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.

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.

How Much Exercise You Need

A shrink told me that the current thinking corroborates that engaging in short periods of exercise throughout the week is definitely okay.

I’m 54–I’ve been lifting weights for over 8 years so far. I find that my older body cannot sustain my former madwoman intense 50 to 60 minute lifting sessions 2x per week anymore.

The health coach I employed vetted what I thought myself months ago: it’s time to exercise in more frequent sessions of shorter duration.

The spring issue of the NIH MedlinePlus magazine gives these exercise guidelines:

Adults and older adults: 2 to 5 hours per week.

Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities: 2 to 5 hours per week as able.

Pregnant women: 2 hours and 30 minutes per week as able.

Kids: 1 hour per day.

Young children: 3 hours per day.

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

I’ve learned firsthand that you need to adapt as you go along. To be flexible to changing when your needs change. To honor your limits in any given session and modify your approach for that day.

The benefits of exercise are numerous. To be blunt: You’ll feel better when you exercise.

My father died of Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

He spent 3 hours a day watching FoxNews. Regardless of his choice of state news channel the fact is he was sitting around doing nothing all day when he was older.

Please–I urge you–step away from the TV and break a sweat.

It can be gardening, raking leaves, walking your dog, salsa dancing.

I will report back in 2 weeks the outcome in my life of exercising more frequently in shorter time sessions.

My goal is to give people hope that engaging in any form of moderate sustained physical activity is well worth the effort.

Getting Support for Your Goals

The one small act of scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast has whirled into action other goals in a snowball roll.

The health coach services end in two weeks. This 2-month health coach service was well worth the money.

This is why I tell readers to get the support you need to plan and prepare for the new goals you want to take on.

One of my ideas is to go back to school for a writing degree.

It can be scary to make changes even though the changes might be positive.

That’s why I say: create a support team of individuals you can talk with.

Lastly: to remember that with health you have everything you need.

What I write I would like to educate, empower, and entertain readers.

To give followers the idea that it’s not as hard as you think to make changes.

I’ve been scrambling culinary sunshine for 6 weeks so far.

I say Go for It: risk change.

You don’t know until you try what’s possible.

Fitness Fridays

I’ve decided to plan and schedule my blog entries here.

Fitness Fridays will be the theme of the nutrition blog topics.

I’ll post on Fridays blog entries about fitness and nutrition.

The fact is:

Infirmity is not inevitable in old age.

Lifestyle habits are a significant factor in whether you remain healthy or progressively decline into ill health.

A while back in the blog I wrote about the book How to Be Well. After going on the book author’s website, I submitted a form to talk with a health coach.

For a customary fee you can get individual advice. An action plan is created for you to follow. Two weeks later there’s a follow-up talk to see how it’s going.

The fee is actually cheaper than other nutritionists charge. A 6-session package costs more. I opted for the 3-session package.

Folks: carbohydrates are my enemy. After talking with the health coach, I threw out all the grains and granola packages in my kitchen.

My plan involves scrambling eggs with veggies to have with avocado for breakfast. It’s entirely possible that having granola for breakfast had been one of the culprits in my mid-life fatigue.

You can go on the Dr. Frank Lipman (the author)’s website to research the options for talking with a health coach.

I have no guilt in having gotten rid of the grains. Bye-bye.

In one week, I will report back on how it’s been going.

Christina Bruni’s Story

From the fall of 1987 to the summer of 1990 I collected a government disability check and received Medicaid. I lived below the poverty line. For two years back then I lived in public housing.

These earliest experiences changed me forever. They’re the root of why I have compassion for those of us who are less fortunate.

In fact I know plenty of people who collected so-called “entitlements”  when they needed them, and got off the government rolls when their situation in life changed.

Alas, the myth persists of “lazy freeloaders” collecting entitlements forever with no intention of bettering themselves.

Only other people should understand that for a minority of individuals holding a job and obtaining employment isn’t possible.

I’m aware that there are those of us with a diagnosis or disability who have a passive resistance to taking initiative to get a job. They are the exception not the rule.

I wrote You Are Not Your Diagnosis for people who have the desire and ability to work at a job and have a career.

Today it’s possible to stop collectingt SSI or SSDI for the rest of your life.

Today it’s possible to do what you love on and off a job.

Today it’s possible to have your own version of a full and robust life living in recovery.

I’m committed to serving people who want to recover.

My story offers hope and can empower people:

Within 3 years of getting the diagnosis, I stopped collecting government benefits and obtained my first job as an administrative assistant. Seven months later I moved into a studio apartment near the beach.

The wind-up of this story is that you’re not doomed to a life of poverty, unremitting welfare, and joblessness or homelessness when you have a mental health issue.

Wherever you are on the road of recovery whether just starting out or in your older years it’s possible to find the job you love.

The Occupational slice of the Wheel of Wellness should fit into your goals and personality.

I will in coming blog entries talk about a method of finding the job you love and would be happy to go to every week.

I detail this method for achieving occupational fitness in my own forthcoming career guide You Are Not Your Diagnosis.