Cholesterol – why all the hate?

Cholesterol – why all the hate?

What do the numbers 27, 46 and 1 have in common? These are the amounts of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen tied up in one tiny molecule of Cholesterol. If you are an animal or a human it would help to know that this molecule is absolutely essential to life. It helps keep stuff inside your cells and keep other stuff outside your cells. It gives structure to the cells and lucky for you it is very malleable, which means your cells can change shape. This is kind of important for movement for example. Cholesterol is also used in helping nerve fibers conduct electrical impulse. They form part of the myelin sheath that surround nerve fibers. Some of the fastest nerve fiber communication has been measured in the nerves that help you sense and evade danger. In some of these nerves the velocity has been measured to about 120 meters per second. That’s the equivalent of traveling the distance of a football field in one second. Cholesterol is also used to make steroid hormones, bile acids and vitamin D. These help you reproduce, deal with stress, absorb fats and calcium, magnesium and zinc.

A plant doesn’t make cholesterol. Instead, its cell walls are made of cellulose. That is what gives that delicious crunch when you bite into fresh lettuce.

So if cholesterol is so good for you, how did it get such a bad rap?


 

What do 8K, 1.5 Mil and 1 Bil have in common? That is how many people die each year from cardiovascular disease, the amount of people who have a heart attack or stroke each year and how much money is spent PER DAY on diseases related to our tiny friend the cholesterol molecule.

Money is spent on medicine, surgeries, diagnostic testing and some to pay the doctors who try to help people with these diseases. One of the most lucrative specialties for doctors to go into is Cardiology. Those are the doctors that show up before the nurses in the morning and leave after them in the evening.


As a primary care doctor I get to see a multitude of patients with diseases related to cholesterol. The problem is that our bodies can’t handle the amount of cholesterol we ingest. The body actually loves cholesterol so much that it smothers itself to death with it. The body naturally plans ahead, it will store excess fat just incase a long winter or dry season breaks out where food is scarce. This survival mechanism works overtime when we live in an abundance of food.


So what do we do? We have vilified the poor little cholesterol molecule. We have declared a war on it. But, we are losing. We are losing this battle fast. The numbers are getting worse every year. Obesity is increasing at a rapid pace. Heart attacks and strokes multiply.


We found some help in research. Certain medications (called Statins) have been developed to help lower cholesterol levels. Through research we have discovered other risk factors that contribute to strokes and heart attacks. Here’s how they did it.

Researchers took millions of people and sorted them in two categories. Those who have had a stroke or a heart attack (MI) and those who haven’t.

Then they looked at the stroke/MI group and divided them up further into categories like tobacco use, weight, height, sex, race, aspirin use, statin use.

The results were profound.

We found that smoking significantly increases your risk. Uncontrolled blood pressure and having diabetes also made a huge difference.

The American Heart Association put all this together in a convenient calculator in an attempt to predict the risk of you having one of these catastrophic events. Check it out. Stroke / Heart Attack Calculator


So what to do…

Stop smoking, control your blood pressure and diabetes.

Exercise daily

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables

Find within you the tiny little bit of willpower that can be fostered and kindled, fueled and coddled, to grow to a powerful force of life changing capacity, to burn strong inside you to resist the endless temptation of giving in to your natural urges to settle for your comforts. Push back on your urges and your life will deliver in abundance.

Good luck my friend.

Marthinus Zeeman

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A Hero’s Journey

A Hero’s Journey

What life is like on the other side

the side of freedom and joy

what life is like on this side

is the same but gained by choice

 

A fellah found joy, so let’s follow

listen closely and learn from the,

free your mind and let me wallow

and show you a Hero’s journey

…..

A baby was born

A king was scorned

Not the son he’d hoped for came

 

A heart so torn

A mother was warned

The fate of the child was lame

…..

 

Born with one small leg

unable to grab his threads

lame he was labeled

and then

 

He grew in body but not in mind

a blind soul he failed to find

his virtue ruled by vice

and so loosing control of his mind

 

Shunned from the loving light

the warmth turned into a fight

cold and waddling at night

through dust he lost his might

 

A strange woman appeared

in need of a hand

He helped she gave thanks

Kneeled down to write in the sand

 

Let your mind start to wallow

forget the past and tomorrow

live for your life the only one

 

work for yourself

find a friend to help

find your own light in the sun

 

forgive yourself

preserve your health

help those in need of someone

….

so he started to lay low, quietly retreat

weeding and planting good seed

made friends with the ancients

as he began to read

 

faced at the foot of an enormous mountain

started to climb to find something

seeking to find the life giving fountain

his virtues growing and counting

….

the poor legged boy

became the greatest joy

of the people he was able to aid

 

the poor legged dog

became the king’s rock

a hero’s journey was made

…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Disney bought Pixar for 7 bil

Why Disney bought Pixar for 7 bil

Pixar was the first company to produce an award winning full length computer animated movie. They experienced enormous success with their first film, Toy Story. Woody and Buzz are as much a part of our culture as any could imagine. After Toy story came more films with one success after another. Maybe Disney bought this company to suppress competition but I think it goes much deeper than that.

Some of the most successful Disney films revolved around the same theme. In my mind the Disney classics consist of Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, later came Lion King, Aladdin and so on. These were some of the highest grossing films. Most of these films are about love. Love is strong, love can conquer evil, love can break magic, love can heal.

A real shift was needed and it came. The top of the Box Office was waiting patiently for a new contender, someone to break away from the theme of Love.

Pixar stepped up to the plate. With a record streak seen by none before they dominated the Box Office. They brought a fresh new genre to the plate and have been hitting home runs since.

Life lessons learned on the Hero’s journey became the dominating theme. Every Pixar movie revolves around these two themes. The only love story so far was between two robots, and even that was intertwined by a theme on the journey.

Disney couldn’t stand it and finally the two giants collided. It was very nerve wrecking for the staff at Pixar to be bought out. Fortunately Steve Jobs and John Lasseter protected the Pixar staff and they were able to continue working freely and creatively. Here read the book. The difference was that now they could do so with a multibillion dollar movie making machine behind them.

The collaboration brought us treasures of movies. The newest Moana, a perfect example of the Hero’s Journey. A young girl becomes the hero when she saves the entire planet. Empowering woman became another central theme. In Zootopia the feeble bunny becomes a police officer and solves a New York equivilant animal city’s biggest crime. These movies are loaded with cultural and deep philosophical questions.

These new themes promote human development, self improvement and helping others. They promote growth and prosperity earned by taking risk and putting yourself on the line. They encourage young girls to be independent, strong and courageous. They advise to help your fellow human being.

I am Doctor Zee

What’s the meaning

What’s this feeling

What is it I am to know

Why this thought creeping

What am I seeing

What seed I am to sow

The question that looms

What to do

Without an answer soon

Only time will tell,

Depends on how bold

My story may unfold

I am here to tell

When I finally figure out

How to become rich

I’ll pay you my dues

No doubt

Share my wealth

To help your health

Is my goal no doubt

So share with me

Your secrets to see

To help save you

And me.

How to choose

In a recent post I urged us to try and choose better actions. When confronted with different choices to try our best, and lean toward the choice that will have the most desirable long term outcome. Even if it means we have to work harder or give up something in return. By choosing the tougher choice we accept that we will have to face some type of discomfort for a little while. That is, if we are trying to reach a goal. Feeling hungry is a discomfort when we are trying to lose weight. The discomfort of not buying another piece of clothing or guitar accessory. To give in to the discomfort one would choose instant satisfaction.  Consider making decisions that lead to slow long term results as opposed to instant satisfaction. Exercise a little every day. Try to eat less fatty food every day. These are small choices that over time lead to drastic changes in your weight.

What about other discomforts?

When we are faced with opposition at the work place or with our family or friends, do we resort to our animalistic behavior of cowering in fear or reacting in rage? Or do we Control our emotions and think about the problem constructively?
It comes down to our human ability to consider the options, the possible outcomes of each and then to choose the better option.

This is called problem solving.

I’ve been trying to teach my 3 year old this skill. Instead of asking she will cry for things. I tell her, if you are hungry tell me what you want. If you want to go pee tell me if you need help. If you want to cry let me know so I can put you in the guest bedroom to do so. Then I can tell she thinks about the options for a second and stops crying and tells me she wants milk. That’s problem solving. Taking your options or choices and predict each outcome then choose the most favorable.

You might ask, how would I know if this or that will be the right choice?

You will just have to trust your gut and choose one. If it’s that difficult to choose, then making a choice is at least better than not. You have to accept that sometimes you won’t make the right choice and live with the consequences.

Here’s the trick though.

As long as you learn from those choices. Instead of calling them bad choices call them teaching choices because they teach you lessons.  Always try to To find the lesson taught to you by Life. Life teaches us lessons everyday, we just have to look for them.

Look only to your past when trying to learn from it.

Hopefully it wouldn’t take several mistakes to learn these lessons. That’s why it’s important to seek advice from those before you. Read books or talk to your leaders or elders. Watch YouTube videos, especially interviews with those who have made life a success. In those interviews you’ll get first hand explanations of how those before you did it.

So go from here my friend and consider your choices, but do something different, actually DO one of those options. Start now because in a typical day you may face hundreds of these.

As long as you are moving you have a better chance of moving in the right direction.

Marthinus Zeeman

 

Seasons will change

Seasons will change

Remember where you came from

Remember what you’ve become

It’s okay not to belong

Keep building your own kingdom

 

Every day when you wake

Breathe deep and seize the day

Count back from five

Do not delay

Forget the pain and ache

that’s life I say

 

Think and stare through the floor

Gather your courage,

And make the day yours

 

This one life given to you

Don’t waste it, don’t snooze

Let your success soothe

pain endured and soon

 

Seasons will change

And time moves on

Seek and strive on

You’ve got many to prove wrong

 

Creators, a correction

IMG_2651

Yesterday I wrote an article stating that time is the only thing we cannot create. Any physicist, especially a man named Julius Robert Mayer, will consider this blasphemy. Back in 1842 he created a law stating otherwise. The law of conservation of energy. It states that in a closed system, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transferred between different objects in different form. Then Einstein came along and turned this idea on it’s head by asking how relativity plays a role. I’m sure we can name a few more things and continue to argue, but the point was that, for our daily lives we are stuck with the same amount of time.

My other point that demands explanation is the question whether animals are capable of creating. As I was sitting on my porch this morning watching the sun rise and playing some tunes, I saw a little bird pick up a couple sticks. I hit an off note, my ears hurt and the bird turned its head in disgust. It then flew away, far away, to go build it’s home.

Wait a minute, build it’s home? Isn’t that creating something?

Let me explain.

There is a difference between spontaneous creation and recreating from a plan. Spontaneous creation comes from previous knowledge and hand motor skills to make something new. A certain set of learned skills are used in combination with your brain power and a few tools and walah you created something brand new. The other way to create something is to work from a plan. A builder looks at the architect’s blueprint and builds the home exactly the same way it was done before, nothing new.

I bet that most of you create something new every day. You open your closet and assemble your outfit. This is the process of making something new. You take previous knowledge and apply it to match your clothing and produce a new look. When you tell a story you recreate the experience in verbal form. You use your vocabulary, syntax, intonation, metaphor and walah, a brand new story told.

Here is the question.

Are animals able to create de novo? Are they able to learn skills to manipulate their environment and create something new? If you take a small finch egg, hatch the baby bird, feed it and let it grow and once released into the wild, it will automatically begin assembling a nest. It will build its nest exactly like any other finch builds theirs. This is because nest building resides in a blueprint somewhere in the bird brain.

Animals are born with these instructions. Their instructions determine their behavior. A finch is born with the instructions to build a nest. A baby fawn is born with the instructions on getting up right after birth and walk over to it’s mother for a drink of milk. A human baby is born completely dependent on its parents. A newborn will certainly die if not taken care of. As a child grows, they have to learn different skills. They have to learn to crawl, then walk, then speak and ask for food. My three year old has learned the skill of pulling a chair up to the fridge, opening it up and grabbing the remaining strawberries from the top shelf.

But…

For the sake of turning my argument upside down, we have found examples in the animal kingdom of creating de novo. Chimpanzees in the wild have been witnessed to take a stick, strip off all the leaves and stick it in an ant hill. The ants climb up the stick and the Chimp has a delicious snack. There you go. An example of an animal that can learn behavior from another animal, apply it to their environment, create a tool and use it. Chimp fishing for Ants

Do you still feel special?

Don’t worry, I don’t think any chimps will attempt to take over the world any time soon, but just in case, we have Mark Wahlberg to back us up.

The part that I find interesting is the satisfaction derived from the process of creation. In writing, film editing, building swings and climbing walls for my kids, it all gives me a sense of satisfaction. This is very peculiar. I see the power of creation as a very unique characteristic of human beings. I alluded to the idea that if an animal has the capability of metaphysical thought that they would see our brain power as a superpower.

This is what intrigues us so much about our animal counterparts. We see their abilities as super powers. The bee can see infrared, the hawk can see a mile far, the owl can see at night and the platypus can see electricity. Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spiderman, Iron Man, the Hulk and more would agree, he would definitely include some of these abilities in his superheros.

Unfortunately I can’t tell if a bee derives pleasure from seeing infrared, their antennas might buzz and their tail might wiggle when they see their favorite color flower but who knows? I can say this much though, my dog Shaka is obsessed with chasing a stick or a ball or a squirrel. As soon as he sees me hold a ball his tail starts wagging, he starts jumping around in anticipation. He hates it when I make him sit and wait after I throw the ball. His whole body shakes with excitement. He will run and fetch, run and fetch, run and fetch all day until his tongue drags on the dirt. He finds pleasure in the chase, the thing that he was born to do. He originates from the wolf who hunts for it’s prey. If wild dogs did not find pleasure in the chase they might starve.

The pleasure is in the creation. I wrote another article on this and how this idea may help depression.

This brings me to my point.

There are some things we cannot create. There are many things we can. Our lives being one of those. We are constantly acted on by external forces, pushing our lives this way and that. At the end of the day the change you make in your life depends on how much you push back. It depends on the decisions you make, from minute to minute ask yourself, does this decision contribute to my life?

Think about your misfortunes and success, is there a correlation to the decisions you have made in the past?

The ability to create is a very strong power. “With power comes great responsibility.”

You are your own creator, you owe yourself the responsibility. 

Marthinus Zeeman