Tag: health

Food: We’re killing ourselves

I was on Netflix and I saw the following video by Jamie Oliver. In it it he presents some fairly sobering statistics on obesity in the United States.

I like it because he wasn’t afraid to name the owners of the problem, the corporations that push all this processed crap on us.

In a prior post I mentioned the grand opening of Fertile Underground. The store is six tenths of a mile from where I live.

We picked up a few items two of which we’ve now tried. The Kielbasa is excellent, and the Great Harvest bread is fantastic too. And the free range eggs are great. The best part is all of it is local, the bread and eggs are produced in North Kingstown and Johnston. I will say it isn’t inexpensive to buy local goods, but the goods are higher quality and the benefits go back into the state where I live so it’s a win.

But I have also changed the way we eat over the last decade or so. More fresh produce like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, peppers, zucchini carrots and tomatoes are worked into the diet.Also use things like lentils and other beans as well as growing my own herbs such as basil, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. I like exploring new ingredients and different ways to prepare things.

Take the boneless pork loin chop. You can brine it then sear and bake at 400F for 10 or so minutes and have dynamite chops. You can sautee it just season it with salt and pepper, perhaps a little cayenne, or then there is my favorite dish, pork chops with sour cream and dill sauce. That is absolutely delicious.

And the thing is, I don’t shop in just one place. Food comes from three market places within a mile radius.

One of the place I love is the meat market. I can get meats cut to my requirements instead of meat that’s in a plastic wrapped tray and is either too thin or too thick. You can get bacon either fatty or lean, and pretty much every part of the cow, pig, lamb, etc. I found out my favorite steaks are ribeye and top sirloin.

Part of the problem is people don’t have any natural curiosity to go out and explore. If you’re in a city, get out of the car and walk about. You’ll find lots of cool places. City or suburb, the web is your best resource from locating stores that carry the ingredients you want for a dish, to recipes.

Speaking of recipes, my absolute go-to site for those is Epicurious.

You can have a healthier diet. Another bit of advice, buy some food storage containers in 1qt and little bit lower range. Take leftovers for lunch. It is not only better for you, but cheaper in the long run.

Health Care Stories

This evening I attended a Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Met up with a couple of people on Sheldon’s staff that I had worked with when we were all at the RI Secretary of State’s office. Overall all about 130 people showed up for the event.

The event was MC’d by Providence Mayor David Ciciline:

Mayor Ciciline MCs Health Care Dinner
Mayor Ciciline MC's Health Care Dinner

And then Sheldon got up to say a few words before handing microphones out to the crowd:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

It was a bit of a political who’s who, what with city councilmen John Lombardi (Ward, 13) , Nick Narducci (Ward 4), Peter Mancini (Ward 14), Terry Hasset (Ward 12), and Michael Solomon (Ward 5) and Rep. Grace Diaz. Also in attendance was Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman. One commonality among the politicians that attended, they all represent areas with a large number of elderly and economically disadvantaged.

There were some compelling stories. I didn’t tell mine but I’ve gone without treatment for this inner ear condition because I don’t even have coverage at this point. And the nerve sectioning in the inner ear won’t be cheap I’m sure. Other people were talking about the $15,000 for this, $7,000 for that, etc. The time and money wasted because we don’t have a viable public health care solution yet.

Sheldon did talk about a public insurance program. And he alluded to something that I should have asked but didn’t. He says that the public system will cause the private system to shape up. I suspect the public system would drain off the more expensive cases from the private insurers. In order to balance the system strong regulation would need to be put in place. Perhaps a fair system for those with expensive chronic conditions would be to create a pool of insurers including the public and assign people to those insurers by random lottery. This way all plans would share in the care for chronic conditions.

Sheldon did touch on efficiencies in health care delivery which is encouraging. But the idea of a for-profit insurer or a for-profit health provider runs counter to my beliefs. I don’t mean doctors and nurses should be taking a lower rate of pay, but that hospitals and insurers need to change the focus form providing for the shareholders to providing for the insured.

Post #1,000! Anti-aging drugs coming soon

First let me be the first to congratulate myself on my one thousandth blog post. Some of that activity (About 1/3rd) is from when I was on Blogger, the rest here on WordPress.

I’ve written about all sorts of things, from personal articles to my thoughts on the future, my defense against the homophobes and bigots, and occasionally I geek out and talk about technical things.

Today’s 1,000th post is about the coming anti-aging drugs.

I’ve spoken before about the beneficial effects of a compound called resveratrol.

From Wikipedia:

Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. Resveratrol has also been produced by chemical synthesis[1], and is sold as a nutritional supplement derived primarily from Japanese knotweed. A number of beneficial health effects, such as anti-cancer, antiviral, neuroprotective, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory effects, have been reported, but all of these studies are “in-vitro” (test tube) or in yeast, worms, fruit flies, fish, mice, and rats. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and is a constituent of red wine but, based on extrapolation from animal trials, apparently not in sufficient amounts to explain the “French paradox” that the incidence of coronary heart disease is relatively low in southern France despite high dietary intake of saturated fats.[2]

It’s antiviral, anti-cancer, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects are fairly well known. But the French Paradox is interesting. That is a culture in which wine is integral, red wines in particular. I love wine, reds, whites, you name it. I tend to like sweet wines as opposed to dry wines.

But while I might drink it maybe a few dozen times a year, in France wine is cheap and plentiful. And in many cases it’s better than the water supplies.

The paradox might also be explained by the fact that the alcohol has a slight neuro-suppressive effect. Which means it reduced heart rate, blood pressure, etc.

But there’s definitely something going on since the mice in the study were simply given resveratrol and they could be fat happy mice with none of the effects normally found such as arteriosclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, etc.

I’ve read a lot of the writings of Aubrey De Grey. While he may have attended and graduated from Cambridge University, he’s also an autodidact. Yes, he picked up the books and read them himself.

He’s got some very interesting ideas on extending human lifespans. I to explain that if we do open up Pandora’s Box, we need to make some serious choices.

If people live upwards to 150 years or more, reproduction can start much later in life. But we’ll also have to make some hard choices in that respect. Because there will be a time of transition. We may have to involuntarily sterilize every fifth person, or some other draconian method.

But in the meantime, just eat less, get more exercise and drink more red wine. I explained that popping a pill was boring, but drinking wine isn’t.