The Watering Hole, Tuesday February 18, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Putting his money where his mouth is... retired hedge fund executive willing to spend up to $100 million this year to challenge climate deniers running for office, according to this article from the New York Times.

“A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.”

Read more here.

West Virginia take me home… but don’t drink the water. Another coal slurry spill. As much as people hate fracking and oil drilling, coal is the most environmentally disastrous energy source in the world. There isn’t even a close second. John Denver, are you sure you want to go there?

Biosolids contain more harm? Duke University researchers are looking in the the effects of anti-microbial chemicals are having on soil decomposition. Biosolids are what your sewage treatment plant spreads on parks, farm land fields or bag as fertilizers for sale. They are supposed to be tested by federal regulation for pathogens and heavy metals but chemicals are a different story. It is expensive and complicated to test the right now, but some may contain chemicals harmful to he environment. Read on.

First Clinton and now Al Gore... going vegan. May be old news to some of you but I just uncovered it. Al Gore likes lentils and carrots. Fiftysomething Diet: Is It Time to Go Vegan? Here is the science behind it.

Watering Hole: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 – It Takes Strength

This year has been a difficult year for me.  It’s been a year that has been particularly brutal to my physical and mental health.

We sold our home of 16 years in June and until we moved into our new home on December 6, we were nomads.  Living out of a suitcase isn’t all it’s cranked up to be.  It’s been a stressful 6 months which taxed me emotionally.

Throughout the summer, I experienced severe pain in my left knee, muscle spasms in my left leg, numbness in the first toe on my right foot, migraine headaches, and extreme fatigue.  Since I didn’t have insurance at the time, I put off seeing the doctor until September as that is when my Medicare Part B took effect.  To make a long story short, I was able to convince the doctor to test me for Lyme Disease.  I was even able to get her to start me on Doxycycline.  Sure enough, I had Lyme Disease.  It has taken several months to recover from this devastating disease.  Lyme Disease is serious business.

Next up, I get an exam from my “new” doctor in Eugene, Oregon.  Because of my age, he decided to give me an ECG (electrocardiogram).  The results were not what I wanted to hear.  I have a left ventricular block which means that my heart is working overtime.

I told you that to tell you this.  Blood flow blockage is not a good thing.  I decided to consult the expert, Dr. Dean Ornish.  He recommends diet changes and exercise along with meditation and something else.  Dr. Ornish suggests that we practice “forgiveness, altruism, compassion, and service” and that “it takes strength and courage to forgive; those who are afraid to look weak often preach vengeance and violence”.  He mentions that he was inspired by Nelson Mandela and he quotes from Mandela’s book, “Long Walk to Freedom,”

It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black.  I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed.  A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.  I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me.  The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both.  Some say that has now been achieved.  But I know that that is not the case.  The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed.  We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road.  For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.  The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.

This made me start thinking.  If I truly want to regain my health, then along with diet and exercise, I need to be more positive about life, more forgiving of others, and less angry about things that I cannot change.

We all have the power to create our own view of life.

This is our Open Thread.  Enough about me.  Now it is your turn to Speak Up!

Watering Hole: Monday, January 16, 2012 – Vitamin D

There’s a been a lot of chatter lately regarding the value of Vitamin D.  It seems like this vitamin prevents any disease or disability (only fooling around with this statement).  There are some really crucial benefits to Vitamin D.  Here are a few:

  • Needed for the absorption and metabolism for calcium and phosophorus.  These elements are vital to bone formation and other various functions within the body.
  • As an immune system regulator, it may arm the immune system against the common cold.
  • There may be a connection between insufficient Vitamin and the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Some studies are beginning to show a lower risk of some cancers in people with higher Vitamin D levels.
  • WebMD has a more information regarding the benefits of Vitamin D.

With all this good news about Vitamin D and our health, what would be the best sources for us to get this valuable vitamin?  That would be our bodies.  There is no risk of overdosing when our body manufactures Vitamin D.  Supplements are another source of Vitamin D.  When using supplements as a source, then it is advised that no more than 2000 IU be taken daily as an overdose may occur.  This is one reason that Vitamin D levels in the blood should be measured on a regular basis.  When the body manufactures Vitamin D, it also creates another chemical which stops the Vitamin D production when blood reaches its optimal level of Vitamin D.

Doctor Oz has a good animation on how the body manufactures Vitamin D.

People living above 40 degrees latitude have a difficult time getting sufficient Vitamin D during the winter months.  This is where supplementation with Vitamin D 3 may help.  Another source would be 4 to 6 minutes, depending on skin type, under tanning lights 2 or 3 times/week. In the warmer climates and the warmer weather, step outside for a walk in the sunshine.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Sunday Roast: The Common Cold


There’s just never a good time to get a cold, is there?  Even if you really don’t have much going on, getting a cold is not near the top of things to do.

When you have a cold (or any other virus or disease), your body becomes a battle ground.  This is why we feel so crappy!  The immune system is fighting a battle to the death with viral invaders, and we do our best to get on with life and deny anything is happening — while we share our lovely cold with people all around us.  Srsly, don’t do that.

There are four basic stages of a cold:

Stage 1: Inflammation
The first stage of a cold or flu is all about inflammation. Everything is hot and dry. Inflammation occurs as your immune system mounts an attack against the invading virus.

You feel feverish, your throat is sore, you’re thirsty and cranky — stay home with your tea and toast!  If you take medication, your cold will last about seven days, if you don’t, it will last about a week.  I don’t bother with it, since I think the body should be allowed to have its war, and get it over with.

Stage 2: Mucous
At this stage of a cold you are always left wondering how such a small body part can produce so much mucous. The mucous at this stage is clear and runny, and there is usually lots of it.

I’m familiar with this stage right now, and the snot is epic.  No decongestants!  For heaven’s sake, you want the snot on the outside, not withering on this inside.  Treat yourself to soft tissues and chicken soup with a dash of cayenne.  You’ll be glad you did…like I am.

Stage 3: Congestion
Mucous becomes thick and changes colour from the clear to white of stage 2 to yellow or green. As the bacteria that usually live in the nose grow back, they change the mucus to a greenish colour. This is normal.

This is the stage where the snot becomes boogers.  That’s highly technical mom-speak, so if you need translation, just let me know.  Keep drinking lots of warm liquids to keep things flowing (remember, better out than in), and don’t do that thing where you blow your nose and then look at it — that is just gross.

And finally…

Stage 4: Convalescence and Recovery
Convalescence and recovery while not a true stage of colds and flu is a valuable art that we have lost as a society.

Your body literally fights a war each time you have a cold and allowing some time at the end of the infection for your body to clean up the mess and repair the damage can mean the difference between another cold next month or next year.

Convalescence is very simple, all it involves is a few extra days of ‘quiet time’ (don’t schedule in any extra curricular activities), early nights and nutritious foods. You may resume exercise but don’t overdo it, intense exercise has a temporary suppressant effect on your immune system. A long walk is far better at this stage than an intense exercise session at the gym or a run.

Take it easy!  What’s the matter with you?  Your body has been a war zone, and you won.  You want to be sick again?  Fine, get your own chicken soup, and leave my cayenne and soft tissues alone.  *grump*

This is our daily open thread — I just gave you cooties!