Project 101 – Resilience – Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Two and Music Therapy – Sally Cronin


Project 101 – Resilience is aimed at developing a strong  immune system and a body that can fight off disease at any age. One of the key factors in achieving that level of robust health is being a healthy weight. There have been a number of risk factors identified that put certain groups of the population at a higher risk of a critical outcome from being infected with Covid- 19 – Opportunistic pathogens like nothing better than an acidic environment to thrive in.

Health and energy and long life all begin with a correct pH balance.

The pH balance refers to the acidity or alkalinity of every living organism. The scale for measuring this balance is called Potential for Hydrogen or pH balance and each system or organ has its optimum balance for health. The scale goes from 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral with anything above 7 as alkaline and anything below 7 being acidic. Each step up or down is ten times the previous which means that even a change of .1 will have an effect on your body. Part One can be found Here

Part Two – Eating plan for a healthy acidity/alkaline balance

It is important that you eat regularly and moderately to provide you with the nutrients that you require and to allow your body to process those nutrients to make them as accessible as possible for your body.

Your main meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner with three snacks in between depending on your energy requirements.

The older we get the less we need to snack between meals especially if they are sugary in nature.

Main meals should consist of some wholegrain or vegetable carbohydrate, animal or plant protein and a small amount of healthy fats.

Always chew food slowly and if you put your knife and fork down between each mouthful you should be eating at the correct pace. If there is someone in your family who always finishes their meal after you then make it a point to slow down so that they finish first.

After a heavier than normal meal always try and relax for at least half an hour before moving around and certainly leave at least two hours before rigorous exercise.

Drinking a small cup of peppermint tea after a meal will aid digestion and it is better to eat fruit as a starter rather than a dessert as it digests much quicker than any other food. If you eat fruit within half an hour of a heavy meal it can cause a disruption to the digestive process.

Intermittent Fasting is also a way to allow your digestive system to process foods thoroughly over 14/16 hours whilst you eat within the other 8/10 hours. If you are not hugely active then eating two main meals with a small amount of fruit as a snack is quite easy to get used to and has been shown to reduce the risk for diseases such as diabetes.

Most people who follow this diet will fast on two days a week with meals adding up to 500 to 600 calories of high density nutritional foods. However, it is tempting then on the other five days to roll the boat out. I find eating two meals a day with a piece of fruit in between, within an 8/10 hour window every day to be easier to stick to.

Foods that should be avoided.

Foods have different acid and alkaline properties. Some are acidic in the mouth but form alkaline ash; others are so heavily processed that they will turn to acidic ash in the stomach.

If you suffer already from acid reflux or peptic ulcers you should follow the following recommendations as strictly as possible. This also applies if you have some of the more common degenerative diseases such as arthritis as an acid environment is perfect.

If you would simply like to ensure the correct pH balance in your body then you can adopt a 60/40 approach and ensure that acid forming foods are only included in your diet once a day. If you suffer from any chronic diseases then for the next six weeks I suggest you follow these guidelines. Make a note in any change in symptoms and if you find that they have improved then this ratio is something you might like to stay with longer term.

Very, very acidic ash forming foods that should be totally avoided are

  • All soft drinks,
  • More than a cup of coffee per day especially with cream and sugar combined,
  • Alcohol in general but particularly cheap wine and beer
  • Refined sugars in commercially produced white flour bread, cakes, sweets and biscuits and artificial sweeteners.
  • Salt should be used very sparingly, as it is acid forming as well as raising blood pressure if it is in the form of sodium rich industrially produced foods..We all need sodium but it is found naturally in many of the foods we eat. Add no more than a level teaspoon of salt to food during the day.

Very acidic forming foods that can be included 20% of your daily diet are:

  • Chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, lamb, beef, pork and other lean proteins.
  • Oranges (nectarines are okay)

Moderately acidic forming foods that can be included up to 30% of your daily diet.

  • Wholegrains, brown rice, corn, oats, rye, wholegrain pastas
  • Lentils
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Good quality wines
  • Organic fresh coffee,
  • Yoghurt, milk and cheese
  • Cranberries
  • All the beans.

Alkaline foods that can be included freely every day.

N.B although some of these fruits contain natural fruit sugar they are alkaline. If however you are pre-diabetic or diabetic then you sould limit your fruit intake to one piece per day. Also avoid high sugar juices and instead substitute vegetables.

Coconut water, figs, olives, apricots (dried as snack three), avocados, carrots, spinach, cabbage, dates (three on salads), kiwis, limes, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, bananas, celery, beetroot, melon, lettuce, parsley, pineapple, pomegranate (if available) nectarines, cherries, grapefruit, tomatoes, cucumber, cauliflower, lemons, string beans, peaches, mushrooms (shitake if not too expensive), watermelon, courgettes, apples and pears.

Are most fruit and vegetables alkaline forming?

Yes they are which is why I so often encourage people to move to a much higher level of vegetables and moderate fruit content in their diet. Ideally 80% of your diet should be unprocessed, fresh and preferably raw foods. However if you feel that you cannot achieve that to begin with, I have set a 20% guideline for animal proteins, 30% for grains etc. and 50% for fruit and vegetables.

Some other neutral foods that you can use in moderation in the 20% field are the oils and butter and milk. These are classified, as neutral but should be used carefully if you are hoping to lose some weight.

What about sauces for foods?

It is much better to make your own sauces from natural ingredients. It is the sugars in processed sauces that cause much of the acid effect. You can use olive oil or a little butter on vegetables and make salad dressings with olive oil and herbs. I find now that sauces, unless they are very light have become very cloying and take away the natural taste of the food.

Next week:  Achieving the correct pH balance in your body – The Plan

Now time for some Music Therapy.. and it is not always about getting you moving, but also relieving stress and relaxing your body and mind.

Earlier in the series I gave you some exercises to improve your lung function, by reducing stiffness and increasing oxygen flow.

Our breath is much more than just an intake of oxygen. It is our connection to life itself as without air we would die. There are 4 parts to every breath,

The inhale, a moment’s pause, the exhale and another natural moment’s pause before the next inhale. Exhale usually longer than the inhale.

While you are watching this video and listening to the music practice this breathing pattern. (you can start with the count of 2-2-4-1 until you feel comfortable with the longer pattern)

  1. Inhale through your nose to the count of five
  2. Hold for the count of five
  3. Exhale through your mouth to the count of seven.
  4. Pause for the count of two

Music in combination with beautiful images and some slow deep breathing for just a few minutes can actually be very energising.. here is  André Rieu – Nightingale Serenade (Toselli Serenade).. uploaded by Tatiana Blue

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me next Tuesday for some more Resilience training. Sally

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – #Sleep Strategies and Music Therapy – Sally Cronin


Yesterday  I went into some of the reasons why a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is so important for the health of our body including heart health, weight loss and our immune system. Today some strategies to get that much needed sleep and some more musical therapy to wear you out before bed.

Getting to sleep at night

Unless you are Mediterranean, and used to eating late at night from childhood, avoid having dinner just before you go to bed. Leave at least two hours – and if it has been very spicy then leave for at least three hours. I have no idea how anyone can go out for a night drinking, eat a curry and go to bed and not suffer a dreadful night’s sleep.

Your digestive system will still be in full operational mode as you are trying to get off to sleep and if your digestive system is awake, so are your other organs such as your liver and heart.

Alcohol can be a stimulant and whilst excessive amounts may make you sleepy it is going to wake you up four hours later with a raging thirst and a thumping headache. Once in while you may get away with it but if it is the norm you will become seriously sleep deprived.

 

If you have not been very active during the day, but have have been working on your computer for several hours, your mind might be tired but your body still has some surplus energy. Those of us who have dogs who need walking benefit from both the physical activity and the fresh air before hitting the pillow and if you can safely take a stroll at night then it is an excellent idea.

You can try some musical therapy followed by the breathing exercises that I shared last week: improving lung function

Sitting up too late, watching an action thriller is not the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep. If you are anything like me you are still in the middle of the action as you try to get to sleep and we usually pick something light and humorous to end our viewing with… laughter is good all over exercise!

Make sure that there is plenty of airflow in the bedroom and sleep in comfortable clothes. I have no idea how people manage in button up pyjamas as they must be so restrictive and you will be moving around quite a bit at night and getting tangled up in both bedclothes and your nightie is going to disturb you.

I find that, however late I go to bed, reading a few pages of a book is guaranteed to help me drop off. Many people have discovered their own sleep triggers over the years, including warm baths with Epsom salts, herbal teas such as Kava Kava and Valerian, and gentle music that drowns out the noise of neighbours, or a snoring partner.

Earplugs can be very useful, particularly if you are sharing a bed with a snorer, although you may miss the alarm clock in the morning.

If you are going to bed at more or less the same time every night you will find, within a very short space of time, you will wake at about the same time every morning. In fact, it is a good idea to follow the same sleep patterns all week rather than opt for a lie in at the weekend. It establishes a healthy downtime for the body and does not confuse it for two days every week.

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and research is increasingly showing that it is also vital for the development of our brains. Children who do not get sufficient sleep will develop behavioural and learning difficulties as well as compromise their immune systems and future health.

Keeping your children up with you late at night is not healthy. They need far more sleep than we do during their rapid growth spurts. Make sure that they have a nap during the day about half way through their active hours and get them into the habit of getting at least 10 hours sleep per night. When they are very young you will obviously be waking them for feeds and then for potty training but you must always try and ensure that they are kept calm and are put back down as quickly as possible.

This will also be healthier for you as this is the time when most parents are likely to suffer from sleep deprivation. The next crisis for those of you with teenagers is when they fail to return before 2.00 in the morning.

Stages of sleep that need to take place for you to be healthy.

There are a number of different stages of sleep and it is important that you go through the entire cycle to reap all the benefits.

There are two main phases. In phase one you will be going through Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep or NREM. There are different stages within this phase which naturally lead you to phase two or Rapid Eye Movement sleep or REM.

Phase one NREM

Stage One. This is the lightest stage of sleep and although your main senses are turned down they are not off completely and you can be disturbed by certain noises such as snoring, dogs barking or doors slamming.

Stage Two. If you get into this stage you will fall deeper asleep and your heart rate and temperature will begin to level out and drop. This stage represents about half your night’s sleep.

Stage Three and Four are the deepest stages of NREM and represent about 15% of your night’s sleep. Your breathing will slow; your temperature will drop further as will your blood pressure.

Phase two REM

After about 30 minutes in stage four NREM sleep you begin to move back to stage one and two where your brain will become more active and you will begin to dream. If you are woken up at this point in the cycle you are likely to remember the dream you were experiencing at the time. If you have reached one of the NREM stages then you are not as likely to recall anything when you wake up.

This cycle of phase one and two takes approximately 90 minutes and then begins again. To really benefit from this combination of rest and activity you need to complete at least 5 cycles during the night. This adds up to approximately 8 hours of sleep. If you only manage one or two cycles then your brain and body will not have completed its cleansing process and you will feel tired. If this becomes the norm you will begin to notice the symptoms of sleep deprivation.

Sleep is as essential as air, water and food and if you are not currently enjoying a good night’s sleep then you need to work towards finding a solution.

The power of the siesta

Having lived in Spain for 17 years, I adopted one of the local traditions early on, especially in the heat of the summer. Sam our collie adapted immediately and took siestas frequently throughout the day…

Taking a nap is actually a way to catch up on your missing sleep. The most natural time for a nap is 8 hours after you have woken up in the morning and 8 hours before you go to bed. This way it is unlikely to affect your ability to fall asleep at night. Even 20 minutes can actually revitalise you and rest your body ready for another 8 hours of activity.

Make yourself comfortable, loosen your clothes and just close your eyes. Even if you do not fall asleep your body will relax and everything from your muscles to your brain will benefit.

Get moving with Music Therapy

Over the course of these posts I will be sharing my playlists I would warm up the crowd with at charity walks and runs. They should help build your resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.

If you are not particularly active at the moment then you can walk on the spot, but swing your arms in time to the music so that you activate your breathing. If you are a little bit more adventurous then take to the floor and have fun.

I am a country girl at heart and was thrilled to be introduced to Line Dancing when I lived in Texas, even if I was pretty ***** at it… but I was a huge fan of the music before I arrived and so have infiltrated by playlist since then with some foot stompers.

This is another that one is perfect for walking on the spot and swinging your arms… or step from side to side and then bring your feet together. If you can bring your arms up over your head that will get your blood flowing.. A couple of plays should help get you to sleep…

Here are The Woolpackers with Hillbilly Rock thanks to TheTillypig

Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you will drop in next week for more strategies to keep fighting fit..

Here are the links to the pages that support the posts in the series

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – Weight Loss Hack No 2 – Improving lung function No 2, Musical Therapy by Sally Cronin


Yesterday I shared a way to make some small changes to your diet that would save you 30lbs of body fat a year without causing too much effort.  Today another tactic I used when I was losing my own 150lbs and found bathroom scales accurate but not always motivating.

And it is motivation and making progress with weight loss and toning up that makes all the difference, especially if you need to lose more than a stone in weight.

I was size 32 UK when I started and wore tent like dresses and skirts. I saw a black velvet dress with a cream satin trim and small straps in a size 18 that I fell in love with. It was expensive at the time in 1996 at £75 but I took the plunge and bought it. It hung on the outside of my wardrobe in a clear plastic cover in my bedroom for the next 18 months, and it was the first thing I saw when I got up in the morning.

I would get it out of its wrapper once a week and hold it up against me in the mirror. I did this for about a year, and then I had lost sufficient weight to get it up as far as my hips.. and I then tried it on every week until 6 months later I wore it for the first time. I had visualised myself in that dress so many times and it was the most amazing feeling when it finely fit. I don’t have a photo of me in my dress but here is one with another little black number that I used to wear when I was in my early 30s which was a size 16 and fitted after 2 years of my eating programme.

I am not suggesting that you head out and spend a fortune on an expensive outfit, but I do believe that if you are anything like me.. and this applies to the men reading this too, that at the back of the wardrobe, or in a storage box, is a favourite dress, suit, pair of trousers, skirt or a top that you loved to wear and no longer fits. It might be one size too small or several.

Take it out and wash, iron or have dry cleaned, and put on a hangar somewhere you can see it every day. Then as soon as you feel you have lost a few pounds, begin to try the outfit on once a week until it fits again. I still do this as I have a pair of white trousers that I intend to be wearing by the end of June that are just a little too snug for comfort.

Now time for part two of the exercises to help improve your lung function..

For an action that is so vital to our existence, you will be surprised to find that very few people actually breathe efficiently and are not maintaining adequate lung function. By the end of the first week you should notice a difference in the ease with which you complete the exercises and also when you are active.

The aim is to increase the flexibility and the capacity of your lungs, giving them a better chance of fighting off infection.

Yesterday I shared the morning exercise to get you ready for the day.. and today one to help you get rid of the day’s toxins and get a better night’s sleep.

Evening exercise

Lie down on your back on the floor. If you suffer with lower back pain, better to have your knees resting up over on sofa or chair. If your head doesn’t relax onto the ground easily, use a cushion.

Start with hands on lower belly, fingers pointing down to groin. Notice how you are breathing. The breath reflects our mental, physical and emotional state.

After several minutes consciously encourage the beginning of the breath into the belly to feel the hands rise with the inhale and relax down with the exhale. So you are using the abdomen to breath. This in good health should happen spontaneously, but all too often with stress many people breath only using the upper chest.

Do this for several minutes, then place the arms out in a cross, shoulder height with palms up. Now there is more room to take the breath up into the middle lungs, feel the movement of the rib cage outwards and upwards. But you still begin each breath down deep in the belly. Do this for several minutes, relaxing the body on the exhale.

Last of all, slide the arms higher up above your head relaxing on the floor, if you cannot do this due to tension or injury, leave them where they were in a cross. The purpose of this move is to now bring more space and awareness to the upper chest towards the base of the throat. There is little movement here compared to the ribs, but you can feel the rising of the chest and collarbone to the throat and chin at the peak of the inhale, just before you exhale.

So you now have 3 places to breathe into, the abdomen, the ribs and the upper chest to make one long, deep, satisfying breath. Feel each of the 3 places as the breath flows up the trunk as one long wave. As you exhale the wave retreats back down to the lower abdomen. Remember to feel the slight pause between inhales and exhales, but don’t hold your breath.

Try and practice this for at least 5 minutes, but 10 is better. It also helps improve your posture with the back flat and the arms out.

More details on the lungs and their function can be found in more detail here: The Lungs

Get moving with Music Therapy

One of the perks of being a radio presenter was being asked to MC charity events and my job was to warm everyone up before the walk or race with some motivational music… over the course of these posts I will be sharing my playlist for those events and to help build your resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Give yourself a break after reading this post and get up and get moving.

If you are not particularly active at the moment then you can walk on the spot, but swing your arms in time to the music so that you activate your breathing. If you are a little bit more adventurous then take to the floor and have fun – Here is Tina Turner and she is a role model for all of us who want to still be a rock chic in our 80s…strut your stuff and be Simply the Best.

And if it motivates you even more, imagine what I look like chopping carrots and bopping in my kitchen to some of her hits…..

Uploaded by theravenphoenix665

Buy Tina Turner music: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Next week, three more posts that I hope you will find useful as you boost your immune system, lung and heart functions, and your confidence. As always your feedback is very welcome.. thanks Sally

Here are the links to the pages that support the posts in the series

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Statistic resource Worldometer – Live updates and breakdown by country Worldometer Info

Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – Improving lung function, Weight loss hack – The Power of One and Music Therapy by Sally Cronin


In yesterday’s post I set out the project that I have been following for the last six weeks in isolation to improve my lung function, drop a few more pounds to a healthier weight, and to boost my immune system. This involves making small changes to our diet and lifestyle to give all our body’s operating systems the best possible chance to keep us healthy.

In conjunction with the posts, I have created pages in the main directory that cover the topics in more detail if you wish to find out more. This includes the 17 chapters of Size Matters the Sequel that told the story of my 150lb weight loss 25 years ago and the programme that I developed to achieve that and to share with my clients over the years as a nutritional therapist.

A reminder of the topics I will be covering:

  • Weight loss and some hacks that helped me lose over 150lbs
  • Inflammation in the body and brain one of the leading causes of disease
  • Lung function improvement.
  • Immune system boosting
  • Vitamin D and its vital role in keeping our bodies safe.
  • Exercise – keeping moving and the body functioning.
  • Flexibility – not just in body but in mind.
  • Blood Pressure – we need it to pump blood around our bodies, but too high and it can be dangerous.
  • Type II Diabetes and Pre-diabetes – risk factors that are simple to reverse
  • The Brain – The control centre of the body and it needs to be treated with respect.
  • Stress and its impact on weight and major organs such as the heart.
  • Acidity and Alkalinity in the body and how are creating the perfect environment for pathogens.

Improving lung function.

This current virus is respiratory and those with underlying health issues such as COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are at greater risk during recovery. Aging also results in reduced lung function as we become less active and for many, become chair bound without access to the outdoors. Lungs stiffen and cannot express inflammation or infection in an efficient way.

Without oxygen we will die in approximately 6 minutes, without water about 6 days and food around 6 weeks. 

For an action that is so vital to our existence, you will be surprised to find that very few people actually breathe efficiently and are not maintaining adequate lung function. By the end of the first week you should notice a difference in the ease with which you complete the exercises and also when you are active.

The aim is to increase the flexibility and the capacity of your lungs, giving them a better chance of fighting off infection.

Today I will share the morning exercise to get you ready for the day.. and tomorrow one to help you get rid of the day’s toxins and get a better night’s sleep.

Breathing exercises – First thing every morning and evening before bed.

Our breath is much more than just an intake of oxygen. It is our connection to life itself as without air we would die. There are 4 parts to every breath,

The inhale, a moment’s pause, the exhale and another natural moment’s pause before the next inhale. Exhale usually longer than the inhale.

If you can complete these exercises in the fresh air, preferably with some sunshine, you will also help boost your Vitamin D.

Morning exercise

Stand with arms loose by your side, the whole body relaxed and still. The posture straight but not held taut. The shoulders rolling back and down to open the chest and release neck/shoulder tension.

As you inhale slowly lift the arms out and up above your head with palms parallel. Hold the breath then as you exhale through the mouth, release the arms back down gently to your sides.

As you become more comfortable you can extend the time for each of the parts of the breath.

  1. Inhale through your nose to the count of five
  2. Hold for the count of five
  3. Exhale through your mouth to the count of seven
  4. Pause for the count of two

So not only do you receive a gentle stretch to wake you up, but also there is more space in the body to take a deeper inhalation. It is very simple but very effective. The most important thing is to unite the length of the inhale with the rise of the arms so that when the arms reach the furthest point above the head you have completed the inhale; there is a tiny pause, then the exhale down, slowly lowering the arms. When they reach your side the exhale is finished.

Generally the exhale is longer than the inhale as you are ridding the body of impurities with it. Then a little pause. The movements follow the breath, like surfing a wave. Don’t rush the moves or you will get tense, better to do them slowly and relaxed with total concentration, better still outside (on a beach) or in front of an open window to receive all that free energy!

Practice for several minutes or at least 12 times. Better to do 12 focused breaths then 25 rushed ones. Quality versus quantity.

If you suffer with high blood pressure and or restrictive shoulder/ arm movements, better to take the arms up only as far as the shoulder height.

More details on the lungs and their function can be found in more detail here: The Lungs

Now for the Weight Loss Hack…The Power of One….

We love company and two always sounds better than one. It is also something we apply to our diet and it is very difficult to just take one biscuit, eat one piece of toast or one piece of chocolate.

One of the most effective weight loss tools that I put together for myself and my clients all those years ago was this table.

It shows you the accumulative factor of having two or more portions of particular foods regularly on your weight.  In most cases, simply halving the quantity of that food will achieve your healthy weight in a matter of months and perhaps in some cases a year.

It is important to remember that 1lb of fat lost a week is 52lbs/24kilo in a year which is usually what most people are looking to achieve. At the recommended weight loss of 2lbs per week that is 104lbs/ 48kilo in a year.

Take a look at the foods in the table and see if there are some that you are eating a little too much of. And if your favourite daily snack is not on the list… check out the calories and multiply by 365 and then divide by 3,500 (equivalent to 1lb of body fat) and see how much weight you could lose by halving the amount you eat of your particular favourite foods over the year.

For example: if you are used to having two digestive biscuits with your coffee in the morning and afternoon tea, just having one each time will represent 16lbs of body fat over the year.

If you are used to having a full English fried breakfast every morning and grill your bacon and sausage instead and poach your egg it represents 14lbs of body fat over the year.

Just making those two small changes to your daily diet represents 30lbs of body fat per year.

You can read the complete Size Matters the Sequel here: Weight Loss – Size Matters the Sequel

Tomorrow Another weight loss hack: Something to aim for – An evening breathing exercise and more music therapy.

I am very happy to help anyone who wishes to have a review done of their current diet with a two week food diary analysis.  This might be useful if you need to loose weight or feel that you are not getting the full range of nutrients you need. Email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com for details.

Get moving with Music Therapy

One of the perks of being a radio presenter was being asked to MC charity events and my job was to warm everyone up before the walk or race with some motivational music… over the course of these posts I will be sharing my playlist for those events and to help build your resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Give yourself a break after reading this post and get up and get moving.

If you are not particularly active at the moment then you can walk on the spot, but swing your arms in time to the music so that you activate your breathing. If you are a little bit more adventurous then take to the floor and have fun. Chris Rea – Let’s Dance uploaded by Anzan

Buy Chris Rea Music Amazon UK

I hope you will join me again tomorrow but if you miss any posts they will be linked in the weekly round up next Saturday and also in a page in the main menu.  thanks Sally

Here are the links to the pages that support the posts in the series

Weight Loss – Size Matters The Sequel
The Lungs
Stress
The Immune System and Vitamin D
The Digestive and Immune System
Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Statistic resource Worldometer – Live updates and breakdown by country Worldometer Info

Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Sally Cronin


Welcome to the new series – Project 101 – Resilience.

As with most of you, I have spent the last 10 weeks in lock down with only a visit to the supermarket for fresh produce once a week. Thankfully, and touch wood, none of our family or close friends have been infected and slowly we are all coming out of hibernation and preparing to face the world again.

I am sure I am not alone in feeling somewhat nervous about this and will continue with my early shopping to avoid the crowds, wear gloves and a mask when shopping and decontaminate when I get home again.

I have been making good use of the time by continuing to work on keeping myself fit plus resurrecting some writing projects. I have also been planning the direction I would like the blog to take in the next year. For example, I wanted to make use of all the health posts that I have in the archives which number in their 100s, and re-purpose them in a way that readers would find useful.

Project 101 – Resilience.

Let me say upfront, that I cannot promise that what you will read over the next few weeks will prevent you catching a viral or bacterial infection, but what I would like to do is to encourage as many people as possible to take themselves out of the identified high risk categories by making some small changes to their lifestyle and diet.

One of the highest risks is to those over 70, particularly those who have underlying health problems. However, those health problems are predominantly lifestyle related and do not have to be for life. For example, Obesity, Type II Diabetes, Inflammatory diseases, nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin D and High Blood Pressure.

I see a window of opportunity for all of us to review our health, diet and lifestyle and see where we can make improvements to boost our immune systems, reduce our risk factors and feel more confident about going back out into the world again. A chance to get our bodies fighting fit.

Over the last 20 years or so of working with 100s of clients as a nutritional therapist, I have discovered that making sweeping changes does not work. There are three elements that require attention, physical, mental and emotional, and making small but key changes in these areas is much more effective.

Some background for anyone new to the blog reading this.

Although I am 67 years old and in good health, it was not always the case and I am very grateful that I took this approach  25 years ago to take back control of my life and health.

When I was 42 years old, I ticked all the boxes in the list of risk factors of becoming critically ill if infected by the Covid-19 virus.  I weighed 330lbs – 24 stone, had high blood pressure, was pre-diabetic with high blood sugar levels, and had frequent respiratory infections and I was working in a high stress environment.

I experienced my wake-up call in 1995, when a doctor told me bluntly that I would be very lucky to reach 45. Which was why it was probably not advisable to ride a mechanical bull…especially as it struggled to move, much to the concern of the operator!

I had experienced weight issues since the age of ten, littered with crash diets and bingeing that had led to this crossroads in my life. I started studying nutrition and medicine, spending hours reading complex medical books in an effort to find the reasons behind my inability to lose weight and keep it off. Most of it was double Dutch to be honest and I began taking notes in plain English so that I could understand better. I came to the conclusion that the medical profession did not actually want you to understand your body and health issues!

Once I knew how the organs and the operating systems of my body worked, including my brain which was key in my weight and health issues, and had a better understanding of my body’s nutritional needs, I set about losing weight. I knew that unlike in the past when I had rushed into every new fad diet that hit the media, I had to adopt a healthy and sustainable approach to the challenge by developing a project plan, in the same way I had for years in a business environment. As I worked through this project plan I also continued to study nutrition and medicine which I had now found completely fascinating.

After 18 months I had lost 154lbs, no longer required blood pressure medication, my blood sugar and cholesterol levels were normal and I felt at least ten years younger.

Me in 1998 after 154lbs weight loss

I have had some lapses in the last 25 years, usually due to being in stressful environments, but I have managed to pull myself back from regaining all the weight I had lost by reverting to my original project plan. Now at 67 I am at a healthy weight and still do not need any prescribed medication as all my key indicators are within normal ranges.

Read the complete weight loss guide: Weight Loss – Size Matters The Sequel

Risk Factors.

This leads directly into the identified key risk factors for all ages during the pandemic which include obesity, underlying health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory diseases such as COPD and heart conditions. Being deficient in Vitamin D for example has also been included in this list.

The most at risk members of our society are those over 65 years old, not just because they are more likely to have underlying health issues, but because the human body as it ages goes through some fundamental changes in structure and function.

For example, we are more likely to become less active and our lungs, which are the organs most impacted by a respiratory virus, stiffen and do not have the flexibility to work effectively enough to get rid of the infection.

There is also a likelihood of a suppressed immune system and that can be the result of a deficiency of essential nutrients. This happens when a person begins to eat less due to lack of activity and appetite, but also due to a less efficient digestive system. More older people have dental issues and opt for foods that are easier to eat and are missing components such as fibre. Stomach acid may be less and therefore food is not in the right format when it passes into the intestines to have nutrients extracted and passed into the bloodstream.

There is also a severe risk of Vitamin D deficiency in older members of our society who are less active and particularly those who are in care homes who have restricted access to the outside. This risk however, is not limited to the older generation as scientists have identified a high percentage of Covid – 19 patients are deficient in the vitamin.

The majority of men and women over 65 are also on a cocktail of prescribed medication that have side effects such as blood pressure pills, other heart medications and Statins for cholesterol. And whilst you should not stop taking any drugs that have been prescribed for you by your doctor, there is an opportunity that working with them, you could reduce your need for them over time.

One of the key issues facing us as we get older is inflammation within the body and is a result of our own immune system going into overdrive resulting in arthritis, myocarditis – inflammation in the heart resulting in breathing problems, inflammation in the small vessels in the lungs, water retention and in the kidneys resulting in high blood pressure. Inflammation in  the brain is also a cause of memory loss and dementia. I will look at this key issue in  more detail later in the series, and share some ways we can limit its influence on our health.

What I will cover in Project 101 – Resilience.

It is not my intention to repeat all the posts on weight loss, the immune system, digestive system, diabetes, the brain and the lungs in all their detail.

Instead the posts will be about making small changes over a period of time to improve both function and resilience of the body so that should you catch a virus, including Covid-19 you are better equipped to fight off the infection.

To back up the posts I am creating pages of the relevant series such as weight loss that you can read in full should you wish to find out more. This includes the entire Size Matters the Sequel series of 17 Chapters that I have put into one page that you can bookmark and read at your leisure. As we go through the project I will upload more pages on the other topics for you to access easily. You may well have read the posts in the last few years, but I hope putting them together in this way will make them easier to access for reference.

Among the topics I will be covering:

  • Weight loss and some hacks that helped me lose over 150lbs
  • Inflammation in the body and brain one of the leading causes of disease
  • Lung function improvement.
  • Immune system boosting
  • Vitamin D and its vital role in keeping our bodies safe.
  • Exercise – keeping moving and the body functioning.
  • Flexibility – not just in body but in mind.
  • Blood Pressure – we need it to pump blood around our bodies, but too high and it can be dangerous.
  • Type II Diabetes and Pre-diabetes – risk factors that are simple to reverse
  • The Brain – The control centre of the body and it needs to be treated with respect.
  • Stress and its impact on weight and major organs such as the heart.
  • Acidity and Alkalinity in the body and how are creating the perfect environment for pathogens.

Whether you need to lose 7lbs or 100lbs you need to know where you are now.

It is important to have a start point when you are planning to lose weight so that you have a road map to follow, with a destination that is attainable. I often hear clients say ‘I would just love to lose 10 kilos or 2 stone or 10lbs’. This is based not necessarily on the actual weight they need to lose but what they consider to be an acceptably achievable goal. To be honest you need to be a little more specific than this. You may only need to lose 7lbs or 100lbs or you may need to lose more to reach a healthy weight for your age and activity level.

There are two common methods of measuring your weight with regard to health and that is a straightforward weight/height/sex comparison and BMI or Body Mass Index. I believe that it is easier to manage and track your actual weight rather than focus on just BMI – certainly if you are a body builder and fit, determining your health with BMI is not relevant.

Most ideal weight profiles are derived from insurance company statistical tables. These tables however were produced nearly 60 years ago when physically we were shorter and our diet following the war years was still restricted for many people.

I don’t believe that these tables are appropriate today and if you take the ideal weights in that table and treat it as the minimum weight for your height then I believe that it is more realistic for this generation. It is a guideline only and the important factors are the indicators of how healthy you are internally as well as externally.

Of greater importance to me, are your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

As you lose weight it is a very good idea not to just look at the lbs lost and inches but also improvement levels in all of the key indicators such as BP, Blood Glucose, Cholesterol. If you have high blood pressure for example, every 14lbs you lose could relate to a drop of 10% in your blood pressure.  This is particularly important if you are taking BP medication and you should work with your doctor to bring you off medication when you BP had dropped to normal levels. Pharmacies very often offer these tests so that you can check your improvements every 6 weeks or so.

It is very satisfactory to see those numbers coming down to normal levels and it is as important as the weight lost. I will cover these in more detail as we go through the series.

Feed the body, don’t starve it.

I also do not believe in starving the body into submission – when I was studying to correct my own weight issues, I realised that despite being 24 stone I was suffering from malnutrition. Lots of calories but too few nutrients in my diet – hence mal–nourished. You have no idea how funny most of my overweight clients found that notion.

You will often hear the expression “starvation syndrome” which is where the body loses weight under famine conditions (crash diet) and then rebounds with extra weight when there is a time of harvest (when you start to eat normally again) I have always preferred to call this “nutritional deficiency syndrome” .

Some of the other important issues also need to be taken into account.

During your weight loss do you have plenty of energy and is your immune system functioning efficiently? Losing weight successfully involves a number of other factors apart from the food you eat, including exercise, willpower and your emotional involvement.

However, we do need that start point and I have a basic ready reckoner that you can adapt for your own physical build. I have used this for years for both myself and my clients and I have found it the easiest to combine both frame size and weight.

How much should you weigh?

There are a number of sites that will work out your frame size for you – it involves your wrist measurement and your height. Take your wrist measurement with a tape measure and plug in with your height. So for example.. I am 5ft 11inches and my wrist measures 6.5 inches which gives me a medium body frame.

Women: Height under 5’2″

Small = wrist size less than 5.5″
Medium = wrist size 5.5″ to 5.75″
Large = wrist size over 5.75″

Height 5’2″ to 5′ 5″

Small = wrist size less than 6″
Medium = wrist size 6″ to 6.25″
Large = wrist size over 6.25″

Height over 5′ 5″

Small = wrist size less than 6.25″
Medium = wrist size 6.25″ to 6.5″
Large = wrist size over 6.5″

Men: Height over 5′ 5″

Small = wrist size 5.5″ to 6.5″
Medium = wrist size 6.5″ to 7.5″
Large = wrist size over 7.5″

Source: Medline Plus

Working out your weight.

For medium framed women as the average. As a base, use 100lbs up to five foot and then 6lbs for every inch over that height. Modify by 5% either way if you have a light frame or heavy frame.

For medium framed men. As a base, use 106lbs up to five foot and then 7lbs for every inch over that height. Modify either way by 5% if you have a light frame or heavy frame.

Examples

 A woman who is a heavy frame and 5’ 6” would have an optimal weight of: 100lbs + (6lbs for every inch over 5ft) 36lbs = 136lbs – Add 5% for heavy frame = 6.8lbs

This gives an optimum weight of 142.8lbs, 10stone 2lbs or 67.7Kilos

A light framed man of 5’ 10” would have an optimum weight of: 106lbs + (7lbs for every inch over 5ft) 70lbs = 176lbs – Subtract 5% for light frame = 9lbs

This gives an optimum weight of 167lbs,  11stone 13lbs or 75.9Kilos.

Another motivating way to measure your progress is to take an honest (really honest) Before Photograph and then at set intervals along your path to health. Having the After Photo – framed and on display will help you keep you on target.

Here are just three of mine that marked my weight loss project.

Me at 330lbs — then after 100lbs lost….then 145lbs almost at the finish line.

I will be sharing more weight loss hacks over the next few weeks as part of  the series.

Get moving with Music Therapy

One of the perks of being a radio presenter was being asked to MC charity events and my job was to warm everyone up before the walk or race with some motivational music… over the course of these posts I will be sharing my playlist for those events and to help build your resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Give yourself a break after reading this post and get up and get moving. Ideally every two hours of inactivity should be followed by at least 15 minutes of activity.

If you are not particularly active at the moment then you can walk on the spot, but swing your arms in time to the music so that you activate your breathing. If you are a little bit more adventurous then take to the floor and have fun – Here is Bee Gees with Jive Talking thanks to beegees

Buy music by the Bee GeesAmazon US

I will also be offering to help anyone who wishes to have a review done of their current diet with a two week food diary analysis.  This might be useful if you need to loose weight or feel that you are not getting the full range of nutrients you need.

Here are the links to the pages that support the posts in the series

Weight Loss – Size Matters The Sequel
The Lungs
Stress
The Immune System and Vitamin D
The Digestive and Immune System
Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes

I hope you will join me again tomorrow but if you miss any posts they will be linked in the weekly round up next Saturday and also in a page in the main menu.  thanks Sally

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Have you felt the Emotional and Therapeutic Appeal of Music? by Balroop Singh


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Poet and author Balroop Singh is always a welcome guest here on Smorgasbord and has shared many posts in the past. This time I get to choose the posts from Balroop’s archives and since music is one of my loves… I have selected this post……

Have you felt the Emotional and Therapeutic Appeal of Music? by Balroop Singh

music-notes

Music speaks…it whispers sweet melodious sounds into our ears! Have you heard them?

Music attracts our attention, entices our emotions and transports us to a new world.

Have you seen that world?

Music does not need any interpretation…it can touch your heart and soul effortlessly to establish a profound connection.

Have you felt the connection?

Whatever the language or the notes, the communiqué of music doesn’t need any props. It flows like a stream…straight into our veins and mingles into our blood.

Even an infant responds to music, which provides enough fire to the speculative theories that music must have originated from the playful communication of a mother and a child.

Do you ever wonder where it came from?

Music must have been inspired by the spontaneous sounds of nature around us – the rustling of leaves, the whispering of pines, the rippling of rivers, the gurgling of waterfalls…the cooing of pigeons, the roaring of lions…

The sounds and rhythms that emanate from earth and sky, from mountains and rivers, from forests and seas must have stimulated the flow of musical notes.

First musical instrument is said to be the human voice – which can make a number of sounds like humming, whistling, clicking and singing.

“Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.” –Alphonse de Lamartine.

I have always felt the truth of these words…music has been my most natural refuge, my beloved book of literature… I could feel its emotive effect even as a child…I could speak to it, I could drown my sorrows in its ever-flowing strains and absorb all the wisdom from the lyrics.

It has always assuaged my lacerations, brightened my hours, added glow to my little joys and given wings to my fantasy flights.

Even now, whenever I feel like dropping out of this world, I go to my favorite music. All my dreams and reflections merge into those trills floating around me and I feel at ease.

The power of music transcends beyond just entertainment:

  • It elevates our mood.
  • It educates and inspires.
  • It enhances our creativity.
  • It increases our emotional sensitivity
  • It acquaints us with rhythm and harmony.
  • It makes us happy.
  • It relaxes and calms our mind and nerves.
  • It gives solace and serenity.
  • It is a natural healer.

Music therapy has been used for times immemorial and more recently for psychiatric disorders, medical problems, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, communication disorders, interpersonal problems and aging.

It is also used to improve learning, build self-esteem and reduce stress. Even plants respond to good music and grow better.

Whether it is traditional music or modern, all age groups have felt its power since the beginning of human existence.

Which music is good music?

Though it depends on your own choice and mood but good music, to my mind, leaves an eternal effect, it becomes ‘a bliss of solitude’…we wish to return to it again and again, to experience that calming effect.

Music that is rattling and foot tapping gives momentary joy, which wears off just like the modern intoxicants.

If you meet it just for entertainment, it is thrilling.

If you approach it for aesthetic pleasure, it is ecstatic.

If you seek spiritual solace from it, it is blissful.

Which kind of music do you like? I would love to hear your views.

Image credit: examinedexistence.com

©Balroop Singh

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Books by Balroop Singh

One of the recent reviews for Timeless Echoes

This book of poetry was amazing! I loved the sublime emotions that were expressed – those of young love, lost love, estranged love, motherhood, a mother’s pride, forgiveness, disillusionment, et al. Balroop Singh has the power over the poetry lovers soul and her poems are inspiring as well as therapeutic. I have found great counsel, hope, and peace in reading Balroop Singh’s book of poems entitled – ‘Timeless Echoes’. I would really like to stress here that Balroop Singh’s poems are really therapeutic and can aid in overcoming the monotony and banality of the modern materialistic world. Please read and cherish these poems and they will cure you of any heartache that you are going through. If you are a poetry lover and want to read something fresh with therapeutic overtones, read ‘Timeless Echoes’. If you are an ardent lover of sublime poetry, especially poetry which is ethereal, then this is the book for you. If you prefer poetry about love in all its forms with a touch of gentleness and forgiveness – a healing touch, then this is the book you should be reading. My favorite poems in this book were ‘Silent Echo’, ‘Eternal Wait’, ‘Eternal Love’, ‘My First Love’, ‘Do You Love Me’, ‘Love Changes’, ‘Illusional Calm’, ‘The Door’, ‘New Life’, ‘Your Eyes Say All’ and ‘They Are Not Born’. Liked the sounds and ‘feels’ of those poem titles then what are you waiting for? Ggo and pick up Balroop Singh’s ‘Timeless Echoes’ right now, and heal the scars both inner and outer. Support Balroop Singh and buy her book. Happy Reading to all!

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

Connect to Balroop Singh.

Blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BalroopShado
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emotional-Shadows/151387075057971
Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/balroops/

My thanks to Balroop for permitting me to browse her archives to share with you… we would love your feedback  thanks Sally.