Posts Tagged good health

I Should Have Eaten More Steak!

These were the first words said by a woman who just found out she had incurable cancer and was going to die soon: “I should have eaten more steak!” Seven months later, she was gone…

I heard this anecdote from a friend who knows the widower. My friend (let’s call him Goliath, or G for short) and I were discussing mortality, health, and discipline. G often comments how disciplined I am to avoid foods with cholesterol. I often remind him how I used to eat half a pint of ice cream with chocolate syrup almost every night. Then my cholesterol rose to heart-attack-warning levels, so I gave it up. Eat a lot of sorbet now, almost no cheese, fat-free yogurt, soy milk and olive oil instead of more delicious butter. Now my cholesterol is down. Hopefully I will live longer and more healthfully.

Do I miss those foods. Sometimes, for sure. But knowing they are bad for me, I usually am just fine without them. If I suddenly learn that I will be dead in a few months or days, I don’t think it will bother me that I modified my diet and exercised more to stay healthy, fit, and enjoying these later years. But that’s me.

I remember a smoker saying that he is likely to live just 6 or 7 years less than a non-smoker. “Worth it,” he pronounced. Of course his addictions were no comparison to my giving up butter. But it’s all a balance, G and I decided. What if you live 10 years in good health, rather than 20 years in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices?

Of course you could die tomorrow in an accident. In that case you wouldn’t have time to regret having avoided harmful foods and life style. But working out the balance is quite confronting. Why earn more money for older age and health costs, if you think you will die in a year? Why stay fit and flexible? Why not cheat on your wife or husband? Why spend time helping out friends and supporting unemployed children? Do whatever you want!

It’s almost impossible to live solely for the moment, in spite of movies and novels starring glamorous, smiling hedonists. But is it really tempting to you?

When I was working at my own publishing company in the early years, I was newly divorced and wanted to be as stabilizing as possible for my two little girls. When they had summer and holiday vacations, I took huge amounts of time off, regardless of the business consequences. One year I was with the girls 104 days, including 26 weekends (52 of the days). Of course I felt guilty at first, but then I would tell myself that if any of my staff members complained, I would say I only had six months to live. That would justify the time away, I reasoned. In their minds as well as mine.

So I am familiar with that confrontation of how much we…I…should watch the diet, be responsible, do good deeds, exercise, say NO to another beer, another shirt, another vacation.
We each have to work it out, and it a challenge every time we look at a menu, open the freezer, hear about a friend’s trip to Bora Bora, see a friend divorce his wife of decades and become the playboy of the suburban world.

Good luck with your choices. And may the Force of long, healthy life be with you…

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Strange Advice About How To Take Care Of Yourself

old lady

A doctor on his morning walk noticed an older lady sitting on her front step smoking a cigar, so he walked up to her and said, “I couldn’t help but notice how happy you look! What is your secret?”
“I smoke ten cigars a day,” she said. “Before I go to bed, I smoke a nice big joint. Apart from that, I drink a whole bottle of Jack Daniels every week, and eat only junk food. On weekends, I pop pills, get laid, and don’t exercise at all.”

“That is absolutely amazing! How old are you?”

“Thirty-four” she replied.

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How Much Alcohol Do You Drink?

Most people like to drink alcohol, whether it’s beer, wine or liquor. These beverages lubricate social gatherings, relax people (numb them sometimes) and allow the bonds or the handcuffs of propriety to be released and put aside. Alcohol gives some people courage. I have had enough drunken stupors to know that I don’t like the hangovers, the embarrassing behavior, or being really sick. Like one New Year’s Day in high school, when I was the only band member who couldn’t and didn’t perform at half-time in the Orange Bowl–I was still dizzy and nauseous and in bed!

I have had plenty of beer in college and after to know that it fills me up till I am bloated, and I don’t care about telling an ale from a lager. I do know that I prefer foreign beers to the popular domestic ones, which are too thin for me. But aside from one trip to Ireland, where I longed constantly for a Guiness at the pub while I was touring (and probably would be an alcoholic if I lived there), I can usually pass.

That helps keep the weight off and the body healthier. Most people, however, need their drink.

I bought wine by the case when I first moved to Manhattan and had seen enough movies and sophisticated magazines promoting the mantra that any cool professional man knows his grapes and the good years to order. At one point I believed I could taste the minerals from particular French soil. I loved certain vineyards and knew lots of the best years. But after those many glasses at dinner, I was falling asleep when I wanted to read. So I stopped drinking every night.

For decades I have watched people twirl the glass, smell the bouquet and swish the delicacy in their mouths. Some talk incessantly about it, collect it, offer it with pride, and I appreciate their passion. Read the rest of this entry »

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How I Learned About Good Health

When it comes to good health, I know more about that than most. My father was a chiropractor in the days when his profession was regarded as laughable. I even fought in elementary school to defend Dad’s honor when classmates called him a quack. But I heard every night at dinner about new patients who had tried everything else, and they were finally stooping to going to a chiropractor as a last resort. And then Dad healed them or made them much better.

My father taught me a lot about what causes many illnesses and how to prevent becoming sick. My dad was unwell enough to be in bed just twice while I lived with him (my first 17 years) and twice after that. He lived to 88, and only needed surgery after being hit by a car.

I inherited his genes and am never sick–one day in bed in the last 25 years or so. I did have childhood things like chicken pox (when I was 21), and hepatitis that I contracted eating native food in Korea. But aside from some occasional colds and pollen and ragweed sniffling that now evaporates with anti-histamines, I am very very healthy. Much of that may be genetic or dumb luck. But some of that healthiness has to do with how I live and think. I will tell you about it as I describe my progress in sculpting IRA’S ABS…

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