Moderation, Moderation, Moderation

One thing that I try to live by and try to tell people all the time is moderation in all things. I love steak, but I don’t eat it every day, or even every week. I remember one time I had steak 5 nights in a row in some form or another. My body felt like it had a rusted nail sitting in it. That’s seriously the only way I can describe it. Steak overload isn’t good. I did it one other time a few years later and felt the same way. I learned my lesson.

I talk to a lot of people around the pharmacy (patients) that have diabetes. Many of them younger than myself which is always surprising and sad to me. I always wonder if it is sheer ignorance of lifestyle, lack o care or both that gets them into trouble. There is a nutritionist at the clinic where I work and after talking with her and just talking to the patients themselves, much of the diabetes problem becomes clear, at least where I live and practice.

Tortillas are a mainstay of the immigrant population where I live. One man I talked to stated he had 7-8 tortillas with some beans and rice, just for breakfast. Now I don’t know how big these were but a medium size tortilla has about 100 calories or so. Bigger ones can have well over 200, not to mention they usually are cooked with corn oil. Assuming he had medium tortillas, he ate about 800 calories just in tortilla, not including the beans and rice. That’s a lot of carbohydrate from all three foods for breakfast as well as a lot of calories from 1 meal. One doc I work with told me he had a patient who would eat 20 at a time. Assuming medium tortillas again, that is 2000 calories. Not to mention tortillas don’t exactly have a lot of nutrients in them.

I’m not trying to say don’t eat tortillas, I’m saying 1-2 might be a little better. Both patients above suffer from diabetes. Eating lots of tortillas and rice as a diabetic, or even as a non-diabetic is suicide by sugar to blood vessels. Maybe mixed with some veggies and some meat would be better than rice and beans.

Sitting in front of the TV is also a problem. I’m a bit of a hypocrite today as I have been in front of the TV a good bit today seeing as I’m sick right now (bad stomach problems). It’s not because I ate something like tortillas or wheat or something. I picked up some sort of bug from a potluck. I wasn’t the only one. I digress. TV can cause people to lose sleep, sex, and time doing other more productive things. I don’t think this is anything new, in fact I know it’s not, but people seem to watch endlessly anyway. I have no cable or satellite, but even my Netflix can cause me to watch a little too much if I’m not careful. And to think that I keep putting of getting the garden ready for the summer. I’m just too busy I suppose….too busy watching Netflix.

Internet seems to get in the way of getting important things done. YouTube has replaced cable. I can find anything I want to watch with limited interruptions. Those commercials are starting to get annoying, so back to Netflix.

Exercise is great, but if you’ve ever over exercised you are doing your body no good. Muscles need time to recover and heal. Rest is a good thing. So is replenishing your muscles with good food and not starving.

These are just some thoughts from your friendly pharmacist. I talk to people all day long who use so many drugs. Many of them have genuine problems that require professional help. Others have problems that are usually self-induced. I very much dislike talking to women who believe they will find weight loss in a pill. They will try it for 2-3 months and may even lose a few pounds, but once the medicine is gone,  lifestyle replaces what little was lost quickly. I always counsel that exercise and diet will be their key to losing unwanted weight, but most just stare at me and give the look of “I really don’t care, just gimme my pills”.

Remember the moderation will bring more happiness in a life than overindulgence. Work is just as important as rest, and a sweet treat now and again is just as important as regular good nutrition. A good movie or book is a welcome distraction, but so are weight lifting or running. Life should be enjoyed and cannot be if moderation is not kept in all things.


The Brute



2012 or 12 will be the new numbers we will all be writing on our checks and other forms very soon. No doubt many of us will continue writing 2011 or 11 until June. The new year seems to bring with it resolutions. I for one make mine on my birthday because for me, that is truly my new year. But seeing as how many decide to make resolutions for Jan. 1, I wanted to discuss this briefly. First the definition of resolution:


1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
5. the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.
Numbers 1-4 pretty well describe the resolutions of people across the board. They have something in mind and then they try to accomplish it. Now lets look at the word goal:

1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
2. the terminal point in a race.
3. a pole, line, or other marker by which such a point is indicated.
The above definitions could be found at
There are more definitions, mostly sports related, but the above will suffice for the topic of the day. A resolution is an affirmation that you want to do something. The goal is what you want to accomplish. So around the new year many people set some goals and then resolve to accomplish them. This type of planning is doomed to fail. Why? Because there are no objectives. Many goals from many people consist of some sort of physical activity. “Being physically fit” I think is the goal of many people. They get a gym membership or go back to the gym after months of hiatus and go crazy for a few weeks before returning to their old ways. There is no measurable objectives to the goal they have resolved to accomplish.

Lowering A1c is well known to diabetics as one of their main goals

If a person wants to be able to bench 400 lbs or squat 600 lbs or drop their A1c by 1 point, they must have a system by which allows them to do so. Simply benching 1-2 times per week or watching what you eat will not get your bench press to 400 nor will your A1c drop even 1/10 of a percent. There must be a process. Physical trainers know this. Doctors know this. Successful business men know this. There must be a process to achieve your goals. A great example is if you decide to want to accomplish running a marathon. No matter how much resolve you have to run those many miles and achieve your goal, you can’t do it in a week or even a month if you haven’t been already training. Your brain can tell your body to go, but it will stop depending on your condition. If you were determined to run that marathon today or even in a month with little to no training, you may become frustrated and even stop, deciding that the goal is too hard or not worth it and the purpose of running the marathon becomes irrelevant. The training stops and so do any aspirations or hope of accomplishing the goal.
If you are a diabetic who wants to get better control over your blood glucose levels, GREAT! The question is, what measurable objectives are you going to WRITE down to do so? Learning about diet and different foods might be a starter. You don’t have to go to a dietician to do that either. There is a wonderful resource that is free and has an incredible amount of information. It’s called a library. I’m not saying don’t talk to health care professionals about what you can do, but I think people learn better when they do the studying on their own. There is also something about writing note and looking at them often rather than just reading that enhances the learning process. The internet is a great source of knowledge also, but I caution anyone doing so to be careful of their sources. Don’t blindly trust Wikipedia or any old random health blog, including my own. Do the research and scrutinize it.
Next you might want to look at your medicine for diabetes. What does it do? How does it affect you? Have you read the inserts that come with it? Have you talked to the pharmacist or doctor about them? (I would refer back to my previous post about pharmacists and doctors and giving you the time of day) Have you learned about other treatments or therapies that might help lower blood glucose to normal levels like exercise and not eating so many starches regardless of what the FDA or any others may say? In essence, you need to learn what it is that is going to help you achieve your goal. Becoming a pharmacist took almost 8 years for me. That time was spent learning. Now that I am practicing, I’m learning even more to become a more effective pharmacist. I wouldn’t trust a pharmacist or doctor who says they don’t have time to learn about something. It may take some time, but knowledge is power, especially when accomplishing goals.

Learning is exciting to me, but boring to others. Make sure it is a part of whatever it is you want to do

Writing down some objectives that can be measured is important. First they need to be written because if they aren’t, they are just hopes and dreams. Second is they need to be measurable. Example: Eating healthy is not measurable while limiting carbs and sweets ( I know that’s redundant but stay with me) to x amount a day is measurable. Running regularly is not measurable while running 3 days a week is and running 3 days a week for 20 min at a time is even more so. Reading a book a month is measurable, reading is not. Jot down some things that you can do too. Reading a book a month for me is probably not manageable for my schedule, however reading 1 every 2 months might be. Running 10 miles a week may not be the best start for someone who is just getting back into shape, so maybe 4-5 miles a week might be a better start. If your objective is too big for your capabilities you will become frustrated and will be more likely to give up on it rather than continue on. If you write down some objectives and after a week or two are finding they are too much, alter them. Conversely, if they are too easy then modify them. Typically 6 year olds don’t learn algebra. They learn addition and subtraction. Soon multiplication and division are added. The fractions and so forth. If the child learns quickly, then more can be added quickly while those who learn more slowly will take time with just addition. Nothing wrong with that so long as progression is being made.
Time table can be helpful in accomplishing goals. If you want to run 5 miles a week or 20 miles a month, you can set the date for 1 month. If after 1 month you haven’t accomplished 20 miles look back and analyze why that was. Were you trying and it was just too difficult? Then cut the mileage back. Were you working on it but not very hard? Rededicate yourself to it. The first time I had the goal of bench pressing 400 lbs, I set the time-table before the end of the school year. The goal was set in September which meant I had till the beginning of May to finish. I had smaller goals every month of how much I had to be able to lift by the end of that month. Bit by bit my max went up. In April, I pushed up 408 lbs. with 3 weeks to spare. Had I not been able to do so, I would have still come out ahead because I was bench pressing more than I could when I started in September. If you aren’t able to accomplish what you set out to do, but are still doing better than where you were, be happy for that progression.
As an ending I say this; surround yourself with people who are supportive of your goals and objectives or those who will do them with you. Negativity and pessimism have no reason for existing when trying to better one’s self. Get your spouse or children or parents or friends on board with whatever it is you want to do. Having a buddy to help out makes it easier to do whatever it is you want to do. Surrounding yourself with those who do not support or are against will only serve to frustrate and cause catastrophe when it comes to your desires. Never settle for anyone who won’t help you be better doctors, family or otherwise. 
So in review:
1. Set goals that benefit you and write them down
2. Write down some measurable objectives that are realistic and that can be changed
3. Give yourself a reasonable time-table to achieve your objectives
4. Surround yourself with people who will support and help you accomplish your goals
5. Reassess your objectives when they have been met or they aren’t being met
6. Have some joy in knowing that even if you haven’t quite reached your goal, you are better than you once were.
The Brute
Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.