Thursday, December 31, 2015

Glucose

Glucose is the major source of energy for the brain, nervous system, muscles, and many other body’s processes. When glucose levels are low, decision-making, critical thinking, willpower, and self-control can be impaired. Go easy on simple carbs (especially white sugar, flour, rice, and processed foods made from them) in favor of healthier complex carbs, the preferred source. They can help you maintain your weight in an optimum range as you need smaller amounts to feel satisfied and feel full longer, as compared to foods containing simple sugars and high-fructose corn syrup). Natural food sources of glucose include whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. Examples of high-starch veggies are corn, zucchini, and squash. Low-starch veggies include tomatoes and onions, asparagus and celery, mushrooms, cauliflower, green beans, cabbage, cucumbers, and red and green peppers, etc. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fructose

Fructose is sometimes called fruit sugar because of its presence in fruit. Fructose is a monosaccharide--a single sugar molecule consisting of six carbon atoms, six oxygen atoms and 12 hydrogen atoms. It can be absorbed quite quickly into the blood stream from your small intestines. In addition to fruit, fructose may be present in your menu as honey or syrup or as the food additive high-fructose corn syrup (found in many beverages, salad dressings, and so on). Fructose absorption can be very rapid if the source is high-fructose corn syrup. Absorption from whole fruits is less rapid because of the presence of fiber and other phytonutrients in fruit.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Glucose vs Fructose


Kathleen Page and colleagues at the University of Southern California, studied the effects of glucose and fructose on the hypothalamus—the appetite control center, which responds to hormones such as Leptin that tell the brain you are full (metaphorically think of leptin as the brake pedal). When study participants consumed a drink containing only glucose, blood flow and activity in the hypothalamus decreased and they reported feeling full. When the same participants were fed a fructose drink, the hypothalamus remained active and they did not report feeling full. The brain still thought the body was hungry.


(Gameau, Damon. The Sugar Book. P. 121. NY:Flatiron Books, 2015)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Proverbs

More Proverbs 
  • English proverb: Don't shut the gate after the horse has bolted.
  • Albanian proverb:  Mind the goats so that you will drink their milk. 
  •  German proverb:  You don’t see the brain on one’s forehead.
  •  Arabic proverb:  Arrogance over the arrogant is modesty. 
  •  Corsican proverb:  An idle person is up to no good.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Defrazzled Day



Whatever you are doing today, relaxing with loved ones actually or virtually, biological family or family-of-choice, I wish you a happy defrazzled day. I’m having one. Yes, it would be great to be with some of my favorite family members—but defrazzling means that I avoid traveling during these national holidays. We get together at other times during the year. I have chosen to fix dinner for some of my ‘family-of-choice.’ No more weeks of cooking over-the-top meals loaded with traditional foods that went to waist (pardon the pun). Just nostalgic and tasty but simpler and healthier foods. I go with Aesop’s belief: A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety. Our ‘crusts’ are always pretty good . . . I hope yours are, too. Our time spent together is always pretty defrazzled . . . I hope yours is, too.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Defrazzled

It’s the day before a big celebration that is ritualized or memorialized or extolled in one fashion or another by at least some groups of people around the globe. How are you doing? What is your track record with celebration frazzle and distress? I figure ‘a rat race is for rats only,’ and although a family member sometimes called me a ‘rat’ because I didn’t meet expectations, I’m way past any angst. It was just that brain’s opinion and has little or nothing to do with mine. I asked the questions about what year-end celebrations really mean to me and how I want to observe or participate in them. I answered those questions, as well, and that has made all the difference. In ‘The world According to Mister Rogers,’ Fred Rogers handed everyone a gift when he calmly reminded children as well as adults: In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers. In fact, there is no answer until you’ve identified the question . . . In the end, living defrazzled is fabulous. It’s De-Lovely.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Defrazzle

“Is defrazzle a word?” I can hear you asking. It is now. I coined that word (at least I couldn't find it in any dictionary!)—along with defrazzled and defrazzling and defrazzlement—when I finally got the picture of how to live a healthier defrazzling Longevity Lifestyle. Defrazzle is a verb that describes the process of becoming defrazzled. Defrazzled is a noun that describes a state of being neither weary nor exhausted nor anxious nor distressed. And Defrazzling is an adjective that describes a style of living. Those three words make me laugh. When I became serious about learning to defrazzle, I bit the bullet with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote: The ancestor of every action is a thought. What were my thoughts? Basically, the critical importance of meeting—or trying to meet if not exceed—expectations, including trying to keep everyone happy. I had to de-link the all-too-predictable outcomes of expectations burnout. And an ounce of think-ahead prevention turned out to be worth 100 pounds of cure later on as I began to defrazzle step by step and bit by bit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Frazzled, Too

In all honesty, there was a time in my life when I lived, breathed, and slept frazzled, and it didn’t always have to do with year-end events or specific celebrations. A few decades ago, several bouts of post-NewYear’s pneumonia brought me up short (or laid me out short, I should say). Those bouts definitely got my attention. You can only get out of a trap when you figure out that you’re in one—and take steps to change that. I decided enough was enough. (And avoid calling up and telling me that it is impossible to get out of the trap. If I could do it—the way I was raised—anyone can.) In a nutshell, becoming frazzled has everything to do with expectations; yours as well as those of others. It often results from running on the treadmill of life and failing to take time to analyze not only what is really important to you personally but also how you can extract the meaning of a celebration or event without getting immersed in all the merchandizing, decorating, and partying melodrama. The paradox is that celebration frazzle can occur from following ‘traditions,’ giving little if any thought to whether or not they still work for you—if ever they did.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Frazzled

The phone rang and a voice asked, “Aren’t you just completely frazzled?” I began to laugh. Couldn’t help it. “If your definition of ‘frazzled’ is a state of being weary or exhausted or anxious or distressed, the answer is no. I definitely am not frazzled. “But it’s approaching the end of the year!” the voice continued. “So it is, so it is,” I replied. “And your point would be?” The voice sighed. “I’m always completely and unmitigatedly frazzled as the year end approaches. It happens every year. I’ve come to expect it. Nothing I can do about it.” Another vocal sigh. “Well,” I responded, “if you are expecting frazzled, your brain will bend over backwards to give you what it thinks you want, number one. And number two, your brain can only do what it thinks it can do. You’ve obviously taught it that it can be frazzled.” The voice blazed: “I called to get some sympathy and all I’m getting is ‘Brain Talk.’” I laughed again. ‘Brain Talk’ has saved my life. Try it. You just might like it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Breakfast and Brain

Breakfast boots up the brain much like you boot up a computer. The brain uses glucose, a simple carbohydrate, almost exclusively as its source of energy. Although other parts of the body can use fat, protein, or carbohydrate for energy, the brain functions best with carbohydrate fuel. Due to its rapid metabolism, the brain requires minute-to-minute glucose. Carbohydrate (glucose source) is the only source of fuel that the brain can use (it cannot burn fat). Glucose levels decline more during a period of intense cognitive processing. Studies in all types of people have shown improved mental ability following a carbohydrate meal. But what type of carbs? Healthier ones, of course, Carbs that are eaten in as natural state as possible and that are relatively low on the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load lists. Those recommended in a Longevity Lifestyle. (There are several 'breakfast' items among my website recipes --  www.arlenetaylor.org -- that meet this criteria. I especially enjoy my brain waffles made with beans and old-fashioned oats.)


(Nedley, Neil, M.D. Proof Positive; Brand-Miller, Jennie, PhD, Thomas M. S. Wolever, MD, PhD, et al. The New Glucose Revolution)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Breakfast and Chronic Disease

Breakfast and Chronic Disease


Senior author of a study related to breakfast and coronary heart disease and associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, Eric Rimm, said, “It’s a really simple message. Breakfast is an important meal.” And Leah Cahill, postdoctoral research fellow in HSPH’s Department of Nutrition, was quoted as saying: “Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time.” This study corroborated other studies that have pointed to a link between breakfast and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems seen as precursors to heart problems. As my favorite aunt would likely have put it: “What’s your problem? Eat a good breakfast already!” I do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Breakfast and Energy



Prevailing wisdom has been that a failure to eat breakfast can result in a 40 percent loss of energy by noon. That’s not all. In a study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), researchers found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than those who did eat a morning meal. Non-breakfast-eaters were generally hungrier later in the day and ate more food at night, perhaps contributing to metabolic changes and heart disease. The scientists analyzed food questionnaire data and health outcomes from 1992-2008 on 26,902 male health professionals, ages 45-82. During the study, 1,572 of the men had cardiac events. Even after accounting for diet, physical activity, smoking, and other lifestyle factors, the association between skipping breakfast and heart disease persisted.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sow and Reap

The other day I was having a lively discussion with a colleague about the rash of shootings in State, along with the impact of television and movies in combination with epigenetics and cellular memory, and so on. I was reminded of a quote  attributed to Howard Bloom but that seems to have gotten lost in the passage of time:

One generation’s metaphors become another generation’s realities. A generation without violence needs violent metaphors to exercise the animals in the brain—the instinctual equipment that is languishing unused in the cerebral storehouse. So in the 1970s and 1980s, bands like AC/DC wrote songs like ‘shoot to kill.’ These songs entertain a generation to which real bloodshed is mere fantasy. But the next generation imprints on the metaphors and turns them into realities. So in the 90s we have mass shootings by kids who take the previous generation’s fantasies as blueprints for action.” 

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Acronym

Someone emailed me this weekend (and yes, I'm more likely to answer emails than any other electronic communication strategy): “I’ve been thinking about FoMo (fear of missing out) and believe I probably have gotten caught up in it. Okay, I HAVE gotten caught up in it. I need an acronym to describe the opposite of FoMo, the fear of missing out. Someone suggested JoMo or the joy of missing out, but that doesn’t work for my brain.” I agree. I want to embrace life, not miss out on it and then try to be happy about missing something. Sheesh! I am selective, however, about what I want in life, what I want to contribute, and what works for my brain. What works for another person is about their brain and their life. Not mine. So there is nothing to envy. JoLL might work: the joy of a Longevity Lifestyle—because that’s what I’m living. If you can think of others, email me at thebrain@arlenetaylor.org (because it might be several weeks before I have time to check social media sites. After all, I can write a weekday blog and record another audio book or live on social media sites). Smile.

Need a New Achronym

Someone emailed me this weekend (and yes, I'm more likely to answer emails than any other electronic communication strategy): “I've been thinking about FoMo and believe I probably have gotten caught up in it. I need an achronym to describe the opposite of FoMo, the fear of missing out. Someone suggested JoMo or the joy of missing out, but that doesn’t work for my brain.” I agree. I want to embrace life, not miss out on it and then try to be happy about missing something. Sheesh! I am selective, however, about what I want in life, what I want to contribute, and what works for my brain. What works for another person is about their brain and their life. Not mine. So there is nothing to envy. JoLL might work: the joy of a Longevity Lifestyle—because that’s what I’m living. If you can think of others, email me at thebrain@arlenetaylor.org (because it might be several weeks before I have time to check social media sites. After all, I can write a weekday blog or record another audio book or live on social media sites). Smile.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Combat FoMo

What can you do to combat FoMo? After you have answered those seven questions about yourself and FoMo (or other questions those may have triggered), here are a few strategies to consider.

1.      Be honest about the extent to which FoMo is impacting your life and decide if that’s the journey you want to continue living
2.      Learn to be mindfully aware of the moment and enjoy what is happening right now or consciously and creatively deal with it if it’s not what you want to be doing
3.      Decide whether you want to follow the pack or lead the pack; get soaked at the back of the canoe or ride the prow—you may still get wet but the view is spectacular
4.      Set clear guidelines about how you want to spend your time. Are you saying ‘yes’ because you actually want to do that activity or simply because you were asked or are afraid of missing out? Make choices based on their congruence with your Longevity Lifestyle and what is happening for you at the moment
5.      Implement clear boundaries about the use of social personal or professional media sites and the time you spend on technologies—then stick to those boundaries unless a life-and-death situation arises (and that is not what restaurant your best friend went to last night)
6.      Learn to evaluate what is really important and what may be real but relatively unimportant in the big scheme of life. Then make choices with one eye on the moment and the other on how this choice will impact your life down the line

7.      Realize that this is the age of technologies and the genre will only get more and more complex and evolved—so carefully select those that align with your desired goals and lifestyle and then use them in balance

Thursday, December 10, 2015

FoMo - Questions

Ask yourself:

1.      Am I clear that FoMo represents a perception of negativity, deprivation, or loss, all of which are unhelpful mindsets and not part of a Longevity Lifestyle?
2.      Am I clear that each brain differs and that I teach my brain what is rewarding and can reteach it if my out-of-balance reliance on social media is giving me negative consequences now or is likely to in the future?
3.      Am I clear that ‘comparisons are odious’ as the old saying goes and that envy and jealousy can derail me and actually destroy my life?
4.      Do I often wonder if I am ‘missing out’ or am I clear that no one can ‘do it all’ or ‘have it all’ and that I need to be selective for what works for my brain—including developing a relationship with me?
5.      Do I spend so much time on social media sites that I ‘miss out’ on living a balanced Longevity Lifestyle and accomplishing my goals?
6.      Do I connect with others or overspend just to feel included or valuable instead of realizing that my worth is a state of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’?

7.      Do I have my own goals and projects that work for my brain or am I trying to be affirmed or succeed by hanging on to someone else’s coattails, beliefs, or attitudes or by trying to live life vicariously through them?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

FoMo - at Work

FoMo may be equally impactful in the workplace. Results of a study on FoMo (the fear of missing out) by Dr. Andrew Przybylski of the University of Essex, was published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour. He looked at a sample of more than 2,000 working Britons aged 18-65. He discovered that FoMo was highest for those individuals who reported they didn’t perceive that their basic psychological needs were being met: feeling engaged, nurtured and acknowledged. Okay, that’s a basic human need. It can be very rewarding when you feel engaged with others, nurtured, and acknowledged by them. That is not a slam-dunk in life, however. First, you learn how to do that for yourself, the only person who will be with you for your entire life. You raise your Emotional Intelligence so you have very realistic expectations of what you actually need from others and what they can give you. You carefully select a few close friendships that are healthily reciprocal in affirming themselves and others—because within about three years you tend to pick up their behaviors. So make sure their behaviors are some you want. Get busy creating and maintaining a Longevity Lifestyle that works for your brain, goals, and objectives for how you want to spend your time on this planet—which goes by very quickly, if you’ve not already figured that out. And you ask yourself some key questions. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

FoMo - Australia

Australia’s first study about FoMo, commissioned by viagogo, 70 per cent of Australians, reported they have experienced FoMo and they’re most likely to be women or members of Gen-Y. What’s the most common cause of FoMo? Missing out on tickets to a sports or musical event (25 percent), hearing a friend has bought property or made a financial investment or got a promotion or new job. (22 percent). And this is startling: Facebook is the worst culprit for triggering this ‘missing out’ phenomenon. Nearly 5,000,000 Australians say they experienced FoMo after using Facebook. Yes, I have a Facebook page (Arlene R. Taylor PhD Brain Function Specialist), which I check every couple weeks or so. When I mentioned that while I was talking about FoMo the other day, the response was: “Well, you got a life.” I laughed so hard I cried. I wouldn’t have a life if I spent more time on social media or trying to keep up with anyone else or failed to choose a balanced Longevity Lifestyle! FoMo is not the type of life I want to live. FoMo can be active not only in one’s personal life but also in the workplace, too. More tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2015

FoMo and the Brain

No doubt you’ve heard of a new phobia known as FoMo – the fear of missing out. And as some of you are laughing, remember that this is a real problem. What does it have to do with the brain? Everything. Because it starts in the brain as does everything else. Claire Cohen has described FoMo as the fear that everyone else is having more fun, more excitement and more rewarding or anecdote-worthy experiences than you. Whether on the school bus or at the far end of the dining table, it’s something we’ve all experienced. But things do seem to be getting out of hand both in personal as well as professional lives, what with descriptions of addictive behaviors related to checking social medial sites almost constantly and sleeping with one’s mobile phone under the pillow just in case someone might call—even a telemarketer. FoMo may be the 21st century equivalent of trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses or Smiths or Whites or Browns or ‘you-fill-in-the-name.’ An interesting FoMo study was done in Australia. More about that in my next blog.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Giraffe Trivia

The giraffe’s height given them an advantage. They are better able to keep a sharp eye out for predators. Their height gives them a disadvantage, too. It is difficult for a giraffe to drink at a water hole, which I watched them do while visiting in Africa. To reach the water they must spread their legs and bend down in quite an awkward position. While drinking, they are more vulnerable to predators such as lions, tigers, and leopards. Fortunately, giraffes only need to drink once every several days, however, as they obtain most of their water from the plant leaves they eat. The female gives birth standing up. Naturally this means that a newborn falls more than five feet to the ground a birth, rather a rude way to come into the world. However, typically they are able to stand within 30 minutes and, if necessary, can run with their mother when they are only 10 hours old. I’ve seen giraffe’s in zoos my whole life. Getting up close and person to a couple of them, however, has given me a new perspective on these gentle giants. It was more fun than I could have imagined!







Thursday, December 3, 2015

Giraffe - All Heart

It's probably more like 'all tongue' although it's a lot about 'all heart,' too. The tallest land mammal on the planet, the giraffe's heart must have special mechanisms to enable it to pump blood up the animal's long neck—with 7 elongated vertebrae—to its head. It’s a formidable task to pump blood at a pressure high enough to flow up the giraffe's neck to their brain. To accomplish this, a giraffe's heart can weigh up to 10 kg or 22 pounds and generate twice the blood pressure of other large mammals. Having enough blood pressure to pump blood to the brain when the giraffe's neck is extended upward is one challenge. Another challenge occurs when a giraffe lowers its head, which could create grave risks due to excessive blood pressure. To counter this, according to the National Geographic, giraffes possess a rete mirabile, so called. It is a pressure-regulating system that restricts the amount of blood that rushes towards the brain when the giraffe lowers its head. I also was able to feed a 14-month old giraffe that was already taller than the platform on which I was standing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kissed by a Giraffe

While spending a few days with my cousin in Southern California, we spent some time at the ‘Living Desert.’ I really enjoyed it—especially getting snuggled by a giraffe, the tallest land mammals on planet earth. This one was an 18 foot tall male with legs about six feet long—longer than I am tall! No wonder they run as fast as 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles (16 kilometers) an hour over longer distances.). Weighing in at 1800 pounds, he was unbelievably gentle. Standing on a platform some 12-13 feet above the ground, he was still a head taller than me. I fed it carrot sticks and if I didn’t pony up with one promptly enough, it nuzzled my neck (the giraffe, not the carrot stick). Its hair and whiskers are unbelievably soft. It would stick out its long purple, prehensile tongue that can grow up to 21 inches long, trying to reach a carrot stick. It’s tongue felt like delicate sandpaper and gave me the giggles. Thanks to my good friend Len Moors I have some pictures. He found a way to get individual pictures from a little iPhone video. Amazing!





Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Depression and Anxiety, 2

Depression and Anxiety, 2

Taylor was invited to participate in the Australian Healthy Me Summit, a free online program that will air live January 7-17, 2016 (Australian Eastern Time*) on ‘Overcoming Depression and Anxiety.’


Here are three little clips from Taylor’s Skyped interview





For those in the USA and Europe please remember this summit will be released in Australian Eastern Time, so we are a day ahead! You can always use this link to check the time conversion   http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html