Friday, April 26, 2019

What diet are you on?

One of the health issues I've been dealing with in my 'senior' years is prediabetes.  In talking to my primary care doc and a nutritionist I've learned that a diet high in simple carbohydrates (foods containing large amounts of refined sugar (sucrose) , white rice, french fries and white bread) combined with a somewhat sedentary life style are contributing greatly to the problem.  

This  led me to an exercise program and various books listing foods that have a relatively high glycemic index.  The bottom line to all of them was avoid carbs-some even took an extreme approach by saying ALL carms-not just the simple ones.

In contrast to this I recently had a conversation with someone who suggested I read a book called The China Study.  I'm nearly done with it. It is a long, tedious read full of original research and detailed information.

Here are the main points it makes:
-nearly all cardiac disease, cancer, diabetes, immune disorder diseases ranging from arthritis to multiple sclerosis and many others result from what we eat-not poor genes or growth hormones, etc.
-with the right diet you can not only prevent these diseases but reverse their progress.
-the culprit is animal based protein, i.e. beef, milk, cheese, yogurt and eggs. 
-the solution is to adopt a 100% vegan diet.  Eliminate all animal based protein. And contrary to other books, carbs are good.

The rest of the book helps you figure out how to do that.

When I was about three quarters of the way through the book, I went on line and found several studies that dispute some of the findings of The China Study.  One of the biggest critiques is that it fails to give sufficient attention to things like too little exercise, the effects of a protein based diet in moderation and confusion between correlation and cause and effect.

Here's my take on all this.
There is absolutely no question that we are a grossly overweight society. Just look in any classroom or sit in one of those comfy chairs in the mall and observe the people walking by.

Our diets are terrible and we don't exercise enough.  But the solution suggested in this book is like others that call for the total elimination of carbs from your diet, i.e the other extreme.

To me the solution is not extreme.  It's moderation and common sense-and exercise.   If you're pounding down a couple of big Macs and fries every day then you're headed for trouble.  Eat a well balanced, portion controlled diet with plenty of exercise and you'll probably be OK.

By the way, while I am prediabetic I have managed to control it through-not medication but diet and exercise!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

update to last post

In my last post regarding our trip to Aruba I said I'd soon have a slide show ready.  It's now up and running.  Go to and click on photogallery in navigation bar.  From there find the appropriate link in the table at the top of the page.  One column is for iOS/Mac users and the other for PC/Android users.  Give the page a few minutes to load and enjoy.  BTW: PC/Android users may have to enable Adobe Flash.  If you don't you won't be able to view it. 

Go to Aruba

Looking for a place to go for a nice vacation?  Ever been to any of the Caribbean islands?  I have a suggestion.  Go to Aruba.  Here's why:

First and foremost the weather is as close to perfect as you can get.  Temperatures year round range from high 70s to low 80s; there is a constant breeze; there is no rainy season to speak of.  In fact the only down side to the island is it is very dry-20" of rain a year roughly. But they have several facilities that convert sea water to fresh water.

Second, in terms of hotels there's something for everyone.  Many of them are right on the beach and they range from affordable  like the one we stayed at, The Holiday Inn to ultra luxurious like the Riu, one we're not likely to see any time soon.  But frankly the Holiday Inn is in the best location.

Third, as Caribbean Islands go this is definitely one of the more prosperous.  We've been to many places in the Caribbean (Cayman Islands, Jamaica twice, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Croix, Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Sandi & Becky went to Barbados).  Of all of them I've never felt safer walking just about anywhere off the resort grounds.  Very unusual. 

Fourth, there's a ton of things to do and many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. 

The plane ride is a bit long but certainly nothing like Hawaii. 

I'm working on a slide show to put on my web site so when it's done I'll post it and you can get a feel for what the island is like.

By the way, hotel, meals and plane fare together cost about $4500-$5000.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Off to Aruba

We are headed to Aruba tomorrow morning with my son's family and several other couples who are friends of theirs.   We'll be back in a week at which time our standby generator will be installed, hooked up, tested and ready to go.

Look for pictures to appear in the form of a slide show on my web site-to be announced. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Recommended Reading

I've read a lot of books about history.  Most of them are historical fiction.  The two major areas of interest are the American civil war and World War II.  Many of the books I've read are from the stand point of military strategy and battle descriptions.  But over the past few years I discovered a collection of books-mostly dealing with World War II-that take another point of view entirely.  Some are from the stand point of German citizens who many people don't realize suffered more than Americans who were safely protected by the Atlantic Ocean.  Others are from the point of view of British citizens and others still from Polish citizens.

All of those nonmilitary people suffered terribly.  So it's important to read about all sides of a war to really understand it.

Here are some of the titles I would strongly recommend for a rounded understanding. They are listed in the order I read them-NOT best to worst:

All the Light We Cannot See-Doerr
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Summer Before the War-Helen Simonson
In Farleigh Field: A novel of WWII
Lilac Girls: A Novel (about WWII)
Beneath A Scarlet Sky-Mark Sullivan
Winter Garden-Kristen Hannah (WWII) 
The Ragged Edge of Night-Olivia Hawker
The Zookeeper’s Wife-Diane Ackerman
The Tuscan Child-Rhys Bowen
We Were the Lucky Ones-WW II-Georgia Hunter 

Even if you're not interest in history, these books are great reads.   Worst case scenario, at least you'll be entertained.  Best case scenario, you'll come away with a deep understanding of the suffering and courage of so many people-certainly not just soldiers.