For the U.S. overall, life expectancy was 78.8 years in 2019, an increase of 0.1 years from 2018.
States with the highest life expectancy were mostly in the Northeast and West states while states with the lowest life expectancy were Southern states.”The fact that there can be such large differences in life expectancy within one country, that’s what I find most interesting,” Dr. Elizabeth Arias, director of U.S. Life Tables at NCHS and first author of the study, told ABC News.
Hawaiians had the highest life expectancy at birth in 2019, living to nearly 81 years old.
The Aloha State also led the U.S. in highest life expectancy for women at 83.9 years.
Rounding out the top five were California, New York, Minnesota and Massachusetts, respectively. California had the highest life expectancy for males in 2019 at 78.4 years.I started to think about the reasons why. One, of course, is the weather and lifestyle, particularly no harsh winters. And second, most of the residents are Asian, Polynesian, or SE Asian in ethnicity. Third, the diet, which is a bit incongruous, considering the amount of carbs in a typical Hawaiian meal (whatever that is).
So, maybe we should move here, live a little longer, and enjoy the island lifestyle?
Ever have the winter blues? Maybe a touch of clinical winter onset depression? Maybe the loss of daylight hours, combined with cold, damp, and dreary can throw your rhythms out of sync.
Shorter days can be big problems in the northern regions, like Maine, Alaska, North Dakota, and Minnesota. One solution is a light box, which can help decrease melatonin secretion and increase positivity boosting serotonin and other neurotransmitters. It can help restore your normal rhythm of waking and sleeping inside of 7 days.
From Experience Life:
“Bright light therapy is the fastest known established treatment for seasonal depression,” says psychologist Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of The Depression Cure. Beginning in early fall, try 20 to 30 minutes of light therapy between 6 and 9 a.m. and another 15 to 20 minutes between 5 and 7 p.m. Too much afternoon light can disrupt sleep, so experiment to find the right balance.
Avoid Sweet Deception
Sweeter foods, simple carbs, and candy can trigger and insulin surge, increasing serotonin production in the brain. But this rush of good feelings does not last. Better to eat complex carbs, like beans, legumes, and root vegetables to keep your blood sugar more stable. SAD sufferers should favor what the body wants in summer, like lean proteins and light, digestible vegetables. I have rarely craved sweets, at least as an adult.
Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, like salmon and walnuts, help the brain use serotonin more efficiently. Foods high in fat, like fried foods, and grain fed meats are inflammatory and cause the brain to ramp up its stress response. A supplement of 1000mg of omega 3 supplement will help keep the brain in balance. And 2000IU or more of Vitamin D3 can reduce inflammation and help elevate mood, since we produce less D3 in the darker winters.
Keep It Moving!
A good workout is one of the best defenses against the winter blues. Find a way to get outside, whether walking the dog, shoveling snow, or walking. The benefits are both the motion, and the sunlight! I se my Peloton every other day, faithfully!
Excessive sleeping is a symptom of SAD, due to the higher melatonin levels produced by less daylight. There is nothing wrong with getting more sleep. But it is important to keep your normal routine for waking and sleeping. I always try for at least 7 hours.
Yoga and mindfulness training are powerful tools to fight depression. Your brain can chemically be changed using mindfulness.
Indeed, mindfulness can be the foundation upon which other SAD-busting strategies — light, nutrition, exercise, and sleep — are built. “If you learn to pay attention to your body, how it’s starting to change and react to the season, you can listen to what [it] needs and respond,” says Emmons.
I don’t know about you, but I think I will begin implementing some of these “treatments” this week.
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, let’s forget about the five golden rings. Instead, why not return to the age-old tradition of attacking the crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper?
From George Elliott: Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world yet have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally and printed in children’s puzzle books and various periodicals. In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime.
The first known published crossword puzzle was created by a journalist named Arthur Wynne from Liverpool, and he is usually credited as the inventor of the popular word game. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World. Wynne’s puzzle(see below) differed from today’s crosswords in that it was diamond shaped and contained no internal black squares. During the early 1920’s other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within decade crossword puzzles were featured in almost all American newspapers. It was in this period crosswords began to assume their familiar form. Ten years after its rebirth in the States it crossed the Atlantic and re-conquered Europe.
The gold standard, according to my esteemed “word ologists” is the New York Times crossword puzzle. I have two friends who religiously do the NYT crossword EVERY day!
Per S. Kabir: Plenty of researchers have discovered the positive effects that crossword puzzles can have on one’s brain if played regularly. Regularly doesn’t necessarily mean every day — once a week is fine. Among these researchers is Ann Lukits, who wrote “Puzzles Boost Verbal Skills, Cut Dementia Risk” for the Wall Street Journal. She firmly believes that solving crosswords on a regular basis can “improve memory and brain function in older adults.” Such activities can also “improve mental functions in patients with brain damage or early dementia.”
There was a period, when I traveled on business, that the crossword puzzle became a regular companion. I think it is time to start once again. I have dear friends who attack the BYT before they do anything else! Who knows, you might learn some new words. How about you?
One of the most satisfying activities I love is writing a daily email when I am on the road. It started back in the 1990s, when I was having a discussion with my personal physician. When I told him that I crossed the Berlin Wall into East Berlin at Checkpoint twice in 1971, he suggested that I document the experience and share it with friends.
That was the first of many, I repeat, many emails and stories I have shared. So, on this Fourth Day, I encourage each of you to start a diary or journal. You may decide to keep it to yourself or share it with your children or grandchildren. I also track my exercise, and major milestones.
When my son was just a little boy, we bought a “fill in the spaces” diary for my Mom. This would enable all of us to learn some things about her we would otherwise never know. Among other things, we found out her favorite color was blue (same as me), and her first trip away from home was on a train (rail travel, which I also love).
You can keep it simple, and just write emails to yourself and others. Or you can buy journal of blank pages and write to your heart’s content. If you should decide to share some of your stories, I would be pleased to read them.
But mostly, you will create a living story of your life, one that your loved ones will really appreciate.
I promise this year will be better than last year, in just about every way.
“Quarantine has me realizing why Lexi gets so excited about something moving outside and going for walks and car rides. I just barked at a squirrel” -Me, but I changed the words to fit my little Lexi.
“Travel expands the mind and fills the gap” – Sheda Savage
“Time flies. It is up to you to be the navigator” – Robert Orben
They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars—on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places. (from Desert Places by Robert Frost)
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”— Anais Nin
“Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart, and nourish your soul.” — Unknown”This is a day that will live in infamy. The very people who believe they are protecting our democracy have succeeded in destroying it.” – Marcia Fudge, US Rep.
“The work of putting America back together, of truly repairing what is broken, isn’t the work of any individual politician or political party. It’s up to each of us to do our part. To reach out. To listen. And to hold tight to the truth and values that have always led this country forward. It will be an uncomfortable, sometimes painful process. But if we enter into it with an honest and unwavering love of our country, then maybe we can finally start to heal.” – Michelle Obama
“As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination” – Cecily von Ziegesar
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be itAmanda Gorman “Leave behind your sorrows Let this day be the last Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine And all this darkness past Big wheels roll through fields where sunlight streams Meet me in a land of hope and dreams” – Bruce Springsteen
“The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence, what the science is … It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci
“Whether you’re going 50 miles from your home or 5,000 miles from your home, it’s about discovering something new” – Jessica Nabongo (who has visited every country in the world)
“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”— Anais Nin
“Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart, and nourish your soul.” — Unknown“You’d be surprised who the love of your life turns out to be. After all, adventure fell in love with lost.” — Mary Oliver
We are young Wandering the face of the earth Wondering what our dreams might be worth Learning that we’re only immortal For a limited time – Rush, Dreamline
And by turning our attention to the physical landscape that sustains and connects us, we can nourish “topophilia,” a sense of attachment and love for place. You’ll never get that from waiting for a satellite to tell you how to find a shortcut. — M.R. O’Connor, Journalist, Author The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. Breathe before it’s gone. — Rumi
And this pearl: “I liken making pinot noir to waking up a woman at three in the morning. You never quite know what you’re going to get.” – Luke Smith (a smart, insightful man who likes to live dangerously). “(Hope is) more powerful than hatred and peace more powerful than war.” – Pope Francis
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”– Paul Brandt “I don’t know the question, but travel is definitely the answer.” – Unknown “Adventure should be part of everyone’s life. It is the whole difference between being fully alive and just existing.” – Holly Morris “Of all the books in all the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” – Unknown OK, see you next quarter. Send me your favorites.
Now 2021, everything is starting early this year, due to the warmer weather. Check it out!!! The famous Blossom Trail here in Fresno County officially begins this weekend. I will personally commemorate it (back in 2019) by riding my bicycle on Saturday’s Blossom Trail Ride. The official Blossom Trail begins in February and runs through March. Nine valley cities participate in this annual event, including my hometown of Kingsburg.
The peak bloom period runs only about three weeks. In general, pink blossoms are peaches, and nectarines. White blossoms are almonds, plums and apples. Some basic highlights of the trail include:
Simonian Farms, at the corner of Clovis and Jensen Avenues. This fruit stand started back in 1901. He built and placed a memorial to the Japanese who were incarcerated after Pearl Harbor.
Heading east, the Blossom Trail Cafe sits just outside of Sanger, on your way to the Sierra foothills. Good place for breakfast.
In the little hamlet of Centerville, the Fruit Station is a good first stop.
As a bonus this year, the Sierra foothills are covered in white. Not blossoms, but snow!!
In Orange Cove, connect to the Orange Blossom Trail, if you prefer.
Turning south on Frankwood Avenue, hit the Cedar View Winery for some old world Tempranillo and Alicante Bouschet.
In nearby Reedley, let the kids ride on the steam train at Hillcrest Farms, in the middle of peach and plum orchards.
When you reach my hometown of Kingsburg, you can see the town’s main street decked out in its Swedish splendor. No promises on whether the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” will make her annual appearance. Personally, I would visit the Sun Maid Growers Factory Store on Bethel Avenue and old Highway 99.
For those of you cartographically challenged, signs are posted all over the valley. I have also included a map.
If you have never seen this spectacle, I suggest visiting now. As for me, growing up here, as a kid, having to work on my Uncle’s farm, I never appreciated it the way I do now.
You must take this drive at least once in your life!
In 2020 alone, Americans voted for more than $1 billion in annual funding for projects that support bike riding. From building new protected bike lanes, trails and parks to addressing the maintenance and upkeep of our local public lands, this funding would not be possible without the vocal support of bike riders like you.
But we had some losses:
Napa County, CA –Measure K– $1,800,000 annually/$27,000,000 over 15 years – March 3 – NOT APPROVED (63% YES – 37% NO – required a two-thirds vote) A loss for bikes.
If approved, Measure K would have secured funding for the preservation of watersheds, rivers, lakes, open space and wildlife habitat and improve public access to the outdoors for the next 15 years. It was a 0.25% sales tax increase where 20% of the funds would have gone towards trails for bike riding. (And I love the cycle in the Napa Valley)In my home area:
Contra Costa County, CA –Measure J– $10,000,000 annually/$350,000,000 over 35 years – March 3 – NOT APPROVED (49% YES – 51% NO) A loss for bikes.
If approved, Measure J would have prioritized bike riding as one way to reduce overall transportation emissions and improve air quality. This initiative was a 1/2 cent sales tax increase to help fund Contra Costa’s transportation system, including the build-out of a network of safe bike routes. (This is where I learned to love cycling the trails in the county)The message: For those of you who are new to recreational biking, or more serious cycling, please keep an eye out for future ballot measures. They might support safer trails, increased safety measures, and a better environment for everyone!
Above all, keep riding! Cycle outdoors on good weather, clean air days. Use your cycling trainer or indoor cycling equipment on cold, rainy, and otherwise difficult days. You will not regret it, come Spring.
Meanwhile, stay in shape, buy a really good MIPS or Wave-Cel helmet, a flashing rear bicycle light, and a good tire pump. I hope to see you cycling through Napa Valley this year, or in Croatia in May, or even Bavaria in October.
Chronological aging is inevitable. However, you have control over how well you will age.
Coach Hughes wrote this eBook for all roadies age 50 and older. It will teach you how you, too, can fight the physical effects of chronological aging:
1. Assess honestly your strengths and weaknesses using the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations and the Athletic Maturity quiz. 2. Exercise consistently year-round. Use it or lose it applies even more to mature roadies. The older you get, the faster you lose a type of fitness if you don’t exercise that type. 3. Train wisely to avoid setbacks and injury. 4. Plan how to combine the riding you love with addressing the areas in which you need to improve and then set goals and track progress. 5. Ride aerobically year-round to maintain and improve cardiorespiratory fitness. 6. Include intensity workouts that are appropriate to your goals. 7. Strength train regularly to complement your riding and to maintain your capacity to do activities of daily living. 8. Stretch regularly to increase your riding comfort and to maintain your capacity to do activities of daily living. 9. Practice balance drills to reduce the risk of falling, the number one reason mature people go to the emergency room. 10. Engage in weight-bearing activities as part of your aerobic and strength training. 11. Balance exercise with the rest of your life so you get sufficient recovery and avoid overtraining. 12. Have fun!https://www.roadbikerider.com/register/anti-aging-12-ways-you-can-slow-the-aging-process/
Here are some of my secrets or hints:
Balance-do not go extreme in anything, whether food, diet, exercise, or ??
Fluids-drink plenty of water. If you use sports drinks, as I do on hot days, please dilute with ice and/or water.
Avoid high impact (as you get older) sports, like running, basketball, tennis.
Stay out of the heat (or the extreme cold).
Forget about quantity, emphasize quality of your workout!
Wear sunglasses when exercising outside.
Always buy the proper shoes for each sport!
Wear a hat or cap when exercising outside in the sun. And sunscreen.
Sweat bands always come in handy.
Carry an energy bar just in case!!!
Above all, have fun, meet new people, reward yourself during and after!!!
From National Geographic, a totally, non-political magazine and organization:
Today, we celebrate the people whose work requires them to be on the front lines while so many others work from home. More than 55 million Americans work in jobs that are deemed essential, according to the Economic Policy Institute (pictured above, John Tolbert, a New York City bus driver). Social distancing is not an option for many of these jobs. Many essential workers work for low pay and without protective equipment. Some work anxiously, fearing exposure to the deadly coronavirus. Too many have died after contracting COVID- 19.
Honestly, I never felt like I was an essential worker. I just felt I was doing my job. And I never expected either recognition or extra pay. But I did take strong exception to remarks by Orangeman that health care workers were stealing and selling PPE! Excuse my French, but he is an SOB for saying that about us. If he had even a slight clue about health care, he would know that we support each other, even the competition, in times of need.
So, I salute you, the farm workers, the delivery people, the postal service, and anyone else who had to help out during the pandemic.
I doubt I will ever be a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or flexitarian. But I will confess to periods, as short as a day, maybe longer, where I avoid eating red meat or chicken. One of my favorites now, is eggplant, an often-forgotten purple vegetable. What do any of us know about it? Another favorite is Brussels sprouts, along with many Chinese greens (like gai lan), names of which I cannot spell or pronounce very well. Here is more on both:
From “Explore” Health: Eggplants, one of the few purple vegetables you’ll find in a mainstream market, aren’t very popular with consumers. In fact, they don’t even rank in the top 20 veggies sold in the U.S. But after reading about the nutritional benefits of eggplant, you may want to step up your intake. Here’s the lowdown on this somewhat mysterious plant, and easy ways to incorporate it into your everyday eating routine.
One cup of cubed eggplant provides just 20 calories, but offers up some important nutrients. Anthocyanins, the pigments that give eggplants their purple hue, have antioxidant properties linked to anti-inflammation and obesity protection. Another, called nasunin, is particularly good at fending off free radicals, and protecting cells from damage that can lead to premature aging and disease. This may be especially true in the brain, making eggplant an important food for protecting against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Eggplant’s chlorogenic acid supports immunity through its antimicrobial and antiviral activities. And a cup of eggplant also provides about 10% of the daily target for manganese, a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health. The veggie supplies smaller amounts of folate and other B vitamins, potassium, and vitamins C and K.
In addition to the antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber eggplants provide, they may offer protection against the top killer of men and women in the U.S.: heart disease. Eggplant anthocyanins have been shown to help reduce artery stiffness and central blood pressure in women. Central blood pressure, the pressure in the aorta, which sends blood from the heart out to the body, is a predictive measure of heart disease and stroke. Anthocyanins also help prevent the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol, a precursor to artery hardening, which can lead to either heart attack or stroke.
Eggplant is a non-starchy, or low-carb vegetable. A one cup portion, about the size of a baseball, contains just 5 grams of carb, and just 2.5 grams net carb. In addition to supporting digestive health and bowel regularity, eggplant fiber helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, and supports weight loss by boosting fullness. It also makes a great filler when cutting back on other higher carb foods. For example, serving one cup of cubed eggplant with a half cup of cooked penne pasta instead of the reverse saves about 20 grams of carb per meal.
Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes. Tom Brady famously avoids this group, due to compounds they contain called alkaloids, which are linked to inflammation. If you have an existing inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, avoiding nightshades may help to not exacerbate your symptoms. But there is no solid research to show that nightshades cause inflammatory conditions to develop.
It’s also important to know that steaming, boiling, and baking all help reduce the alkaloid content of nightshades by about 40% to 50%. In addition, you lose out on the anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other nutrients nightshades provide when you avoid the entire group. If you have chronic inflammation consider trying an experiment. Without making any other changes to your diet, cut out nightshades for two to four weeks and monitor your symptoms. If you do notice a difference, and symptoms return after adding them back to your diet, minimizing or avoiding them may be for you.Another favorite of mine, Brussels sprouts (also from Health):
Brussels sprouts (yes with an s, like the city) are named after the veggie’s history of cultivation in Belgium. Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, the sprouts’ cousins include cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and bok choy.
Low in calories, at less than 40 per cup, Brussels sprouts are also low-carb, packing just 8 grams per cup raw, including 3 grams as fiber. And they’re nutrient powerhouses, providing a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a little bonus plant protein. Here are seven more impressive reasons to incorporate them into your regular eating routine.
Brussels sprouts are antioxidant powerhouses. One study found that when volunteers ate about two cups of Brussels sprouts per day, damage at the cell level was slashed by nearly 30%.
The fiber in Brussels sprouts (about 4 grams per cooked cup) helps regulate blood sugar levels, supports digestive health, and helps feed the beneficial gut bacteria tied to positive mood, immunity, and anti-inflammation.
One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts packs over 150% of the minimum daily vitamin C target. This important nutrient acts as an antioxidant, supports immunity, vision, and iron absorption, and is needed for collagen production.
Per cup, cooked Brussels sprouts pack over 250% of the recommended daily target for vitamin K. In addition to helping to clot blood, this nutrient plays a role in bone health and may help protect against bone loss.
Compounds in Brussels sprouts act like natural detoxifiers, meaning they help deactivate potentially damaging chemicals or shuttle them out of the body more quickly.
In addition, the sulfur compounds in Brussels sprouts are known to reduce ulcer risk by limiting Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) overgrowth and preventing bacteria from clinging to the stomach wall.
Just to cleanse your palate: Life Savers made their debut in 1912, when chocolate manufacturer Clarence Crane decided to branch out and produce a candy that wouldn’t melt as easily in heat. According to ThoughtCo, their name came from their life-preserver-like shape, which was created by a pill-making machine. The first flavor Crane used for his product was peppermint, which was sold as Pep-O-Mint when Edward Noble bought the rights to the candy in 1913.
So, there are two of my favorites. When I eat them, I automatically feel better, good fiber too. Not because I am trying to be a vegetarian, but because I really enjoy eating them.