Monthly Archives: January 2010

Personal Responsibility

As many of you who follow me either on Twitter or Facebook know, I am a great fan of quotable quotes.  I came across one the other day by Carl Linnaeus.  For those of you who don’t know, this is the man that gave us our current system of classifying plants, including the Latin binomial names.  Anyhoo, he said

To live by medicine is to live horribly

Given that he was a physician as well as a botanist I can only assume that he meant synthetic medicine and if that’s the case, I agree with him wholeheartedly. (I can’t ask – he passed in 1778.)

I normally refrain from getting into political discussions because I’m not going to change your mind any more than you’ll change mine. However, there’s been a lot of talk in the US in recent months about new food laws – no trans fats in restaurant food, a new or higher tax in several states on candy and sodapop (in Illinois, even toothpaste!) and the like.

What happened to people taking personal responsibility for their own health? Yes, too much sugar or trans fats are bad for you. But so’s too much of virtually everything else!  I’m not a huge fan of greasy food but there are the occasional days when a gutbomb (otherwise known as a greasy fast-food burger) is what my tastebuds are craving.  Don’t forget the french fries, either. Changing what the fries are cooked in changes their taste. Give me trans fats in moderation so my food tastes right.

Sugar?  Huge fan, here.  I don’t need the government telling me it’s bad for me, I know. That’s why I limit my intake (writing as I pop the top of the one can of soda I’ll drink today).  BTW, did you know that a 12 ounce glass of apple juice has as much sugar as a 12 ounce Coke?  (Statistics here.) Juice does have more benefit than a soda but if you’re looking strictly at sugar content, look closely.

Getting back to Sir Carl’s quote, most of today’s medicine is prescribing a pill for what ails you, instead of prescribing more raw veggies in your diet and a thirty minute walk three or four times a week. 

As an example, I have friends and family members who are on multiple drugs for various issues and end up having even more problems. Instead of changing diet (and suggesting exercise), the doctors simply prescribe another drug.  Although I’ve had countless conversations about diet and exercise (or lack thereof) with these people, they seem to prefer to leave their health in the hands of the pharmaceuticals they’re taking. They’re not the happiest campers in the woods but grin & bear it since this is “their lot in life”.

I have a wish that will probably go unfulfilled.  It is that people start taking active responsibility for their health instead of leaving it to the medical community.  Eat right, exercise, do things that make you happy, and laugh at a minimum of one thing each day. If that were to happen, instead of having a shortage of doctors here in the US, there would be enough to go around and each doctor would have enough time to spend with their patients to ensure the care is good and proper. Yes, bad things happen to good people and their services will always be needed.

If people took responsibility for their own health, the government wouldn’t have any reason to put its fingers on that part of our lives.

Of All the Things I Miss…

I miss my mind the most. How many times have you heard that joke (especially amongst the older population)?

One of my favorite television programs is Sunday Housecall with Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld on FoxNews. Dr. Rosenfeld is one of the few MD’s I know that actively recommends herbal supplements and will even admit that he takes several. However, on the 3 January 2010 show, I feel he gave some misleading information.

In the last decade or so, Gingko biloba has been touted as a preventive measure against dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s Disease. A recent study published in last week’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a Gingko biloba extract did not reduce the decline in cognitive abilities in older adults. Dr. Rosenfeld echoed the results of that study on his show.

This particular study has many significant limitations. Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Herbalists Guild quickly released a statement pointing out the study’s shortcomings (the entire press release can be read here).

Quoting from the press release, “The leading German ginkgo extract has been subjected to a vast range of clinical trials documenting its ability to improve peripheral circulation and cognitive function, particularly in patients with early stages of mild cognitive impairment, senile dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory loss. Clinical trials also support the use of ginkgo extract in assisting elderly patients in walking longer distances without leg pain (peripheral arterial occlusive disease, also known as intermittent claudication). Standardized ginkgo extracts are approved for use as medicines in Germany and numerous other countries.”

Therefore, I would still continue to take a Gingko supplement, particularly if dementia runs in your family or you are pre-disposed to peripheral circulatory issues. It may help. However, speak with your doctor before starting on it. Gingko can have some side effects and can interact with some other drugs.

Of course, the best thing you can do to help your mind is keep it active. Treat your mind like any other muscle – without exercise, it will atrophy. My mother-in-law is 95 and, while not sharp as a tack anymore, still has both short- and long-term memory intact. That’s because she reads, keeps up with current events, engages in debate with others and generally thinks on a regular basis. I hope I’m in as good shape when I reach that age!

Remember, without your mind, you are nothing more than a bag of water given shape by a skeleton and muscles. Keep on thinkin’!

My Word!

This one little tradition seems to be going viral … I got it from Mother Moon and Rue who got it elsewhere, but it was started in 2007 by Ali Edwards in her blog.

Quoting from Ali’s blog:

Essentially the idea is to choose a word (or let it choose you) that has the potential to make an impact on your life.

Maybe you want to invite something or maybe you are hoping to subtract something. Maybe your word will be practical or hopeful or creative or fanciful. Maybe you need a big word, something in-your-face that will challenge you everyday. Maybe you need something smaller and quieter that will whisper gentle tidings as you make your way throughout the year.

Whatever word you end up with, make sure it is your word (not your sister’s, mom’s, partner’s, child’s, etc). You can share it publicly or keep it close to your heart.

I have never made New Year’s resolutions (too easy to break) but to focus on one word and its meaning for a year is something I can do.

It didn’t take me too long to find a word for 2010 … FAITH. Not in the religious sense but in the more archaic sense of to believe or trust. I am a worry-wort by nature and patience isn’t one of my virtues. I need to have faith that things will work out for the best, quit worrying and stop trying to force issues.

Interestingly enough, after I’d chosen that word, it started popping up in friends’ astrological forecasts for my sun sign (Virgo). Sounds like I chose the right word!

So, what’s your word for 2010? BTW, Happy New Year!