Posts Tagged ‘longevity’

Is Broccoli Bad for Your Health and a Rant About Internet Research

November 17, 2015

As a writer who lives on St. Croix, I must use the Internet for the background research on the stories I write. On the negative side, much of what is published on the Internet is simply unsubstantiated personal opinions. Fortunately, I am living and working more than 300 years in the past and people have taken the trouble to electronically archive original documents and books on line.

When I find a page about pirate activity without a source for the information, I usually ignore it unless I can find a 300 year old source book with eyewitness accounts that substantiates the information. Where I find most of the worst information is when I am searching for new recipes or trying to find the nutritional value of what I eat.


Broccoli snack

Broccoli snack

For instance, another of my very low calorie snacks is steamed broccoli which can be done in a steamer or even a colander above a boiling pot of water. The water should not contact the broccoli, only the steam.

double boiler

double boiler

While seeking the nutritional data, I stumbled upon the paragraph I quote below.pixel period
You probably didn’t see what was so great about broccoli as a child, but the truth is that this vegetable is one of nature’s superfoods. From its stalk to its flowering head, broccoli is packed with nutrients and vitamins needed for your overall health and wellbeing. This vegetable has been around for centuries, and it has always been used and viewed as the perfect go-to food.”

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There are many superlatives in that paragraph even though it doesn’t give any really factual knowledge. For instance; Who has always used and viewed broccoli as the perfect go-to food? What is a go-to food? And how long is always? I like to give credit to the original author no matter how bad the work to confirm this was not a plagiarized post. I used two search engines (here and here) to check on the source of the sentence highlighted in bold. I found eight posted sources word for word on various health and fitness blogs all with a different authors so I have no idea who the original author was.pixel period
Interestingly enough, nobody bothered to leave a comment at any of the sites I visited so I assume that nobody really thought about what they were reading. I guess we will now have another generation of mindless mothers who will be feeding their kids broccoli because it is the go-to food full of the nutriments and vitamins needed for overall health and well being. Their kids would have been better off if Mom spent the same amount of time that she wasted surfing the Internet on taking her kids for a walk in the great outdoors or learning Arduino programming to teach to her kids.pixel period
On the other hand, Broccoli is bad for you, like, really toxic bad was written by Tim Crowe is an Associate Professor in Nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia and an accredited dietitian. He started off with a clear warning that “An alternative title I had for this blog post was: “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet to do with nutrition”, but I wager this one was more effective in getting your attention.” He than published an over the top rant about the evils of broccoli before telling people that this was pseudo science, exaggerations and corruptions of scientific studies.

Professor Crowe received 158 comments many of them angry and negative because people missed or ignored the subtle warning not to believe everything you read on the net. Commenters feared that careless or unscrupulous readers might quote out of context and spread false informational about broccoli.pixel period
I decided to check and see if there was any other reuse of his article. Naturally I took one of his more outrageous sentences and searched, here and here to find other sites that contain the phrase, “And remember those thiocyanates I mentioned earlier? Well those too can cause bladder cancer in rats. We have graphic warning signs about cancer on cigarette packets, so why do health authorities continue to sit on their hands and take no action against broccoli?”pixel period
On the positive side, I found his complete article was reposted in full at by editor Maria Brilaki, a Stanford Engineering grad with an MBA. She helps over 100,000 monthly readers make better, healthier choices. She has a personal trainer certification and spends over 15 hours researching each article people read on her site. It’s all because she doesn’t want to fall for fads or hype anymore so searches for the truth like Tim Crowe.pixel period
Unfortunately, we are discussing Internet publishing so there is always an offsetting negative and the prize for that is Ben J. Johnson, Staff Writer for Natural Newd, a site that publishes pseudo science, deceptive science and science fiction. Of course young Ben only published the negative and avoided the part about how to tell real science from junk science as that would allow evaluation of everything published at his site.pixel period
As near as I can tell he even drops so low as to violate the terms of a free Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. He does lead with a link to the original article but lists his title as Staff Writer and notes at the end that the source is Broccoli is bad for you, like, really toxic bad by Tim Crowe.

When reposting. you must give appropriate credit to the original author of the material and indicate if changes were made. Well guess Ben is one of those people who never follows the rules.pixel period
I like broccoli, it is low in calories and I am not dead yet. I am also down to 202. Guess I’ll just keep snacking on Rabbit food and eat portion controlled meals. I would drop weight much faster if I quit drinking, I am just not ready yet.


Kidney Stew, I Am My Mother’s Son!

July 8, 2012

Kidney Stew

I like Kidney Stew because my mother liked Kidney Stew. My brother and sister hated it and when we were poor under fed kids which was the last time I was underfed in my life until I adapted my new lifestyle of portion controlled meals, this was the only meal where I actually got enough meat to eat.

Seems, my sister and brother hated kidneys so bad that I could trade one piece of carrot or one potato for a couple of pieces of their kidneys. So I ended up with all their meat and still retained some of my potatoes and carrots. When I mention that I still make kidney stew, and have actually ordered kidneys in mustard sauce as an appetizer, it just confirmed to them that I am still nuts. Well, Mom lived to be 93 years old with her mind still functioning so she must have been doing something right with her diet.

The recipe is a standard stew recipe with a few adaptations to make allow for cooking in my coffeepot. The single biggest one being to stew the kidneys n olive oil and rum for a couple of hours to tenderize them and avoid that rubbery texture you can get when you cook kidneys too fast at high temperatures.


1 T Butter
1 T flour

2 Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
2 Carrots coined
1 tsp salt
6 cups water

1 pound kidneys (trim off all the fat and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 T crushed garlic or 3 cloves minced
1 onion rough cut
1 oz Rum
2 T olive oil
2 stalks of celery cut into small pieces
1 bay leaf
1 beef bullion cube
12 oz of water


1. Let the butter come to room temperature then mix in the flour until a smooth paste. Let sit at room temperature until needed.

2. Wash then peal the potatoes or not, it’s your choice. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces.

3. Wash then slice carrots into coined pieces.

4. Add carrots and potatoes to coffeepot with salt and pass about 6-8 cups of clean water through the coffeemaker.

5. When done, cover with foil and cook covered for about 2 hours until soft.

6. While waiting, all of the fat has to be cut off the kidneys prior to cooking. This is a tedious process so go slowly until you get the knack of it. Cut the kidneys into bite sized pieces

7. When done drain the potatoes and carrots and set aside.

8. Add the kidneys,onions, garlic, olive oil, rum, bay and celery to the pot.

9. Cook covered for 2-4 hours, until tender.

10. Add bullion to the pot and then pass the 12 ounces of water through the coffeemaker.

12. When water is done steaming mix it into the flour and water mixture in the bowl until you get a smooth gravy.

13. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot and return the gravy to the coffeepot. Cook covered for a couple more hours.

If you like kidneys, you will love kidney stew. If you have never tried it, they are very inexpensive to cook and you just may like them. They are in the same texture and flavor range as beef liver. For me, they also bring back fond memories of my Mother.

Crucian Cherries, A Perfect Diet Food!

May 18, 2012

Crucian Cherries or Acerola Cheries

When you Google “Crucian Cherry”, the only thing that comes up is a cute little song by local entertainer Jazzy Blue extolling the virtue of this berry and the fact that you can’t just eat one because the first one makes you want more. But since one of my three trees is heavily bearing, I decided to see how much harm I was doing by eating several handfuls three times a day. I had also heard our Crucians of Puerto Rican heritage call it Arecibo Cherry so decided to search that term. I ended up with the right answer for the wrong reason. Seems that this tree is called the acerola tree which just means cherry in Spanish. Hence calling them Acerola Cheries is just like calling them Cherry Cherries. Of course we do the same thing when we order or make Shrimp Scampi because Scampi means shrimp in Italian.

But my search was made to find out if my addiction to these tasty morsels is causing me damage. After all, a handful may have 5 or 6 cherries and doing three handfuls twice a day will give a total of 30 cherries which weighs about a pound. Fortunately, I only get about three crops a year and they only are ripe for a couple of weeks. My scale tells me a big Julie Mango a few times a week does more damage to my weight so the question really became one about if Crucian Cherries are any good for you.

From, I found that Acerola cherry is juicy, sweet and sour in flavor and “very high in vitamin C and other nutrients. It is incredible and unbelievable that one tiny cherry has a higher vitamin C content than an orange. Specifically, the vitamin C content is 65 times greater than an orange, which means one cherry has a vitamin C content that is equal to the minimum daily recommended requirements.”

I am not sure whether or not I really eat a pound a day of these things but even if I did, it really wouldn’t matter. With only 100 calories per pound, I am now eating 120 times the daily requirement of vitamin C. This bulk loading of Vitamin C is supposed to be useful for fighting pain, healing cuts, bruises damaged muscles and keeping colds and flu away. I eat them because I like them, but it’s still nice to know I get something right once in awhile.

What does it take to Lose 101 Pounds? My Story!

May 12, 2012

Eric over at Health Demystified is young and serious and trying to save the world from the ill effect of obesity with a free product. More importantly in my mind one of the obese people he is trying to save is his father and he deserves all the help he can get. At my advanced age, I am not sure that there is a single product that would help people lose weight, and even if it were free, I’m not sure how many people would use it because of all the negative uses of the word free on the Internet.

However, his knowledge, sincerity and hard work make me want to help him so I took the time to assess what were the principle reasons I achieved a lifestyle change starting in 2010 which led to my 101 pound weight loss and as of today I am now stable around 173 pounds with a 37 inch waste when measured above the belly button. A waist above 40 inches is just as deadly as obesity and I have been as high as 57 inches at my peak weight of 265 pounds.

I apologize for the length of this post, but the following text described the knowledge gained from forty years of dieting and 3 years of lifestyle changes.

There are only a few elements to consider for a permanent weight loss and perhaps hundreds of ways to focus on them. Any holistic plan to achieve a permanent drop in weight from life threatening obesity must address all of the key issue and recognize where weight loss information is being compromised usually for commercial purposes. At the simplest level, your weight is governed by the calories you eat and drink and the amount of physical work you do. There are no magic drugs, exercises or food plans. When it comes to calories and the fat in your body, “in minus out equals accumulated weight.”

The biggest problem with this simple wisdom is that on the short term it doesn’t seem to work as our body fights our erratic behavior and tries to maintain stability. Up to a point, fat is good to provide energy when, and if, there are lean periods of reduced consumption or periods of increased activity. Yet if we eat or drink too much and exercise too little, there is no instantaneous weight gain because our body will get rid of those excess calories in our body waste. Eventually gluttony wins the battle and new fat is added to our body and a new higher weight plateau is reached.

Likewise, the reverse of the process is not instantaneous. Going to the gym without a lifestyle change probably won’t alter your weight very much. While exercise is an excellent lifestyle change to help you control the weight you are at and increase longevity, the results would be more realistically evaluated with a tape measure, a mirror and your wardrobe.

There is a very good reason to be concerned about your appearance beyond vanity. The chances of health problems double with people who have a big belly even if they have “normal weight”. Measured just above the belly button, a man should be below 40 inches and 36″ is the recommended size. For a woman to sustain good health, she should be below 35 inches and 31″ is recommended.

There is also no magic solution to shedding belly bulge. It simply involves eating and drinking less and exercising more but the gym alone won’t shed weight. An hour of moderate workout in the gym will burn about 300 calories and it would take about twelve days to lose a pound if eating and drinking habits remained the same. Even at this modest rate of loss, most grossly overweight or obese people are only capable of light exercise so they would have to workout for two hours every day to lose a pound in twelve days unless they reduce food consumption.

At 265 pounds with a 57 inch waist, I was too ashamed to go to a gym so I purchased a treadmill which I hated because I was bored to tears. I used it and controlled my drinking and eating and dropped to 225 pounds but was still bored to tears because the only way for me to cut back on food and alcohol was to cut back on socializing. My weight drifted all over the place because of my lack of commitment to a lifestyle change. When I started on my current path in December of 2009, I was 245 pounds and had a 47 inch waist, which was still in the deadly zone because of both waist size and obesity.

Now I am a cautious person and I never make a commitment without understanding everything about the nature of the endeavor. For me, a person should know enough about obesity to understand that obesity is not just about the length of time a person will live, it is also about the general quality of life and the ability to participate in family events. Also, the chance of a slow, lingering and painful death increases with weight. Morbid obesity is associated with a substantially increased risk of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The hardest first step for an obese person is to accept they have real issues. When I was morbidly obese, I didn’t know anything about obesity, Body Mass Index (BMI) or a slow and lingering death and in the case of obesity, ignorance is bliss. I didn’t even own a scale. I got weighed on the doctors scale and at work so was generally aware of my weight range. The two issues which had the highest impact on family life bothered my wife and I different ways. Above 235 pounds, breathing became an issue and it stopped me from having an active sex life which didn’t seem to bother my wife very much. The issue which bothered her was sleep apnea.

Dolores had been trained as a nurse and my father had died from sleep apnea where he simply stopped breathing in his sleep at age 71. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with abnormal long pauses in breathing during sleep. Individuals with low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway (jowls because of obesity) are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Old male couch potatoes, with jowls and weak muscles, are more likely to have sleep apnea than women and Dolores was worried about me.

So at that point in time, I got a scale and an education on obesity. Health problems relative to normal people start occurring almost instantly as people move outside the normal weight range. At the extreme of morbid obesity (BMI over 40; or for me 262 pounds at 68 inches tall), the odds of incurring any health care problem is twice as often and the cost goes up with the amount of excess weight. The penalty for morbid obesity is about $3000 per year more in medical bills than for a normal person. Only 2% to 3% of the nation is in this special group but I qualified.

It didn’t take me long to learn enough to abuse science. From the studies and BMI charts, I found that I only had to drop to Class 1, Obesity at a BMI of 30 to shed about 3/4 of my health problems and costs. Also the drop in weight led to an improved sex life. The problem of sleep apnea occasionally remained as I bounced around in a range between 220 and 240 but moistly above 230. This meant every time I did binge level eating or drinking and gained a couple of pounds, the sleep apnea returned. As long as Dolores was alive and sharing my bed, I was constantly appraised when I was on the wrong side of the line because my irregular breathing was ruining her ability to sleep. I stopped using the exercise equipment, and the scale wore out and was never replaced because of my lack of commitment. Thirty-six percent (36%) of the Nation is obese in all three classes

In my adult lifetime, I had a tendency to binge eat or drink when I was under severe stress. My first diet, the Stillman all protein diet, was in 1970 when I was starting a winery and trying to balance a full time job. The first gas crises in 1974 crushed my tourist winery that I had successfully started and which depended on people driving to reach it. In 1982, I lost a job and sought solace in food until I opened an outdoor beach club which did exceptionally well and I dropped to 182 for the last time until my current lifestyle changes . In 1988, it rained on 39 consecutive outdoor events at the Beach Club and I was broke and lost the business. By 2004, things were going reasonably well and I just got fat and lazy due to becoming a “desk jokey” and not engaging in any physical activity because I could hire people to do everything that needed to be done and take time off to go fishing and drinking beer with my friends.

Still after that zenith of 265 in 2004, I managed to hold between 220 and 240 using the Type O diet until Dolores died. Then I started seeking solace in food and cooking and eating too much. Drinking was no longer that big of a problem as I was not happy enough to enjoy socializing and drinking. Unfortunately, Dolores was no longer sharing my bed to tell me when I was too fat to breath at night. This is where My Daughter Dagny and My Niece Cait joined forces and convinced me it was time for a lifestyle change.

So what are the essential elements of my 101 Pound weight loss.

1. General knowledge about obesity and acceptance of the scientific data. You must understand the problem before attempting to solve it.

2. Strong Emotional support from family (Dagny, Cait and Carson). Non judgmental loving support and encouragement is needed. Very few can solve the obesity problem entirely on their own.

3. A strong and vocal Personal Commitment and let the world know. Commitment is a struggle especially at the start because your weight loss is so fragile and unstable. When I started my diet at 265 without a commitment to a lifestyle change I had dropped about 45 pounds in a few months just by starving and working at the gym. I went on vacation where there was no scale and gained 27 pounds in a long weekend eating 3 meals a day, drinking beer mid day and having wine and a big dinner in the evening. I brought a scale because I felt I was gaining weight and when I got the result, I knew it was flawed and returned the scale to the store. Eventually, I quit the diet because the diet failed me and the weight loss wasn’t permanent. The first three to five months of a lifestyle change are most critical and a lifestyle change of only three months will also fail.

4. A commitment to reduce the calories consumed with beverages and food.  My personal commitment is covered in my book “An introduction to coffeepot cooking: How I lost 101 pounds cooking Portion Controlled Meals” which is available in Kindle format from Amazon. You can get a free Kindle app for almost every computer and operating system.

5. A commitment to a minimum of a half hour of exercise everyday or worst case every other day. It is better and you lose more weight, if you do a minimum of a half hour everyday and an hour a day three times a week. It is also better if you do it first thing in the morning to jump start your metabolism and stay physically active all day.

I firmly believe That there is no substitute for the advice in the first three steps. And a great amount of flexibility in the last two. When it comes to exercise, it is the time you commit to exercising regardless of which form of exercise you choose. I like walking because almost everybody can do it. When you work with your heart monitor and push yourself to safely do only a half hour a day, you get stronger everyday and are able to do more. Everybody in my family has a favorite physical activity and mine just happens to be walking and not a chore at all because it fits my personality. When I miss two days because of rain, I’ll look for a break in the weather and go for it. If it rains, I don’t care because I am still walking and enjoying the sights and proud of my accomplishments.

When it comes to eating, you can eat and drink what you like as long as your total calorie count is around 2000 which if you pace it during the day with moderate amounts of fruit, vegetables and protein; and then eat a light dinner, there is still a 1000 calories left over for a few glasses of wine. If on the other hand you don’t drink, then stick with the light fruit and vegetables all day and have a slightly heartier dinner and you will lose the weight a little faster by skipping beverages with calories and carbonation.

I don’t believe in special diets or severely restricted diets because for me they simply create a repressed demand for the foods I want and the quantities I am used to. When I started holding about 2000 calories, walking in the morning, getting into yard work as much as possible, walking in the afternoon when possible, and going to bed relaxed on a full stomach, I didn’t feel deprived of anything and drifted into a steady routine right away.

The process isn’t fast. In the first month, I lost 20 pounds and in the second 15. In the third month I lost 5 pounds. Remember, from previous diets, I found those first three months are the most unstable and the easiest time to have a relapse and regain the lost weight. After that, I shed weight at the rate of about 3 pounds per month. If this was a diet, I probably would have quit after the second month because I would be bored with a steady special diet of meat, carbohydrates, vegetables, vegan, caveman food, or any other cult diet.

However, this was a lifestyle change which allowed for lapses while on vacation with planed sacrifices of more work and less food after vacation. I also started in January when I wouldn’t see my family and party with them for the next six months or so I planned. I have now stuck with the plan for about 3 years and see little reason to change.

A natural evolution is that I now eat vegan about once a week, vegetarian twice a week and chicken, turkey and fish the rest of the time. However, and this is important to my mental well being, if I get a craving for liver, kidneys, sausage or any of the other weird things like my mother ate which let her live to be 93, I eat them and don’t consider it a failure in my lifestyle, just part of it. The same is true if I have a few midday beers while hanging with my family or friends. The only results my family really cares about is what the scale says and how big my belly is and that’s fine with me.

My total diet was discussed in the book mentioned above but;

Remember continue to enjoy fine food, just less of it.

I Finished My Book!!!

April 30, 2012

I finally finished my most recent project and it is available for distribution. My Book, “An Introduction to Coffeepot Cooking: How I Lost 101 pounds with Portioned Controlled Meals”, is now available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book.

The focus is not on the food I ate, but the commitment that I made to my family to lose weight so I would avoid another premature death in the family. I would like to say that the entire process was driven by their love alone, but secondary influences included a stroke and a disc replacement surgery both caused by my being too fat for too many years. At $2.99 this little book will hopefully be a guide to others who are obese and need to shed a few pounds. It took me 65 years to recognize that there are no secrete diets, magic pills or special foods that will make you lose weight and become healthy.

My Ebook for Kindle

In writing this book, I came to understand that there were only three changes in my life that led to the loss of 101 pounds in a fairly painless manner spread over 2 years. Here’s the secrets if you want to call it that:

  1. Eat less all day and for dinner.
  2. Drink fewer calories whether it’s beer, wine, liquor, juice, soda or smoothies.
  3. Exercise more, at least 20 minutes every day and an hour or more a few times a week. (the hour can include heavy yard work or work on your home.

Now that you know the secrets, I hope you still buy the book whether for yourself or a friend. I started this process while morbidly obese and out of shape and have encouraged others who were even fatter than me and in worse shape. Fortunately, I had daily encouragement from my family and weekly assessments with positive and sometimes critical reminders of the need. I also looked positively on the help I received from my Creator who reminded me with my minor stroke and the need for a disc replacement that I had to take care of my body and the gift of life if I wanted to keep enjoying myself for as long as possible.

For those who don’t have a Kindle reader, you can get a free one for your PC, laptop, tablet or iPad. computers and still buy the book. I will post follow-ups as the book becomes available for other electronic media and in print

Temporary Suspension of New Recipes

April 5, 2012

I am about ¼ of the way through a 16 day detox where I skip all alcohol and eat healthier foods including lots of nuts, no sugar and more green vegetables. I wont be posting new recipes for the next two weeks but if anybody wants to see what it takes me to quit alcohol, eat healthier, lose 6-10 pounds, drop inches from my waist and relapse with occasional bad choices, you can follow my actions, ask questions and even criticism my bad choices as I track my daily activities at I am already down an inch on my belly, and 3 pounds in the first three days and no, I don’t suffer. Tonight is fried chicken thighs and fried seasoned yams. Will be happy to hold even in weight tomorrow but plan on a 6-7 mile walk so I can afford the relapse. Also I have no set goals but somewhere around 172 or a permanent 8 pound loss would be nice.

A Rant About Food

June 14, 2010

I am beginning to believe that all vegetarians are too rich, anorexic or suffering dementia from protein deficiency and how could they possibly believe that I really care what they eat or why their recipes for the most part lack creativity and flavor.

Let’s start with some basic facts about dieting. First, I did not lose weight by eating healthy foods that I don’t like, I shed pounds by eating a lot less of things that I really like. Moreover, what works for me might not work for you. I like greasy ham hocks and black eyed peas, Italian sausage and kidneys I also like apples, mangoes, cucumbers, water melon, java apples, carambolas and arugula.

Pretty much I like all foods from all cultures and when you relax and stop worrying about what’s good for you, you recognize that there is a “universal poor people’s food” based on the least expensive parts of an animal and the least expensive vegetables. The recipes may change and the spices may differ, but the basic cheap ingredients remain the same.

Now this rant was participated by a vegetarian who claims to be eating a cave man diet of fruits, vegetables and nuts and wanted to counsel me to reach unsolicited diet nirvana. So I asked him if Mitochondrial Eve, the mother of all of us, who evolved about 200,000 years ago would walk by a birds nest full of eggs and ignore it while starving because apples are out of season. He said he might yield on eggs.

I asked if a caveman walking by a dead mastodon in winter would ignore birds eating the flesh while praying for an early spring because he’s hungry. His answer was that would be a rare event. I asked if it is logical that a bush man would see a powerful lion chase down a gazelle and kill it and eat half as the caveman walked away leaving the rest to the hyenas to eat because he’s waiting for the coconuts to fall. Obviously just like poor people today, our ancestors survived on whatever was available and made do with what they had.

Now my fathers heritage was Irish and his culinary desires were limited to Irish Potatoes and anything that walked (mostly beef) or flew (mostly chicken or turkey). Other vegetables were optional. My mother liked root cellar crops (anything that survived the winter at 55 Fahrenheit even if a little wilted), salted preserved fish and anything that walked or flew but especially chicken, pork and veal. Dad lived to be 71 and Mom lived to be 93. The difference was not the food preferences; Dad died early because he was obese from drinking too much beer and not exercising.

At sixty-five I drink my bottle of wine every day, have a tendency towards obesity but never stopped exercising. To me the argument over weather meat or a vegetarian diet is better is a moot point. It will probably be the wine that kills me but that’s another discussion.

In fact I prefer the foods on the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet which consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts; and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Except I also like and eat rice, most legumes and moderate amounts of salt. I also take my multivitamins and must confess that I even eat fried foods once a month.

If you look at the evidence of survival, our human ancestors had the same lifespan from 2 million years ago until the twentieth century. That is at birth, your life expectancy was about 33 years. Even the taming of fire about 500,000 years ago didn’t make us live longer nor did the development of complex tools and devices 50,000. Of course there was no impact from advances in the arts and music 35,000 years ago.

The jump from around 35 years life expectancy at birth to about 70 years, came because of the vast improvements in public health and medicine. I expect that advances in this area will cure cancer, rebuild my spine and that we will be the last generation with sanctimonious vegetarians and prohibitionist proselytizing and evangelically trying to convert everyone to their erroneous beliefs.

OK so if I am not going to live longer from a healthy diet alone, why bother? The answer should be obvious from my other blog where I describe adventures with my children and grandchildren and Cait. The issue is not life, it’s the quality of life. The last ten years of my fathers life, he laid on the couch, drank beer and and died at 71. Up until mom was in here late seventies, she led an active life and even joined a vaudeville type risque group called the “Alley Cats” who used to sing and dance and swish their cat tails for the old people in the retirement homes.

When she went into a home herself in her eighties, she reigned as the Queen of Trivial Pursuit, History and current affairs. She continued to use her mind as her body gradually deteriorated. She was visited by her children who had great memories, her grandchildren who remembered her in her own house and even several of her great grandchildren who never knew her outside the home but they still got to know the wonderful person she was in the wheel chair.

I am really not looking for a long life, I am looking for a long, healthy, adventuresome life and that can only happen if I keep shedding weight.

Coffepot Apples and Carrots

May 13, 2010


The problem with being a cook and a foodie is you can “make do” with any ingredients you have and cook them with any equipment you have at your disposal. So you really can cook a meal and eat it anytime you want.  After Hurricane Hugo, it was so hot that when you drove, the hood of your car got very hot. With no power and with charcoal and propane at a premium, you could clean the hood of the car and make a fried egg sandwich on toast on the hood of your car.

Now life is no longer that tough, I am staying at La Quinta Inn (Clearwater Central) and it’s a wonderful place to stay full of friendly guests and staff. I have been eating high cholesterol foods and having a couple of beers with my traveling companion because I thought I had a bad neck and needed a neck operation. But just to be sure the surgeon sent me to a neurologist who detected a “sub acute stroke” and he sent me to a heart specialist who essentially told me that even though I had lost 40 pounds, I was still a fat slob with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and I needed to lose 30 more pounds, stay in shape and I would get the results of the electrocardiogram the next day.

Sufficiently contrite, I decided to skip my dinner at the wonderfully friendly Tilted Kilt full of attractive friendly young ladies and cook a meal in my room in the coffeepot. This was actually a proof of concept “Make Do” meal as the coffee pot was set to shut off after one hour so I would have to reset it several times during the course of the cooking.

 Well the only ingredients I had in the room were canned sardines served best cold, some wilted but sweet carrots and a “Red Delicious” apple and I was in no mood to go to the store. I knew that the apple and carrots would work well together with a little sugar as my mother and grandmother made candied carrots just like many Americans make candied sweet potatoes for the holidays.

I like sardines even when they are a little greasy (Omega 3 oil is good for the brain) but they seemed to be even better with the sweet taste of the carrots and apples.

Recipe: Coffeepot Carrots and Apples

2 small carrots coined

2 packages hotel salt

½ apple cut into wedges

2 packets hotel sugar

Coin the carrots and put in the coffeepot add the salt. Add water to coffeemaker, blanch the carrots in the hot water and let sit on the coffeemaker hot plate until it shuts off.

Drain the salty water from the carrots. Slice the apple into wedges and add them to the pot. Add more water to the coffee maker and blanch the carrots and apples together.

 Let sit until the timer turns off the coffeepot. Test the carrots and apples for tenderness, If more time is needed, turn the coffeemaker back on but don’t change the water,

Drain the water and serve on the plate, sprinkle sugar on top and put sardines on the side.

 The Make Do Dinner tasted pretty good and was actually very healthy as I washed it down with my bottle of Red Wine.

Oh well, la dolce vita!

The Diet is Working.

March 11, 2010

It’s about 10 weeks since I started the diet that Cait and Dagny ordered me to do and I am down 34 pounds to 211.  Even more amazing is the above belt pictures of my past and current belts show my waist is down six inches with only an inch to go before I need a new belt.  Realistically,  I believe the limitations of the size of a meal you can fit in a coffeepot  along with early morning meal planning and portion control is the sole reason I have lost weight.

I also believe that going to the gym has contributed to my waist loss.  In an hour at the gym, I can burn a little over 300 calories and I go three to four times a week.  I could skip  a glass of wine a day and break even calorie wise.  However, since I am spending 15 minutes each visit on a rowing machine, I believe that that is tightening up my abdomen and contributing to the waist  loss.

Speaking of Dagny and Cait, the following picture of Cait and Dagny surfaced when  I was cleaning my photo files off an old Windows ME machine before it crashes. I gave them both their first flying less for Christmas that Year.

Carson calls the two cousins Bookends. The date on the picture  says it was 6 years ago and they both look great today.  With as much crap as they gave me about losing weight, they better both stay good looking and in shape forever.  Otherwise I plan to live another 35 years and harass them when they start sneaking up on sixty.

Running and Space Camp!

February 9, 2010

Two big moments in my little life today – my first attempt at jogging in about 10 years and I registered the family for Space Camp.

At first Tiffany at Space Camp thought I was nuts for wanting 4 adults to go to camp with 2 kids but why not, we have been hot air ballooning together  for the best day of one granddaughters life, para sailing for another best day of her life, white water rafting, canoeing, hiking and jet skiing (another best day). Everybody has done it all as a family unit.

At 220 pounds, my daughter sees my commitment to hit 205 and told me to book Space Camp.  This is not weakness and she’s even tougher and meaner than I am  so  I won’t screw up. We are now booked into our  next family adventure on Memorial Day Weekend unless we do another one first.  Naturally, I’ll get an official astronautics space suits for all of us.

Now running was not quite that kind of thrill and I have always hated it.  In football, the best I ran was about a 6 minute mile unless the guy had a ball and I was allowed to hurt him if I caught him.  I was told I was phenomenally fast for the first 40 yards which is about what I made today.

All kidding aside, I have my own treadmill which I occasionally use but am far more consistent when a member of a gym with a caring mentor.  To test my limit without embarrassment, I put on my heart monitor did a brisk walk for 5 minutes and pumped up the speed to 5.5 miles per hour or about 11 minutes per mile.  From around 110, my heart rate jumped to 145 and I was beat after 15 seconds.  I forced myself to keep that pace for a whole minute and then walked at half that speed for the next 15 minutes until my heart rate was under 120.   I simply don’t know what possessed me – its not required for Space Camp by either them or my daughter I just thought it would be cool to run a mile again.

Proof Positive – there is no fool like an old fool! – but this old  fool is still in good enough shape to keep having fun and I can still keep up physically with 7-10 year olds. Actually the last time I ran at all was at Fort McHenry where my granddaughter and I raced my son-in-law across the ramparts.  We both beat him.  Oh yeah he  had to carry my other granddaughter to make the race fair.