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Health and Beauty

Food, Health and Beauty, Wellness

The Vitamin Dilemma

VitaminsWe’re all trying to be healthy and extend our lives, which might be the reason why I ended up at the vitamin store. But actually, it was more because I have a friend, Joe, who is 85 years old but looks 60, jogs 9 miles a day and is in incredible shape—and also because my birthday is looming and I panic every time August rolls around.

One day, I asked, “Joe, what vitamins do you take?” The guy is a ball of energy, married to a much younger woman and just generally happy and healthy. So the other day, Joe sent me his list of nutrition advice and daily vitamins and supplements, which begins with a handful of toasted nuts (8-10) and a bite of Baker’s unsweetened 100 percent chocolate (1/4 square) first thing in the morning. So, armed with his list, I finally made it to the vitamin store in the hopes of extending my life and enhancing its quality beyond my impending birthday.

Joe told me that I could easily administer the nutrients on his list with my protein drink in the morning, like he does on arising. So after perusing the shelves and talking to the saleswoman in the store, I ended up spending $187 dollars in Spiru-Tein powder, optimized carnitine and Life Extension’s cruciferous veggie extract, along with the calcium and magnesium that also was recommended by Dr. Oz as an absolute must. When I got home, I had three jars of vitamins and had no idea what they were for—the most expensive being $31.59.

Ironically, my mother is 94 years old and all she takes is one multivitamin a day and the occasional aspirin. This new regimen is much more foreboding, it seems. But there’s no way I’m going to eat broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower all the time, so for now I’ll stick with the cruciferous veggie extract and the daily juices. Wish me luck.

Health and Beauty

Lean and Keen in 2013: The Year of the Hands


I have decided that this is definitely going to be the year of the hands.

I’ve never had particularly attractive hands and, yes, I ignore them and hardly ever use hand cream, but why bother?  They work, which is good, but they’ve never been my best body part. However, I just caught a glimpse of my hand on the shoulder of my grandchild in a Christmas photo and, honestly, it looks like The Claw. Along with the thin skin and ropey veins are what look like darkened freckles (from years in the sun), the dreaded brown spots and the red spots—also from the sun. And now a bump on my thumb joint, too. Could be a cyst or arthritis—I’ll have it checked out.

I’ve started tearing out articles from magazines and newspapers regarding what can be done, and it’s amazing what treatments are available for hands. A New York dermatologist advertises the Ruby laser for $500.  Some women get injections of filler to plump out the hands—hmmm. A local dermatologist advertises removal of the veins.  Doesn’t sound promising, as the skin is still the same translucent, thin skin that would leave us looking like a biology project in the chapter on circulation once the veins are removed.

My nails keep breaking, but long ago I gave up the “sculptured, silicone nails.”  Now there is something new, less damaging, called Shellac.

My feeling is that anything that requires a special drying lamp and is instantly dry to the touch can’t be that good for you. Polish has to be soaked off. I’m sure it’s not as bad as the silicone, but the nails don’t conceal the hands.

Neil Diamond sang about hands in “Sweet Caroline”:

Touching hands,
Reaching out,
Touching me,
Touching you.”

I don’t want someone to cringe when I reach out, after all.