Monday, 10 January 2011

Does retirement mean retiring your body?

Ok, here's another one. Where is it in our ~DNA that say's when we're past 50 we just can't do what we used to do? I'm serious. I haven't found one scientific article or even one person that I've met in the gym or elsewhere that proves to me that our DNA first of all knows how old we are and second has a hard wired date that it's gonna give up on us.

No, as I've said before I've met enough people who are just as capable at 60 or 80 as they were when they were twenty. in fact I've read of several people who are fitter.

Now to qualify that, Paula Radcliffe, the olympic long distance runner is not going to post medal winning times when she's 50 (atleast not against runners of 20 or 30 years old) but who cares. What most people care about is being able to live life to a high standard.

That means getting up stairs, driving a car, walking or even running after your grand kids and playing with them. No ones really bothered about winning medals at that age.

I've been wanting to post on this for a while but making a comment on inspired me. I still remember working in a gym where you see this day to day and all I ever saw in people was that your body is willing to maintain itself at any stage of life (assuming there isn't an underlying illness) it's just about whether you know how to work with it.

What do I mean work with it?
Well as I mentioned earlier about osteporosis, just like the saying that you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink, your body is the same about most things. You can give it calcium, doesn't mean it';ll absorb it or put it into strong bones, it may just pee it out. You can give your body protein, it might just pee that out too.

What it needs is a stimulus. You need to make it want to take things up. The body has inbuild patterns to adjust to events, you just have to trigger these patterns. Basically by getting active or making sure you don't stop or reduce your activity too much you make sure your body still has a need to absorb the calcium for the stronger bones, the protein for strong muscles, and maore calroies meaning more nutrients and fibre all round.

The most common thing with aging is a self fulfilling prophecy. i.e. we're told to relax when we're older, we retire, we take it easy etc, etc. Our bodies don't care. retirement isn't part of nature, it isn't in our DNA. The principle use it or lose it still applies and most people lose it. In nearly 20 years of looking I've never found anyone that contradicts this rule.

The only thing that I see that I think is in our DNA is that over time our body makes less and less effort to keep itself maintained. That doesn't mean it loses the ability it's just that when you're younger your body maintains itself for you with out much help from you to be honest. When you're older the onus is on you to say hold on a minute I still want to do things and I gonna.

So don't let retirment ge tthe better of you. Be active to stay active.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Pear poached in mulled wine with brandy sauce

This is a recipe for christmas. I've never even tasted mulled wine before so this crimbo I bought some to try it out. Now I'm not a wine person generally but I wanted to see if mulled wine is any different in case I'm missing out.

Turns out I'm not really cos it's quite dry like most wines but then that's why I cook. I changed it. I added a little sugar and made it more palatable. Then I considered dessert and thought I'd try poaching a pear in sweetened mulled wine then reducing the wine to make a sauce. I spied the brandy sauce and my plan came together.
So I had that a couple of nights ago but this morning I thought I'd experiment further.

I love having desserts for brekkie cos it feels so naughty it has to be right. The looks I get you wouldn't believe. No one seems to care that I'm starting the day with my one of five a day. I mean I'm starting with a pear, and sure, it's wine but it's mulled wine made from all sorts of fruits. That has to be good for you doesn't it?

To mix it up a little though, I decided to add some crunchy oat cereal, partly for extra crunch and partly to make it more breakfasty. Boy that did add some interest. It was only half a poached pear left over from the previous dessert but it's still a real pear and part of my five a day. The oats contain sultanas and coconut and stuff so also add to the five a day but also add to the fibre. I just like that crunchy oats can be a nice way of adding fibre with relatively unprocessed ingredients.

Anywho it certainly make breakfast interesting. Can't wait to do that again. Now I've got to wait for my rhubarb crumble to finish!!!!

Oyster mushrooms in garlic butter with roast vegetables

Ok, so the last couple of articles have been a bit intense. So I'm gonna lighten the mood. I just had a terrific meal and so I have to share. Sorry that I didn't take a pic but I'd started eating before I remembered.

What I really want to share is how darn easy it was. I've been working on this easy way of cooking for a while and it's starting to come together. The end result is that I'm now having gorgeous meals I can whip up as my mood dictates that are home made yet have the ease of being frozen.

Todays delight was oyster mushrooms I'd bought half price on offer at the supermarket. I washed and froze them in individual portions as soon as I got home. The roast veg I made yesterday and froze after. I freeze them after I've boiled the root veg then toss in some oil, this time duck and lamb fat cos that was what I was cooking, herbs, and seasoning.

So, feeling lazy but wanting something nice I checked the freezer. I spotted the gravy I made yesterday, then the mushrooms in the freezer and the roast veg, mmmmm I thought.

Just poured the veg into a tin to roast and popped in the oven. I thought about the mushrooms. They cook much quicker than the veg and I couldn't be bothered to keep popping back to the oven to put extra items in and stuff. So my answer. Put them in their own tin with a dash of butter on each shroom. Then cover with tin foil so they won't dry out and put in the oven.

Half an hour later I came back, heated up the gravy and dished up. I know it's my own cooking but it was a real treat. The flavours were big and it all worked together. Best of all I got to carry on with christmas!!!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Could sleep affect risk of heart disease?

Deep stuff eh. Again I'm just trying to make the point that balance is everything. Sleep is a big part of life and it needs to be. Western culture doesn't really value sleep that much. There are so many things to do with your time. Sleep is so often considered a waste of it.

So could the amount of sleep affect your risk of heart disease?

It's just a thought. I have an inkling that lack of sleep could be a factor in these illnesses and I think I can pull together some of the things I've learnt to make a case for it. Let's see how I go.

It's well documented and understood that we need to sleep to allow our bodies to repair. For example there's a huge release of human growth hormone during sleep. This is a natural steroid that promotes an environment that supports cell repair.

The general explanation for the cause of heart problems is build up of fatty plaques called atheroma in heart tissues, along with a reduced elasticity of heart muscle.

the accepted reason for this is a high fat diet means lots of fat gets caught in breaks in the walls of the blood vessels. Well that's fine there's mounting evidence that it's safer to be big and fit than thin and unfit in the heart disease stakes. Ok well exercise is a common thing to be measured but sleep isn't so common or atleast I feel it isn't as fashionable in our society.

the question for me is why don't the blood vessel walls just heal themselves in the first place. If they did then the crisis would be averted. this is where I think decent sleep would help. I don't think it would be the be all and end all but I think it could help a lot. If you don't sleep well you're body doesn't finsih of it's repairs for the day and has to leave it to the next day. This can build up for a few days but as long as you can up with your sleep the repairs catch up too.

Problem is that your body just tries to letyou go about your day and if you consistently lack sleep you'll adjust, your mind won't necessarily tell you that you're deprived of sleep because it assumes you've got more important things to do. If I'm correct then this could over time mean that you're just suffering from a serious form of not doing repairs. After a while though it's too late. The clots will have formed sufficiently and can no longer be removed by simple healing. Maybe they then grow over time. Maybe the body has mechanisms we don't know about yet that can clear up the clots. Sounds stupid. Well it doesn't when considering that an obese person at the age of 20 with a high risk of heart problems in the future can bring their risk back to normal by losing the weight and becoming active so that by the time they're 40 they have the same rtisk as anyone else of heart problems.

I say this because I feel it might give people hope and that is what I am taking from the research and stories that I read.

Here's a link to the original article