The emotions of our most beloved animal friend: our dog.


I found this on the Learning from Dogs blog which I follow and enjoy reading very much. I thought my readers would enjoy it. There is nothing in it on losing weight or exercising, although I think the happiness I get from owning my dog contributes to my living longer.

As a dog owner and dog lover, I have a thought to share. In writing my blog I have taken a number of courses in human anatomy in general and the human brain in particular. I understand that our prefrontal lobes (above our eyes) are what separate us from the animal world. Our conscience and impulse control reside there. The prefrontal lobes are the last part of the brain to develop, often not until we reach adulthood, or age 25. (This explained to me a lot of my wild and dangerous activity as a youth, also why teenagers do such seemingly stupid things.) My understanding is that dogs don’t have prefrontal lobes, so they don’t have impulse control like humans. I don’t think they know ‘right from wrong.’

If we are cooking out and leave a steak on a table, walk away and the dog takes it, I don’t think the dog has done anything wrong. Understanding that the dog doesn’t know right from wrong, but simply sees food available and takes it, I don’t think the dog should be punished. It was just being a dog and following its nature. The human should have known better and not been careless about good food.

If you have taught the dog the ‘leave it’ command and told the dog to ‘leave it’ the dog will likely obey the command and not take the steak, but that is because it is obedient and following your order, not because it is choosing on its own to leave the steak because it belongs to you.

To read further on the brain, please check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).

This is Gabi, my canine companion.

This is Gabi, my canine companion.


Originally posted on Learning from Dogs:

Exploring the range of emotions felt and displayed by our dogs.

Like so many bloggers, I subscribe to the writings of many others. Indeed, it’s a rare day when I don’t read something that touches me, stirring up emotions across the whole range of feelings that we funny humans are capable of.

Such was the case with a recent essay published on Mother Nature Network. It was about dogs and whether they are capable of complex emotions. Better than that, MNN allow their essays to be republished elsewhere so long as they are fully and properly credited.

Thus, with great pleasure I republished the following essay written by Jaymi Heimbuch.


Are dogs capable of complex emotions?

Exactly what emotions do dogs feel, and are they capable of all the same emotions as humans? (Photo: Pressmaster/Shutterstock) Exactly what emotions do dogs feel, and are they capable of all the same emotions as humans? (Photo: Pressmaster/Shutterstock)

Joy, fear, surprise, disgust, sadness. These are the basic emotions dogs feel…

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How the 80/20 Rule Can Help Improve Your Health and Life


This is a wonderful organizing principle that you can apply to so many areas of your life.

In terms of your health, I love the idea that you work on getting healthier and get past the superficial idea of losing weight. If you live healthy,  you won’t need to lose weight.

Eat less; move move, live longer.

Autumn Walk


Originally posted on Our Better Health:

Chris Freytag      03/14/2015       National fitness expert, speaker, contributor to Prevention magazine, author of several books and fitness DVDs

Okay, short history lesson – don’t let your eyes glaze over. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s also called the law of the vital few and was originally called The Pareto Principle. It started way back in the early 1900s when Vilfredo Pareto discovered that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the people. Am I making you feel like you are back in school? Stay with me!

Soon people saw how this rule played out in business. More often than not, 20 percent of your customers lead to most, or 80 percent, of your sales. Today the 80/20 rule has all sorts of cool interpretations.

To use the 80/20 rule for business, you focus on the 20 percent…

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The Lighter Side of Weight Loss – Number Thirteen

Thursday’s post weighed on the general mood, I fear. No one likes to think he has to take a prescription drug the rest of his life. So, herewith some fun. Enjoy! Couldn’t resist a pun one.

aed41f7a93c3b98398ba979dce16863819be435d9f5ab6c9c0dc0e17d9fd6687958aab21b7939af0b03d915f56f7f1b8554a4c7142cc070fa5d291f1b8041de3That’s all for now.


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Do I Have to go on Statin Drugs for the Rest of my Life to Fight High Cholesterol?


I am reblogging this analysis I wrote two years ago. At the time I thought it was good useful information for the general public. Now, It seems my doctor says that it applies to me.

I have just had my annual flu shot and pneumonia booster. In the course of my annual check up, I also had my blood work done.

As regular readers know I am 75  years old and in the best health of my entire life. I weigh around 155 pounds and have a resting heart rate below 50 beats per minute.

Here are my Cholesterol numbers:
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <170 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >499 mg/dL

Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): >50 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): < 100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >189 mg/dL

Non-HDL Cholesterol 105
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <120 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >219 mg/dL

Despite my excellent physical condition and these good test results, my doctor recommended that I go on a statin drug, atorvastatin, to reduce my risk of heart attack or stroke.

POSTED OCT 9, 2015 To clarify:

My Doctor sent me the following:

… although your cholesterol numbers are quite good your overall risk for stroke and heart attacks is still quite high. I calculated your risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the next 10 years and it is 21.6%. I did this with the new American Heart Association Guidelines (AHA) and it is based on your age,sex, race, blood pressure, smoking status and hypertension as well as diabetes. We recommend starting cholesterol medications if the risk is above 7.5%. Even though you are doing everything right your overall risk is still high, as is the risk for most 75 year old males. Many physicians would recommend that your begin a cholesterol medication so I would have your consider taking atorvastatin.

For the record, I declined the recommendation saying that I felt more comfortable relying on my positive lifestyle.

Here is what I wrote back: Thanks very much for your prompt turnaround of my blood work. I also appreciate your considered recommendation regarding taking a statin prescription. At this time I am not comfortable with that. I understand the statistics, but I think those statistics include a lot of men who are not as healthy or health-conscious as I am. I think I would like to continue on with my current lifestyle of daily exercise and healthy eating and avoid the drugs. If I find a deterioration in my condition in the future, I will revisit this decision.


Originally posted on One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Longer:

“Millions more Americans could end up taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs under new recommendations released Tuesday that advocate a dramatic shift in the way doctors assess and treat cardiovascular risk,” according to the Washington Post.

“Roughly a quarter of Americans age 45 and older already take statins, which include familiar brands such as Lipitor and Zocor, to treat high cholesterol. But that number could grow sharply under far-reaching guidelines detailed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.”


The leading cause of death for Americans is heart disease. About one in every four deaths in the United States, or about 600,000 annually, are attributed to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cholesterol helps your body build new cells, insulate nerves, and produce hormones. Normally, the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs. But cholesterol also enters your body from food. Too…

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What Does 200 Calories Look Like? – Infographic

Whether you count calories or not, I think you will find this to be useful information. The average person needs around 2000 calories a day to maintain his/her weight. Herewith, a look at 10 percent of that. I think it is fascinating how much bulk is occupied by fruits and vegetables compared with processed food items.




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The Lighter Side of Weight Loss – Number 12

Because weight control and healthy living require discipline, I fear that sometimes I sound ponderous in these posts promoting healthy activities. So, herewith some fun ones. Enjoy! Couldn’t resist a pun one.


How can you talk about weight loss and leave out Mickey D's?

How can you talk about weight loss and leave out Mickey D’s?


Enjoy the day!


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5 Ways Exercise Improves Your Quality of Life – Harvard

So many folks consider exercise like a tax they have to pay to lose weight which really cuts down on the amount of exercise people do and the number of people who exercise regularly. I think this kind of negative viewpoint is one of the reasons why 60 percent of us are overweight and fully a third are obese. Harvard puts forward a nice positive point of view in its latest Healthbeat.

“Exercise not only helps you live longer — it helps you live better. In addition to making your heart and muscles stronger and fending off a host of diseases, it can also improve your mental and emotional functioning and even bolster your productivity and close relationships. Read on for five ways in which exercise can improve your quality of life.”


1. Wards off depression: While a few laps around the block can’t solve serious emotional difficulties, researchers know there is a strong link between regular exercise and improved mood. Aerobic exercise prompts the release of mood-lifting hormones, which relieve stress and promote a sense of well-being. In addition, the rhythmic muscle contractions that take place in almost all types of exercise can increase levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which combats negative feelings. Continue reading


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What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds? – Infographic

As we move through carving and/or eating our pumpkin, let’s think about the seeds.

Let it be known that I am a huge fan of pumpkin seeds. My favorites are tamari roasted pumpkin seeds. I love the salted in the shell ones, too, but I don’t like how my mouth feels after eating a lot of them. Also, I don’t like eating that much salt, either.

I have posted on pumpkin seeds previously:

6 Reasons You Should Eat Pumpkin Seeds Year-Round
Are Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) Good For You?
Nuts Offer Great Nutritional Benefits – Infographic”




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9  Powerful Eating Habits to Protect Your Brain From Alzheimer’s


This post hit home with my having lost two family members to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Besides these powerful eating habits, don’t forget the role of exercise in brain health. Check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).


Originally posted on Our Better Health:

Everything from how you cook meat to what you eat for dessert
can play a role in your brain health.

Here, how to eat to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.

by Kenneth S. Kosik, MD

There is no one best dietary pattern when it comes to eating for optimum brain health. Nor is there one magical food or supplement. Instead, a wide range of eating patterns—Asian eating, the MIND diet, the Mediterranean diet, vegan eating—has been shown to protect your brain. Although those eating patterns vary—for example, some include meat, others don’t; some place a heavy emphasis on fish, others suggest no fish—they all tend to have one thing in common: a preponderance of antioxidant-rich plant foods.

Plants manufacture antioxidant chemicals to protect themselves from ultra- violet light and disease. When we eat these plants—in the form of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains—we consume this built-in protection, and their…

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Pumpkin Power – October Superfood – Infographic

We are going to be seeing a lot of pumpkins in the coming weeks. How about some info on their nutritional value, besides just scaring us on dark nights.



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There is a Physical Price for Too Much Sitting – Wall Street Journal

I learned about the dangers of prolonged sitting a while back and have posted several times on it as well as created a Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting? which you can check out at your leisure to learn more about this fascinating subject.

It’s nice to see the Wall Street Journal take up the issue in yesterday’s paper, “Studies have found that sedentary behavior, including sitting for extended periods, increases the risk for developing dozens of chronic conditions, from cancer and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Some ergonomics experts warn that too much standing also can have negative effects on health, including a greater risk for varicose veins, back and foot problems, and carotid artery disease.”


I was interested to see that prolonged standing is also a no-no.

It seems our bodies were created to move and that is all there is to it.

I find this fascinating. I would have thought that regular exercise would solve the problem, but no. The Journal notes that, “Various studies have shown that even regular exercise won’t compensate for the negative effects from sitting too much during the day. Sitting causes physiological changes in the body, and may trigger some genetic factors that are linked to inflammation and chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, said Dr. Buckley, of the University of Chester. In contrast, standing activates muscles so excess amounts of blood glucose don’t hang around in the bloodstream and are instead absorbed in the muscles, he said.”

While the danger of prolonged sitting may seem too subtle for some to take very seriously, I think it is very worthwhile information. So many people feel they suffer from mysterious maladies. This is clear cut science that removes a layer of the mystery from some of those maladies.

I am thrilled that my Apple Watch reminds me every hour with a Time to Stand reminder. You can achieve the same thing with a timer at your desk. (I put together a page on How My Apple Watch is Good for Your Health) with lots more aspects of healthy living.

The Journal also mentioned wearing a headset and walking in the office while talking on the phone rather than just sitting at your desk. Likewise, small meetings can be held while walking rather than cooped up in an office.

Clearly folks with desk jobs have some thinking to do on the subject.


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Tufts on Exercise and Brain Health

As regular readers know I feel very strongly about the benefits of exercising, not only on the body, but equally on the brain. You can check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for further details. So, I was thrilled to see the latest from Tufts on that subject.

Tufts Health and Nutrition Update says, “A new study reports that the more physically fit you are when you’re younger, the more likely you are to keep your brain sharp as you get older. But there’s also good news for those who slacked off in their youth: Even starting to get more fit now might still improve your cognitive health.

Silhouette of a man and skeleton running on motionblurred background

“There is growing evidence that physical exercise can benefit cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults, possibly through improved cardio- and cerebro-vascular health,” says Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA Nutrition and Neurocognition Laboratory.

“THEN AND NOW: The new findings, published in Neurology, used data from the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study, begun in 1985-86. Participants, originally ages 18 to 30, were tested for blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other measures, and also walked at an increasingly fast pace on a treadmill until they couldn’t continue. The young adults could stick with the treadmill test an average of 10 minutes. Continue reading

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Some People with High Blood Pressure May Have Early Brain Damage – AHA

A new imaging technique found that some people with high blood pressure also have damage to nerve tracts connecting different parts of the brain, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2015 High Blood Pressure Conference.

The area of brain damage detected is linked to difficulties in certain cognitive skills, decision-making, and the ability to regulate emotions.

IMG_7718“We already have clear ways to explore the damage high blood pressure can cause to the kidneys, eyes, and heart. We wanted to find a way to assess brain damage that could predict the development of dementia associated with vascular diseases,” said Daniela Carnevale, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and assistant professor at Sapienza University of Rome, based in Neuromed Institute.

While there has been a lot of research on hypertension-related brain changes in the grey matter, Carnevale proposed that a look into the brain’s white matter could tell if high blood pressure was having an effect even earlier than what is known.

Researchers used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an enhancement of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to evaluate and compare the structural and functional properties of the main connections between different brain regions. Fifteen participants were on medication for moderate to severe high blood pressure and 15 participants had normal blood pressure. Participants were also given a cognitive assessment.

The brain imaging found that, while none of the participants showed abnormalities on a standard MRI, the more advanced DTI revealed that participants with high blood pressure had damage to:
•    brain fibers that affect non-verbal functions;
•    nerve fibers that affect executive functioning and emotional regulation; and
•    limbic system fibers, which are involved in attention tasks.

In addition, imaging and laboratory tests indicated damage to the heart and kidneys from high blood pressure.

Researchers also found those with high blood pressure performed significantly worse on two different assessments of cognitive function and memory. However, there were no differences in tests evaluating verbal function or ability to perform daily activities.

“DTI provides a way to evaluate pre-symptomatic brain damage in people with high blood pressure in order to identify possible therapies to help control brain damage and reduce the eventual development of dementia. It is generally accepted that not all available medications have the same impact on different kinds of organ damage,” Carnevale said.

DTI, also called tractography, is not performed in routine medical practice, but the researchers suggest that physicians should start to consider potential brain damage as they treat patients with high blood pressure.

To read further on high blood pressure check out my posts:

What is High Blood Pressure?

What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure

Leisure Time Activity Could Lower Your Risk of High Blood Pressure


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Get Healthy, Get a Dog – Harvard

As far as I am concerned, this would fall under the heading – preaching to the choir. Harvard Medical School has a new special health report on the positive aspects of owning a dog. Since I am a dog owner I find myself forced to recommend it to you.

Here’s what Harvard says, “Dog lovers know how much warmth and comfort their canine companions add to their lives. But they might not know that a growing body of evidence suggests that having a dog may help improve heart health.

This is my dog Gabi who has just been groomed.

This is my dog Gabi who has just been groomed.

“Pet ownership, especially having a dog, is probably associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. This does not mean that there is a clear cause and effect relationship between the two. But it does mean that pet ownership can be a reasonable part of an overall strategy to lower the risk of heart disease.

“Several studies have shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure than non-owners — probably because their pets have a calming effect on them and because dog owners tend to get more exercise. The power of touch also appears to be an important part of this “pet effect.” Several studies show that blood pressure goes down when a person pets a dog.

“There is some evidence that owning a dog is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A large study focusing on this question found that dog owners had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-owners, and that these differences weren’t explainable by diet, smoking, or body mass index (BMI). However, the reason for these differences is still not clear.

“Dogs’ calming effect on humans also appears to help people handle stress. For example, some research suggests that people with dogs experience less cardiovascular reactivity during times of stress. That means that their heart rate and blood pressure go up less and return to normal more quickly, dampening the effects of stress on the body.

“If you own a dog or are thinking about it, the potential benefits for your heart health are a nice plus. However, pets should not be adopted for the primary purpose of reducing heart disease risk. And definitely don’t add a dog to your life if you’re not ready or able to take care of one, including making sure it gets enough exercise.

“To learn more about the health benefits of owning a dog, buy Get Healthy, Get a Dog, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.”

If you are interested, check out my post Anatomy of an Act of Kindness to see how my little canine partner, Gabi, came into my life.


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The Lighter Side of Weight Loss – Number Eleven

In my web wanderings, I come across all kinds of items, some serious and some not so. Herewith another installment on the lighter side of diet, health and fitness.

I think humor is a wonderful elixir of good health.

If you decide that maybe you can step up your efforts to shed  a few pounds, or even better, clean up your diet and exercise act, so much the better. If not, well, the laugh’s on me.




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What’s in Doritos? – Infographic

We have just begun football season here, so Sundays in many homes will be characterized by folks in front of flat screens cheering on their favorite team. I plead guilty. Sunday is my favorite day of the week during football season because there are games all day, followed by Sunday Night Football.

All this has to do with the fact that while we are watching we are also munching, munching. I make popcorn in coconut oil that is as healthy as it is delicious. I hope you have a similar salubrious solution to game time munchies. I ran across this infographic on Doritos and wanted you to see it. Doritos is not the answer to your game time craving.

Check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for further details on healthy snacks.


Enjoy the game!


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