We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, June 28. 2015
It is true that blood cholesterol has nothing to do with arterial disease or heart disease but you can still find physicians checking peoples' cholesterol. I take my Lipitor not for trigycerides but because it seems to prevent heart attacks by some other kind of magic.
Medical and non-medical erroneous or pseudoscientific enthusiasms can last a generation because they infect the culture. Red meat and salt-avoidance, for examples. The 8 Stages of Scam
I recently saw a relative get into big trouble by believing the old "salt is bad" admonition. Skepticism is the best default setting in life.
Tuesday, June 16. 2015
Effortful physical exertion has many benefits (not walking or slow jogging, but heavy exertion) and should be pursued by anybody who desires to stay fit, but weight loss can only be achieved via diet. That means no carbs. It is settled science...
We take it for granted today, but it is an astonishing fact that, at least in the Western world, one of our challenges is dealing with too much cheap good high-caloric food. For regular folks, that's a first in human history.
Wednesday, June 10. 2015
Thursday, June 4. 2015
Friday, May 29. 2015
A book, Gary Taubes: Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
Wednesday, May 20. 2015
I often write about dietary and nutritional issues here, trying to debunk the fads, but I think anything people do to keep moving with vigor in all stages of life improves the quality and functionality of life. Physical and mental challenges, constantly.
All kinds of resistance exercises are excellent for the regular sedentary Western person to maintain posture, balance, function, bone density, and muscle mass. The challenge is that middle-aged people develop aches and pains, reminding us that Nature and maybe God never intended us to live much beyond our prime breeding ages. But, there is a need for a few wise elders. Why not be one?
What exercise cannot do, unless you are hiking the Appalachian Trail (we did it as a between-jobs extended sabbatical, before kids - Georgia to Katahdin. A crazy 5-month honeymoon of bliss, bonding, and exertion. Youthful woodland passion from hill to dale, from state to state. God saw us. Then hubbie's "garden leave" ended, we started new jobs, I got an office, life returned, and kids came. I think we created our first one towards the end of that hike and we later nicknamed him "Trail," - short for Trail Mix) is get rid of fat. Only diet can do that.
When people have young kids, they rightly neglect their own well-being. Nature demands that. After that chapter, you either rise or fall.
These are averages for average-fit people, not what might be desired. Average sizes, not lifters and hard exercisers (for ages 30-60). These rough numbers are with reps, however many one can handle (1-10):
Average fit male can bench press his weight.
Friday, May 15. 2015
Princeton ethicist: it's 'reasonable' to kill disabled newborn babies
What does 'reasonable' have to do with ethics?
Monday, May 11. 2015
Via Insty, from Starting Strength:
Exactly right. Fitness for life and postponing decline. That's my goal. A generation or two ago, most American middle-aged people were overweight, weak slugs unless they did manual labor. The cultural change has been dramatic: people avoid heavy-lifting jobs, then pay for the privilege of lifting, pushing, and pulling weights for an hour.
Saturday, May 9. 2015
Thursday, May 7. 2015
A major omission, however, is the topic of lawsuits. No physician wants to be asked on the stand something like this: "Doctor, you have testified that in your opinion Mrs. Jones had the symptoms of ordinary migraine headache and did not need an MRI. We have an expert witness who says he always orders an MRI for headaches...."
This topic gives me a headache. The fact is that rigid "best practices" combined with lawsuit avoidance diminish physicians' use of their judgement, flexibility, experience, and more.
Sunday, May 3. 2015
Saturday, April 25. 2015
Tuesday, April 21. 2015
It's not either-or. Hospitals are looking for good ratings and market share. It definitely can go to ridiculous lengths and it remains a good rule of thumb that the hospitals with the best "hotel services" are not the most medically-advanced. And sometimes the "most advanced" can get you into new problems.
Monday, April 13. 2015
Photo: I look in pretty good shape for a country boy, don't I?
Mrs. BD decided that my lazy middle-aged, sedentary-working ass needed a trainer. Well, I happily do outdoor work all I can on weekends, but there is church, theater, museum, music performances, etc...
In long-past years, I would routinely swim a mile a day racing friends, or run 5-20 miles. As I say, middle-aged lazy ass now. It's crazy, isn't it? In America, many people pay for physical exertion while, mostly, the whole world prays for work with no lifting. I love sort-of mindless physical work like ditch-digging or log splitting or chain-sawing. Mental work fatigues me.
How in this world can physical labor be a luxury good? Anybody, no matter how impaired; every person can do at least useful simple physical work and I am not talking about Steven Hawking who works 10 hrs/day.
I haven't even been playing tennis regularly since the organizer of our group died (dropped dead on the tennis court, which I said he would have always wanted, but not right then. I feel the same way, but one would feel bad to interrupt a good doubles game that way).
Anyway, Mrs. BD gave me 20 beginning sessions for Christmas with this young trainer she uses, quite inexpensive, in a hole-in-the-wall gym (not Equinox). (For presents, our family goes more for the experiential than the material.) 5 am sessions, fine with me. Get it done before work. An Ohio farm lad. He is good, cheerful, not a body-beautiful type and with just the right amount of sadism to laugh when you feel pain. He asked me what my tolerance for aching muscles was. I honestly told him that I love the feeling of physical fatigue and ache - bring it on - and only hate mental ache and worry.
Naturally, he asked me my goals. I said maintaining and improving strength, fitness, and endurance in middle age. I have no weight problem or physical problems (thus far). I can ski all day and hike up hills all day, do manual labor all day, but I do tire. My many sibs are all exercise nuts, wiry, a bit too skinny, hard-bodied, and far more fit than I am.
For no good reason I can see, Mrs. BD wants me alive so she made me get a physical and an echo stress test before starting. I avoid "physicals" like the plague, and figure every 5-7 years is just barely tolerable. Anyway, I went. Passed. I quickly found out why she wanted that. This guy said I won't need too much aerobics for a while because his fitness training plan for me will be highly aerobically stressful in itself. He does not allow rest periods and claims any endurance improvement will come from that. It's called "boot camp." Whew!
Trainer said my weight is fine, but I am soft, with some signs of age and muscle loss. Gee, thanks - but I knew that. He wants to build muscle weight and eliminate soft weight so it comes out about even. He said quit carbs and eat a hard-boiled egg, or a small plain yoghurt, or one slice of meat or 2 of cheese after hard work-outs as breakfast, to inject a little protein in the bloodstream. Nothing more. Said that was plenty for a guy doing a hard morning workout since I have mostly sitting or just walking afterwards. I guess I can handle that, altho I never have eaten any breakfast except coffee since I was a teen and do not like to eat in the morning. 2 coffees and a smoke is a perfect breakfast.
I am not a big eater at all but I am known to nibble. I can appreciate fine food but I don't need it - a small sandwich or a small bowl of soup for supper is plenty for me. I am not a carb addict other than mashed taters (in a lifetime of Dunkin Donuts, I have almost never bought one of their pastries - maybe one a year at most).
I'll confess it's a good, luxurious feeling to put part of your well-being in the hands of an expert.
Wednesday, April 8. 2015
There's a name for that: Orthorexia nervosa.
It is indeed an eating disorder which is probably related to, and often overlaps, the other eating disorders. Unlike the other eating disorders, it seems harmless enough although irrational, a waste of time, and annoying to others. A waste of effort and money too. Basically another variant of the obsessional neuroses.
Vegans, organics, gluten freaks, Whole Foods, and all that silliness.
Nobody can define healthy eating and it doesn't matter as far as we can tell. Therefore, if you worry about food we say you just need to get a life. A social life, wholesome hobbies, etc. Unless you need to lose weight for health and vigor, to prevent arthritis and diabetes, etc, that is. Does your cholesterol count matter for anything? Not at all, unless you have the genetic disease of hypercholesterolemia which is detectable early in life. In that case, you take pills, cross your fingers, and pray.
Tuesday, April 7. 2015
Wednesday, April 1. 2015
This is the sort of crap that drives docs to retirement. It's called "electronic medical records," and it is essentially government-mandated in hospitals now. It is an incredible time-waster, and almost requires physicians to follow a script instead of focusing on you. Docs used to just note relevant positives and relevant negatives quickly on a piece of paper in a minute, and then practicing the art and science of caring about you.
"Care" is not an economic term. It is not a technical term. The "medical care" experts don't get that.
Read it and weep: Please Choose One.
It's too late to keep corporate and government bureaucracy out of American medicine. We all must now just seek out physicians with the traditional, independent medical values, who work for you despite the intrusions. However, most of them will not "take insurance" anymore. They can't afford the professionally-trained billing staff.
Wednesday, March 25. 2015
For another example, cardiac surgeons who are willing to take on the most difficult, or oldest, cases have the worst survival ratings. Of course they do. They are the best at what they do so they take on high-risk cases.
That's why No More Numbers makes sense.
Sunday, March 8. 2015
"It is with the deepest regret that we announce the passing of the physician healer. While there was no exact date provided, it was believed that his death occurred sometime during 2013. This was preceded by a long illness that began in the 1970s and appears to finally have taken him in the last year."
Friday, March 6. 2015
Friday, February 27. 2015
Marketing can work wonders, as can the placebo effect. Don't be a sucker.
Thursday, February 26. 2015
The problem with this, of course, is that most respectable medical research turns out to be wrong too. I recently read that coronary bypass has no value compared with the alternatives, but they are done constantly. I also read that prostate cancer surgery may be pointless after age 65 or 70, yet they are performed constantly.
When politics gets involved, it all gets worse. If you need a doctor, get one with grey hair (who has seen it all) and a male (not bound by all the idiot rules).
Tuesday, February 24. 2015
We have said here at Maggie's, for years, that a "healthy diet" cannot be defined without evidence, and there has never been any evidence. "Healthy" has just been bias, old-wives tales, and happy-sounding ignorance like "eat your peas and kale and fruit". All nonsense.
It's a big deal that even the slow-witted government finally comes around to what we have all known. America, go easy on the carbs, eat veggies only if you like them, use butter and olive oil, enjoy a fine steak when you can afford it, and do not become food-obsessed.
Sorry, Whole Foods, food quacks, and food faddists. You have been wrong all along. Docs finally now feel free to share the real facts, which they have known for years. I've never known a doc who would refuse a rare ribeye steak or filet mignon. Never known a vegetarian doc either, or a scientist who ate organic food. In fact, the biological scientists I know like to go to fancy French and fancy Italian restaurants as often as possible.
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