- Get real. Ask yourself: What is getting in the way of my health? What excuses am I using to not start giving a damn? There is no perfect time to start. Do it now, even if it means one change per week in your lifestyle choices. You deserve to feel and look the best you can!
- You cannot change what you do not measure!
- Download a step counter (pedometer) app to your phone or buy one to carry with you all day. Research has shown that 10,000 steps a day keep people from gaining weight and may help those wanting to lose weight. It approximately equates to 3 miles. If by 6 pm you have not reached that goal, you can make up for the difference on a treadmill, walking the dog, walking to the store, etc. Read more on this.
- Weigh yourself 3 times a week in the morning while on an empty stomach.
- Get yourself a ring to wear on one of your fingers, or use the one you are wearing now; it's the best way to find out if you are inflamed or holding too much water. When tighter, you need to exercise to decrease inflammation and water retention.
- If you have a progressive doctor who can refer you for a full DEXA body scan, good for you. This is the best way to know your body composition in every part of your body.
- Change the way you drink and eat:
- Avoid drinking sodas, fruit juices (eat fruit instead), more than two glasses of wine a day. Carry a water container in your car, office, and any place you hang out, and sip from it all day (you can add flavored Benefiber or Citrucell to that water if you need to drink something with flavor).
- Also, avoid eating sweets, white bread, bagels, muffins, and most cereals (they are loaded with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup). Instead eat whole grain, dark-colored bread (if you have to), and never consume carbohydrates by themselves (adding good fats and fiber to carbs slows down glucose and insulin spikes in the blood that may predispose you to metabolic syndrome and fat gain). Watch a great lecture that will open your eyes to the effect of sugar on health.
- Consume 20 grams of fiber (soluble and insoluble) per day. For most of us, this is hard to do unless we eat beans, nuts, and 4 servings of fruit and vegetables. Fiber improves insulin sensitivity, makes you feel full longer, keeps your gut healthy (friendly gut bacteria that produce vitamins love fiber), keeps you regular, and can lower the chances of getting colon cancer. Buy Citrucell or Benefiber, two over-the-counter products available in most grocery stores. Try to consume 12 grams of fiber a day from these supplements in water. You can also add them to soups, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt, water to sip all day at work, sauces, and home-made salad dressing.
- To ensure that you have enough fruits and vegetables at home, buy frozen ones (frozen fruits and vegetables tend to be cheaper and loaded with vitamins since they are picked at their prime).
- Follow a slow carb (low glycemic index) diet. Read this article carefully!
- Twice a day, snack on almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and other nuts at work to get your good fats and fiber, and to make you less likely to cheat later. If you get tired of their taste, mix them with some dried fruit. Research has shown that people who eat nuts tend to have lower LDL cholesterol.
- Avoid junk and fast food. The best way to do this is to have enough food at home and to bring lunch to work. Cook a lot of food on weekends and freeze meals in small containers you can take to work or heat up at home. Get yourself a slow cooker and use its enclosed cookbook to prepare warm foods that you can come home to. Do not sabotage yourself by bringing sweets and junk into your home. If you do, you'll eventually eat them (most of the time, in one sitting!).
- Watch your cravings at night, when most people find it the most difficult to avoid overdrinking alcohol or eating ice cream, cookies, and comfort foods.
- Eat a large breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a small dinner. I know this sounds completely different to what most of us are doing every day.
- Skipping breakfast makes you more prone to overcompensate by eating more calories late in the day. Your body has spent 7-8 hours without food and is starved for nutrients in the morning. Do not feed it sugar and white flour products at this important time, like many people are accustomed to doing due to being rushed. Eggs, oatmeal (the type that has no added sugar, and you can add whey protein powder to it!), Greek-style yogurt with nuts and fiber supplements, low-fat cottage cheese with fruit (if you're not lactose intolerant), almond butter sandwiches on multigrain (high-fiber) bread, and fruit are all good choices for breakfast.
- For lunch have some soup and a glass of water first and wait 10 minutes to trick your body into feeling full faster. Grilled chicken with vegetables, tuna salad over greens and nuts, a Greek salad with sliced steak, and any Mediterranean food choices are good.
- For dinner, fill yourself with stir fried (use olive oil!) vegetables and lean meats. Two hours before bed, you can have half an almond butter sandwich or yogurt with fruit. You will not be hungry and desperate with this diet!
- Do resistance exercise with machines at the gym if you are a beginner, or weights if you have more experience. Here are some other exercise recommendations.
- Get your hormones checked and supplemented if low
- If you are having a hard time losing weight and you are doing all of the above, have your doctor check your blood levels of free testosterone and thyroid hormones (TSH, T3 and T4) (yes, women and men!). Low hormone blood levels can impair fat loss and energy levels required to exercise. They can also make your less prone to be motivated to follow a healthy regimen. Readmore about testosterone here.
- If you have access to a glucose tolerance test, take it. This test will determine how your body uses glucose for energy and compare it to a normal response. If you have impaired glucose tolerance, your doctor may want to prescribe metformin, an insulin sensitizer that may help people lose fat by helping their insulin work better at controlling blood sugar and metabolism.
- If your belly is hard and you cannot pinch much fat, you may mostly have visceral fat. You may want to talk to your doctor about a new FDA-approved product for HIV-associated visceral fat calledEgrifta (tesamorelin). Egrifta is a growth hormone-releasing factor that makes your pituitary gland make your own growth hormone. Growth hormone has been shown to help burn fat. If you do not have insurance, you can apply for patient assistance (more on Egrifta.com).
- Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before every meal has been shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin response. Better glucose tolerance and lower insulin resistance can make it easier to lose fat. Read more on this.
- Find a support system that is there for you through all of your new lifestyle changes. Having an exercise/diet buddy is the best way to improve adherence to your diet and exercise program. Join groups online. Surround yourself with friends who support you all the way and enable you to succeed!
The movie Dallas Buyers Club brings attention to a little-recognized part of the AIDS activist movement: ....
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Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
It was very hard for me to see Allen die of wasting in front of my eyes since wasting syndrome has been my main area of activism in the past. The blood flow to his liver was restricted, so he was not able to absorb nutrients even though he ate constantly. His viral load was undetectable for many years and he was highly adherent and educated about treatment. He was so angry that it took so many years for this side effect to be mentioned. He had contacted BMS several times and they denied any indication that their drug could be involved in this problem.
Allen was only 51 and a kind soul that always found the time to tell people he loved them. He worked as a volunteer in many HIV non profits and raised a lot of money for several of them. He had a lot of dreams of helping others. I am glad he had a lot of love around him in his last days. We celebrated his birthday with him a few days before his death and he was surrounded by his friends and family who were there to show their love. I am glad he was able to be conscious that day to receive it.
I am very angry that his life was taken away by a drug induced side effect and I hope no one else has to die of this slow death. I have received emails in the past from people who have the symptoms, but lost touch with them.
Early symptoms are unintentional weight loss, diarrhea, bloatness, fatigue, dementia that comes and goes (due to high blood levels of ammonia), and others. Liver enzymes are usually OK and no cirrhosis is seen. It took years to diagnose this problem in Allen, so it is important to be educated about this side effect so that any one you know who has taken DDI in the past gets early diagnosis by a liver specialist.
Allen Anthony Huff, DC, 51, died at home after a lengthy illness, surrounded and comforted by family and friends, on June 9, 2011. His younger brother Bruce Huff preceded Allen in death. His devoted and loving partner Charles Wesley Gulick, his mother Grace Ann McNeill of Houston, and his father James Allen Huff, and wife Liz Young Huff, of Rapid City, South Dakota, survive him. His brother Christopher Huff and partner Andrea Gooldy and their son Christopher, of Atlanta Georgia, and brother Timothy Heckler, his wife Sharon and their daughters Alyssa, Sarah, and Isabel of Houston, Texas, also survive him.
Allen was born in Houston on June 6, 1960. He graduated from the Texas Chiropractic College as a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine in 1985. In addition to his private practice, Allen was the Risk Management Director for the Spring School District for a number of years. He was also a hard working and most valued friend to the American Red Cross Protect Your Back Program where he gave 12,000 hours of volunteer service. For the Red Cross, he authored a Protect Your Back Course student book and instructors manual and personally taught the course to hundreds of other caregivers, physicians and EMTs.
Allen was a passionate advocate for HIV prevention and treatment. After his diagnosis in 1995, Allen became active with a number of national HIV/AIDS-related organizations including AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and the Gay Men's Health Crisis. He published a number of articles on HIV and AIDS, including those for Poz Magazine and RITA. In Houston, Allen was involved with a number of HIV/AIDS nonprofits, most notably AIDS Foundation Houston and The Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy. For the past four years Allen served as a working board member for The Center for AIDS. Allen Huff will always be remembered for his love of life, his kind and gentle spirit and his fierce determination to take care of his own health while advocating and doing hands on care for others with the disease.
He deeply loved his partner Chuck, his family, his world wide extended family of friends, his much adored standard poodle rescue, Grant, world travel adventures (once being lost at sea and then shipwrecked by a typhoon on Norfolk Island, Australia) and the weekly dinners with the boys at Berryhill River Oaks, (amusingly known among those devoted compatriots as their Boo Hoo Lounge).
The family wishes to especially thank his personal caregiver, Ed Cervantes, his physician, Joseph Gathe, MD, and the Silverado Hospice staff and volunteers, along with his close buds for their wonderful compassion and care. These people made his end of life journey as serene and comfortable as it could possibly have ever been imagined. Allen knew that he was well loved and cherished and always returned that love without guile.
A memorial service will be held in the near future.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Allen's memory may be made to The American Red Cross Houston, 2700 Southwest Freeway, Houston Texas 77098 and/or the Center for AIDS, 1407 Hawthorne St. Houston, Texas 77006.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
|AIDS Nelson Vergel, AIDS expert, talks HIV and healthy agingby Kate Sosin, Windy City Times2011-06-08|
Nelson Vergel is not what you think of when you say "AIDS over 50."With hefty round muscles pushing out against a tight blue t-shirt and a lively demeanor, Vergel looks more like Mighty Mouse than a person resistant to nearly every HIV drug on the market. But Vergel is in the business of de-bunking myths about aging with HIV, and while his own HIV is a struggle, he's also the living example of his work.
Vergel presented some of the latest findings on HIV and aging at Center on Halsted May 31, during his free talk, "Promising Advances in HIV Cure and Healthy Aging Research." The event was sponsored by Test Positive Aware Network.
The Houston-based author and activist focused heavily on the scientific reasons why a cure to HIV/AIDS is both a distant dream and an impending reality. But while Vergel is following progress on possible cures, his own work focuses on informing other HIV-positive people on the changes HIV causes in the body and strategies for living well with the virus.
"We're getting older. What is the quality of life going to be?" Vergel asked an audience of about 30 people.
According to Vergel, medication is just one of four useful in battling HIV. He also includes stress reduction, exercise, and nutrition.
In three years, he said, there will be four once-a-day HIV pills on the market (there is currently just one—Atripla). Still, HIV drug production is slowing because it's less profitable than other drugs.
"We're moving into a new world," Vergel said. He expects that some HIV patients will be asked to go off their medications in time so that new possible cures can be tested.
That possible cure might include one found four years ago in an American living in Germany. The famous "Berlin Patient" may have been cured of his HIV when he received a bone marrow transplant from a donor whose genetic mutations made him resistant to HIV. Research on that method is ongoing, Vergel said, but it's also still very risky and not enough information is available to make it a viable option yet.
In the meantime, Vergel recommends nutrition and exercise. Because people living with HIV are at heightened risk of osteoporosis, HPV, and other illnesses, Vergel said it is especially important to remain vigilant about getting screened for other illnesses, especially HPV.
"We're not talking about bottoms or tops or women or men," Vergel said. "[HPV] is affecting everyone."
Medicine aside, exercise is the best medicine, said Vergel. "We [HIV-positive people] have an acceleration of the aging process by about 15 years," Vergel said. "Frailty in aging is most related to body strength."
Vergel suggests leg squats for preventing frailty. He also said a healthy combination of cardio and muscle resistance can slow the aging process.
New research has also shown merits of some vitamins in relieving some HIV symptoms. D vitamins can help maintain bone strength, while B vitamins can help relieve depression. Vergel warned, however, that patients talk to their doctors about vitamins as some can interact with HIV medications.
Vergel doesn't stop at health, however. His talk also included strategies for fighting changes in body fat and fat under the skin (also known as lipohypertrophy and lipoatrophy) because Vergel said, "it's not about getting older. It's about getting your healthy look back as you age."
Vergel thinks that a lot of doctors are reluctant to offer facial treatments to HIV patients who lose fat under facial skin because they see it as unnecessary, but he said that changes to body weight prevent some people from going on medication at all. However, a number of treatments exist for preventing weight changes while on HIV medication.
Finally, Vergel discussed testosterone treatments, which he has covered in his latest book Testosterone: A Man's Guide. Testosterone is often taken by HIV-positive patients to combat fatigue, lack of motivation, poor appetite, and muscle loss. Vergel warns that these should be taken with caution because they can fuel cancer.
Before making any decisions, he said, talk to your doctor. But do your own homework, too, he said because not every doctor will cover all the bases on HIV management.
"The thing is, we don't have standards," he said. "We don't have guidelines."
Information on Vergel's work as well as his complete slideshow presentation is available on his website:www.powerusa.org .
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
GSK- ViiV start their phase 3 study for their second generation integrase inhibitor (dolutegravir) in raltegravir experienced patients
For more on dolutegravir:
Report from CROI 2011
If you have trouble reading this e-mail, you can see the online version at: www.thebody.com/topics.html
Friday, June 03, 2011
Dr. Gottlieb, obviously, has been treating HIV since the beginning. He has his own medical practice in Los Angeles. He's one of my heroes. I'm honored to have him here, speaking to us about the first report that he made, and about his thoughts on the present and future of HIV research and access.
CLICK HERE TO READ INTERVIEW
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