It must have been a year ago that I read an article about research that showed people who sat for longer lengths of time died earlier. The researchers emphasized that they weren't studying a sedentary lifestyle, they were studying length of time sitting. So someone who exercised faithfully for one hour a day and spent the rest of the day at a desk job might sit longer than a store clerk who came from work, watched TV and never exercised.
I saved the article, thinking it a curious fact that might make an interesting blog. I was concerned that I spent way too much time sitting at the computer, but I seemed helpless to change my own behavior. Photo editing can’t be done standing up!
About six months ago I read another article about the same subject. This researcher delved a little deeper into why the statistics showed sitting was a statistical predictor of early death. He proposed things like - people who sat a lot tended to snack on unhealthy food - vending machine snacks at the office, large sodas in the car, ice cream and chips in front of the television. Or sitting could effect circulation to legs and feet. Again I saved the article, but again I never wrote the blog, or acted on the advice.
Then I developed two mild symptoms. They came on a couple of months apart so I wasn't sure whether they were related. One of the symptoms was abdominal pain on my left side - not severe, but nagging. If you look up abdominal pain, all of the scary stuff is on the right side. I am pretty self aware, and I’m not afraid to experiment with myself. I tried different supplements, switching out some neutral foods, changed up my exercise. The pain did not respond to any of those variations. There were only two things I noticed with any consistency - the pain moved around and (I bet you see this coming) it was worse on days when I did a lot of sitting. In fact on days when I walked around all day with 20 pounds of camera equipment on my back, I didn’t hurt at all.
Eventually I went to the doctor. He said the abdominal pain was muscular skeletal. So I called my Strong Son the Physical Therapist. He stretched me out on the sofa, checked me over, and said that he is certain I have a slightly bulging disk at L1 or L2. None of the tests he did indicated a severe bulge, but the location of the pain is consistent for the nerves that come out of L 1 and 2.
He says that when I sit and bend over to work on the computer I increase the pressure on the nerve. When I arch my back, it reverses the bulge and relieves the pain. He gave me two exercises to do, and I am getting better.
But I know what I really need to do. I need to get up from the computer more often, and stop sitting for long periods of time. Precisely what the article said a year ago. If you are sitting too much, don’t wait, like I did, for something uncomfortable to develop. Get up and get moving.
I just had some dental work done on Monday. The dentist assured me that, while I would be sore for a day or two from the procedure, I should be in less pain than I was before, since my tooth is now “fixed.”
I was still in pain Monday night, but not worried. I’m still sore from the procedure, plus it’s possible that some of the pain isn’t from the tooth he just worked on, but rather the wisdom tooth 2 teeth away. But suddenly on Tuesday night, I felt excruciating pain when I bit down on the left side! No question- this WAS from the tooth he just worked on!
But Wednesday night started Rosh Hashana, and I was busy all day Wednesday getting ready for the holiday. I really did NOT want to spend the day at the dentist, nor was I willing to do any driving on the holiday itself unless things were very serious. I did watch myself carefully for signs of infection- had my mouth gotten red or swollen, or had I spiked a fever, I would have gone to the Emergency Room.
My mouth only got worse as time went on. It hurts to chew on the left side at all. It hurts to chew on the right side “too much” and it even hurts to talk too much! I prepared the softest foods I could within the holiday and Shabbos restrictions, but the end result was rather imperfect eating.
I did make some soft green beans in the oven, and some spinach later on, but I couldn’t use electricity to make a green smoothie. The rice stuffing from the turkey was way softer than any of the greens I prepared, so I found myself eating more carbs and fewer veggies than normal. Fortunately, the turkey was soft enough for me to eat, so I managed to get plenty of protein. Plus I had stewed sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash that were all soft enough to eat easily.
I’m trying to do better today. I started the day with a green smoothie. That contained pasteurized liquid egg whites, spinach, a banana, and flax seeds. Lunch was a bowl of rice cereal and 3 scrambled eggs. I’ve managed to avoid talking or chewing too much today, so I’m not in as much pain. Now that the holidays are over, I should be able to nourish myself properly, even without being able to chew.
I called my dentist last night, after Shabbos was over, and left him a message. He’ll probably call back tomorrow. I hope I can get this fixed sooner rather than later!
The recent headlines about the death of Joan Rivers - in particular the alleged role of her otolaryngologist unauthorized to operate at the GI Endoscopy clinic where Ms. Rivers went into cardiorespiratory arrest - feed the theory that pursuing a career as an MD has transformed dramatically in our lifetimes.
I can remember meeting with many a doctor of my own generation, back in the late 1980s and 1990s, who said, "I'm getting out." Either early retirement because of their unwillingness to participate in the New Paradigm with its curbs on autonomy and excellence, or, perhaps for the less scrupulous, seeking employment/consultant positions with biotech/pharmaceutical companies.
For all the jokes, it may be fair to say that we were better off when, in and of itself, a clinical practice could be as lucrative as an ambitious physician desired. Thus it could attract those who enjoyed clinical work, interacting with people, sleuthing diagnoses, keeping abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs and research, paying careful attention to medications, and supervising assistants and office staff. Medical doctors could look forward to excellent remuneration for the tremendous responsibility.
Today (with third-party-hands on more of that remuneration), if Lucre is still an MD's objective, the name of the Game is: Gimmick.
"Procedurists" (seeing patients on Mondays - routing them into Procedures Tues.-thru-Fri.)
A Little Business On the Side (co-owning ambulatory "procedures" clinics with colleagues)
Competitiveness: "Be The Only One In Town Who..."
Celebrity photos on the wall
Performing procedures "backstage"
Administering anaesthesia at the patients' homes (remember that one?)
Taking unauthorized photos of an unconscious patient, with impunity (Doctor as Paparazza)
Waltzing into a surgery center with NO OPERATING PRIVILEGES and being treated like a star oneself
...Normal medical cautions be damned.
The phenomenon figures into the growing conviction of many that naturopaths and osteopaths, as well as other "alternative" practitioners, are safer to life and limb, which is 180º from the old saw that they were the Snake-Oil salesmen! Among this population, there could be not only increased safety, but greater health and educated participation.
In the PME (Pre-modern Medical Era), I had some very lovely Old School doctors with many famous clients. They were wealthy, but they were humble, careful, and friendly in the examining/consultation room. They were well-informed and gave very considered and conservative counsel to this non-celebrity. If a "procedure" were required, they had attending privileges at reputable hospitals they did not own. Never a soupçon of Conflict of Interest.
As the song said, "Those Were The Days, My Friend".
PS. Interesting: Two days after this blog posts, the following appears in The New York Times:
"The Famous Can Present a Minefield for Doctors: Joan Rivers' Treatment Seen as Possible Example of V.I.P. Syndrome".
Fall-out from some of the Gimmicks I describe.
About a year ago, our Strong Son decided to train for a triathlon. In High School he ran track and cross country. He swam on our local swim team from 4th grade through high school, then swam on his High School swim team. He has enjoyed riding bicycles for fun, but had never ridden competitively. He decided to buy a better bicycle and start to train.
He did his first triathlon in the spring, and has done several since then. HH and I have been looking for time when we could go and cheer him on. We finally got the opportunity.
For me as a photographer, the transition zone was a great place to start. I got him jumping into the water and coming out. Then HH and I took a shortcut to a spot on the bicycle route where we would see him twice. A half a block away he ran by us on the first part of the run.
We took another short cut and I was waiting with my camera at the finish line. SS finished 14 out of 54 in his age group. For HH and me it was like a trip back in time to all of the swim and track meets we used to attend when he was young.
SS has always eaten healthy compared to most young adults his age. We ate healthy at home, and his High School track coach encouraged the runners to stay away from sodas and junk food. But training for triathlons has made him take a personal interest in nutrition. He has read a lot and is striking his own balance between what trainers recommend and what the Blood Type diet recommends. For instance, he eats a lot of carbs before an event, but does not load up on bread or pasta. He stays away from high fructose and sodium (supposed) sports drinks, but he does drink coconut water.
I am delighted that he is doing his own research and experimenting to see how his body responds.
As we were waiting for one of his friends to finish the triathlon, I noticed a very fit, muscular young man sitting on a blanket nearby. He wore a tri shirt that said “Powered by Veggie Fuel” The visual implication was that he was vegetarian if not vegan. I wanted to go up and ask if he knew his blood type. I had just gathered up my nerve when he and his friends packed up their blankets and moved off.
From my futile attempts at vegetarianism back in my pre-BTD health nut days, I know that I could not stay healthy enough without flesh foods to exercise much less participate in a triathlon. SS has discovered the same thing about his Type O body. I’m guessing this young man was a Type A. I wish I had acted more quickly and asked him.
I am at DD’s house today. SIL is going on an overnight Men’s Retreat with their church, and I am going to keep DD and BC company while he is gone.
DD has always liked soy nuts. She likes the taste and she likes the crunch. But soy nuts are expensive. And it is hard to find soy nuts without salt. I have been known to put a package of unsalted soy nuts in her Christmas stocking. They are that much of a treat for her.
She was at the store recently and found a bag of soy beans. She mistook them for soy nuts until she got home and looked at the bag more closely. Rather than being irritated, she went online and found out that she could make soy nuts at home out of the soy beans.
That is what we have been doing this morning - besides watching an adorable 5 month old creep and roll and kick all over the living room floor.
Here is how she made them:
Soak the soybeans overnight.
Rinse them and let them drain in a colander.
Spray olive oil cooking spray on a pan, add the soy beans, then spray a little more olive oil on top of the beans.
Cook for 15 mins at 400 degrees – then stir them around
Cook another 25-30 mins, then remove them from the oven.
Add salt if you must.
I tried some of the first batch. They are delicious - just as crunchy as packaged soy nuts, but - honestly - much more flavorful.
DD began to wonder if she could do the same with other vegetables. I said that I had eaten crunchy green beans and peas out of packages from the health food store. I thought they were delicious, but they were so expensive that I rarely bought them.
DD had some English peas in her refrigerator, so we tried cooking them in the same way she had cooked the soybeans. They didn’t need to cook quite as long, but again they were delicious.
She and I are both very excited about this. Crunchy vegetables are such an easy snack. You can eat them in the car, or grab a handful when you are busy. When you make them yourself, they are no more expensive than cooking fresh vegetables.
Sabemos bien lo que puede causar un exceso de estrés en su salud.
¿Pero sabía que el tipo sanguíneo
juega un papel clave en la respuesta al estrés?
En los cerdos, el tipo sanguíneo resulta ser un síntoma exacto de resistencia o susceptibilidad contra un síndrome de estrés propio y característico de esta raza llamado: 'síndrome de estrés porcino'.
Esto no significa que tenga que ver con el estrés humano, sin embargo, si el tipo sanguíneo llega a tener un impacto sobre el estrés en los cerdos, ¿no será igualmente influenciado nuestro tipo sanguíneo en correlación con nuestra respuesta al estrés?
Varios investigadores de hecho han analizado la conexión existente entre el tipo sanguíneo y nuestra respuesta al estrés. Los hallazgos han sido evidentes. Como la de los cerdos, nuestra respuesta al estrés se ve influenciada por nuestro tipo sanguíneo la cual está íntimamente ligada.
El tipo sanguíneo juega un papel importante en los niveles basales que producimos de la hormona de estrés, así como cada persona responde de manera individual al estrés, dependiendo de su tipo sanguíneo.
Resulta que el tipo de sangre A es el más afectado en cuanto al tipo de estrés que se vive día a día. Los tipo O son los más resistentes, a diferencia de los A. Los tipos B y AB podríamos colocar entre los dos.
Cuando se habla de estrés, es conveniente tener en cuenta el modelo creado por el notado investigador Hans Selye, quien estudio sobre la progresión acerca de nuestra adaptación al estrés. Pudo observar que a cualquier fuente externa de estrés biológico, un organismo respondía con un patrón biológico predecible, en un esfuerzo para restaurar su balance interno. Lo denomino ‘síndrome de adaptación general’ o ‘síndrome de estrés biológico’ y dividió la respuesta en 4 categorías:
- la primera: llamada 'reacción de alarma'; caracterizada por una activación inmediata del sistema nervioso y de las glándulas adrenales.
- la segunda: llamada 'fase de resistencia'; caracterizada por la activación del eje pituitario-adrenocortical del hipotálamo (HPA).
-cuarta etapa: llamada 'etapa exhaustiva' está caracterizada por un shock generalizado de todos los sistemas, los cuales serian los encargados de recuperar y estabilizar los limites saludables de dicho ‘síndrome de estrés biológico’.
En un estado de alarma, nuestra respuesta inicial sería la de 'pelea’ o de‘huida'. En un mundo ideal, una vez concluido el evento estresante pasaríamos de un estado de 'alarma' a un estado de balance interno.
Desafortunadamente situaciones de la vida real no siempre permiten dicha recuperación. Esto es característico en personas de sangre tipo A. quienes interiorizan dicho estrés, viviendo constantemente en un estado de 'resistencia' a dicha respuesta.
Es por ello que desde un punto de vista de salud, enfatizamos la importancia de calmar al sistema nervioso y reducir el estrés especialmente en aquellos individuos de sangre tipo A. Cuando se trata de reducir los niveles de estrés, los de tipo sanguíneo A deben de hacer trabajar más a todos sus sistemas relacionados con el combate al estrés, y una vez que estos entran en acción, por desgracia no recibirán todo aquello por lo cual lucharon o sea dan más, y obtienen menos a cambio. Toda estrategia para disminuir y regular sus niveles de cortisol o de mejorar la etapa de 'resistencia' es de suma importancia para evitar llegar a la parte 'exhaustiva'.
Los adaptogénicos herbales, así como un soporte nutricional balanceado según el tipo sanguíneo ayudaran a controlar una excesiva elevación del cortisol. Sensibilizar al individuo a regular la respuesta del cortisol (causante de estrés) de igual manera mantendrá un equilibrio protector de las glándulas adrenales, pituitaria y el hipotálamo para evitar llegar a una fase exhaustiva (máxima expresión del estrés).
El término ‘adaptogénico’ ha sido utilizado para caracterizar a aquellas plantas que mejoran las respuestas no especificas y promueven la recuperación del estrés. De igual manera, ayuda a elevar niveles de cortisol si estos se encuentran muy bajos. Es por ello que se les dio el nombre de adaptogénicos,
por sus cualidades bi-direccionales.
Investigadores soviéticos en los años 50 fueron los primeros en determinar que muchas plantas especialmente aquellas de la familia de las araliáceas tenían propiedades adaptogénicas. Le daré un listado de dichas hierbas, así como las vitaminas necesarias para el fortalecimiento y mejorar la respuesta al estrés:
- La RHODIOLA
- El panax gingseng (de Corea o China) también ayuda a la glándula adrenal en la respuesta al estrés, fortaleciéndola y a su vez bajando niveles elevados de cortisol.
- El Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng). en realidad no es gingseng en el sentido estricto a nivel botánico. Extractos de esta hierba ayudan a sobrellevar condiciones físicas adversas, mejorando la habilidad mental, así como la calidad de trabajo bajo condiciones de estrés. Incrementa la habilidad de adaptación a condiciones físicas adversas, así como mejora el funcionamiento mental, y realza la calidad del trabajo bajo condiciones estresantes. Fortalecen la habilidad de restablecer el balance hormonal necesario después de un proceso estresante. Previene también la fase exhaustiva inducida por el estrés.
- La boerhaavia difusa amortigua la elevación de niveles de cortisol en plasma. Sus alcaloides también previenen la baja en el funcionamiento del sistema inmune. Se recomienda esta hierba a los tipo de sangre A y B ya que son a los que de manera más importante les impacta la producción de cortisol.
- Glycyrrhiza glabra, orozuz o regaliz ayuda a controlar la fase exhaustiva inducida por el estrés, produciendo un efecto harmónico en la respuesta al mismo.
- Bacopa ('Brahmi') es una hierba ayurvedica contra la fatiga, y fortalecedora de la memoria. Tiene efectos adicionales tanto en problemas intestinales como en alergias, ayuda cuando hay diarrea y también estabiliza células madre, haciéndola un antihistamínico único por sus mecanismos anti-alergénicos.
Cuando el estrés se encuentra en límites patológicos, tanto de índole fisiológico como mental o bien emocional, se ha visto que algunas vitaminas adquieren una particular importancia. Los antioxidantes como la vitamina C y el ácido lipoico, al igual que las vitaminas del grupo B (B1, B5 y B6) y de especial manera uno de los nutrientes más importantes la fosfatilserina.
Aprecio enormemente sus correos alentadores y testimoniales contagiosos de entusiasmo y ganas de seguir adelante con sus lineamientos dentro de su SWAMI personalizado. Los publico en nuestra pagina de FB.
It’s the start of another school year, and this year there are many changes for my family. Leah’s going off to Israel again next week, but that’s not new. Hannah’s going to community college, which means that I won’t have the car 2 or 3 days a week. And Jack will be homeschooled this year instead of attending the public middle school near our house.
I’ve homeschooled before, but this is my first year sharing a car with one of my children. I’m going to have to be much more organized about my errands- I can’t just run to the store if I realize I’ve forgotten something, not if I don’t have the car.
Right now, Hannah is at class and my Mom took Jack and Leah to the pool. I’m enjoying the quiet. I got some household chores done, but mostly I spent the day unwinding and enjoying the time alone. I’m not going to have a whole lot of that this year.
As I started making dinner, I realized I was low on mushrooms. I thought that maybe I’d run out to the store and buy some, when I remembered that I couldn’t. It’s very freeing- I don’t have to run around like a lunatic- I *have to* stay at home and pace myself. I’ll *have to* stay home and make do with what’s already in the house.
Later in the year when it’s cooler, I may walk or bike to the store or other errands. I don’t currently have a working bike, but Hannah’s bike only needs some routine maintenance and she won’t be using it when she has my car. For now, I’m enjoying the quiet and the “forced relaxation” this new routine is going to bring.
This week, the CSA gave us 5 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes- in addition to about a pound of cherry tomatoes- plus we didn’t even finish all the tomatoes we got last week! Clearly, it’s time to make tomato sauce. We saved the cherry tomatoes for salads and decided to use the large tomatoes for sauce.
Last year, I made tomato sauce in the crock pot. I remember blanching tomatoes then peeling them and putting them in the crock pot, adding onion, garlic, and fresh basil, and letting it simmer overnight. It turned brown before it was done, and it was still thinner than commercial sauce, but still very tasty. I also pureed it with the stick blender before freezing it, since we were planning to use it for making pizza.
Before I had a chance to do any of that, Leah got started on making the sauce herself. After blanching the tomatoes, she sautéed onion and garlic in olive oil in our medium sized soup pot. She peeled, chopped, and seeded the tomatoes while the veggies were sautéing, then added the tomatoes and let it simmer on low-medium heat for a few hours. She got some basil from the garden and added that early in the cooking process. It was covered most of the time, but I left the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape so it would get thicker.
By bedtime, the sauce was done. It was still bright red, and probably as thick as it was going to get. She didn’t want to puree it, as she likes chunkier sauce for eating on pasta and such. I filled one small glass jar with the sauce and put that in the fridge. Then I put the rest into zipper sealed “snack bags.” I put all the little bags into a gallon sized freezer bag and put the whole thing in the freezer. Now we can easily thaw just enough for one bowl of pasta or a few pizzas.
If we get more tomatoes, and I make more sauce, I’ll probably puree the other batches. We mostly used the homemade sauce for pizza last year, and smooth sauce works best for that. I’m not sure if I’ll make it in the soup pot or the crock pot, though. The soup pot seemed to work better, but then I had to handle all of it in one day instead of being able to leave half the project for the next day.