Sunday, July 30, 2017

Took steps to feel much better this morning

I think I may have a formula to allow me to feel better in the morning after I wake up.

For some time now, I have been feeling nauseous with irritated sinuses upon waking in the morning.  I have tried different approaches to improve the way I feel both physically and mentally upon waking, but haven't stuck to anything consistently.  

I may have found a morning feel good formula worth pursuing.  

The steps described in this post are not new.  I have tried all of this before. However, I tend not to stay consistent in my practices. 

Last night I did not eat for three hours before going to bed. I drank plenty of water before retiring.  As usual, I kept a water bottle next to the bed in addition to saline nasal spray. I woke up three or four times to use the bathroom, and each time I drink some water and used the nasal spray. The price I pay for staying well hydrated is that I will wake more often.
When I woke around 7:45 AM, I felt, although not ideal, much better than normal. My wife told me that her gastroenterologist had advised taking a couple times before going to bed to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux while sleeping. So, when I woke up in the morning I took a couple of Tums and indeed my stomach began to feel a bit better. So, based on last night I think the formula may be:
  1. Do not eat for three hours before going to bed
  2. Drink plenty of water before going to bed
  3. Drink some water each time I wake during the night, usually 2-3 times.
  4. Use the nasal spray often during the night to keep my sinuses moist.
  5. Take a couple of Tums upon waking, and possibly consider Tums before going to bed.
Not eating for three hours before bedtime empties my stomach while I sleep and I believe, prevents acid reflux during the night.  This is not a serious problem for me, but there is enough reflux to cause some discomfort in the morning.  

Staying well hydrated overnight is also a good strategy. Although it may mean I get up more often during the night to use the bathroom, the net results on how I feel are positive. 

The saline nasal spray keeps my sinuses moist and I believe relieves at least some of the post nasal drip that occurs during the night.  The post nasal drip seems to irritate my throat and stomach, causing considerable discomfort when I wake.  

I will keep employing the five steps listed above and see whether, over time, I can consistently feel much better upon waking in the morning.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cron-O-meter is Amazing

Every once in a while a computer program comes along that is wonderful in that it provides excellent support to my goal of an excellent, healthy lifestyle.

One such program is Cron-O-Meter.  I have not used Cron-O-Meter for some time, but my goal is to use it more frequently in the future.  Cron-O-Meter has a comprehensive food database, including my own food and recipe creations.  I can easily record all my food intake from my iPhone, iPad or Mac.  The resulting daily summary of my food and nutrition is very comprehensive.  Cron-O-Meter gives me the following benefits:

  • I can check to assure I am taking in all required nutrients, especially iodine and vitamin B12, which I have a hard time getting from the vegan foods I eat.
  • I can assure that my calorie intake is appropriate to the output, especially the mega calories I burn while cycling.  I have been feeling a bit weak and down the last few days, I suspect because I have not been either drinking or eating enough, perhaps both.
  • I get a picture of trends in my nutrient and calorie intake, which is very helpful.
  • The program steers me to design meals that will give me the daily numbers that I am looking for, both in terms of calories and nutrients.  I can check my nutrient intake progress as the day goes on and adjust my food intake accordingly.

This program is a real winner and I need to discipline myself to use it more often.  I have found, for example, that a morning smoothie is probably a better choice than oatmeal.  Oatmeal is excellent and I will continue to eat it on some days for breakfast, however, green smoothies allow me to pack in lots of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to start off my day thus making it easier to get all the calories and nutrients I target by the end of the day.  I am most in control of what I eat for breakfast, so the smoothie can be designed to give me a head start on a day of excellent eating.

Cron-O-Meter has a very comprehensive data base of tens of thousands of foods, and there is the option to create your own recipes and foods.  When I search for a food to enter into my daily log, I rarely cannot find it in the Cron-O-Meter database.  The program is easy to use and, best of all for some, it is free.  There is an upgrade option - Gold Subscriber -  that provides the user with advertisment-free use of the program, and substantial upgrades in the nutritional analysis.

The Cron-O-Meter website is here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why You Shouldn’t Waste Money on Multivitamins

Thomas Campbell’s The Campbell Plan, is one of the best books that I have read on whole foods plant-based diets. The book is straightforward and clear and has become my bible for nutrition. I have read lots about the subject, but there are still some issues that I have been uncertain about, supplements, for one. Based on Campbell’s book and the subsequent article on the Forks Over Knives website,  I have decided to skip supplements, with one exception. My whole foods plant-based diet should take care of my nutrition needs. 

My other nutrition and health guru John McDougall, M.D. also advises against supplements. So, taken together, I am convinced.

Here is what Campbell has to say about supplements:

"Many people view multivitamins as some sort of insurance policy that they use so they’ll feel that they’ve got their bases covered when it comes to nutrition. Unfortunately, it’s an insurance policy that won’t pay out and in some cases may be harmful, but people have been buying and taking multivitamins since the first one was introduced in the 1940s. I never recommend a multivitamin for general health. I think it’s a waste of money, and generally the scientific authorities agree."
Here is what Dr. McDougall has to say: "Nature's foods are complete.  To make a profit, manufacturers isolate out and concentrate nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, and sell them as expensive pills.  The consequence is to create serious imbalances within the workings of your cells, and then diseases follow.....Don't risk your life and waste your money on these gimmicks.  The only supplement I routinely recommend is Vitamin B12.

Since I don't eat animal foods, the primary source of vitamin B12, I do take this supplement, usually in pure liquid form.  Not only do I not eat animal foods, but I also try to avoid highly processed foods some of which may have been fortified with B12.  So, given the importance of this nutrient, I think it is wise to use this one supplement.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dr. McDougall's Advice Regarding Eating in Restaurants

John McDougall, M.D. has been my main source of nutrition information for over 8 years.  His advice has never failed me.  To the contrary, I owe my current good health to him.  Here are some of his thoughts regarding eating in restaurants, advice that I have been following consistently.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dr.John McDougall Disputes Major Medical Treatments- Aging Gracefully, Maybe to 100.

This video is priceless.  Dr. John McDougall talks about the powerful impact of lifestyle, especially good nutrition, on our health and our functional longevity.  It is 42 minutes long, but well worth the time.

George Guthrie, MD: Says Not to Worry about Salting Your Food

George Guthrie, MD: Says Not to Worry about Salting Your Food

This video addresses lifestyle medicine in general and salt restriction in particular.   Dr. Guthrie says that aggressive salt restriction is not necessary for most people.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another Jim Morris Video

Steve Greene's Trike Asylum included another video featuring the the 79 year old Jim Morris, vegan bodybuilder.  I include it hear from YouTube.  Jim is truly inspirational!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jim Morris, vegan bodybuilder, and his Way of Life

Jim Morris, age 75 at the time of this shooting (he is now 79 and going strong), is an outstanding example of the relationship between lifestyle and health.  He prefers the term 'way of life' rather than lifestyle.  As he states in this video, Way of Life is a more powerful term.  Jim is a personal trainer and former competitive bodybuilder.  He is a vegan who was, as I have been, guided by the likes of T. Colin Campbell, phD with his book The China Study.  Take a look at this video.  Jim is amazing!

More on Maximum Functional Longevity

Today I did the second of my startup weight training routines. I hesitate to call what I am doing bodybuilding, because I'm not sure I am that committed at this point. However, last week I was reading through some of the posts on Trike Asylum, a recumbent trike website, and was reading about Steve Greene’s lifelong love affair with bodybuilding.

Although Steve (pictured here) is a dedicated long-distance  trike rider - he does a lot of touring on the West Coast on his trike, his main love is bodybuilding. Steve tells about his 43 year history as a bodybuilder, including a long period of time in which he owned a health club somewhere in California. He talks about his clients and some of the bodybuilding mentors that he has worked with. I should probably say that Steve's love is even broader than bodybuilding. Steve has a philosophy of life which I really admire, and to some degree have emulated, called Maximum Functional Longevity. I have done a post on my lifestyle blog about Steve's philosophy.    

Steve is 63 years old and we have talked through post on his website frequently about our mutual philosophy about staying as functional as we possibly can as we get older. Steve believes that the key to Maximum Functional Longevity is a vegan diet, vigorous exercise including resistance training and cardiovascular training, adequate sleep (8 to 10 hours per night), minimizing negative thinking, and managing stress. Steve and I both believe that reaching the age of 100  in relatively healthy and active condition is very achievable if we manage our lives correctly.  To a very great degree, we are in charge of our own health and longevity.

At any rate, Steve is a big advocate of bodybuilding, especially as we get older. He not only believes that bodybuilding is a good longevity strategy, he also believes in the shorter term that it will enhance ability and enjoyment of trike riding.  

Steve's latest writing on the subject has had a major influence on me. It is not that I am a stranger to bodybuilding. I have dabbled in weight training, including vigorous weight training,  on and off throughout my life. Two years ago in 2012 I spent the better part of that year in a fairly intensive bodybuilding program, with Frank Zane as as my mentor. I absolutely loved my bodybuilding routines, but when I went back to Florida in 2013 I gravitated away from bodybuilding and more into long-distance cycling again. I also love cycling. When I'm at home in Sandy Springs I have a fully equipped gym in my basement and working out is fairly easy. While in Florida, although I joined the YMCA, which has an excellent workout facility, I found traveling to the YMCA several times a week to be too much of a hassle and I gradually gravitated away from bodybuilding and into a focus on full-time cycling.

However, Steve's approach to aging and his emphasis on bodybuilding as a key element to staying maximally functional has rekindled my interest in getting back into bodybuilding. The question is how can I do both?  I  still want to participate in long-distance recumbent cycling events and I'm not sure whether I can both focus on bodybuilding and stay fit enough on the bike to do the long-distance events.   the reality is that I have a hard time focusing on two intense activities at one time. 

So I'm struggling with the question of whether I should focus on one or the other, or whether I should try to do both. My current thinking is to train intensively three times per week in the gym. I am currently on session two of a full body workout which will get me back into more intensive split routines. My plan is to do full body workouts for a month to get my body back into bodybuilding and then go into a two-way split routine upper/lower body workout routine that I will do for a couple of months. After that depending on how I feel I may go into a three-way split routine of the type I was doing when I was guided by Frank Zane's books. That all remains to be seen, however, because I'm not sure how intensively I want to get into bodybuilding at this point.

I want to continue to do bike riding, but I think I will take a more relaxed attitude about mileage and distance. I will ride more leisurely on my days off from the gym. Whether or not I participate in century rides, and other organized cycling events remains to be seen.

One thing is for sure, I feel wonderful both physically and psychologically while I am doing bodybuilding. I have to admit, that I feel better with bodybuilding than I do with grinding out miles on the bike day after day. Riding can be a complement to my bodybuilding rather than my primary activity. I am not yet sure that I'm ready to do this, but I will give it a try for the next couple weeks to see how I react, particularly after move  back down to Florida next weekend. When I'm in Florida I will again face the hassle of finding an adequate gym facility near my home on Longboat Key. That may be key to whether I can stay with a bodybuilding routine.

Some would argue that at age 72 I am a little bit crazy beginning a bodybuilding routine. I would argue that it possibly is the smartest thing I can do to pursue my goal of Maximum Functional Longevity.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Steve Greene's Maximum Functional Longevity

One of my favorite websites is Trike Hobo's Trike Asylum.  Steve Greene, the site's founder and guru is a passionate advocate of healthy living.  His website is an inspiration to cycling adventure and good health.

Steve is an avid recumbent trike rider.  He has taken some amazing long distance adventures on his trike and believes that life is an adventure that should be experienced to the max.   His website is loaded with tales of his trike journeys those of his readers.  I hope someday to venture forth on a touring recumbent trike for a long distance journey within the U.S.

Recently, Steve posted a great article on his philosophy of Maximum Functional Longevity.  What is Maximum Functional Longevity? Steve says, "..Well, it is briefly defined in my head as living in a vital state, fully functional as a human being, for as long as my body is able....  Most of us think that our bodies are designed to become diseased and fall apart as we get older.  I have friends who excuse their poor lifestyles by saying, "Hey, we are all going to die sometimes.  Heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's Disease are inevitable consequences of getting old. Getting old is better than the alternative."  Etc. Etc.  Steve and I believe passionately that chronic illness and disability is not inevitable as we get older.  If we commit ourselves to lifelong vigorous athletic activity, in my case for example, strength training with weights and recumbent bike/trike riding, and maintain an excellent eating style like a whole foods plant-based diet we increase our odds greatly of avoiding the diseases and malfunctions of aging.  Steve's Maximum Functional Longevity article and the postings on this blog provide lots of information for the motivated reader to adopt a lifestyle that will lead to a healthy old age beyond the years that most people think is possible.
Steve touring on his recumbent trike

I have to admit that my track record of convincing people to making a life-long commitment to living like athletes and eating a whole foods plant-based diet is not good.  Steve and my formula for health living into old age is not easy for most people used to the standard American diet and lifestyle.   I will have more to say about Maximum Functional Longevity(MFL) in future posts. Steve coined the term and has written eloquently and passionately about the the concept.  I will expand upon my own journey to MFL over the coming weeks.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Better Health Through Good Choices

I am not a big George Will fan.  George is a conservative Republican columnist.  His politics and mine are miles apart. Nevertheless, his op-ed this morning in the Washington  Post titled Better Health Through Good Choices is right on target.  I couldn't agree with him more.  He says that modern medicine is not the solution to our good health.  Rather, our personal lifestyle choices determine whether we remain healthy or not.  Hooray for George.

This article resonated with me for several reasons.  First, Will’s introduction to good health through making wise personal decisions happened in 1964, when the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking arrived.  He says:

“In September 1958, a future columnist, then 17, was unpacking as a college freshman when upperclassmen hired by tobacco companies knocked on his dormitory door, distributing free mini-packs of cigarettes. He and many other aspiring sophisticates became smokers. Nearly six years later — 50 years ago: Jan. 11, 1964 — when the surgeon general published the report declaring tobacco carcinogenic, more than 40 percent of U.S. adults smoked. Today, when smoking is considered declasse rather than sophisticated, fewer than one-fifth do.”

George Will and I must be about the same age, because my journey to make wise health choices also began in January, 1964, when Luther Terry, the then United States Surgeon General, issued the first report on smoking and health.  I immediately gave up smoking.  Since then I have become and avid exerciser and advocate of a plant-based whole foods eating style.  These, I believe, are the keys to my current good health.  My first step was to give up smoking after Terry’s report.  For me, that was the beginning of a journey.

In the early 90s, I served on a panel with Dr. Terry in Philadelphia.  He was an Emeritus Professor at the University of Pennsylvania at the time.  After the session, I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Terry.  I told him that I gave up smoking the day after I read his Surgeon General's report in 1964, the year I graduated from college.  I told him that he probably saved my life.  For sure, he helped keep me healthy.  I will always remember that conversation with Dr. Terry.

The press is full of talk about the successes or failures of Obamacare and what we should do to improve healthcare in the United States.   Of course we need to reduce, hopefully to zero, the number of uninsured in our country.  But, equally important is find ways to help people make better choices about nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress reduction and other health promoting behaviors. These are the keys to good health, much more so than more medical care.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day One: Digital Journaling for Fun and Health

For several years I have been keeping a daily journal on and off. I have always enjoyed journaling, and have posted other entries on this blog expressing my opinions about the positive health benefits of regular writing.  Here is another post on journaling.

One of the challenges that I have faced with journaling, however, is that I have not been able to settle on a program that meets all of my needs.  I have used Evernote, TheBrain, and  Day One.  I decided some time ago that  keeping a digital journal met my needs better than a paper journal.  The digital journal has the advantages of:

1. Electronically searching your journal entries.
2. Easily editing and correcting your journal entries.
3. Having the capability of synchronizing your journal entries across various devices, in my case my Macintosh laptop, iPhone and iPad.
4. Moving your journal entries into blogs and other computer programs easily.

I have found that the synchronization capability is especially important. To journal on a daily basis, at least for me, requires that I’m able to easily make entries in a  hassle free environment.    Carrying a notebook around with me every place I go would be too much trouble.  I always have my iPhone and/or my iPad with me when I am out of the house. Sometimes I have my laptop computer with me. It seems that I am never without one of these three devices.

For a while I was using Evernote as my daily journal. Somehow, however, Evernote being an all purpose note taking program seemed to make it a little bit too cumbersome to keep a daily journal. And as one journal application reviewer put it, Evernote being a repository for all sorts of things, such as receipts, webpages, and other notes of all sorts makes it a less dignified place to journal your most private thoughts. I found this pretty much to be true, plus the fact that Evernote is a bit more cumbersome to use because you have to locate the appropriate folder to put your journal entries. If one is going to journal daily, or several times a day, the process of looking for the appropriate notebook to make your journal entries is an extra step I found I didn’t need.

TheBrain is an excellent program for keeping a large database in a mind mapping format. I was using the program for my journal for awhile, but it suffers from the disadvantage of not having an iPad and iPhone program, plus the fact that it too is a repository of all sorts of different types of information and lacks the “environment” for a journal where all sorts of private thoughts are being recorded.

I also was using Day One journal application for a while and thought it was a good program, however, I reacted against the idea of a separate program to only do journaling. Recently, however, I have changed my mind. After extensive reading of reviews about Day One, I’ve come to the conclusion that it may indeed be the best program. Day One has an iPhone and an iPad program, synchronizes very well between all three of my devices using Dropbox, and is designed specifically for keeping a daily journal. The developers of Day One have taken great pains to create a very user-friendly digital environment for keeping a daily journal.

Day One has several very positive features:

1. Synchronization across multiple digital devices.
2. Password protection
3. Reminders that prompt me to make entries into my journal on the daily basis
4. Markdown program as a method of applying formatting to my journal entries
5. A very attractive user interface on both Macintosh and iOS devices

Day One is also very easy to use. Simply click on the + and a new entry space pops up. So, I have been using Day One now for several days once again. I am enjoying using the program and find  that I am now using it on a regular basis, on some days, making multiple entries. I’m using the program to record daily events, private thoughts and feelings, new ideas that I have, impressions about news, reviews of books, reviews of restaurants, and general observations about the people around me. I’m sure that as time goes on I will come up with all sorts of creative ways to use my journal. One of the things that I’m considering is keeping the journal on regular basis for several years, perhaps the rest of my life, and then leaving a hard copy of my journal for my children and grandchildren.

Upon reading many reviews of the various journal programs, I have come upon a couple very good ideas to enhance my journaling experience. One reviewer has developed a template that he can easily apply to an open empty page and Day One that provides him with some useful prompts for his daily journaling. He developed the template in a program like Text  Expander. I tried this with Text Expander and was able to develop a very useful template that I can apply which prompts me to fill-in my thoughts and a lot of categorical areas. What follows is the template that I use, which I am sure will undergo lots of evolution going forward:

Last Night

When I woke last night, what thoughts did I have?

How did I feel when I woke

How did I react to the thoughts?


What am I thankful for right now?

How am I feeling right now?

What am I afraid of?


What are today's ToDos?

What are my plans for today?

What training will I do today?

What one thing must I accomplish today?

What books will I read (listen to)?

I also discovered another useful tool that facilitates the journal process. I use Dragon Dictate for Mac speech-to-text program on my laptop and I couple it with Dragon Dictate Microphone which allows me to dictate my journal entries into Day One using my iPhone as the microphone.  I don’t always use the microphone, but when I do I find that I have a more free-form flow of ideas, and seem to be somewhat less inhibited about including deeper more personal thoughts into my journal entries. I am sure that is a very individual thing and some people might not want to use a speech to text approach to journal entries.

So, I plan on using Day One as my primary journaling tool going forward. I consider journaling to be not only a lot of fun, but a very good practice to aid in psychological health. I know that it will be very entertaining and informative for me to look back into history and see what I was thinking and feeling a year ago, three years ago, five years ago, etc. As I move forward with my journaling experiences, I will be sharing them here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where's the Healthy Bread?

Last night I went to Publix. Went there to buy some bread and was surprised at how few healthy choices there were. The bread choices either eggs, dairy and/or lots of artificial ingredients. Ended up buying some whole wheat pita from Toufayan, which was okay, but had too much salt -- 225 milligrams per serving. Guess one has to make the bread oneself in order for it to be healthy.

Hydration and Morning Depression

When I woke this morning, I was thinking about why some (many) mornings I wake feeling physically and mentally depressed.  This is not my normal state of mind.  I am usually quite cheerful and upbeat during the day and evening.  My daily workouts are an important factor in feeling good.  These darker moods are most mostly confined to early morning upon waking.

The other night when I was fighting a head cold, I took great care to drink LOTS of water.  Keeping well hydrated is thought to be an effective way to reducing the bad symptoms of a head cold.  This is because coughing, sneezing, blowing noses and draining sinuses causes the body to lose water.

The morning after I took special care to drink a lot, I felt much better than normal, even though my cold was still in its peak phase.  This caused me to ask whether dehydration might be the cause of my feeling blue in the morning.  Since I ride my bike relatively long distances on most days, it is possible that I am in a constant state of dehydration.  The condition would be exaggerated in the morning since I have gone 6-8 hours without drinking anything.  If I go to bed slightly dehydrated, the condition becomes more severe throughout the night.

As I write this, I do feel a little down.  Last night I did drink more than usual before bedtime, but probably not enough.  Certainly I didn’t drink as much as I did the other night when I woke feeling relatively upbeat and ready to go.

I will experiment with keeping a water bottle with me during the evening and making sure I drink lots before bedtime.  The downside is that it might cause me to wake, even more than usual, to pee during the night.  We’ll see.

Riding My Trike in Traffic

**Riding My Trike in Traffic**
This morning when I flipped open my computer to write, what popped up was the discussion forum on Bentrider
Online, the recumbent website that I frequent several times per day. Yesterday, I posted some thoughts about riding my recumbent trike safely (as safely as possible) in traffic. Here is what I said:
*I have been riding my trike (Vortex +) for two years without incident. Here are my preferences:
—Ride away from traffic as much as possible. I mostly train on my trike and don't use the trike as a commuter or to just get from point A to point B. I have a few tried and true routes that I use continually for training. Some have light traffic, but none have heavy traffic. I am not hesitant to load my trike into my van and drive to a safe place to ride.
—When in traffic, I constantly check my mirrors, ride to the right in heavier traffic that is moving fast, but will take the center of the lane when I can when approaching intersections. Intersections are the highest risk. I never go through one unless it is completely clear, even at the risk of delaying the car behind me. In any situation where cars may turn right or left in front of me, I am especially vigilant.
—Stay ultra visible. I use bright flashing Dinotte lights front and rear. In heavier traffic, I usually bring the flag along too.
Trikes are, IMO, more stable and more maneuverable in traffic than two wheelers. Stopping and starting is much easier. If I have to ride with traffic around, I prefer the trike.
My subjective judgement is that all forms of bike/trike have about the same level of risk, but, as I said, I feel more in control on a trike. The key determinant is the skill and awareness of the rider.*
One of the other posters said this:
*Yes we have a passing law here in Illinois too but trying getting it enforced after the person is already gone or you have been run off the road into a ditch.
I think there are a lot of great comments in the thread as well, but as other posters have said, your safety is always going to be up to you. There really is no "SAFE" so to speak, only "Safer Practices!" We are just like doctors who are practicing medicine, we hope that someday we will get it right! That is why we call it practice.
Unfortunately in today's world, drinking and driving isn't bad enough, now we have texting and driving.*
Bottom line is that there will always be safety issues when riding any bicycle or tricycle with traffic around. Our safety is largely up to us, and there will always be the danger of actions by motorists that put us at risk.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Was George W. Bush's stent necessary?

Was George W. Bush's stent necessary?

Here is Dr. Joel Fuhrman's take on George W. Bush's recent invasive cardiac procedure.  From all that I have read about cardiac stents, it appears as if he would have been better off to been advised to make aggressive changes in his lifestyle, especially an excellent whole foods plant-based diet.  Possible, medical therapy was also indicated.  I hope that the press's coverage of the implantation of a stent in President Bush, will not increase the popularity of this procedure, which is often unnecessary, and possibly dangerous.  Dr. Fuhrman's opinion is that the procedure was most likely ill-advised.