Thursday, December 5, 2013
Now I got to admit, for me this is a bit counter-intuitive. Can you imagine eating seven (7) helpings of fruits and vegetables a day and being happier than with, say, one or two helpings a day? Figuring out how to make, let alone eat seven (7) helpings a day gives me a headache.
But a 2012 study from the University of Warwick reports that, “Happiness and mental health are highest among people who eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day.”
My initial thought was, “Ok, they talked to a dozen (12) people in a couple of focus groups and extrapolated…or maybe even exploited the findings.”
I was wrong.
According to an article in ScienceDaily.com, “Economists and public health researchers from the University of Warwick studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain. They found mental wellbeing appeared to rise with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables people consumed. Wellbeing peaked at seven portions a day.”
Somehow, I’ve never thought of Brits as big veggie eaters: drinkers – yes, veggies – no.
I felt somewhat vindicated and better about the research findings when the researchers admitted that “In Britain today, a quarter of the population eat just one portion or no portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Only a tenth of the British population currently consume the magic number of seven or more daily portions.”
Somehow a tenth seems high for us Americans.
I felt I needed to write about this because almost every brain tumor victim or caregiver or friend or relative I know or have met really needs better mental health or to be happier, usually both.
Will I be eating seven (7) helpings? I doubt it.
Here’s a link to the ScienceDaily.com article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009102003.htm
And here’s a link to the original press release issued by the University of Warwick: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/7-a-day_for_happiness/
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_18988597_composition-of-fruit-and-vegetables-framed-in-wood.html'>franckito / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
If you’re a brain tumor victim, caregiver or friend, you know about grief. That its debilitating, all consuming, mind-numbing and all too hard to shake off easily.
Blogger Teryn O'Brien wrote this list which resonated nicely with my own feelings and I thought others might find it helpful. Here’s her first five:
- You will feel like the world has ended. I promise, it hasn’t. Life will go on, slowly. A new normal will come, slowly.
- No matter how bad a day feels, it is only a day. When you go to sleep crying, you will wake up to a new day.
- Grief comes in waves. You might be okay one hour, not okay the next. Okay one day, not okay the next day. Okay one month, not okay the next. Learn to go with the flow of what your heart and mind are feeling.
- It’s okay to cry. Do it often. But it’s okay to laugh, too. Don’t feel guilty for feeling positive emotions even when dealing with loss.
- Take care of yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. Eat healthily. Work out. Do the things you love. Remember that you are still living
You should know that Teryn describes herself as “…the blogger behind Identity Renewed, which placed #36 out of over 350 blogs nominated in a recent Christian Piatt/Patheos.com vote for top Christian blogs.”
Here’s a link to her “15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief”: http://identityrenewed.com/2013/11/21/15-things-i-wish-id-known-about-grief/
PS – While I try to keep this blog non-denominational or overtly religious, I felt that almost anybody who is grieving would get something out of this list.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
This is a quote from the “Legislative Agenda” of the National Brain Tumor Society: http://www.braintumor.org/advocate-for-change/legislative-agenda/
While I am a big supporter of the NBTS, I was appalled by that summary – “There have been very few new brain tumor therapies in the last thirty years.”
I feel all of us – victims, caregivers, researchers, etc. – are lost in some unknowable maze as we try to find the map that gets us out of this mess and onto some viable, walkable, believable path.
It also made me think, “What have we been doing for the past thirty years? Why aren’t we making any progress? Who’s in charge? When do they get their performance review?”
It also reminds me of Rick Page who famously wrote a book entitled Hope is Not a Strategy. And while his book is all about complex sales processes, I think it’s relevant here as “hope” is not a formula for success in any business, let alone the wretched brain tumor business.
As far as I’m concerned we need to ashcan whatever process/roadmap/strategy we’ve been using and do something different.
So if this quote disturbs you, makes you mad, gives you a rash or makes you want to run to the nearest bar and order a pitcher of boilermakers, hold on. Because Clifton Leaf has been just as mad and crazed and disturbed. Only he didn’t run to the nearest bar and get drunk*. He spent years investigating this madness and has figured out how to fix this stupid, broke "cure cancer" system. You can read about in his book entitled The Truth in Small Doses: http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Small-Doses-Losing-Cancer-/dp/1476739986/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374599695&sr=1-1&keywords=clifton+leaf+the+truth+in+small+doses
If you’ve read this far, get this book, read it, and then tell others about it.
*Actually, I don’t really know if he went to the nearest bar and got drunk or not. Given everything he learned and everything he’s written, I hope to buy him a drink someday.
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_14556111_a-man-lost-in-a-maze-or-labyrinth-holds-a-question-mark-sign.html'>iqoncept / 123RF Stoc
Sunday, November 24, 2013
If you didn’t hear it, there was a recent National Public Radio story on “How the bacteria in your gut may affect your brain.” Here’s a link: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=244526773&m=245913171
The show reports that “Doctors have long had clues that there may be a connection between what's going on in our heads and what's going on in other parts of our bodies.”
One of the hosts, Steve Inskeep reports that it “Turns out you really can have a gut feeling about something, because evidence has been mounting that those microbes in the body may be important for our emotional health as well as our physical health.”
They went on to play an audio interview between NPR’s Rob Stein and Dr. Emeran Mayer, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. Here’s the bit that caught my attention:
“MAYER: It really happens rarely in science that you sort of stumble into an area that all of a sudden opens up this completely new frontier.
STEIN: A frontier that could help explain that old idea of gut feelings. And Mayer thinks he already has the first good clues this may be true, after analyzing about 60 volunteers like Pria.
MAYER: We found that the type of community you have, of microbes you have in your gut, is reflected in some ways in some basic architectural aspects of the brain.
STEIN: The brain connections of people whose microbes are dominated by one species of bacteria look different than those of people whose microbes are dominated by another species. That suggests that the specific mix of microbes in our guts helps determine what kinds of brains we have, how our brain circuits develop, how they're wired.
MAYER: The brain circuits obviously determine certain ways of how we perceive the world and react to the world outside of us.
STEIN: This could help explain why some people are born with brains that don't work the way they're supposed to, causing problems like autism, anxiety, depression.
MAYER: It opens up a completely new way of looking at brain function and health and disease. I think that's, you know, kind of a revolutionary concept”
For me the research findings suggest that good microbes in your gut make for better brain function. And, tantalizingly, improving those microbes may also improve brain function.
And, since Greek Yoghurt is a tasty source of good microbes, and I'm part Greek, I will continue to use it instead of sour cream wherever I can.
And here’s a link to the transcript: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=244526773
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_12861403_illustration-depicting-three-organic-probiotic-yogurt-container-arranged-over-blue-and-pale-yellow.html'>72soul / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Friday, November 22, 2013
There’s an interesting series of postings on the American Cancer Society’s “Survivor Network” discussion board. You can follow it here: http://csn.cancer.org/node/189054
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_8402928_sheaf-of-asparagus-on-a-white-background.html'>volff / 123RF Stock Photo</a>