Talking About Health

book cover well

The subtitle of the captioned book is What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health.

The author Sandro Galea connects the dots that no one else has connected. He illuminates the root causes of health disparities among Americans.

The excess of diet books churned out and published each year expand the myth that personality responsibility causes ill health for the majority of Americans.

As economic inequality increases none of us will be immune from having to choose between buying an unhealthful $6.99 Hungry Man Swanson dinner and picking up fish and vegetables for dinner.

As Sandro Galea brings to light:

“True health comes from social and economic justice. It is a product of systems that create opportunities for all to live a life that is unconstrained by the forces that generate sickness…Health comes from living in a world where no one is walled off from the conditions that allow us to be well from the day we are born until the day we die.”

Alas the preponderance of “food deserts” in low income neighborhoods–the absence of supermarkets selling better food–causes obesity when residents are forced to buy processed food that lines the shelves of convenience stores.

In low-income neighborhoods a lot of people don’t have cars to drive to a supermarket or a farmer’s market that is miles away.

Sandro Galea refers often in his book to the legacy of slavery as seen in the the ongoing racial segregation in neighborhoods where people live.

The proliferation of unregulated gun ownership has caused ill health in these neighborhoods. Having more people own more guns in society doesn’t make Americans safer–it makes us victims of ongoing gun violence–whether by mass shooters or a hoodlum walking down the street.

The book Well by Sandro Galea should be required reading.

The author rallies for having compassion for everyone. He admonishes the Republican and Conservative ilk who use the “personality responsibility” card to attack people living in poverty and  collecting government benefits.

I have the unusual experience [for a person like me] of having received so-called “entitlements” in my early twenties. I collected a government disability check, used Medicaid to pay for clinic visits, and lived in public housing.

In retrospect I can see why I was overweight: I bought hot dogs to cook (cheap!) and Velveeta Mac-and-Cheese (not really healthier even though I added broccoli to it).

You shouldn’t be judged and attacked when you’re forced to choose to buy unhealthful food.

There’s a better way. I’ve written in my blog before that the American healthcare model is foolishly predicated on disease management instead of illness prevention.

As per Sandro Galea health has nothing to do with the ability to buy yourself a cure for cancer. It have everything to do with the environment you’re born into and live in.

Whoever has health has wealth in the true definition of wealth as being abundance.

Read the book Well like I did and you might see things differently as I do now.

My goal is to vote for Andrew Yang a candidate for president whose platform involves giving every American 18 and older a monthly Universal Basic Income of $1,000.

With the loss of jobs to computer automation–with the increasing economic inequality (which is no individual’s fault at all)–I’m in favor of creating a Universal Basic Income system in America.

The jobs lost to computers simply aren’t coming back.

In the coming blog entry I will explore the issue of food justice in more detail.

I will start to give summertime recipes again.

 

 

 

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Better Exercise Routine

In here a few weeks ago I had to referred to changing the time and frequency of of my exercise sessions.

Currently I lift weights 2x per week for 30 to 35 minutes of training with warm-up and cool-down stretching. For a total of 40 to 45 minutes for each workout.

I had written that I would report back as to how it’s going.

I find that exercising consistently 2x every week for a shorter time in each session has toned my body better than it’s ever been.

It might be that I train harder and more intensely because the time I have is shorter.

I’ve been doing the new routine for over 7 weeks so far. I had a 3-week setback of not training. Yet quickly reversed course and started the sessions again.

The proof of the success is that I’m 54, living in menopause, and haven’t gained weight. In fact I lost 4 pounds after changing the time and frequency of the sessions.

To maintain your physical and mental health post-40 years old I recommend strength training. Specifically lifting weights.

I weigh the same as I did 8 years ago when I first started lifting. The difference is I dropped one pant and one skirt size. This happened because I gained muscle.

I ask you: is 45 minutes 2x per week so hard to fit into a person’s schedule?

You’ll like the results you get.

Next week I will return to talking about the benefits of having a home gym.

Eggs and Avocado Sandwich

By chance I spotted on a shelf at the library a great recipe collection: Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook.

Twelve years ago, a friend and I saw Ziggy Marley in concert. Everyone was on their feet dancing and swaying to the reggae.

I’ve collected a number of cookbooks over the years. After checking this one out of the library I bought it for my apartment.

The Marley livet (diet) uses whole, organic food. It’s called ital. You can call me an Italian because I buy fresh, organic food too.

In New York City you can use SNAP benefits (food stamps) to buy produce at GrowNYC Greenmarkets around town.

The Rastafari performer echoes in his book my manifesto: that the food you eat can impact your mood. My body feels better when I eat better.

Losing just 4 pounds made a great difference.

Owing to copyright I can’t reproduce the specific recipes in the Ziggy Marley cookbook. Instead I’ll offer you a modified version that’s irie in its own right. As well, quicker and easier.

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Rise and Shine Eggs and Avocado

1/ 2 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs

2 slices sourdough bread, or other favorite bread

2 butter lettuce leaves

2 slices heirloom tomato (you can use beefsteak or other)

2 avocados

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Toast bread.

To make avocado spread: Mix and mash avocados with lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Fry eggs in butter and olive oil

Apply avocado spread to bread, top with lettuce, tomatoes, and eggs.

Serves 1 person.

It occurs to me that you can insert a slice of Swiss cheese if you wanted to.

Portable

My health coach recommended the Bulletproof protein bars.

You order them online. A 12-pack of bars costs $42 total.

The benefit is they have only 2 grams of sugar. They have no natural flavors in the Vanilla Shortbread bars.

They’re better than having a croissant or chocolate chip cookie when you’re hungry in the afternoon.

The Bulletproof bars are portable for snacking on the go.

Alas, I’ve found that these protein bars just like the roundup of questionable bars (Clif – Luna – Skinny Girl etc.) don’t give me energy.

As well I recommend buying the 3-set of round Cal Tiffins from Amazon.

You can use these stainless-steel containers to store and carry nuts and seeds.

They aren’t leak-proof.

One other thing I recommend from Amazon seller is the RoryTory water bottle holder.

I’ve bought Klean Kanteen water bottles to use. My small one fits in the RoryTory carrier.

Single-use plastic water bottles aren’t great for the environment.

For when you don’t want a water bottle to come in contact with other things in your tote bag the water bottle holder is great.

It comes with a strap so you can carry it around your shoulder like a pocketbook. Or just tote it in your hand.

In coming weeks I’ll return to giving recipes since it’s Greenmarket season.

Changeology Step 3 Perspire Update

It’s been 8 weeks since I hired the health coach.

In the 8 weeks or 56 days I’ve scrambled eggs and veggies for breakfast.

For only 4 days I had to buy an egg wrap at a coffee shop.

So I’ve completed Step 3 Perspire of the Changeology 5-Step method for realizing goals and resolutions.

Step 4 is Persevere and Step 5 is Persist.

I’ve recommended the Changeology book often because it’s a scientifically proven method for achieving goals and resolutions.

Step 3 Perspire takes 30 to 60 days to execute. The 5-Step method is a 90-day action plan.

So I have completed the action plan.

My story is living proof that the Changeology book is effective.

Greenmarket season has arrived in New York City.

In coming Fitness Friday blog entries I will be giving recipes.

Plus talking about healthful snacks you can take on the go.

There are better options than the standard high sugar natural flavor-laden protein bars.

I’ll talk about these portable options next.

Exercise Motivation Tips

Years ago in the New York Times a star track-and-field athlete wrote an article.

She talked about how doing a shorter exercise routine that was less intense gave her better results.

After altering the intensity of my own workouts I can tell you this athlete was right:

I have the bulging biceps to prove that changing the frequency and intensity of your exercise sessions can make all the difference.

I’ve changed to lifting weights for 35 to 40 minutes with a 5 minute warm-up and 5 minute cool-down. For a total of 40 to 45 minutes each session.

You might find better luck with a different exercise plan. However so far this has worked like a charm for me.

Changing the Frequency Intensity or Time of your workouts can help.

As well I remember that sometimes you have to do what’s called a “de-load”: take it easy in the first session of a new routine.

I’m 8 years older than when I first started lifting weights.

Adapting as you go along can help you maintain an exercise habit for the long-term.

 

Having an Emergency Fund

The greatest thing working to your financial advantage is this:

When you collect SSI or SSDI there’s no rush to get a job. There’s no reason to take any old job that comes along first.

This is because you already have income coming in in the form of SSI or SSDI.

While you collect these government benefits you can read the information I’ve given in the blog entries in the Career category of this blog.

See if any of what I’ve written makes sense to you as being a viable strategy for finding your dream job.

The government allows people who collect these benefits to have something like $3,000 total in a savings account and what’s called a burial account.

Having this money in an FDIC-insured bank account can be your first version of an emergency fund.

Once years ago when I did a public speaking engagement a person didn’t know what an emergency fund was. They thought that someone else gave you this money.

When they asked me: “Who gives you an emergency fund? Where does the money come from?” I was stunned.

Stunned because the person looked like they were older than I was.

Your car needs a new muffler. You go into a hospital for an operation. You lose your job. You have to move into a new apartment.

An emergency fund gives you the ready cash to pay for these things when they happen.

Though I’m no fan of Suze Orman (in one of her DVDs she reduced an audience member to tears) I agree with her on this advice:

Saving up 8 months of living expenses in your emergency fund makes the best sense.

In New York, Los Angeles, even in Boston and other high-cost cities:

If you live in one of these places I say: have at least $20,000 saved in your emergency fund.

In fact, if you ask me you should have tons of money in an emergency fund.

I don’t go by the common advice to have only 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved in an emergency fund.

The higher this amount of money is the better.

In the coming Money Monday blog entry I’m going to talk about having an:

It’s My Money and I’ll Do What I Want With It Fund.

Karen Ramsay was the original financial planner who wrote a book decades ago about budgeting in money to fund your passions in life.

More on this coming up.