— Bob-a-job-alog-a-roonie

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Health

(inspired by Movember…)

baguary

Let’s face it, there is a serious illness affecting women* worldwide, and it needs fighting. Millions of women are caught up in a cycle of buying new handbags, even though they already have one.

This cycle is speeding up. Once upon a time handbag fashions changed annually. Now it is every couple of months.

Problems:

  • Not knowing which item is in which handbag – women often have 2 or 3 in concurrent regular use
  • The poor husband looking for an item finds it particularly difficult
  • Previous handbags take up a lot of shelf-space, causing larger homes to be built
  • Generally the bags are imported, causing an outflow of our country’s cash
  • Jealousy of others with better bags causes mean thoughts
  • Money spent on handbags could be better spent on more enjoyable, locally brewed products

Solution:

Participating women acknowledge the problems, and commit to only purchasing one new handbag per year (that’s still a massive 60 in the average adult lifetime).

Handbag is only purchased during January and February (aka Baguary).

Any owned bag that hasn’t been used in 10 years should be donated to NZ, where it would currently be in fashion.

* men seem to get by with the same bag for years or even decades…
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One of the main causes of death and disease is inflammation. Regardless of the contributing factors like being overweight or having clogged arteries, it is inflammation that ultimately gets you. And turmeric reduces inflammation, better than aspirin. See http://hplusmagazine.com/2014/05/01/turmeric-curcumin/

Given that I love curries – perhaps my favourite food – it is a no brainer to start adding turmeric to my diet.

A. Eat more curries, and choose those with more turmeric in them. The easiest way to achieve this would be to cook them myself, without the use of packet mixes. This is something I have always wanted to do, so now I allocate Sunday afternoons to this endeavour.

I’ll start with recipes from:

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/collections/curry
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/easy-homemade-curry-pastes/

B. Add turmeric to non-curry dishes. For example, I will see if Nicola can add it to my roast potatoes:

turmeric-roast-potatoes

 

Gordon Ramsay’s Roast Potatoes with Garlic and Turmeric
Crispy Turmeric Roast Potatoes

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These bits of info – via New Scientist – are well worth committing to memory!

Blood transfusions are dangerous if the need is low!

Of people judged on arrival at hospital to have more than a 50 per cent chance of dying, those who had a transfusion of red blood cells were twice as likely to survive as those given no transfusion. But in arrivals judged to have less than a 6 per cent chance of dying, those who got a transfusion were five times as likely to die as those who did not.

Friday-itis

People who have non-urgent surgery on Friday have a 44 per cent higher risk of death than those who have it on Monday.

The risks are tiny, but who wouldn’t opt for a Monday op knowing this?

Pre-Op Shave

The shave, typically using a disposable razor, is more dangerous than any bacteria living in your hairs. Because the nurses are prone to cut you.

Hip Replacements

There are 200 types. Some are tried and proven. Choose them ahead of the “latest” un-proven sorts.

Check-ups

A regular check-up is important if you need to keep something monitored. But if you are in good health, harmful false diagnosis is as common as useful – there is no net gain in living longer or avoiding a heart attack:

Health check-ups have long been popular in the US. They have recently been introduced in the UK as a “midlife MOT” to be done every five years. They sound like common sense but check-ups are surprisingly controversial, because they look for illness in people who have no symptoms. This can lead to unnecessary worry and treatment.

The most recent trial into the effectiveness of general check-ups looked at nearly 60,000 Danish people offered annual checks for five years. Five years after this period, heart attack rates and overall death rates were unaffected

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Full story here
http://www.wired.com/2014/08/a-hair-salon-gurus-next-big-thing-ending-the-12b-tyranny-of-shampoo/

Basically, this is how it currently works:

  • You know you ought to wash your hair, so you buy the brand that sounds best. It might be what it claims to do (more bounce…) or that it matches your hair type (dry)
  • Your hair is clean, but also dry – so you buy conditioner
  • Your hair is now soft, but you have some dandruff
  • You think the anti-dandruff product has an effect, but doesn’t cure it
  • Try a different brand (without realising it might be the same company, same ingredients)

50% of people have dandruff. That means it is normal!

Almost all hair products contain what are basically chemical detergents. Ignore the packaging – typically when they boast natural ingredients they are negligible when you look at the list of ingredients. If you see words like sulphate near the top of the list, it isn’t going to be great for your hair.

sodium laureth sulfate, a chemical ingredient used in virtually all shampoos because it kills oils and leaves users with a squeaky-clean scalp. Problem is, that also dries out skin and hair follicles—a problem that most people treat by buying, without batting an eye, additional products like conditioners

Now the man who sold the Bumble and Bumble brand to Estee Lauder has come up with a detergent free shampoo that he says will be the new way. And get this, it is a cleansing creme. It doesn’t lather. You probably didn’t realise this, but a key reason for including sodium laureth sulfate in shampoos is that it lathers – and people equate that with cleaning. Even dishwashing liquid does it – the bubbles are to reassure you, they don’t actually aid in cleaning.

I have been using a non-lathering, non sodium laureth sulfate hair product for years. My hair isn’t great, but it is less problematic than ever before.

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I worked this out all on my own a year ago…  for me the logic is quite crude – people who starve lose weight. A great (but unfortunate) example is those who go on hunger strikes.

I needed to lose a few kilos. Just 10 or so – I had a minor pot belly but otherwise I am reasonably slim. I knew that the problem was lack of exercise and too many carbs. I tried removing carbs from my diet, but it was useless. I finally understood why people struggle to give up sugar or cigarettes. So I decided to just not eat. It was easy to begin with, I just chose the days when I was hungover. I already felt like crap, so some tummy rumblings on top wouldn’t matter much.

My diet evolved to where 2-4 mornings  a week I just skipped breakfast. Once you get used to feeling hungry, it isn’t too bad. I would then eat a large-ish lunch and regular dinner.

The key: every hour that I feel hungry, my body is going to take that as a signal to burn fat for energy. For me that might only be 10-15 hours per week, but that was enough to lose the kilos at a rate of about one per fortnight.

Now, this was all just my only doing – no science, no diet guide. And I figure many people already do this (especially women who just have a ciggy and coffee instead of breakfast), but few would admit that sometimes they starve themselves.

Here’s the science, full article at i09:

 …Most people associate fasting with juice cleanses or religious rituals — a torturous affair that lasts an entire day if not longer, and the sort of thing that should only be done a couple of times each year. But fasts can encompass any number of different strategies, including routines that simply limit the times when you eat each day, or on certain days of the week.

For example, there’s Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) and the Two Day Diet (also known as the 5:2 diet). We’ll get into these in just a bit, but what’s really starting to take off is dailyfasting — the practice of eating only during an 8-hour window of your choosing, and then fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the day.

While some might be inclined to cynically dismiss intermittent fasting as just another fad diet, the scientific evidence in support of daily fasting (or any fasting for that matter) is compelling. Restricting caloric intake for extended periods seems to do a remarkable job of staving off a number of health problems, while yielding some definite benefits.

…One hundred days later, the free-for-all group was a mess. They gained weight, developed high cholesterol, high blood glucose, and experienced liver damage and diminished motor control (ouch).

But as for the mice who practiced the intermittent fast, they weighed 28% less and showed no signs of adverse health. And what’s remarkable is that both groups ate the same amount of calories from the same fatty food. Not only that, the fasting mice also performed better on exercise tests — including a control group of mice who were eating normal food. (You can check out the study for yourself: “Extended Daily Fasting Overrides Harmful Effects of a High-Fat Diet: Study May Offer Drug-Free Intervention to Prevent Obesity and Diabetes“)

…It’s possible to extrapolate this to humans, too. Though anthropologists are not entirely sure how our paleolithic ancestors ate, it’s unlikely that they sat down for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Those are eating routines from a more modern era — and even then, it’s likely that only the wealthy could afford multiple meals in one day. In all likelihood, our ancestors ate one or two big meals a day. And that was it. Consequently, their bodies were likely both adapted for and accustomed to going for extended periods without food during much of the day.

Other studies point to similar conclusions. Take the work of Valter Longo, for example. Longo, who works out of the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute, has studied the effects of intermittent fasting on IGF-1, an insulin-like growth factor.

When we consume food, this hormone keeps our body in “go” mode, where our cells are driven to reproduce and facilitate growth. This is great when we need it, but not so much when we’re trying to keep off the weight. Moreover, while it’s good for growth, it can also speed up the aging process. And in fact, Longo compares the effect to “driving along with your foot hard on the accelerator pedal.”

Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, decreases the body’s expression of IGF-1. And it also appears to switch on a number of DNA repair genes. Restricted feeding, says Longo, makes our body go from “growth mode” to “repair mode.”

…Her evidence suggested that fasting can increase HDL-cholesterol (that’s the good kind), while lowering triacylglycerol concentrations. Fasting had no effect on blood pressure. She concluded her study by suggesting that fasting can modulate several risk factors that are known to bring about various chronic diseases.

other research shows that intermittent fasting can offer neuroprotective benefits. Studies on humans show that it can help with weight loss and reduce disease risk.

And incredibly, there may even be a link to cancer. Another study study by Varady and M. Hellerstein on mice indicated that both caloric restriction and alternate-day fasting can reduce cancer risk and reduce cell proliferation rates.

Short-term fasting can induce growth hormone secretion in men (which is a problem for guys after they hit 30), it reduces oxidative stress (fasting prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins by decreasing the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell — what contributes to aging and disease onset), and it’s good for brain health, mental well-being, and clarity.

And as a study published just last week has shown, restricting calories can also lengthen telomeres — which has a protective effect on our DNA and genetic material, which in turn helps with cellular health (i.e. it helps us extend healthy lifespan).

And for people who wish to maintain a ketogenic diet — a metabolic state in which the body is in a perpetual state of fat burning instead of carbohydrate burning — intermittent fasting is a good way to help the body stay in ketosis

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This news is quite bizarre, and seems to prove that in the USA the FDA is owned by Big Pharma:

The Washington Times reports that a new four-page proposal made by the FDA suggests that cholesterol (statins), diabetes, and asthma drugs, among others, be made available over-the-counter (OTC) to patients without a prescription. And what is the reason for this? According to the agency, too many patients are not getting their prescriptions filled, and many would-be patients are not going in to receive the treatments that their medical overlords feel they should be receiving.

Given that statins have a history of doing more harm than good, letting people self-medicate is very worrisome indeed!

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Exercise can delay the onset of diabetes by boosting the expression of genes involved in muscle oxidation and glucose regulation. A new study, published today (March 6) in Cell Metabolism, suggests that DNA methylation drives some of these changes, and that they can occur within just a few hours of exercise, providing a potential mechanism for how exercise protects the body from metabolic disease.

Or in other words, your DNA changes to help protect you from diabetes – all you need to do is exercise. But you need to always exercise:

Evidence of such transient epigenetic changes is exciting, said Ling, but the changes didn’t last long: within a few more hours of the initial increases in gene expression, the muscle methylation and expression levels returned to baseline. This begs the question of whether the effects will eventually stabilize with regular exercise, she said. “If you exercise a lot and you make these epigenetic changes, you wouldn’t just change your [short-term] expression, but [in the] long-term, change your genome. And maybe you will be more protected from diabetes due to epigenetic change.”
http://the-scientist.com/2012/03/06/exercise-alters-epigenetics/

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Sunlight is good for you, unless you get too much. For those that wish to be out in the sun longer than is safe, there are a few options:

  • Decide not to, at the expense of work, exercise or pleasure
  • Wear long garments and look odd
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Risk getting burned

The latter sounds crazy, unless you’ve thought about the perils of sunscreen. In general, letting metal absorb into your skin is probably not a good idea – but who will pay for the research? If not reapplied every 3 hours, it can increase the odds of skin cancer, that has been proven.

Nowadays there’s an extra concern – nano-particles. More than 60% of Australians are worry about the tiny ingredients, and according to a survey:

…17% of people in Australia were so worried about the issue, they would rather risk skin cancer by going without sunscreen than use a product containing nanoparticles.

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Epocrates is a free smartphone app, that doctors can use to quickly determine the best medication to prescribe – during your appointment. 320,000 out of the 600,000 doctors in the USA use it.

Sounds great!

Except, before the doctor gets to see the info, they see an ad for a product related to their search – a drug they now might prescribe because they were influenced by advertising. Not great at all.

Of the $60 billion spent each year on marketing, according to former Epocrates CEO, Kirk Loevner, $16 billion is spent trying to directly influence doctors. That’s $23,333 per doctor per year, and the industry is planning to increase that figure. They do it for one reason alone: it works. 

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A pint of beer, a shot of whisky, or a glass of wine taken before exercise could reduce the risk of heart disease.

You have to wonder what prompted such a study! I love my drinking, but even with this news I can’t see myself following their advice. It just doesn’t sound right. About the only exercise you should ever do after drinking is a runner from a restaurant.

…drinking a moderate amount of alcohol before a strenuous workout reduces the levels of clotting substances in the blood by at least 15 per cent.

The moderate amount they used in the study was 1.5 pints of beer (or equivalent amounts or wine or whisky).

But what else does the drink do to you? It’s a relaxant, so I wouldn’t be surprised if your loosened muscles are more prone to injury.

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