No Wheat, No Weight? – Part 1


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man and woman abstractLet’s just say that this is Mary and Joe Scofield on their way home from their doctor’s office, where once again they heard their yearly lecture.  Obviously, they are in that 68.8% of Americans who are overweight or obese and experiencing the consequences. When reading their charts, everything that should be low is high, and everything that should be down is up, including their weight.  The doctor reminded them that getting rid of the weight would probably eliminate some, if not all, of the medications they are taking for heart problems, elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes.

This time the doctor was impressed with their optimism as they began talking about what they will do to improve their health.  Watching the HBO special “The Weight of the Nation” was a wake-up call for them to go online to research their conditions. They even had a list of questions to ask the doctor about a sensible diet, a safe exercise program, and they set realistic short-and long-term goals as an important first step.  They’re particularly excited about being able to exercise at home and showed the doctor a printout of how they can get a full-body workout with chair exercises.  (Read “Move It! You’re Losing It” and at end of post.) Because they have been inactive, part of the plan is to gradually build up to a variety of more intense exercise routines.

According to The National Institutes of Health, 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week can have positive results, even when spread out in ten-minute sessions throughout the day.

The couple was also motivated after reading that Honey Boo Boo’s mama even lost over 100 pounds by being more physically active (walking and moving) while taping their TV show, 365 lbs. to 263 lbs. so far.

To jump-start their physical activity, Mary and Joe decided to make brisk walking part of their daily regimen. Studies show that those who regularly walk (not stroll) to lose weight, are more likely to keep it off.  Their pedometers will let them know how close they are to their goal of 10,000 steps a day, but even if they don’t reach 10,000, every step is better than none at all.  Plus, brisk walking will help melt away that dangerous, deadly (visceral) belly fat.   This is the kind of fat wrapped around the organs in the abdomen, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, even death. (*See web site at end of post for body mass index.) According to the American Cancer Society, there’s strong evidence this type of fat may even cause colon cancer.  Moreover, it is linked to a higher risk of other cancers and poor brain health, increasing the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Research has also linked belly fat to bone loss in men.  Experts say this fat is often the first to go when combined with diet and physical activities you do regularly, like walking, biking, dancing, even housework and working in the yard.  Crunches, sit-ups and other abdominal exercises are good for getting rid of fat located directly under the skin (subcutaneous).

6975217_sJoe is excited about golfing (no cart) with their neighbor and joining a group of friends a few days a week to play bocce ball.  Mary is looking forward to shedding pounds by aqua jogging (running in water) with her friends.  She is also motivated to plant a garden, which promises to be a great form of physical activity.  Consequently, she is looking forward to shopping (more walking) for that new wardrobe after her weight loss. They both realize that daily physical activity and a healthy diet translate to a life-long change, now that they are seriously aiming for longevity and working on their bucket list.  Who knew fun and games could equal health and wellness?

Because they have heard so much about this thing called gluten, they are wondering if it could be the answer to some of their complaints, such as bloating, joint pain, diarrhea, gas, and stomach aches.  (Read “Tips-Gluten No-No’s”.) Since so many people are boasting about losing weight on a gluten-free diet, they are hoping it might work for them also. The doctor is testing them for celiac disease even though they don’t fit the profile, for studies show that even overweight people can have the disease.  In the meantime, they will plan their meals for the week, keep a food journal and take note of when their symptoms worsen. The journal will also allow them to see just how much, what and when they are eating and document all junk food, sugary drinks, processed foods, snacks, and “grazing”.

For years they have tried many ways to lose weight, but failed: diets, treadmill, gadgets, pills, drinks.  Nevertheless, they wonder if there’s any scientific evidence to back up those gluten weight loss testimonials, because it all sounds too good to be true.

Dieting couple

*To calculate your body mass index (BMI) go to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Web site,

Related posts:




No Wheat, No Weight? – Part 2


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6162354_sLike my fictional couple, I too would like to know the skinny on gluten.  I’ve been gluten-free for over a year because of gluten sensitivity and unfortunately, losing weight to the point of now being too thin.  Losing weight was not my intention.  When I stopped eating wheat I wasn’t overweight and didn’t even know about the weight loss claims.  As I wrote in the post “Goodbye Arthur” I was just trying to find the cause for the severe joint aches and pains interfering with my life.  Going gluten-free was a necessity not a choice.  Even with a good appetite, balanced meals, and now eating more calories, the numbers on the scale keep moving in the wrong direction for me.

Some people say that you can never be too thin, but whoever believes that, should have walked in a “too thin” person’s shoes. Fat kids, homely kids, different kids, and skinny kids, were (are) all fair game for cruel kids. Hurtful words don’t just automatically stop ringing in your ears because you get older. Baggy jeans (now being held up with a belt in the last hole) do nothing to improve my self-image.  I’ve heard about injections and implants to enhance your butt, however, that’s too drastic for me.  Consequently, I’m seriously considering a trip to the lingerie department to buy myself a butt.

It seems like a lot of people idolize thinness. Being too skinny can be as unhealthy as being too fat.


Does anyone honestly think that looking bony, emaciated and anorexic, is attractive? How is it so many woman believe beauty is looking like a citizen from the Land of Famine as they flaunt their frailness?

My problem could be something not showing up in blood tests and on x-rays at this time. For me, it’s probably not from eating gluten-free foods because they often have more calories than gluten-rich food.  I have not eliminated bread, pasta, crackers, chips, pizza, and some goodies, only now they’re gluten-free. As a result, I should be gaining weight like so many others have done. I’m still eating the same “regular” foods that are truly gluten-free, such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, certain grains, vegetables and fruits. (Read “Tips-Gluten No-No’s”.)  When turning to my doctor for answers, she said that a few other patients have also lost weight after eliminating wheat, but she couldn’t offer an explanation.

9583137_sI hope you won’t see my story as an endorsement for a gluten-free diet. Your results could mean that the only thing skinny about your gluten-free diet is your wallet.  Those products are very expensive–five dollars for a loaf of bread that leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to texture and taste.

What really happened to our food supply that led to a dramatic rise in obesity and diabetes? There’s some evidence pointing to the way we started growing and processing wheat several years ago.  What could really be happening in our gut and to our metabolism when we eliminate all that “new” wheat we have been eating.  Is anyone doing research or clinical trials to find some answers? Yes, answers for the sake of those experiencing unintentional weight loss and for everyone caught up in the obesity epidemic who continue developing health problems as a result. Who’s looking out for our health? The National Institutes of Health? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? The Food and Drug Administration? The World Health Organization? Is anyone searching for facts?

What has been your experience with gluten? Perhaps our voices will be loud enough to “uncover” the culprit.


Related posts:


HBO Special “The Weight of the Nation” – 4 parts


Move It! You’re Losing It


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Click here to read the first post in this series “Dumbbells and Diet”


This post was going to only be about the fun and easy chair exercises done at home to strengthen our bones and muscles. I then read the latest reports stating that inactivity is killing as many of us as smoking, and it’s not just here in the United States but worldwide.  We have known for a long time that a lack of exercise and physical activity can harm us in many ways, including increasing our risk of death, now it’s right up there with smoking.  It sounds like if we just get off the couch and get physically active we will live longer.  But the couch is so comfortable and we want to sit and just watch our favorite TV shows in peace.  However, those reports should give us something to really think about.  Regardless of our age or physical condition, if we are all aiming for longevity, then those reports should be our wake-up call to do everything we can to keep the Grim Reaper at bay while reaping the benefits from just moving it!

Many of us have good intentions and make resolutions to start exercising but we’re too busy right now, plus, we’re too tired, too old, too sickly, too fat, too thin, and on and on with the reasons.  If we are working, how do we fit it into our schedule? For those who are retired, many don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn to go to a gym or exercise class, and not everyone can afford a gym membership.  Besides, getting up early was for going to work–been there, done that.  But there are those who do better in a class or with a buddy.

What’s the difference between exercise and physical activity?  Physical activities are actions that get your body moving, like gardening, walking, climbing stairs, biking.  Exercise is a form of physical activity specifically planned, structured, and repetitive such as yoga, tai chi, aerobics or weight training.  Both come in many forms giving you the energy needed to do everyday activities as well as maintain and improve your health in order to complete your bucket list.  They can offer a brand new way of looking at life.

person sitting in a chair in the shape of a heartBut what about that chair? The chair exercises are not limited to just strengthening our bones and muscles, they can result in a full-body workout for anyone.  Here’s our chance to “have our cake and eat it too!” (On second thought, the cake might not be such a good idea.)  If the couch is killing us, perhaps the chair will actually save our lives, as we exercise at home while watching TV. Now we can get our exercise in on our terms and time.  No special equipment needed–just a sturdy chair!  Water bottles or cans of food to use for dumbbells, a tennis ball, a towel and a resistance band will be your “expensive” equipment.  I saw a demonstration on TV showing how just 30 seconds of using a resistance band resulted in a high intensity full-body workout.  Of course not everyone is physically up for all that sweating and heavy breathing, so take your time and let your body tell you what’s right for you. Some people even credit the hula hoop and the jump rope for their fitness and weight loss–sounds like fun!

Once inspired, you may want to abandon the chair and transition into different ways of exercising, but before you try to earn an INSANITY T-shirt, be sure to check with your doctor.  Your activity level should fit your physical and medical condition.  People with osteoporosis or low bone density should avoid movements such as twisting or jarring the spine or bending forward from the waist.

Whether you’re a senior with reduced motility or a younger person looking to exercise at the office, this is a great way to relax, stretch, get your heart rate up, reduce stress, strengthen muscles and bones, improve circulation, as well as burn calories. These exercises can even benefit our technology-hooked kids who think punishment is having to go outside and play.

Many of the exercises learned from the chair activities can be done anytime, anywhere and carried over into your daily routine.


While in line, standing on one leg like a flamingo, you’ll be working on improving your balance.  Even the act of rising up on your tiptoes is not just for ballerinas as you stand at your kitchen counter preparing a meal, or bathroom sink brushing your teeth.  Other activities can even be done while sitting or standing in church–or not.  For those interested in burning calories, standing up and stepping in place during commercials would also help.  If you think these exercise look too easy to be of any benefit, try them, you’ll like them, you’ll become a believer.  Your body and your brain will thank you.  The “feel good” hormones kicking in will be your reward.

How can these exercises that improve our balance, posture and flexibility, strengthen our muscles and bones, and increase endurance, really help in your future?  What physical activities do you really enjoy? Are you preparing to do them for many years to come? Will your picture be used one day in a blog as an example of an active senior?

Senior Asian woman playing tennis

Could you be her partner?


How’s your pedal power?

Active senior hiker

Will climbing stairs be a challenge?


Will you “strike out” physically?

Your endurance could be such that your children or grandchildren will have a hard time keeping up with you.  Maybe you are just hoping that your hips and knees allow you to walk to your favorite fishing hole, shop till you drop, or have the flexibility and strength to continue to bend, lift, dig, and rake in your garden. Believe it or not, even short spurts of physical activity throughout the day can reap big benefits for our life span.

For years I heard that exercise is good for you, blah, blah, blah–I had tuned out.  As far as I was concerned, exercise was for everyone who wanted to lose weight and for those who were inactive.  However, over the years I would swim, or take yoga or exercise classes, but I bowled on a regular basis because that’s what I really enjoy.  Now, I realize that the blah, blah, blah was how regular exercise and physical activity could increase my chances of being able to bend and tie my bowling shoes and throw that bowling ball for years to come. I could continue driving to the bowling lanes because I would be able to turn my head with ease while backing out of the driveway or a parking space. Exercise could mean that I would have the mental awareness to know a strike from a space. Will being bedridden from osteoporosis cancel out bowling? Just in case, I opt for breaking a sweat rather than breaking a bone. The exercises I do to improve my balance and flexibility could keep me dancing without missing a beat.  Will depression from poor health silence my singing? Is it up to me to make sure arthritis won’t make playing the piano only a memory? Will a walker replace that brisk walk in the park?


I’m pretty sure we all want to continue doing the activities we enjoy for many more years.  And think about the things we do everyday from the time we get up until we go to bed, allowing us to reach our ULTIMATE GOAL–maintaining our independence in our home! Or will be become occupants in a different kind of home?

Reports state that by being physically active and exercising regularly we can reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, protect our brain against memory loss and Alzheimer’s, cut the risk of heart disease, improve sleep, lessen arthritis pain, reduce stress, and boost our mood to eliminate depression. Is that enough to motivate you to put the blah, blah, blah into action?

To see chair exercises demonstrated and short videos for all ages, go to the website of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (  You can also print out examples of the exercises to show your doctor.

The National Institutes of Health has a FREE 120-page Go4Life Exercise and Physical Activity guide and FREE DVD showing these easy chair and wall exercises for improving endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.  It’s like having a personal trainer in your living room , only you can hit pause whenever you need to. (

Read “Are You What You Eat?” and see “Simple Salmon” in Fannie’s Kitchen.





Are You What You Eat?


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Read “Dumbbells and Diet” and “Move It! You’re Losing It” first

bigstock-Osteoporosis-in-word-collage-38927227The reason for starting a blog was to find others who may be going through the same issues around health, nutrition, longevity, etc., and I hope these posts on osteoporosis will open the door for a way to help each other on this journey.  I knew I had to take the diagnosis of osteopenia seriously, especially after learning that one in five people with a hip fracture will end up in a nursing home within a year.  Plus, they are at risk of dying during the year after the break–the threat of death has a way of grabbing our attention.

Hopefully, by now you have read the two posts above and you’re planning to get off the couch and engage in some kind of daily physical activity in your effort to become stronger and more flexible each day.

Now let’s talk about the other part of this healthy regime, a well-balanced nutrition plan for our most valuable “assets”, our bones and muscles.  Keep in mind that what’s good for them is good for the whole body as well.  Is what you’re eating, helping or hurting your body?


Everyone is probably aware of the fact that calcium and vitamin D are needed for bone health.  Since we are all in the same boat, because about age 30 we start losing more bone than we replace, we now have to make an effort to maintain and strengthen what we have. Not every older person gets osteoporosis, but it does become more bigstock-osteoporosis-25757441common with age.  Even if we have a stockpile of strong bones built before adulthood, there are those factors putting us at risk we have no control over, like age, family history, gender, and size.  Plus, certain medications and medical disorders are also risk factors. The unhealthy habits known to cause bone loss, which we can change, are physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol abuse.


Unlike other health problems where we feel or look sick, we don’t “feel” like our bones are fragile.  Unfortunately, we can’t go to the doctor and ask for a blood test to see if we need to eat more calcium or take a supplement.  About 99 percent of the calcium in our body is in our bones and isn’t measured by a blood test.  A bone density test, similar to an x-ray, is for that purpose.  The bad part is that our body can’t produce calcium, it must be absorbed daily through our diet, and to make matters worse, each day we lose it through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, and waste.  Many Americans don’t get the amount of calcium for our body’s needs so it’s taken from our bones, leaving them weak and fragile.  Of those 50 years of age or older, more than 10 million men and women have osteoporosis, and nearly 34 million are thought to have weak bones.  So how do we get our daily recommended amount?


Foods naturally rich in calcium include milk/milk products, leafy green vegetables, (one cup of cooked collard greens has 266 mg of calcium), a few fish and shellfish, nuts, dried beans, asparagus, broccoli, unsulphured blackstrap molasses, bok choy, to name a few.  (See website at end of post for a short video on bok choy.)  Our body doesn’t absorb calcium well from foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard, or certain beans, however, these foods have other healthy nutrients.

Many studies have linked a higher intake of fruits and vegetables to be beneficial foriStock_000011401679XSmall bone health as well as for our health in general.  Studies show that eating the rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables, with their different colored compounds, may prevent disease.  For instance, red may help by reducing the risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate, and it protects cells from damage and keeps our heart healthy.  Other colors have their own unique compounds promising health benefits.  According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the Department of Agriculture, we should aim for at least two cups of fruits and two and one-half cups of vegetables daily.  (Although fruit looks pretty in that bowl on the counter, it will stay fresh longer when it’s not all together.)  To get your personalized daily food plan, see websites at the end of post.

Now what about the fact that milk is at the top of the list of calcium-rich foods but it is definitely not on the list for those of us who are lactose intolerant and those who don’t eat dairy?  Luckily, calcium-fortified foods come to the rescue:  A few brands of breakfast cereals, snacks, breads, and drinks like rice, coconut, almond, and soy milk, as well as orange juice, are fortified with at least 30% (300 mg) of calcium.  Some provide several health benefits and are high in essential nutrients; however, others may be sugar overload for diabetics.  Be sure to shake the carton of any fortified liquid before each use because calcium settles to the bottom.  (See website at end of post for a short video on dairy substitutions.)


Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium.  Its other benefits include, reducing infections, improving the immune system and preventing some cancers.  There is a blood test for vitamin D levels.  Some food products are fortified with vitamin D with the Nutrition Facts showing the daily value.  The limited food sources include egg yolks, sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna.  Our skin naturally makes vitamin D from ultra violet rays (UVB) in sunlight.  I’m sure some people will be upset to learn that they are not going to get their dose of vitamin D in sunlight coming through the window pane.  I was determined to get my dose even during the winter months by sitting in the sun outside on my deck.  But then I realized instead of catching some rays, I would probably catch pneumonia.  Actually, the amount of vitamin D our exposed skin makes depends on the season, time of day, latitude, our skin pigmentation, and other factors.  Consequently, production may decrease or be completely absent during the winter depending on where we live.

Wooden house

More studies are being done on foods that may rob our bones of calcium or decrease calcium absorption and in some way harm our bones:  salty foods, caffeine in coffee, tea, and colas, but not other soft drinks, are a few foods in question.

Visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation ( website to see your risk factors, recommended daily calcium and vitamin D values, and a list of other foods with essential vitamins and minerals affecting our bones and muscles.

As for calcium and vitamin D supplements and osteoporosis medications, what we are being told is beneficial one day, seems to be bad the next, therefore I’m staying out of that discussion.

I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to see any outward signs to let us know that our bones are being strengthened because of all this healthy eating, and I’m somewhat encouraged.  Since I’ve been on this bone-enrichment plan, which includes eating more fruits and vegetables, my nails are longer and stronger than ever before.  Could this be a good sign that my bones are being strengthened as well?

See post “Simple Salmon” in Fannie’s Kitchen for an easy, bone-building meal.





Simple Salmon





Read the post “Are You What You Eat?” first

We need to do more than just eat well and exercise to stay healthy.  Research shows that people who have strong relationships with friends and family, and a healthy social life, live longer than people who do not.  So, invite some friends over for any easy, bone-building meal and sing, laugh, dance, tell exciting short stories, have fun.  As you savor your food, while saving your bones, you’ll also be adding a few more years to your life–sounds like a winner to me, how about you?

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Marinating Time: 45 minutes
  • (My substitutions are in parenthesis)


  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (grapeseed oil)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (unsulphured blackstrap molasses)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Salmon fillets


  1. Set salmon aside and combine other ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Place salmon in a shallow dish and pour marinade over.  Cover and chill for 45 minutes.
  2. Bake salmon in preheated over (400) for about 12 minutes.  Salmon is done when it’s glazed and flakes easily with a fork.  The time depends on thickness of salmon.  (You can probably broil rather than bake.)

Serve with sweet potatoes, coleslaw, tossed salad (which includes bok choy), steamed asparagus (thin spears) topped with marinated sun-dried tomatoes.  Add your favorite dessert.

Feel free to share your easy bone-building meals in the comment section.

Related posts:  “Dumbbells and Diet” and “Move It! You’re Losing It”

See a short video:  How to Prepare Bok Choy at choy


Brigham Young University (relationships and longevity study)


Dumbbells And Diet


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6615207_blogThis post was originally going to only be about osteoporosis (oss-tee-oh-pore-OH-sis) (porous bones) and would be of concern to women only, and I would not get into all the information they could easily find online.  I was going to tell about the pitfalls I ran into while doing all the things needed to keep bones strong, like walking, yoga, and exercising.  Well, I soon realized that those pitfalls could actually save anyone from a hospital stay, keep someone out of a wheel chair, prevent a stroke, or even death.


Now you’re probably wondering what on earth these kids have to do with this post.  The caption for the picture reads “Yeah, Sis, osteoporosis really is a crying shame!”  To me, this little girl is typical of the child who would eventually become that thin, small, older woman with fragile bones and break a hip because of osteoporosis.  Her little consoling brother assumes, that as a male, he really won’t have to worry about this awful thing.  Well, we were both wrong.  First of all, men get osteoporosis too, and men and women of all backgrounds need to be aware that they could be at risk.  Building strong, healthy bones begins at birth and lasts our whole life.  Consequently, calcium-rich foods, along with sunshine for vitamin D, and plenty of physical activity are essential even early in life.  It’s like building a savings account of strong  bones for adulthood.  Little did I know that all of us start losing bone about age 30 when the rate of bone building slows down as the rate of bone loss picks up.  How wrong I was to assume that I never had to worry about osteoporosis because I didn’t fit the profile of that little girl.

You might be thinking, (assuming) that you don’t have to worry because your bones feel just fine.  Osteoporosis is a “silent disease” where your bones become fragile and break easily causing terrible pain.  Here’s the sad part and the real crying shame:  Very fragile bones can break from something as simple as a hug, sneezing, bending over, bumping into furniture or even spontaneously–you don’t have to fall to break a bone, your bones can break, causing you to fall! I like the way it’s described in The Surgeon General’s Report:  With osteoporosis, your body’s frame becomes like the frame of a house damaged by termites.  Termites weaken your house like osteoporosis weaken your bones.

One in five people with a hip fracture will most likely end up in a nursing home within a year and others may be confined to a wheel chair, or worse!



Now I’m pretty savvy about taking charge of my health and keeping up with tests women should have at different stages of life.  However, because of my assumption that I wasn’t a candidate for osteoporosis, I never thought to ask for the pain-free, 10-15 minute bone density test.  This is an x-ray showing how strong your bones are, and my doctor never mentioned it.  I became concerned and asked for the test only after a dear friend, with osteoporosis, fell and broke her wrist.  The most common breaks in weak bones are in the wrist, spine and hip, but any bone can be affected.  Early detection is critical because by the time any symptoms (pain or fracture) become apparent, the disease process is already far advanced.

Now here is something to think about:  What if our primary care doctor had a form in front of every patient’s chart, one for men and one for women, listing all the tests we should have according to our age and risk factors?  That form would have been right there in plain sight making my doctor aware of when I was due to have a bone density test, and I could have been spared the diagnosis now of osteopenia (thinning bones).  (How about also putting the patient’s photograph with the form?  It would be especially helpful in the chart of patients hospitalized or in nursing homes.  How many injuries or deaths occur each year as a result of patients getting the wrong treatment or medication due to misidentification?)


I’m sure we have all heard about the wonderful benefits of tai chi and yoga.  One day our well-qualified yoga instructor said that anyone with heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma or certain health problems, should not do the next poses.  Well, I assumed she didn’t mean me because my one and only medication is for high blood pressure and I assumed it was under control, therefore I did the poses.  When I got home and took my blood pressure because I didn’t feel “quite right” it was sky high.  Those poses, called inversions, are a group of yoga positions where your hips or legs are higher than your heart, or the heart is higher than the head,

woman adho mukha svanasana Dog Position woman sarvangasana setu bandha bridge pose yoga iStock_000015898994XSmall (1)

spiking your blood pressure and increasing your risk for stroke or other cardiac event.  Of course there was no need to stop the classes, I just stopped doing those poses.


8950366_sBecause I’m not crazy about exercising, I was elated when one day I read an article promising to reverse bone loss in just ten minutes a day.  I assumed this meant that I never ever had to exercise again.  It turned out that they were talking about isometric resistance movements.  Thankfully, I went online to research this claim.  The warning in several articles was in big bold print stating “If you have high blood pressure or any heart problems you must avoid doing isometrics.”  It causes your blood pressure to rise to extremely high levels leading to fainting, headaches, even stroke.  This is due to what’s known as the valsalva maneuver which happens when we’re grunting or straining, holding our breath and not breathing properly while exercising.  I’m not going to attempt to fully explain it here, but see website at the end of this post and I urge you to read all about it.


Walking is one of the best exercises we can do because of all the health benefits.  How glad I was when our new community center opened and had an indoor walking track.  Just 16 laps around the track equals one mile.  I was under the assumption that surely I could walk a mile without stopping, so I started out like I was in training for race walking.  Around lap 12 or 13 I started slowing down and realized I was not breathing right and was straining and forcing myself to continue. (Why is it so many of us don’t know how to breathe when it comes to exercising?  Instead of breathing openly and freely, we actually do the opposite and hold our breath.) At lap 15 I wasn’t feeling “quite right” but told myself I could do one more lap, but my body told me to quit and go home.  To shorten this story, at home I waited for my blood pressure to come down but it continued to steadily rise.  It was well pass time to call 911 when it reached 230/180–I was experiencing the valsalva effect.  This assumption that I was physically prepared to walk a mile, put me in hospital for two days having all kinds of tests including a heart catheterization.


DCF 1.0

So what’s this sleepy looking bear have to do with anything?  Good news!  Research is underway at several medical centers and universities to find out why bears are able to maintain their bone strength following months of hibernation.  Let’s hope this research leads to preventing and reversing bone loss and finding better treatment options for osteoporosis in the future.

See “Move It! You’re Losing It” and “Are You What You Eat?” to read more about saving your most valuable “assets”–your bones and muscles.

See “Simple Salmon” for a quick and easy bone-building recipe.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation ( has more information than you can imagine. 

Be sure to have your vision checked.  A recent report discovered that having surgery to correct cataracts resulted in fewer broken hips from falls in older people.  It would be a good idea to have your hearing checked also, especially if you think everybody is whispering.




Savory Gluten-free Muffins


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Read “Goodbye Arthur” and “Tips–Gluten No-No’s” posts

This post started out as a quick recipe for gluten-free muffins which could have also been called cornbread.  It was so easy and had me doing a little dance when they came out just right.

Then, much to my disappointment, I noticed that my blood pressure spiked whenever I ate even one of those scrumptious morsels.  After four attempts to adjust the amount of salt and low-sodium-gluten-free baking powder in the recipe, they still came out like little cream-colored hockey pucks.  Then frustration set in.  Now I had to start all over trying to find a gluten-free recipe for “Fannie’s Kitchen”.  Just when I was about to let anxiety take over, I got the “message” that I was supposed to find something really different, hopefully tasty, and oh yeah, healthier.  My mood perked up with that challenge.

Sure enough, I found a recipe using quinoa (KEEN-WA) which is one of the few OK gluten-free grains.  (Millet and buckwheat are gluten-free grains also.)  When I think muffins, I think sweet, but these savory muffins are not supposed to be sweet, just like English muffins are not sweet.  Some people really like quinoa but I find it rather bland, so I was glad to find this way to “doctor” it up.

The recipe called for lots of garlic, onions and cilantro which I don’t like, so I decided to make it with ingredients I do like, while keeping it gluten-free, dairy-free, easy and quick.

I made a small batch because I didn’t know if they would even be eatable, but I’m sure they will taste the same even if you double the recipe.  Better yet, make your own substitutions and let us know what you come up with.  You could probably use any kind of tomatoes, mushrooms or bell peppers, as well as your favorite herbs, spices and vegetables.

I found gluten-free, dairy-free cheese in the frozen food section of the Natural Foods area in my local supermarket.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prep time: 15 min.  Serves: 6   Cook time: 30 min.


  • *Cooked quinoa
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup dairy-free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder, crushed oregano, ground sage, each


*Cook quinoa according to package directions. (I used 1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water which yields a little more than a cup.)

Prepare muffin pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa with remaining ingredients, mix well.

Transfer quinoa mixture to prepared muffin pan.  Using a tablespoon, fill each muffin cup to the top, press down mixture to create a flat surface.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven; set aside to cool for 15 minutes.  Using a teaspoon, gently remove them from the muffin cups.

Let us hear from you, like them or not.


Crackers and Seeds


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From the post “Goodbye Arthur

Has anyone found a tasty gluten-free cracker?

There are lots of gluten-free crackers out there, but making one that tastes good is not always the manufacturers’ priority.

One brand I bought,  being passed off as crackers, was actually thinly sliced, solidified, brown pulp resembling cardboard.  I kid you not!

At first I was resigned to the fact that I had wasted my money and I was about to throw them away, but then I got mad thinking that someone would really make such an inedible product.  So, in spite of ridiculously high gas prices, I drove all the way back across town to return them. (I probably spent more on gas than the price of those fake crackers, but it was the principle of the thing.)

I told the nice guy in customer service just how the “crackers” tasted and that I was not in the habit of returning food, but I couldn’t afford to throw those pricey things into the garbage.  He said to think nothing of it because they are used to getting returns when a customer is not satisfied.  I told him that the manufacturer should be ashamed of himself for being so deceitful.  He smiled in agreement–I think.

Well, enough venting.  The real reason for this post is to let you know that I thought I had finally struck gold when I found the best cracker ever, a delicious, crispy, teriyaki delight.  But it didn’t take long before the arthritis-like symptoms returned.  I then went online and discovered that teriyaki is made from SOY SAUCE–a gluten no-no.

Now for the SEEDS part of this post:  As I mentioned in the story “Goodbye Arthur” I can’t eat seeds because they cause the same reaction as gluten, with joint aches and pains.  Well, how glad I was to find gluten-free hummus right here in town.  But once again, it wasn’t long before I discovered that the reason for the symptoms this time was not gluten, but an ingredient in hummus called, tahini–a paste made of ground SESAME SEEDS!  I recently learned that many people are allergic to sesame seeds and some people will even have an anaphylactic reaction requiring hospitalization.

I’m anxious to hear about your gluten or allergy experiences.

Read “Tips-Gluten No-No’s” for explanation of gluten and more information.


TIPS-Gluten No-No’s


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Click here to read “Goodbye Arthur” first

Just what on earth is gluten anyway?


Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, and barley causing one to suffer pain and distress as it attacks the lining of the small intestine in those with celiac disease.  The resulting inflammation interferes with the absorption of proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients, causing the person to feel sick most of the time.

As for symptoms:  Gluten drains your energy and will make you irritable and anxious.  Bloating, gas and severe stomach pains can send you to bed.  Because of your aching bones and joints, you are pretty sure you will soon be on medication for arthritis, using a cane or a walker, or having a hip or knee replacement.  You will be spending a lot of time running and sitting–with diarrhea and/or constipation. It causes your head to ache, and your mood to tank.  Brain fog will have you doubting your sanity.  Over time, this “villain” may cause some celiacs to develop anemia and/or osteoporosis. Symptoms are varied and there are many more than I’ve listed here.

Gluten affects each person differently and some may have only one worrisome reaction while someone else will have numerous complaints.  Others may have no symptoms at all, plus, not all celiacs look undernourished.  It runs in families and attacks all ages, even infants.  It may take a few days, or unfortunately, even months, before those with celiac disease feel better after going gluten-free, depending on how long it takes for their intestine to heal.  In order to avoid a false negative, a blood test must be done before going on a gluten-free diet, and an intestinal biopsy will help diagnose celiac disease.


Gluten also inflicts misery on those unfortunate enough to be gluten-sensitive, causing us to experience many of the same symptoms as the celiac when we eat gluten.  But thank goodness, we feel better shortly after gluten is eliminated from our diet and there’s no damage to our small intestine.  There’s no test for gluten-sensitivity.  Keeping a food journal to see which foods cause discomfort, is our trial and error test. Gluten sensitivity may be the reason for some health problems in children.  Treatment for us, and those with celiac disease, is a life-long commitment to a gluten-free diet.  Some of my friends and family think I’m being deprived because I can’t eat “their” kind of food.  Believe it or not, but there are hundreds, or thousands, of gluten-free alternatives on the market replacing anything they think I’m giving up.  Even better, many recipes can be found online.

What a blessing to have found the cause and “cure” for my gluten problem that didn’t call for an operation or several unproductive visits to doctors.  I also didn’t end up with many useless meds promising a litany of side effects, including coma, stroke, seizure, heart attack, cancer, suicide, or even early death–is there a late death?


Then there are those who have a wheat allergy, one of the more common food allergies in children.  It isn’t as prevalent in adults.  Symptoms are quite different in children including, but not limited to:  itching, swelling, watery eyes, rash, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting or anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction requiring immediate medical treatment).  Some children may even experience the same symptoms as those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  Blood and skin tests are done to make a diagnosis, and their intestine is not damaged.  Children will usually outgrow this allergy.

But wait, in spite of all the bad-mouthing above, let me make it clear, gluten is not “bad” for most people.  It doesn’t trigger an immune or negative reaction in everyone.  It’s like dairy causes much distress for those who are lactose intolerant, and some people can’t eat soy, seeds or nuts, but those foods don’t cause problems for most people.  So, if gluten doesn’t steal your well-being, be thankful and enjoy your food.  Don’t get caught up in the false notion that all those packaged gluten-free foods are “healthier” or “higher quality”.  The gluten-free foods that are healthy are vegetables, fruits, beans, lean meat, poultry, dairy, fish, nuts, seeds and some grains.

Gluten is what gives dough elasticity which helps it to rise and keeps it from falling apart.  It makes bread and rolls soft, light, fluffy and oh, so tempting.  It’s what makes pasta, pizza, crackers, and baked goods, good.

Store-bought gluten-free foods often have more calories, fat, sugar and salt, than foods with gluten.  They may also have less fiber and are missing some vitamins  routinely added to wheat flour.

Those of us victimized by gluten must be diligent about reading labels and also look for the warning stating that the product is made in a facility that processes foods containing wheat.  This can result in cross-contamination and leave us suffering and feeling terrible again.

Some gluten no-no’s:  couscous, spelt, kamut, triticale, durum flour, graham flour, semolina, malted grains of rye, wheat or barley, bulgur, white flour, wheat germ, wheat starch, brewer’s yeast, farina, and enriched flour.

Watch our for these products with gluten:

  • Beer–malt in most beer is made from barley
  • Malt products
  • Some rice milk and soy milk–processed with barley enzymes
  • Soy sauce*
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Cold cuts
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausage
  • Gravy
  • Rice mixes
  • Soups
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Croutons
  • Baking powder
  • Some brands of dried spices
  • Licorice and some other candies


Many foods have gluten hidden in the list of ingredients:  vegetable protein, wheat starch, gelatinized starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified starch, vegetable gum, vegetable starch, soy bean paste and some  natural flavoring.

Gluten may also be found in a surprising number of products: toothpaste, cosmetics, hair products, play dough, Communion wafers, medicines, supplements, lip balms, and even in some pet food.  The glue on some envelopes and stamps may also harbor gluten.

According to WebMD:

Take note that some cereals contain wheat starch and some use malt flavoring. Most crackers have wheat as one of their main ingredients.  Beware of breaded foods, check ingredients. Crunchy coating on most chicken nuggets and fish sticks is generally made from wheat flour.

Of course cakes, pies, cookies as well as bread are loaded with wheat flour. When using frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, check for additives that might contain gluten. The same goes for processed cheese spreads and flavored yogurt.

*Read the post “Crackers and Seeds”

To see a short video for wheat substitutions in recipe


Check with your health care provider before making any major dietary changes.


  • University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
  • National Institutes of Health (
  • National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
  • The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center


Best Header Ever


Back when I was trying to figure out how I wanted this blog to look, I knew that the picture at the top of the page had to be bright and colorful.  It didn’t take long before a rainbow came to mind.  Of course back then I didn’t know that in “blog-speak” I was talking about an image, and that the top of the page is the header.  So, without knowing how to find images, I went online and typed “pictures of rainbows”.  I had a wonderful time going through pages of photographs and illustrations trying to find just the right one.

One day I scrolled down a page and there was my image, but not at all what I had envisioned.  Day after day I would go back to the site just to sit and look at my rainbow, wondering if it could be used as a header.  After several weeks of staring and thinking and wondering, I decided to buy it.  There was something about it, a feeling I could not explain, and now I know why:

It’s not fancy or slick, and a masterpiece it is not, but as far as I’m concerned, it is beautiful, mostly because of the feeling inside whenever I log in to my site.  It’s like a window opened wide to let in a whole lot of sunshine, drenching me in “peace that passes all understanding”.

I would like to step into the picture, stroll down the hill, and stop to rest under that magnificent tree.  There I would sit and count my blessings while basking in the warmth of the day–marveling at the Lord’s handiwork.

The CLOUDS — as after a rain one expects sunshine,

                     so after pains one longs for comfort* — HOPE

The SKY — I’m so pleased it’s wearing blue this day!GRATEFULNESS

The TREE — our beautiful provider of the breath ofLIFE

The RAINBOW — bright, refreshing promise of LOVING-KINDNESS

The GRASS — green pastures for rest and restoring of souls — THANKFULNESS

May it bring a sense of peace to you also.

*Unger’s Bible Dictionary

Images from stockhouse

Photographer – Tanatat Ariyapinyo