Tuesday, January 29, 2008

All About Eggs

From Mother Earth News (Oct-Nov 2007)

Eggs from pasture raised hens (compared to USDA data for commercial eggs):
  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more Vitamin A
  • 2x more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3x more vitamin E
  • 7x more beta carotene

Another important distinction is that for most people, eating a moderate amount of eggs in the diet does not have a large impact on their blood cholesterol levels. In fact, eggs may be a healthy source for essential fatty acids (commonly called Omega-3's) as shown above. Most of the cholesterol circulating in our bodies is actually produced in the liver and not absorbed into our blood stream from our diets. However, our diets do have a strong impact on our cholesterol level. The culprits, such as sugar and saturated fat, act through hormonal mediators to stimulate the liver's production and distribution of cholesterol.

Weighty Issues

I remember an article I read a few years ago about how cavalier people were about judging and censuring smokers. The writer complained that strangers would approach her and ask "don't you know that smoking is bad for you?" Yes, the surgeon general warned her - it's written right on the pack. The author predicted that this kind of unsolicited advise would creep into other areas of personal choice, and specifically mentioned food and obesity.

It seems that we're getting there - I've read scores of articles lately on weight, obesity and diet. While food is my passion, it's disheartening to see the cultural obsession we have with fat, in food or people. The UTNE Reader has several articles on obesity including Shame on US: How an obsession with obesity turned fat into a moral failing, Love Your Fat Self and The Food Police. Even these diverse offerings don't touch on the cultural and historical value placed on big, heavy, healthy bodies.

Here's another video that I really like - mostly because of the statement: it's just a number. I want to help people acheive a healthy weight, but I also want people to have a healthy relationship with their food and their body. And I don't want to ever hear another person apologize to strangers for being fat. (Yes, this really happens.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Flu Vaccine

I get a lot of questions about the flu vaccine. My answer is always to open my palm pilot and read them this memo:

"There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza . . . . They are worthless."
--Dr. J Anthony Morris, research virologist and one time Chief Vaccine Control Officer of the FDA. Dismissed for making such comments.

This video provides a more comical take.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Everyone's (Not) An Expert

While going through school and now as I'm setting up my practice, I work for New Seasons Market. One day a week, I work in the Wellness Department and part of my duties are to help people find and choose appropriate products. Often they just want to be pointed in the right direction, but sometimes they want serious advice. I happen to be a physician, but not everyone in my department is, and even I refer these more serious questions to our customers' physicians or pharmacists. It's important to know who is and is not a good reference for health related information. Health food store employees can
  • help you find products
  • tell you what products are good for certain conditions
  • can tell you what they or other customers have experienced with such a product
  • help you choose a specific product when there are several similar products available

Health food store employees should not
  • make promises or guarantees about the effects of products
  • prescribe products to you
  • diagnose your symptom or illness
  • pressure you to buy or use a specific product
Even more importantly, your postal worker, milkman, hair stylist and dog walker should not do those things. Keep in mind the source of information you are receiving about your health - my hair stylist gave me some great advise on weight loss - drink more water and walk 30 blocks a day - followed by some not-so-good advise - eat whatever you want. I overhear customers sharing their experiences with one another at the store all the time - this is great perspective, but just remember that you and your health care team are the best sources of information about your own health.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Average Day Philosophy

Great article in this months UTNE: Have an Average Day: Enjoying the ordinary is extraordinary.

I can't even come up with a good summary of how much I love this article. It's freeing just to read it. Here's my system of cumulative rewards :

Write on health related topics for 5-10 minutes a day.
That's 25+ minutes per week
That's 100+ minutes per month
That's 1200+ minutes per week.

At an average of just 10 words per minute, that's 12,000 words or 240 pages.
If I was of a mind to, I could write a book at that pace...if I was of a mind to.