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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blog Site Moving

Hi everyone, I have a new web site and it includes my blog. All the content from this blogspot has been moved and my blogs will now be on http://www.arleenalleman.com.

A free ebook is offered on the new site as well, and a schedule for book signings.

I'm working on the fourth Darcy Farthing adventure novel and I'm not sure how far this series is going to take me. Readers will remember Don and Charlie, who became heroes in the first book, Currents Deep and Deadly. They and their daughter, Penelope, will be featured in the new book. The three live in Seattle, and are happy, despite a few local gay rights issues. However, suddenly their lives are turned completely upside down by elusive kidnappers who might be related to one of several groups. Darcy and Mick are determined to help the little family at considerable risk to themselves.

I'll give a lot more teasers as I work on it.

I'm hoping everyone stays safe and healthy. Our society seems to be getting more and more violent to where life might actually be imitating art. We went to the movies yesterday and saw six previews of coming films. Every one of them was nonstop murder and mayhem--unbelievable violence. It sickened us. The movie we saw, Expendables 2, was particularly violent from beginning to end and we wished we had skipped it.

The thing that disturbed us most was a family of four with a seven year old boy and four year old girl actually sitting through the whole thing. What were those parents thinking? What is happening to our culture? Am I just overreacting?

 Here's another random travel photo. Peaceful sleeping Koala at Steve Erwin's zoo near Sydney. They sleep most of the time due to their low protein diet of eucalyptus leaves. So soft and cuddly and we got to pet them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Should We Eat the Chicken or the Egg?

My healthy 90 year old mom.

It seems like every week or so there is a new study on another thing that is  harmful to our health or well being. Unfortunately, many times the culprit is something in our diet or environment that we are attached to, or have always considered safe. The new study on the danger of eating egg yolks is certainly one of these. 
The headline is shocking, since the new study compares eating egg yolks with smoking cigarettes. What??  Of course, it is not news that egg yolk is high in cholesterol. To quote a section of an article by Melissa Healy at the Los Angeles Times: 
"The study subjects were typically referred to the clinic after having suffered a clot-induced stroke or a transient ischemic attack -- a "mini-stroke" in which symptoms may disappear quickly but which often presage a more serious stroke to come."
"Smoking tobacco and eating egg yolks increased carotid wall thickness in similar fashion -- which is to say, the rate of increase accelerated with each stair-step up in cigarette smoking or yolk consumption. By contrast, for those who did not smoke, or who rarely consumed egg yolks, carotid wall thickness increased after 40, but at a slow-steady rate. " 
Now, hopefully the study printed in the journal Atherosclerosis, was conducted according to standard research methods, meaning that subjects were screened for factors that could confound the results. That is, if the subjects had already experienced cardiovascular incidents, as indicated, what factors in their lifestyle besides eating egg yolk might have contributed?
In my opinion, it is even more important to ask whether any information is known about the subjects' genetic predisposition to heart disease. To use a personal example, which is in no way unique, my 90 year old mother has all her life, eaten a diet high in cholesterol. Her main staples are eggs, bacon, and red meat.  Her doctor says she is one of his healthiest patients over the age of 60. That is because she has low LDL cholesterol and no signs of diabetes or heart disease.  She has never exercised outside her normal daily activity. 
On the other hand, I had breast cancer and have no discernible risk factors. I have always exercised, eaten a healthy diet, and do not smoke. I suspect this is a genetic tendency similar to my mother's tendency to avoid heart disease no matter what she eats.
So, what should we make of this latest study? The protein in eggs is healthy; it is the fat that is the problem.  One issue here is that there are eggs and egg products in a myriad of baked goods and other processed foods and those must be factored into the assessment of how much egg yolk we actually eat. 
Like my mom, I am fortunate to have naturally very low LDL and high HDL (good cholesterol). However, given a choice between the chicken and the egg, I will choose to eat chicken. I will not cut the occasional omelet out of my diet, but I will probably further reduce the number of eggs--yolk, since the white does not contain cholesterol--I eat over all.
The bottom line is as we have said many times, we should make dietary decisions based on knowledge of our cholesterol and blood sugar numbers, as well as well established guidelines on the amount of sugar and animal fat we should consume, which is very little.  Here is the link to the article. http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-egg-cholesterol-smoking-20120814,0,1391259.story

Friday, August 10, 2012

Marketing Current Assets

This is our favorite bartender on Mariner of the Seas holding the first book poster. We had a great time with book signings on the ship.

As I work on marketing the new book, Current Assets, I'm adding a profile on a great author resource website, "Ask David" This is free book promotion and exposure. Check it out at  http://askdavid.com or http://askdavid.com/free-book-promotion .  I've mentioned this before, but if you want to see one of my book's pages on his site, look at http://tinyurl.com/73k5szt.

I'm waiting for barnesandnoble.com to put the nook version up on their site. Meanwhile, the kindle version is already on amazon.com. I'm so gratified to see the spike in sales with the release of Current Assets, and especially the book sales in the DC area, which are probably related to The GAO Management News article that went out to all their staff.

As all self published authors know, it is slow going at first to get recognition and readers. Word of mouth is so important along with reviews posted on the booksellers websites, and blurbs on social media. As I contemplate plot and character development for the fourth novel, yet to be written, I'm hopeful that the marketing efforts are beginning to pay off.

For Darcy readers--Don and Charlie and their daughter Penelope will be featured in the next installment. They became heroes in the first book and may be victims in the fourth. Darcy Farthing is not a household name, yet, but stranger things have happened, particularly in the Darcy series, where her books have become famous.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Third Darcy Adventure on Amazon & B&N

I see that amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/c54h4u9 and BarnesandNoble.com at http://tinyurl.com/c7ze451 now have Current Assets available. It is only $3.99 on kindle. I hope you'll check it out, especially if you are not yet familiar with Darcy's adventures. Each of the three books stands alone, so you don't have to start at the beginning, unless you want to get the whole picture, of course. I'm really grateful for the kind words and support from readers. Happy reading!

In this latest story, Darcy and Mick find themselves in trouble again, this time in South Florida where Darcy and her beloved yellow Mustang have moved to be with Mick and continue her writing career. Her biological daughter, Rachael, turns up unexpectedly from Kenya with big problems at the same time that friend, Tom Smythe, is arrested for shooting a sheriff's deputy. Soon the quirky cast of characters is propelled into a mind-blowing complicated murder and theft plot involving local government corruption, smuggling, and Middle East terrorists. Mick and his team are drawn into the drama as they try to conduct a routine audit of the sheriff's office and U.S. marshal's asset forfeiture program, which quickly becomes anything but routine. Darcy and Rachael manage to draw violent attention to them selves and Darcy and Mick find additional adventure and danger on a private luxury cruise yacht.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shiny New Website

We launched my new Website last night. http://www.arleenalleman.com I'm thrilled with it and will be adding new information and this blog is linked to it. Thanks to Michael Butler at M3 New Media for all your hard work on the site. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Current Assets is Available

Like a birthing process, Current Assets, the third Darcy Farthing adventure, is working its way along the book sellers' channels. It is now available on my publisher's Website at http://tinyurl.com/89e62dk and will soon appear on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com along with the previous books.  http://tinyurl.com/3fqqg7e.

The ebook will be available soon, but you can order an advance FREE promotional ebook of Current Assets from me during the next few days by providing me your email address. Contact me through http://www.arleenalleman.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Darcy: How Does She Think?



Darcy's quotes from the three adventure novels give some insight into her thinking and philosophy.

Darcy Quotes

"Life throws a lot of curves, near misses, and too often direct hits. I believe I've had more than my share of the latter. Usually it takes only a minute for me to reject such a self-pitying notion. Still, it would be hard to imagine how more change--accompanied by trauma--could come about in such a relatively short time. Mystery and violence have been part of my reality for the past two and a half years. It used to seem like a fluke, but now I'm beginning to wonder if it's become a way of life.''
 —Current Assets (coming soon) 

"If you think about it, trillions of events are happening in the world at the same time every moment of every day, and some are directly related while most have absolutely no connection in space or time. But somewhere along the continuum of events there have to be overlapping occurrences that will have meaning for at least one of us, but only if we are in the right place at the right time to recognize them."
--Currents Deep and Deadly

"You can truly believe you have a handle on how your little slice of life fits into the whole pie, but just when you think pepperoni is all you'll ever need, someone dumps a bunch of mushrooms and peppers on top, and suddenly a mind-blowing revelation smacks you in the mouth. My name is Darcy Farthing, and this is my slice-of-life-with-everything-on-it story.'
--Currents Deep and Deadly

 "I would rather be at the mercy of chaos, where at least I have a chance of bringing order to my life, than to be manipulated by something for its own unknown purpose. I'm afraid that based on the reality of the world, I don't see a reason to assume its purpose would be benevolent."
--Currents of Vengeance

"To keep your sanity when it seems everything in your life has gone over-the-top crazy, you can step back from the action and try to gain an astronaut’s perspective of the world.  But when you find yourself getting lost in the tranquility of that detached view it’s time to dive into a current and get back in the flow."
 —Currents of Vengeance

Sunny is All About Yellow

The third Darcy Farthing adventure novel should be available in a few weeks. Darcy is in South Florida enjoying the sunny weather, but quickly becoming embroiled in more mystery and trauma. We meet a new character; her 2003 Mustang GT, named what else but Sunny.  Here's a brief synopsis.

Current Assets 


Darcy Farthing and her friends can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Darcy left her job with Schrinden  Pharmaceuticals, and her home on the bluff in Colorado Springs, to live with boyfriend Mick Clayton in Marco Island, Florida. They are exploring their new relationship and commitment to each other. She is enjoying the success of her first book while working on a new manuscript, which tells the story of their latest ill-fated cruise. Mick is commuting between Florida and Washington, DC while conducting a supposedly routine U. S. Government Accountability Office audit of the Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Program. Forfeitures are property the marshals seize from criminals, then store, and eventually liquidate to pay restitution or support law enforcement efforts. Under an agreement with the marshals, the Geneva County Florida Sheriff’s Office stores and safeguards seized property in secure lockers and vaults.

Mick and Darcy are thrown into a mystery peppered with violence when their friend and compatriot, Tom Smythe, is arrested for shooting a deputy sheriff two weeks after starting work as an administrative officer for Geneva County. Mick is drawn into the investigation and to aid Tom he taps into his professional and personal resources, including long time friend New York Senator Bill Sawyer. It soon becomes clear that the shooting is tied to corruption in the sheriff’s office. Unknown perpetrators are stealing and liquidating property forfeited by criminals and stored by Geneva County. Suddenly, Mick’s GAO assignment is no longer routine.

As Tom tries to extricate himself from his legal nightmare, someone starts murdering sheriffs deputies believed to be involved in the county theft ring, and evidence points to Tom. Florida state, and federal investigators struggle to determine motive, find clues, and address a complicated set of multi-jurisdictional crimes. Meanwhile, Darcy unintentionally draws dangerous attention to herself when she innocently looks for evidence to help Tom and becomes a target for threats and violence.

As Mick’s GAO team continues their audit of the asset forfeiture program, Mick realizes the corruption in the sheriffs office is strangely intertwined with a Yemeni-Pakistani terrorist cell using smuggled pre-Columbian artifacts to raise funds for a new branch of Al Qaeda. Mick and Darcy risk their well-being when they embark on a six day Caribbean cruise aboard a mega million-dollar yacht and uncover smuggling activity by the yacht’s captain and crew. Their discovery eventually leads authorities to unravel a surprising internal county scheme and to catch an unbalanced murderer, who nearly succeeds in adding Darcy to the list of victims.

While these events are producing enough trauma and stress for Darcy and friends, her birth daughter, Rachael makes a surprise visit from Kenya where she lives with her adoptive parents, bringing with her another shocking set of problems. Darcy and Mick are thrown into a parenting and problem-solving role when Rachael’s parents are unwilling or unable to handle their daughter’s troubles. Rachael too becomes a target of desperate criminals when she takes it upon herself to help solve Tom’s attempted murder case. Darcy must face how similar she and Rachael are despite having been apart most of Rachael’s life. Even after resolving the problems in Geneva County, Darcy and Mick must still contend with the surprising and controversial family crisis that Rachael literally brings to their doorstep.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Shop for our Colorado Front Range Locals

I just can't resist giving a big thumbs up to our dear friend and long time retailer, Destiny Douglass. I visited her new shop, Farmhouse Vintage, in downtown Elizabeth yesterday and I was so impressed. It is brand new and already so cute and fabulous. Of course, I'm also thrilled that she is carrying my books in her shop. We even sold a couple the day I delivered them to her. Destiny, I wish you all the best in your new endeavor!

For more information check her website at  http://www.farmhouse-vintage.com/ or visit her facebook page.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Advance Review of Diane Rapp's new novel

I was so happy to read an advance copy of Dragon Defense, Diane Rapp's third novel in the Heirs to the Throne series. I thought I'd post the review I wrote for her here. The book should be out in July.


http://quicksilvernovels.com/

Fantastic friendly dragons, telepathic wolves and humans, a space ship crew bent on destroying the planet, and a feudal system under reform by “spacers” from Earth who make the planet Drako their second home. What more could a reader want? Diane Rapp’s imagination appears boundless and her ability to bring a story to life is impressive. I enjoyed this third installment of the Drako adventure as much as the first two novels in the Heirs to the Throne series.

Dragon Defense is a delightful completely unique fantasy blended with science fiction. King Donovan and Queen Krystal, along with their three exceptional cloned daughters and an extensive cast of interesting well developed characters attempt to overthrow Jarrack, a dangerous madman bent on using mind control to extend his life and rule Drako. At the same time, an Institute space ship commanded by a dangerous spy approaches the planet with the intent of revenge and planetary destruction. All the while, romance blossoms for the King’s daughters who use their considerable talents to help free Jarrack’s children from their desert prison, search out and repair a dangerous radiation leak, and train teenagers and dragons to form a strange air force defense system.

The story is complex and thought provoking. The plots and subplots weave threads of space travel, life extension and cloning, mind control, telepathic communication with animals, and evolving social structure into a fascinating tapestry. As the tale winds to an exciting and suspenseful conclusion, the humans, dragons, and wolves must join forces to defend the planet using cooperation and ingenuity, since most of the planet’s previous technology has been abandoned and outlawed.

The rich descriptions of Drako and its inhabitants transport the reader to another place and time. Diane does a marvelous job describing the beautiful intelligent dragons and the experience of humans who fly on their backs and once again, the wise telepathic wolves play a central role in helping the humans overcome Jarrack’s treachery. I recommend this unique and very intelligent book for readers who like adventure, romance, science fiction, or fantasy. It’s all in there!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Authors Need and Appreciate Publicity

Mountains in Ushuaia, Argentina (the end of the world)

As I finalize Current Assets and prepare to launch this third in series, I especially love the idea of free publicity. I've just uploaded both Darcy Farthing novels to askDavid.com.   Check out my pages there for Currents Deep and Deadly on http://tinyurl.com/874728a and  Currents of Vengeance  http://tinyurl.com/73k5szt  I invite other authors to check out ask David for a little free publicity. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Darcy Farthing Novel Coming Soon



The Adventure Continues
 
I'm in the final stages of editing the manuscript for Current Assets, the third Darcy Farthing adventure novel. I am grateful to my manuscript readers who are providing excellent comments, and to all the fans of Darcy, Mick, and the gang. The books are available on amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/3fqqg7e and on http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ 


First in Series: The Adventure Begins
  








I expect to release Current Assets by August. I wonder if third time is a charm works for novels? Darcy Farthing is not a household name yet, but who knows what might happen in the future.   http://www.arleenalleman.com/

Here is an advance review of Current Assets
 by author Diane Rapp. Check out her books at http://quicksilvernovels.com/

Having enjoyed the first two novels in Arleen Alleman’s mystery series, I was anxious to read an advance copy of Current Assets. Arleen wrote another fascinating novel! The characters take a short luxury cruise down to the western Caribbean, but the story mainly takes place on Marco Island, off the Florida coast. Alleman brings back familiar characters from the first two novels, making established readers feel like they dropped in for a visit with old friends. We care about these characters, understand their flaws, and hope they work out their complicated relationships. New readers are given enough back-story so they won’t wonder what happened earlier.

The plot has plenty of intrigue and adventure, nail biting scenes, and charming descriptions of Marco Island. The action starts when Tom Smythe shoots a fellow police officer, and Mick scrambles to help prove the shooting was self-defense. Mick recently found record keeping problems with records of police asset forfeiture sales in Florida and realizes that Tom found another case of police corruption. The book explains how criminals forfeit cash, jewelry, vehicles, and real estate connected with their crimes. Individuals in police departments might “lose” paperwork to sell those assets for personal gain.

Arleen Alleman always does her homework. She weaves real facts into a sophisticated narrative, keeping readers on the edge of our chairs until we finish the story. Her new characters are well developed and suspense builds throughout the novel. Why would honest citizens turn to crime? Will Mick be able to prove Tom’s innocence when the only witness is the injured officer? As bodies start to fall, we worry that Darcy’s curiosity might get her killed.

Readers also learn about Darcy’s personal life. We imagine pouring a cup of tea and sitting on the deck while manatees move through the nearby canal. We enjoy hearing about Darcy’s love life and her tenuous relationship with her daughter. After all, Darcy is an old friend and we just dropped by for a visit.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Great Calorie-Reducing Idea


Once again, the idea is not mine, but I think this is a good article. I always advocate cutting back on restaurant portions, sharing meals, and gaining awareness of how many calories we consume. This article presents ways to "remake" restaurant favorites at home with way fewer calories. One reason I like this approach is that just reading the recipes gives you an idea of how to make your own cooking healthier and less fattening.

 http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/5-fast-food-favorites-healthier-home-170300002.html

Those of us who grew up eating rich foods, heavy in gravies and sauces, might require a weaning process to cut way back on that "style" of eating. Instead, we should consider replacing our usual menu items with what I call "clean" food. By this I mean grilled or roasted meat with herbs, garlic, and other seasonings, but no gravy or sauce. Likewise, vegetables prepared in the microwave with just a sprinkling of water, a little olive oil, and seasoned with herbs, such as oregano (delicious on broccoli), basil, or tarragon. Of course, tomato based sauce prepared with a little olive oil and lots of garlic and herbs adds almost no fat and great taste to whole grain pasta or vegetables. Try it on steamed cauliflower.

Some food manufacturers do get the need to present healthier choices, and whole-grain pasta in moderation is a great example. Likewise, try substituting whole wheat flour for white flour in almost any baked goods recipe and enjoy the wholesome nutty flavor it adds to oatmeal cookies, pancakes, and nut breads, for example. We routinely cut the amount of sugar in recipes by half or more, and they are still plenty sweet enough. As many of you know, pureed vegetables can be added to cake, cookie, and bread recipes as well.

This reminds me of the "glop" I discussed in one of my first blog posts. When you throw whole carrots, spinach, squash, blueberries, bananas, oranges, apples, or virtually any fruit into a blender along with orange or cranberry juice, you get a smoothie-like drink that could not be healthier. You can't really taste the vegetables and you can play with the combinations until you have your own favorite "glop." The point of this being that you are consuming healthful food, not just juice.



Couldn't resist adding a random pictue of one of my jewelry art designs. This is "Yellow Wood." Hand-sculpted pure silver tree and leaves, with amber and man-made yellow sapphires fired into the silver, with gold wire trim.





Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thirteen Tips for Healthy Weight Loss

I've found another really good article on weight loss that tells a more realistic and honest story of what we need to do to maintain health and shed some pounds. Take a look at these thirteen basic tips and keep in mind that the bottom line is lots of fiber, whole grains and vegetables, healthy fats, lose sugary treats, and a big dose of common sense.  http://gma.yahoo.com/13-things-diet-experts-wont-tell-weight-loss-170358888--abc-news.html

Exercise alone might build muscle and stamina but is not the answer for major weight loss. That said I'm off to the gym. Not to lose weight, but to stay strong and keep my metabolism healthy. 

Another random travel picture: Blue Mountains, near Sidney, Australia.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rambo's Daffodils

This morning, my husband rushed into the house to tell me that Rambo's daffodils are coming up in the garden. I had to rush out to see the tiny sprouts emerging between patches of snow at the edge of the deck. It is such a small thing, but after so many years we are still excited at our personal sign of renewal. It is hard to believe that eleven years have passed since I knelt beside the low stone wall placing small amounts of Rambo's ashes in lieu of bone meal into each bulb hole. When we inevitably leave this home, this will be the thing we miss the most.

Rambo was with us for a relatively short time. We adopted the huge strong grey tabby not knowing that at the age of two, he already suffered from the beginnings of kidney failure . . . probably from early neglect. As we know, cats must have ample fresh water all the time to avoid his fate. He was the best cat imaginable. So smart that he learned to sit and raise up his paw to "shake" with astounded visitors. But, what made him so endearing and precious was in part the road we traveled together during the last year of his life.

Each afternoon when we returned from work, we went immediately to the kitchen and pulled a stool up to the counter. As we unraveled the ringer's bag that had become an odd decorative fixture hanging from the cupboard above the sink, Rambo would run into the room and jump onto the stool. There he would hunker down and wait patiently as we stuck the needle in his ruff and filled him with life-saving fluid. Every once in a while if we had not changed the needle or our technique was a little off and he felt the jab, he would turn his head and look back at us with an indescribable look of, well, of understanding.

When he finally succumbed, he and we had extended his life by a year. He was the best of cats and our sadness over losing him was profound even though it was expected. Obviously, as a result of the daily treatments the three of us--two humans and a cat--formed a unique bond of mutual cooperation and care.

We're not exactly the most sentimental or sensitive people in the world, but this experience touched us deeply and remains a strong link in the bond between us, the two humans left behind. And so, we take a ludricous amount of pleasure in watching the inch-by-inch progress of Rambo's daffodils as they push upward and finally bloom, then sadly die back, only to return a year later along with the rush of memories of an intelligent loving animal.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Suzanne Somers: Who Knew?

Actually, Somers has been touting and advertizing fitness and health products for years. You mght have been tempted to make light (or even fun) of her thigh master commercials, but you can't argue with results. The woman looks fantastic. And, she is a best-selling author. This series of short blurbs by Somers on how to lose weight later in life and how to maintain health and vitatlity is well, inspiring. As I read these, my thoughts were yep, that's it, that's what I've been trying to do. I encourage you to look at this article and pick things you can actually do and stick with. The easiest advice is probably what we've been saying all along. Eat fresh fruits, veggies, and fish or meat (red meat in moderation), drink lots of water, and cut way back on processed sugary foods and white flour. Here's the link. http://tinyurl.com/7ghlhvl

By the way, my husband, Tim, has become quite the baker over that past few years. As he finds new recipes and becomes more confident in his own judgement, he increasingly alters them to greatly reduce or eliminate white flour and sugar. By substituting whole wheat flour, bran, and wheat germ, and using only enough sugar for a pleasant ( not super sweet) taste, he is turning dessert type foods into something much healthier and delicious.
Another random travel picture: Back yard of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia

Friday, January 20, 2012

Facing a Huge Problem

Me climbing the
"stairs of death" in Valparaiso, Chile. No problemo, well almost none.

This blog will be a rant about the obesity epidemic in the US. Even in 2004, obesity (being at least 30 percent overweight based on Body Mass Index (BMI)) caused 400,000 deaths and cost $122.9 billion. Things might have improved slightly at present. Nontheless, this country is worried about debt and expenditures, when we are causing a lot of needless expense due to our unhealthy sedentary life styles. The human body was meant to be active, based on the size and strength of healthy muscle tissue. After all, we are near the top of the food chain. But many people get almost no exercise.

 At present 45 to 50 percent of African American and Hispanic women are obese. Perhaps worse, over 15 percent of our children are obese as well. There are many theories about why this is happening to us. Among the possible causes and effects of this epidemic are

--Taking in too many calories and expending too few
--Dehydration, caused by drinking too many unhealthy sugary fluids and not enough water.
-- Too much TV and computer/games, etc. and too little exercise.
-- A food industry that still insists on serving mega-size portions and too often too much fat and sugar.
--Excess salt, sodium, and partially hydrogenated oils.
--Too much white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweetners, preservatives, and additives, like hormones and MSG, which are believed to increase insulin, the fat storing hormone, leading to typical fat deposits on arms, bellies, and chins.
-- MSG is also labeled as hydrolysed vegetable protein, glutamic acid, calcium caseinate, among others, believed to alter brain neurotransmitters, interfering with leptin, which tells our brain when we are full and leading to out of control eating.
-- genetics and hormone imbalances play a role, but this alone does not account for the dramatic increase in the overweight population.

What can we do? Well, for starters when we eat at home we can completely control our food intake. Read labels, buy mostly natural foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and cut down significantly on portion size, especially of meat. In restaurants, share entrees and desserts with a friend. In most places you'll still have plenty to eat. Obviously, more exercise is needed, as I say in almost every blog.

Finally, it is a sad commentary on many levels to see that Paula Deen, the 64 year old TV cooking celebrity, has just announced that she has type 2 diabetes and was diagnosed three years ago. If you have ever seen her show, you know that she is overweight and cooks almost exclusively "southern comfort" type foods high in fat and sugar.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Five Fitness Mistakes

I'm providing another link for a good article, since I happen to agree with all five of these points. Can't say enough about the importance of drinking enough water and not starving ones self to lose weight and get into shape. Check out these tips. http://tinyurl.com/6q64ddk.

Another travel picture. Here we are in Acapulco, one of the ports described in Currents of Vengeance, where Darcy gets into trouble. http://tinyurl.com/3fqqg7e


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Taking Vitamin Supplements; A Prudent Approach

I've reprinted the following information on the value of taking vitamins and minerals. As with everything in life, we should be careful of excess that can turn a good thing into something bad.

The Bottom Line: A Daily Multivitamin Is Still Good Nutrition Insurance

Some scientists believe there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against taking a daily multivitamin, because there isn't yet enough data from randomized controlled trials. That's a reasonable but short-sighted point of view since it may never be possible to conduct randomized trials that are long enough to test the effects of multiple vitamins on risks of cancers, Alzheimer's disease, and other degenerative conditions. Looking at all the evidence—from epidemiological studies on diet and health, to biochemical studies on the minute mechanisms of disease—the potential health benefits of taking a standard daily multivitamin appear to outweigh the potential risks for most people.

The good news is, you don't need an expensive "designer" supplement or a name-brand kind to reap health benefits. A standard store-brand multivitamin-multimineral supplement is fine. Look for one that contains RDA-level amounts and that also has the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal of approval on the label. The amount of vitamin D in most such supplements is usually 400 IU, so you might want to look for one that contains 800–1,000 IU of vitamin D or get additional amounts from a separate vitamin D supplement as well. In fact, the desirable intake of vitamin D is shifting swiftly; many people may need 2,000 IU per day (or more) to get their blood levels of vitamin D into an adequate range; particularly if they have darker skin, spend winters at higher latitudes (such as the northern U.S.), or spend little time in the sun. For premenopausal women, a multivitamin that includes the RDA for iron is a good idea.

Knowledge about the optimal intakes of vitamins and minerals is not set in stone. So it will be important to continue researching the relationships between vitamins, minerals, and chronic disease, over decades. This may mean more confusing news headlines along the way, as the science develops.

For more of this discussion about the role of vitamin supplements in maintaining good health, go to the  Harvard School of Public Health site at   http://tinyurl.com/6wh3hsy