Pluots are pretty much the perfect fruit

That’s why I ate three this morning.

We are attempting to be a healthier family these days—walking at the track every day, all of us eating veggies rather than just the kiddo—and we decided to grab a bag of what was labeled as “Dinosaur Eggs” at the supermarket. They were identified as a type of plum, and I love plums, so I decided to give them a try.

And holy dinger, are these things good! They are about 70 percent plum, 30 percent apricot from what I’ve read, which makes them unbelievably sweet, highly nutritious, and an absolutely delicious snack. Instead of the yellowy pulp I’m used to, these Dinosaur Eggs are speckled on the outside—hence their name—and red on the inside. They are pretty much as voluptuous as food can get, and they fall right off the inner seed, making them easy to enjoy as well—no chopping required.

For an ultimate sensory experience, I heartily recommend trying these fruits this summer. You’ll get a very juicy, tasty treat that’s low in calories. Skip the candy or soda and put them in the fridge for a cold snack to cool you off and satisfy your sweet tooth. If your supermarket doesn’t carry them, you could also find them (or ask for them) by their other name, which is pluots.

Water Diet

Addition to Your Regular Diet

This diet is one that is unproven and any statements or tenets presented here are intended only to provide non-medical information and some of my personal conclusions in a conversational format. I was reviewing some diets on the internet this last week and encountered one that has come up in the past. The Water Diet is being presented by the Institute for Psychoactive Research located at 3418 Heatherwood Ln., Durham, NC 27713.

The Water Diet is based on drinking 64 ounces of water or one half-gallon—in addition to any other beverages you may consume—each day.

The diet is predicated on the assumed fact that water in this quantity—this is the amount recommended by health professionals for many years—will somehow flush or otherwise rid the system of fat, reducing the user’s weight.

There is no need to spend appreciable money on water since it is available from the tap at little charge. Also, it is always immediately available so there is no excuse or reason not to comply consuming the requisite amount of water. If the water in your region is certified as safe by a governmental agency, it is not harmful.   

How to: “Water Diet”

  1. Maintain your regular eating habits or pursue a dietetic regimen of your choice.
  2. Drink 64 ounces of water every day. For purposes of comfort, it seems best to space out the water in increments of 8 ounces, eight times throughout the day.
  3. Do not use ice because it distorts the ability to measure the correct amount of water.
  4. Do not drink heated water but you may drink refrigerated water.
  5. Do not add flavoring agents to the 64 ounces of water to improve it nutritional content or improve it flavor.
  6. Drink filtered water, rain water, hard water or distilled water. Do not drink bottled water that is represented to contain anything else than pure water.

Some Initial Effects of Water Diet

  1. You may feel lightheaded when first beginning the diet.
  2. You may feel full to the point of sloshing but this can be mitigated by drinking the water ate spaced intervals.

Do Not Begin the Water Diet Without Checking With Your Doctor, If:

  1. You are on water restricted diet for medical reasons.
  2. You are on life-maintaining medication that could possibly be flushed from your system by drinking more water than you normally do.
  3. There is any concern about flushing vitamins or minerals from your system.

The water diet is apparently intended to be used over a period of time for gradual weight loss.

There is no immediate data to support the value of this diet.


The Juicing King

Juice to Health?

Norman Wardhaugh Walker was born on January 4, 1886 and died on June 6, 1985. He advocated the drinking of freshly drawn raw vegetable and fruit juice as a recipe for vigorous health. Much of the information used by juicers—those people who believe in the benefits of juicing—was produced by Norman Wardhaugh Walker.

Walker wrote six books published from 1937 to 1978. He also invented the Norwalk Hydraulic Press Juicer, an appliance still produced and sold today. Many different sources claimed the juicing regimen kept Walker alive and in good health up to the age of 119 years of age. Actually, Mr. Walker died at 99 years of age.

In 1930, Mr. Walker, in association with a medical doctor, opened a juice bar featuring home delivery. The two businessmen developed formulas of juice mixtures targeted for specific health problems. It was at this time that he invented the Hydraulic Juicer. The juice bar attracted the attention of the health department who closed it down because the juice was unpasteurized. Two more factories were set up in different states with the same results. Following these business failures, Walker first opened a health ranch in Arizona and then sold it and pursued fulltime writing.

Mr. Walker believed a diet of raw and fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seed was the basis of a healthy diet. He believed cooked food was dead and progressively deteriorated the health, energy and vitality of the body. 

Critics claim the advantages of a juicing diet are non-existent or unproven.


My Weight Loss Program-Part Deux

My Program in Later Years

I wrote in my last blog about my heart problems that manifested themselves in 1995. Obviously, they were in the works for years before I became aware of them. As a result of that blissful ignorance I weighed over 370 lbs., never exercised and had a stressful job with long hours. Oh yeah, I was right at 51 years old.

When I discussed this last, I talked about how I lost over 150 lbs. in a little over eight months. I realize this sounds unbelievable, but after all, I was motivated by the desire to live.

Another unbelievable fact is that I am still at the same weight as I was after losing the 150 lbs. I have maintained this weight, without varying, for 16 years.

I previously talked about how I initially lost the weight; Now, I think it is also important to discuss I keep it off for 16 years. This sounds like an ad for a weight loss product and if you consider healthy foods a weight loss product—which you should—then it is an advertisement.

After losing the weight, I did several things—that were necessary for me—to keep the weight off:

  1. I have not touched alcohol, salted my food or used sugar in 16 years and I don’t miss any of it!
  2. I have continued to eat the same foods and stuck to the same regimen I used to lose weight. I gradually began to eat more, but if I ate from the food groups I described in my last blog, it didn’t seem to matter.
  3. I continued to exercise aerobically with walking and hiking, and a progressive weight program using free-weights and circuit-training machines. Aerobics burn calories and progressive weight-resistance training builds muscle, which burns calories faster.
  4. I am now retired and my heart is continuing to weaken, so I am only able to walk 10 to 15 minutes at a time; I do this twice daily. During the winter months I actually do this exercise in the house. Doing what you can without making excuses or reasons why you can’t is the only way. Also, some exercise is infinitely better than none.

My Weight Loss Regimen

What I Did

My life changed dramatically in 1995 when I was stricken with a heart attack. I was terrified to the point where I listened to my doctors and actually did as they advised. I was struck by the manner in which the heart surgeons communicated. First, they refer to themselves as either “plumbers” or electricians since effectively, they are concerned with the bodies plumbing or electrical systems.

I have moved frequently with my job and have encountered many specialists over the years. Without exception, they are devoid of personality—at least on the job—and are very matter-of-fact in what they have to say. They tell it like it is and leave it up to you to decide if you want to follow through on their advice. Once the facts and treatments are communicated, heart surgeons believe their job is done.

I actually love these doctors; they continually pull a miracle out of the air every time I need it. Therefore, I listen carefully and do as they say.

In 1995—I weighed over 370 lbs.—and in approximately eight months I lost well over 150 lbs. I accomplished this miracle by:

  1. Abruptly stopping cold my consumption of beer—I drank way too much beer.
  2. Cutting out all salt, sugar and virtually every fatty food and processed food I could identify.
  3. I ate:
    • Meat, beans, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruits and breads in quantity
    • I ate three times a day and never, ever ate one bite between meals
  4. I exercised like a madman; seven days a week:
    • I got up at 5:00AM and went to the gym for treadmill and weight training
    • Every day, my wife and I took to the mesa around our house in Albuquerque and hiked for at least an hour over uneven terrain and up and down fairly decent grades
    • My job was not sedentary but also not a good source of exercise

I was a robot; I never deviated from my diet—which was actually liberal in regard to quantity and variety—and never missed a gym day or hike on the mesa. I was a hero to all who knew me and a miracle to my doctors—a patient who actually did as they advised—and I was damn proud of myself.

It is now 16 years later, I still am on the same diet and have not gained another pound; not one!

Diabetic Diet Regimen

Control Your Blood Sugar

Following a diet that is designed to control your blood sugar is critical if you are a diabetic. It’s important to remember that this is a balanced diet that is good for your health regardless of whether you are a diabetic or not.

The diet is simple; eat the correct foods in the correct amounts at regular mealtimes.

Correct Foods

The correct foods are ones that are rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are integral parts of this way of eating.

Foods you should eat:  

  • Healthy carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Low-fat dairy products are also acceptable.
  • Fish is good, whether fatty or not. Fish fat is actually good for your heart and health. Avoid tile fish, mackerel and king swordfish which are high in mercury. NEVER EAT FRIED FISH.
  • Avocados, nuts and olives contain fats that are good for you but are high in calories and should be eaten in moderation.

  Foods you should not eat or limit dramatically:

  • Saturated fats such as whole dairy foods and animal proteins such as hot dogs, bacon and beef.
  • Trans-fats such as those found in processed snacks and baked goods and in the shortening and butter from which they are made.
  • Cholesterol-rich foods—no more than 200 milligrams daily— such as whole dairy products and fatty animal foods, egg yolks, shellfish and all organ meats.
  • Count salt milligrams per serving on packages of food and limit to no more than 2,000 per day.

Correct Amounts

Do not eat empty calories and limit the amount of fat, calories and carbohydrates in your diet. Excess calories and fat are transformed in your body to sugar and creates an unhealthy rise in blood glucose. High blood glucose levels cause nerve kidney and heart damage as well as many other problems. The way you feel and your sense of wellbeing is also greatly affected.

Limiting fat, calories and carbohydrates also keeps weight to acceptable levels making the control of blood glucose much simpler.   

Work with a diabetes nutritional counselor to design and monitor a diet that will maintain your blood sugar at the proper level.


Dangerous Diet Drugs

How Unsafe are Diet Drugs

Many people who want to lose weight turn to pills and other oral treatments that are a clear and present danger to their health and their life. Some people are willing to take pills that damage their health over a period of time. They must understand that these pills may kill them immediately.

The saddest part is that the people who take these pills don’t actually lose a meaningful amount of weigh for an appreciable time. They simply void their system of fluid. Some realize this, but report “feeling better and lighter” after taking the pills. Of course, as their system is replenished of fluid, they again feel heavy, take more pills and the cycle is repeated. The abuse of laxatives leads to bloody diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. Some of these conditions are life-threatening. Also, the person taking it soon finds they can’t void their bowels without taking even more. Severe abdominal pain, constipation, nausea and vomiting are other negative effects of laxative abuse.

A commonly abused drug taken by people with eating disorders is Ipecac Syrup. After eating, the person drinks the syrup and begins uncontrolled vomiting. The Ipecac actually damages the heart causing it to weaken. It also causes irregular heartbeats, rapid heart rate and a host of respiratory problems.  

Diuretics provide the same feeling of weight loss as laxatives. The dangerous part is that the person initially loses vital electrolytes which may cause life-threatening heart issues. Also, the body begins to retain water as a defense mechanism and more pills are required. Eventually, kidney damage results due to continued dehydration.

Diet pills are generally not safe and cause severe side effects that have resulted in death. They are usually packed with caffeine that negatively affects the heart, internal organs and central nervous system. The rush the pills produce may become additive in a very short period of time. They have not been shown to produce long-term results.


Beware of Diet Pills

Dangerous Dietetic Products

For many years people have purchased over the counter weight-loss pills in the hopes of shedding pounds of fat. The pills—while not expensive—are certainly cheaper than a visit to the doctor and much easier than embarking on a diet and exercise program designed for losing weight while maintaining health.

The Mayo Clinic has conducted research on weight-loss pills as well as other products promoted as effective in the battle against extra pounds.

Weight-loss pills are available in every venue imaginable. Online sources, pharmacies, grocery stores, health food and vitamin centers and the pills are also sold by the shady-looking character down on the street. Some pills are advertised as appetite suppressants while others make claims of speeding up the metabolism to burn calories and others actually claim to be nutritionally  

If you find yourself interested in trying weight loss pills there are several critical points to consider:

  1. Weight loss pills—even those manufactured by reputable companies— are not subject to rigorous standards when they are introduced into the marketplace. Indeed, some are not regulated at all and are produced in back-rooms from dangerous combinations of chemicals and ingredients. Additionally, there must be a well-publicized, continuing and dramatic problem with a weight-loss pill before it is investigated by the Food and Drug Administration. Even dangerous pills can remain on the market for many years.
  2. Your legitimate over-the-counter or prescription medicines may interact dangerously with some weight-loss pills. This is a very real concern for those who are dependent on their medications for their very life or the quality of it.
  3. When these pills are made by non-professionals for the purpose of turning a quick buck, they are usually made of ingredients that speed up the metabolism that may weaken the heart by disrupting its rhythm. Certainly, pills made by non-professionals are more likely to contain caffeine, laxatives, cheap vitamins or other dangerous substances.
  4. Ten popular pills were tested by the Mayo Clinic and only one was proven to be effective and the FDA is investigating it for reports of liver injury. Two others were deemed possibly effective and the others were judged to have insufficient data to make a decision. The other eight were deemed ineffective. Only five pills received a rating of possibly safe and of those only one was deemed possibly effective.

Make an appointment with your doctor or discuss it with the doctor on a regularly scheduled appointment before taking the pills. The doctor can advise you on side-effects and most importantly on possible negative interactions with other medications you are taking.




I Don’t Want Your Dieting Advice

I’m not even dieting; dude, I just want to be comfortable.

This week, I caved in and started something that I’m not sure how to name. I don’t like the word diet, and it’s certainly not a diet in the strictest sense. I’ve simply given up a couple of vices—soda and sweets, as well as junk fast food—and decided to eat healthier food with—sigh—yes, fewer calories. I am pretty overweight, and I’ve actually accepted that as something that’s okay and doesn’t define me as a person (unlike how many others view it). I am doing this, however, because I just don’t feel great.

I’m sick more often than I’d like to be, and I am very uncomfortable when I move (particularly in the heat). I don’t have a set number of pounds I want to lose, or a size in mind; I just want to be comfortable again. I know plenty of fat people who are healthy—they eat healthy foods, they move every day, and they’re fat, and that’s fine. But I’m not healthy, and I don’t move my body every day like I need to. I want to be one of these people. I just want to feel good in my own skin again.

But what I don’t want is unsolicited advice or labels on what I’m doing. I shy away from announcing what I’m doing not because I am embarrassed, but because I don’t know what to call it—and I don’t want everyone around me telling me how to count my carbs or find 100-calorie snacks or their other tricks. I have my own tricks, thanks; I’ve done this before. They also don’t understand that my life is very different from theirs—isn’t everyone’s? I work at home. I am up all night. I need different “rules,” if any at all, than someone else does. I’m not a prepackaged, uniform contraption off a conveyer belt; I’m a human being, just like everyone else.

But they don’t seem to understand what I’m doing; to them, it’s “weight loss,” when weight isn’t nearly as involved in this equation as me simply wanting to move quickly and walk the zoo front to back and back again without feeling tired, which I can, believe it or not, do at this weight when I’m feeling better and not eating crap and not sitting at the computer for the majority of my day. So the goal is simply an increase in movement and healthy eating. So far, I’ve been on the path for three days, and while I’m crabby, I’m optimistic.

My question is, what would you call this type of journey? (Please, no fat hatred or other negative comments; this is a body positive thread!) I am not a fan of the whole “lifestyle change” trend, and I will absolutely not call this a diet. Something simple that is easy to say and sums it up for me without requiring a lengthy explanation (see above!) would do the trick.