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POST SEASON training, HEALTH, fitness and RECOVERY for your best 2022 triathlon season

Let’s look into the demands of the post season phases for age group multisport athletes. If you want more successes in 2022 then we need to prioritise activities, training, balance and health in these post season phases. I always describe the post season as a time to work on weaknesses and for mental and physical recovery. Continuing to do more of the same from your competition phases wont optimally help you for the big 2022 season.

No matter your goals for 2022, post season begins immediately after competition season and starts with a BREAK, physical, familial, mental recovery are most important for that all important BALANCE. How long of a break is personal in my view and could be a week or a month of LIMITED healthy exercise with no structure, healthy and relaxed eating and adjusting the balance to one of a more relaxed approach to gain that all important recovery and feeling of wellbeing plus the desire to restart structured training.

Without balance we get burnout and dread of the coming season and without a break, we get into that competition season rut and triathletes can often end up doing the same training year round. My opinion is not to sign up for that fall marathon but to unwind, refocus and determine 2022 goals during this first post season phase where the FOCUS is on WEAKNESSES, and maybe do that spring marathon instead. As I said this can be a week or a few weeks. To some extent the length of the break has to do with personal circumstances, family and social life. But the aim is to recover, determine weaknesses and decide on 2022 goals.

Post season phase two then starts as we begin to get back into training, having determined our goals, had enough of a break, feel ready to train again and understand that this phase is all about working on what went wrong in 2021, 2020, 2019…. so that you come out faster for 2022.

WEAKNESSES – what do I mean by this? Maybe skills, speed, stamina, strength, mobility, health, nutrition, hydration, transitions. Of course for us multisport athletes, we have differing needs for the many aspects of each event; swim efficiency, bike power, run economy are examples and these need to be broken down into the components to be worked on to elicit change, such as specific strength, body position, equipment changes, transitions. Once we determine these together we can plan what to do to address these weaker aspects of your racing from previous seasons. The what needs to be done is then translated into a plan of action and a specific personal program developed. In my view based on pre-competition and competition phases between May and October we have from November to January/February to work on weaknesses and March/April pre-season to work on strengths, then we work on RACE SPECIFIC aspects for our 2022 season. So specifics for sprints, olympics long course and IRONMAN events, plus specifics for each course for A races.

Examples of post season training can be BASIC strength, CORE strength, swim lessons to improve your body position and speed in the water, big gear bike sessions for improved power, or higher cadence sessions, interval or fartlek runs, hill runs or longer runs all depending on the weaknesses identified earlier. Of course some of our weaknesses might be mental limitations for example GRIT – DETERMINATION – SKILLS. These can be worked on using hard training sessions in the pool, indoors on the bike, and winter races like cross country, 5k-10k road racing and of course if you live with snow, then cross country skiing or ERG rowing can be fantastic to build grit. Learning to suffer and push through in racing is an essential skill if you want to win, but can also be vital for those aiming to complete their IRONMAN or their first open water triathlon.

More later as we can delve into specifics, but as those are vey personal to each athlete, it is for each of us to determine our weaknesses and with determination, work on them.

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FUNCTIONAL FEEDING

When choosing a car, whether replacement, first car, new car, used car or a vehicle of a different style, what is it that we use for aid decision making? When buying a new swim wetsuit, a new bike, new running shoes for that all important 2021 triathlon season or the first Park Run of the year or maybe your London Marathon debut, how do we choose and why?

Does the same apply to food, supplements and drink?

Question is do we make choices based on functionality required? Or is it more of a desire for a specific item, based on emotion rather than logic or real needs? After all any car will get you there, wont it? Well as a starter for functionality what if the car is mechanically deficient, maybe it wont get you there after all, the functionality just wasn’t there after all! So we already have some criteria developing, the item must be functional and fit for purpose. After all a 20 year old saloon car probably wont win you that coveted hill climb in the Alps but might get you home and to work daily. Same applies for triathlon as an example, will that old mountain bike get you to the finish, sure as long as the maintenance is good and you can ride and you get nutrition and hydration, but will you win? If that is the desire, functional need or goal then maybe a racing bike is a better option for winning.

Does the same apply to feeding?

Let’s try to apply some criteria to feeding and see what comes of it. After all we humans are a biomechanical system with a cognitive ability, does this system need specific feeding or will anything do? Using the car analogy and the hill climb race, we as humans can continue to live/exist on almost nothing eaten or drunk, so there is a level of minimum that we need to even barely function but what of optimal functioning and who doesn’t want optimal function for optimal performance? I know that I prefer that to sub-optimal functioning, question is am I prepared to do what it takes for the mythical optimal?

Sub optimal or optimal functionality for the human, reality or myth?

Are there criteria for optimal functionality? I think so, but the challenge for humans is our very long lives and very short attention span, oh and the number of cells in our bodies and possibly the number of other biologics that live within and on us, bacteria of course play a big role in our optimal health, but that’s for another story. Two of these three factors play a big part in our decisions which are often not optimal for us but after all we are free to make our own decisions even if these result in sub-optimal health outcomes, strange that eh? But most people have a short term mindset, single day decisions to drink too much or eat too much on any given day in our mind has no impact on our overall lifespan or healthspan and is not really even considered, but should we? This doesn’t even take into account our external environment as highlighted in the previous post concerning air quality, water quality and stresses.

Criteria for human optimal functionality. Regarding feeding the human mind and body, are there optimal ways to do so? Clearly this is a huge industry and clearly there is little agreement AT ALL! This weekend is the Low Carb Conference in South Africa and they are talking about optimal nutrition and then the vegan movements are saying it’s all plants and nothing more for optimal feeding. So who is right? I think these two extremes LCHF and vegan are not so far apart in wanting optimal feeding but will never agree, well maybe one day with luck. So how about looking at essentials for optimal nutrition and see where that leads us; what do we absolutely need to LIVE and what do we absolutely need to THRIVE? I think the arguments between the two sides are not about functional feeding but about sources for optimal functional feeding (OFF). One side says low carbohydrates and healthy fats and the other says low fat with mostly carbohydrates. But everyone agrees that we need Amino acids, essential fats, essential vitamins and minerals plus water and some sat fibre to SURVIVE, so what we have to figure out is what are the criteria needed to THRIVE that demand these essentials? And can we do this based on a simple functional analysis of perhaps movement pattern recording (FitBit style for example) or do we need to measure more details such as pulse rate, blood pressure, height, weight, body fat mass, bone density? These easy to take measures can quite simply lead to a part of a functional analysis of individual needs. Add to these age, gender, ethnicity (genes) and we can see that a functional approach will enable individuals to determine their own functional needs and therefore self prescribe everything from the amount of water drunk to the right feeding patterns to THRIVE. This functional feeding is just a step to a functional lifestyle that can lead to a much healthier nation without lots of work or cost to the individual but will require the monitoring of parameters as mentioned.

Volume, quality, calories are the essentials of any healthy human feeding.

We have been provided with many formulae for how much we need in calorie terms and many studies show what the minimum RDA is for minerals and vitamins, but minimum wont cut it when we are looking for OPTIMAL feeding, will it? As each human is unique so must be our optimal functional feeding guidelines and the criteria for optimal will depend on living location, activity level, performance desires, travel, stresses from life, gender, size and most likely age.

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How’s your environment?

Do you really know where you live, work, travel or sleep? By where what I mean is the environment(s) in which you breathe, drink, eat, lie, sit, work, play, exercise. How optimal are these environments and do you know what is causing sub-optimality, which is to say at best that you cannot thrive and at worse you are being slowly poisoned. Sounds dramatic, but it is in fact very real.

Your internal environment is also important, in fact very important to prevent lifestyle diseases taking over life and making it a misery and in place of a healthy old age, you get an old age riddled with diseases like heart disease, vascular diseases, diabetes, dementia, pneumonia, gout, arthritis, obesity, visual problems, hearing problems, gut issues, high blood pressure and the like. So protecting and nourishing the internal environment means that not only optimising how you live, but where you live is so important for long term health. If you doubt this look around, how many people are close to you or live near you who are unhealthy?

Obesity rates and diseases from being overweight are clearly a major problem for society as well as for individuals so a proactive approach to aid their cure is vital. Government guidelines on eating healthily focus on carbohydrates and even recommend almost a kilogram of fruits/vegetables every day to get the “required” amount of nutrients based on absorption at 50% of intake which is a highly optimistic estimate. So this internal environment succored by the external environment from the places we live, work, play, exercise, sleep and relax has been corrupted over many years and demands a makeover, pronto!

But how do we change our environment? Basic human needs include air, water, companionship, a sense of purpose, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, fibre, minerals and vitamins and possibly phytonutrients from plants. Addressing these environmental factors together will enhance our personal environments.

AIR – Breathing clean air for example seems obvious but why then do so many breathe bad air indoors and outdoors? Locations of home, work, exercising all have their own air and we need to ensure clean air to breathe well. Purifiers can clean air and deliver a good atmosphere, changing filters in air conditioning systems and exercising away from traffic, polluted air can help.

WATER – How clean is your city delivered water? It passes the tests I’m sure but what do they test for? Take a look at your city water report and decide for yourself if your water could contain pollutants such as medical waste, run off, any of the 50000 chemicals considered dangerous but not tested for or cleaned out. If the answer is YUCK then purify your water and I recommend the Berkey system as it is portable, guaranteed and tastes great.

FOOD – Nutrients from food are essential for healthy living and to prevent early death, yes they are that important. Not only early death but worse still is early decline and years spent in an unhealthy old age with few options. We cant go into food here but have covered this many times in earlier posts, but do think hard about your food and drink intakes and ask yourself is this good or bad and then make up your mind is it worth it or not. Look around at most people in their 60’s looking old, stooping, sagging faces, big bellies. These are a consequence of where you live! It doesn’t have to be that way.

Stay healthy my friends and stay involved with society in any way you can that has a positive vibe to it. Play sports, board games, cards, book clubs, knitting groups, sewing groups, quilting groups, the list is endless just get out and do something for companionship and that sense of purpose is vital to a mentally healthy life.

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BEMER for Circulation

Now located in Pembrokeshire in the beautiful west of Wales, we are already sharing our BEMER experience with local people, helping with the aches and discomforts of modern life, such as sitting too long, poor home office ergonomics and not getting out or moving enough. BEMER therapy is proven over more than 20 years to resolve many of these lifestyle issues which can be caused by poor circulation.

Take a look at some of the earlier BLOGs about BEMER use and results and then contact us when you are ready to try. Until end Feb BEMER systems can be rented direct from the makers in Lichtenstein for £440 and that is for 8 full weeks with no added costs for delivery or taxes. What’s not to like about that, 8 weeks of BEMER treatment in your home and if you like what you experience in your health then pay the remainder and keep it, if not just ship it back at no cost.

Now BEMER has been around for a long time, over 20 years, providing therapy in thousands of hospitals and clinics across Europe and now the USA and Canada, how about India, South Africa and more. Yes over a million sold and production is running as fast as they can in the small principality of Lichtenstein. There are so many positive personal stories, including mine and my wife’s and in laws also about how BEMER has helped that I will be very happy to share with anyone.
Here are some good links to check which explain BEMER and also some which give independent study results from around the world.

It is never too late, after all my father in law started at 80 and has benefitted with a slowing down of his symptoms from a variety of health issues including heart problems, circulation issues and discomfort.

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The Health Hypothesis

Hypothesis: Optimal wellbeing can only be achieved when both internal and external factors for health are considered and optimized for an individual or a group. Psychological factors and physical factors need to be considered and thoroughly investigated. Environments in which people live, work, recreate and relax are probably a causative factor, in a sense understanding the petri dish of life could enable us to optimize conditions for human health and possibly the health of our planet and all life forms.
As we start to investigate the environments we should discover the factors leading to ill health or excellent health.
So I plan to begin with environments both internal and external, physical and psychological and from these deduce factors relevant to wellbeing and so carry the investigations deeper into each factor and how they relate to people primarily.
The fate of the planet is for others to determine but the health of animals, plants, indeed the very food sources humans rely on are most likely intricately linked to our own health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2080455/

WHO defining health, Croatian Medical Journal Croat Med J. 2006 Aug; 47(4): 662–664

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Plant Based and High Fat

So is this even possible? Having just watched the film/documentary “Forks over Knives” . I will explore this option as I also take account of the LCHF dietary option that also makes such good sense and with remarkable results on diabetes and other health issues and diseases.

No added oils is a common theme, so that means even the much touted olive oil and the current trendy oil, coconut or MCT. Perhaps it is a matter of reducing or removing animal based based, or maybe just fats from meats. The question is can the body get enough fats from plants alone.

But does a plant based diet create changes to blood sugar levels which can then lead to diabetic complications. A plant based diet is a high carbohydrate diet but also a high fiber diet and this fact might negate the high carbohydrate effects. The key might of course be that a plant based diet can manifest in many different eating choices. Processed plant based food is way different to a whole foods diet, meaning farm or home garden produce not factory produced highly processed chemical laden plant based foods.

How about calorific and micro-nutrient content of a whole food plant based diet? Do you get all essential nutrients and micro-nutrients within the scope and volume of this way of eating and fuelling?

The best evidence regarding the best diets all points to wholesome foods, predominantly plants, in sensible combinations—but provides no decisive evidence that any one level of total fat is best. What matters are the sources of that fat, with nuts, seeds, olives, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, fish, and seafood favored.

Over the past few months as we move into summer, I have been considering the idea of a plant based focus but using nuts, seeds, olive oil, grass fed butter, nut butters, flowers, adaptogens, mushrooms, high quality meat and a high quality water as a basis for dietary intake. The purpose being, to quote Michael Pollan, eat whole foods, mostly plants, not too much. How do we define plants, it doesn’t have to be piles of veg! Flowers, berries, nuts and seeds plus adaptogens. And he says mostly plants so some high quality fish, meat and even a spot of green algae!

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NUTRITION DILEMMA – SO WHAT DO WE DO?

“One person’s meat is another’s poison”, Titus Lucretius Carus coined this expression in the first century BC, “quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” (what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others). This is surely ancient wisdom that seems to fit the current dilemma, which could be called the “Dietary 80-80 Dilemma”. 

Do we need to make a choice between one “healthy” diet and another? Is that what you are trying to decide right now? Often food choices are made based on availability, cost, time availability and timing and we will look at these co-factors later. It may not be simply the choice of one or the other lifestyle defined by extremes ie 80% carbs or 80% fats, (#LCHF or #LFHC) health through nutrition, what if the beginnings of health through optimal nutrition was discovering your own personal needs, a so called personalised diet. 

For some people the moral aspect of food and drink choices might be paramount, and that can truly lead the person to limiting their choices and options, an example is veganism, a totally plant diet. Cruelty to animals or even just eating another living being might be the personal stimulus for specific dietary choices or maybe  specific religions mandate eating behaviours again which can mean adjustments from the optimal to a limited food basket! 

So let’s remind ourselves about the basic differences and then the commonalities with each of the expert recommended healthy eating patterns and lifestyles. LCHF implies a very high fat, low carbohydrate, low protein nutritional pattern, typically 80%/10%/10%. Sources of foods include saturated and unsaturated fats, whole meats and fish, full fat dairy, nuts, eggs, green vegetables, berries, and some fruits plus water, teas, coffee and some alcohol. Low processed whole food approach based on avoiding grains and focused on high quality fats. On the other side of the church is the LFHC approach also usually termed a “Plant Based” diet, where plant based means vegan or possibly vegetarian, the avoidance of any non vegetable nutrient sources; meats, fish, eggs, cheeses, milk or even algae. So what does this mean,  very low fats naturally from plant sources such as nuts, avocados, seeds, low plant sourced protein and the great majority of daily caloric intake and nutrients from carbohydrates including vegetables of all kinds, berries and fruits. Again we see a trend here towards least processed, sometimes raw vegetables, fruits, fats, nuts and water, but including wine, beer and other alcohol. So there we have it, two choices or are there? 

IN THE AISLES AND BETWEEN THE AISLES – our discussion has been mostly about the two sides of the nutrition church that seem at first completely opposed but on investigation we have found several points of agreement, our so called Common Grounds. Least processed, 10% protein, being the most important common ground even though sources will vary clearly between a plant based and animal focused diet. 

CO-FACTORS – Often food choices are made based on availability, cost, time availability and timing so let’s take a look at these co-factors for nutritional benefit and your own diet. How much of your weekly budget can be spent on foods? Higher quality usually means higher cost and lower volume. How often can you shop for fresh essential whole foods rather than canned or processed-packaged foods which last much longer? Which whole foods are available at what time of year? Is there an optimal time to eat an optimal diet or can dietary wholesomeness be occasional for the same health benefits? No matter the biggest factor here is probably cost for most people.

PROTEIN: I just read an article by Rich Roll and I’m happy to see he agrees with the 10% protein dietary advice and as he says all amino acids can be had from plant based foods and in any case we only need about 0.5 grams/kg so for a 150lb/70kg human we need 35 grams of protein (including all essential amino acids). One Chicken breast contains about 50 grams protein, so that’s our daily protein taken care of for the non veg based. For plant based humans an avocado, spinach, broccoli, beans and nuts easily provides the protein needed. So the question comes down to the fat vs carbs argument and it seems we have two very strong logical arguments.

If you choose one, lets say the LCHF and a plant based diet is it possible to get enough fats and remain happy, satisfied and satiated with the daily food volume? After all 1500-1800 KCal is not much food volume and is a sensible intake for the majority of sedentary people. If you choose the LFHC plant based diet , does it give you the nutrients needed? Plant based I think tends to be lighter on the body, easier to digest and with more fiber and I think when you focus on the micro-nutrients needed by the body you get a smarter diet. After all no-one ever says I am carb or fat deficient but we all say I’m magnesium or vitamin D, C, E or folate or iron etc deficient. So my point is always, which foods , drinks,  supplements and lifestyle choices provide the most micro-nutrients which after all are the essentials needed for optimal health. Considering that carbohydrate is absolutely not necessary for humans or is it? Ask experts on the LCHF side of the aisle!
A 2002 report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states, “The currently established human essential nutrients are water, energy, amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine), essential fatty acids (linoleic and α-linolenic acids), vitamins (ascorbic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B-12), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron), trace minerals (zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, and chromium), electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride), and ultratrace minerals. Note the absence of specific carbohydrates from this list. “ One aspect of carbohydrate need is fiber for a healthy gut which in turn leads to better overall health, so perhaps the only justification for carbohydrate is to supply the gut with fiber which does not contribute to calorie intake and can be had from such vegetables as broccoli which are also a high protein and also unsaturated fat source.

So what do we do? It seems to me that a whole foods dietary blend with a desire to ensure maximum intake of healthy micro-nutrients where satisfaction comes from fats from a variety of sources, your fiber comes from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, peas and beans, your micro-nutrients from a variety of nuts, fruits, berries, supplements and your protein from a variety of sources plant or animal depending on beliefs and personal stance. Supplements to such a healthful diet include caffeine from teas and coffees, wine, beer, a high quality micro-nutrient source like Green Vibrance. To complement this you absolutely need water, high quality water not contaminated with chemicals (un-purified tap water in most houses), sunlight and access to the earth’s magnetic field. Exercise and movement add to a growing sense and feeling of well-being, so be sure to move and exercise daily. Sleep, now dont get me started, just get enough for you!

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THE NUTRITION DILEMMA OF 2019 – COMMON GROUND

If you read the previous paper on the dilemma for us normal people then you will appreciate that there are not only differences but also there is some common ground accepted by most if not all. Even within the common ground there are specific differences for example in the type of vegetables or the specific fruits, nuts, fats and proteins and we will investigate these today. I feel also that calorie intake should be a subject of great interest, to all of us! Essentially we eat too much and often do not count liquid calories such as beer, wine, spirits and soda. Although I do not drink soda as it contains nothing of value except possibly caffeine! 

COMMON GROUND

There is I think some common ground. 

“However, a large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflects this evidence through its recommendations.” https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/

CG1. Eat less processed foods and consume less processed drinks – but what does processed mean and we will address this specific topic later.

CG2. Avoid trans-fatsno disagreement there.

CG3. Less added sugarin the lifetime of an “average” western person, an industrial waste skip of added sugar will be consumed! 

CG4. Less alcoholalthough levels seem to differ depending on where you look.

CG5. Nutrient dense foods and drinksalthough the specific macro-nutrients cant be agreed, there is some common ground on micro-nutrients. 

CG7. Protein intakes seem to be similarsources clearly differ but the amount of protein seems consistent around 10% of caloric intake.

What do we need to understand about processed food and drinks? 

Almost everything we consume is processed even raw foods, some food such as some fruits, some vegetables and some sushi could be considered less processed! Of course you might consider water unprocessed but in reality for most of us, water is highly processed but essential for us. How much we need is again subject to experts opinion, best advice I have seen is to drink water when you feel thirsty! Amounts vary but that is not the question here, what is the question is defining “processed”. Clean tap water is highly processed for our benefit and it is cheap for us even though we drink a lot of flouride with it, well I dont as we filter it out. But you see the point, processed doesnt have to be canned and down the center aisles of grocery stores. Almost everything is processed to some extent for good or bad effects on our health. So choosing less processed foods is not an easy option. If you want to get clarity then using the caveat – “whole food & least processed” #WFLP might be a good shopping mantra. An apple picked from a tree, stored then eaten at home is very lightly processed, an apple that has travelled 5000 miles, been coated in a waxy substance is processed but perhaps necessarily so, still we then have to further process by washing or peeling. Apple sauce in a plastic jar I suggest is highly processed when you consider the ingredients (Apples, HFCS and some acid to keep it from going bad in the plastic package made from BPA  plastic). So perhaps the ideal is to make a “process measurement” and have this indicated on the label, so consumers can decide just how processed is this item I am about to eat or drink. I think this would certainly persuade people simply to pick healthier options.  How about PM 1-10 where 1 is the apple from a local farmers market and 10 the apple sauce? 

All drinks are processed, from freshly squeezed oranges to an aluminium can of soda or beer or coffee or tea, so how we do we decide what to drink? As we said earlier, even our water is highly processed unless you get pure mountain stream water from a non-polluted source and drink it there or bottle to take home perhaps. So which drinks should we opt for and I think there are good arguments that clean healthy or what we call “good water” is the most essential and should form the basis of our response to thirst. Including salts for the “body electric”  is most certainly essential for healthy body, heart, brain, muscle and nerve functions. But where do we get salts? More of that later, for now just make sure to get enough salts/electrolytes. 

Alcohol and health. We all have seen the effects of alcohol either first hand or by personal experience and as societies I suggest that the world is probably split down the middle on consumption of alcohol from fermented, distilled and brewed drinks. Are there any health benefits, well some claim there are to drinking red wines, dark beers for the bioflavanoids and other plant based micro-nutrients and bacterials found in these drinks. Ethyl alcohol doesn’t really do us physically any good so the one thing that is sure is we do over indulge and certainly in the western societies, the pub, bar, restaurant could be considered the centre of our social lives and that would be a BLOG all of it’s own later. 

Nutrient density and food groups

Possibly we can agree that nutrient dense foods are more beneficial than so called “empty calories” but what might be nutrient dense and allowed within #LCHF might not be allowed on #WFPB but on our #WFLP we can take the best from both dietary prescriptions. But what nutrients need to be dense to make food superior and that are common? Seeds are acceptable to both camps, green leafy vegetables are a common ground as are berries and that actually might be it. Dr Campbell suggested that meat(s) contain no vitamins, antioxidants or other useful micro-nutrients and if he is right then meats confer no nutrient dense benefits, especially considering a 10% protein intake which seems to be common to all good diets. So how about FATS, can fats be nutrient dense? Can we possibly come to agreement here, ha-ha unlikely as the animal vs plant based diets would seem to be diametrically opposed or are they? I think everyone agrees there should be some unsaturated fats but 10% – 80% is a big gap, in fact for the 1800 KCal folks that is either 20 grams or 160 grams, which is what in reality? It is 1 1/2 tbsp or 11 tbsp if you just use butter, but our fats are supposed to be primarily unsaturated types if you buy the cholesterol hypothesis which is increasingly coming under fire. But fats like #PUFA & #MUFA – avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flax, soybeans. Coconut oil and #MCT oils are much loved of late, with ideas like adding them to coffee; hmmm! Tried that yet? I suggest that you do as it is deliciously fatty and satisfying but after a couple of morning mugs of #Illy espresso with added butter and MCT I am not so sure and think i will stick with my dark roast clean and unadulterated. So fats can be considered nutrient dense with different types of fat being essential to health and that is agreed even if the sources are not. 

Nutrients are often “washed out” of otherwise healthy foods, rendering them less densely nutritious! So one major aspect of nutrient density is SOURCE and handling and time spent packaged in transit. The affect of micro-nutrients, growth of mould, bacteria and other challengers to good health cannot be calculated so the advice is usually to eat local, grow your own, rear your own and this minimal processed, packaged, transported food does seem to be a common theme between all diets.  

PROTEIN COMMONALITY – hmmm  UNLIKELY

Protein intake a common ground with it seems agreement of about 10% of calories from protein. So for an 1800 KCal intake daily, this would be 180 KCal or about 45 grams of pure protein. Lets check some examples of this from each side of the church:     All these foods contain about 20-25 grams of protein – 100grams  turkey breast  or salmon or pinto beans or almonds or cheese.   Surprisingly even a common food source such as vegetables can help here as even broccoli has protein about a 1/10th of that from the other sources but in any daily intake you might want to take it into account to avoid over eating or drinking protein. 

We have missed one vital type of intake and I hope that you picked up on this essential and common food type for health and vitality, yep it’s fibre from plants and  is considered essential to good health. But there is some controversy over how much and the source, but we all seem to agree that some is good! So let’s leave it there as our final common ground. 

Oh yes that brings me to more common grounds 😉 , yep coffee seems to be commonly accepted but one side of the church will take it without added dairy and the other with added butter but both sides and the aisle agrees, no added sugars or god forbid added sweeteners! #coffee #caffeine #flavanoids 

Ok here are some references: and as we head for our third and final BLOG on this topic where maybe we can piece together a way of eating that can provide the nutrients through lower processed, nutritionally dense, less packaged highly nutritious foods and drinks, you might see the term #VOGON or #Vogon and that we will explore later and let us hope so as it needs explaining.  Bis nächste zeit, schöne abend.

A. https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01743-8/fulltext

B. Your gut thanks you – http://humanfoodproject.com/americangut/

C. Dr Barnard – https://nutritionstudies.org/

D. Esselstyn https://www.mdedge.com/jfponline/article/83345/cardiology/way-reverse-cad

Post script: I saw an article today that talked about why the #LCHF diet was wrong and the basis of their argument was that eating deli meat, barbequed meats, sausages and other highly processed foods as you “need to on this diet”  people would probably get sick. I think that this is not the intent of the #LCHF recommended diet. Refer to the CG statements above. 

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THE NUTRITION DILEMMA of 2019

The dietary advice facts are ambiguous, clear as mud in fact and increasingly unhelpful! 

Simply put this is the dilemma and I don’t have an answer yet and I am not a dietitian or a doctor in case anyone was wondering. Many of the highest regarded scientists in the field of nutrition and health cannot agree with the basic principles of a healthy dietary intake. On one side of the church are the experts who advise a diet comprising 70/75% fats, 10% carbohydrates, 10-15% protein. On the other side of the church are the experts who advise a diet comprising 10% fats, 10% protein and 80% carbohydrates. In other words almost the complete opposite. So down the centre aisle are the areas which are essentially agreed, namely: less alcohol, less sugary drinks, less artificial sweeteners, less added sugar and less processed products. The high priests are the government groups such as the DGAC in USA who are there to advise on government policy and who therefore have large influence on the advice developed for populations. To a great extent the cause of our current nutritional mess led by heart attacks, strokes, obesity, cognitive dysfunction and T2DM.

But what are we mere citizens to do about our health and our waistlines as we speed towards potential oblivion and certain death. Nobody has suggested a nutritional fix for that inevitability yet! But many have tried and will continue to do so. So what are we to believe, which scientist is the best, delivering clear, proven unbiased advice to which all other scientists agree?  NONE so far. 

Although many are claiming to be that one and will tell you that their diet is clearly optimal for weight loss, good health, longevity and avoidance or recovery from disease. But can we be sure? No of course not as there are two scientifically proven diet types that categorically state their dietary advice is the optimal for healthy living. So how can they both be correct when the two are polar opposites? I talk of course about these two ways of eating: 

  • Low fat – high carb #WFPB   (Whole Food Plant Based)
  • High fat – low carb #LCHF (Low Carb High Fat)

Between these two dietary paradigms there exist of course a myriad of in-between ideas and theories, many with years of experience and success rates through the roof. We can consider Atkins, South Beach, Whole 30, Paleo, Modified Atkins and so many more. 

But does optimal depend on your personal activity level or will the same diet work for all except of course possibly in some genetic disorders or severe illnesses like epilepsy and autism which many although by far not all agree have specific dietary requirements for minimising effects of the illness or disease while promoting improved health. The scourge, even called “Black Plague” of our times in the “west” is diabetes (T2DM), altering the health and well-being of millions every year and most likely completely preventable and other forms of diabetes so called Type 3 (Alzheimers) and gestational diabetes (GDM). Being overweight has certain links proven and agreed by all to heart disease and to diabetes T2DM.

SO WHAT ARE WE TO BELIEVE?

If a high fat diet solves so many problems such as obesity and the almost inevitable diabetes, then why not adopt such a diet? Because the plant based dietary group, who also believe they are right, will tell you that it is all wrong and we need to eat no added fat, very little protein (10%) and the remaining calorie needs from whole foods; grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Their argument is compelling and seemingly logical as well as backed up by many studies that prove their point, for them! On the other hand the high fat (good fats),low protein and low carbohydrate theorists will tell you that their results are better and clearly show the health benefits to huge numbers of cured diabetics and massive numbers of people losing vast numbers of kilograms of fat. 

So at this point we are no closer to determining the “truth” if there is one of course! 

AN AREA OF AGREEMENT

As I said at the start there is a centre aisle of agreement, mostly. Many on both sides will argue for vegetables(most but not all types), fruits(possibly only berries), a low protein intake as a healthy whole food part of any diet. But are we designed and do we have the organs to absorb nutrients from fibrous veg and fruits, well yes it seems we are, so no disagreement there, or is there? On the LCHF side starchy vegetables are not supported whereas all vegetables in unlimited amounts – yes really – are considered beneficial to the WFPB group. Low protein intake is an area seemingly of agreement, but the sources are clearly at odds, one being any protein and one being only non-animal protein. A big difference in fact and not just from a moral perspective but from a content perspective or is there in fact any real nutritional difference? 

Vegetables contain fats, proteins and carbohydrates including fiber, plus an array of potentially beneficial phytochemicals whereas meats, fish do not contain these chemicals or carbohydrates. 

We will continue this blog next week when we discuss and present evidence from studies for and against each of the 2 hyper diets #LCHF #WFPB. For the weekend reading, check the links and also if your daily calorie intake is around 1800 KCal then calculate the amount of food and caloric drinks you should be consuming and compare to what you are taking in. For example a box containing 1lb (453gm) of caloric intake (drinks/solids) is about 1800 KCal depending on percentage of fat. 1lb is not much!! Maybe it is purely intake volume, food quality, water quality and empty calories that are the real problem. See you next week.

Types of Fat

Saturated or not: Does type of fat matter?

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These are also the most important parameters in Intensive Care Units, as their improvement promotes healing. These physiological changes improve cellular health. Organs can function optimally and the body is enabled to heal itself by the strengthening the immune system. It can then better recognize & destroy, or dismantle abnormal cells that are not functioning properly.

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More on Independence for Wales

Following on from a previous post, I wonder how much industry or revenue generating business is needed to be a viable independent country? How much investment from outside or how much borrowing? We will get onto this later and in other notes. But reading the information published by Yes Cymru and Plaid Cymru it seems there are of course a variety of versions of independence. Labour, the socialist or left wing party have ruled Wales for 20 years and have a distinct view of “home rule” and use this term vice independence, very wisely or I think Labour would lose voters and after having lost a large number of seats to the conservatives the right wingers at the last election, there is a risk that by being too pro independence they could alienate even more voters who only see negatives from absolute culturally or emotionally driven independence. Mr Drakeford said, “We need a more powerful devolution settlement, one in which we secure home rule for Wales in a successful United Kingdom – internationalist, not nationalist; outward facing, not inward looking.” So clearly the Drakeford-Labour view is of a Wales within the United kingdom not without it as perhaps espoused by YesCyrmu. This Drakeford view is aiming for votes from a wider base than just the nationalists who see absolute independence and a return to a completely self governed Wales that has a seat at the UN, membership of the European Union and so a separate country away from the shackles of Great Britain, maybe a socialist republic or possibly a Welsh monarchy again as their aim. Their published manifesto and point papers are not completely clear on the details of what this actually would look like or how to achieve this and their share of votes is VERY small so maybe nothing for the bigger more internationalist parties to concern themselves with after all.

“Yes for Wales, of course – that’s what I have been throughout my whole life – but yes to a Wales that takes ownership of its own destiny alongside working people in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland who share our progressive values”. Mark Drakeford

“We are so lucky, in our country, to have all the natural resources we need to put Wales at the forefront of the global energy revolution which the world will need,” Mr Drakeford said.

“Wind, water and wave – the next Welsh Labour Government will make those assets work to create the jobs of the future and, in doing so, make our contribution to securing the future of our beautiful but fragile planet.” Mr Drakeford said

“Yes to a Wales which has the confidence of knowing that we are at our best when we break down barriers, not build them up, where we create our future alongside others, not despite or against them.” “Yes for Wales” to tell left-wing voters thinking of turning to Plaid or the Greens that he wants to get more powers for Welsh home rule but he balances that by referencing traditional socialist concerns about working class solidarity across the UK.

And finally, Drakeford turns his fire power on the Conservative government in Westminster, presenting Welsh Labour as a bulwark against “inequality and austerity”.

But we come back to the question of is Welsh independence of the model sought by YesCymru and Plaid Cymru a realistic option without funding from effectively English tax revenues after all Wales has 3 million souls and England 45 million. How much tax revenue can be squeezed out of a mostly rural nation to pay the collective costs of nationhood? What does it cost to run a country, there’s defence, policing, health, social welfare, care, local communities and their councils and probably a myriad of other costs. On the surface independence sounds great but absolute nationhood is not cheap. So is a federation better, maybe, but why would the residents of England want to pay for a renegade state with low incomes and little hope of surviving as an independent country. There are few truly functional states of 3 million population, maybe Lithuania is an example? But the first minister suggests a “voluntary association of four nations” but again why would England want to be paying the bills for Wales?

Plaid Cymru wants to hold a referendum on independence if it wins May’s Senedd election. Also speaking on Politics Wales, Plaid leader Adam Price said: “We sincerely believe that independence is ultimately the only sustainable way whereby Wales can achieve its incredible potential as a nation that isn’t being delivered at the moment and whereby we can achieve social and economic justice for everyone that lives in Wales.” Ok boys lets see some clear criteria and specifics on finances for a “new Wales”, a Wales independent and free from the shackles of English rule from Westminster and then maybe people will know what they are voting for, a bit like the lies and obfuscation for the BREXIT vote by Farrage and co that destroyed our integration and union with the EU. On the other hand a federation of independent states each a member of any groups or bodies they see fit to join, that are self financing, self policing, self healing without border controls and with successful independent economies joined only for mutual self defence, might be more appealing but where is the money coming from for the smaller nations?

Lots more to follow as the elections approach and maybe some actual policies emerge.

Wales and Independence

A thought paper, part 1 – As we crawl our way towards independence for all, the independence to meet family, to not stay indoors, to not wear a mask, to visit the pub lets consider that in a few months there will be elections in Wales. One of the questions becoming slightly louder in public is for the Welsh to decide if they desire independence from a union in place since the 1500’s, an act by King Henry VIII that gave the Welsh citizens a voice in London and granted the same rights as the English. Now 500 years later we are looking at a regaining of Welsh sovereign powers from the administration in London, but what indeed would that look like? I am sure that we all have a different view of what independence means or looks like, from a sovereign state with border fences a national military, and a Welsh monarchy to another extreme with a common purpose but autonomy in governance and funding. In 2021 Wales stands in a position of semi autonomy with self government, a Senedd in a capital city deciding on policy matters from health care to transportation to education and social welfare, to fisheries and agriculture and environment but importantly still funded primarily by the United Kingdom government and parliament.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A NATION OF 3 MILLION PEOPLE TO FUNCTION WELL?

“We don’t want to win independence just for independence’s sake, but for the sake of the thousands of families whose futures depend on Wales becoming a better, fairer, more equal nation.” The Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru)

To be honest about the subject, until the studies are completed about what independence means in reality, I cannot say if it’s a good or a bad idea for us people living in Wales. These questions remain and are as yet unanswered despite Plaid Cymru, Yes Cymru and others saying they desperately want it, what could independence look like? What are the options, the choices for the people and notwithstanding the greater politics, what would be the benefits to the people of Wales of whatever nationality? I want to study these questions and more to see what type of independence is likely to be positive for all the people of Wales, or not.

  1. Has any country of 3 million inhabitants been successfully independent?
  2. What could independence look like?
  3. What would be the cost of independence?
  4. What would be the funding sources for different versions of independence?
  5. Which form of government would suit a country of 3 million?
  6. As a former monarchy is a monarchy still desired by the people of wales?
  7. What type of a written constitution and defined laws would be necessary?

One of the key issues is that of a cultural demand for a state free of the shackles of a UK government, being Welsh is a mindset, a culture, a feeling, one people in one country not overseen by London politicians or absent landlords. I will attempt to describe this cultural pressure for independence as I study the issues. This will help to answer questions 1 and 2 and possibly 6. But first lets take a look at finances.

Financial – Questions 3 and 4. Here I want to focus on sources of income and budgets. I do think however that dependent on the hue of the incumbent Welsh Senedd, finances would be dealt with differently, being raised and spent in either a socialist style or a capitalist style. As of today we have a Labour majority in the Senedd and two other almost equal parties, we might get a nationalist or a Conservative or possibly a coalition of the Independence minded Senedd when it comes to deciding on independence. The bargains made in politics may mean a coalition of the left who do seem to favour independence more so than the right and this will have a serious impact on finances, budgets and taxes, especially if money is no longer provided from London iaw the Barnett Formula. Today the Welsh budget has 3 sources of income as the 4th source dries up when the United Kingdom leaves all the European Union funding by 2023, even though the UK government agreed to fund Wales to the same extent, that is unlikely to continue for long and would clearly stop if an independent status was reached. Leaving just a single source from the list below plus borrowing and I would add investment, unless of course new sources were to be found by appeal to EU27, Qatar, Canada for example. An interesting point at which to pause, but before doing so the paper below highlights just how much Wales relies on funding from England and the EU, as an independent nation, that funding would have to be found from somewhere or social programs cut dramatically. Before getting ahead of ourselves though, the arrangements for an independent Wales could be very different. More to follow.

WHERE WALES GETS IT’S FUNDING FROM
  • money allocated by the UK Government
  • money raised in Wales by means of taxation and other charges
  • borrowing

The Health Hypothesis – Environments

ENVIRONMENTS : Internal, external, physical and psychological environments are the petri dish of life. We are both within multiple environments and also our internal environment is within us and both are subject to cross contamination and exposure to the others.
Sorting these environments into four basic blocks we have

INTERNAL-PHYSICAL, INTERNAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL and EXTERNAL-PHYSICAL EXTERNAL-PYSCHOLOGICAL.

Some of the factors associated with health will I am sure cross boundaries and we have a neat if complicated venn diagram of what affects us humans in positive, negative or not so positive ways.

With effects we are always going to have unintended consequences some are good/positive for health and some maybe not so positive. As an example, changing your external physical environment for another may lead to unexpected effects, so it is very important to do the systems analysis first before deciding to make changes. Analysis can only cover changes that you can imagine so there can always be unexpected circumstances, like a global virus for example after a decision to relocate to somewhere and now you are confronted with such a big negative and unexpected effect on your personal environment.

UNEXPECTED – PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT CHANGE

To explain health we must consider our environments as this is where we live, socialize, sleep, work, eat, play and function! I am really open to collaboration on describing the environments and so will begin with the EXTERNAL-PHYSICAL environment. Starting with AIR as a factor, that stuff we breathe, and the most essential of our needs and if only it were that simple that air was just hydrogen, oxygen, argon and CO2, as the link shows, AIR can also include organic dust, pollutants, ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulates like metals, even the rubber from tires and there are few inhabited places without cars, motorbikes or trucks these days! So lets consider AIR as our first and possibly most needy part of our external environment, would anyone consider that AIR quality doesnt matter for health? Recent examples from 2020 are fires in Australia causing massive dust and pollutant filled AIR to breathe, or pollution in cities as far apart as India and England. So what type of AIR ENVIROMENT do we want and how do we measure that, ensure we have it, or do we have to discover clean AIR somewhere and move, ie change one factor in our PHYSICAL-ENVIRONMENT? This could get interesting as I said the simple venn diagram begins to get complicated with the factors included. 

Other EXTERNAL-PHYSICAL environment factors which we can consider next would include WATER for drinking, bathing, washing, cleaning. BUILDINGS and MATERIALS which impact your health and BACKGROUND NOISE levels. How about PEOPLE DENSITY in proximity to you? GROUND CLEANLINESS can be a factor for example in slums or camps with a dirty environment. ELCTROMAGNETIC FIELDS and the earth’s magnetic field affect us in some way and are external factors. 

Update 1 : Other factors I just thought of while out for a run yesterday are – LIGHT and DARKNESS alongside SUNLIGHT as the impact of these on the PHYSICAL and PSCHOLOGICAL can be profound. TEMPERATURE which is really an AIR factor. And what about PLANTS and GREENERY/GREEN SPACES. 

Enough already, more to follow as we delve into these topics of the EXTERNAL-PHYSICAL environment. And of course the cross-over with the EXTERNAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL environment will need to be correlated. 

Ciao, Dai

 

CAN YOU GET THE HEALTHY FATS YOU NEED FROM A PLANT BASED DIET

Following up from our earlier blogs about the 80-80% dilemma, if you choose a plant based diet and exclude all meat, fish, fowl and animal products such as cheeses, milks, eggs, algae, the question remains can you get enough fat that is required by the low starch, sugar, carbohydrate diet?  #LCHF does seem to have many attractions and benefits for a long healthy life including the reduction of heart disease, diabetes and other longer life conditions such as inflammatory diseases. But usually this diet means a lot of animal fats and an animal sourced protein intake and maybe you dont want to be primarily animal based like the Paleo diet. But if you want to be mostly plant based where the great majority of your calories come from vegetables, seeds, fruits, nuts and grains; will this intake provide enough fats for good health and a lower sugar, carbohydrate intake? 

ALGAE – Just to clarify one aspect of healthy fats from algaeAlgae are organisms, or living things. However, algae are actually neither plants nor animals. Instead they belong to a group of living things called protists. So you have to choose to consume or not consume algae that do contain a lot of healthy fats.

So in an 1800 KCal daily intake with 1440 KCal/80% from fats, 180 KCal/10% from sugars and complex carbohydrates, 180 KCal/10% from protein, there is no doubt that with just a couple of plant based items like 2 bananas you will get enough carbohydrates for your day and with  just 1 cup of macadamia nuts you can get an additional 850 KCal of fats, 70 KCal from carbohydrates and 40 KCal from protein. Now this very simplified example of course does not tell the whole story. You need greens and coloured vegetables to get the phyto-nutrients, minerals and vitamins plus the fibre that your body needs to function well. A bowl of say 5 cups of mixed greens with 4 oz iof mixed seeds and a cup of legumes contains enough of these micro-nutrients to satisfy your general needs plus the fibre and protein. So how does that look to you? 

DAILY FOOD INTAKE – Once daily salad of mixed greens, seeds, black beans, macadamia nuts, bell peppers, zuchini, hot peppers, tomatoes should therefore provide all your daily nutritional needs except for hydration, which has to be considered part of a healthy diet, so lets add water, good water of course.  This would of course aid an intermittent daily fast but you could add some whole grains for your morning meal, such as whole grain bread with avocado or nut butter or banana spread over or some organic oats cooked with water or an unsweetened almond, cashew or hemp based drink.  Not much for a growing lad! Of course if you are exercising then add extra calories for recovery in a 1:4 Protein/Carb ration or even 1:3 ratio allowing 50 KCal/mile cycling/walking or 100 KCal/mile running or swimming 400KCal/mile. So the 4 mile walk which is a good hour of exercise will use 200 KCal to some extent pace/effort and body size/weight dependant which is about a half bagel with 1tbsp peanut butter and that’s it folks. You can easily see where the excess body fat comes from! 

Now lets look at drinks and starting with water – no problem, no calories but spring water filtered is probably best and easiest or you can purify tap water, cheapest option! How much to drink, people say drink when you are thirsty, as good a guide as anything else I think. Coffee has proven benefits from the plant chemicals and nutrients as long as the coffee is not filled with toxins including moulds, which apparently is very common! Beer, soda, wine, liquor, creamy drinks, frappaccino, smoothies and so on will add significant calories for example the Starbucks frappaccino can fill you with 490 KCal depending on how you take it, I suggest leaving it and it’s 53 grams of sugar right there!! Or a grande (16oz) cafe latte at 230 KCal is still a lot and again mostly sugar. Cola 200 KCal of nothing beneficial so avoid soda. Keep it simple a grande Guinness is 160 KCal 🙂 

https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-protein-nuts.phphttps://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/vanilla-bean-cr%C3%A8me-frappuccino-blended-cr%C3%A8me#size=11002690&milk=1306&whip=NA 

Question : What is Health and why should we care?

My idea here is to form a hypothesis concerning what constitutes health, good health, optimal health or even excellent health and then to investigate and develop a paper around this to confirm the hypothesis.
Many factors for sure need investigation and immediately two come to mind, internal environment and external environment; in other words what you live in and what lives in you are important facets of health, good or bad.
I am very open to ideas to form the hypothesis and realize that this is not a new subject but over 5000 years old already but now we are increasingly dying from personal lifestyle choices even with the understanding that these choices are making us sick. Some might have no choice or few choices. An example is people incarcerated for crimes, food is given, drinks are given, the psychological conditions and exercise options are clearly external environmental factors, but what of the internal, food, disease, water, drinks? Choices can probably still be made. For those with choices concerning our external environment, do we make good choices and if so what does that mean?
Psychological conditions are an internal factor affected clearly by external lifestyle factors so need consideration also.
Having spent just a few days looking at Health Coaching programs, there is a lot of choice and variety about what a Health Coach should be qualified in and able to teach. Even a yoga teacher has to undertake months of training to be able to teach a yoga practice and this aspect of health is probably a smaller impact than perhaps food and water or stress. Nonetheless a factor to be taken seriously is movement and as the investigations continue we shall find the answers to movement.
Just like heart attacks are a symptom of something being wrong with health, and not the cause, investigations of the causes could lead to better outcomes for future generations. Many diseases and modern lifestyle causes for poor health and death are often symptoms not causes and it is the causes we seek so that changes can be made to behavior for our health and wellbeing.
I plan to continue this meta-research and first develop the hypothesis so that the factors causing poor health can be determined and a better way found for a healthier life into old age.
Until then ciao. Dai