She Got A New Kidney

This year’s Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching and thoughts of family and BBQ and nice weather are on everyone’s minds, including mine!  Yet, as always, it’s important to remember where we have been and where we came from in addition to contemplate where we are headed. My expertise is in the health arena and I want to remember someone special to our family. 

Debbie is my sister-in-law who has had more health problems than anyone should ever have. She was the recipient of a cadaver kidney many years ago and that failed more than six years ago and she was on dialysis for all these years. It’s enough to try stout hearted souls. I was thinking how much expense and machinery is needed to try to replicate bodily function. If you didn’t realize how rich you really are, just let your kidney shut down for a few days or a few years to see what kind of miracle that little kidney performs for a healthy person on a daily basis. 

This past week, Debbie got a new kidney. Not just any old kidney but a kidney from a living donor. 

The generosity of some people leaves me speechless. 

The story gets even better to understand where this kind man came from who offered Debbie his kidney. 

You see, Debbie was nanny to two young girls for many years and literally helped raise them for a busy working mom. Now those kids are grown and Debbie has been too sick to work for a long time. This mom went through a divorce and ultimately remarried. New husband Bob is a nice guy and the mom says to Bob, “Well, you are going to have to get tested.” Bob did and lo and behold he is Debbie’s perfect match. 

I happened to be in the room visiting Debbie when Bob and Debbie met for the first time after the transplant. It was electric. What a way to increase your family tribe! Share a kidney with someone. So I want to remember Debbie for her years of courage in the face of turmoil and Bob for his undeniable ‘above and beyond’ call of duty generosity. While we are at it, let’s remember Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where miracles happen everyday, medical and otherwise. The acute emergency care and the advance medical care are ____________________. You fill in the blank; I can’t find the right superlative.  Dumbfounded and speechless, that’s me. 

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Memorial Day is Magnificence and Heroism personified.  Yes, real human beings, Americans perform magnificent acts of valor.

Memorial Day beckons us to remember and give homage to those who gave their lives in combat for our country defending our Constitutional freedoms. I have been on a hobbyist style kick for a year now reading every book I can get my hands on regarding our Delta Force and Seal Team operators working around the clock to keep us safe and keep us free.

Lady Liberty

The Navy says there are nine Seal teams but originally there were only two that were commissioned. The term “Seal Team Six” was created in the late ’60s as a counter intelligence measure to throw off  Soviet spies. Seal Team Six didn’t really exist. I would suppose that those type of markers and identifiers are for public consumption only and I would hope that all  Americans would just let them do their work in anonymity.  Brave men and women doing a thankless job to keep the nation safe.  Once in awhile they receive their honorable due but mostly they are unseen and unsung.

Once upon a time I lived in Switzerland which maintains a policy of armed neutrality. Their mountain nation is well fortified and mountain passes and bridges are heavily defensible. I admired their sensible “peace through strength” ideals. I mentioned this to a Swiss citizen soldier in his early twenties and he answered me with, “It merely gives us a slim chance of survival.” So you can add humility to their credentials.

Delta Force, Navy Seals, Rangers, Green Berets and all military servicemen and women deserve our thanks. They exemplify the common sense notion of peace through strength.  

In honor of our brave heroes I dedicate the “Sale” for Memorial Day to their honor. Use the coupon HONOR to receive 22% off anything you order now til Monday Midnight.  Pass on the coupon to friends and relatives. One way to show thanks to our armed service personnel is to preserve a sense of dignity about this holiday. It’s great that companies put on big sales events but you know that is not what’s important.  I would like to point out that most but not all of our supplements and products are made in America. We help to employ hundreds of Americans through our Made in USA supply chain. Two notable products that should be considered at this time is our 85% EPA/DHA “All American Omega-3” and Epicor, a high powered, sophisticated Immunogen, that increases resistance to germs, colds and the flu.  There is also and Epicor Jr. for kids. Many people get allergen relief from this product as well.  I love the benefits and take these myself. 

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Diet Advice // Heart Disease

“Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.”  -Michael Pollan.

We the People

What we do to ourselves we shouldn’t do to our enemies.  The concept of digging our graves with our teeth is more true than you know. I was in shock two days ago. I was writing a new article about heart disease and went to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website to find out that the 2009 all cause mortality report had been released. It seems even with everyone on computers and the Internet, it still takes years for these findings to be published. But I was shocked at the huge spike in deaths from heart disease. For the last two years, in speeches and articles, I had been quoting 2008 statistics that 1,100 American die each day on average due to heart disease. In 2009, the number jumped dramatically. The CDC reports that 616,000 Americans died from heart disease. If you do the simple math of dividing 616,000 by 365 days, you get the daily average of 1,687 deaths.  I hate to be the one who has to bring up these statistics but by comparison, you could say that is the 9-11 tragedy every two days throughout the entire year. Of course, it is a slow motion train wreck. We don’t see it up close and personal like we did on 9-11.  

One popular uprising to combat heart disease is to move to veganism  or at least vegetarianism. The former President Bill Clinton has converted from being a Big Mac loving guy to being a near-vegan under the tutelage of Dr. Dean Ornish in the 1990s and more recently Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr and Dr. Colin Campbell.  All three doctors have written books exemplifying the vegetarian and vegan life-style.  You can Google them, find their books and videos. 

I am of the opinion that most people will find it too difficult to embrace veganism in order to complete such a drastic life-style change. For most of us, use Michael Pollan’s quote as a guide. Eat real food, not food-like substances. If the food has a package wrapped around it and the label ingredients are words you can’t pronounce, it probably isn’t real food. It’s just a food-like substance. Just as you can’t understand what those ingredients are, neither can your body. Those man-made molecular entities have no place or purpose in the body. The liver becomes over taxed dealing with so many foreign objects, it can’t properly deal with the natural fats, carbohydrates and protein that it should instead be processing. That creates the modern human dilemma and is one of the chief reasons, we find ourselves with an obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemic. So what should you do? Eat real food. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket where the fresh foods reside. Don’t eat too much. Keep almonds and walnuts handy to snack on, eat raw carrots and celery for snacks. Drink more water especially a half hour before meals. Stop eating before you are full. For some reason, there is a 15 minute gap between stomach and brain indicating fullness. If you eat til your full, you will feel bloated for hours. Stop early. Hydrate.

A big part of the food and food like substances has to do with the cooking oils in use today. These are mainly man made concoctions that preserve shelf life but hurts human life. While Dr. Esselstyn is militantly opposed to all oils, most nutritionists give an A+ rating to Omega-3 fats and point out that the balance between pro inflammatory and anti inflammatory oils are essential. The last statistic I read was a University study that said, on average the consumption of pro-inflammatory Omega-6 is 15.7 times greater than anti-inflammatory Omega-3. Just keep this in mind as you navigate the supermarkets and choose wisely. Check the label on the peanut butter in your cupboard, if it’s got partially hydrogenated oil, throw it away. The easy way to tell: if there is oil in the top of the sealed jar in the store, then it’s natural peanut butter! Stop eating partially hydrogenated oils, you will live longer.  

The consensus from most authority sources is that more water, more exercise, more stress management, more fruits, more vegetables, more dietary fiber, less fat, less cholesterol, less protein, less calcium, less sugar, less processed foods, and less oils is a good strategy for avoiding the common diseases that reduce the quality and length of life. For many years now, we’ve opted to order one entree for two people when dining in restaurants, the portions are just super-sized most places.

Nutrition is really a young science, in its infancy. It is almost impossible to imagine an all encompassing diet or any condition in life where we could safely say that it applies  to 100% of the population. Nature is smart and it has a built in mechanism called bio-diversity that prevents populations from being homogeneous. Homogeneity would be bad because it makes the entire population vulnerable to the same things.

We’ll talk more later.

Have a fun, inspiring and happy Memorial Day with your family.  See what your family wants to hold in remembrance. I would be interested to hear about it. You can leave comments below. 

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