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Viewpoints & Vistas

July 15, 2004, Vol. II Issue 15

Dear Friends,

I’m having a different kind of summer. Last year I went on three plane trips (two business, one family), one very long road trip to Wyoming, and one lovely long camping weekend at Crater Lake. This year I’m staying home and doing lots of day trips, and hopefully a couple of long weekends. And, you know what? It feels glorious because there are so many great places to visit nearby.

Amidst the summer fun, I’m making lots of changes that you’ll be seeing in the coming months. We’ll be totally revamping the website, adding lots of speakers, and morphing this e-newsletter into a pictorial version.

In this issue, some anti-aging ideas from my new RD speaker friend, Elizabeth Somer, hiking and biking energy tips and the continuing saga of McDonald’s in the news. Talk about an oil slick, read on.

Yours truly,

Speaker Spotlight: Elizabeth, the Expert

Imagine my surprise. I’d seen Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, many times on The Today Show, sharing nutritional expertise with Katie Couric and friends. Then, last year, when she was the luncheon keynote speaker for OHSU’s annual women’s event, I found out she lives just down the freeway, in Salem, Oregon! (I moved to the Northwest because I wanted to live here. What a bonus to keep discovering speakers who are right up my alley, in my own backyard and then get to share them with you).

Elizabeth is a nutrition research junkie. She devours the stuff and then translates it into information we can understand and use. She is a prolific writer, including regular columns in many of the popular national magazines like FITNESS, PREVENTION, and COOKING LIGHT, and is the author of The Food & Mood Cookbook (most recent), Nutrition for Women, Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy, The Origin Diet, Food & Mood and Age-Proof Your Body (also a PBS special), and others.

She’s consulted regularly by the media because she is The Expert. “I’m the person people come to if they have one story, and they want to know how that thread fits into the tapestry of any particular nutrition topic.”

Just last night I was thumbing through SHAPE magazine and there was an article by Elizabeth on “10 Things You Must Know About Calories.” “My thing is I keep up with the current research and I read literally hundreds of studies every month,” Elizabeth says, “For any topic I cover, I give you what the research says but not just from one study, because that’s one of my pet peeves, the one-study approach to reporting. I tell you where the weight of evidence on any particular issue lies.

“And, having done this for 20 years, I have depth. I can tell you not only what’s going on with fish oils today, but what sparked interest in them in the 80’s. I have one foot in the lay press and one foot in the research camp. In a field with so much ambiguity and controversy, I provide the one place you can go where you know it’s accurate.”

For her book and PBS special, “Age-Proof Your Body,” she dedicated two years to researching the whole concept of aging. “I’m here to tell you, throw out every concept of aging you ever assumed was true,” she says.

“Something as simple as middle aged spread, so common we have a term for it, is entirely preventable. It’s not something that you have to look forward to,” she says with a smile. Now that’s good news! It’s obvious Elizabeth relates to the issues you and I care about.

“One realization that was so pronounced to me was that every aspect of aging that I researched turned out not to have anything to do with aging, per se, but everything to do with abuse: not eating well, not moving enough, bad attitudes. Those three in particular were the cause of much of our aging and that if we stop the abuse, we could halt the aging process, at least slow it down and in some cases, even possibly
reverse it.”

“For instance, statistics show that 15 to 20 percent of aging is unavoidable, you’re genetically predisposed to it,” Elizabeth continued, “but that means that 80 to 85 percent of what’s going on in this aging process is within our control. Now that’s pretty exciting!” I concur.

“It does take a few changes but the changes aren’t as radical as you would think,” she says. And guess what the top three areas are? Nutrition, exercise and attitude, of course.

If you’d like to know more about “Age-Proofing Your Body,” “Food and Mood,” or Elizabeth’s other lifestyle topics, just call me at 503-699-5031 or email me, Hmmm, do you think she could help the “Menopause the Musical” characters from our last issue?

Hiking or Biking? Summertime Fun & Fuel

As always, I like authors and speakers who can give me something practical and have fun doing it. One of my favorite things about living here, is the incredible hiking opportunities that are within a couple of hours of my doorstep. Cycling is also HUGE out here. My dog, P.C., however, leads better up a mountain, than beside a bicycle, and I can’t get out of the driveway without him so it’s hiking for us.

Elizabeth, I’ve learned is a biking enthusiast. As we were talking yesterday, I learned that she was about to take off for a week long bike trip in the Canadian Rockies. She started the tradition of one-week sojourns when she and a girlfriend were about to turn 50. She wanted to prove that being 50 isn’t so bad. Three trips later, she said they plan on continuing these adventures indefinitely. You, go girl!

She says that if you straddle a bicycle more than a few times a year, you’ve probably heard the ABC rule (always check your Air, Brakes, and Chain). “After cycling the hilly coast of Maine,” she said, “I became a convert to the DEF rule: Any time you cycle more than an hour, always bring snacks that are Delicious and supply Energy and Fluids.”

She says the same applies for hiking. “When facing the 156th hill on a two-hour ride or a five-mile strenuous hike, your body is screaming for glucose and water. Plan tasty snacks that supply about 150 calories for every 45 minutes of cycling or every one hour of vigorous hiking. Even if you are not hungry, eat anyway.”

Now, I love that idea of eating every 45 minutes and I pride myself on packing a tasty and healthy lunch. Ask my honey. Whole wheat bread, lean meat, fruit and COOKIES. He said those sandwiches last weekend were the best ever. That’s because I put Walla Walla Onion on his. But to me, a hiking lunch is a great excuse to get those huge bakery chunky chocolate chip cookies. Yummmmmmmmmmy. I relish every bite, especially considering I figure I’ve burned the calories to earn it.

Well, Elizabeth has other ideas. Good ones, too! If you’d like the list, send me an email, and Write Energy Snacks in the subject line and I’ll email you Elizabeth’s tasty list of good snacking for hiking and biking with hydration tips, as well.

In the News: McDonald’s: May I Check Your Oil, Please?

In the business section of last Sunday’s local newspaper, the headline read, “McDonald’s says it’s testing healthier cooking oil.” Now, that is one of the more truth-filled headlines I have ever read. “McDonald’s SAYS…” Not that they’re doing or have done anything, they SAY they’re doing it. You see, back in Sept. 2002, McDonald’s announced with big-time P.R. fanfare that they were changing their cooking oil, to a “healthier alternative.” Nearly every major media outlet picked up the ground-breaking news. It looked like good news in anticipation of the Food and Drug Administration’s requirement to begin disclosing the amount of trans fatty acids in their foods by 2006. Trans fatty acids are rampant in processed and fast foods. They are being targeted because these artery-clogging fats pack a double whammy. They may reduce helpful HDL cholesterol levels while increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol, creating a dramatic impact on health that translates into increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. This is a real threat, not a scare.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the bulk of us, the oil has never been changed., Inc. (“BTF”), a California non-profit corporation, has filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s Corporation for false advertising regarding its announcement that it was implementing a change to a new cooking with 48% less trans fat, and that the change would be completed by February 2003. They’re suing, not for money but for change. They’re the same folks who got results with Kraft and Oreos. According to their website, “BTF previously sued Kraft to prevent the marketing of Oreo cookies containing trans fat to children, including direct marketing to children in schools. In response to the lawsuit, Kraft is reducing or eliminating the trans fat in its cookies and crackers almost across the board and has terminated all in-school marketing. The lawsuit was a total success.”

In February 2003, McDonald’s did make a broad public statement that “the change in our cooking oil was taking longer than anticipated and would be delayed.” How many of you heard that statement? The apparent cause of the delay is concern about the flavor of the fries, the same fries that grace the ads for Morgan Spurlock’s SUPER SIZE ME movie.

To get the skinny on this, go to: Click on the link for McDonald’s

I mentioned the suit to Elizabeth in our conversation yesterday, and she said she’s just written about the McLawsuits in her Nutrition Alert newsletter. “Education hasn’t worked. I’ve been trying to educate people for twenty years. Lawsuits get attention and they did work against tobacco. Even if they don’t win, it brings the whole issue to a screaming level of attention and that’s what we need right now, with the obesity and health problems we are facing.”

Herein is a great example of the power of perception and the power of taking a stand. To be continued …

To learn more about those bad boys, trans fatty acids, read Elizabeth’s
on-line article, Trans Action, at

View from the Summit: Awesome but Afterward Aches

In the last few weekends, I’ve stood on the flank of Mt. St. Helens, looked out over an incredible valley to Mt. Adams with Mt. Rainier over my shoulder. I’ve taken in the awesome Columbia River Gorge with Mt. Hood looming magically in the distance. I’ve stood in a mountaintop meadow of wildflowers that just knocked my socks off in their abundance and sheer beauty: golden balsamroot, blue lupine, and orange paintbrush are glorious together. Of course Mother Nature knows that! And I saw my first bear grass blooms (no, not a bear, blooms!). They reminded me of good ol’ fashioned microphones on stands, painted white. When I get this e-newsletter transferred over to a pictoral version in the near future, I can show you what I mean in pictures! Won’t that be fun!

I am ever so grateful my legs got me up there, but HELP, does anybody have any ideas for stretching exercises for after the hike? My legs get so beat, they talk to me all night long, even after a hot bath, whether I go six miles or eleven miles, 800 feet or 1800 feet elevation gain. I’d love some relief and I’ll share your ideas.

Until next time, be good to yourself, take a hike or ride a bike, have a chunky chocolate chip cookie and drink in the sweet joys of summer, for your well being and those you love.

Yours truly,

My vision for The Speak Well Being Group is to be a connector for speakers I know, love and believe in, with the audiences who will be inspired, motivated, and transformed by their perspectives, knowledge, empathy, compassion, information and, most importantly, capacity to enjoy the process, laughing at themselves and with you along the way.

You’ll find many of our speakers on our website.
Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031

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