargot study is showing that it’s not the speed that counts, it’s the fact that you’re moving. If you don’t want to exercise for your body, do it for your neurons.

One more cool thing and then I’ll share a snail joke.

strong-road-radio-hostI learned about this snail study on a radio show called The Strong Road (think Car Talk but about the Bible). I was a guest on the show on Sunday September 18th (you’ll need to know this when you look up my interview in their archives). The snail story was part of their (tongue in cheek) Biggest News Story of the Week. You can listen to the show anytime on the APH Radio app (download, look for The Strong Road, then choose 9-18-2016) and more info is available on The Strong Road Facebook page.

We talked about my Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating book and how the Bible plays into weight loss. I come in around minute 16, but they discuss the book earlier than that as well. They seemed to get distracted after reading the first word of the title: “We have a special guest coming up on the show today. She’s written a book called Sex….I love it already, who cares what the rest of the title is.” Funny guys. I have a new favorite radio show to listen to while I cook!

And now for the joke, courtesy of http://www.manandmollusc.net/jokes.html.

A guy goes to a Halloween party with a girl on his back.
The host asks him, “And what are you?”
The guy says, ” I’m a snail.”
The host says “And who’s that on your back?”
“That’s Michelle!”

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145:8

 

http://www.popsci.com/scientists-forced-snails-to-exercise-to-see-if-it-affected-their-decision-making

Images courtesy of: www.popsci.com (snail), http://www.pinterest.com (t-shirt, quote), https://www.facebook.com/thestrongroad/photos (The Strong Road radio host)

Autographed Books and Two Fisted Eating

Autographed copies of Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating: Hilarious Weight Loss for Wives are now available through SquareUp!

And here’s a classic post on Two Fisted Eating:

Grab a brownie with one hand and a slab of pecan pie with the other…now stuff them in your mouth!  That’s what you pictured in your head, right?   We’re going to keep the joy of eating that you’re imagining, but lose the mess.

foodballYour stomach is the size of your fist…or maybe two fists; depends on who you ask.  Yes, it’s that small, and yes, it can stretch out a LOT! (Do you know how much food I’ve managed to squeeze in there?  I always thought my stomach was the size of a football!)

Your stomach can expand to hold 1.5 quarts (okay, so I wasn’t too far off with the football idea).  One quart = four cups and my fist is about the size of one cup, so I can cram 6 fists into my football, er, stomach.  (Still with me, math majors?)

So what do I do with this information?  Cut a football in half and use it as a plate?  (We can call it the “Foodball”!  What do you think, marketing people?  Weight loss gimmick for men?  Only $19.99 if you call now!)

So, Two Fisted Eating.  At each meal, your goal is to put 4 “fists” on your plate.  TWO fist sized portions of “real food” (as I like to call it) and TWO fists worth of vegetables.

Let me give you an example; this is the Turkey Curry recipe.

P1010173P1010175The plate on the left is what my plate looked like a year ago.  Notice that the green section looks more like a decoration – an afterthought – than a part of the meal.  The picture on the right is what I ate for dinner this week.  TWO fists of “real” food (rice and Turkey Curry) and TWO fists of veggies.

Now, THIS IS IMPORTANT: RED ALERT! RED ALERT!  Ready?  When your plate is empty, you stop eating.  It’s that simple and it’s that hard.  Drink some water, drink some tea, start the dishes, lick the plate and cry… whatever works for you, just don’t get seconds (unless it’s vegetable soup, then you can go back for thirds for all I care).

The math majors have all noticed by now that I said our stomachs can fit 6 fists and we only put 4 on our plate.  We have room for two more!  Yes, yes we do.  But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. (For example, I can post a daily photo of my poodle….)

We’re re-training our brains, not our stomachs.  For years, my brain equated “full” with my stomach being stretched to capacity: 1.5 quarts or 6 fists.  That turned out well for me, didn’t it?  So, now I’m training my brain to say “full” when my stomach has 1 quart or 4 fists in it.  It takes a while for this to happen (like months), but it will happen.  (By the way, a better goal is to stop eating when you feel “not empty” rather than waiting for “full”; still working on that goal.)

2014 Aug 2 006

I’m so excited about kale, you can see my dental work!

Years ago I had my neighbor over for dinner and she said she felt “stuffed” after her second piece of pizza.  Stuffed?  I was doing my best to limit myself to three slices!  I could fit four or five before I felt “stuffed”.  Now I feel “good” full after two slices of pizza and bad “stuffed” if I take a third.  (I normally stop at two.)  Her brain and my brain were trained to say “full” at different stomach capacities.  (And yes, she’s a petite blond bombshell.)

When you look at the food on your plate, especially if it’s less than the amount you’re used to eating, what problem comes to mind?  I’m going to be hungry in two hours! (News flash! I feel hungry two hours later no matter how much or how little I eat!)  Don’t fear the hunger; you know it’s coming, so be ready.  Eat TWO fists of fruits or veggies as a snack.

By the way, I push vegetables rather than fruit simply because fruit has more sugar and therefore more calories.  Fruit is good.  Very very good.  Eat fruit when you crave something sweet, but vegetables are our new best friend.  Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?  My definition is this: if you wouldn’t bake it into a pie, it’s a veggie.

So, a meal is TWO fists of regular food and TWO fists of veggies.  A snack is ONE or TWO fists of produce.  Slow down as you eat and enjoy what’s on your plate.  (More on that later.)

Okay, math majors!  When does TWO plus TWO not equal four?

When they add up to negative numbers on the scale!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12, NIV)