Saturday, June 17, 2017


Diet almost needs no introduction; it’s so fundamental a building-block to our health and we all know that we probably need to make some changes, and often these changes require very little scientific insight.
Animal fats = Bad.
Processed food = Bad.
Alcohol = Bad
Vegetables = Good.

And actually thinking in this simplistic, macro-perspective isn’t so bad. Many popular ‘nutritionists’ promote the benefits of obscure, specific nutrients (chromium being an example.), perhaps as a rather cynical scheme to sell their own brand of supplement pills. There may be individuals in the world who suffer from strange deficiencies and who need to micro-manage their diets in this fashion, but for the most part, we need to paint with a broader brush.

But the evidence is that plants - and I want to make this clear - it’s not the ingredients in plants, it’s the plants. It’s not the beta-Carotene, it’s the carrot. The evidence is very clear that plants promote health. This evidence is overwhelming at this point. You eat more plants, you eat less other stuff, you live longer - not bad.
Mark Bittman, What’s Wrong with What We Eat. (TED talk)

It isn’t our goal to berate you in this chapter - we know that putting down the chips or wine glass isn’t just difficult in the moment, but it subtracts from a certain cheerful colour in life. We don’t expect (or want) you to become a calorie-counting master of self-control if that ultimately leaves you less happy than you were.

Instead we want to make sure you maximize the pleasure of each calorie.

And this means eating mindfully: empowering you as a consumer, so you don’t waste your health (and money) on products that aren’t worth the risk.

The problem in this is that often we simply don’t know what we’re putting into our mouths; harmful substances are packed liberally into processed foods, just below government guidelines, or what our taste buds can detect, but the effect they have on our bodies remains - delicious and insidious.
What, pray-tell is ‘mayonnaise’? What is pesto exactly? If you could extract the ingredients one by one and have them staring back at you, you probably wouldn’t feel compelled to ingest them!

A good rule of thumb is to only eat foods that you can list the ingredients of from memory:

‘Sugar. Err... E405… extract of vanilla…. Err…. it’s…’
‘It’s a pear.’  

A Diet Strategy

Any dietary strategy for need to have the following goals: [16]
     preventing excess weight gain and obesity
     preventing diabetes
     preventing cardiovascular diseases
     preventing cancer
     preventing dental diseases
     preventing osteoporosis

The recommendations from the World Health Organization [16], regarding diet in aging populations, is as follows: 

     Emphasize healthy traditional vegetable- and legume-based dishes.
     Limit traditional dishes/foods that are heavily preserved/pickled in salt and encourage the use of herbs and spices.
     Introduce healthy traditional foods or dishes from other cuisines (e.g., tofu in Europe and the tomato in Asia).
     Select nutrient-dense foods such as fish, lean meat, liver, eggs, soy products (e.g., tofu and tempeh) and low-fat dairy products, yeast-based products (e.g., spreads), fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, whole-grain cereals, nuts and seeds.
     Consume fat from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, olives and fatty fish. Where refined fats are necessary for cooking, select from a variety of liquid oils, including those high in ω-3 and ω-9 fats. Avoid fatty spreads.
     Enjoy food and eating in the company of others. Avoid the regular use of celebratory foods (e.g., ice cream, cakes and pastries in Western culture, confectioneries and candies in Malay culture, and crackling pork in Chinese culture).
     Encourage the food industry and fast-food chains to produce ready-made meals that are low in animal fats.
     Eat several (5–6) small non-fatty meals. This pattern appears to be associated with greater food variety and lower body fat and blood glucose and lipid levels, especially if larger meals are eaten early in the day.
     Transfer as much as possible of one’s food culture, health knowledge and related skills to one’s children, grandchildren and the wider community.


The leading cause of death throughout the world is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), and dietary fat has been shown, consistently, to have a strong causal link to CHD as well as other cardiovascular diseases. [16] 


WHO strongly recommends an increase in potassium intake from food to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease in adults. Generally (as the amount may vary for certain individuals.) They recommend a potassium intake of at least 90 mmol/day (3510 mg/day) for adults.

Food Group
Appropriate Potassium Content (mg)
Beans and Peas
Cowpeas, pigeon peas, lima beans, African yam beans
Hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts
Green Vegetables
Spinach, cabbage, parsley
Root Vegetables
Carrots, onions, beetroot
Other Vegetables
Tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins,
Bananas, Papayas, dates
Source: WHO


The WHO strongly recommends a reduction in sodium intake in order to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease in adults. They strongly recommend a reduction to <2 g/day sodium (5 g/day salt) in adults (strong recommendation).

Food Group
Appropriate Sodium Content (mg/100g)
Table salt, baking soda, baking powder
Bouillon Cubes, powdered brothers, soups, gravies
Soy Sauce
Snack Foods (e.g., pretzels, cheese puffs, popcorn.)
Sauces and spreads
Cheese, hard
Processed Vegetables
Butter, margarine
Cheese, soft
Processed fish
Cereals and cereal products (e.g., bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, cakes, pastries.)
Fish, raw/frozen
Milk and cream
Vegetables, fresh, frozen
Fruits, fresh/frozen

Source: WHO


This is the continuation of a weekly serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Wamala and Cooper, which book is available through for $0.99: 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


My writer friend in Israel, Gabriel Lanyi,  called to my attention a charming poem by A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh's creator, who made a case for the well-padded bear and his royal friend:

Saturday, June 10, 2017


“Work is love made real.”

“Individual commitment to a group effort---that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
Vince Lombardi

WORK Statistic

Wall Street Journal, (July 19, 2016): Although the percentage of workers indicating they are satisfied with their job is the highest in 10 years, it was still just under 50%.

Reading through these posts brings me back to my days when I worked at E.F. Hutton, a brokerage firm on Wall Street.

I loved that job, but when I first started there, my department’s supervisor was a real tyrant. I’m not sure why she behaved the way she did, but she really tried to make my life there a difficult one.

Since it was my very first corporate job, I was ignorant enough to think that it was normal for her to demean people.

Being ignorant is not the solution to the problem at work, but it does help if you ignore the unintelligent things your superiors do, and rise above by doing your job well. Yes, sometimes they’ll take the credit for your hard work, which is itself frustrating. However, going beyond what’s expected of you will get you noticed by your superiors.

I was lucky enough that the supervisor left the company within the year of my starting, and the new supervisor was a delight to work with. He saw my hard work, and ensured that I was treated with the respect I deserved.

I recall that I moved up the ladder rather quickly at that company, mostly because I was a hard-working problem solver. Upper management always tapped my abilities, and that made them look good to their superiors.

I was moving up the ladder quickly and had become a supervisor myself, until the company was taken over by Shearson Lehman Brothers. The new company only kept a handful of us and rid themselves of all upper management.

I lasted three months in the new company because they wanted robots and yes-men. I am neither.

You have the choice to work for someone, or work for yourself.

There are many people and agencies that can help you start your own business if you truly can’t live working for someone else.

SCORE, for instance, is a group of nearly 12,000 volunteers with chapters throughout the United States. They are a branch of the SBA (Small Business Administration) and since 1964, their mission has been to help individuals start or grow their business.

All volunteers are either retired executives with vast business experience, or they’re still in the trenches. I’m a volunteer that happens to still be in the trenches.

Did I mention that their mentoring services are totally free? Yes, you can tap into decades of business experience at no cost in order to start and grow your business. Visit to find a chapter near you.

There are many other such programs like SCORE. Simply search your area and you will find one if SCORE is not available.

I can tell you from experience that running your own business is not for everyone, and you’ll work many more hours than you ever did working for someone else.

Yes, you’ll still deal with less-than-ideal people, like vendors, customers and even employees. The upside is that you can change vendors, get new customers, and train your employees to be better at what they do.

As you read through the following posts, see what resonates. Perhaps starting your own business is not for you, and the posts will simply remind you that you are not alone.

Feel free to visit and share your story.

  Edison R. Guzman

I was going to ask for a raise since receiving a great performance review. Today I went in and was told that I need to take a pay cut or lose my job! WTH

I have this very stupid client that thinks that he can con me into giving him free services every month. I just got another email from him threatening to fire me if I don't send a cleaner over. can't fire me every month when I don't work for you in the first place. Idiot.

Work tomorrow. Hate everybody there. No one understands me. The supervisor hates me. Wish they fire me so i can get unemployment.

I am stuck at a job i hate, in a town that I hate making very little money but since I am in the development industry, I am "lucky" to have a job. Even with a great resume and a master's degree I have had one interview in the last year. On the employment boards every day but the jobs in my field are scarce and there are thousands more looking for jobs then those available. I try to think positive but I make the 40 minute drive to work every morning hating life a little more every day.

I am getting highly frustrated with my job. I tell about it to my boss but he is not ready to give me release from my current work and give another work. I have other options of doing something but nobody from my family stands with me. Even my wife wants me to carry on with this job.I want to cry and cry. I try to read other things and try to make me busy with other activities but every time thought of being in this job occupies my mind. I am so obsessed with it. Please pray for me.

I am frustrated that I get paid the same amount and work the same amount of hours as another person I work with, yet, the somehow manage to do maybe 1/4 of the work I do. I am tired of working my ass off for NOTHING!

I feel like my boss might hate me. I'm not sure why, but he's been completely shitty. When I apologize for doing nothing, I get no acknowledgement.

I just love when you have co-workers you think you can confide in and they just turn out to be back-stabbing B's!!!

I’m frustrated with myself because I get in these fiesty moods at work and the very next day I question everything I said. Most people would probably just move on but for some reason I am so hard on myself to be perfect. When will I accept myself and stop analyzing my every move?

Its quite frustating and irritating when someone else get the credit of your work. Seniors and my idiot manager take the all credit of my work. I don,t know how many exams a life would take from me. I do not found any happiness around me, its like everyone is to just snatch off around me. I m now afraid of dreaming too now. I think my BOss is blind to.......... He can’t see who is working in office sincerely and who is not..


I try to treat everyone in the office politely and it turns out, most of them talk bad abt me all the time. When I refuse to do them favors, I am the "devil" to them, and when I help them out, no thank yous at all.....what a bunch of idiots......


This is the beginning of Chapter 5 of this book by Edison R. Guzman and Douglas Winslow Cooper, published this year and available in paperback and ebook formats through It is based on the entries to the blog Edison Guzman managed for several years. These entries have not been edited.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Preventing Pet Pudginess

Doug’s Dog’s Diet

“Your dog is too fat,” our veterinarian told me…well, stated a bit more diplomatically than that.

Shocked, I asked him how one could tell, “You should see she has a waist.” True, by that standard, Colette, our part-Chow, part-Retriever rescued dog was a bit chubby, about ten pounds (10 lb) heavier than she had been when we got her at age three, back in June of 2014, two years earlier. She was thick around the middle, not thin.

We had bonded the day we got her, with this usually shy dog putting her head on my thigh as I drove her back from the dog van, piloted by Tennesseans who rescued her from the dog pound. 

We didn’t want her to go hungry at home.

We fed her, as recommended, two cups of dry food, one of canned, a total of about 1000 Calories per day (Cal/day), half that of a typical human. She would not accept treats offered to her, so her intake was well controlled.

Unfortunately, she was to join the nearly 60% of dogs and cats who are overweight, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. The implications are the same as for humans. We are “killing our pets with kindness,” by over-feeding them.

Two simple mathematical relationships are keys to weight control, for pets and people. 

Average Weight

Averaged over a few months, our weight tends to be given by the following relationship:

W = C / A

Weight (lb) = Caloric Intake (Cal/day) / Activity (Cal/day per lb) 

My quadriplegic wife gets 1300 Cal/day and for her, A=10, leading to an average weight of 130 lb. More active people will have larger values of A.

The beauty of the relationship is that you do not even need to know your activity level, A, a mix of resting metabolism and energy expended in motion. You can decrease Calorie consumption and predict its impact on weight, using a second relationship.

A Second Relationship

The Caloric value of a pound of fat, on us or in our food, is:

1 lb fat = 3600 Cal.

To lose a pound of fat through dietary change alone requires foregoing 3600 Cal. Two slices of bread equals almost 200 Cal. Just that little change daily can produce almost two pounds per month (6000 Calories) weight loss initially.

Eventually, the weight loss stops, and you reach your new long-term average.

If you change your eating habits by just 200 Cal/day, and if you usually consume 2000 Cal/day, our first relationship tells us you can expect to change your long-term average weight to 90% of what it is now, because your caloric intake will be 90% of what it was, a 10% decrease. For me when I was at 160 lb, that would mean 

(0.90)(160 lb)=144 lb.

Colette and I Go on a Diet

So, to get to be approximately 10% less heavy in the long-run, we need to cut our average Calorie intake by 10%. Often this is easier than trying to get a significant, sustained increase in our activity levels, A.

For example, for me to walk a mile in 20 minutes would consume only about 80 Cal, (, which is contained in one slice of bread.  My daily Calorie expenditure is probably 2000. Increasing that expenditure 10% would be 200 Calories, 2.5 miles of added walking, 2.5 slices of bread.

At about the same time Colette joined us, I found I weighed 160 lb, looking a big chubby. That continued about half a year; then, in May 2015, I decided not to go on a diet but to change my eating habits permanently, because a diet would produce only a temporary change in weight.

The major change I made was to cut out starchy food, such as baked goods, potatoes, rice; breakfast became an instant breakfast drink with an added scoop of dry non-fat milk, and I had another such drink in the evening. Lunch was salad, cheese or meat, and juice. Dinner was much like lunch, with more meat, and salad or veggies and juice. The rather high protein intake led to my rarely feeling hungry, and if I did, I had some nuts.

To reduce Colette’s pudge, I shifted her from about 1000 Cal/day to approximately 600 Cal/day, a rather drastic cut. I had intended to cut it by 20% but miscalculated.  On the next vet visit, her weight had dropped to about 52 lbs, and she looked quite good, so I restored some of her calories, 1.5 cups of 
dry food and a cup of canned food, about 800 Cal/day, where it stands now. 

She may still be losing a bit of weight, but not much.

In five months, as had Colette, I hit my target weight, 145 lb., a 10% reduction, and I’ve maintained it, or lower, for the following 20 months.

It’s Easier with a Dog

Granted, it is easier to control a dog’s diet and exercise than our own. Colette did not need Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, NutriSystem, with their enticing prospects of get-slim-quick yummy meals. I provided her with disciplined resolution. Her daily exercise was rarely varied, too, making it easy to compare one diet with the next.

The Bottom Line

The good news is that a sustained change in eating habits can produce a sustained change in weight. No complex programs or exotic food choices are needed.

The key is to make a dietary change you can stick to, a change you can live with, a change that will improve your life...or the life of your pet, true for mice and men, dogs and Dougs.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a semi-retired physicist who now helps people write and publish their books through his

Monday, June 5, 2017


Product Details

This interesting book is not quite an even-handed look at euthanasia. The cards are stacked in favor of "death with dignity."

First, let me give author Thornhill his due: the characters are complex and worth knowing, the plot proceeds logically and satisfyingly, the ending makes sense. He writes well, albeit with thumb and one finger. The other reviewers have given him 5 stars, "love it."

I like my heroes a bit more attractive than a randy  sixty-five-year-old, even though I myself am in my seventies, or perhaps because I am in my seventies. Still, Walt Williams is a fine man, a thoughtful man, and he and his partner, Ox, work well together, with Ox supplying the needed muscle.

So, euthanasia: we have enough morphine to kill pain, and I am not opposed to using it even to the extent it risks the patient's life, instructions I gave her doctors 13 years ago when my wife, newly quadriplegic and placed on a ventilator permanently, was fighting for her life after a near-fatal aspiration due to her multiple sclerosis. When she emerged from her therapeutic coma, she was glad I had reversed her instructions that precluded heroic efforts to save her life. 

Before the crisis, you think you know what you want, but you cannot really know. During the life-threatening crisis, you are distracted or incompetent to to make a rational, informed decision, and only afterwards do you have a knowledge of what happened and what resulted, and how you feel about what was done.

If you are going to sign a Living Will, an Advanced Directive about how much effort should be expended on saving your life, be very cautious: you do not know what your future will be. Patients with DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) instructions are given less good care, my wife's nurses tell us, despite the denials of medical institutions.

Patients who are capable of committing suicide and want to, should be allowed to do so, though discouraged from carrying it out. It is hard to see morality in not taking your own life, as there are many relatively painless ways to do it, but asking someone else to kill you.

For the near-total disability of ALS, for example, the issue is progressive loss of capability, and the "answer" is to help such patients with technology to gain something of worth in living each day, "the plan is to enjoy what you can." Sadly, the patient will reach a stage where nothing can be enjoyed and he is unable to take his own life. Not every ethical has a solution. The patient should be given our compassion and admiration for fighting the good fight to the end.

I will likely read another of the Lady Justice series, despite my reservations about this novel.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


RETIREMENT? NO, REFIREMENT!: Beyond just surviving, your continuing survival by [Wamala, Petero, Cooper, Douglas]

Section 4

“In life lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.”
Anthony Robbins

Hard Facts

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking this section doesn’t apply to you; either you have already been affected by the issues mentioned below, or you have the luxury of inoculating yourself against them.

Either way, we have a battle on our hands. Not an explosive one, and maybe not one that will award us any medals - rather a battle of strategy and quiet discipline.

We understand that retaining is an unattractive concept compared to attaining, but those are the new terms of the battle, and the quicker you can accept those terms, the better prepared you will be.

A correlation has been noted between aging satisfaction and the use of preventative medical services [13]

Consider the Activities of Daily Living -

ADLs - Activities of Daily Life
IADLs - Instrumental Activities of Daily Life
Having a bath or shower
Doing routine housework or laundry
Using the toilet
Shopping for food
Getting up and down stairs
Getting out of the house
Getting around indoors
Doing paperwork or paying bills
Dressing and undressing

Getting in and out of bed

Washing face or hands

Eating, including cutting up food

Taking medicine

Source: Health Survey for England 2015 Adult social care

21% of men and 30% of women aged 65 and over needed help with at least one Activity of Daily Living (ADL), and the percentages are slightly higher for the second column.
[21] From this point, difficulties increase with age.

Functional impairment comes from a variety of sources - the onset of Alzheimer’s, arthritis, falls, etc.

Fighting Back

Note - Any exercise programme should, of course, always first be discussed with one’s health care provider.

No group can benefit more than older persons from regularly performed exercise. [3]

Research shows that strength training is needed to both stop or reverse sarcopenia—the body’s loss of protein as one ages —and to improve bone density. For the elderly, increased muscular strength is a pivotal factor in maintaining health and independence. Two to three days a week, with a day of rest between workouts, is recommended to maintain bone and muscle strength.

Aerobic exercise has long been shown to prevent and treat many of the chronic, age-associated diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, and osteoporosis. Older persons should build up to at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise—for example, walking, swimming, aqua gym and stationary cycling—on most, if not all, days.

Protecting Mobility

One of the greatest dangers to our autonomy is losing balance, stability and range of motion; exercise programmes must be designed with the specific purpose of improving balance - not just increasing your level of activity.

Stability, even for the young, is an often neglected component of fitness. Often when people go to the gym they want to inflate certain muscles that they feel attractive but that in some cases have no functional point, and want to jump onto one of the fancy looking machines, which actually restrain movements into a linear motion,

Stability puts off some people, because:

1.   It’s difficult to train (although more effective.)
2.   The visual effect that it has on your physique is less pronounced.
3.   You might feel a bit silly wobbling about in tricky positions.

Yet converts to stability training quickly become its advocates and wish that they had started sooner; this is something that practically all human beings should do, old or young. When you actually talk to a fitness trainer, or ask them how they, or athletes, train, they’ll tell you bypass 90% of the equipment at the gym and go straight for the mats, the large inflatable balls, the free weights, and the Bosu®.  (Essentially a hemisphere which is difficult to balance upon.)

All of which can be purchased for home use, relatively cheaply, and a solid work-out needn’t last longer than fifteen minutes, and needn’t even cause you to break a sweat.

Once you have a routine you must stick to it, or else you will lose the benefits you have gained. [14,]

As always, when it comes to sticking to a routine automate it. Set an alarm!

Heart Health

A healthy lifestyle is the alpha and omega of looking after your heart. By all means avoid smoking. This is one of the best gifts you can give your heart. Regularly check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels Regularly check for diabetes. Break the sweat at least twice a week through exercise. Personally, I took up squash at age 56 ! Thrice a week, I am at the squash court, not playing competitive squash, but playing nevertheless, and getting the mother of all workouts.

Know your body mass index, and ensure you maintain healthy weight. Watch your diet and try to minimise salt. Avoid fatty foods, and make fruits and vegetables part of your routine diet. Now I hope my long-time friend, Dr. Alex, never reads what I am going to say next!!

However I have to, must say this: limit alcohol intake. Truth is, I love my beer and I am trying all I can to reduce significantly, with mixed success! Plus for 45 days every year, I totally abstain from beer. Dr. Alex, did you read that? Times are changing, and even yours truly is changing. Did I mention that the Australian-trained Dr. Alex still puffs a cigarette or two?

And so it goes on, Dr. Alex telling me not to sip a beer and me chiding him not to puff a cigarette! What is the point I am making? In matters of personal indiscretions, let us face it addictions, only dear friends you trust, dare look you straight in the eye, and say: “STOP IT “

Mental Health

Research on the effects of retirement on mental health provides widely varying results [6] and the trend appears to be based on the work environment you’re leaving.

Statistically speaking, retirement has been shown to correlate with depression [15]
Late Life Depression is a real, and distinct thing, LLD.
Depression is a vicious circle to whomever it affects - as is demotivates sufferers from seeking help. This is especially dangerous the elderly, for whom medical and social support become increasingly important. [15]



This is the continuation of a weekly serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Wamala and Cooper, which book is available through for $0.99: