My ticket to ride …

I am reblogging this item that I posted last year on the anniversary of my retirement. Today marks the 19th year since then.

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One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I am thrilled to report that today marks the 18th anniversary of my retirement. On October 2 of 2000, I bade the financial world adieu and started my life as a guy who didn’t have to get up for work every morning.

I got my first job at the age of 10 sweeping the floor of a dry cleaner and continued to work till I reached 60. Although my degree is in Finance, I went into the publishing world writing and editing. I liked markets, but always knew I would write. I wrote and practiced journalism for most of my career, spending 20 years working for Reuters covering markets and then teaching journalism at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University for several years. Because I had written about markets for 30 years, my boss at a major philanthropy asked me if I would like to manage some money…

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Nuts to us …

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Substituting unhealthy foods, such as processed meats, French fries, and crisps (potato chips) with a half a serving of nuts may be a simple strategy to ward off the gradual weight gain that often accompanies the aging process, suggest the researchers.

On average, US adults pile on 1lb or nearly half a kilo every year. Gaining 2.5-10 kilos in weight is linked to a significantly greater risk of heart disease/stroke and diabetes.

Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre, but they are calorie dense, so often not thought of as good for weight control. But emerging evidence suggests that the quality of what’s eaten may be as important as the quantity.

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5 Weight loss tips from Tufts

Try these tips to avoid some common weight loss myths, according to Tufts Health & Nurtrition Letter.

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-Avoid refined starch and sugar, not all carbs. Cut back on or eliminate white bread, white rice, refined breakfast cereals and crackers, potato and corn chips, fries, bakery desserts, sweets, and soda.-Fill up with minimally processed, high fiber, phytochemical-rich foods. Seek out fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and less processed whole grains (steel-cut oats, cracked wheat, barley, millet). These healthy choices help stave off hunger.

-Enjoy healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and plant oils (olive, avocado, soybean, canola, etc.), as well as fish and unsweetened yogurt, are all great choices for weight and your overall health. Moderate consumption of cheese, eggs, and poultry is also better than choosing starchy and sugary foods.

-Maintain or build muscle. Keep active and eat adequate protein to preserve or even increase muscle mass. This will help to achieve healthy, long-term weight loss and maintenance.

-Combine diet and exercise. Physical activity is important for weight maintenance, but on its own isn’t likely to have as much impact as when you also change your diet.

-Time MEALS right. The ideal meal frequency is the one that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel and perform your best.

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Harmful metals found in vapors from tank-style electronic cigarettes

I have written about the dangers of smoking regular cigarettes for years. Smoking E-cigarettes is widely believed to reduce the damage to our systems compared with that of tobacco smokes. However, the tank-style ones may actually be more harmful.

A team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has found the concentration of metals in electronic cigarette aerosols — or vapor — has increased since tank-style electronic cigarettes were introduced in 2013.

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Electronic cigarettes, which consist of a battery, atomizing unit, and refill fluid, are now available in new tank-style designs, equipped with more powerful batteries and larger capacity reservoirs for storing more refill fluid. But the high-power batteries and atomizers used in these new styles can alter the metal concentrations that transfer into the aerosol.

“These tank-style e-cigarettes operate at higher voltage and power, resulting in higher concentrations of metals, such as lead, nickel, iron, and copper, in their aerosols,” said Monique Williams, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology, and the first author of the research paper that appears today in Scientific Reports. “Most of the metals in e-cigarette aerosols likely come from the nichrome wire, tin solder joints, brass clamps, insulating sheaths, and wicks — components of the atomizer unit.” Continue reading

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Common nutrient supplementation may hold the answers to combating Alzheimer’s disease -Study

Everyone knows that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. One of the problems is that by the time  that symptoms become apparent, the disease has progressed so far as to be irreversible. This new study, however, appears to offer the chance of heading off the disease before it gets out of hand.

In a new study, Biodesign researchers reveal that a lifelong dietary regimen of choline holds the potential to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

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Choline is a safe and easy-to-administer nutrient that is naturally present in some foods and can be used as a dietary supplement. Lead author Ramon Velazquez and his colleagues at the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center (NDRC) looked into whether this nutrient could alleviate the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Earlier this year, Velazquez and colleagues found transgenerational benefits of AD-like symptoms in mice whose mothers were supplemented with choline. The latest work expands this line of research by exploring the effects of choline administered in adulthood rather than in fetal mice.

The study focuses on female mice bred to develop AD-like symptoms. Given the higher prevalence of AD in human females, the study sought to establish the findings in female mice. Results showed that when these mice are given high choline in their diet throughout life, they exhibit improvements in spatial memory, compared with those receiving a normal choline regimen.

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It is possible to train too hard – Study

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Weekend funnies …

Time goes fast when you’re having fun. Here it is Friday again. Hope you have a great fast weekend.

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Tony

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Not a bargain on Amazon!

As they used to say on Monty Python, “And now for something new and completely different.” Really. In the nearly 4000 posts I have written for the blog I don’t remember ever giving a shopping tip before. I think this one is fascinating.

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This is the product, a taste treat from my youth.

As regular readers know, I am an old man and because of that I often shop online. Amazon is has been one of my favorite shopping sites.

Here is the story. I love the macaroni and bean dish pictured above. On the west side of Chicago growing up we called it pasta fazool. Because of the ease of ordering, instead of walking or driving to the super market to buy some, I simply dialed up the Amazon site on my desktop and ordered six cans. Continue reading

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Current obesity epidemic may be result of childhood sugar intake decades ago

Bad habits have long tails it seems.

Current obesity rates in adults in the United States could be the result of dietary changes that took place decades ago, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“While most public health studies focus on current behaviors and diets, we took a novel approach and looked at how the diets we consumed in our childhood affect obesity levels now that we are adults,” said Alex Bentley, head of UT’s Department of Anthropology and lead researcher of the study, which was published in Economics and Human Biology.

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Consumption of excess sugar, particularly in sugar-sweetened beverages, is a known contributor to both childhood and adult obesity. Many population health studies have identified sugar as a major factor in the obesity epidemic. One problem with this theory, however, has been that sugar consumption in the US began to decline in the late 1990s while obesity rates continued to rise well into the 2010s.

That increase shows in the numbers: By 2016, nearly 40 percent of all adults in the US–a little over 93 million people–were affected by obesity. In Tennessee alone, the adult obesity rate more than tripled, from about 11 percent in 1990 to almost 35 percent in 2016. By 2017, however, obesity in Tennessee had fallen 2 percent from the previous year.

If high-sugar diets in childhood have long-lasting effects, the changes we see now in adult obesity rates may have started with diets decades ago, when those adults were children.

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Filed under childhood obesity, obesity, sugar, sugar addiction, sugary soda, Uncategorized

“Plant-Based” and Unhealthy? – Tufts

Plant-based dietary patterns are becoming highly recommended, but not all “plant-based” foods are healthy, according to experts at Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

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Experts agree plants should make up a large part of a healthy dietary pattern. Humans eat plant roots (carrots and radishes), stems (asparagus and celery), leaves (leafy greens), seeds (including whole grains), flowers (broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke), and the seed-bearing “fruits” of plants (including fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts). All are packed with important health-promoting nutrients, and countless studies have found associations between consuming diets higher in unprocessed plant foods and lower risk for a wide range of disorders such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. But recommendations to eat a “plant-based” diet can be misleading. “I really dislike the term plant-based to describe a preferred or healthy diet,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “Not all animal-based foods are bad, and most of the worst things in the food supply are technically plant-based.” A vegetarian diet built on pizza, macaroni-and-cheese, and baked goods may be “plant-based,” but it’s far from a healthy dietary pattern. Continue reading

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Harvard on resuming bike riding

I know that we are late in September and a lot of folks will be putting away their bikes ‘for the season.’ I ride year ’round here in Chicago and enjoy it. If you are one of those who haven’t ridden in a while and would like to take up a super form of exercise, I hope you will consider cycling. There are still a few good weeks left before the cold sets in. You can get started now.

The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.

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“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, Exercise, exercise benefits, Harvard Health Publications, safe biking, successful aging

Weekend funnies …

Hope you have super plans for this coming weekend. Here are some little fun items I ran across in the past week.

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Tony

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8 Tips to curb overeating – Tufts

No matter how much you exercise, you can’t outrun your fork. If you are eating too much, you may be doing serious damage to yourself. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter offers the following ideas.

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These tips may help to curb overeating:

Focus on NUTRITIONAL quality of food. Highly-processed foods may be more likely to trigger craving and overeating.

Avoid distractions. Focus on the food you’re eating and slow down to increase odds of recognizing when you’ve had enough.

Don’t get too hungry. It may be harder to control food intake and choices when the body’s systems are all screaming for food.

Address stress. Look for ways to cut down on exposure to stressful situations. Try stress-reducing techniques such as meditation and exercise to cut down on stress eating.

Avoid temptation. Fill your pantry with healthy choices that you enjoy, not highly-palatable highly-processed junk food.

Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.

Get enough Sleep. Ensure you get at least seven hours a night.

Support policy change. Government and industry policy changes can improve access to healthy choices and make portions smaller.

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Time Outside May Benefit Health – Study

According to a recent British study published in the journal Scientific Reports, spending at least two hours a week outside may be good for one’s health. Nearly 20,000 English people were asked how many hours they spent in natural environments like parks, forests, and beaches in the last seven days; whether they considered their health to be good or poor; and if they felt their well-being was high or low. Those reporting nature contact of at least two hours per week were significantly more likely to report ‘good’ health and ‘high’ well-being compared to those reporting zero. (No additional benefit was seen from spending over 3.5 to 5 hours in nature.)

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I shot this on a bike ride earlier this week. I love the reflections of the lights on Lake Michigan

While this association was seen even in people who did not meet current physical activity guidelines, the authors were unable to fully untangle time spent outside from time spent being active. It is possible that healthier, happier people are simply more likely to spend more time in nature or live in areas with more open space, but the association was seen even for those with long-term illness or disability. In this study, even people who needed to travel outside of their neighborhoods to reach a park or other natural area benefited from regularly spending time in nature.

As regular readers know, I am a nature lover. Here are a couple of my posts on being outside:

Urban greenspace boosts mental health

Tips on enjoying the outdoors safely

Benefits of exercising outdoors

Tony

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Study finds human hearts evolved for endurance

This blog has evolved  over the nine years I have been writing it.  Starting as a men’s weight-loss helper, it has developed into a general good health and long life messenger. I have also learned along the way about certain physical dangers that are not at once obvious. I think I am most concerned with the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s possibly that being sedentary does a person more damage than smoking. This seems particularly insidious to me as when folks retire, they think about ‘taking it easy.’ Big mistake. One specific aspect of that is prolonged sitting. Check out my Page – The dangers of too much sitting for more details.

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Major physical changes occurred in the human heart as people shifted from hunting and foraging to farming and modern life. As a result, human hearts are now less “ape-like” and better suited to endurance types of activity. But that also means those who lead sedentary lives are at greater risk for heart disease. Those are the main conclusions from a unique study led by Aaron L. Baggish, MD, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cardiovascular Performance Program. Baggish and his collaborators examined how ape hearts differ from those of humans, why those differences exist and what that means to human health. Continue reading

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Obesity linked to a nearly 6-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with genetics and lifestyle also raising risk

Eat less; move more; live longer wins the day. Eating less and moving more also help to fight against type 2 diabetes it seems.

Genetic predisposition, obesity, and unfavorable lifestyle have an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes, an increasingly common disorder that contributes majorly to the global burden of disease. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults (20-79 years) were living with diabetes in 2017; by 2045 this is expected rise above 600 million.

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The current strategy to prevent T2D is underlined by the maintenance of normal body weight and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle interventions designed for weight loss have been shown to delay the onset of T2D among high-risk subjects. However, the effects of lifestyle factors and obesity on T2D risk may vary between individuals depending on genetic variation. Thus, it is important to understand the interplay between genetic predisposition, obesity, and unfavorable lifestyle in the development of T2D. In this new research, the authors aimed to study whether the genetic risk for T2D is accentuated by obesity and unfavorable lifestyle.

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