Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lots of Health Intel Brightly Wrapped

As I have blogged before, my favorite magazine is a little one that practically can fit in the palm of your hand: Prevention, published by the Rodale folks in Pennsylvania. The December issue arrived the other day with the attractive multi-color cover -- a nice early Christmas present -- and as usual I put it atop my stack of Prevention mags, some two years' worth, sitting on the end table next to my recliner.

Thing is, much as I enjoy Prevention, I never read it cover to cover. It is much more fun to just thumb through the issues (current and past) and discover nuggets of information and enlightenment. Sometimes I do chuckle at ideas for back-to-nature-type eating that I could never bring off. But I find much, well, food for thought as well.

A few examples out of dozens and dozens in the current issue: On the subject of eating "clean," consider pomegranates. I've seen this softball-sized, fresh-looking fruit stacked in our local Food Lion but had no idea how to consume it if I perchance bought some to take home. No problem: Prevention advises: "Cut one in half and, over a large bowl, bang the skin side repeatedly with a spoon, causing the seeds to detach from the membranes quickly and without a mess. Then eat -- on salads, in cocktails, or straight from the bowl." Yep, you can just munch the juicy, nutritious seeds. Got to try it. Recipes are available as prevention.com/pom

Another homemade food idea: Orange, rosemary, and cranberry bread. Oh man! I might have to be brave and try that. I do dearly love cranberry-orange scones, which were abundant in my favorite coffeehouse when we lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Under the tease "Burn Belly Fat All Day Long" I found an interesting presentation on how you may be able to burn more blubber merely by eating your three meals as close together as possible -- i.e., a 9 a.m. breakfast, 1 p.m. lunch, and 6 p.m. dinner -- and pretty much stretching out a nighttime fasting phase as long as possible, which is thought to speed up metabolism. My meal schedule pretty much conforms to that 9-1-6 pattern; however, I find it hard to go to sleep at night without a serious snack. My task is to find snack foods that are not too calorie-laden (and please something besides celery).

Anyway, today another health magazine arrived -- a quarterly, Heartbeat, published by Mended Hearts, inc., headquartered in Dallas. Mended Hearts is an organization of heart-survivor survivors helping people currently facing heart surgery. I have been a member of our local chapter for almost six years now, and visited hospitalized heart patients for four years.

The winter issue of Heartbeat is the first issue in a total redesign designed to be more eye-catching, with substantive stories that will appeal to a national readership. As it happens I am one of the heart survivors featured in an article on "Shared Decision-Making" by patients and physicians.

In an interview with Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Dean Calbreath I told how (to my surprise) my wonderful surgeon at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia, Dr. Alan Speir, asked me to select the kind of aortic root-and-valve replacement device for him to use in my February 2005 surgery. As I find now from Heartbeat, this kind of collaboration is becoming more and more common in medical practice. I found that it does encourage a patient to do a lot of research in order to make an intelligent recommendation (though such an approach may not be everyone's cup of tea). As I said in the story, I had confidence that if I had made a dubious choice, Dr. Speir, a renowned heart surgeon, would have steered me in a different direction.

Best of all, my ticker is still ticking almost 11 years later.

In case any followers of steadfastdawgwalker would like to read this article, it is available online at http://www.mendedhearts.org/Docs/HB%20Win%202015%20Feature%20Article%202.pdf

The article "Decisions, Decisions" appears on pages 16-20.

This ol' dawgwalker wishes all who visit here a safe, healthy, and happy holiday and New Year!

                                                  © Robert G. Holland  2015

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