Exercise May Reduce Cancer Risk

A research study indicates that exercise may reduce the risk of 13 cancers.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle could decrease cancer deaths by 67 percent for men and 59 percent for woman.

A healthy lifestyle could lower the discovery of new cancers by 41 percent in women and 63 percent in men.

As defined a healthy lifestyle is one where a person doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink too much, maintains a body mass index between 18.5 and 27.5, and exercises 75 to 150 minutes weekly.

Seventy-five minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise counts in this number.

I strength train two or three days a week for the most part. It adds up to between 80 minutes and 150 minutes.

Today I received a CSA box–a box of community-supported agriculture produce items from a local farm. The produce I bought is organic. There’s enough in the box to create three or four “vegetable” sides for three or four meals.

The photo below shows one dinner with local dry sea scallops and red chard. You can simply heat up olive oil in a saute pan and cook the red chard until it’s wilted yet not too dark. The sea scallops can be cooked for five minutes on each side with a little salt and pepper and garlic powder.

Here’s a nutrition fact you might not know: scallops are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. And the red chard–well greens in any form are always good.

This dinner is quick and easy: it takes only 10 minutes total to cook the items.

scallops red chard


What’s for Dinner

The food in the photo below came from a Greenmarket–even the fresh creamery butter. The bread on the right is a cinnamon like babka. The fish is flounder.

I ordinarily don’t drink chocolate milk although it’s featured. Female Athletes in Women’s Health magazine are shown advertising chocolate milk as a great drink. Yet I don’t often drink it because an 8 oz glass of chocolate milk has 32 gm sugar. That’s a lot of sugar to consume every day.

I sat in a waiting room in a hospital and on the TV was a show that exposed the evils lurking in sugar consumption. After that I quit drinking Snapple–which is NOT all natural though the label boasts it is. Snapple is packed with “natural flavors” and sugar, sugar, sugar. No kidding.

A friend told me he wants to go on an eating regimen that’s like the one for people who have diabetes–and he doesn’t have diabetes yet he takes an atypical.

Preventive “medicine” like this is better than the standard operating procedure in America of treating disease after it starts. Strong primary care with a professional doctor can make the difference in halting illness if you ask me or better alleviating symptoms once you get sick.

As the Italians like to toast before a meal: “Salut!”

2016 may seven

Feeling Better at Mid Life

The twin engine driving my success in recovery at mid life was changing the food I eat and lifting weights.

Ninety percent of the time I eat healthful food. One or twice a week I have a treat: a Starbucks brownie or a couple of macaroons; in a pinch the least unhealthful power bar at the gym; or a couple squares of 70 percent cacao dark chocolate.

This constitutes “junk food” for me–no kidding. I won’t eat processed food or chemical-laden food with “natural flavors” that are actually fake chemicals.

Also: I stopped drinking Snapple after I watch a TV show that exposed how sugar causes a myriad of ill health outcomes.

Like I said before I only want to eat food that has come from God’s green Earth.

Greenmarket season has arrived so you’ll find me shopping for produce, cheese, eggs, and seafood outdoors in open air markets throughout the city. If you live in New York City you can find a Greenmarket near you.

Nutrition is thought to have more of an impact than exercise on the health of our bodies. Research studies link depression to poor nutrition. I have for years now written about how food and mood are connected.

Eating well is an act of love. Listening to what your body tells you it needs to do this day is an act of love. One day it will be exercise–another day it will be rest.

Living on autopilot–doing things unconsciously–sets a person up to fail.

My famous war cry is that when I decided to live my life Left of the Dial–in an organic way–I was able to be happier and healthier.

Use your gut or your intuition–whatever comes naturally to you–to sense or to intuit what you should do and how you should live.

The premise of my memoir Left of the Dial is that there’s no one right way to live–only the best lifestyle that is iconic and healthy for you.

My life turned around when I cut the crap out of what I ate.

That’s no big mystery: when I broke a sweat and started to cook for myself I slept better, had more energy, and any minor stress rolled off me like water to a duck.

Try it–Go Green more often and see if you feel rejuvenated and happier.

Pantry Staples

In the book What the Fork? Stefanie Sacks lists common food items and where and for how long you can store them. In Real Simple magazine a number of years ago it featured this kind of cheat sheet in a more detailed fashion.

This got me to thinking what kind of contemporary healthy kitchen a person could stock to make it convenient to eat more nutritious food. Ideally, on nights when you’re too tired to cook there should be better alternatives to some kind of soggy sugary flakes cereal.

Indeed: it’s been years since I’ve resorted to having cereal for dinner. You can click on the recipes category to find simple to prepare meals that can stand in for that ubiquitous cereal-for-dinner lassitude.

See if having on hand these staples would make it easier to cook more healthfully and also when we’re low on money:


Eggs – 1 month.

Butter – will last 3 months unopened and 2 weeks opened.

Sesame oil – will last 6 months

Maple syrup – will last 1 year opened.

Mustard – will last 1 year opened.

Deli olives  – will last 2 weeks.

Broth – will last 4 days.

Salad dressing – will last 1 month.

Pasta sauce  will last 4 days opened.


Honey – will last 1 year opened or unopened.

Hot sauce – will last 2 years.

Onions and garlic – will last 2 months.

Canned beans – will last 9 months.

Pasta – dried – will last 2 years.

Olives – jarred – will last 6 months unopened.

Pasta sauce – will last 9 months unopened.

Vinegar – will last 1 year opened – 2 years unopened.

Olive oil – will last 6 months opened – 1 year unopened.

(All other oils should be stored in the refrigerator. They can keep in a cool fridge for 1 year.)

Salad dressing – 1 year unopened.

This is good news because if you stock a pantry with these items you can buy salad greens and then use the olives and salad dressing and chick peas or other beans in the pantry to create a salad.

You can also use the eggs to create my Baked Eggs in Tomatoes recipe. (In season in the summer or out of season at other times.)

I’m not going to judge a person who eats meat. I’m not going to judge a vegan either. Each of us has to do what makes sense for us. A lot of the information I’ll be writing about was gleaned from What the Fork? by Stefanie Sacks.

I’m not going to say “read it and heed it” for anything I write or what I refer to from a book. I’m simply like a librarian giving information.

You can see if it makes sense.

I write about fitness and nutrition now because it’s high time someone living in recovery came out and wrote in specific detail about these things.


Greenmarket Season

Greenmarket season is approaching so I want to shift the focus of the blog to nutrition again.

I think food can be used as a kind of “treatment” as an adjunct to medication and therapy.

The original second book I wanted to publish has become obsolete because there’s no target market for it. In that book I devoted a chapter to fitness and nutrition. In reality I don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” because a multitude of other great books exist on the topic.

I’ll start this blog carnival’s theme with a list of the Top Food Books. I own all of them in my collection.

  1. The Top 100 Fitness Foods: 100 ways to turbocharge your life by Sarah Owen
  2. Verdure: simple recipes in the Italian style (out of print – I bought it on the cheap    from Amazon and it arrived in perfect condition from a used bookseller)
  3. Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop
  4. The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide by Jeff Cox
  5. National Geographic Foods for Health by Barton Seaver and P.K. Newby, Sc.D., M.P.H.
  6. Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express by Mark Bittman (404 inspired seasonal dishes you can make in 20 minutes or less)
  7. What the Fork Are You Eating? by Stefanie Sacks M.S.,  C.N.S.,  C.D.N.
  8. The Mediterranean Family Table by Angelo Acquista, M.D.

These eight books eclipse anything I was going to write about in the obsolete second book.

Vegetables Every Day I find myself running to nearly every week during Greenmarket season. It’s an A-Z listing of produce. I’ve found the recipes are easy to make and quite tasty.

What the Fork Are You Eating? is my new favorite I’ve bought. Sacks is a nutritionist who exposes what’s really lurking in most food products and how to make healthier choices. A must-read even if you just check it out of the library.

Trust me: these guides aren’t didactic or chiding or coercive in their approach to healthful eating.

With What the Fork you’ll get livable advice that you can put to use quickly and effortlessly.

These books put me out of business in terms of writing the original second book.

Now you’re getting this information for free in my blog.



Brooklyn Health and Performance

Circa seven months ago I wrote about Brooklyn Health and Performance here.

It’s located in South Slope in Brooklyn, NY. I write about it again for all my New York City readers and followers.

Every so often a magazine lists the Top 15 Fitness Centers here. They cost a ton of money and people who follow trends flock to them because the fitness centers are hip like SoulCycle.

Brooklyn Health and Performance delivers state-of-the-art or should I say science coaching that starts with an individualized fitness assessment. No calipers thank you. The Head Coach then creates a custom fitness program for you.

The best service the fitness center offers is its Distance Coaching. You can use their distance coaching service even though you’re a member of another gym. The Head Coach will assess you and design your custom routine to use at your own gym.

Brooklyn Health and Performance has three restrooms with showers.

I recommend this gym 125 percent. I wasn’t fooled by the rough feel to the place. You know you’re in the right place when the fitness center boasts 100 pound kettlebells.Yes–100 pound kettlebells.

This gym doesn’t get crowded because it offers semi-private training. The membership fees aren’t steep yet you do get what you pay for: results that can’t be beat.

Go on the Brooklyn Health and Performance Website to see for yourself the benefits of joining this fitness center. Read the blog and read the detailed information about topics like weight loss and nutrition.

Get in on this boutique gym before everyone else does. You’ve tried all the rest now try the best.

3-Point Guide to Mood-Boosting Food

I have developed a 3-point list of what I think makes sense when choosing what food to eat:

Eat well–you’ll feel better.

East mostly food that comes from God’s green Earth.

The best stuff on earth truly comes from Earth.

Not a bottle or frozen box. Pass on chemical-laden drinks and foods with unnatural “natural flavors.”

Nix sugar.

Remember: sugar is sugar wherever it comes from. Refrain from drinking chocolate milk–it has 33 grams of sugar in an 8 oz glass. Not good if you take an atypical medication for schizophrenia or bipolar that can increase the risk of getting diabetes.

Bonus point:

If memory serves it was Michael Pollan who wrote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

A friend is now going on an eating plan geared to a person with diabetes even though he doesn’t have diabetes. This could make sense as a possible plan for individuals with mental illnesses to adopt.

Lastly: I do NOT endorse drinking sugary sports drinks or Power-Ade type drinks. Not at all. Nor do I endorse drinking Red Bull or other type energy drinks. I DON’T endorse eating power bars of any kind except every so often in a crunch when you have nothing else available. And the shakes available at gyms aren’t the most healthful option either. I only have a shake once or twice a month.

The goal is to remember that when you eat light and healthful there’s almost no restriction so you’re not depriving yourself: you can then have a pastry every so often.

The 80 Percent Guide

Pamela Peeke, M.D. in her book Body for Life for Women talks about her Mind-Mouth-Muscle trifecta for obtaining optimal health through the four Milestone periods of our lives.

Her foolproof advice is to follow her eating plan 80 percent of the time. That’s right: you can eat healthful food 80 percent of the time and that’s perfectly okay according to Peeke.

I don’t follow her eating plan to the letter because you have to remember the right combinations of food to eat. If you photocopied the pages with the eating plan and committed to reviewing it every day so that you could choose from it: you might start to remember the plan without looking at the pages.

Stellar advice she gives is that eating too much of any food even healthful food is not good. If you eat better food and choose quality over quantity you will also save money because you’re not buying as much food.

I don’t eat a lot of food. I try to switch up: eat organic Fuji apples when they’re available, pears and raspberries and other fruit when it’s in season (because in-season fruit IS cheaper.)

Buying seasonal produce is cheaper so it makes sense to do this. Yet I buy organic bananas year-round and I do eat bananas.

The 80 percent guide makes sense to me. I can’t resist the macarons at a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. Or every so often I will have a chocolate crepe. There you go.

Keeping a food log and writing down what you eat for two weeks is a great way to keep track of what you’re eating if you want to lose weight. The equation is simple: burn more calories than you consume.

Life isn’t always easy and doesn’t always go as planned. That’s when it makes sense to forgive ourselves and move on and recommit to healthful eating.

I want to quote an advertisement in Women’s Health magazine. Jillian Michaels the trainer is pushing Krave jerky in it. I don’t recommend eating any kind of jerky or beef or meat at all. If a person does only one thing, not eating meat would be the one thing to do.

While I don’t endorse any products at this time the advertisement is right-on about the reality of life. I didn’t read the rest of the advertisement because as soon as I saw the word jerky I didn’t think the product could be healthful.

Here’s the tag line:

“I’m going to do the best I can given what I have today. I’ll never settle.”

I’ll end here with those words. They’re so apt for what happens when our lives take a turn and we have to ride out a hard time:

“I’m going to do the best I can given what I have today. I’ll never settle.”

The Mediterranean Table

I want to return to talking about nutrition. I recommend buying or installing on your device The Mediterranean Table cookbook-and-nutrition guide.

Right now I consider it the best book of its kind ruling over any of the others I’ve reviewed. Angelo Acquista, M.D. shares detailed info about themost healthful foods in an engaging, simple, easy-to-read fashion.

Read only this Mediterranean Diet book if you read no other–it’s that good. I can’t help be proud–after all, I’m Italian.

Circa 1993 I bought and read the original Mediterranean Diet book. This so-called “diet”–actually a sane eating plan–has been around forever.

With this time-tested way of eating I ask you: why do most people go on any of the fad or extreme diets outlined in the endless glut of diet books at the library?

Have some filet of sole oreganata with a side of broccoli rabe. Keep the portions slim.

That’s the secret right there: you don’t need to eat meat and [white] potatoes.

You want to impress an Italian [or other] woman on a date: cook a simple meal of pasta with tomato-basil sauce and a salad of kale and cherry tomatoes with a squirt of olive oil and vinegar or olive oil and lemon.


Love and Loss

Other things you can add to a salad are walnuts or almonds. I used to use chick peas in a salad too. You can used blue cheese like in a Cobb salad. Olives of course can go into a salad. Onions too.

We need to eat well to keep our energy up when we’re going through a hard time.  We need to continue a bare-bones yet consistent and regular fitness routine when we’re going through a hard time.

Life can be hard and present us with challenges. We can return to our full-steam activities when we’re able.

It can be hard most of all when our loved ones have a hardship or an illness that we have to cope with.

It is most of all the hardest when a loved one is at the end of their lives.

I’ve written in the blog and elsewhere that mental health agencies universally fail their older constituents who are now living alone after their parents / caregivers have died.

I wrote at HealthCentral for our family members about doing succession planning and creating a Special Needs Trust instead of a will for a loved one who collects SSI for the rest of their life.

Not ordinarily do I like to give details in the blog about my own life. I will though say this: no one should be faced with terminal cancer at the end of their life like one of my family members is now.

I will write in the future about grief and bereavement from information in the pamphlets I picked up at the 2014 APA convention.

For now I will end here with this thought: we could benefit each of us from reaching out for support when our family members are in their seventies and eighties and won’t be around for a lot longer.

I will do my tiny humble part by writing about grief and bereavement in the blog. Mental health agencies should no longer avoid talking about this. I’ll talk about this since they’re not.