My Journey To Health, The Habits of Hobbits

ahobbitThe first question to answer is “What do the habits of hobbits have to do with getting to good health?”  The answer is simple.  Everything!

Those of you who read this column regularly know that I find great inspiration from fiction.  And there is much that can learned from hobbits if we consider a few facts, expand on them and use a bit of imagination.

What do we know about hobbits off the tops of our heads.  Well, they are a small people.  They enjoy six meals a day and they have very tough and hairy feet which allows them to go shoe-less.  We know they bake as bread is mentioned in The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.  Seed cake is also mentioned in The Hobbit as Bilbo’s home is invaded by dwarves and Bilbo wonders about the provisions in his larder.  We know they drink both wine and beer.   We know that they enjoy bacon eggs, apples, strawberries and cream and other simple food.  We know that Bilbo liked to walk.  He even had maps of the shire where he had marked his favorite places to stroll.  Bilbo even wrote a walking song.

So what can be inferred from the above facts.  The Hobbit society was agricultural in nature.  We know they kept chickens, pigs and cattle.  We know they grew apples and strawberries raspberries, lettuce, grapes and coffee beans at the very least.  We also know they grew tobacco but it seemed they used it responsibly.  They must have grown grain as there was bread and cake and you need hops to brew beer.

What can be pulled from these facts that can help with our health.  Let’s start with six meals a day.  Eating six times a day is a healthy habit to get into.  These meals should not be meals that are indulgent in fact I would bet indulgent meals of any kind were not a daily experience in The Shire.  The six meals were mostly rustic healthy whole foods.  Breakfast may have been Bacon and eggs, but second breakfast was more like a snack and may have been whole grain bread and butter and maybe some tea.  Eleveses may have been some cheese and fruit,as the hobbits by that time were more than likely in the fields working by then and would be carrying their food with them.

Lunch could have consisted of a sit-down meal or again something carried into the fields or pastures.  Whole grain breads maybe a little meat or a small meat pie.  We know Tolkien loved rural England and lunch was often pies in rural England one savory and one sweet.  So meat and vegetables in one and fruit in the other.

Tea would be taken at home in the latter part of the afternoon.  We know that hobbits liked 6 meals a day but Tolkien stipulated that with “when they could get them.”  Tea may have been tea, bread and butter, small cakes and maybe small sandwiches.  The richer the hobbit family the grander the tea.  Supper we know was a hearty meal that the whole household sat down together to eat.  We find this to be true when Frodo Sam Merry and Pippin all sit down at Farmer Maggot’s table.  We even know the menu, or at least some of it.  There was beer, bacon, mushrooms and other solid farm fair.  There must have been a bit of meat as the dogs “layed by the fire and gnawed rinds (cheese) and cracked bones.

I don’t think that meat played a large part in a hobbit diet.  First hobbits were small and bringing down a cow for beef would have taken a lot of work and many hobbits to do it.  Mutton and lamb?  Possibly but again these animals would be used for other purposes.  The hobbits would need wool for clothing and so killing the animals for food would take a way a continued source of making fabric so my guess is there was a small amount of meat per meal and none at all at some.  Maybe a four ounce portion an many dietitians suggest.

We know that there were vegetables and potatoes and turnips cabbages and carrots too.  We are also aware id the hobbits deep love for mushrooms and the films suggest tomatoes.  Bread was a staple food, as it is in almost all cultures, but not white bread.  These would have been whole grain rustic loaves, loaded with flavor and nutrition.  Apples, for sure, as well as strawberries a hobbits diet was bright and colorful.  Not completely vegetarian but much more so than what we consume with the large amounts of meat we make a habit of eating.

The hobbits exercised because in an agricultural society the exercise was built in to the day.  Planting, weeding and harvesting was all physical work as was milling grain into flour.  Tending sheep and cattle was also physical as the animals would be moved from place to place in order to graze.  Shepherds and herders had much to do.  And there is no doubt that all of the hobbit food was organic, could you imagine Sam using a pesticide?

We know that Bilbo liked to walk.  We also know that ponies were available but not many road and so a hobbits feet were the main source of transportation.  Also feeding ponies takes a lot and what animals hobbits had were probably used more for work that for puling a carriage.

So a hobbit life style was a healthy lifestyle.  A lifestyle that consisted of hard work whole foods and regular exercise.  This type of lifestyle is something we all should aspire to and actually adapt to the best of our ability.

As you know my goal right now is to become vegan.  To eliminate animal products all together and I am working toward that, but in the meantime, living like a hobbit seems a great beginning.  Now if only I could get Mrs. Maggot to invite me to dinner.

The post My Journey To Health, The Habits of Hobbits also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

My Journey To Health, Becoming Vegan

aveganIt has been a little over sixty days since I put My Journey To Health down for a while.  You might call it 60 days in prison, and it  was in a way.  I have been flipping around between emotional illness and physical illness during that time and my life was a mess.  Some days I barely got out of bed for one of or the other of those reasons.  The worst days were the ones I couldn’t get out of bed because of both of the reasons.  Now, however I am on the mend and ready to start again.  This however will be a battle that is totally new and I am excited to be taking you on the journey with me.

My psychologist has made the suggestion that I go vegan.  This is something I am easing into.  I figure by the middle of June, the change should be complete.  There is also food in my freezer that I do not wish to throw out when that is gone the change will have been made.

Becoming vegan means that you get all your nourishment from plants.  So vegetables fruits grains nuts beans are your whole diet.  This can be called Plant Power according to mu good friend Steve. A  Vegetarian, on the other hand is no meat but I believe dairy and eggs are allowed.  For a while I will be more vegetarian than vegan but the switch will happen eventually.

This is hard for me.  I like meat and to be honest I do not like green vegetables at all.  Broccoli literally makes me sick to my stomach.  So I will be going into grounds that I am very nervous about.  I believe I can do it, but it won’t be easy.

I guess a question that should be answered here is why am I doing this?  The answer is a bit complicated but here we go.  I think my psychologist believes that I would not only lose weight by following this kind of diet, but I may also rid my body of some of the poisons that processed food dumps into your body.  Eliminating those may help do a reset on some of my emotions.  Time and perseverance will tell.  Hanging with this will be the toughest part, especially if I smell bacon.

I need to confess here that I am a fast food junkie.  I did go with out sugar from the first of January until mid March but I did not go with out McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s or Boston Market.  Then there were Hungry Man Dinners and many other microwavable foods that was what I have been used to eating since my mom passed away.

I had been living with my folks for awhile as due to some physical problems and the emotional issues I cannot work.  Mom was a great cook and, not to be vain, I inherited that from her.  When she died it was like all the joy of cooking disappeared.  I have been upstairs, I have an apartment in the basement, a total of three times to use the kitchen in the last three years.

Exercise is the next hurdle to cross.  According to my psychiatrist I have boobitrapped myself when it comes to exercise.  After even a small amount of exercise I don’t feel good about what I have accomplished, in fact I feel extremely depressed and hopeless.  This is coming from the bad feelings I have about myself.  Those feelings are so intense that my brain actually won’t let me feel good about me.  Exercise at this point fuels my low self esteem instead of helping it.  Now what can be done about that?  Nothing!  I have to exercise anyway and allow my brain to adjust.  This will not be easy.

I have a lot more to say but for now this is enough.  It’s good to be back with you all and I hope you will follow me on my journey.  Next up is being healthy like a Hobbit.

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Charity Finds A Unique Way To Battle Censors For Breast Self-Exam Video

man-breast-cancer

(PCM) The anti-breast cancer charity MACMA has found quite a unique way to battle internet censors when posting a video demonstrating the proper way to conduct a breast self-exam. Many tutorial videos for breast self-exams are blocked or pulled down from the internet due to complaints about indecency, as most social networking sites have policies against featuring images of topless women.

After tiring of having their videos removed, MACMA came up with a new approach. They decided to use a male model to create their demonstration video, as apparently male breasts are really not all that different. Way to stick it to the internet censors! Check out their creative video below:

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Rock Music Being Used To Maximize The Efficiency Of Cancer Drug Delivery

AC-DC

(PCM) Vibrations caused by rock music have been found to increase a drug’s therapeutic window by creating a Teflon-like coating over the micro particles used in drug delivery.

Researchers from the University of South Australia used AC/DC’s Thunderstruck to cause porous silicon micro particles to bounce in the air, which allowed for the entire structure to be coated with a plasma polymer overlay.

Senior research author Professor Nico Voelcker said completely coating a micro particle was difficult but essential in ensuring the optimal amount of a drug was delivered to the cancer cell.

“The micro particles are porous, basically they are like a sponge. You fill them up with a drug, but of course you want to prevent the drug from escaping, and that is why we create the coating,” he said

“Normally we would ignite a plasma onto the surface. The problem with doing that is you only form the coating on one side of the particle, the side that is exposed. But the side of the particle on the surface, the other side, is not going to get coated.”

“That is where we came up with the idea of using a loud speaker that we would play into the system. We would turn that loudspeaker to a song that it would vibrate and the particles would bounce up and down. The chaotic frequencies worked well and gave you a more homogenous coating.”

Researchers filled the micro particles with a chemotherapy drug called camptothecin and found that when it was coated using the rock vibrations there was a markedly slower release of the cytotoxic drug. This effect correlated positively with the plasma polymer coating times, ranging from two-fold up to more than 100-fold, revealing a significant time delay in cell death onset.

Professor Voelcker said although the technique had so far only been used on anti-cancer drugs were, it could potentially be used for other treatments.

“This is something that has not been done before, particularly not with plasma coatings,” he said. “We only tried this with a chemotherapy drug that we use for the treatment of cancer because you can visualise it so easily. We might end up using different types of drugs; we might use drugs that are anti-inflammatory or antibiotic. It was just one model application for us.”

“We have done some work with cells and now we will move on to the next stage of research.” Professor Voelcker said the use of the Australian rock band’s song Thunderstruck was intentional because he felt it was a perfect fit for the study because of its upbeat tempo and title. “Plasma is the fourth stage of matter, it is an ionised gas,” Prof Voelcker said.

“We used a cold plasma, but an example of a hot plasma would be the rays of thunder. We ended up using Thunderstruck because we liked how it linked thunder and plasma gas.” The proof of concept paper was co-authored by Dr Steven McInnes and Thomas Michl from the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute.

The article titled “Thunderstruck”: Plasma-Polymer-Coated Porous Silicon Microparticles As a Controlled Drug Delivery System was published in the American Chemistry Society.

South Australia’s capital Adelaide has three-long standing public universities, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia each of which are consistently rated highly in the international higher education rankings.

The post Rock Music Being Used To Maximize The Efficiency Of Cancer Drug Delivery also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

My Journey To Health, Books

BooksBooks are the probably the most important item that I use in my journey to health.  I have mentioned several books while working on this column since the beginning of the year, I have never talked about their importance.

When I was in first grade my teacher Sister Joan Marie was worried about how badly I was coming along in my reading skills.  She encouraged my mother to buy me comic books.  My mother took that advice and in so doing opened up to me world after world of adventure, science, history, romance, horror, mystery, discovery and the list could go on forever.

Comic books back in the 1960s had gotten a bad name mainly because of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s unrelenting scare tactics to rid the world of the communist threat in the 1950s.  Slowly the industry would regain its good reputation, but not in suburbs of Philadelphia in 1967.  Letting comic books into the house was almost equal to pornography, but a nun had made the recommendation, my parents had no choice.  And I thank the good sister to this day.

It took a long time for my reading level to get where it should be, but by the eighth grade I was moving a long quite nicely and I had a collection of comic books to prove it.  For me, though, comic books would be a stepping stone to a world that I would begin to find more and more fascinating.

Comic books would regularly refer to classic literature.  There were many references to Shakespeare, Lewis Carol, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Jules Verne, and Mark Twain.  There were even some comic books that told some the great novels in such a way that a kid could understand them.

It was while reading the quotes from various classics that I began to get interested in where those quotes came from. So I began to read.  I read all kinds of things.  I found delight in Barrie’s original Peter Pan.  I tried to understand Hamlet and Lewis Carroll and many others.  Before he was really popular, I got lost in Roald Dahl’s Chocolate Factory, and wanted to run away and live in a tree with the hero of My Side of the Mountain.  I was hooked and it never left me.

Because, of the writings of John Eldredge, amongst others, I found that fictional stories can have great truths in them.  And so I saw the deeper lessons of The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings.  I found many hidden truths in, perhaps my favorite book of all time, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  I went so far as to write my final project for my psychology degree on using fiction in therapy.  A Christmas Carol figured prominently in my paper.

In fact I want to take a moment here to say thank you to my favorite and my best English teacher as well as one of my home room teachers, Mr. David O’Connell.  I do credit him for much of my delight in reading because when he taught on a book he taught with passion.  I may never have learned much about diagramming a sentence, but I did learn that books could take you anywhere.  I also learned being passionate about reading didn’t make you different.  Mr. O’Connell was the football coach, and he had his feet firmly planted in two worlds, sports and literature, I never thought the two could be united, but he did it.

So books help me find my way through some of the hardest paths that this journey toward health has put me on.  I can draw on Dorothy and Frodo and many others to gain the belief that that hard things can be done.  In looking at a story I can see myself in it and I identify with it and the story becomes part of who I am.  I also find that in helping others I can draw references from story after story to help shed light on their paths.  It is wonderful what a good story can do to transform ourselves and others.  In the film version of Shadowlands one of the characters states that “We read to find we are not alone.”  This is a great truth.

I was going to go through a couple of books that hit the mark in helping me and how and why, but I have changed my mind.  Instead I am going to list books that I feel should be read and let them teach you the lessons that they have for you.  NOTE.  It is cheating to watch a film version of anything except those books that are plays.  One does not simply read Shakespeare, one must experience him onstage or screen as his work is only complete when it is performed.

Here is the list, A Christmas Carol, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hamlet, Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Secret Garden, The Shell Seekers, The Harry Potter series, The Berlgariad, The Wind in the Willows, Sherlock Holmes, My Side of the Mountain, Peter Pan, Tom Sawyer, The Stories of Damon Runion, Anna and the King of Siam, Little Women, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Once and Future King, All Things Bright and Beautiful, And The There were None, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Stories of Hans Christian Anderson, The Phantom Tollbooth, 101 Dalmatians, John Son of Thunder, Greek and Norse Mythology and perhaps the most important book of all, if you believe in God or not, The Bible, yes the whole thing.  Most of our society is based on it’s pages it is worth the time to read.

I think that is enough to get you started.  If you have a book that I have not mentioned that has influenced your life, of if you have a story about reading something I have mentioned, please leave a comment here or on the Facebook page that you found the link to this column on.  I would love to know what you are reading and, or what, has helped mold or shape you.

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My Journey To Health, Friends

AjlaFriends!  I sometimes have a hard time seeing what is exactly in front of my face.  I don’t think this is a new phenomenon, I think it is the as old as time itself.  How many of us have looked and looked for something, we then go and call for someone to help, and the person sees it immediately within an inch of where we are standing.  We just can’t see it for some reason.  Of course, the person we called upon for help will not leave us without the favorite “#DUH.”   As if we are either totally blind or totally nuts.

This past Wednesday I published a column where I stated I was on my journey alone.  That statement wasn’t true and it hurt someone I care about.  I’m not alone and really never have been.  Much of my time this is true in the physical sense of the word, but it is not true in the support, prayers and good wishes of others that read this column or know me.

You know you were not going to get out of this column without fictional literature of different types being brought up.  I think I have an ideal of friendship being fueled by such books as The Lord Of The Rings.  The Fellowship broke up, but you know the Hobbits stayed together always and you also assume that Legolas and Gimli are never that long parted.  Then there is The Justice League, super powered, yes, but always there for each other, tackling big problems as a team.  More intimately we have Holmes and Watson, always together and indispensable to each other.  Batman and Robin, crime fighting friends, or even, despite the new film coming out, Batman and Superman they don’t leave each other

This list could go on forever, Lucy and Ethel, Laverne and Shirley, Fred and Barney, Ralph Cramden and Ed Norton, Historically Tolkien and Lewis as well as The Inklings, it is also said that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were friends, and maybe two of the most famous people in the history of Israel Jonathan and David.  David said at the death of Jonathan that Jonathan’s love was better than the love of women.  David wasn’t gay and was not talking about sex, he was talking about a different kind of love, the kind that only comes in friendship.

GK Chesterton a famous English author and Christian was friends with George Bernard Shaw a famous English playwright and atheist.  They would publicly debate each other on whether or not there was a God fighting tooth and nail to make their points, but when the debate was over they went out and got a pint together and were there for each other.  When Chesterton died, he did not leave much to help to take care of his wife.  Shaw took care of her.  This is friendship that goes deep and allows for even basic differences.  This is love.

We, who speak English are very limited in our ways of looking at love.  In our eyes it is only romantic.  But this is not so.  There are different kinds of love.  There is a love that is reserved for your spouse, a love that is reserved for your friends, a love that is reserved for your family, and even a love for those whom we would categorize as acquaintances.   There are four distinctly different forms of love.  This is why saying your spouse is your best friend is not really accurate, and if it is true, than you are missing out on the love of friendship.  This whole topic will be discussed in a feature article in the near future.

I long for the love of real friendship.  The love that takes a few days just to wonder the countryside and talk of great things and ideas.  The kind of love that puts people there for you, right in your house, when you are hurting or ill, the love that makes you take the time to tackle big things together, maybe not fighting crime in spandex, though that might be fun, but big projects that take a team to do.  I long for discussion of books and music and other art.  These are the cries of my heart.

Now am I walking my road alone? No!  Many of you and others are walking with me.  The text messages and PMs on Facebook all help as do the phone calls, and as I said before the prayers and good wishes of others.  You guys that are a part of my life, but I so much more, I want it to go deeper.

There is a part of me that longs for the days of long ago where friendship was so much more.  Knowing that this kind of friendship once existed makes my heart long for it.  That longing is coming deep from my soul.  I doubt I will see it here and now.  But I will speak for it and when I can fight for it.  But you should too.  You incredible people that are reading this, fight with me.  Redefine what you mean by friends and if it is in your power, make it happen.

I am not alone as I walk the yellow brick road, or find my way to Mount Doom or Make my way to the stone table and to Aslan.  There are many with me.  Lorraine, Tom, Caleb, there are several James’, Joel, Steve, Maura, two Lisa’s and a Susan and more than one Kathy.  There’s Brad, Saundra, Manny, Kevin, Ken, Matt, Joe, Joy, Meagan, Gary, Daves, Tims. Mary’s, Anne’s Micki, Carol, and many other who I could list forever.  I am glad a friend took the time to kick me in the butt and remind me of this truth.  I love you guys, but I do dream of more.

If you have a moment take a listen.  Two fictional friends, as well as two lifelong real friends, singing about friendship.  Song by Cole Porter.

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