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JULY and AUGUST 2009




  • Kid’s Corner -

    Simplify your life for school

  • Mom’s Corner -

    Simplify your life for school

  • Dad’s Corner -

    Simplify your life

  • Planet Earth -

    More Herbs, Less Salt

  • News -                                                                                                        

    The Cost of Obesity


                           Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for August 2009

August in the Washington, D.C. area is usually the hottest time of the year and is the month when most families take their vacations. August is also the time when children and their parents start geaing up to go back to school.

       Because it’s back to school time, we thought it would be good to address “how to simplify your life” for all family members, mother, father, and child.

The CDC recently released a report which stated the health cost of obesity in the United States is as high as $147 billion annually. This total includes payment by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, and includes prescription drug spending. The proportion of all annual medical costs that are due to obesity increased from 6.5 percent in 1998 to 9.1 percent in 2006. Overall, persons who are obese spent $1,429 (42 percent) more for medical care in 2006 than did normal weight people.

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Simplify your life for school

              This is your last full month before school starts making it a great time to work on simplifying your schedule and being fully ready for that first day of school. One of the best ways to simplify your life is to clean out your room so when school starts you will have space for your school books and homework. This way you won’t go crazy trying to find things you need in the morning as you get dressed to go to your job. Yes! School and learning is your full-time job.

So, how do you clean out the stuff you no longer need in your rooms? If your room is like my sons, there are stacks of books, clothes and toys everywhere. Where do you start?


Get rid of all the broken toys, game pieces, puzzle pieces that are on your floor, under your bed or in the closet. Go through clothes with your mother or dad and donate anything that's too small, worn out, stained, or just doesn't get used. It may be time to get rid of your favorite t-shirt if it is too small or torn up. I like to set-up 5 boxes marked 1) donate, 2) pass on to friends or other, 3) recycle, 4) store and 5) TRASH. This makes decluttering much easier.



If your time with the swim team is over, you don’t need to have your flippers and swim goggles in your closet. Store things you aren’t going to use until next year. Put all items that are alike (clothing, toys) in a clear container if you can, if not….tape an index card on the outside of the box saying what’s inside it. Put the container or box on your closet shelves, under the bed or anywhere they won’t get in the way. The less stuff that's in the way, the easier it is to move around in your room and to find things.


Ask your mom or dad to look at your room from your point of view. If they are taller than you have them bend down so they can see what you see. They may need to lower the rod you hang clothes on in the closet, or buy storage containers that are easy to open. They may want to store your socks, underwear and shoes in open bins on the floor, and buy or create a toy organizer.


You’ve put in all the work to get the room cleaned out and organized, so now it’s important, and part of your household chores, to keep things picked up off the floor and stored in their proper place.  It’s much easier to keep things picked up and put away every night before you turn off the light and go to bed.

Next month I’ll talk about how to get organized for school.

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Simplify your life for school

              It’s almost that time of year again. SCHOOL. Now is the time to start getting back into the habit, or to start forming habits if this is the first year for you child to go to school, that will make life MUCH easier for you.

Prepare for the Next Day the Night Before-do as much as you possibly can the night before. Set out clothes for the next day — both for yourself and for your children. Pack lunches with your kids’ help. That way they’ll probably eat it. Have a system for packing up backpacks so that all your children have to do is to put them on. In our family, once the back pack is zipped it means that all the books and papers are inside and homework is complete. PUT THE BACKPACK BY THE DOOR!

Get Up Earlier Than Your Kids-try to wake up an hour before your children. You can have your first cup of coffee, get dressed, take care of some of your own tasks and get breakfast made, or the boxes of cereal on the table, before the kids get moving. This also frees you up to focus your attention on them when they do get up. There will always be “issues” in the mornings so try to stay ahead of the children.

Create To Do Lists for Your Kids- write down what you expect your children to do everyday, for example, “brush your teeth, make up your bed, take out the trash.” Paste pictures on the list for children who can’t read. If you teach them how to use a list now, when you add on a time to do homework, the struggle will be much less.

Pick Up the House Once a Day-at the end of the day as a family go through the house and pick up things off the floor and put them where they belong. My son is notorious for leaving books out on the floor and “forgetting” to put his shoes up.

Coordinate and Limit Your Kids’ Extracurricular Activities-THIS IS A BIG ISSUE FOR MOST PARENTS!!!!! Your child can’t do every activity he/she wants to do and you can’t attend every single activity that your child does. When it comes to choosing activities for your children to pursue, keep these general principles in mind:

  • Be sure they really want to do it.
  • Choose an activity that’s close to home.
  • Make friends with other parents who may be able to give your kids rides to activities when you can’t.
  • Limit activities for kids-focus on one major task or hobby at a time, with one small one thrown in for variety.
  • Remember “NO” is a good word to use if you just can’t take them somewhere


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Simplify your life

              We’ve talked about simplifying life for children clearing up their rooms and for mothers getting a schedule under control, but how about for fathers? In most families in America, the mother is the primary caregiver while the father works to earn money. However, that doesn’t mean that dad’s don’t need to simplify their lives as much as their wife and children. (Dads, maybe we can even fill in for moms sometimes to see what battles they face everyday in simplifying life for the family.)

Self-sufficiency. Teach your kids to do things for themselves as they get older and more capable. Let them make themselves breakfast, shower and dress themselves, brush their teeth, and generally get themselves ready in the morning. They can clean their rooms, wash dishes, sweep, mop, dust, vacuum, wash the car and weed the garden.

Use Just One Calendar. Use just one calendar for the entire family to enter activities and appointments. When they hand you papers from school, or schedules for after school activities or sports, immediately put everything on the calendar and then shred the paper. A quick glance at the calendar each day is all you need to plan your day.

Storage Bins. Let kids play, but have lots of bins where they can put toys when they’re done playing. You can have labelled bins for certain toys and also have some general-purpose bins for things that don’t fit anywhere else.

Regular cleanups. Teach your children to clean up after themselves – let them make a mess every now and then but be sure to stress to them that a project is not complete until everything is put away and the area is clean again. Be sure to tell them to clean up before moving on to something else, such as lunchtime or bedtime. It’s good to have regular times during the day when they do cleanups, such as before bed or before they leave for school. This way areas are always picked up.

Remember, many hands make lighter work. Picking things up frequently is key!

Don’t schedule too much. Schedule as little as possible each day, and leave space between events, appointments or activities, so that your day moves along at a more leisurely pace. Start getting ready earlier than necessary, so there’s no rush, and leave yourself time to transition from one activity to another. A more spaced-out schedule is much more relaxing than a cramped one. Everyone benefits from a slower pace…you have more time for conversations, less stress in traffic and less stress at the dinner table.

Simple clothing. It’s best to buy clothes for your kids that will match easily – choose a similar color scheme, so that you’re not always digging through their clothes to find clothing that matches. For example, all pants/skirts match all tops. Think Solid Colors. Bright solid color shirts are always a good choice. Go through their clothes every few months to donate what doesn’t fit (kids grow so fast!). Pass on the outgrown clothes to relatives or a charity (or pass them on to a younger sibling). Keep their wardrobe simple –and don’t stuff drawers because if children can’t see their choices they can’t find what they want, and if the drawer is messy, it’s likely it will stay that way. Socks are especially hard to keep together – use mesh bags, one for clean socks and another for dirty ones. Then throw the dirty mesh bag in the laundry, and socks won’t get lost (or at least, not as often).

Create weekly routines. Aside from regular family times (mentioned above), it’s good to have a weekly routine that’s written out and posted somewhere everyone can see it. A weekly routine might include regular practice times, house cleaning day, washing the car, yard work day, errands day, recurring appointments, etc. This makes the schedule more predictable for everyone, and eliminates a lot of surprises.

Learn to say “No” One of the most common traps we fall into is saying “Yes” to every request that comes our way. Before long, our list of commitments includes an extra report at work, organizing the school bake sale, leading a reading group, making costumes for the community theater, building a neighborhood playhouse, etc.

There will always be many more worthy causes and important jobs to do than you have time to do them, so be more selective about the things you agree to do. Remember that when you stretch yourself too thin and take on too many commitments you end up unable to do your very best on each one.

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Use More Herbs And Less Salt

Over the past few years we’ve discovered that using herbs instead of salt to flavor recipes and foods can be tastier, and definitely healthier. It’s well known that salt in our diets can cause high blood pressure. Medical providers often tell us to reduce or eliminate salt from our diets. So what do you do about salt? The easiest way is to use herbs instead of salt in cooking.

An easy substitute for salt is to combine dried basil, oregano and dried ground lemon zest in a salt shaker. You can add a teaspoon or two of raw rice to keep the mixture from clumping up. You can also fill a pepper mill with whole allspice, coriander seed, and white and black peppercorns. Keep it handy and grind it over food whenever you have a salt craving. You can use a little bit of cayenne pepper to enhance flavors without heating up the whole dish. You can also use lemon to enhance the natural salt taste in foods.

It’s easy to grow your own herbs outdoors on the patio or in the kitchen under the window, but if they are outside, at the first sign of frost, harvest your herbs and bring them inside to dry or freeze for later use. The best time to pick the herbs is on a clear day just as soon as the dew dries, but before the heat from the sun starts to dry up the herb's natural oils. Gather herbs in small bunches, tie up the ends and hang the herb bunches, upside down, in a dim, airy place away from any source of steam such as the kitchen stove. You can put up wall pegs and then air can circulate between the bunches of herbs. You can also dry herbs on drying racks. Herbs will normally dry out in 2 to 10 days, depending on the humidity in the air and the moisture in the herbs when they were picked. You can also speed up the drying process by using a dehydrator.

Once the herbs are dried you can store the herb leaves in tightly sealed spice jars or blend with other herbs or spices to make your own salt substitute.

Next month we are going to talk about how to choose the best herb or spice to use with different foods.

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The Medical Cost Of Obesity: $147 Billion in 2008

Overweight adults and children cost the United States an estimated $147 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008. Obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, liver and kidney disease, lung disease and orthopedic problems were 9.1 percent of all medical bills in 2006, up from 6.5 percent in 1998, according to a recent study published in “Health Affairs.” Overall, an obese patient spent $1,429 more for medical care in 2006 than did a normal weight people.

Obesity is a huge financial burden for local, state and national governments and people who pay for their own medical care. The cost of treating illnesses related to obesity directly impacts all of us because it means the county, state and national governments don’t have the funds they need to provide the community the vital services we need such as schools, police and fire services, road repairs and too many other services for me to list.

The cost of prescription drugs to treat obesity related medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes is a large part of this increased cost. The best example of a disease that is directly caused by or made worse by obesity is Diabetes Mellitus. Excess weight is the single greatest predictor of developing diabetes so if we can reduce the occurrence of obesity, the cost for treating Diabetes and other conditions caused by excess weight would be much lower.

Many pediatricians are very concerned about the constantly increasing number of children who are seriously overweight and obese. Unfortunately, most health insurance plans won’t reimburse pediatricians if they spend extra time with families discussing how to avoid problems caused by obesity, such as diabetes. Health insurance plans usually won’t pay for children or families to see a dietician who can educate individuals and families how to make better choices on what and how much they eat.

So how do we stop the increase and lower the costs for treating obesity related medical conditions? It’s always easier and much cheaper to PREVENT an illness than it is to TREAT an illness. It’s especially important to take steps to promote nutrition and physical activity for children while they are young and forming habits for exercise and nutrition they will have for the rest of their life.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made a few recommendation of how to prevent obesity in children and adults:

  • Put schools within easy walking distance of residential areas. Most schools are now cutting bus services to children who live close enough to walk to school.
  • Improve access to outdoor recreational facilities. We need to have more safe parks, playgrounds and public pools.
  • Enhance traffic safety in areas where people could be physically active. Major highways now divide our neighborhoods, and speeding on residential streets is a major danger.
  • Enhance infrastructure that supports walking and biking. More bike and jogging paths. During a recent trip to Louisville, Kentucky three bicyclists were hit by cars and killed. One was run over by a drunk driver during a Triathlon.
  • Discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. Remember, soft drinks are “liquid candy.”
  • Make healthy food and beverages available to the communities at an affordable price. Put more supermarkets in under served areas. Support local Farmer’s Markets.
  • Encourage physical activity or limit sedentary activity. Put mandatory gym classes back into schools.
  • Encourage communities to organize for change. Our voices must be heard.


              Let’s all work to attack the problem of obesity. We can all eat healthier; get plenty of fresh air and exercise, simplify our daily routines and enjoy more time with friends and family.


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Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

As a subscriber you will be sent announcements of my new books, CD, and seminars at reduced prices and fees. Sign-up now.

You should read my latest book, “Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle.” Please go to the order page and read part of the first chapter. You will learn a lot from this book why everyone has gained weight and the Three Secrets to normalize your weight.


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