MountainStar Health - June 22, 2021
by Jennifer James

The Ogden Regional Medical Center / Heart Center, “Losing It & Loving It” weight loss class & support group newsletter


Summer hits us this month, sometimes like a sledgehammer with the heat. Some of us love this, others abhor it. But, adapt we must, we really have no choice. However, we do have a choice about our attitude. We can make life miserable or enjoyable based on our outlook. We all know this (I would hope), but it is one of those Universal Truths. We celebrate Father’s Day and the summer solstice this month.

In good health,
Jennifer James

Success story

I recently watched a motivational/commencement speech by Jim Carrey. Yes, that Jim Carrey. It was only 10 minutes long, but packed in a wise account of our human struggles and a more hopeful way of approaching our lives. It made such an impression on me that I’ve watched it several times. He encourages us to not see success as wealth, material possessions and fame, but rather having a positive impact on others. He sees this as the most valuable “currency”. That we all deal with fear, fear that “I’ll never be enough”. That we just need to ask for what we want in life, but let it come to us as it will, not as we expect. That we all have gifts to share with the world, and we need to let the light within us come through strong and bright. That we will fail, but it might as well be doing something we love. That life happens for us, not to us. That is just a sampling of what is in this video. It is well worth the 10-minute investment.

Do you really know…peanuts?

The peanut is one amazing plant! It flowers above ground and the pollinated flower grows into an embryo, which works its way underground (called “pegging”), where it grows into a peanut. Originating from South America, it requires no fertilizer, relatively low amounts of water, and “fixes” nitrogen from the air. Bacteria found in nodules on its roots help it do this, which creates food for itself and improves the soil. High in protein, fiber and healthy fat, the peanut is truly an amazing and eco-friendly plant. To learn more visit

Better than BMI?

A German study has shed more light on the shortcomings of using the BMI. To determine if people had “metabolically healthy obesity”, even though their BMIs were between 30 and 39, two large data bases of people living in the US and the UK were analyzed (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES) and the UK’s Biobank. They found some interesting results.

People can carry some extra weight without it increasing their risk of heart disease specifically. The definition of what is considered “metabolically healthy obesity” met these three criteria: systolic blood pressure <130, a waist-to-hip ratio of < 0.95 for women, and < 1.03 for men, and absence of type 2 diabetes. It did not hold up with a BMI of 40+. In the NHANES data, 40% of people considered obese were found to be “metabolically healthy”. In the UK data base, 20% of people were found in this category.

But, and this is a big but, (butt?), this may work with cardiovascular disease, but heavier people are at a higher risk for many forms of cancer, more complications from COVID, fertility issues, arthritis, high blood pressure and so on. Yes, the BMI has its shortcomings, and our bone and muscle architectures are different, so it’s not a great idea to generalize. However, waist to hip ratio takes into account body fatness, which BMI does not. What’s yours?

Minard, Jeff. (2021, May 7). A better definition of metabolically healthy obesity? Med Page Today.

Health wrecker

Oh, to be Queen for a Day, and make a decree that banned all sugary beverages from the land. I have seen unbelievable damage from these over my professional career. When I worked in Texas 20 years ago, I first realized the damage these drinks could do, with both pediatric and adult patients. A new study looked at sugary beverage consumption in 95k nurses (from the Nurses’ Health Study II, 1991-2015) as adults and when they were teens. They found the risk of early-onset colorectal cancer (EO-CRC) doubled with just 16 ounces or more per day of sugar-sweetened beverages. From their teen years, just one serving (8 ounces) of sugary beverage per day increased the risk of EO-CRC by 36%. Artificially-sweetened beverages, coffee, tea or milk lowered the risk. Teen girls are opting for these sugary drinks in place of milk, and consequently 80% of them do not consume adequate calcium. This is all very worrisome, as the skeleton gets denser and stronger during the teen years.

More bad news… one sugary beverage a day increased the risk of heart disease in women by 20%, compared to those who didn’t drink any. This was according to the ongoing California Teacher’s Study, which has tracked over 100k teachers since 1995. Need more reasons to avoid these? These drinks stress the pancreas and contribute to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, inflammation, a fatty liver and obesity.

Honestly, one of the single best things nearly anyone can do is avoid sugary beverages. If you don’t want to lose weight, take good care of your pancreas and liver, lower your risk of colorectal cancer and heart disease, or have a strong skeleton in your old age, drink at least one sugary beverage a day! Cheers!

Hur, Winjee et al. (2021, May 6). Sugar-sweetened beverage intake in adulthood and adolescence and risk of early-onset colorectal cancer in women. Gut.

Peterson, Andrea. (2021, May 3). Teen girls’ poor diets are worrying doctors. Wall Street Journal.

American Heart Association News. (2020, May 13). Even 1 sugary drink a day could boost heart disease, stroke risk in women.,them%2C%20according%20to%20new%20research.

The sky’s the limit?

As human beings living on Planet Earth, everything in the physical realm has a boundary, or a limit. Our earth is only so big, a day is only so long, tulips bloom when they bloom, and our physical bodies only need so much food. Yet, I encounter patient after patient who ignores this natural “law”. Clutter and overspending also come with this, again, not respecting healthy limits. Which leads us to the non-physical realm.

Difficulty in managing our “negative” emotions, such as loneliness, fear and anger, often drive ignoring our financial, living space and biological boundaries. We are literally trying to “fill ourselves up”. No one needs separate storage rooms for junk we buy and never use. Do we really need to eat all that cheese? Do we always need to max out our credit cards? Our own personal boundaries, such as needing respect and autonomy, have been violated if we chronically feel resentful and angry. We all have limits.

So, what am I getting at here? Respect what we need physically, and take no more. Deal with emotions in the emotional realm, not the physical realm. Set boundaries. Our dear planet has its limits too, and we are finally realizing this. When we take more than we really need, or give others more than we are comfortable giving, we are disregarding natural laws for limits, at our own peril. Please think about it.

Spicy peanut marinade and dipping sauce

Not your peanut butter sandwich! If you have never tried an Asian sauce with peanut butter, you are in for a treat. This versatile sauce can be used a number of ways. Try it on a baked potato, or hot cooked noodles. Use as a vegetable dip, or in a wrap. Place chunks of chicken, pork or shrimp in a Ziplock bag and marinate for an hour before grilling. It is NOT low calorie, but it is very flavorful. A little goes a long way.

  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter (peanuts or peanuts and salt only, no palm oil or sweeteners)
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey, brown sugar, or real maple syrup
  • Juice from 1 small lime
  • ½ teaspoon or more red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Whisk the above ingredients with ¼ cup of water to start, adding more water as needed until you reach the desired consistency. An additional tablespoon of water seemed just right for a spread or dipping sauce. You might want more for a marinade. Enjoy!

Calories: Full recipe 870 calories, ~45 per tablespoon with 5 tablespoons of water in recipe

June Support Groups

Our support groups will start meeting in the new Medical Center Plaza at Ogden Regional Medical Center, which is directly north of the hospital, as of June 14th. Address is 425 East 5350 South. We will meet in the conference room located in the new Heart Center, on the second floor, Suite 200. As of this writing, you will be screened upon entering the Heart Center, and will need to wear a mask as usual.

  • Mondays, 2:00pm-3:00pm
  • Tuesdays, 4:30pm-5:30pm

In person or via Webex. If you want to join us remotely, please respond to this email and I will forward the password and meeting number. Please let me know which support group you plan on attending, as the Webex access numbers are different.

Stop asking
why they keep doing it,
and start asking
why you keep allowing it.

tags: lili