MountainStar Health - April 09, 2019

The ORMC Losing It and Loving It weight loss group newsletter.

The ORMC/Heart Center "Losing It & Loving It" weight loss class and support group newsletter.

April 2019

April. Such a lovely month, albeit a bit soggy. New life budding, bursting, blooming and chirping everywhere. As the saying goes, "every cloud has a silver lining." Indeed, April illustrates this beautifully.

No rain, no flowers. Such a wonderful metaphor for life - no pain equals no growth or insights. The most enlightening and joyful times of my life have been after the most trying times. Enjoy the rain, and endure the pain, because it all brings the flowers. We observe Earth Day, Arbor Day, Easter and Passover this month.

In good health,
Jennifer James

Some people create their own storms and then get upset when it rains.


Success Story

We have a very inspiring Success Story this month. I twisted this person's arm to share their story, and they were kind to do so.

R. writes...

"I am a Vietnam Veteran, and I was obese for a long time — too many years. So I decided to change. Better health, eat better foods and one of the most important — exercise. That means walking, weights for the body all parts, tread mill, the challenge to change and live healthy.

You have to change the way you think about food and the condition of your body. I had to get into a routine every day of what I eat, and the days I exercise. I spend at least a 1.5 hours in the gym 3 to 4 days a week. That was a challenge. Some days I did not want to go. It stretched me to a new level and I learned about self-control.

I had to put down the food idol. I'm doing so much better now, and I've lost 25 pounds. My health is better, and I can move around like Superman (haha). A lot fewer aches and pains. I have had to buy new clothes, because my waist size dropped down a few inches.

I had to make better choices. And I did. I choose better foods now and exercise. You can do it. Take care of yourself."

"R" is being modest. This person also stopped needing the CPAP machine, eliminated all blood pressure medications and no longer suffers from migraine headaches. Fantastic job, "R"!

Brain Pain

For those of us who suffer from headaches, we know they are most unpleasant, and to be avoided if possible. As our Success Story portrays, losing weight can actually help decrease headaches, even migraine headaches.

A research team headed by Dr. Claudio Pagano, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Padova, Italy, reviewed 10 studies that included nearly 500 people who suffered from migraines. Any amount of weight loss seemed to lower the frequency, duration and intensity of migraines. It did not matter how the person lost weight, how much they weighed before or after weight loss, and the actual amount was irrelevant. What did matter was that any weight loss did seem to improve migraine headaches.

The reasons for this were not entirely clear, but what is good for the brain is obviously good for other parts of the body. I had a patient years ago with pseudotumor cerebri, which is when someone has high blood pressure inside the skull with no obvious cause (such as an actual tumor). If the person is overweight, the first line of treatment is weight loss. And that was her treatment: weight loss to relieve the headaches and intracranial swelling.

Excess weight affects our entire body, even what goes on inside our skull. Fewer and less intense headaches, or ridding ourselves of them completely, would be a dream-come-true for many. If you suffer from headaches, losing weight may be the solution. That is, after ruling out other possible causes for the headaches, such as alien surveillance or worse. If you needed just one more reason to get serious about taking care of your amazing body and losing some weight, this is it!

Understanding Pseudotumor Cerebri

Fewer Excess Pounds May Mean Fewer Migraines

Flex It!

When I first saw the term "Flexitarian Diet," I rolled my eyes. What kind of new wingding diet was this? Well, it is a very thoughtful approach to a way of eating that will sustain us all.

The earth's population is expected to hit 10 billion, up from 7.5 billion, by 2050. Given diminishing resources (such as land and fresh water), and the amount of said resources needed to raise/grow livestock and crops, the EAT-Lancet commission on Food, Planet and Health went to work to figure out how our dear Mother Earth can feed 10 billion in 2050. They looked at different diets, reducing food waste/losses at home and on the farm and improving crop yields.

They also made the assumption we would rely 100 percent on green energy by 2050. The commission found several ways that would offer a very healthy diet, with less environmental impact. The eating plan they devised was quite flexible, hence the name "Flexitarian Diet." Putting a pound of beef on the table requires vast amounts of water, land and crops to feed the animals to finally produce that pound of flesh. Compared to even pork, beef is by far the luxury item.

Pulses, or legumes (aka dried beans and peas), require a fraction of the water and land to produce a pound of beans. The "Flexitarian Diet" is mainly a whole-foods, plant-based diet (sound familiar?), but with specific amounts of animal products to lower the environmental load. For dairy products, one serving per day is allowed (5 ounces yogurt, or 1 cup of cow's milk or an ounce of cheese). For other protein foods, that is, poultry, eggs and fish, a 3-ounce cooked serving of poultry or fish, or an egg is also allowed. For red meat, that flexes in for the poultry/fish/egg option, but only once a week.

Nuts, seeds and their butters, along with the dried beans, are an integral part of the diet as the protein source for at least one meal a day. This is incredibly similar to the "Mediterranean Diet." It is a sustainable diet that can feed the planet. If we all ate the amount of animal products espoused by many faddish, low-carb diets, it would be catastrophic for the environment. And, we will run out of ways to feed all 10 billion of us by 2050. I am not preaching that we all turn into vegetarians, but get as close to this as you can. Let's be a little more thoughtful about how our food choices affect the greater good, and focus our efforts on eating more plant-based proteins.

A peanut butter sandwich, bean burrito or split pea soup work just fine and can take the place of animal-based meals. You can do this folks, we all can. I already eat this way and I am still alive to regale y'all about it.

Source: Liebman, Bonnie, The grandparents' diet, Nutrition Action Healthletter, p.3-6, March 2019

Mirror, Mirror

With all of the puddles forming this month from the rain, we will have ample opportunities to gaze at our reflection. An insightful way to look at our self, other than puddles, is to look at our "mirrors."

I can just hear Carole in one of the support groups ask, what does she mean by that? Hah. Think of it this way - our choice of friends, how we spend our money, how we present ourselves to the world, our jobs and our homes are all mirrors. All of these reflect back what is really going on inside of us. If you are chaotic on the inside, it will show up as chaos in your physical and personal life. If we love and value ourselves, we will make the right decisions for ourselves and our lives respond accordingly. I think of people whose lives are in disarray. Often times they end up in these predicaments because they made decisions that were not right for them, one after the next.

If we ignore the internal cues our physical bodies are sending us, such as "I'm tired," "This person makes my skin crawl," and "Avocados make my tongue itch," get ready for the consequences. If we ignore what our spirit wants, and operate under a false compass, again, watch out! If someone wants to be a teacher, and becomes an attorney, what do you think will happen? At one point in my life nothing was working.

It took some painful changes to get on the right track. If you are not happy with your life and what it says about you, what are you lying to yourself about? What personal modus operandi are you obeying that may not be best for you? What are you afraid of? Hard questions, I know. But if we want to live our happiest and most fulfilling lives, we need to look in those mirrors. If you want to explore this further, there are several resources listed at the end of this. So my friends, look at your life, what do you see?

Source: Hay, Louise, What I Believe and Deep Relaxation, Hay House Publications, available as an audio CD on Amazon or for audio download

Recipe: Apple Cider Vinaigrette

James, our Executive Chef here at ORMC, is obviously a whiz in the kitchen. He is sharing this easy recipe for a vinaigrette. Keeping the oil and vinegar from separating is a challenge when trying to mix these two ingredients together. Enter Dijon mustard (or any mustard for that matter). It has a lovely flavor and keeps these two elements from going their separate ways, kind of like a marriage counselor (haha). Also known as an emulsifier. Feel free to add some onion if you like.



Apple (cored and quartered) 1
Dijon mustard 1.5 Teaspoons
Honey 1.5 Teaspoons
Garlic 1 Clove
Salt 1/4 Teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper 1/4 Teaspoon
Apple cider vinegar 1/3 Cup
Dried herds (fresh optional) 1 Teaspoon
Vegetable or olive oil 2/3 Cup


  1. In a blender, combine apple, garlic, mustard, honey, salt, pepper, vinegar and herbs.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil until desired thickness while continuing to blend. It should coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  4. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Calories per tablespoon: 50

LILI Spring Class and Support Groups

Beginner "Losing It and Loving It" Class
Tuesdays, April 9 - June 25
6 - 7 p.m. (first class 6 - 7:30 p.m.)
Heart Center Conference Room

Register Or call (866) 887-3999

Spring Support Groups
Mondays, 2 - 3 p.m.
Tuesdays, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Free to all LILI graduates
Heart Center Conference Room