Health Is Vital

Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Six Best Midnight Snacks for Diabetics

Sometimes it is better to snack than not to snack.  A late night snack can curb a craving and help you get back to sleep.  However it is important to keep the carbohydrate down, usually under fifteen grams.  Some suggestions for salty cravings include:
Dry roasted or raw nuts.  Nuts do have carbohydrates, so moderation is key--a handful at most.  They also have fat, so as to curb any sugar spike.
Olives are another salty snack low in carbs and high in fat.  (Honestly I do not eat olives.)
Suggestions for savory cravings:
Vegetables and a spread.  Suggestions for a spread include hummus or peanut butter in moderation.  Also choose vegetables that are diabetic friendly.  (I love celery or carrots and peanut butter.)  Another choice to add protein to this snack is to include a boiled egg.
Cheese and crackers.  Try to pick whole-grain or wheat crackers.  A rule again is keep carbs under 15 grams.  Cheese and vegetables is another option.
Sweet snacks:
A sugar-free pudding is nice.  This is also a way to curb the chocolate craving.
Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt.  Store bought fruit added yogurts are not the best choice.  However you can add fruit or honey to plain yogurt.
A last piece of advise form this article is to check you blood sugar before and after snacks so you know how your body reacts to a particular snack.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Candy and Diabetes

What Candy Can People With Diabetes Eat and How Much Is Safe?  EveryDay Health  by Amy Gorin RDN, Reviewed by Kelly Kennedy RD.

So a good question for people with diabetes is candy?  I have always thought that candy is OK, but in moderation.  The issue being getting your carbohydrates without much in way of vitamins.  This article proposes a couple things.  Try to eat candy for dessert, so it is part of a meal and you eat when you are already full.  The other is promoting the fun-size version.  These are the candies often given out for Halloween.  The idea here is one or two is enough.  Candies with peanuts, M&M's, Reeses's, and Snickers tend to be healthier as the sugar jump is not as pronounced.  On the other hand, Skittle's and Twizzlers are almost pure sugar, and are good if your blood sugar is too low. 
So the answer is enjoy, but be careful.  If your sugar is already too high, you should avoid candy all together. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Emergency Preparedness Gifts to Consider

Gift Emergency Preparedness This Holiday Season

Build an Emergency Kit GraphicHelp your loved ones prepare this holiday season. Give them an item for their emergency kit.

Give someone on your list a gift that may one day save them during a disaster.

Pick an emergency item from the lists below or find more ideas

You might consider items for a roadside emergency, such as:
  • Jumper Cables
  • Tools – tire pressure gauge, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, shovel, ice scraper
  • Emergency Flares

For those with pets, supplies for a pet emergency kit:
  • Pet First-Aid Kit
  • Pet Carrier
  • An extra leash or harness

Visit to learn how to give a fully stocked emergency preparedness kit. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Article Review: Protect Your Brain

I found this article of all places, the Scouting magazine, November-December 2017.  By protecting you brain they are talking of doing things to help slow or prevent brain and memory issues as you age.  We all forget things sometimes.  In this case however they are referring to more serious issues.  Keeping your brain in such as state that it can grow and "rewire" is important as we age.  Mental exercise,  good diet, on positive lifestyle will help in this effort.  This article gives nine suggestions.  I present them with my self-review in each area.
Loss some weight:  Having a lot of belly fat, may indicate inflammation of other cells, including brain cells.  Less waist means less degeneration of the brain.
I have been overweight, "grossly obese" most of my adult life.  However, this past month I have lost five pounds!   Ten more to go to reach my first goal.  However with that being said I weigh less now than I have since moving to Cupertino fifteen years ago. 
Feed your neurons: Neurons are fed with better blood flow.  It is important to control blood pressure as well as sugar levels to improve the flow of blood to your brain.  I good way to accomplish this is through cardiovascular activity; 15 to 10 minutes minimum daily.
As for my part, being a commuter, I do this easily when I go to work.  It is those days in between that I have problems.  I walk plenty when I play Pokemon.  However this is slow walking and I wonder if it has as much benefit.
Lower your blood pressure: High blood pressure effects the blood flow and nutrients getting to your brain.  This can be critical as you age.
My blood pressure is well controlled at this time with medication.
Order the salmon...: Eating fish that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon tuna and others) is important to brain health.  People who eat three servings of fatty fish weekly have 40 percent less chance of developing Alzheimer's.  Other foods high in Omega-3 are walnuts and flaxseed.
I could use more fish in my diet.  I have walnuts at work, but do not eat them as regularly as I should.  Fish is a rare treat for me.  Somehow it has to be a more regular part of my diet.
...With a Side of Spinach:  Green vegetables are the key, as they are high in Vitamin K.  Two servings per day leads to a cognitively younger mind.
I can't say I eat a lot of leafy green vegetables.  My lettuce is usually iceberg or Romaine.  I need to make some improvements here.
Go blueberry picking:  Blueberries contain an antioxidant important with brain power.
I don't care for blueberries.  Fortunately this article also mentions strawberries which I love.  I also love raspberries.
Do Puzzles: Doing puzzles might help reduce the chances of contracting Alzheimer's.  Especially crosswords and Sudoku.
I am not into crosswords, but I do play Sudoko on the train at times.  I also play Free Cell solitaire, but I don't know if that helps or not.
Be Like Popeye:  Love Olive, in this case olive oil.  Extra virgin olive oil contains anti-oxidants.  Four tablespoons a day recommended.
I usually use dairy butter; but a change may be in order.
Make friends: Many friends improves performance on cognitive test given to the elderly.  I do not think this is casual Facebook friends, but friends with whom you mingle and associate.  ( I am better with Facebook.)  The positive effects are more evident in the areas where knowledge, language and factual information are stored.
I need to get out more that is for sure.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Grief: Jon Schmidt and Craig Aven

I think this movie can help those who are grieving; especially those ben to Christianity

If you’re missing someone this Christmas this song’s dedicated to you - ...

Jon Schmidt dedicates to those missing someone this Christmas.  I am missing my oldest sister, who passed away two years ago New Years Eve.  She was the life of our family, and kept things going.  There is still a void that hasn't been filled.  We visited the Buff clan for Christmas a few years ago.  tony made a snow man, Camberly met her great-grandmother who was staying with them at the time.  Sara, like my mother, had a way to make things right.

Lyrics: I’m not going to lie. Christmas really hurts this time Cause you’re not here to celebrate with me. Tears fill my eyes. And memories flood my mind, As I place your ornament upon our tree. Although this year I have a broken heart, It gives me hope and joy as I remember where you are. Chorus: You’re with the Son of God. You’re with the Prince of Peace. You’re with the one we’re celebrating And that thought amazes me. Sometimes I still break down, Grieving that we’re apart, But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are. You’re with the Son of God. Got your picture in a frame And a stocking with your name. Oh God knows it’s been hard letting go. And I can’t bring you back, But I’ll see you again. And oh, that thought is healing to my soul. I’ll miss making angels with you in the snow. I guess instead you will be singing with them All around God’s throne.

Chorus And I know the Christmas season Was your favorite time of year. You loved to help us decorate our tree. But now that you’re with Jesus, I can’t imagine how you feel Cause He’s the one who bled and died Upon the tree for you and me. Chorus

Sunday, December 17, 2017

New Apps for Fitness and Walking

I have been stuck on the same weight for at least six years now--of course I go up and then come back down, and pretty much ride a treadmill.  I have added two apps to my phone to help me break through this cycle.  These apps are MyFitnessPal and MapMy Walk.  They can work together so the exercise you do with MapMyWalk will come over to the other program.  This program gives you a calorie count based on you loss goals.  The recommend a rate of one pound loss per week.  It is a place to record what you eat.  It will use barcodes to make it easier.  I have been working on losing about 20 pounds for some time.  Since changing to using these apps, I have been able to get down about five pounds, and it is not coming back.  I just need to continue the downward spiral.  I should be able to accomplish the long term goal I have sometime in January. 

When I met with the butt doctor he said I needed to loss.  He further said you can't loss if you don't track what you eat.  And he also said sometimes you will be hungry.  When I follow these rules, I feel good and I can be successful.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Sugar Habit

Here is a look at curing the sugar habit for diabetics, presented by Everyday Health.  Too much sugar can be very bad for diabetics, and lead to sugar spikes in the blood.  There is a video about different non sugar sweeteners.  However it includes the best alternative is natural sugars; like those from fruit.

The article included gives two keys to combating the sugar habit.  the first to have many small meals and snacks throughout the day, thereby avoiding the big sugar spike.

The second suggestion is to exercise to cure the sugar craving.  This is full blown exercise.  ANy little bit of exercise can help.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Traffic Safety Involves Everyone

Vision Zero San Jose is a City of San Jose project to make the streets safer, and eliminate all traffic related deaths.  In 2015 there were 42 traffic related deaths.  Half of the death were to pedestrians.  Others to bicyclist, motorcyclist on in a car.   It seems some progress is being made.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Mindfulness through the Senses

I am taking this from a handout at work from the Wellness people.  Mindfulness is becoming a bigger and bigger thing, and a tool to help people maintain their wellness.  This is about using our senses to be mindful. 

Statewide Medical and Health Exercise: Disaster Preparedness Drill

There were disaster preparedness drills held though out the state a couple weeks ago.  Each county devised their own scenario, but the theme was terrorist attack.  I was invited to participate in the drill for Santa Clara County, representing behavioral health.  We were on the third floor of the Sheriff's office where the have the Emergency Command Center.  There was a table in the middle for the command captain and his immediate team.  Then beyond that were other important players, including behavioral health, animal control, public health, medical examiners office etc.  They have a system set up where in real time a worker was monitoring the ambulances and available space of all the hospitals.  In this way they knew which hospital could take someone, and where their were ambulances available to get them there.  It was quite a system. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Michael Ballam: The Healing Power of Music

Today in Sunday School we talked about Emma Smith and section 25 which was a revelation for her.  We talked about marital relationship, being aware of pride and finding joy.  We did not talk about her assignments to gather hymns, and what the Lord said about music.

 11 And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church.
 12 For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

I came across this movie on BYUTV of Michael Ballam.  This is one in which he talks about the power of music--the healing power of music for the most part.  I pray that I will be singing until the day I die and beyond. Music brings light to my life.
The link and presentation are available from BYUTV on You Tube  It is well worth listening to.  Michael Ballam went to high school with my sister.  He is an opera singer.  He now teaches at Utah tState University.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Village Program for Teenage Youth in San Jose

This is an advertisement for a teen housing, and social service program in San Jose.  I noticed this at a bus stop.  The Village has a drop-in center at 25 East Hedding Street in San Jose.  This puts it across the street from the Civic Center.  Times are on the ad.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Trastorno Obsesivo Compulsive OCD (Spanish)

This is a pamphlet produced by National Institute of Mental Health.  It is in Spanish and covers OCD, and anxiety disorder.  Provided are symptoms, and possible next moves.  The most poignant thing of this pamphlet is the subtitle: When undesirable thoughts take control.  That is a good description in a nut shell. 

Hay ayudas por esta enfermedad.  Lo mejor seria hacer contacto con el departamento de salud mental en el condado donde ud vive.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Firefighters: Suicide Prevention

The Firefighters Mind Shield, Social Work Matters magazine, The University of Utah, College of Social Work, 2017-2018. 
Fire fighting is the profession with the highest rate of suicide attempts, suicide thoughts and suicide completions.  In fact, more firefighters die from suicide each year than from the job.  The rate of suicidal thoughts among firefighters approaches fifty percent, while the general public is five to fifteen percent.  (This must be incident of suicidal thoughts in the past year.)  Accidental mishaps are also very high among fire fighters. 
A firefighter is provided with protective equipment; however that equipment does not often include how to protect the mind.  Mind Shield is a cognitively based, mindfulness approach.  They have been training Salt Lake City firefighters in how to protect the mind with cognitive skills.  This includes a 90-minute educational session on Brain Burn (Post Traumatic Stress.)   The second part focuses on specific tools to protect the mind.  It is geared to keeping the mind at a higher level processing and problem solving, rather than a primitive level where we react to fear.  the third part focusing on strained relationships firefighters may have.  this session involves family members so they too can be aware of the struggles. 
Results of the study have not yet been published, but about half of the firefighters of Salt Lake have received the training.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

VMC Infomail Newsletter: Pregnancy and Infant Loss

I wanted to share this because it starts with pregnancy loss statistics, mentioning stillborn births and miscarriages.  Sheri and I have gone through both of these, and it is not fun.  I have heard of others going through the same thing.  I feel for them.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Unfortunately, pregnancy loss is not that uncommon, but, it is rarely talked about. An estimated 1 in every 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and stillbirth affects 1 in 160 pregnancies.  Ronald Reagan declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month on October 25, 1988. "When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.  This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world.  It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.” 

Many pregnancy losses cannot be prevented, but, there are recommendations made by the American Medical Association to help encourage a healthy pregnancy:
-          Avoid Alcohol
-          Stop smoking
-          Don’t take illicit drugs while pregnant  
-          Talk to your doctor about which medications are safe to take during pregnancy
-          Take folic acid before and during pregnancy
-          Maintain a healthy diet and weight when possible
-          Attend all pre-natal medical appointments
-          Monitor your baby’s movements through kick counts.

More information regarding kick counts can be found at

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Suicide Prevention at has a page dedicated to suicide prevention.  This page has a myriad of resources which can be accessed by clicking on the drop menus buttons throughout the article.  This page has information for both the individual who may be having suicidal thoughts, as well as those who may be interacting with someone who is suicidal.  I would invite you to check it out. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Documentary The S (suicide) Word  The S Word Movie is an attempt to get people talking about suicide, rather than sweeping it under the  rug.  Suicide is a problem that effects so much of our population, either from someone we know, as our self survivors of an attempt, or from being a member of our communities.  This movie shares stories we would not have other wise heard.  I presents from the Black culture, gay culture, hispanic culture and asian culture.  It presents both those who have attempted, and those family members of someone who suicided.  All have their own story to tell. 
warning: If you are sensitive to gay issues, then this might not be the best movie for you, as gay issues seem to dominate a good deal of the movie.  However, it is time we broke the silence about suicide, and in so doing offer support to others to help us all get through.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Helping Children Deal with Trauma and Disasters

With so many disasters, natural and man made, taking place this year, sharing this pamphlet from National Institute of Mental Health is appropriate.  The first thing that is clear from the pamphlet is that different ages react differently to trauma,  I really like the dos and don'ts.

5 Keys to Raising Good Kids

This article attributes these five ideas to Harvard psychologists.
1. Spend quality time with your children.  This suggests spending some time each day with your children.  Questions you could ask are, What was the best part of your day? What was the hardest part of your day?  What is something nice somebody did for you today?  What is something nice you did today?  What is something you learned today?
2. Let your kids see a strong moral role model and mentor in you.  Admit mistakes and apologize.  Take time for yourself  so you have energy to be attentive.
3. Teach your child to care for others and  set high ethical expectations.  Caring for others' well being and avoiding selfishness are important qualities.  More important than being happy, is to be kind and happy.  Let your children work things out, considering the consequences their decision might have on others.
4. Encourage children  to practice appreciation and gratitude.  A child that shows appreciation is not a spoiled child.  Encourage an attitude of gratitude.  Children should say thank you to friends, teachers, family members on a regular basis.  Demonstrate by being grateful yourself.
5. Teach them to see the big picture.  It is normal for children to be concerned about their inner circle.  This zooming in is important.  however they also need to zoom out, and see others in their community.  This includes being in tune to the new child in school, or the child being teased.  Also talk about conditions in the world, and hardships of other children.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Book Review: Helping Children Cope with Loss and Separation

Helping Children Cope with Loss and Separation, Claudia L. Jewitt, The Harvard Common Press, Harvard, Mass, 1982.

This book compliments Jewitt's earlier book "Adopting the Older Child" and has been accepted as a basic text for child care workers and parents who deal with children suffering from loos.  The ideas, thoughts, treatment methods and experiences have helped me gain a greater understanding of the grieving process involved with a loss and how to help a child work through a separation. 
Each chapter deals with a different aspect of loss--from telling a child about the loss to finishing the grieving work and moving on.  The first chapter deals with telling a child about a loss.  Jewitt feels the person closest to the child should tell him/her about the loss.  The message should be as strait forward and honest as possible.  Any possibility of the lost person returning should be explored realistically and any questions should be answered. 
In the second chapter the author present and outline of the grieving process.  She includes three stages: early grief, acute grief and subsiding grief.  Each of these stages has several sub stages.
Under early grief Jewitt includes shock and numbing, alarm, and denial.  This stage includes the initial shock and reaction to the loss.  Quite often the child withdraws or behaves in a robotish fashion.  Feelings of vulnerability and fear of another loss are also included in this stage.  Another thing to look for in this stage are physical reactions to the loss--sleep and eating patterns, muscular tension, and hyperactivity. 
The second stage of the grieving process is acute grief.  It includes yearning and pining, searching, strong feelings, disorganization, despair and reorganization.  This stage includes fantasies that some way things will work out for the better.  (I'll get them back some way.)  Searching, dealing with feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and shame and then dealing with despair an the reality of the situation, and then finally a step in the right direction, reorganization of the child's life. 
The final stage, integration of loss and grief, gives the child a sense of mastery.  The child realizes the worst possible thing happened and she survived.
The third chapter in this book deals with working with feeling.  Often a child has difficulty expressing feelings because of family norms, which indicate an nonacceptance of feelings.  Jewitt suggests several techniques to help children come to grips with their own feelings.  The most notable is the five faces technique.  The worker identifies five basic emotions: sadness, anger, happiness, fear and loneliness.  The child is encouraged to draw pictures of how she looks when she feels these particular emotions.  Several games can then be played using these emotion cards--What feeling is this?  When do you feel this way?  Storytelling and other games can also be played starting with the cards.
The child's need to make sense of the loss is the topic of the fourth chapter.  AN important concern is the child's tendency to blame herself for the loss.  A worker can assess this problem in a child by asking directly, observing developmental behavior or asking indirectly.  The author also gives suggestions for talking to the child about specific reasons for the loss--abuse or abandonment--mental illness, imprisonment, incest, parental immaturity, neglect, alcohol or drug abuse, physical illness, and parental rejection.  This section is a good reference. 
This chapter also includes an important section on helping the understand their own personal history.  She suggests several different methods: using a time line for younger children, and a time graph for older children, story telling with doll figures or puppets, and using a life story or history book. 
The fifth chapter deal with the child's lost self esteem as a result of the loss.  It is very easy for a child to feel negative about her/himself after a loss.  TO explain this concept Jewitt uses the bucket comparison.  The bucket contains our self esteem, which is filled by what others say of us, and how they treat us.  In the case of separation it is very hard to fill the bucket because of the loss in caretaker and loss of a person to fill the bucket.  Many children resort to negative behavior to get attention.  To combat this a worker can teach positive ways to fill the bucket, use praise to restore self esteem and teaching the child to make good choices.
The final chapter deals with letting go.  Because the child has already experienced loss, the termination of work with a child should be a gradual process.  In the final meeting the worker should be as open as possible about her own feelings, "I am glad you're doing so much better, but I'm sad I won't be able to see you anymore."
This book is a useful tool for working with children experiencing a loss.  for those working with children, a periodic review of this book will enhance the services they provide.  The philosophy and ideas presented are an important part of the knowledge needed to be an effective caseworker, or foster, adoptive parent.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bed Bugs: Santa Clara County Vector Control

I especially like the section on preventing bed bugs.  This gives us a chance.  A friend visited a motel in Modesto, that was infected with bed bugs.  It is so easy to bring them home.  So I guess it is good advise to check a motel room before putting your stuff down.  These critters don't usually carry disease, but they are dependent on a blood meal in order to progress.  That blood meal is usually you.  They can cause itching.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Safety Seminar: Safety It Starts with You by Craig Harrison

Craig Harrison was the Keynote speaker at the Safety Seminar.  He talked about creating a culture of safety.  He included three things: Establish trust, Two-way communication and Cultivate a Kaisan philosophy of continuous learning.  He presented as examples of this philosophy Tesla Motors, which was able to reduce their accident rate, and the pilot Sully (Chesley Sullenberger), who has in place a system of employing these methods with his flight crew, even if someone is newly assigned.  He would meet with his assigned crew before they began their flight.  At this meeting he would open communication, and provide a safe atmosphere for them to work together towards a common goal. 
The last topic presented by Harrison was that of praising.  His four tips for praise: Make it genuine, Make it specific, Never mix positive with negative, keep praise positive and It should be timely to be most effective.  He further emphasized praise by saying, MBW, Manage by Wandering, catch people doing things right and be a praise dispenser!

Mosquitoes: Spreaders of Disease

I went through a Facebook list of the most dangerous animals, and mosquitoes were on the list.  More than 700 million people get diseases from mosquitoes annually.  This results in over a million deaths.  Not because they are dangerous of themselves, but because they carry so much disease.  Malaria traditionally has been the most feared disease that the carry.  However, now there are other illnesses to worry about.  These diseases include Zika, Dengue, West Nile, Yellow Fever,  Chikungunya, La Crosse Enchephalitis, Rift Valley Fever, Jamestown Canton Virus, and Snowshoe Hare Virus.  The flier I received form Santa Clara County Vector Control suggests wearing long sleeves when outdoors, apply insect repellent and making sure screens are tight fitting and not in need of repair.  Another important thing is when traveling to areas where malaria is prevalent, sleeping under a screen that has been treated with repellent. 

Another thing to be careful of, is that we are not breeding mosquitoes in our own property.  Mosquitoes can take advantage of even small bodies of water to breed.  The mosquito fish is a good way to rid breeding mosquitoes without using chemicals.