I cannot remember exactly when it was that working with my dad on the restoration of our log cabin in the country was transformed from misery to mystical. Certainly not in the beginning, when I was removed from the company of my peers in the city to remove trash from the interior of the 1840’s structure, practically indistinguishable from the trash itself. Nor was this transformation present during its relocation as we dug the basement in the rocky Missouri soil, seemingly either powder dry or muddy at any given time, and then hitting bedrock at four feet deep.
No, those were the days I was held captive by my jailer dad in an area so remote as to have no access to the airwaves for cellular communication, no electronic social media such as text messaging so basic for teen survival.
In my isolation, I went through several stages of grief including anger and bargaining – I think I missed denial – until I settled on acceptance. By then I had learned that my dad was neither cruel and ignorant nor super-human. I discovered a curious new form of communication, not requiring electronic technology, or even words.
My dad and I communicated better with the distraction of the work – but it was the silence between us that spoke the loudest – a silence not of the awkward kind but the peaceful kind; an understanding reached between a loving father and son working in unison toward a common goal. I knew when he needed more nails, he knew when I needed help lifting a log. We both knew we needed each other.
Our simple tasks were noble with rhythm to it. The wood in the logs came to life with our heartbeats, our sweat, speaking truths.
I hope I shall never finish working on this log cabin; never stop the silent dialogue.
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While the importance of cardiovascular health is well-recognized, even more devastating are disorders associated with neuropsychiatric health.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has created the world’s first and largest catalog of health-related data, the Global Health Data Exchange. Here’s the data that appeared in a JAMA article April of 2018 referenced toward the bottom of this slide.
The impact that diseases have on one’s life can be illustrated by the years of life lost (abbreviated YLL) due to death by various diseases, shown on this slide on the ordinate. YLL is calculated by multiplying the numbers of death at each age by the difference between that age and a reference life expectancy.
To get an idea of the numbers here, YLL for heart disease per year is 1651 per 100,000 people.
As expected, heart disease is the number one cause of years of life lost with lung cancer second. Less expected is road injuries as third, suicide fourth, cerebrovascular disease fifth, drug use sixth, and dementia seventh.
Note the last four categories of YLL are neuropsychiatric in nature. Therefore, if they are aggregated as a single category -click- , the YLL becomes as illustrated here. From this perspective, the number one category of years of life lost is due to neuropsychiatric illness, not heart disease.
But we wish to not only increase years in our lives, we also want to have life in our years.
A measure of this is “years lost to disability” (abbreviated YLD) calculated by multiplying prevalence by the disability weight (based on population-based surveys); “disability” refers to any significant short- or long-term loss of health and function.
The graph shows the leading global YLD in 2010, reference given at the bottom of the slide.
Over three-quarters of a billion years are lost annually due to disabilities. Of these, mental disorders are the major cause of disability in the world.
If one includes neurologic and cerebrovascular diseases, – click – the importance of this category is further magnified.
Cardiovascular diseases contributed less than 5% of global YLDs, mental disorders being 20 times as important.
Therefore neuropsychiatric disorders are both leading causes of death and of disability in the world.
Excerpts from that source:
“Red meat consumption has been associated with an increased risk of total mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and cancer mortality. On average, there are 64 times more antioxidants in plant foods than animal foods. The animal protein in meat may even have a pro-oxidant effect. Because food is a package deal, the nutrients in products such as beef cannot be obtained without cholesterol, saturated fat, and hormones. Red meat also contains carnitine, which can ultimately leads to the buildup of TMAO circulating throughout our bloodstream. TMAO increases the buildup of cholesterol in the inflammatory cells in the atherosclerotic plaques in our arteries, which is associated with a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. Another risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and death is choline, found primarily in eggs, milk, fish, liver, poultry and red meat.”
Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and
treatable. So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally –it’s important to pay attention to both your
physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to
May is Mental Health Month; Mood for Life is raising awareness about the connection between
physical health and mental health, through the theme Fitness #4Mind4Body. The campaign is meant to educate and
inform individuals about how eating healthy foods, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough
sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around.
A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and
anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also play a big role
in helping people recover from these conditions. Taking good care of your body is part of a before Stage Four
approach to mental health.
Getting the appropriate amount of exercise can help control weight, improve mental health, and help you live
longer and healthier. Recent research is also connecting your nutrition and gut health with your mental health.
Sleep also plays a critical role in all aspects of our life and overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep is important
to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities. And we all know that stress can
have a huge impact on all aspects of our health, so it’s important to take time to focus on stress-reducing activities
like meditation or yoga.
Mood for Life wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal. Living a
healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but by looking at your overall health every day – both physically and mentally –
you can go a long way in ensuring that you focus on your Fitness #4Mind4Body.
For more information, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.
by Richard Aiken MD PhD @rcaiken
Fiber, although not considered a macronutrient, has a RDA of 25 – 38 gm/ day again according to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board and is only available from plants. We know that the most healthful diet is one that is high in fiber and low in rapidly digested carbohydrates. This regimen is referred to as a low-glycemic diet because it helps keep our blood glucose at optimum levels. Wild fruits and vegetables are the original low-glycemic foods.
It is estimated that 97% of Americans do not consume the recommended minimum amount of fiber.
Shown above are a few example foods and their fiber density, expressed as grams of fiber per total grams of dry weight of food substance.
Generalizing, fruit and vegetables are significant sources of fiber, but beans and cruciferous vegetables are best and starch and grains much less so.
 Robinson, J. (2013). Eating on the wild side: The missing link to optimum health (pp. 4-5).
 Moshfegh, A., & Goldman, J. (2005). What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.