Sugartown - One Day in Roc's Life
I hope you have the patience to read this personal essay I have written, and that you may find some useful tips here for how to improve your healthspan. I recently watched an NPR report stating that no supplements have been shown to have benefits, a statement which is hyperbolic. Having studied nutrition and human aging for decades, I have come to many conclusions, based on scientific meetings and articles I have seen. Below is a description of what I consider an optimal day. The explanation of specific healthful actions (1, 2, etc.) are explained at the end of the essay. I hope later to add science-based citations. In a hundred years, I hope I will be around to say “I told you so”.
I love the song Sugartown, Nancy Sinatra -
“I got some troubles, but they won’t last,
I’m gonna lay down, right here in the grass,
And pretty soon all my troubles will pass,
Cause I’m in shu-shu-shu- sugartown” (1)
I wake up about 6:15am (2). I start with a glass of water (3) after my 8 hrs of sleep (4). Then I have a glass of dark grape juice (5), that I use to swallow 2g fish oil (6), resveratrol (7), Juvenon [four days a week] (8), AREDs (9), Spirulina (10), SAMe 200mg (11), vitamin B3 (12), vitamin D (13), aspirin 3 days a week (14), and on Sundays, vitamin B12 (15). Then I drink about 6 cups of coffee (16). For breakfast I often eat oatmeal (17), with about 15 blueberries (18), followed by one cup of green tea (19), with a squeeze of honey (20). I brush my teeth for 2 minutes (21) in the morning and at night, while balancing 1 minute on each foot (22).
Tuesday and Thursday mornings I go to yoga for 75 minutes (23), and Saturdays I go to the zendo to meditate for 2 thirty minutes sittings, and one 15 minute walking (24).
I get 1 to 8 hours of exercise most days, working in the garden, chainsawing trees in the forest, weedwhacking the lawn, etc. (25) About once a week, I end up taking an Aleve when I am done (26), knowing how sore I will be otherwise. Tuesday nights I also spend 75 minutes taking karate class (27), Tuesday afternoons twice a month I take singing lessons, and twice a month go and sing for 90 minutes at a local retirement center (28).
Though I have finished my first career as a professor for 38 yrs, I now have two jobs (29). I work as a caregiver about twice a week for several hours, for Visiting Angels. I have also been consulting since January, submitting an NIH grant to try to cure a particular type of cancer that is being evaluated now.
At lunch, I usually have a cup of Ramen hot and spicy shrimp, which has lots of turmeric (30). I boil 1 and 1/3rd cups of water with a serving of frozen broccoli (31). I add cayenne (32) to the Ramen, and put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil (33) on the broccoli.
I love to lie down to read for a while, usually dozing off for a 30 minute nap (34).
Happy hour starts at 5pm, and I am done for the day, having 1 or 2 beers or glasses of wine (35). For dinner I prefer vegetarian or fish (36), though often we have two (37) or four-legged (38) meats. I watch about 2 hours of TV most nights, snacking on 4 to 6 squares of dark chocolate (39), a few handfuls of red grapes (40), and a few handfuls of mixed nuts (41).
I go to bed at 9 or 10pm, having a vitamin C (42), and 4 nights a week 3mg of melatonin (43), with another glass of water (3).
Oh yeah, I forgot about Sugar town! I read the New Yorker, the Economist, and Science (44) magazine every week, and listen to NPR frequently. But I make an effort not to get stressed about the news (1). My basic rule is if I can do something about it, do it; if I cannot do anything about it, I try not to worry about it. I love listening to reggae and songs from musicals, and sing Peter Paul and Mary, other folk songs, and Sugartown to chase away worries. “I got some troubles, but they won’t last…”(44).
It's a good life! I welcome any suggestions with citations for how I could conveniently improve my routine.
EXPLANATIONS OF 44 STEPS TO HEALTH
(1) stress about the news - One of the main causes of aging is inflammation, and stress causes inflammation. If you cannot do something to improve a situation, it is better to not worry about it.
(2) - waking and going to sleep at a regular time is important to maintain biorhythyms. Early to bed, early to rise!
(3) water - Especially when older, people get dehydrated without realizing it, causing hunger and sore muscles.
(4) 8 hours of sleep a nite - Lack of sleep contributes to obesity, poor concentration, and weak immunity, contributing to onset of many chronic illnesses.
(5) dark grape juice - A glass daily substantially improves mental function.
(6) 2g fish oil - despite controversy, many nutritional studies show a variety of health benefits of EPA and DHA, which we are unable to synthesize sufficiently, and make up 70% of the brain.
(7) resveratrol - this helps maintain weight and brain health
(8) Juvenon, four days a week - Distinguished scientist/friend Bruce Ames discovered this natural combination that makes old mice become physically active and mentally smart like young mice. However another friend/scientist who analyzed clinical trials of Juvenon suggested there was no evidence for human benefit.
(9) AREDs - this is the Johns Hopkins formula to maintain eye health and prevent macular degeneration, including vitamin C, E, and other beneficial ingredients.
(10) Spirulina - this is a blue green algae. One talk I attended suggested it had great benefits.
(13) vitamin D - I take 2,000IU daily, sometimes 5,000IU. The official requirement is 600, but the man who established that value now states we need at least 2,000, and experts are taking 5,000IU daily. This is necessary for strong bones, and for the innate immune system, that prevents many diseases like the start of colds.
(14) aspirin 3 days a week - while most take a daily baby aspirin, a report I read long ago suggested that a full dose of aspirin has more power to prevent heart attacks, but is only needed 3 times a week
(11) SAMe 200mg - Distinguished scientist Lester Packer led a symposium years ago that concluded this is the most effective anti-depressant there is - kids make tons naturally, but we make steadily less as we age. Plus it provides single carbon tags so that epigenetic labeling of DNA functions properly.
(12)vitamin B3 - Niacin is needed for NADH, for energy. Science magazine had an article stating that most older adults are deficient and the RDA is not enough, leaving us feeling tired.
(15) vitamin B12 - needed for brain health, and since it is fat soluble, it can be taken once a week.
(16) 6 cups of coffee - coffee is good for mental health, reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease
(17) oatmeal - a whole grain breakfast, lowers cholesterol
(18) 15 blueberries - blueberries are the most documented source for brain health, and contain many polyphenols which are antioxidants. It has lots of quercetin, which prevents degradation of EGCG, the molecule in green tea that substantially improves health. I think it is better to have a half cup or more.
(19) one cup of green tea - there is a linear relationship between cups of green tea daily and overall health. But having one cup after getting the quercetin in blueberries gives me the equivalent of drinking 6 cups.
(20) honey - this may reduce allergies, especially local honey to local hay fever and pollens.
(21)I brush my teeth for 2 minutes - 2 minutes twice a day is considered optimum to maintain teeth and gums. I also floss, though there is controversy over its benefits. The bacteria that grow on the gums migrate to the heart and cause heart disease.
(22) balancing on each foot 1 minute each - Balancing declines with age, and consequences of falls are the major cause of death in older people.
(23) yoga for 75 minutes - yoga is great to maintain flexibility and balance, and the meditation component is good for brain health
(24) meditate for 2 thirty minutes sittings, and one 15 minute walking - meditation is the only proven way to increase the size of your brain. Just an hour a day for 2 weeks in college students provided measurable increase in size by MRI.
(25) 1 to 8 hours of exercise - While nutrition is useful, the only documented way in numerous studies to maintain health and weight as we age is through exercise. Take the stairs, walk faster, balance on one foot while brushing your teeth.
(26) Aleve when I am done - sore muscles are caused by inflammation, and inflammation is one of the major causes of aging.
(27) karate class , singing lessons - learning new things is very important to healthy aging and brain.
(28) sing for 90 minutes at a local retirement center - volunteer work has been shown to significantly improve healthspan, and social interaction reduces risk of Alzheimer’s.
(29) two jobs - retirement to a life without purpose is a major cause of death. If you lack a purpose beyond yourself, that is unhealthy.
(30) turmeric - a spice which prevents cancer. It also gives me a bunch more water.
(31) broccoli - a cruciferous vegetable, which kills cancer cells
(32) cayenne - a spice, which like turmeric, kills cancer cells
(33) a couple of tablespoons of olive oil - olive oil is basic to the Mediterranean diet. It signals the body to lose weight.
(34) a 30 minute nap- Naps of 15-30 minutes are restful and give a proper sleep cycle. Longer ones disrupt the normal sleep cycle, and shorter ones provide no rest.
(35) 1 or 2 beers or glasses of wine - drinking one serving of alcohol daily for a woman, two for a man, improves healthspan
(36) vegetarian or fish - a vegetarian diet is good for your health. The whole plant diet can even reverse diabetes. Fish is also good for health, esp. cold water fish that contain EPA and DHA.
(37) two-legged meats -Turkey and chicken do not have the harmful saturated fat level of four legged animals.
(38) four-legged meats BAD- The saturated fat level is harmful, and promotes weight gain. Worse still is processed meats like sausages, with nitrates.
(39) 4 to 6 squares of dark chocolate - dark chocolate was declared the new vegetable years ago, and is very beneficial to health, including weight loss.
(40) a few handfuls of red grapes - grapes have a low pH, whereas most modern foods are very basic. And like the red grape juice in the morning, they have other benefits, including hydration.
(41) a few handfuls of mixed nuts - nuts are very healthful. Like green tea, health increases linearly the more days each week you eat a handful of nuts, including peanuts.
(42) vitamin C - having vitamin C twice a day, 500mg each, saturates the blood, providing the best protection from free radicals. This lessens the risk of damage from strokes, and reduces the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
(43) 3mg of melatonin - In a talk at AGE years ago, a study was done of gene expression in older and younger men. When the older men took melatonin 3 times weekly, their gene expression pattern reverted substantially to that of a younger man (like 80 of 110 genes).
(44) “I got some troubles, but they won’t last…” - One characteristic of healthy mature people is optimism. Having a positive outlook is valuable to good health.