Saturday, January 31, 2009

a cuppa joe is the way ta go

I'm going to continue with more information on the brain, only because i just read another couple of articles in the paper about some new findings.

I'll start with a scary statistic from The Toronto Star:

"By age 80, 30 to 50 per cent of Canadians ( don't know about other countries) will develop dementia, the most common form of Alzheimer's disease" (YIKES!) according to Dr. Jennifer Ingram. The symptoms include loss of memory, judgment and reasoning and decline in mood, behaviour and ability to communicate.

Now i really want to do anything I can to help prevent that, we all do of course!! I already take about 8 vitamin and mineral supplements per day, including Vitamins B Complex, C and D, Lecithin (great for your brain) Calcium and Magnesium, Evening Primrose Oil (for PMS symptoms) and lets see, i know their is one, need more Lecithin i see! I'll think of it later. I saw on Oprah the other day, Suzanne Somers was on chatting about Hormones and her healthy lifestyle. They showed her in the morning at her home, downing about 80 vitamins and minerals with a fruit smoothie made by her hubby. She was scarfing down 80!!!!! She had all the pills lined up in a long row on the kitchen table. She is a vitamin junkie, if i ever saw one!! They also showed her doing yoga and other things around the house. I used to do yoga but stopped about 3 yrs ago. I wish i could get back into yoga again. I also saw on The View (yep, I AM a talk show junkie) where Shari was trying out 'anti-gravity yoga' (click here to see her demo) where you are suspended from a sheet tied up on either side of a large contraption. It is the new wave of yoga i guess. It looked very interesting, and you use the sheet rope in different ways, which looked like a good way to do yoga! I don't' think Whitby Ontario is up with it yet though, i would guess.

Anyhoo, enough about the brain for now. I think I've given enough info already. But I will leave you with just one more bit of info i read about how drinking coffee can help stave off dementia. We all know that coffee can help improve mental alertness and stimulate your brain in the morning....i know i need a half pot to get me going....but here is a blurb of the article i read the other day:

"Researchers from Finland, followed a group of 1,400 middle-aged people over a period of 20 years (that's a looong study folks) and found that people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day had lower risks of developing Alzheimer's disease. The reasons for this effect are not established, but they felt it may have to do with the antioxidants found in coffee or possibly the effects that caffeine has in stimulating brain activity".

That's great news for myself and those of you who also drink loads of coffee every day! Starbucks here we come! Oh but wait a minute, there is a catch here:

"Just a week earlier, however, another study suggested that drinking more than seven cups of coffee a day can make you more likely to hallucinate."

Now, seven cups of coffee is a lot of coffee for one person to consume and I do think that this study underlines the importance of moderation! So people, be warned or you will start hallucinating and may end up wandering around your neighbour hood in your underwear, while singing show tunes to your


This is bizarre -- after you find the guy -- it's so obvious. Once you find him -- it's embarrassing, and you think, Why didn't I see him immediately?
Doctors have concluded that if you find the man in the coffee beans in 3 seconds, the right half ! of your brain is better developed than most people. If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, the right half of the brain is developed normally. If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein. If you have not found the man after 3 minutes, the advice is to look for more of this type of exercise to make that part of the brain stronger!!! How long did it take you? Let me know in the comments.

And yes! He really is there!!
(Darnit, I couldn't find him in 3 seconds. I found him in less than 10 seconds, not too bad i guess. My brain is normal,not brilliant...sigh.!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

How assertive are YOU?

Scroll down to the bottom of my blog and you will find a test on 'How assertive are you'. Surprisingly, I found out i am fairly assertive. Well, I think now that am I older I've learned to be more assertive. A lot more than I used to be say in my 20's or 30's.

Monday, January 19, 2009

22 Ways to Live Healthier in 2009

  1. Catnap. Take a 20-minute power nap to rejuvenate yourself when you feel tired, which is better than sleeping extra hours at night. It will keep your nervous or depressed emotions in check and reduce stress. Sleep in a sitting position if possible, which helps avoid a groggy feeling upon waking.
  2. Chew your food. If you don't you won't absorb your nutrients well and you'll get gas.
  3. Count your drinking. You need eight glasses of hydrating fluids a day (caffeinated and alcoholic beverages don't count). For each dehydrating drink you consume, drink a hydrating beverages such as water, milk or pure juice.
  4. Crunch. You can avoid a high percentage of lower-back problems if you build abdominal muscles.
  5. Delegate. Stress is the main contributor to depression, and too many activities can cause us to overload. Say no when people make requests that will overburden your schedule.
  6. Don't type hard. If you pound the keyboard or keep a tight grip on your mouse, you risk getting a repetitive strain injury.
  7. Drink in the afternoon. If you drink at least three big glasses of water between lunch and when you finish work you'll be combating the most common cause of fatigue: hypo hydration, or a dearth of body fluids.
  8. Drink more water in winter. Bowel irregularity and other symptoms due to diverticular disease of the colon are aggravated by the dehydrating effects of cold, dry weather.
  9. Eat carrots and spinach. Orange and dark green vegetables contain beta-carotene, which may enhance your immune system.
  10. Eat fish. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which may protect against heart disease.
  11. Eat meat. If you're under a lot of stress, eat low-fat, high protein foods such as lean meats or fish.
  12. Eat peanuts. Like olive oil, peanuts contain unsaturated fats that may reduce bad cholesterol.
  13. Get rid of carpeting in your home. Carpet is a haven for molds, bacteria and bugs.
  14. Have fun with a pet. Playing with a pet can lower your blood pressure and raise your spirits.
  15. If you're sick, sleep. Resting gives the body a chance to fight the bug.
  16. Jump up and down. You might feel ridiculous but your bones will love you for it!
  17. Laugh. It increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating body cells. It also increases the pain threshold, boosts immunity and relieves stress.
  18. Put your toothbrush in the dishwasher. The high heat will disinfect it.
  19. Stretch like a cat. Frequent bursts of feline like stretching will reduce muscle tension and pain.
  20. Take a tablespoon of ground flax daily. (Grind it up since the body can't digest whole flax.) Alternatively, take a Flax seed oil supplement. Flax is high in fibre and may reduce cholesterol levels.
  21. Use a drinking straw, especially with soda or juices. A straw decreases the amount of contact your teeth have with sugary beverages.
  22. Walk. A good walk clears your mind, relieves stress and can reduce headaches.
I found this list in my file folder that I save clippings on health and wellness. It's actually a list of 59 ways to Live Healthier in '99! I've saved this clipping for ten years, and now I get to share it with you. I went over the list and decided it was way too long to type out, so I just highlighted the best tips, since some of them were too vague or too specific for certain conditions.
I hope you've found this post helpful and have found some information that you may not have heard yet. For myself, I have found some good info to maintain and improve my health. Next post, I'm not sure what I will reporting, but if you have any suggestion for any kind of health/wellness topic, please feel free to post in the comments section.

p.s. I got a call from my sister who told me about this test from Dr. Oz, a real age test (click here) to find out your 'true age' according to the results of the test. Thanks Carol! I'm going to take my test now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

jog your memory

Today, I thought I would continue with more brain function facts and tips, since the brain is quite important, in my book.

Memory is something we all probably get frustrated with, well, me anyway. I sometimes go downstairs intending to get something, and by the time I reach the bottom step I've forgotten what I was going to look for. Jeesh! It sure is annoying at times, when that happens!

If some days you have no problem with memory and other days you have a problem, check your diet. According to Toronto nutritionist Aileen Burford-Mason, a number of vitamins and minerals are involved in making acetycholine, the memory chemical in the brain, but you can't make it at all without choline, a fatty B vitamin. We really only have a few rich sources of choline-- egg yolks and liver-- foods that we have demonized. If you like liver (my hand is not raised) its best to buy organic or naturally raised. Also, full-fat tofu. We've all got so paranoid about fat, but the brain is virtually entirely fat, so a low-fat diet is a recipe for disaster. If you don't eat any of these, you need to take a daily choline supplement. The supplement to take is phosphatidylcholine, or lecithin. Other B vitamins like B-12 are involved in memory. It's best to take any supplement with a good-quality multi-vitamin.

Three major herbs have been proven to increase cognitive function, so says Celina Ainsworth, a Toronto herbalist. Gotu kola, rosemary and ginkgo biloba. Research has led to ginkgo being recommended for early symptoms of Alzheimer's. These three can be combined in equal parts in a tea, drunk two or three times a day. You can also use basil essential oil as aromatherapy. Combine it with rosemary and peppermint essential oils and put into an aromatherapy burner or spritz into the air.

Well, personally, I may not go run to my pharmacy or the health store to fetch some Gotu kola or gingko biloba, but I think I'm more apt to pick up that supplement for choline, lecithin. I don't eat liver (ever!) and I only eat eggs once or twice per week, so I think I'll add lecithin to my vitamin list. I remember as a child, my mother trying to get me to eat liver, and after getting frustrated with a child that wouldn't open her mouth, she tried to convince me that it was steak and not liver. Well, I can't remember if I fell for that line (no pun intended) but I do think I'll eat eggs a bit more often. I think I'll make myself a mexican style omelette tomorrow for lunch....lots of salsa and some cheese, onions and jalapenos. Yum!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Walk this way!

In my last post, I mentioned how walking helps you improve your memory. Well, I've recently come across another bit of information about walking, that makes me even more convinced how great it is for you! But first, have you ever heard the quote by St. Augustine:

Solvitur Ambulando: It is solved by walking.

It means different things to different people but I've found personally, that when I have a problem, walking helps me see things in a new light. We all know that though. Many of us have at one time or another gone for a walk to figure stuff out. Okay on with some medical facts:

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, walking just 30 minutes a day, three times a week, reduces the risk of death from all natural causes by 55 per cent!!! Wow, now that's a good thing, as Martha would say! Walking also keeps you in the mid range of aerobic activity, where fat oxidation is most efficient. And, best of all, walking is something you can continue your entire life.

I did take Lulu, my cute beagle/basset girl for a 3o minute walk today, although it was a bloody cold day! I wore my puffy ski coat with a hood, but unfortunately the coat ends right at my butt, so after about 15 minutes I couldn't feel my legs! I did have warm boots though that go up to my knees. So after the walk I swear it took me about a good half hour before I had any feeling in my thighs! Me thinks I'd better go look for a long puffy coat so I can walk on those frigid days without freezing my nether region!

I found this article on Yahoo about walking your way to good health. It has lots of tips and info about how to pace yourself and how often you need to walk for optimum health, plus the benefits of walking.

Find the right pace
To promote health and fitness gains, try to walk at a moderate pace. That means going faster than a stroll without over-exerting yourself.

You should be able to talk without being breathless. You should also feel an increase in your heart rate and body temperature. Walking briskly burns calories and, combined with healthy eating, it's an ideal way to stay within a healthy weight range.

Walking for 30 - 60 minutes or more each day at a moderate pace can help you to:

  • Feel good.
  • Increase your fitness and muscle tone.
  • Have more energy.
  • Have less stress.
  • Feel more relaxed.
  • Sleep better.
  • Reduce your blood pressure.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease by half.
  • Improve your mood and reduce your risk of depression.
  • Reduce your risk of a number of cancers, including bowel and breast cancer.
  • Reduce your risk of being overweight.
  • Reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
  • Strengthen your bones, muscles and joints.

The first step
Aim to be active for 30 - 60 minutes or more each day, on most days of the week. This can seem a bit daunting at first - but you can work your way up to it. Walking for shorter periods on a regular basis will improve your stamina and make it easier to do 30 minutes at a time.

  • Start with a 10-minute walk on most days.
  • Gradually increase this to 3 times a day or 15 minutes twice a day.
  • Think of ways of fitting more walking into your daily routine.
I hope you all get out today and walk your way to good health! I'll leave you with this cool site i found called Walk Score, which is kind of fun. All you do is type in your address and hit Go, and it will tell you all the places in your neighbourhood and how far they are to walk to. They also give you a score, I'm not sure what it means exactly. My neighbourhood had a score of 67.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A toast.... your better health!

I've decided to write a 12-part series to kick start the new year. It's a new year, and another chance to start fresh and make good on the resolutions of yesteryear. I've found some new ideas based on the latest scientific findings, plus some tried-and-true health advice from the experts.

If you watch Oprah, you may have seen Dr. Oz and his series on her show for health improvement. I've found a lot of the good doctors advice to be of great value. I recently told Steve, after a recent visit to the nursing home to visit his elderly father, that since we don't have children, when we're his age, no one is going to visit us! Being a childless couple, i think it's even more important that we try to improve our health, since we won't have anyone close to take care of us. So, I'm even more determined to try to stave off illnesses and disorders like Alzheimer's (which Steve's father has) for instance. Even those who do have children, don't have any guarantees they'll be cared for, for various reasons. Still, no matter if you do or do not have someone to care for you when you're old and grey, it's smart to prepare yourself for anything that might happen health-wise. Of course, life is full of surprises, some quite unpleasant, so one never knows what the future holds for them.

I'll try not to bore you too much with the usual stuff on health, but I've found some really interesting articles that have revealed some very important information for living longer, increasing brain function (yes please!) and maintaining good physical and emotional health.

Today, I'll start with brain function.

  1. Google your way to a younger brain. Did you know that you may be able to Google your way to a younger brain? Well, according to new findings from UCLA, when researchers compared people ages 55 - 76 who surfed the Internet and those who didn't, MRI scans showed more brain activity in those who routinely do Web searches, compared to novice Web surfers. However, even novices boosted their brain activity after spending just an hour a day for five days surfing. Web surfing stimulated the brain, particularly the frontal lobe, which is involved in complex decision-making,explains Dr. Gary Small, a neuroscientist at UCLA and author of iBrain:Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, a book about technology's effects on the brain.
  2. Eat more blueberries. Preliminary findings suggest that blueberries can slow brain aging. "Animals do better on certain tasks if they have been fed blueberries, so there's a possible application for Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative disease associated with ageing," explains Kathy Gottscall-Pass, a nutritional scientist and blueberry researcher at the University of Prince Edward Island. Blueberries have also been shown to prevent LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol) oxidation, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This tiny blue fruit also rank number one in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fruits and vegetables, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study.
  3. Walk to remember. We're all familiar with walking around to help job the memory. Now a six-month Australian study shows that walking a total of two and a half hours a week (about 30 minutes five times a week) can lead to significant improvements in memory. The brain gains lasted 6 to 12 months after the study ended, suggesting long-term benefits.
  4. Learn a new skill. A 10-week study that examined the physical and mental benefits of tango dancing versus walking in seniors ages 68- 91 found that tango dancing reduced the risk of falling by improving balance and helped people to dual-task. Learning new skills is always stimulating for you cognitively and physically.
  5. Drink more tea. Fine-tune your focus by indulging in a potent compound in tea. There is an amino acid called theanine, a natural component of green, black and oolong teas. When people in a study consumed it and then performed a challenging mental task that required looking and listening skills, their brains became quite active! Specifically, the right parietooccipitial cortex lit up. That's a part of the brain's circuit system that's tied to attention span. So if you fell more alert and focused after a tea break and all of a sudden are getting more done, that could be why.
In a few days, I'll continue with more interesting health tips and facts for you. Now I'm off to have a bowl of cereal with blueberries, then walk the dog for a half hour, followed by a cuppa tea, then learn to tango after I Google for abit!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

hello and wecome to my new blog.

This is my second blog since starting 'Carried Away, about 2 and half years ago. I started 'Carried Away' as a way to showcase my designs and for chatting about my house or various critters etc. I had always wanted to have a blog solely for the purpose of a journal and talk about whatever. I have no idea if 'Talk is Cheeep' will have the longeity of 'Carried Away', that remains to be seen. I think it will be interesting to see what transpires here.

Still trying to recuperate from the holidays. OY! I wonder how I managed to survive yet another Christmas! I guess I have a like-dislike view of the whole Christmas holiday. I look forward to it, then feel anxious and rushed, followed by completely stressed out, and finally the big relief...I'm sure many feel the same way. I do love the feeling I get when the big day is just around the corner, and you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and smile at people you would normally ignore. It's that 'Good Grinch' or 'Good Scrooge' kind of feel good, like helping those around you and spreading the love. Well, the holiday is officially over now, and I'm ready for things to go back to normal and boring, thank you very much!

I'm spending the last day before the beginning of the week, just hanging out around the house, drinking tea and eating the last of the Christmas cookies, and lounging in my new flannel leisure pants and deluxe Softmoc slippers (akin to walking in two tiny clouds). I'm going to be a bum for the rest of the day. No cleaning, no organizing, no talking on the phone or emailing. It's just about me today. I'm going to visit blogs I haven't seen for awhile and maybe challenge S to a scrabble game later.

Scrabble match between S, P and Mama D Jan. 2007

Stay tuned for my next post in a few days. I'm going to reveal some fascinating facts to improve your life and health.

ciao for now,