Five a Day is Good. Ten is Better

veggiesThe World Health Organization recommends we should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, 400g.  Canadians are told to eat ten or 800g. The CDC suggests five, 400g, ( as a baseline. A portion is 80g (3oz) of fruit or vegetables, (small banana, a pear, etc.).

Pooling data from 95 separate studies, the Imperial College of London concluded that eating five-a-day could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year.

Eating green and yellow vegetables and from the cruciferous (e.g., cabbage and kale) family lowered the risk of cancer.

Apples, pears, citrus fruits, salads, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables were linked to lower risks of heart disease and strokes.

When compared to eating no fruit or vegetables, eating:

200g, about half of U.S. recommendations, cut cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%

  • 200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut it by 13%
  • 200g cut the risk of premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%


What you may want to know about the five-a-day list.

  1. Each portion should be about 80g.
  2. Beans count, but only as one serving. They are a good source of fiber but have fewer nutrients than fruit and vegetables. Putting beans on toast or eating hummus counts.
  3. Regular potatoes do not count, too much starch. But sweet potatoes do and you can make mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
  4. Fruit juice counts, but never more than one portion because of its low fiber count. (Some nutritionist say fruit juice shouldn’t count at all.) Smoothies count as two portions if they contain whole fruit or vegetables and 100% juice.
  5. Dried fruits count because they have plenty of fiber. The portion size is reduced to 30g because they are high in calories.
  6. Onions count, but it’s hard to get 80g.
  7. Salad on your turkey sandwich will not be enough to add up to a serving. Eat a salad with you sandwich instead.
  8. Combine fruits and vegetables to make a single serving.
  9. The five-a-day should make up about a third of the food you eat in a day.

Government Over-Spending

The Horse and the Jockey, published on March 5, 2017, in my Sunday Newsletter for Women focused on excessive regulation.


The pie graph below shows that over-spending is not the hallmark of Democrats or Republicans. Both parties hold oars in the spending boat.

The numbers come from the website. Keep in mind, although the percentages seem small, they are NOT.  One percent may represent one billion, this depends on the size of the budget for that year. In 1977, Jimmy Carter (and Congress) had a deficit of 2.6%. In dollar terms, they overspent by $155 Billion.

Democrat   Jimmy Carter          (1977; -2.6%)  (1978; -2.6%)  (1979; -1.6%)  (1980; -2.6%)

Republican Ronald Reagan       (1981; -2.5%)   (1982; -3.9%)   (1983; 5.9%)   (1984; -4.7%)

Republican Ronald Reagan        (1985; -5%)      (1986; -4.9%)   (1987; -3.1%) (1988; -3%)

Republican George H. W. Bush  (1989; -2.7%)  (1990; -3.7%)   (1991; -4.4%) (1992; -4.5%)

Democrat Bill Clinton                 (1993; -3.8%)   (1994; -2.8%)  (1995; -2.2%) (1996; -1.2%)


As of 2015, 6% of the Budget went to pay interest on Debts. That’s the same as what money is allocated for Transportation and Education (The Federal Government represents about 10% of what is spent on Education. The rest of the money comes from the States.)

Democrat Bill Clinton                   (1997; -0.3%)   (1998; -0.8%) (1999; -1.3%)  (2000; -2.3%)

Republican George W. Bush         (2001; -1.2%)   (2002; -1.5%) (2003; -3.3%)   (2004; -3.4%)

Republican  George W. Bush        (2005; -2.5%)  (2006; -1.8%)  (2007; -1.1%)   (2008; -3.1%)

Democrat Barack Obama              (2009; -9.8%)   (2010; -8.7%)  (2011; -8.5%)   (2012; -6.8%)

Democrat Barack Obama               (2013; -4.1%)   (2014; -2.8%)   (2015; -2.5%)   (2016; -3.3%)

U.S. Presidents’ Take on Social Security

In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen wrote, “people always live for ever when there is an annuity to be paid them.”

Rachel Maddow said, “Social security isn’t a ponzi scheme. It’s not bankrupting us. It’s not an outrage. It is working.”

Fact or fiction, after writing a “history lesson of Social Security” for my Sunday Newsletter, I set out to learn the views our past Presidents. The following come from the official Social Security website, starting with the earliest Presidents and working our way up to, but not including, Obama.  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt:  “This law represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means completed–a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions, to act as a protection to future administrations of the Government against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy–a law to flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation–in other words, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.” -August 14, 1935

Harry S. Truman: “It has long been recognized as an inescapable obligation of a democratic society to provide for every individual some measure of basic protection from hardship and want caused by factors beyond his control. In our own country, the obligation of the Federal Government in this respect has been recognized by the establishment of our Social Security system. . . . The passage of the Social Security Act in 1935 marked a great advance in our concept of the means by which our citizens, through their Government, can provide against common economic risks. . .” -May 24, 1948

Dwight David Eisenhower: “The system is not intended as a substitute for private savings, pension plans, and insurance protection. It is, rather, intended as the foundation upon which these other forms of protection can be soundly built. Thus, the individual’s own work, his planning and his thrift will bring him a higher standard of living upon his retirement, or his family a higher standard of living in the event of his death, than would otherwise be the case. Hence the system both encourages thrift and self-reliance, and helps to prevent destitution in our national life.” -January 14, 1954

Lyndon Baines Johnson: “Thirty years ago, the American people made a basic decision that the later years of life should not be years of despondency and drift. The result was enactment of our Social Security program. . . . Since World War II, there has been increasing awareness of the fact that the full value of Social Security would not be realized unless provision were made to deal with the problem of costs of illnesses among our older citizens. . . . Compassion and reason dictate that this logical extension of our proven Social Security system will supply the prudent, feasible, and dignified way to free the aged from the fear of financial hardship in the event of illness.”
-January 7, 1965

Richard Milhous Nixon: “This Nation must not break faith with those Americans who have a right to expect that Social Security payments will protect them and their families. . . . In the 34 years since the Social Security program was first established, it has become a central part of life for a growing number of Americans. . . . Almost all Americans have a stake in the soundness of the Social Security system.” -September 25, 1969

Gerald Rudolph Ford: “The fortieth anniversary of the Social Security Act celebrates an important milestone in responsible public service. I continue to be impressed by the steady responsiveness of the Social Security program to the changing needs of our people. . . . I warmly commend the employees of the Social Security Administration whose efforts are such a positive influence on the lives of countless fellow citizens.” -August 9, 1975

Jimmy Carter: “The Social Security program is a pact between workers and their employers that they will contribute to a common fund to ensure that those who are no longer part of the work force will have a basic income on which to live. It represents our commitment as a society to the belief that workers should not live in dread that a disability, death, or old age could leave them or their families destitute.” – December 20, 1977

Ronald Wilson Reagan: “The changes in this legislation will allow Social Security to age as gracefully as all of us hope to do ourselves, without becoming an overwhelming burden on generations still to come. . . . Our elderly need no longer fear that the checks they depend on will be stopped or reduced. These amendments protect them. Americans of middle age need no longer worry whether their career-long investment will pay off. These amendments guarantee it. And younger people can feel confident that Social Security will still be around when they need it to cushion their retirement.” – April 20, 1982

Geroge H. W. Bush: “And there’s one thing I hope we will all be able to agree on. It’s about our commitments. I’m talking about Social Security. To every American out there on Social Security, to every American supporting that system today, and to everyone counting on it when they retire, we made a promise to you, and we are going to keep it.” – January 31, 1990

William Jefferson Clinton: “Today, I want to talk about Social Security and how all of us can ensure that one of the greatest achievements of this century continues to serve our people well into the next. . . . For 60 years, Social Security has meant more than an ID number on a tax form; more than a monthly check in the mail. It reflects our deepest values — our respect for our parents and our belief that all Americans deserve to retire with dignity.” — March 21, 1998

George W.Bush: “We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent.” – January 20, 2001



We Marched

Returning from the Women’s March on Washington D.C., it felt good to return finding my house just the way I left it. There is great comfort in having things the way they always were. I slip into a favorite pair of pants, the ones that don’t pinch at the waste, pour a cup of tea, and sink into the couch to watch another hour of Queen Victoria on PBS. Nice. Very nice.

However, ease and comfort were not what added the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote—a right known as woman suffrage. Before this law went into effect, women couldn’t own property and had no legal claim to the money they might earn. Their marches and meetings were a seventy-year struggle that included incarceration and force- feeding.

Today, marching with other women and men was not about the right to vote, per se. Yet, I know first hand that not all American women feel empowered to vote. The women who whisper into the phone, “I can’t talk now. He’s home.” Or the woman whose husband controls whom she can see and if she can use the car, or the physically abused woman who tip-toes so not to arouse her spouse’s roars.

We marched on Washington for equal pay.  In the U.S., the median annual pay for women with full-time, year-round jobs is $40,742 while for men it is $51,212. So for every 80 cents a woman makes a man makes a $1. The wage gap for women of color is typically 63 cents on the dollar and Latinas are paid 54 cents for every one dollar paid to white men.

We marched for equal rights of our bodies. I listened to the chorus of young women chant, “My body, my choice” followed with thousands of deep men’s voices, “her body, her choice.”

We marched for equal representation in government. Today, less than 20% of  the U.S. Congress is women. We want to hear the soprano and baritone voices from the pulpits of Capitol Hill.

We marched to say: women should have the same opportunity as men for career advancement and women who choose to stay home and take care of their family should be valued. In this writer’s opinion, all stay-at-home-parents should receive a monthly stipend—society’s expression of the value and importance of this work.

We marched to remember that we are a tapestry of colors, black, white, brown, yellow, and red. We are black braids and yellow locks, smooth skin, and wrinkled faces. When a marcher yelled, “Tell me what democracy looks like” we responded with “this is what democracy looks like.”

The march was a balm for those looking for support, for others to have their voices heard, and for one historic day, we immersed ourselves in a sea of citizens. It was civil, inclusive, and supportive.  A day in history that I shared with women in my native country, adopted country, and women all around the world— a solidarity of sisters like one the world has never seen before.


When I decided to stop eating dairy, red meat and fowl (protein), it got complicated. I like hard data. The U.S. Government guidelines on protein intake are not hard and fast. Then I factor in that our Gov. Guidelines are sometimes flat wrong and that experts don’t alway agree on this question, probably because they are not sure. But, for sure, we need protein.

Proteins are the main building blocks of our bodies. We need them to make muscles, tendons, organs and even your skin, the biggest organ of the body. Proteins are also a source of energy. What makes protein? Molecules (amino acids) are linked together like beads on a string. These linked molecules form long protein chains folded into different shapes.

Right about now, my readers’ attention may be diminishing so let me offer this:

  1. You need protein because it has its hands in every critical function of the body.
  2. There are complete (animal proteins) and incomplete proteins (plant proteins).
  3. There are nine essential amino acids (we need to eat them) and nonessential that are produced in our liver.
  4. Many people in this country don’t need as much as they are taking in and many are getting too much protein from animal sources.
  5. Protein sates so if you don’t get enough you feel hungry, and you are not taking care of your body’s needs.
  6. After 70, you may need to up your intake of protein.

Adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get about 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams of protein for men. An 8-ounce steak with 50 grams of protein satisfied my daily need.

Plants-based proteins are “incomplete,” meaning they lack some amino acid building blocks. However, I soon learned that edamame and green soybeans are complete proteins—they contain all nine essential amino acids. Also, by combining plant proteins, rice and beans on pita bread they become “complete.”

My new eating regiment required great discipline and an open mind. Often I felt hungry, but not tired. Few times a month, I’d enter all the food I eat to make sure I was getting enough protein and calcium. Two or three years later, I’d taken off about 20 pounds (never my focus) and generally felt good, but I’d felt pretty good before as well.

The first chart shows one day’s food intake of protein, where it came from, and how it translates to protein. I often start with a soy green tea latte because it takes care of 47% of my protein and 40% of calcium and it tastes great.


Petticoat Rulers

For all my women friends.

As some of you know, last week I kicked off the New Year skiing in Jackson Hole, WY. One morning while the kids were at ski school, I went to breakfast at a quaint place in town. On one wall of the restaurant was a picture of five women in Petticoats from the 1900’s. I asked my sister-in-law, a local of the area, about the significance of the picture. As it turns out, Wyoming made a name for itself as the “Equality State” in 1920 when an all-women council was elected in Jackson, including a female mayor. As a matter of fact, unlike many other states during this time, Women in Wyoming were allowed to vote and purchase property since 1869.


According to an article written in 2014 in the Jackson Hole Daily News & Guide, this council of women were highly effective. When they took office they had only…

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Not a Sweet Solution

Food companies have a way of increasing profits at the cost of our health.  Commercials show beautiful and fit young people with emotionally charged music—like “Taste the Feeling” and “Put It Together”—full of energy having a great time. Sure, we know that drinking diet soda is not going to change our physical appearance or happiness, but what we may not know is the damage, drink by drink, that is taking place inside our bodies.

Artificial sweeteners trick the brain, and it feels cheated and wants more sugar to get calories out of it.  If people are given Sprite, artificially sweetened soda, or unsweetened carbonated lemon-lime water, and don’t know which they are drinking, later when offered a choice of M&Ms, spring water, or sugar-free-gum, guess what they pick. Those drinking the artificially-sweetened drinks were nearly three times more likely to take the M&Ms than those who drank sugar-sweetened or unsweetened drinks.

Susan E. Swithers, a professor at Purdue, reviewed and evaluated the most recent research on the effect of drinking diet-soda. “Whether consuming high-intensity sweeteners, despite having zero or low calories, may result in overeating, weight gain, or other health problems.”

From the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, regular consumption of diet soda expands your waistline and is a potential pathway for heart trouble in older people.

What happens to your body when you drink diet soda from minutes to an hour? 

First 10 Minutes: The acid attacks the enamel on your teeth, and the artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking you just ate sugar which your taste buds love.

20 Minutes: Like the regular soft drink, it triggers insulin which sends your body into fat storage mode.

40 Minutes: The combination of caffeine and aspartame is addictive, similar to cocaine, especially if you drink it on a regular basis.

60 Minutes and After: Depletes nutrients, makes you hungry and wanting more. If this doesn’t get you off the diet soda, consider this: It will never quench your thirst as it dehydrates rather than hydrates. Lack of water can lead to brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue, and feeling irritable. (photo from