I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at the bizarre-but-true existence of the Heart Attack Grill. Call it vulgar, call it wasteful, call it offensive – but someone’s eating there. A lot of someones. And I guarantee you they’re not healthy.
The Heart Attack Grill: the restaurant that so prides itself on inducing heart problems, the burgers have names such as “Double Bypass”. Of course, as John Stossel points out, no idiotic unhealthy venture would be complete without scantily-clad “nurse” waitresses. (Because if you’re going to infuriate the health experts, you might as well offend the better-smelling half of the population, too. The bizarre American intersection of fast food meat and female objectification – didn’t these guys learn anything in college? Did they go to college?). Everyone knows I’m no big fan of the food police. Also, I fully admit to a love affair with salad rivaled only by Popeye. But, considering the fact that millions of people every year are tragically affected by easily-prevented heart attacks (and the fact that a half-million die), this kind of gloating stupidity concerns me, if only because these men may be reproducing.
BUT NOT NEARLY AS EFFECTIVELY AS HEARTBURN PILLS
A large-scale study out of Britain has reported that taking popular heartburn medications like Tagamet and Pepcid AC can seriously increase your risk of bone fractures, because the drugs block calcium absorption.
Check out the article – here’s the clickativity.
Of course, the
pill pushers contrarians say that a simple calcium pill can offset the damaging effects of heartburn medications. That’s classic – needing a second pill to address problems caused by the first pill, which is unnecessary in the first place.
An easy fix for heartburn is avoiding foods that cause it. Getting daily exercise, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol are also good ways to avoid heartburn.
Each year, about 300,000 older Americans break a bone, and 60,000 of them will die from the injury.
Heartburn medications are a $10 billion-a year cash cow.
And surprise, surprise: Ole’ Denmark did a heartburn study last year but reported that heartburn medications are, wouldn’t you know, perfectly safe. I keep trying to give the motherland the benefit of the doubt, so I would like to cast doubt on this new British study, but seeing as how it was funded by the U.S. government and GlaxoSmithKline, I have to say, something is rotten in Denmark.
A doctor weighs in on the HRT-cancer connection. The controversy isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
I recommend reading the whole interview if this is an area of interest for you. What caught my attention is the subtle pro-drug stance the interview appears to take, while simultaneously bringing out revealing facts like the following:
Q. Was it a surprise to learn that estrogen and progestins can cause breast cancer?
A. We’ve known there is a cause and effect with hormones and breast cancer since 1896.
On the plus side, the article effectively details the pathology of breast cancer, explaining the difference between estrogen and progesterine’s effects in lay terms. If you’ve found the issue confusing, give this article 10 minutes of your time. The article also fairly points out that the “entire epidemiology” of breast cancer shifted when HRT was introduced and again when it was found to be dangerous.
My concerns regarding current HRT therapies, however, remain:
1) The cancer-hormone connection has long been known.
2) The body was not designed to handle artificial hormone interference with the natural regulatory processes that come with aging. That’s not my opinion; that’s fact. Start tinkering with the body and all kinds of things can happen. Of course, I recommend other, natural therapies to combat aging-related issues (including menopause): exercise, sensible supplementation, and sound dietary choices. We’ll get into those in detail soon.
3) The entire tone of the interview is what I find so offensive about the medical industry: if one drug doesn’t work, hey, take another! Subtle though it is – again, the article does promote plenty of helpful information – it’s clear that mainstream medical practitioners are loathe to “call out” even the most pressing health scandals, evidently preferring to tread lightly lest they offend the pharmaceutical suits. Of course, five or ten years from now, everyone will be talking about the dangers of HRT without hesitation, but for now, it’s a politically-correct parade.
The icing on the cake: after discussing the various issues surrounding HRT, the interview brings up the issue of osteoporosis (since many women took HRT to address this health condition) and suggests alternative drugs as the solution. It’s par for the course for Big Pharma.
Here’s an interesting fact: complaining, thinking negative thoughts and just having a generally grumpy mindset is bad for your back. In fact, a new study says all kinds of aches and pains can be alleviated by an attitude shift. Being cheerful really does keep you healthy.
Isn’t it telling that we even think of the holidays as something to survive? And yet, we do. If that’s not a clear indicator of stress, I don’t know what is. I think a great deal of the immune suppression, weight gain and poor moods many people experience during the holiday season is not necessarily food-related but rather stress-related (though unhealthy foods are themselves a stress to the body). Here are my suggestions for alleviating stress during this time – as well as some culprits to be aware of that we often simply miss.
Tips to Stop Stress:
Step 1: Insist upon 30 minutes of “me time” every day. This should include some physical activity, such as a walk or quick work-out, and ideally some meditation, prayer or other time to reflect peacefully. Do more if you can, but treat yourself to 30 minutes at the very minimum. Anything that allows for you to breathe deeply, gather your thoughts, and refresh yourself is the ticket. Absolutely insist on this for yourself – you can gain more benefit from this than any other single action you take to be healthy during the holidays.
Step 2: Limit your driving time as much as possible. Stopping at several parties, giving rides or running to the store for the tenth time to get that last ingredient can be incredibly stressful, especially during traffic peaks. “Save up” your errands and tasks, coordinate driving and party stops ahead of time, and skip as much as you can. I’m always surprised by how simple it is to just say no to something I thought was needed – often, it turns out to be just a “want”, and the stress I save myself is something far more desirable.
Step 3: Get good sleep. It’s more important to get six or seven hours of good sleep than a lot of bad sleep. If you’re in bed for eight hours but spend three of them thinking of all you have to do, you’re not going to be refreshed. You might get a little less sleep during this time of year – that’s okay. Give yourself a break and focus on making time for enough quality sleep, not just “enough” sleep.
Step 4: Do it later. This is not the time of year to attempt any 11th-hour goals, such as home improvement projects (your guests won’t mind working around a problem – really). Forgot to renew your license or get the kids to the dentist after the Halloween sugar siege? Save it for January. It won’t matter.
Stress Comes in Many Forms:
There are also plenty of unlikely stress factors we forget about. First of all, consider that any change – even a good change – can be incredibly stressful to the mind and body. Good things can be stressful in their own way. It’s things like the “come-down” on the drive home from a festive gathering or the unexpected (but strangely inevitable) bickering after a long day flying to see beloved friends or relatives. It really is critical not to overload activities, daily goals or your general schedule. Give yourself and your loved ones adequate time to enjoy each good thing.
Second, the psychological impact of the “end” of the year – and the national pastime of making “New Year’s Resolutions” – can be overwhelming and depressing for many people. The holidays are one of the most stressful, serious, difficult times of year for many – everything in one’s life comes into sharp focus in the midst of a distracting whirl of activity and ritual. I encourage my loved ones to avoid any serious reflection or making resolutions if it feels at all like unhealthy pressure. Setting goals for self-improvement is a sign of a healthy and motivated mind – but personally, it’s something I like to do before the holidays even start. Self-improvement is a year-round activity, not a December obligation. When a goal pops into your mind and you weigh it, try taking the first step right then – and if you can’t, choose the right time, not an arbitrary time based on everyone else. Don’t put the pressure of “once a year” on a healthy ambition. Let it begin when you’re ready to begin it. You’ll be more successful that way, anyway – and your holidays will be more relaxed.
Finally, it can help to remember to focus on others, not yourself – give yourself a little break. We’re often our own worst critics. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should let your diet or good habits slide. (Think of healthy choices as gifts to yourself – don’t you deserve to feel good?) But I’m confident you’re already making many wise health decisions, so remember to focus on the positive.
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