Friday, November 09, 2007

Me: Spending Money on Health Books

I admit it, the other day, I cracked and watched Oprah when I heard that Dr. Oz, the author of You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty was going to be on talking about diet, exercise and other ways to stay young. I had told myself repeatedly to stay away from these silly daytime TV shows but I figured I might learn something more about how to stay in decent health. And I did. The show gave basic advice for people on how to eat right, exercise and take various vitamins such as fish oil. It did seem like a repeat of most of the stuff one should know, however, a refresher course every once in a while is good and I even went as far as to order the book from (but still chastising myself for letting it get that far). The book was kind of interesting although not what I thought it would be.

I was hoping the book would focus mainly on a concrete diet and exercise plan but alas, it did not. It was more of a guideline for staying young with tips scattered throughout the book on what to trash from your refrigerator such as saturated fat, (duh) trans fat, corn oil, soybean oil and simple sugars.

There are a set of tests in the book to see how fit you are. First, push-ups, here I flunked because with my ICD, if I even do one push-up (normal is 11-14 for a woman, 20-24 for a guy in his forties), I pull the wires in my chest and it hurts like hell; next came sit-ups where I barely did 27 (normal for a woman in her forties is 20-24, for a man 25-29); and finally, the balance test where you stand on one foot, close your eyes, put your hands out to your sides and time yourself. Amazingly, I made it over 30 seconds which is considered good. Try it and see where you stand or fall, depending on how good your balance is.

So, a bit disappointed with the absence of a detailed diet plan and recipes, I decided to go purchase You: On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management and was very pleased with the book. The book had easy breakfast, lunch and dinner plans along with snacks and included dinner recipes for gazpacho, various soups, salads, fish dishes and even whole wheat pizza. There was even a section on exactly what to purchase from the fast food places to meet the requirements of their diet. For example, at Wendy's, the authors recommend the Mandarin Chicken Salad, at McDonald's, the Fruit and walnut salad or Caesar salad with grilled chicken or at Taco Bell, the Spicy Chicken Soft Taco. Good to know if you travel a lot or are an over-the-road trucker.

The diet book is kind of uplifting and cheerful and does really get you thinking about a holistic way of approaching health. Again, I didn't see anything here that was groundbreaking but if one follows the advice in the You books, I imagine some degree of health improvements would occur.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Get a job, Doc.

6:13 PM, November 09, 2007  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

Dr. Oz is pretty good, and his You on a Diet book is great too.

I was agnry with Oprah when she went on her show and announced that she 'blew out her thyroid' and 'fixed' it by staying in Hawaii for a month. Even worse than that, she had some new agey doctor on Dr. Christiane Northrup, who said that for some women, "thyroid dysfunction develops because of an energy blockage in the throat region, the result of a lifetime of 'swallowing' words one is aching to say."

WTF? Garbage like that could set back medical science years.

Plus Oprah said nothing on her show to encourage anyone else suffering to speak to their doctor or get treatment.

8:16 PM, November 09, 2007  
Blogger Vreni said...

My favourite book on general wellness is "How to Eat Move and Be Healthy" by Paul Chek. Best cookbook is "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. Even if you don't cook, the nutrition info is worth the price, and the anecdotes in the margins alongside the recipes are insightful. The other book I think anyone interested in their health should read, is "Know Your Fats", by Dr. Mary Enig. Finally a book written by a fats researcher that is not paid by the food industry, and the truth makes more sense than the fiction we are being fed in the media! As a Wellness and Vitality Coach, these are the books I most recommend.

9:50 PM, November 09, 2007  
Blogger Jay Currie said...

A minute without wobble and that is at 51 and a good half a bottle of Shiraz to the good. Playing airplane and then swami with the foot on the knee crushed my three minute attempt. but it cheered me up no end and amused the children.

12:34 AM, November 10, 2007  
Blogger Darleen said...

re: balance test

it's one of indications of learning disabilities

20 years ago I was amazed to watch a demonstration involving my own daughter ... her tutor told her to balance on one foot - just fine until she said "close your eyes" whereupon daughter promptly fell over

10:28 AM, November 10, 2007  
Blogger Vreni said...

The balance test may also indicate that the upper cervical vertebrae are out of alignment. The C2 to occiput area is particularly proprioceptive in nature, and with the eyes closed, one is relying entirely on one's internal proprioceptive system. So, any disturbance in that system (vestibular problems may drive it too), would show up once the eyes are closed.

1:38 PM, November 10, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

My first inclination was to criticize you for buying one of these diet books. But, then I realized, diet books are like drugs: most people deny buying them when the reality is most of us do.

6:44 PM, November 11, 2007  
Blogger gt said...

Could you suggest anything along the lines of a dummy's guide to the heart? I read your blog for the politics, but was recently diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and will need to start educating myself.

9:15 PM, November 11, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi gt,

Sorry to hear you are having an irregular heartbeat. I find the internet a better way to research irregular heartbeat info, just google the American Heart Association and irregular heartbeat. However, remember that almost all sites are overly dramatic and may not pertain to you and your specific problem. Web MD is good too.

I think most books by Dean Ornish are okay, you can just google him and find a few of his books. "The Women's Heart Book" is a decent book for women to read if they have heart problems. Not sure there is a dummy's guide to the heart.

7:39 AM, November 12, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

I caught a little bit of Oprah last week and there was a woman on saying that it is possible for a husband to rape his wife. I just think you need to be very careful with that advice, because women could use that as a weapon.

next came sit-ups where I barely did 27 (normal for a woman in her forties is 20-24

Congratulations, you are better than average!

First, push-ups, here I flunked because with my ICD, if I even do one push-up (normal is 11-14 for a woman, 20-24 for a guy in his forties)

I am in my 20s and I don't do push-ups very often, but I don't think I can get to 20.

2:07 PM, November 12, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


Prior to my heart attack, I could do over 20 regular push-ups and was really pretty strong. Not so much these days but if I am "better than average" with a heart attack etc. I must not be too weak. You can easily build up to 20 push ups if you practice, especially at your age, that is, if you want to. Push-ups are a great way to strengthen your chest and arms fast.

2:45 PM, November 12, 2007  
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