Profound Life Lessons

photo by b.neeleman

photo by b.neeleman

Upon perusing the internet today, I came across a lovely and profound list of 50 lessons written by Regina Brett, a columnist, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and cancer survivor. Enjoy.

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Regina Brett

Why You Should DEFINITELY and IMMEDIATELY Stop Eating Wheat

bagelsIt’s all over the internet and in our bookstores.  The harmful effects of gluten.  But do you buy into it?

Well, you probably should. One of the biggest advocates of eliminating wheat from our diets is Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who wrote the book Wheat Belly. In his book, Davis outlines the many harmful effects of wheat; including its’ addictive-like qualities, high glycemic index, and ability to cause an inflammatory response.  You may be thinking, ‘But people have been eating bread for centuries, why is it only now considered a problem?’  Answer: Hybridization.

The Hybridization of Wheat
In the 1950’s an effort was made to produce wheat is mass quantities.  Scientists began cross-breeding wheat to make it hardier, shorter, and faster-growing. This work won Norman Borlaug, a US Plant scientist a Nobel Prize; but also introduced compounds to wheat that aren’t human friendly. Today’s wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin; and also goes go through gamma irradiation during manufacturing. In addition, hybridized wheat contains proteins that aren’t found in either the parent or the plant. This new hybridized wheat was never tested before being released to the population, and thus many of the harmful effects are only now being discovered and investigated.

So what are the proteins that we can’t as humans digest? Gluten and gliadin. Gluten is a protein composite of gliadin and glutenin that appears in wheat and other grains. It’s what helps dough rise, keep it’s shape, and gives it a chewy texture. The problem is we don’t have enzymes to break it down. This can create an immunogenic response, triggering widespread inflammation throughout the body by the immune system; possibly leading to various autoimmune diseases including celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. And this holds true for people who don’t have celiac disease.

High Glycemic Index
wheat-belly-artWheat also raises blood sugar. In fact, two slices of bread increases blood sugar more than a single candy bar! As Davis states, overdoing wheat can result in “deep visceral fat”, resulting in a big belly, or, as Davis has coined, a “wheat belly”. What’s the real problem with an increase in blood sugar? Foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar the quickest, causing a “sugar spike” (a surge then fall in blood-glucose). When you get a fast rush of sugar (glucose) in the blood, you get a huge release of insulin secreted from the pancreas. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscles and fat to take up glucose from the blood and convert it to glycogen for storage. What happens after a rush of sugar followed by a rush of insulin? Your blood sugar drops even faster after the insulin has picked it up, resulting in lethargy and a feeling of “hunger” triggered by your body’s low blood sugar. So when eating foods with a high glycemic index, you actually feel more hungry, more often.

Addicted to Wheatwheat addiction
Even with all this knowledge some people can’t seem to stop eating bread. Well, it appears there may be a physiologic reason for this. As Davis states and devotes a whole chapter to in his book, wheat can actually have addictive effects. Gliadin is believed to degrade into a morphine-like compound after eating.  It crosses the blood brain barrier and attaches to opiate receptors. This actually creates an appetite for more wheat, giving it an addictive quality.

So, do you what to be addicted to a substance that causes weight gain, wide-spread inflammation throughout your body, sugar highs and lows creating periods of extreme fatigue, and possible intestinal irritability? As nutrition expert Mark Sisson noted, “Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains.”

Thank you to my many sources.  Click below to see where I got my information, and to learn more.wheat-belly
Why You Should Probably Stop Eating Wheat by George Dvorsky

Wheat Belly Blog

Harvard’s Glycemic Index Ranking

Mark Sisson

NY Times Blog – Gluten-Free, Whether You Need It or Not 

Top Qualities Single Men and Women Look For In The Opposite Sex

Red Umbrella LoveAccording to a recent survey by MarketTools Inc. for the dating website; the number one “must have” quality that both men and women look for in potential mates is nice teeth.  USA Today reported the survey asked 5,500 unattached adults 21 and older what qualities they judge most in the opposite sex.  What are the other qualities most judged?

Ten things on which men judge women most:

1. Teeth-58 percent.the winning grin
2. Grammar-55 percent.
3. Hair-51 percent.
4. Clothes-45 percent.
5. Having/not having a tattoo-40 percent.
6. Nails/hands-37 percent.
7. Accent-19 percent.
8. Shoes-18 percent.
9. The car they drive-13 percent.
10. Electronic devices they carry-9 percent.

Ten things on which women judge men most:

1. Teeth-71 percent.bradley cooper
2. Grammar-69 percent.
3. Clothes-58 percent.
4. Hair-53 percent.
5. Nails/hands-52 percent.
6. Having/not having a tattoo-34 percent.
7. Shoes-29 percent.
8. The car they drive-24 percent.
9. Accent-22 percent.
10. Electronic devices they carry-10 percent.

Although this is just a survey and not a study executed with any scientific parameters – it does give a little insight into what men and women say they are actively looking for.  When looking at the quality of one’s teeth, many think oral health is an insight into how well an individual takes care of themselves and their personal hygiene.  In the United States a pretty white smile signifies charisma and success, and according to this survey, is more likely to land you a date.

Watch this video from Good Morning America to learn more
Video: What Men, Women Want In A Mate

USA Today Article
What Singles Want

How To Boost Your Confidence… In Just Two Minutes

fake it till you make itI’m a Ted Talk junkie, and a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine directed me to one seriously amazing Ted Talk.  Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, gave a fascinating talk regarding the effects of “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence.  Through experimentation she found that standing in a posture of confidence for just two minutes, even when we don’t feel confident, increases testosterone levels and decreases cortisol levels.  As Cuddy articulates, the hormone testosterone tends to ignite confidence in us, whereas cortisol increases stress (thus decreasing confidence).

"power pose"

“Power Pose”
Photograph by Andrew Morgan for Slate.

She urged her listeners to adopt and integrate the phrase “fake it till you make it”.  Cuddy even lent a personal, moving anecdote describing to her audience how she utilized this within her own life, and how overtime she did in fact “make it”.

Her talk is something that should be shared, as it could lead to betterment and an increased sense of confidence in the lives of many.  Take 20 minutes to watch this and graciously pass it on.  Share the science.

Amy Cuddy
Ted Talks

John Lennon’s Molar – Priceless?

According to the December 2011 issue of Dentistry Today, one of John Lennon’s rotten teeth was sold at an auction last month for $31,000 to a dentist out of Alberta, Canada.   The dentist, a reported collector of animal teeth and celebrity memorabilia, claims that he just knew he needed to have it.  When did Lennon lose the tooth?  According to Karen Fair-weather, an Omega Auctions representative who sold the tooth, Mr. Lennon gave the tooth to his housekeeper Dorothy Jarlett sometime between 1964 and 1968 when she lived in Weybridge, Surrey.  It seems Mr. Lennon came back from the dentist one day with his tooth and gave it Dorothy telling her to dispose of it “or better still, give it to your daughter as a souvenir.”  Ms. Jarlett later moved to Canada, where she’s kept it with her ever since, until just recently selling it.

Kids and Halloween Candy – A Dentist’s Perspective

A lot of parents that are particularly conscious of their children’s oral health may worry about their consumption of candy around Halloween time.  Should parents be worried?  The key to kids and candy is moderation.  Sugar, although harmful to everyone’s teeth, is fine in moderation.  The key to avoiding cavities is to pay attention to the frequency in which children consume candy.  For example, on Halloween and for a week or so thereafter, most kids have an abundance of candy to eat.  It’s better for their teeth to allow them a few scheduled times throughout the day to consume candy, as opposed to eating it all day long.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, Does Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Decrease Your Risk of Cavities?, cavities are formed by demineralization of the teeth.  After you eat, the pH in your mouth drops.  This increase in acid is a by-product of the bacteria that reside within our mouths that feed on sugar and other carbohydrates we consume.  The acid then causes demineralization of enamel, which turns into decay.  After one eats, the low pH can remain for 20-60 minutes.  Therefore, if kids take 20 minutes to gorge on candy, after their last piece the pH can remain low for up to an hour.  However if they were to snack on candy all day long, their pH can stay low ALL DAY, resulting in an enormous risk for greater decay.

Prior to writing this blog, I looked at numerous articles currently written about kids and their Halloween candy.  One of my favorites was an article on MSNBC’s Today’s Health Blog, “Let kids gorge on Halloween candy, dentists say”.  This article suggests letting kids gorge on Halloween candy once or twice a day, instead of allowing them to bathe their teeth in sugar all day long, producing a very acidic oral environmental where bacteria will surely thrive.  The article also stated:  “Candy is not necessarily the worst thing for your teeth, anyway. The factors that really lead to cavities are stickiness and acidity. Potato chips and pretzels, for example, are worse offenders than chocolate, because these cooked carbohydrates cling to your teeth — giving mouth bacteria something to feast on longer and thus generating more acid.”

The one very detrimental mistake I found in most articles though, suggested that you have your children brush their teeth immediately after eating candy.  The acid present in the mouth after one eats, in conjunction with the bristles moving swiftly across one’s teeth, essentially rubs the acid into the teeth.  This could causes severe erosion of the tooth structure if done repeatedly and often, and could actually increase one’s risk of decay.  A better alternative to this, would be to chew sugar-free gum immediately after, which encourages an increase in pH within 20 minutes as opposed to an hour.  After about 30 minutes, you can then have them brush their teeth.  If you don’t want your kids chewing gum, then wait at least 1 hour before having them brush their teeth.  At the end of an hour it is a good idea to have them brush, just not before then.

Here are some tips mentioned by Delta Dental’s website in their article, “Sugary, sticky Halloween treats can play tricks on children’s teeth”

Tips for limiting the effects of sugary treats

  • Choose candy that can be eaten quickly and easily to limit the amount of time sugar is in contact with the teeth.
  • Steer away from sticky candies like gummy fruit snacks, caramel, taffy, popcorn balls and other candies that expose the teeth to sugar for long periods of time.
  • Limit consumption of sour candies that may contain acids (such as citric acid) to intensify the sour flavor. These acids can contribute to dental erosion and cavities.
  • Encourage children to eat a small amount of candy in one sitting followed by a glass of water or a thorough tooth brushing. [**remember to wait for at least one hour before brushing!]
  • Encourage children to eat a good meal prior to trick-or-treating, so there will be less temptation to fill up on candy.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
Some dentists may advise their patient’s to not let their kids have any candy.  Like Mansfield, Ohio dentist Dr. Craig Callen, who is running a cavity-preventing drive around Halloween.  He says he will offer $1 for every pound of candy from trick-or-treaters.  Although his motive for the drive to decrease the risk of decay in children around Halloween is surely admirable, I don’t think a total abolishment of candy for children during Halloween is necessary.  Let your kids indulge once a year, just be smart about it.