Sunday, March 08, 2015

A formula for healthy living that doesn't drive me nuts

Sometimes observational health studies differences in risk functionally are not very large. Dr. David Katz was on the America's Test Kitchen Podcast and cited this study, that had a large population - over 23,000 participants, over a relatively large period of time - 8 years, to show that an 80% reduction of risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes was due to four relatively simple things: 

  1. No smoking,
  2.  3.5 hours per week of exercise, 
  3. A diet based on "high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain bread and low meat consumption", and 
  4. Low body mass index.

Too often trying to understand what to eat is a minefield of fads, personal testimonials, advertising, and hype.

 He describes this in another article, "What REALLY Kills Us." as doing the right things with our hands, feet, and forks:

"In other words, the actual, underlying "cause" of premature death in our country fully eight times in 10 comes down to bad use of our feet (lack of physical activity), our forks (poor dietary choices), and/or our fingers (holding cigarettes).  (David Katz, 2013)"

The other component that he talked about that I agree with 100% is that people need to feel loved. We need social interaction that is meaningful. We need to feel like we we have family and friends. We need a social net to catch us when we fail, when we mourn, when we age, when we are sick.  I think this is why in the Book of Mormon the people pledged:

 8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life— (Mosiah 18:8-9)

A healthy lifestyle and a healthy community I think is the secret to a long life over all.  Individual tragedy can be healed only with help from outside.  

Friday, March 06, 2015

It's the little things.

As I was gearing up for this next trip to Abu Dhabi I was struck thinking about how much Huxley feels like home. I was washing my hands in the airport next to a very frustrated Muslim man trying to wash his feet so that he could do his evening prayers before getting on the plane. This place was so frustrating he told me. The last straw was the inconvenience of trying to wash feet in a lavatory sink. We have moved around quite a bit from Utah to Texas, Indiana and then Iowa. I was think those little things make the difference.

Some recent things that make Iowa even better. 

1. Date night - Emily has grown old enough to babysit the rest of the minions and we finally don't have an infant. This has made our lives so much better.  We aren't real inventive. Mostly we go out to eat. On date night we have found:

El Palomino in Des Moines.  Small Latino market with fresh masa, posole, menudo, bulk dried peppers, and cuajada!

Pamel market in Ames - schwarma, biryani, samosas, and gyros. Nice Turkish  family. 

The Ames movie theater. The dollar theater closed. They couldn't afford to upgrade to digital projectors. 

2.  Mr Quick's hardware store. It is nice to be able to stop in and get advice on how to do just about anything. 

3.  Mike and Lisa next door. I was feeling itch and lonely Super Bowl Sunday. I dropped in uninvited and was given a spot on the couch. 

4.  Our ward. We have been there long enough that the teens I taught in Sunday  school are on missions, or home from missions and getting married. 

5.  Farmers cheese at Fairway.  Everything fairway. I could write and ode to that store and one is opening in Huxley. 

6.  The owl in our tree. I haven't heard him recently but all winter long as I lay awake in Becca's room I listen to that owl. 

7. The bike trail. They made a trail out of the  old railway lines between Slater and Cambridge. It actually runs most of the way across the state but my/our section is the only part I have used. 

8. Ballard schools. I am proud of the good teachers, the band, that the middle school principal tells Kate that she brightens his day when she cuts through to use the bathroom. For some reason she won't go at her school but waits until she gets off the bus and then cuts through the middle school to do her business there. 

9.  Honey, eggs, beef, pork, gardens. We buy honey, beef, and pork from coworkers home farms. A woman in Kelly sells us eggs. It is more common to have a vegetable garden than not. 

10.  My kids think of Iowa as home. They have good friends without seemingly the pains I had as a kid trying to fit in and make friends.