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The LILI Letter — April 2023

April's "Losing It & Loving It" weight loss class and support group newsletter focuses on appreciating the gifts around us while still staying focused on our health goals.

April 11, 2023

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


Rainy days, budding trees and bulbs sending up their lovely blooms. Such an invigorating month with the rain washing everything clean. May this month leave you feeling refreshed. That is, if it ever stops snowing. We observe the Jewish, Christian and Muslim holidays of Passover, Easter and Eid al-Fitr. For earth lovers, there is Earth Day and Arbor Day.

In good health,
Jennifer James

Success story

I had a wonderful Success Story to share with y’all, but alas, it was not to be. So, you get to read the following instead.

As many of you know, I have been recovering from foot surgery. It is truly one of the most challenging, if not THE most challenging things I have ever endured. It actually mirrors trying to lose weight. It is not for the feint of heart, it takes time and effort, there will be days when you feel like giving up, progress may seem at a standstill and it may all seem quite hopeless. But it’s not. Our ancestors did not give up in situations more difficult than ours. How do I know this? Because I am writing this and you are reading it. Impossible without some plucky forebears!

My friends, when you feel like giving up, think of me and my continued efforts to have a fully functioning foot. We have to be smart about it, not attempt more than we are capable of, but keep going, little by little. Encouraging ourselves, congratulating ourselves for staying the course, asking for help, surrounding ourselves with good people, and fostering a positive attitude, regardless, are all good strategies to employ. As you will read below, some sparingly-used expletives may help as well.

Do you really know…eggs?

The humble egg is a marvel of engineering. Porous to allow air exchange, but tough enough to protect the developing embryo. Humans have scavenged animal eggs for millennia, and chickens were domesticated ~3500 years ago. Even with the recent price elevation, it is still a good source of protein, and less expensive than meat, fish or poultry per gram. Up to four per week seems reasonable, depending on an individual’s health status. They are a powerhouse of protein, vitamins A and B-12, folate and choline. Try the recipe below for a protein-packed breakfast.

K1 and K2…what's the difference?

My first reaction on hearing about K2 was to think of the second highest mountain in the world — K2. In this case it is one of several forms of vitamin K, with K1 being the other common form. In school I learned that bacteria in our colon produce vitamin K. We also obtain it from food, mostly green leafy vegetables.

One of the functions of vitamin K is to assist with blood clotting. Newborns are given vitamin K at birth to prevent bleeding issues. This is because they have a sterile gut, and do not receive much of it from their mothers during pregnancy. People who take Coumadin, or warfarin, to keep their blood from clotting too quickly, must manage their intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K is also important in bone growth and health, and can lower the risk of developing calcified plaques in our arteries.

Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is found mostly in leafy greens and other green vegetables, soybeans and nuts. Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is made by our gut bacteria and found in fermented foods, cheese, pork and other animal-based foods. The latest internet buzz holds up the K2 form as superior to K1. It stays in the blood longer and seems more potent at helping our bones. But the research is mixed and limited. The short answer, until more robust research is in, is that one form is not superior to the other, we need both for good health.

Vitamin K is fat-soluble, and most of us are at low risk of a deficiency, unless we cannot digest fat well, have liver disease or are on dialysis. If we take warfarin, we need to be mindful of our vitamin K intake. Otherwise, the best advice is to eat a varied diet that includes all food groups. When we eat our leafy greens, include oil or a fat-based condiment to enhance the absorption. But if someone can prove one form is superior to another, there is a hot market to make some bucks from selling it. Just sayin’.

I forgot to exercise!

I worked with a patient years ago who was taking ginkgo biloba at the time, a supplement to enhance memory. When I asked her why she was taking it, she said “I can’t remember”. Brilliant. Consistent exercise may have helped her out more than the supplement.

Why do I say this? Research out of England followed 1400 people for decades, from the 1946 British birth cohort, (a group of people born during the same year). Researchers tracked the participants’ fitness levels at age 36, 43, 53, 60 and 69 years. They conducted cognitive testing when they turned 69. The fitness groups ranged from physically inactive, moderately active (1-4 times per month), and most active (5+ times per month). The most popular activities were walking, swimming, floor exercises, and bicycling. The study had some limitations, with the less healthy and more socioeconomically disadvantaged people dropping out more often, all participants were white and 53% were women. Researchers did not measure the amount of time or intensity of the exercise, and used self-reported data.

Nevertheless, the results found higher cognitive scores at age 69 in the most physically active participants. What was amazing, was that even one session of exercise per month had a beneficial effect on brain function. If someone became more active later in life, that too showed positive effects. Higher levels of education and childhood cognition positively impacted the scores.

My friends, rather than relying on a supplement to boost our memory and brain power as we age, exercising regularly will have a greater impact. The minimal federal guideline for physical activity is 150 minutes per week of moderate activity, such as brisk walking.

Source: James S, Chiou Y, Fatih N, et al. Timing of physical activity across adulthood on later-life cognition: 30 years follow-up in the 1946 British birth cohort. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.


All of you out there who have never uttered a cuss word, even in your head or under your breath, raise your hand — I thought so. Busted!

I have not sunk to the bottom of the social etiquette barrel, but I came across some interesting information I felt compelled to share. The past five months have been tough on me with my foot issue, living in a house with stairs, walking around on a peg leg and doing most of the chores myself. I have noticed my swearing on some days would rival that of an employee of the U.S. Navy. You may be wondering…is Jennifer just trying to make excuses for her potty mouth? Or are there actual advantages to it?

According to the research, some benefits of swearing are it increases our pain threshold, serves as a warning in some situations rather than resorting to violence, gives us some relief in situations we can’t control, helps aphasic patients recover language quicker, and fosters teamwork. However, if one swears all the time, there is less of an advantage to it than for those of us who swear occasionally, such as after we tip over a gallon of paint onto the new carpet. Expletive! In a well-known study, participants plunged their hand into ice water, and those who were allowed to swear were able to keep their hand in the water nearly 50% longer than those who used neutral words. Interestingly, the part of our brain that handles swearing is in a more primitive, emotionally-charged area than regular speech. No surprises there.

I am not encouraging all of us to swear with abandon. Those who know me, know I do not use expletives every other word (maybe every fourth word — just kidding). But when I go upstairs on my peg leg, and remember something I needed from downstairs but forgot, twice, you can bet a swear word or two, blurted out with gusto, feels quite satisfying.

DIY breakfast muffin

I have made this for years. It is a quick way to enjoy a hot breakfast without much fuss. You can add more to it, but this is the basic recipe.

  • 1 mug
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of milk or water
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 English muffin, toasted

Spray the inside of the mug with cooking spray. Crack the egg into the mug, add the milk or water and mix with a fork until blended. Place in the microwave, cover with plastic wrap or other covering. Microwave on high for a minute.

Turn the mug upside down so the egg slides onto the split English muffin. Add spinach, hot sauce, a little cheese, mayonnaise, what have you. Enjoy!

Calories for 1 recipe: ~210 for the basic recipe

April support groups

Mondays, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Heart Center Conference Room
Free to LILI graduates

"Exercise is a blessing, not a chore. I work out because I am grateful that I physically can." — OverallMotivation

April 11, 2023
Ogden Regional Medical Center

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