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The ABC’S of Health

By Dr. Jo Gjelsten

Get Up And Go!


It is February as you read this and I’m up in Vermont with my friend Florence being outdoorsy every which way I can; downhill skiing, and if there’s enough snow, snow shoeing, dog sledding,  hot chocolating, hot tubbing and feeling tubby. I like a smorgasbord of activity; a couple hours of each and I’m happy. You may not be doing all that, and for sure I won’t be doing it all day every day, but whatever you do this winter, DO it, don’t just talk about it. Bundle up and spend some time with yourself; you may find it enlightening, as you get to know yourself without the din of TV, cell phones, computers and music. If you’re really quite dull and boring without all that, just go back inside before you get depressed. Ok I’m kidding, a little. But what if we had a brown/blackout and you and/or the kids had nothing electronic to do? (If you have kids, they might have to figure out how to entertain each other. Don’t do it for them. You won’t be around when they’re 40 and wondering how to fill their time without you). You might meditate; I said meditate, not medicate.  According to the book, “Wherever You Go, There You Are”, (which I find reassuring because maybe it’s just me, but if I wasn’t where I went, it would be very scary indeed), meditation is really just quieting your mind, observing the world around you, ohhmming not necessary after all, unless you like the sound of your owwnnn voice. You might like to do this as Thoreau did, outside. And you don’t have to be still. You can combine meditation with action that you are “fully present” for.  But if you decide to move around a lot outside, know that this takes energy we hope you’re getting from your food in the form of carbs and good fats, and protein so the energy doesn’t come from your muscles. A word or two about protein. Protein builds  muscles. How much protein? The RDA is about 54 grams/day or 1.5 chicken breasts and a 7 oz. steak for instance for a 150 lb. adult carnivore. The average adult woman requires 46 grams/day of protein. Adult men, 56 grams, but it’s really based on weight, not age. A quick way to figure it out?  Take your weight, halve it, and you have in grams how much protein you need, while exercising, which is great if you’re used to the metric system Nigel. So Nigel if you weigh 160 lbs, go to the deli and ask for 80 grams of eggs on a roll; that’ll work. After they stop laughing you might want to make your own sandwich. Can you have more than that? It depends. According to Web MD, Nigel, if you’re pregnant and/or lactating which we hope you don’t do together, 71 grams is recommended. But if you have kidney disease, more than 2 grams per kg of body weight stresses the kidneys. Those on high protein diets must be aware that B-6 levels may become deficient. And for you adult women with osteoporosis, the more protein you eat the more your body has to buffer it with the calcium to maintain crucial ph levels, which is fine if there’s enough calcium from your diet and enough Vit. D to help you absorb it, but if not your body will get it from anywhere it can, even from your bones Bertha, isn’t that nice to know? (So that calcium goes where it should, I give my patients a special type of K vitamin which helps to put calcium in the bones, as opposed to their arteries, and we take one each day ourselves). Aging adults weighing 150 lbs. need 73-94 grams to help prevent sarcopenia or muscle wasting, and metabolically active branched-chain amino acids available at most health food stores can help. So you need enough protein if you exercise, which most of us, but not all do get. If not, muscles will be broken down for energy my vegetarian friends, most of whom know their protein sources, (pea protein for instance is wonderful), and you need carbs and fat, like safe (and delicious in oatmeal) coconut oil which is broken down quickly for energy too. So don’t go on a low protein diet and start to exercise you little nutbags. But there’s more, especially for those who may have had some stress, and that includes just about everyone I can think of; well maybe not the Queen of England, who looks great at 125 years old. I have several things I use to get my motor going if I’m not feeling particularly energetic. The aforementioned coconut oil I have every day. Another one is CoQ10, a good absorbable one (many aren’t) at a good dose, which really depends on the absorbability Bill, of both the product and you. CoQ10 is famous for helping your muscles, and your heart is a muscle that uses a LOT of it, to facilitate the powerhouses of your cells, your little mighty mitochondria function on it;  so important for aerobic things like changing the channel on the TV. If you’re on some types of meds, like statins, your needs increase because statins reduce CoQ10 production which can be stressful. Stress slows ‘ya down, so another helper I have is an adaptogenic herb so you can adapt to stress, which even Dr. Oz takes. I like my electrolytes if I plan on sweating even in winter, and for muscle recovery I like to use d-ribose in powder form in my water. Ask your Doctor, especially if you’re on a salt free diet. A little sweating does most people some good but don’t even think about taking anything or making a move if you’re out of shape and under a Doc’s care without some guidance and advice from him/her/them and those guys. And you adolescents need to get outside too, but you likely don’t read this column so parents listen up. The Center For Disease Control guidelines (for those kids, who you think you gave birth to but their noses have been buried in some electronic thing for so long you’ve forgotten their names) include 60 minutes of aerobic activity per day, if you can find them that is. In addition to that, they need muscle strengthening activity 3 days/week, (yes that’s what it says), and a combo of the 2 aforementioned. How many kids do that? An assessment by the CDC of grades 9-12, only 15.3 % met the aerobic “objective”, only 51.% met the muscle strength objective, and only 12.2% met the objective for both.  Pity-pity-pity-ful. Pitiful. Fat makes inflammation, a dirty word, most of the time. Bring back full recess and gym where running around the track a few laps for everyone was a daily occurrence. The benefits, you ask? Improved immunity, muscle strength, lessening anxiety, and now we know this:  Adult diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can be traced back to adolescence and childhood. What is NOT done now by kids has enormous adverse effects on their health if they make it to adulthood. So take yourself and your family on a hike, or buy them snowshoes. Some cute little snowshoes for kids are available at many sporting goods stores. “Children growing up in active families are imprinted with the importance and habit of exercise from an early age”.  Make time for this, like you would make time to take them to the Doctor.  I like to hike, bike and snowshoe through the forest when I can. It’s called “Forest Therapy” by one study showing it actually bumped up immune system indicators, as opposed to those who hiked not at all. Why? There is the belief that I believe is believable, that the plants exude some phytonutrients into the atmosphere in the forest accounting for this phenomenon, which now explains why I love to hug trees. We have them to thank for oxygen, so go out and get some of your own this winter!  Copyright Jan.12 2012.© www.GoDrJo.com And I mean Go!



The products and claims made about specific products on our site have not been evaluated by any regulatory health authority and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on our site is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

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August 11, 2016
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Joanne Gjelsten

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