Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bill Clinton: A Sucker or Smart?

I've spent a lot of my free time this month reading about cholesterol.This came about due to two blood lipid tests in December about three weeks apart. One test was out of curiosity and the other for a life insurance exam. Both tests were relatively close, but neither gave me a reassuring feeling. The results from both tests were (in sequential order): total cholesterol 225, 236; LDL cholesterol calc 152, 162; HDL cholesterol 52, 54; triglycerides 104, 97. Blood glucose was 81, 74.

The results from the first test prompted my family physician to suggest that I eat a low fat diet and be retested in three months. If cholesterol wasn't lowered by then, then perhaps statins should be considered. The results from the second test gave me a passing grade for my life insurance.

There's so much that has been written about cholesterol and heart disease that one could make it a career just reading and digesting all the studies. For sure, there's a lot of evidence that serum cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease are correlated. But then there are a lot of skeptics that say other risk factors are more significant like stress/oxidation, smoking and lifestyle (physical activity). I've been tempted to blog about some of the papers that I've read, but it's very difficult to judge which ones are most relevant.

Speaking of relevancy, there's one very influential person who has decided to change his diet to whole plant based foods in an attempt to reduce his cholesterol levels and reverse his heart disease. I'm speaking of President Bill Clinton, who was interview in 2011 by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Mr. Clinton talks about the changes he has made and the doctors who influenced him. Then, Mr. Blitzer interviews some of those doctors, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish. Have a listen:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jack LaLanne: 1950s Real Food

For Amy's birthday on Saturday, she got a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. We try to be healthy, although there is an occasional indulgence in birthday cake:

It's been almost a year since Jack LaLanne, pioneer of exercise and nutrition, "ruined his image by dying". He passed away January 23, 2011 from pneumonia at age 96 years. Also known as the "godfather of fitness", he was trained as a chiropractor, but opened health clubs (which later became Bally Total Fitness) and had the longest running exercise TV program (1951-1985). He invented leg extension and pulley exercise machines and marketed electric juicers. He was also infamous for great feats of strength and endurance.

I first became aware of Jack LaLanne a few years ago after reading Paul Bragg's "The Miracle of Fasting". As Jack described himself, he was a miserable sugarholic as a kid. But at age 15, he attended a nutrition lecture with Paul Bragg and it changed his life.

Jack has been described as ahead of his time. I suppose that's a fair description, as this video clip from his 1950's TV program shows he promoted real, natural foods and to avoid processed foods: