Last flight of the Concorde

The last flight of the Concorde was October 24, 2003. Believe it or not, there is a generation out there that doesn’t even know what Concorde was about. I was born in a time that promised the future of flight and we had it at Mach 2.04 – New York to London in 3.5 hours. Coming back home on the London to New York route you could arrive in the Big Apple two hours before you left London…think about that.

Today that flight takes 6.5+ hours. The future was more than 12 years ago.

The Concorde was an engineering marvel but wasn’t without problems. It flew so high (60,000 feet) there were concerns about radiation exposure, it flew so fast it had heating concerns, it devoured fuel, and the terrible crash in July 2000 at Gonesse, France eventually took it out of service.

concord
Concord leaving London

I saw a Concorde take off from Heathrow and it sounded like two F-15s at afterburner at the same time.

I’ve linked some videos to show how awesome the Concorde was.

The Pros, Cons, and Odds of getting a Flu Shot

When I worked in Public Health and was getting my annual flu shot, I heard some employees discussing reasons why they should not get the flu vaccine. One girl was pregnant – she was worried about the baby, another was at the tail end of a cold, but the reason that really got my attention was the guy who said he didn’t want to contract Guillain-Barre Syndrome. First of all, I had to research that one. Hadn’t even heard of it. That got me thinking about the pros and cons of getting a flu shot.

The Pros

Flu vaccines reduce the risk of catching the flu. Some years are better than others. 2014 was not a good year; 2015 & 2016 were better.

You might not even get the flu; 6%-7% of adults get the flu each year. Influenza is actually rarer than you might realize.

The flu shot protects you against more than one strain of the virus – there are millions by the way.

The Cons

Getting a flu shot does not guarantee you won’t get the flu, kind of the same way getting auto insurance doesn’t guarantee you won’t have an accident.

Protection is not immediate – it takes a while to kick in, like flood insurance.

If you get the flu it might take a week or two of your life to recover.

The Odds

Roughly 40,000 people per year die in auto accidents in the United States. That makes the odds 1 in 6,700.
Seems to me if you are concerned with complications or death from a flu shot you wouldn’t have to worry because you would never be able to overcome the fear of death by driving to get the shot in the first place.

The odds of getting struck by lightning are 1 in a million.

The odds of dying from a bee or wasp sting is 1 in 6.1 million. Not really sure how this relates, just thought it was a cool stat.

Oh yeah, I don’t want to forget the autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome. On the high end, there is a 1.6 to 1 million chance of getting it from a flu shot. The odds of getting GBS from an influenza infection are approximately 17 in 1 million.

I think the odds are in your favor. I’ll leave you with this helpful guide to determine if you need a flu shot.

Do I need a flu jab?
Do I need a flu jab?

5 Reasons to Visit Scotland

The Scenery

Kyle of Tongue
Kyle of Tongue

Summer in Scotland isn’t a dream vacation for some; it rains often and doesn’t get very warm, however, it’s one of the greenest places in the world – it is so green you’ll think you’ve discovered a landscape painted a new undiscovered shade of green. The North Coast is cool with briny North Atlantic air so clean it nearly stings your nostrils. On clear days you can see mountains 50 miles away – it is truly big sky country where red sandstone bedrock drops off abruptly into the North Sea revealing spectacular headlands, hidden beaches, and sea cliffs over 600 feet tall.

Thor's throne
Dave on Thor’s throne

Seabirds live here by the thousands including: puffins, fulmars, skuas, cormorants, and arctic terns. In the Highlands, purple heather covered mountains rise above straths and glens containing herds of red deer, sheep, wild cats, and the occasional golden eagle.

Bettyhill beach
Bettyhill beach
Westerdale Mill
Westerdale Mill

Peat stained burns join to form lochs and rivers with good numbers of salmon and brown trout. Sometimes you just want to sit down and watch it all.

The People

Johnny Duncan
Johnny Duncan

It’s amazing how well traveled and worldly the British are and nearly everyone in Scotland is friendly. Of course, you can find a grumpy prawn every now and then, but they seem to be fewer and further between here.

Friendly Chip shop owner
Friendly Chip Shop owner

People will say hello and are quite happy to speak to a “Yank.” Don’t worry if you can’t understand a thing they say, especially in southern parts – that goes for the U.S as well. Scots relish their distinct and sometimes painful sounding accents. Sometimes I just watch when people speak and think, “that’s gotta hurt.” Once you get in the groove of understanding Scots, no other accent will sound better.

The Food

For decades, Britain has suffered a stereotype of bad food. This is the furthest thing from the truth. The larder of Scotland is second to none – the bad rap has come from preparation. Deep frying is still a national obsession, however, all the excellent foods available can be cooked any way you like. Just ask.
But I say when in Rome…

Fish & Chips
Fish & Chips
Thurso butcher
Thurso butcher
Thurso fishmonger
Thurso fishmonger

Most of the food available from butchers and fishmongers is local. Butchers can trace their beef back to the county and sometimes the farm of origin. Fishmongers receive what is fresh and in season. It all comes together for some fantastic eating.

The Whisky

Dalwhinne Distillery
Dalwhinne Distillery

Single Malt Whisky is made in a single distillery from malted grain. There are distilleries all over Scotland, but the largest concentration is in the Spey region. The air around an active distillery is magical – malted grain and wort hang heavy in the nose. The maturation warehouses, where they age the whisky also smell wonderful with the angel’s share evaporating skyward. Tours of distilleries are quite fun and end with samples of the spirit and some good gift shops. My favorite distillery tours are the Macallan, Clynelish and Highland Park in the Orkney Islands.

Scottish Pub
Scottish Pub

The Driving

Right up front you know things are different, the steering wheel is on the other side of the car. You’re shifting a manual transmission with your left hand. There are roundabouts everywhere. Driving in the UK is quite a challenge but really fun as well.

Watch your speed over there, they have speed cameras and remember NO turning on red at intersections. This site provides some great driving tips.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186216-c9626/United-Kingdom:Driving.Tips.For.Visitors.html

Overall, British drivers are quite good. They have comprehensive driver training and tend to follow the rules – there are some nuts on the road just not as many as in the U.S. It is best to have a good navigator in the passenger seat to help in the big cities. I’ll finish with the ultimate driving link. Enjoy the views.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkAT82-R0S8

5 Supplements You Need to Take Now

What are Supplements?

The definition of supplement is: “something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.” In this case the “something’ is your health and supplements add nutritional value to your diet. You know I believe Health equals Preparedness so taking supplements and eating high quality food ensures your body gets everything it needs to stay healthy during times of stress, intense physical activity, and to ward off sickness.

These are the five supplements you need to take now.

Magnesium (Mg)

Magnesium element
Magnesium element

Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element on Earth and according to The National Institutes of Health (NIH); it is essential for 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body. Translation – Magnesium makes things happen: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation and many other important things.

NIH also says, 75% of us are deficient in Magnesium. One of the problems affecting even those who eat lots of leafy green stuff is soils are commonly depleted of Mg so the plant doesn’t get enough. It’s a vicious cycle that has an easy fix. Keep eating your veggies and remember these Mg rich foods: pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, quinoa, and black beans.

Magnesium needs increase in direct proportion with stress, so a good supplement can help. I take 500 milligrams of Magnesium Citrate at night and on top of all the other benefits – it helps me sleep better.

 Vitamin D3

Vitamin-D
Vitamin-D from sun

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states, our bodies actually produce Vitamin D from exposure to the sun and 20-30 minutes of no sunscreen swimsuit exposure will do the trick. Unfortunately, most of us are inside too much for this to happen or wouldn’t be caught dead in a swimsuit. Also, as we get older our bodies become less efficient at Vitamin D sun synthesis – bummer.

Vitamin D strengthens your immune system, helps prevent bone loss, and reduces inflammation. Some foods that contain Vitamin D are fatty fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and tuna – be mindful of mercury), milk, eggs, and beef liver.

A good D3 supplement should be taken with food and provide about 2,000 IU. I get a lot of sun exposure living in Florida so I don’t supplement this.

 Omega-3 (Fish Oil)

Fish oil
Fish oil capsules

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and the fatty fish listed above. They contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that the Mayo Clinic says have been found to lower heart disease, lower triglycerides, and reduce inflammation. Some studies suggest it can lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s.

If you eat fatty fish 3 times a week you’re probably getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately most of us don’t even eat fatty fish 3 times a month, so a good supplement is needed. Try to take 500-1000 milligrams daily.

 B Complex Vitamins

B-vitamin sources
B-vitamin sources

The B complex vitamins are:

B1 (thiamin)

B2 (riboflavin)

B3 (niacin)

B5 (pantothenic acid)

B6 (pyridoxine)

B7 (biotin)

B9 (folic acid)

B12 (cobalamin)

Dr. Julian Whitaker informs, “They are involved in everything from cognitive function and mood to energy production and heart health.” He also shares that B vitamins help you stay mentally sharp, keep bones strong, preserve vision, and boost energy.

Take them to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine. Good food sources for B vitamins include: milk, meat, liver, whole grains, nuts, eggs, fruits, and leafy veggies.

 Multivitamin

Multivitamin
Multivitamin – oh yummy

Taking a multivitamin is a good way to ensure getting many of the trace vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you might be missing. I take one every other day.
This NPR article http://n.pr/1Kc61lm makes a good case for taking supplements but leaves the reader with this, “there is no absolute conclusive evidence that multivitamin supplements prevent serious disease.” I ask – are you going to wait for conclusive evidence?

7 Tips to Prevent Wasted Time in Emergency Preparedness

1. Maintain your fitness

My Preparedness priority. If you are not fit, the rest is just window dressing. You can have all the supplies you would ever need but if you can’t walk 3 miles with ease – I would recommend refocusing your priorities. This is the hardest aspect of Preparedness because it is the most painful. But this pain has a big payoff. If you are in an emergency situation the amount of extra work that needs to be done is shocking. Add not having A/C or heating and you quickly get the picture.

2. Do not store water in plastic milk jugs

It’s the perfect measure – 1 gallon with a handle. Unfortunately, you can’t properly clean that jug out and it’s more flimsy than you could imagine. The last thing you need in an emergency is contaminated water or leaking containers.

If you must go low cost, use 2-liter soda bottles.

3. Store as much water as you can safely

You don’t have to go to the store and buy cases of Evian – although it is great water. You can use 5-gallon water containers that will weigh in at 40 lbs. full. That’s a good weight for most to handle easily. Of course, you can always go much bigger than that if you have a basement. When I lived overseas, the landlord had a 2,000-liter stainless steel reservoir in the garage – nice.

4. Preparedness is more than storage

Preparedness is a mindset. The goal is to always be Aware – put it on the back burner where it should always be simmering. Don’t make it the absolute all-time priority. You have to enjoy your life.

5. Preparedness is more than guns

Being prepared is way more than having an arsenal with 10,000+ rounds of ammo. Some consider this the pinnacle of preparedness – I don’t. I’m also not a hypocrite. As retired military I’ve shot my share and have my favorites, so should you. With a minor search, you will find a bewildering array of articles on which weapon, make, and caliber is best. Do your homework and shoot me an email if you need help with some choices. I go with the basics and work much harder on my gardening/foraging skills than my marksmanship.

6. Read and read some more

Studying is critical for emergency preparedness. There are numerous venues of study: books, magazines, the Internet-of course, and training. Knowing about Preparedness is a very powerful tool. Get the basics down first: Water, Fire, Shelter. You would be amazed at how hard it can be to make a fire when you want to and how easy it is when you don’t.

We all have our weaknesses –mine is cold weather survival. What’s yours?

wasted time http://some.ly/9ut5kK
wasted time http://some.ly/9ut5kK

7. Don’t obsess

Finally, this ties into #3, keep Preparedness on your mind wherever you are but don’t let it take over. Notice things, be Aware and enjoy yourself.

Why You Should Reduce Soy Consumption

I want to say up front that this post centers on the work of Jill Castle and Beatrice Hunter. They’re both food experts and have interesting things to say.

This year I tried to stop eating soy and I’ve now come to the conclusion if you live in the U.S. it is nearly impossible without drastic measures – all I’ve really done is reduce consumption.

It’s amazing how many foods I’ve had to abandon to do this.

Corporate food producers continue to encourage us into believing soy is some sort of health food. Many still enjoy a smoothie with soy protein or a soy protein bar before a workout – unaware of information showing that most soy products have a negative impact on our health.

Soy is an increasingly popular ingredient in more foods sold in supermarkets, with much of it in products where you would least expect to find it.

Soybeans are one of the largest Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the US, second only to corn.

soy products
Look at how many products contain soy.

Food and Ingredients to Avoid on a Soy-Free Diet

This list was created by Jill Castle, a food allergies expert. http://jillcastle.com/

These foods often contain soy. You should be cautious about eating these foods if you are unable to get a complete ingredient list.

  • Asian cuisine (Korean, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, etc.)
  • Baked goods and baking mixes
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Candy
  • Cereal – say it ain’t so.
  • Chicken (raw or cooked) that is processed with chicken broth
  • Chicken broth
  • Chocolate – sorry ladies
  • Deli meats
  • Energy bars, nutrition bars
  • Imitation dairy foods, such as soy milks, vegan cheese, or vegan ice cream – you shouldn’t be eating imitation crap anyway.
  • Infant formula
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise – oh no, not mayo! Thank goodness there are alternatives w/o soy.
  • Meat products with fillers, for example, burgers or sausages
  • Nutrition supplements (vitamins)
  • Peanut butter and peanut butter substitutes
  • Protein powders
  • Sauces, gravies, and soups
  • Smoothies
  • Vegetable broth
  • Vegetarian meat substitutes: veggie burgers, imitation chicken patties, imitation lunch meats, imitation bacon bits, etc.

The Downside of Soybean Consumption

Beatrice Trum Hunter wrote “The downside of soybean consumption”

http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/downside-soybean-consumption-0 it thoroughly explains soybean consumption with some dated but diverse references. I’ve pulled some interesting excerpts below.

Soy consumption is promoted vigorously and despite many alleged benefits, there is a downside which is being ignored.

Anti-Nutrients

The raw soybean contains numerous antinutrients. These antinutrients interfere with the absorption of minerals from your diet.

Soy is not the only food with these – it’s just a strong supplier. Kale and cruciferous veggies have them as well.

Although processing can reduce these antinutrients, it does not eliminate them.

The raw soybean contains phytic acid, which binds and prevents mineral absorption (especially zinc, calcium, and magnesium).

Phytic acid is present in grains, thus, vegetarians who depend on soybeans and many soy-containing products, as well as phytate-containing grains, are at even higher risk of deficiencies of these minerals.

Phytates are present in plant foods but not in animal foods.

These various anti-nutrients present in the raw soybean can be reduced somewhat by proper heat treatment or by sprouting. The only satisfactory method known at present to deactivate these anti-nutrients is by use of traditional fermentation. The fermentation process renders the nutrients in soybeans more available and digestible.

Fermented Soy

Unfortunately, the fermentation process is used with only a few soybean products, and ones that are not especially familiar in American cuisine, nor readily available. The main fermented soybean products are tempeh (a soybean-based entree) and miso (a soybean paste used in soups and sauces).

Tempeh and miso are available in many health/natural food stores in the United States. Because miso is used merely as a flavoring, the only fermented soybean food that is an acceptable dish is tempeh.

Contrary to popular notions, soybean products such as tofu and bean curd—familiar and available to Americans—are not fermented.

Isoflavones

Soybeans, even processed ones, have anti-thyroid properties. The estrogenic isoflavones (particular plant pigments) in soy—genistein and daidzein—are much touted for their health benefits. What is unpublicized is that they are anti-thyroid agents. Individuals who consume soybean products habitually (the recommendation currently in vogue) may encounter long-range thyroid disturbances.

Even at exceedingly low levels, hormones can exert profound biological effects, either beneficial or detrimental.

The estrogenic isoflavones in soy are being promoted enthusiastically as health promoters. Although they appear to prevent breast cancer if supplied early, they may promote breast cancer at a later stage in life. Both human and animal studies suggest that soy may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Protein

Protein isolates from soy are used in powder mixes intended for meal-replacement drinks. These isolates are obtained by means of a high-temperature process that denatures the protein extensively.

In its damaged form, the protein is rendered low in nutritional value. Soy protein (and other protein isolates) cause negative calcium balance in humans and other animals and can contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

Soy protein isolates are still high in mineral-blocking phytates, thyroid-depressing phytoestrogens, and potent enzyme inhibitors.

Soy Milk

Soy “milk” is used as a cow’s milk replacer, and is marketed for the general population. Soy milk is not the equivalent of milk from humans (or from cows, goats, or sheep).

soy oil
watch that hydrogenated oil

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is likely to be partially hydrogenated. This processing results in the formation of undesirable, unhealthy trans fatty acids in the oil, and in food products made with soybean oil. To date, the vital information about trans fatty acids is not included in the “Nutrition Facts” panel of food labels.

Soybean oil, as well as other soybean fractions, also may be from genetically altered soybeans.

I believe my reduction of this particular product had an impact on my cholesterol numbers.

Soy Allergy

At present, soy is among the major food allergens in the American diet. Individuals of all ages have developed soy allergies, attributable to the proliferation of soy and soy constituents in many commercially formulated products.

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a health claim for soy, many new soy-containing products have flooded the marketplace.

Infants fed soy milk formulas in order to avoid cow’s milk allergy, frequently develop allergy to soy. As soy is promoted aggressively and is available in increasing numbers of food and beverage products, the numbers of soy-allergic individuals are likely to increase, from lifetime over-consumption.

Reducing Soy

It is difficult to avoid soy and soy constituents unless one chooses basic foods and avoids processed ones. Even then, some soy gets into the diet, indirectly, from soy constituents in the feed of farm animal and farmed fish (in aquaculture).

harvesting soybeans
Harvesting soybeans while jamming to Ozzy in the A/C

$$$

FDA’s approval of the health claim for soy protein was in response to a petition by a leading soy producer. The soybean lobby exerts powerful clout. In addition, food and beverage processors favor soybean use because it is a low-cost filler, extender, and replacer in foods for humans and in feed for animal. It is a cost cutter that swells profits.

In view of the overall evidence against soy, is the health claim justified? Previous health claims have been approved in response to commercial interests and similarly based on highly selective evidence.

One critic, Tom Valentine, observed in True Health that “no other dietary staple has so many anti-nutrient drawbacks as soy. Conversely, no other food has so many public relations firms and lobbyists working for it.”

 Hmmm, soy for thought.

Corsair Lifestyle