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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

Columns

This is the Home Page for our quick-read nutritional health column for regional newspapers. If you have a local publication that might want to carry it, let us know or pass the link onto them.

Dope I Mean

Column #173

How many of us are “looking for happiness in all the wrong places?” (That phrase reminds me of the country western hit by Johnny Lee: “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.”) But this column isn’t about love and lost loves. It’s about understanding the difference between happiness and pleasure.

Happiness is an internally generated feeling of peace and satisfaction with life in general. Pleasure is caused by external events such as beautiful scenery, Christmas lights, the sound of rain, a bird chirping, buying something new, video games, arriving at your destination, winning the lottery, your team winning, eating s’mores, drinking spirits, smoking cigarettes or marijuana, and using fentanyl. These external pleasurable events are related because they cause the brain to release dopamine which creates a short-lived sense of elation or joy. Many of these events are addictive.

Persistent Health Issues

Column #172

Are you plagued with one or more persistent health issues such as:
    Muscle Aches                 Intestinal Pain                  Diarrhea
    Skin Rashes                    Migraine Headaches       Diabetes
    Cancerous Growths      Sluggishness                     Arthritis
    High Blood Pressure     Asthma                              and more

If so, being proactive with exercise, sleep, and diet can bring some if not total relief. Moderate exercise and a good night’s sleep is very underrated in its importance even though most people understand the science. Addressing diet is more complex because most Americans scoff at the actual science or they embrace “healthy” fads. In addition, people get addicted to what they eat!

When it comes to the aforementioned persistent health issues, my first thoughts are about the immune system and a body’s potential toxic loads. When immunity is down and/or there’s an autoimmune condition, bodies are highly vulnerable to bacteria, pathogens, viruses, and toxins as well as their own misfiring immune systems. When it comes to toxins, most people mistakenly assume the worst ones are household cleaners, pesticides, chemicals in drinking water, etc. But in my book the worst are Microbial Toxins.

Pets, Kids, and Food

Column #171

Everyday, usually several times a day, people make food choices. Normally their initial focus is on themselves, after that it’s the needs of their family and pets. Naturally all major food suppliers seek to be the target of their focus. So what do marketing trends suggest? In other words what motivates people when they buy food?

I follow pet food market trends mostly out of curiosity. I like to see how the big boys strategize their marketing and nutritional programs. The keyword search “pet food trends 2018” brings up 138,000,000 hits. Some of the new age industrial pet food marketing strategies are a huge change from just five years ago. It’s being said that not only are older citizens responding, but many younger consumers are also changing their habits.

Omega-3, a Prescription?

Column #170

On November 10, 2018 it was BREAKING NEWS. Headlines on NBC, NY Times, Washington Post, and on and on called it a miracle heart drug. Guess what, it’s purified fish oil (a highly concentrated form of Omega-3) in a prescription pill that costs “only” $278 a month per person. Does it work? Yes, it lowers heart attack risks by 25% and death by 20%. Wow, what a discovery!

Or is it a wow? Is it even a discovery? To answer that question I read the report. Then I dusted off additional research from over the years. Then I reviewed my own experiences. The following is my analysis of the “Breaking News.”

Meditation and Thanksgiving

Column #169

It’s said that meditation reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and pain while increasing internal peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being.

What does being thankful do? Michael E. McCullough, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami, compared “grateful people” to those who were less so. He concluded that being thankful has five advantages--both psychological and physiological. They are:

It’s Not Working

Column #168

When people realize that nutrition actually plays a role in their long-term health and wellness quite often that’s when they start making changes. Usually the changes are small ones they learned about from their friends, medical doctor, and the media. That means they start off with mostly myths, half truths, and rarely with what’s known in the scientific literature.

Almost always initial changes provide some positive results. That’s because when beginners start, they are in such malnourished states that any positive change, however slight, heads them in a better direction. Just eating a little less processed foods, a dab more vegetables, and switching from processed grains to whole grains can provide that improvement. But on the continuum representing the way food impacts health and disease, their initial changes only pull them a few notches away from disaster.

Live Holistic

Column #167

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 61 million Americans are grappling with a disability that impacts major life activities. Of course not all of these afflictions are food related. There are numerous causes, and I’ll review some. I’ll also point out situations that could have been avoided by having a holistic approach to life and discuss if it’s ever too late to establish preventative measures. But first: one in four Americans is disabled.

The "2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System" study focused on six disability types:
●    Mobility (serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs)
●    Cognition (serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions)
●    Independent living (difficulty doing errands alone)
●    Hearing (serious difficulty hearing)
●    Vision (serious difficulty seeing)
●    Self-care (difficulty dressing or bathing)

Politics Won’t Cure U.S.

Column #166

It’s election time again and in less than two weeks the political ads will stop running. Based on that alone we have a lot to be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving. Some peace maybe.

In the meantime Linda and I are studying our voting options which vary for everyone depending on which state they live in. But there is one universal option I want to address. It involves the preservation of our food supply. A year ago Amanda Radke wrote a column in Beef Magazine that touched on that issue and, undoubtedly, it will surface again.

Omega-3 Deficiencies & Mental Health

Column #165

If long-term mental health is a concern, you need to be familiar with Captain Joseph R Hibbeln, M.D., United States Public Health Service. He is a Clinical Investigator and the Acting Chief of the Lumbar Medial Branch Block/Special Needs Network at National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Dr. Hibbeln has been the principal investigator of numerous studies at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and was one of the first investigators to draw attention to the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in psychiatric disorders. He’s also participated in many collaborative clinical trials of Omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention of suicide, postpartum depression, and violence.

His internationally respected studies show that high ratios of Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) negatively impact brain function. His works are well-known by professionals in psychiatry and nutrition but unfortunately the general public, most healthcare professionals, and even many nutritionists have no idea he lives and breathes. So if you are not familiar with his work, I’ll paraphrase and quote some of his findings to provide some insight.

Mitochondria Made Easy

Column #164

One treads on shaky ground when trying to make the complex simple because simplification leaves out details. For that reason experts need to give those of us who attempt simplification a little latitude as we try to explain mitochondria to the general public.

Everyone with a keen interest in health has heard about the mitochondria. Yet most folks can’t explain what they are, where they’re located, their function, or how they impact health. So what are mitochondria?

A cell is the smallest structural and functional unit of an organism. Its four primary parts are: membrane, cytoplasm, organelle, and nucleus.