I’m a huge fan of the gigantic, super-tart, sweet Grapefruit. Even as a kid, although I know many little ones fear the aggressive taste of this particular fruit, I loved them. I know it’s a health blog, but my favorite and former standard cocktail order for many years was an Absolute Greyhound.
Unfortunately for me, I was born with genetically high cholesterol. In the 90’s I wasn’t eating red meat and relative to my family and friends would have been considered a very healthy eater. I had my cholesterol tested and it was in the 268 range – – what? I couldn’t believe it. I worked out, ate healthy, ran a few miles every-other-day and my cholesterol was >100 points higher than my wife’s and definitely in the danger zone. I talked with my doctor and moved to a diet that would frustrate a rabbit following the path of Siddhartha. It didn’t help. As a result, in addition doubling down on a very healthy nutrition plan, I began taking a statin. I know there are health advocates and professionals with the philosophy that all things can and should be managed without a man-made medication, but I made my decision. With my fitness and nutrition regimen and daily dose of medication my cholesterol clocks in around 130 and my ratio of good (HDL) to bad (LDL) is where it should be.
The bad news, as I was told back in the 90’s by my doctor, “don’t eat grapefruit, or drink any grapefruit juice while on this medication.” No more greyhounds and no more tangy, tart sweet goodness. So I haven’t had grapefruit in many years. The interesting thing is that I always assumed something as cool and natural as grapefruit, which typically is a prevalent part of a healthy diet (and many weight loss plans), could at worst dilute the effectiveness of the cholesterol lowering drug. Wrong! The research has demonstrated significant health risks associated with the interaction of grapefruit with statins (e.g. Lipitor) and a number of other medications treating everything from anxiety and depression to malaria. The interaction can cause organ failure and in some cases instant death.
Some of this research is discussed and summarized in “Grapefruit and Medications May Be a Deadly Mix” by Lisa Collier Cool on Yahoo!Health. Worth a read.
Small steps add up!
Key Outcomes From Follow-Up:
- Knee is progressing really well: Little/no pain. Navigating stairs with ease (up/down). Strength is coming back.
- Continue on stationary bike and brisk walking (every-other-day) to build strength (particularly quads).
- Cleared to ski during Christmas holiday (boo yaa!). The doctor recommended wearing a brace when skiing until Feb.
- Recommended that I target 1/1/13 to resume jogging/running. Said I could start earlier, but recommended I go conservative on high impact, since there’s no rush.
Enjoy a sampling of video clips that capture my most prevalent challenge from a rehab perspective. Click on each image below for a different angle on my current challenge.
Small steps add up!
Remember, if you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do. – Warren Miller
Small steps add up!
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and it is by far my favorite holiday. No matter how hard they’ve tried marketers can’t crack the code to undermine this holiday and make it a superficial commercially-focused day, and it is really about family, friends, food and football (US). FYI… these are a few of my favorite things.
Unfortunately, as someone who is a bit of a fitness and health nut, Thanksgiving has also become synonymous with eating boatloads of unhealthy food, lying around so that your calorie burn is as close to zero as possible, so that many go into the Christmas and New Year holidays feeling sloppy, gross and guilty. I’m not going to write a nagging, negative blog-post to make you feel more guilty about enjoying the holiday. However, I do want to ask that you avoid giving yourself card blanch to go all glutton and sloth on this great holiday.
My challenge to you is to enjoy the holiday, enjoy your time with family and friends, eat some great food, and chill out (OK, we all know it’s nap time) to a football game or two, while keeping your wits about you and your ‘health train’ on the tracks.
Here are a few tips that represent themes from the many articles I’ve read over the years with titles like “Thanksgiving Survival Guide”, along with some small steps of my own.
- Don’t Starve Yourself To Prep For a Mega-Meal: We’ve all done it. You wake up, you watch the Macy’s Parade, feel that tinge of hunger, but think “No, today’s Thanksgiving, so I’m going to save room by not eating until it’s time.” Starving yourself until 2, 3 or 4 pm on Thanksgiving will guarantee you over-pile your plate and go back for 2nds or 3rds. A reasonable breakfast and lunch, will keep your metabolism motoring and ensure that Thanksgiving dinner is just a great dinner (not the equivalent of 5 of them).
- Drink Lots of Water: OK, so this is good health/nutrition 101 and Thanksgiving Day is no different. Make sure you drink at least 32 oz of water on Thanksgiving, and a tall glass of water just before dinner can be a good inoculation to vacuum eating.
- Be Social & Give Thanks: If Thanksgiving is just about food and pigging out, you’re going to have a tough time not over-doing it. Thus, take the time to be social, enjoy your time with friends and family, and think about those things you should truly be thankful for. If you shift the locus of the holiday so that food is just an accoutrement and not the center-piece, you many actually enjoy the day more… and you’ll feel much better the day after.
- Use Your Intelligence at The Table: Instead of approaching your Thanksgiving meal in terms of amount (which most do), approach it from the perspective of making it one of the best meals you have all year. a) Be strategic with your food selection. Go with small “sample size” portions of the stuff you know is simply bad for you, a bit larger portions of items with mixed ‘food value’, and save your largest portions for those things where volume is a non-issue (e.g. veggies). b) Don’t get too saucy – – enough said? c) Eat one meal only – unless you just won Survivor and spent 39 days eating coconuts, you only need one plate of food – – no 2nds, 3rds, etc. d) Take your time at the table, socialize and enjoy the holiday. You will see Uncle Jerry and Aunt Edna get 2nds and 3rds, but stay strong and enjoy plate one.
- Take A Walk: Not to make room for another plate. Just because walking is good for you, your body needs to move to be healthy, and there are at least two half-times in which you can strategically time your movement. My wife’s suggestion is to walk, before you have dessert. I like it, as long as dessert is reasonable.
- Avoid Leftovers: Don’t shoot the messenger. I know leftovers are considered the best part of Thanksgiving. In college, Thanksgiving leftovers could sustain me for almost a month. However, from a pure health, wellness and “guilt free” perspective, I suggest you avoid them completely. The best plan, have Thanksgiving at a friends, in-laws, etc., where the leftovers stay with them – – and avoid that post Thanksgiving sell from your mother-in-law, who wants to put together a tasty ‘calorie and fat basket’ together for you to take home. If you do Thanksgiving at your house, make a few of those calorie and fat baskets for others and make sure they take them. If not, be lazy enough not to put the food away, so that you have to throw it out the next morning – – you’ll be glad you did.
Enjoy this great holiday, I know I will. Gobble gobble!!!
Small steps add up!
I’m about half way through the rehab from my knee surgery and it seems that things are going really well. My knee doesn’t hurt and twinges of discomfort are becoming more and more rare. As you would expect, as the knee feels better and better the challenge becomes one of patience – – not doing something I shouldn’t, because the knee is feeling good during regular activity. For the past two weeks in addition to my normal every-other-day weight training, I have been diligent on the stationary bike for 30 minutes/day, followed that with a brisk walk, and topped off with 800 crunches.
My family and I have been at our condo in Mammoth Lakes, CA for the last few days. This is one of my favorite places in the world, but I must admit that being here and not being able to go 100% has been a challenge. This is where I can play with my kids in the snow, sled, and ski like a maniac. I also don’t have a treadmill or stationary bike here. So, while I’ve kept up with my big batch of crunches every day and added push-ups as well, I’ve had to be a much more passive vacationer than usual. Very different.
- Saw a bear for the first time near our condo.
- Took my good camera to the slopes to get some photos of the family skiing.
- Family time and decorating for Christmas is always fun.
- My body has had a lot of quality rest, but has not been in full “sloth mode.”
Small steps ad up!
We’ve all heard the adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and over the years more and more research has proven this point. I must admit that as a latch-key kid who was raised in the 70’s and 80’s, my parents were so busy that if I wanted breakfast, it was up to me. Thus, I always opted for a little more sleep and my first meal of the day was lunch. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s and my metabolism started to slow down that I read up on things that would “speed it back up” that I added breakfast to my daily repertoire.
I’ve always been blown away that this incredibly important meal in America seems to be the most disgusting assortment of grease, fat and sugar you could imagine. Whether it’s the 1,150 calorie “big breakfast” at McDonalds, or pancakes stuffed with cream cheese and topped with glazed fruit and whipped cream at Denny’s or iHop, it seems that many people kick-start their day with the dietary equivalent of a ‘dirty bomb.’ In a recent article from Lisa Collier Cool from Healthline titled “The Best and Worst Breakfasts for Your Health”, she covers some very interesting research from The University of Calgary demonstrating significant, immediate, negative effects from eating fat-laden breakfast foods (in the study the culprit is a ham, cheese and egg muffin sandwich. The subjects in the ‘treatment group’ literally had impaired blood flow and other symptoms correlating with hardening of the arteries right after consuming the 900 calorie, 50 grams of fat, death-on-a-plate breakfast.
The “Best Breakfast” in the article was described as “lean protein and fiber in your morning meal, such as whole-grain unsweetened or low-sugar cereal mixed with non-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, or soy milk and topped with fresh fruit”. The “Wost Breakfast”, with a more significantly negative impact on your health than the ham, egg and cheese sandwich or any of the gross items I described earlier… drum roll please…. not eating breakfast at all. Thus, little Mark Alders, sleeping in an extra few minutes each morning before heading to the school bus and skipping breakfast, would have been better off eating a pound of bacon (well maybe not).
The point is you need to eat breakfast, but it should be good for you and it should actually contain things your body needs to kick-start your day and keep your metabolism motoring. Pass on the doughnut, scone, sausage mcmuffin, etc., and eat a handful of trailmix, some low fat yogurt, or even better some Muesli (the Swiss have it right and it’s probably the perfect breakfast).
Small steps add up!
A simple, east to understand method for making better choices.
As we navigate through life we are the result of all the small choices we make. There are numerous forks in the road where we decide to contract or expand our thinking. I believe the older we get, the more factors tug us towards more rigid habits and perspectives (aka the “crusty old person effect”). As a fan of continuous learning and getting the most out of life, I ask that you consider listening, exploring and asking “what if” and engage in the journey. I think this will keep you learning, younger (in general), and more open to enjoying all that this wonderful life has to offer.
If you have to see it to believe it, then you have things backwards. – Erick Kand
If faced with a choice that will nudge you to being more closed vs. open, “be open.”
Small steps add up!
- Stationary Bike 30-45 minutes/day with reasonable resistance
- Walk 3.5/mph 30-45 minutes
- Traverse stairs (up/down) with confidence
I’ve also reduced the interval between sets during my every-other-day weight training and added a few hundred crunches to my usual daily ab workout. I think the strength in my right leg is slowly coming back, but the thought of quick lateral or any twisting motion is still a bit intimidating.
Here are a couple of things that keep me motivated in my recovery:
Onward! Small steps add up!