Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

{from a fighter pilot, a little princess and baby buffalo}

Y'all have fun Trick or Treating tonight!!!

Flood advisory issued for most of western Washington

The National Weather Service office in Seattle has issued an urban- and small-stream flood advisory for 14 counties throughout western Washington. Nearly 2 inches of rain has fallen across much of the area in the past 24 hours, with another 1-2 inches expected today.

Affected counties include:


Minor flooding is expected in urban areas and small streams into this evening, according to the NWS. The flood advisory has been extended to 6:30 p.m. today.


A coworker (and fellow What About Bob? enthusiast) and I used to cast knowing glances at one another on particularly rough days. If we were close enough to be within earshot, one of us would inevitably say to the other: Baby step down the stairs... Baby step out of the office...

Because that's what it is, right? Baby steps, one thing at a time, day by day, moment by moment... whatever you call it, that's how life goes.  Like Leslie says, We'll collect the moments one by one; I guess that's how the future's done.*

But all of those little life-isms seem way too positive right now. Collecting moments makes me envision Sleeping Beauty out gathering berries into her basket while singing with the birds. I'm not dealing with berries. With every anxiety-laden baby step, I'm collecting bricks. Cumbersome, unwieldly bricks. Rough to the touch and heavy on the heart. It is and will be hard, toiling work. But eventually they will get laid. Something will get built. Brick by brick.

And just ask any little pig; it's the strenuous work and strong bricks that will keep you safe from life's wolves. 

*Ever since I typed that line ALL I can hear in my head is "My best friend Leslie says, 'She's just bein' Miley!'" Now you'll hear it, too. You're welcome.

The NAMI Virginia Family Network: Support and Education Available for Families of Children with Mental Health Needs

By Stephany Melton Hardison

As parents, don’t we wish our children came with instruction handbooks? We love our kids, of course, but we all have our challenges. Now, imagine if your son or daughter begins to show signs of a mental health need or condition. They may start to struggle in school, have nightmares, act out, have severe anxieties, etc. At first, you may think they will grow out of it, that they are just being kids, or there must be something that you can do to fix the problem. However, after a while, you may begin to realize that whatever issues that are going on, they are not going to go away on their own or go away easily. In fact, they are probably getting worse, and you don’t know what to do.

There’s a great anecdote called, “Welcome to Holland”, by Emily Perl Kingsley, that describes the journey that parents of children and youth with special needs go through. The story describes how a parent with a child with special needs ends up taking a different path then what they first thought life was going to be for their child. When you find out or realize that your child has mental health needs, all of your original hopes and dreams change. Instead of little Johnny being an honor roll student, you are not sure he is even going to complete the school year because he struggles so much to get through the school day.

Again, imagine if you were that parent. How would you react, how would you feel if you were in his/her shoes? I am sure you would want the best for your child and do everything in your power to help. Yet, there is no roadmap for parents to follow. There is no clear path that tells parents where to go when their child needs help, and often, parents are faced with roadblocks as they try to access services for their child. As a result, parents can feel isolated, hopeless, and helpless with nowhere to turn. Although many children and youth have mental health needs - one in five children have a diagnosable mental health need to be exact - parents can still feel like no one can possibly understand what they are going through. You try to talk to your friends and family about it, and many are very supportive and do everything that they can to help. Yet, there is still something missing.

While we all have the best of intentions and want to do whatever we can to help parents, there is one quality that only other parents with children and youth with mental health needs can bring to the table: lived experience and automatic understanding. When a parent talks to another parent, it is a freeing experience because that parent can say from the start that he/she has been there and that he/she doesn’t have to explain. A parent can say to the other parent: “here is a great therapist that did a lot to help Johnny…maybe she can help Susie” or “here is a great training on how to access special education services…I found it really helpful” or simply “call me when you just need someone to talk to”. All of these statements are powerful and can make a big difference in parents’ lives.

So, where can parents go for this kind of support?

In June 2011, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Virginia (NAMI Virginia) launched the Virginia Family Network (VFN). VFN is a grassroots network of families who provide support, education, and resources to other families with children and youth with mental health needs while ensuring that the voices of families and youth are represented throughout their communities and the system as a whole. Our vision is to create at least one parent support group in every region and to host an array of trainings for parents throughout the state and throughout the year. We have been rolling out region by region, including the Williamsburg and Hampton Roads area!

The great news is that we have a parent training coming up in your area! On Saturday, November 3rd from 10am to 3pm in Hampton, we are hosting “Driving the Care for your Family: A Training on How to Advocate for your Child with Mental Health Needs”. It is designed to give parents some tools that will help them to better advocate for their child. Such tools include telling your story, navigating the system, and resolving conflict. To register and for more information, visit our website,, or contact Stephany at 804-285-8264 x206 or

The other great news is that Colonial Behavioral Health will be hosting a parent conference in April and has made a commitment to developing a parent network in your area.

Want to be kept up to date on any efforts in your area? Want information on any available resources?

We have a wonderful monthly e-newsletter that includes information and updates on our efforts, as well as information on resources and trainings happening both locally and nationally. If you are interested in signing up, email Stephany at

Our strength comes from all of you, so please join us!

Here are some ways that you can get involved with the Virginia Family Network:

• Start or join a parent support group

• Start a youth support group

• Spread the word to other parents and youth

• Sign up for our e-newsletter at

• Become a parent or youth trainer

• Serve as a point of contact and support to other parents in your community

• Post a flyer in your local library, school, community service board, local CSA office, etc.

• Host a VFN training at your local organization, school, community service board, etc.

• And many, many more!

For more information, contact Stephany Melton Hardison, or 804-285-8264 ext. 206 or visit our website,

Stephany Melton Hardison is the Virginia Family Network Project Director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Virginia (NAMI Virginia). Stephany has worked in the mental health field since 2003, providing education, support, and training to youth, families, and professionals including working for the state chapters of the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Massachusetts. She brings her extensive expertise in family networks to the VFN, having led a statewide family network in Massachusetts. In Virginia, Stephany serves on Virginia’s System of Care Expansion Team and works closely with the Office of Child Mental Health. Her experience as a child of a parent with mental illness has motivated her to dedicate her career to supporting and advocating for families affected by mental health conditions. Stephany holds a Master’s of Social Work degree with a concentration in Community Organizing, Policy , Planning, and Administration from Boston College.

Europe Health Radio unveils new logo

Europe Health Radio, the forthcoming new development from UK Health Radio, the health and wellness radio station for the UK, Europe and beyond has unveiled its new logo:

The mission of the new health radio station will remain the same as UK Health Radio in the UK:

The mission of UK Health Radio is to improve the quality of life of people across the globe by providing health and wellness information through radio broadcasts and a resource website, allowing professionals to share best practice, their expertise and passion and for suppliers to showcase their products and services

The content will be largely shared with UK Health Radio but will also include regional programmes in European languages.

Station Director, John Hicks, welcomed the new artwork, which will be featured in a new website being launched by the end of the year, and said: "This is a unique opportunity for health, medical, nutrition, pharmacueticals, sports, fitness and homeopathy practitioners, campaigners and experts to share their passion and expertise on the radio in their own language."

"Similarly, for listeners, UK Health Radio and Europe Health Radio offer them the opportunity to hear health and wellness radio programs in a range of European languages." John added.

UK Health Radio can be heard at

Self Harm Prevention National Conference Attendees To Hear From The Howard League for Penal Reform

The Howard League reports that ex-prisoners are extremely vulnerable to suicide.

“Although the self harm risk is high, short sentence prisoners receive little or no preparation for release and no post-release support. Those serving long sentences are supervised on release, but the Probation Service prioritises public protection rather than the welfare of the ex-prisoners.” The report stated.

The Howard League for Penal Reform is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform, will be addressing the Self Harm National Conference,, on the self harm risks of those in the penal system.
 The conference has been set for, Friday 07, December 2012 by, Step Up International, to address the alarming problem of self harm, that is sweeping across the UK, as well as the rest of the world.
 Other noted speakers for the Self Harm National Conference, will include: Keith Waters with the multi-centre approach to self harm & prevention, based in Derby NHS, Remy Aquarone, President of European Society For Trauma & Dissociation, Poppy Jaman, Chief Executive, Mental Health First Aid, England and Caroline Hattersley, of the National Autistic Society.
 Other issues that will be addressed at the conference will include the impact of on-going self harm, equipping professionals to deal with the issues that self harm poses, implications for services, (including education sector, police, youth offending teams, health), of young people self harming, and safeguarding young people against and from the media in the 21 Century.
The Self Harm National Conference, has been designed for those who are offering services for children and young people, such as those in the education sector, police services, probation, youth offending teams, as well as those in health services, local authorities and therapists.
The Self Harm National Conference, is planned for Friday 07, December 2012, Oxford. For complete details go to: Telephone, +44(0)121 551 1668 or email



Ryan - week one! 

I had an email from my nephew this morning.  He often writes to me about fundraising and today was no exception!

He wrote:

Hi Aunty Mandy,

It's Movember and time to make a difference!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Men’s health is a cause I am passionate about but in order to make a difference I need your help. My commitment is to grow a moustache for the month of November and in doing so, raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health, including prostate and testicular cancer.

I am asking you to help support my personal journey by making a donation. The size of the donation isn’t important, every little contribution helps Movember to continue its funding of world class programmes.  If you want to know more about what you’ll be helping to fund, you can visit Movember’s Programme Overview details of which appear below.

To highlight the importance of what I am doing, take a look at these statistics:
• 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
• This year 40,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed in the UK
• 47% of testicular cancer cases occur in men under 35 years and over 90% occur in men under 55 years.

I was pleased to see Ryan getting involved with this cause.  There is no doubt that men’s health issues are at last coming out of the shadows. I did a blog on men’s health not so long ago and it is good to see that my nephew, who is in the age group that traditionally stick their heads in the sand, is speaking out for the causes of prostate and testicular cancer.  Funnily enough I was talking to someone who is undergoing investigation for prostate cancer at the moment and if I think about it I know lots of other men of a certain age who are in the same boat.

Well Ryan thanked me in advance for supporting his efforts to change the face of men's health.     Donating online or by cheque to this cause are both possible and all the details for that appear below. There are several programmes you’ll be helping to fund by making a donation and I am sure that if you get in touch with Ryan he will fill you in on the details.   Oh and I am really looking forward to seeing him with that moustache!

Please note that all information and content on UK Health Radio and this blog are provided by the authors, producers and companies themselves and is only intended as additional information to your general knowledge.  It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please do not delay or disregard any medical advice received due to information gathered on UK Health Radio.
UK Health Radio – the health radio station for the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond at – is kindly sponsored by

Amanda Thomas
UK Health Radio

If you’d like to contribute to this cause you can do that by:
• Donating online at:
• Writing a cheque payable to 'Movember', referencing Ryan's Registration ID: 3689249 and mailing it to: Movember Europe PO Box 68600 London EC1P 1EF  

Please click on the link below for further details of this programme.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Market Conduct Examiner position extended to Nov. 13

Please help us spread the word - We're currently hiring for a Market Conduct Examiner. Sound interesting? This person will work under our Chief Market Conduct Examiner or Lead Examiner Analyst, analyzing, reviewing and identifying the market conduct practices of health insurance companies and other regulated entities that could harm consumers.

This job posting is open until Nov. 13, so if you know someone who may be interested and who's up to the challenge, please tell them soon! See the salary, specific duties and other qualifications.


Farmers and eaters around the country and the world are watching the Nov. 6 election in California with bated breath.

Will Proposition 37 -- requiring labeling of GMOs in our food -- pass? Note that even China requires labeling! But here in the U.S., GMOs took off in the 1990s with no public debate, and today they're in most processed foods, making Americans the world's GMO guinea pigs.

We know it's easy to get sunk by "information overload" and agribusiness advertising. So far the largest GMO maker, Monsanto, and other industry giants have plowed at least $35 million into keeping us in the dark.

To help us think straight, we've prepared seven points to consider and share with your friends -- all backed by authoritative studies. Here's what they reveal:

1. GMOs have never undergone standard testing or regulation for human safety. And now that they're in 70 percent of processed foods, it's extremely difficult for scientists to isolate their health risks.

2. But we know that GMOs have proven harmful in animal studies
. A 2009 review of 19 studies found mammals fed GM corn or soy developed "liver and kidney problems" that could mark the "onset of chronic diseases." Most were 90-day studies. In a new two-year study, rats fed GM corn developed two to three times more tumors -- some bigger than a quarter of their total body weight -- and these tumors appeared much earlier than in rats fed non-GM corn. Among scientists, the study has its defenders and critics, but even the critics underscore that we need more long-term studies.

3. And the most widely used GMOs are paired with an herbicide linked to serious reproductive problems and disease.
GM crops -- Roundup Ready soy and corn -- are treated with the herbicide glyphosate, which in exposed humans has been associated with DNA damage. In the lab, it's proven toxic to human liver cells.

4. The consequences of GMO technology are inherently unpredictable. Inserting a single gene can result in multiple, unintended DNA changes and mutations. "Unintended effects are common in all cases where GE [genetic engineering] techniques are used," warn scientists. One such environmental consequence -- genetic contamination of other plants -- is already documented. Note that unlike food, once released into the environment, seeds can't be "recalled"!

5. GMO makers intimidate and silence farmers and scientists. GMO corporations use patents and intellectual property rights to sue farmers, block research, and threaten investigators. "For a decade," protested Scientific American editors in 2009, GMO companies "have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research," so "it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised."

6. GMOs undermine our food security. Within the biotechnology market, Monsanto alone controls 90 percent of GE crops worldwide. And Monsanto is one of three GMO companies including DuPont and Syngenta that control 70 percent of the global seed market, reinforcing monopoly power over our food. GMO seeds are costly and must be purchased every year, so they worsen farmers' indebtedness, dependency, and vulnerability to hunger.

7. GMOs aren't needed in the first place, so why would we take on these risks and harms? Studies show that safe, sustainable farming practices applied worldwide could increase our food supply as much as 50 percent. And keep in mind that the world's already producing 2,800 calories for every person on earth every day -- more than enough. And that's just with what's left over after using half the world's grain for feed, fuel and other purposes, and wasting one-third of all food. So the urgent question isn't about "more" anyway. It is, How can all of the world's people gain the power to secure healthy food? And a good start is knowing what's in our food.

For a cool, just-released animated video devouring the myth that we need industrial ag, see

Shopping in the Know (Not GMO)

• Avoid processed foods! It's a simple way to reduce exposure to the four most common GM ingredients: non-organic forms of soy, canola, cottonseed and corn, including high-fructose corn syrup.

• Look for the voluntary "non-GMO" label.

• Buy "certified organic," which ensures that no GMO ingredients were used.

• Visit for a list of thousands of GMO products and brands.
To sort more food myths from facts, visit the new Food MythBusters: the Real Story About What We Eat website at FoodMyths.Org. And, if you live in California, vote Nov. 6 for Proposition 37 to require GMO labeling.

Speak out, wherever you are. Demand federal GMO labeling and work to end GMOs.

Source: 7 things to tell friends about GMO

Paleo Granola Bars

I kind of found the treasure chest for Paleo treats: a new cook book called Paleo Indulgences. The Primal Parent gave a great review, here, and Robb Wolf wrote the forward. Needless to say, I was excited to get this in the mail! 

With the help of Snooze, we tried our first recipe yesterday and it was a huge success: "Granola" Bars. {They are already all gone - GREAT substitute for Larabars!}

Wet Ingredients:
1/4c coconut oil
1/4c pure maple syrup
1/4c unsweetened almond butter {I only had Justin's Maple on hand so we used that}

Dry Ingredients:
1/3c raw pumpkin seeds
1/2c roasted, salted sunflower seeds*
1/3c roasted, salted almond slivers*
1/4c mini chocolate chips {Enjoy Life brand - her suggestion - though I just chopped up 100% unsweetened chocolate. I only used 1/8c}
1/3c raisins
*I never used roasted nuts, only raw. Roasting nuts at temps over 240 degrees F causes acrylamides to form, a chemical that is a known carcinogen. Keeping the temp below 140 degrees F is safest, however food in its raw form is always most nutritious. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and grease with coconut oil. Then...

Oops - forgot to let the wet mixture cool for 15 minutes, so it melted the chocolate...

Tammy, the author, says to place a sheet of waxed paper on top and press down firmly to flatten, though I did not.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. {Mine only needed 20 minutes}

Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut into bars. 
{This did not work for me and they started to fall apart, so I placed in fridge to cool for an hour and then cut them. I was still not able to take them out completely - still crumbly - so I cooled for another 4 hours and then they were hard enough to fully cut into bars}

The recipe is a cinch and they were SO DELICIOUS! These might be a daily creation in my kitchen from here on out. 

start here.

It's as good a place to start as any.

I always cringe when writing a blog's first post (and with my spontaneous ideas but sporadic commitment, I've penned several).  It's that same feeling you get writing a cover letter; I know this is supposed to be about me... But what can I put that won't make me look like a damn fool?

But anyways, fool or no, here I am. Here is where we start.

Here is where I start rebuilding.

Long story short (is there ever such a thing?), I grew up in a household of domestic violence. Not the intermittent kind. The dragged out, broken glass, muffle the shouts by covering your head with the pillow every night kind. This lasted for over 20 years.

During those first 20 years, I made it my life goal to be perfect. Unsurprisingly, this led to very great societal results (straight A's! happy cheerleader! super skinny! prestigious university!) and very poor mental ones. But I kept on. I escaped the house.  I thought I escaped that life.

I tried to build one of my own.

After undergrad came grad school came a "career." A career that isn't exactly esteemed in America, but I'd landed in prestigious enough a spot to deem it worthy of fitting into my storyline. (Because that's all these are, yes? Stories we tell ourselves).

Then slam-bam-crash. My father died unexpectedly. The nightmare was supposed to be over.

I wasn't prepared for the fact that this sudden event would dredge up all kinds of emotion. So I pushed it down somewhere I wouldn't have to look at it in the name of being the best ever! at my job.

Until I realized I couldn't anymore. So three years later, and I am here. Taking time off, trying to figure out my life.  Rebuilding what has fallen down around me. Let's go.

Images of old Kate Spade advertisements
Former ad campaigns by Kate Spade.

Halloween Safety for College Students

Above image: Collegeville masks from 1981 (via Plaid Stallions).

Halloween is a good time to have fun, but since it's on a Wednesday this year, we've got some tips for you to follow to make sure you can get to work/school the next day. Not to be a buzz kill, but we don't want to see you in the clinic on November 1st for a Halloween related accident, and we really don't want you to end up in the hospital. 

1. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE! This is a no brainer, so don't get behind the wheel drunk or get into a car with a drunk driver. Even if your friend says they are okay to drive, call a cab or find a designated driver. Getting a cab is much cheaper than getting a ticket. Robert DeBry & Associates offers cab ride reimbursement on holidays! You can learn more about that here. It's also a good idea to drive extra cautiously to watch for trick-or-treaters. 

2. DRINK RESPONSIBLY. If you are going to drink, don't over do it. Know your limits, if you can't stand or you're seeing double, that's probably a good indicator that you should stop.  Trying to keep track of how many drinks you've had is also a good way to find out what your limits are. It is recommended that you drink no more than one drink per hour. And remember, don't drink on an empty stomach and make sure you drink plenty of water. 

3. MAKE SURE YOUR COSTUME IS FUNCTIONAL. Don't wear heels if you can't walk in heels. Be sure that you wan walk in your costume with out tripping or falling. Make sure you can breathe and see if you're wearing a mask. Try out your face-paint or make-up on a small area of skin before applying it to your whole face to avoid getting an unsightly rash. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

How I Wore It :: Black Tie and NOT Pregnant!

If you look back at my black tie How I Wore It posts {here and here}, I am pregnant in both of them {and do I change my hair color a lot or what?!} In fact, I have been pregnant for EVERY black tie event we have been to since we have been married.  This year for Steeplechase, one of my favorite parties of the year here in Fort Worth, I was....get ready for it....NOT pregnant for the first time in 3 years!! This was a monumental night for me. I found a dress to wear on a fluke while up in NYC for Coterie last month and was so excited to wear it. Unfortunately, four different styles of Spanx I tried did not work and one line or another ended up showing, but I sucked in like a champ and had a great time ;) 

Dress :: Juicy Couture / Clutch :: Anya Hindmarch / Shoes :: Gucci

{the clutch, last year's anniversary present from Biz, was my favorite part}

Here are some snapshots from the actual event ---

Happy Monday everyone...thinking of and praying for those on the East coast...

The man who ate 25 eggs per day: What does this case really tell us?

Many readers of this blog have probably heard about the case of the man who ate approximately 25 eggs (20 to 30) per day for over 15 years (probably well over), was almost 90 years old (88) when the case was published in the prestigious The New England Journal of Medicine, and was in surprisingly good health ().

The case was authored by the late Dr. Fred Kern, Jr., a widely published lipid researcher after whom the Kern Lipid Conference is named (). One of Kern’s research interests was bile, a bitter-tasting fluid produced by the liver (and stored in the gallbladder) that helps with the digestion of lipids in the small intestine. He frames the man’s case in terms of a compensatory adaptation tied to bile secretion, arguing that this man was rather unique in his ability to deal with a lethal daily dose of dietary cholesterol.

Kern seemed to believe that dietary cholesterol was harmful, but that this man was somehow “immune” to it. This is ironic, because often this case is presented as evidence against the hypothesis that dietary cholesterol can be harmful. The table below shows the general nutrient content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. The numbers in this and other tables are based on data from (), in some cases triangulated with other data. The 5.3 g of cholesterol in the table (i.e., 5,300 mg) is 1,775 percent the daily value recommended by the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences ().

As you can see, the man was on a very low carbohydrate diet with a high daily intake of fat and protein. The man is described as an: “… 88-year-old man who lived in a retirement community [and] complained only of loneliness since his wife's death. He was an articulate, well-educated elderly man, healthy except for an extremely poor memory without other specific neurologic deficits … His general health had been excellent, without notable symptoms. He had mild constipation.”

The description does not suggest inherited high longevity: “His weight had been constant at 82 to 86 kg (height, 1.87 m). He had no history (according to the patient and his personal physician of 15 years) of heart disease, stroke, or kidney disease … The patient had never smoked and never drank excessively. His father died of unknown causes at the age of 40, and his mother died at 76 … He kept a careful record, egg by egg, of the number ingested each day …”

The table below shows the fat content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. With over 14 g of omega-6 fat intake every day, this man was probably close to or in “industrial seed oils territory” (), as far as daily omega-6 fat intake is concerned. And the intake of omega-3 fats, at less than 1 g, was not nearly enough to balance it. However, here is a relevant fact – this man was not consuming any industrial seed oils. He liked his eggs soft-boiled, which is why the numbers in this post refer to boiled eggs.

This man weighed between 82 to 86 kg, which is about 180 to 190 lbs. His height was 1.87 m, or about 6 ft 1 in. Therefore his body mass index varied between approximately 23 and 25, which is in the normal range. In other words, this person was not even close to obese during the many years he consumed 25 eggs or so per day. In the comments section of a previous post, on the sharp increase in obesity since the 1980s (), several readers argued that the sharp increase in obesity was very likely caused by an increase in omega-6 fat consumption.

I am open to the idea that industrialized omega-6 fats played a role in the sharp increase in obesity observed since the 1980s. When it comes to omega-6 fat consumption in general, including that in “more natural” foods (e.g., poultry and eggs), I am more skeptical. Still, it is quite possible that a diet high in omega-6 fats in general is unhealthy primarily if it is devoid of other nutrients. This man’s overall diet might have been protective not because of what he was not eating, but because of what he was eating.

The current debates pitting one diet against another often revolve around the ability of one diet or another to eliminate or reduce the intake of a “bad thing” (e.g., cholesterol, saturated fat, carbohydrates). Perhaps the discussion should be more focused on, or at least not completely ignore, what one diet or another include as protective factors. This would help better explain “odd findings”, such as the lowest-mortality body mass index of 26 in urban populations (). It would also help better explain “surprising cases”; such as this 25-eggs-a-day man’s, vegetarian-vegan “ageless woman” Annette Larkins’s (), and the decidedly carnivore De Vany couple’s ().

The table below shows the vitamin content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. The vitamin K2 content provided by was incorrect; I had to get what seems to be the right number by triangulating values taken from various publications. And here we see something interesting. This man was consuming approximately the equivalent in vitamin K2 that one would get by eating 4 ounces of foie gras () every day. Foie gras, the fatty liver of overfed geese, is the richest known animal source of vitamin K2. This man’s diet was also high in vitamin A, which is believed to act synergistically with vitamin K2 – see Chris Masterjohn’s article on Weston Price’s “activator X” ().

Kern argued that the very high intake of dietary cholesterol led to a sharp increase in bile secretion, as the body tried to “get rid” of cholesterol (which is used in the synthesis of bile). However, the increased bile secretion might have been also been due to the high fat content of this man’s diet, since one of the main functions of bile is digestion of fats. Whatever the case may be, increased bile secretion leads to increased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and vitamins K2 and A are fat-soluble vitamins that seem to be protective against cardiovascular disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Finally, the table below shows the mineral content of the man’s daily diet of eggs. As you can see, this man consumed 550 percent the officially recommended daily intake of selenium. This intake was slightly lower than the 400 micrograms per day purported to cause selenosis in adults (). Similarly to vitamins K2 and A, selenium seems to be protective against cardiovascular disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases. This man’s diet was also rich in phosphorus, needed for healthy teeth and bones.

Not too many people live to be 88 years of age; many fewer reach that age in fairly good health. The country with the highest average life expectancy in the world at the time of this writing is Japan, with a life expectancy of about 82 years (79 for men, and 86 for women). Those who think that they need a high HDL cholesterol and a low LDL cholesterol to be in good health, and thus live long lives, may be surprised at this man’s lipid profile: “The patient's plasma lipid levels were normal: total cholesterol, 5.18 mmol per liter (200 mg per deciliter); LDL, 3.68 mmol per liter (142 mg per deciliter); and HDL, 1.17 mmol per liter (45 mg per deciliter). The ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol was 3.15.”

If we assume that this man is at least somewhat representative of the human species, and not a major exception as Kern argued, this case tells us that a diet of 25 eggs per day followed by over 15 years may actually be healthy for humans. Such diet has the following features:

- It is very high in dietary cholesterol.

- It involves a high intake of omega-6 fats from animal sources, with none coming from industrial seed oils.

- It involves a high overall intake of fats, including saturated fats.

- It is fairly high in protein, all of which from animal sources.

- It is a very low carbohydrate diet, with no sugar in it.

- It is a nutritious diet, rich in vitamins K2 and A, as well as in selenium and phosphorus.

This man ate 25 eggs per day apparently due to an obsession tied to mental problems. Repeated attempts at changing his behavior were unsuccessful. He said: “Eating these eggs ruins my life, but I can't help it.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I recently posted a picture of some pumpkin muffins on my Instagram, and instantly received several "What's the recipe??!" comments. My friend and our amazing chef, Callie Salls of Linguini and Dirty Martinis, never fails when it comes to creating amazing Paleo recipes for my family. Her most recent creation is Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins! They are amazing as they look, and are quickly becoming a French household favorite. 

Yields 8-12 muffins

1 ½ cups almond flour
¾ cup organic canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
2 t pumpkin pie spice
¼ t kosher salt
¼ cup raw honey
3 t creamy almond butter
Pepitas, to sprinkle atop muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper or silicone liners. {FYI, I just found some silicone liners at Williams-Sonoma this week and they are life-changing. The muffins literally fall out of them - no messy sticking or peeling paper cups off, AND no dirty muffin tin! Win win. Invest.}

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, whisking together to remove clumps. In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients then combine with dry until well combined.

Using a smaller ice cream scoop, scoop an even amount of batter into each muffin liner to about 2/3 full. Top with pepitas. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes on the middle rack until golden and muffins have just become firm.

Perfect for these chilly Autumn days we are having now, right? Enjoy, and thanks Callie for letting me share the recipe! View Callie's Facebook page here for other great meal ideas. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

What is Brush DJ?

Brush DJ is a free toothbrush timer app that plays 2 minutes of music taken at random from the user's device to encourage brushing for an effective length of time. The app also allows users to set reminders to brush twice a day, floss, use a mouthrinse and when next to see their dentist or hygienist. Evidence-based age specific information is given as per the Department of Health's toolkit 'Delivering Better Oral Health'.

Want to know more? Then visit
Twitter: @BrushDJ             
Facebook: Brush DJ

EHFG 2012: New EHFG President Helmut Brand calling for expansion of EU health mandate

According to Prof Dr Helmut Brand, the new EHFG president, EU actions have contributed much more effectively to health protection in the everyday lives of EU citizens than national policymakers could have. He called for the further development of the EU health mandate established in the Maastricht Agreements, noting that the European Parliament should be given more power to deal with public health topics and the EU should be positioned more strongly in global health issues.

Prof Dr Helmut Brand (Chair of the Department of International Health at the University of Maastricht) is the new EHFG president. He made the following comments on assuming office: “There will be no revolution; I rely on evolution when it comes to the continuation of the EHFG, the most important EU congress on health policy issues. The Gasteiner Valley as venue, the format of the congress in general, the integration of the four “pillars” of policy, research, industry and civil society–all these aspects have been well received and should be retained.”

The EHFG should also retain a perspective that extends beyond the EU borders. The EHFG has networked for many years with the Southeast European Health Network (SEEHN), conducted a health policy dialog with the CIS countries and developed a mature cooperation arrangement with Taiwan. Touching on this latter collaborative effort, Professor Brand said: “It is a tradition that should be expanded in the medium term into a European-Asian dialogue. It has also become much more important to view European health issues also in a global context and to push for global networking.”
A “Workshop on the Future” and interim activities also between the annual congresses will supplement the previous EHFG program in future. Prof Brand: “The first event of this kind will be held in May 2013 at the University of Maastricht and will commemorate the Maastricht Agreement that was signed there in 1992 and that went into force in 1993. This agreement defined a health mandate for the EU for the first time. The object was to support and coordinate national health policymakers.”
Very positive contribution of EU actions thus far
Prof Brand noted that EU activities have contributed very positively to various aspects of health protection in the everyday life of EU citizens, e.g. food safety, the protection of non-smokers, or product safety, for example, toys. Patients benefit from EU measures to improve the safety of drugs and medicinal products, from advances in controlling infectious diseases or from the safety of blood and blood products. Prof Brand: “These EU-wide efforts frequently improved the health protection of more than 500 million citizens. That never would have been possible with individual actions by single countries.”
BSE, SARS and other public health crises have occasioned changes in the responsibility of the EU. In international crises, the national authorities were often convinced to share their responsibility because of their own insufficient ability to respond and the declining trust consumers showed in them. Prof Brand: “The EU worked out concepts for this type of joint responsibility not only to lay the legal groundwork but also to establish suitable infrastructures. Examples include networks, scientific advisory committees, agencies or data recording systems that contribute to better health protection for citizens and consumers.” Areas affected by these efforts were blood safety, food safety, monitoring of communicable diseases and cancer prevention or screening programs.
EU health mandate must be redefined
Prof Brand: “The EU health mandate has to be redefined for two reasons: first, because the challenges for public health and for health systems have changed dramatically since Maastricht but second, because of the current discussions on a further development of the architecture of Europe per se—for example developing the vision of the United States of Europe.” He went on to cite several central points crucial to further development:
- Further strengthen the European Parliament to give the public health sector another contact partner at institutional level.
- Position the EU even more strongly in global health issues as a major player on the global stage.
- Build up a European health information system to make data on health indicators broadly and speedily available.
Stability in a globalised world
“The subject of health is given much too little attention in the discussion of the financial and economic crisis. But it could offer a window of opportunity at European and at national level to implement reforms that would otherwise not be possible without the crisis, including a reform of the EU health mandate,” Prof Brand explained. He then added: “The public health sector must take an admonishing role in monitoring the solution strategies being developed to deal with the financial and economic crisis.”
The EHFG is the most important conference on health care policy in the European Union. In this its 15th year, the EHFG attracts more than 600 decision-makers from 45 countries to discuss major topics on the future of the European health care system from 3 to 6 October 2012.