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March-April 2010




  • Kid’s Corner -

    Why nutrition is so important. Eat Breakfast!

    Mom’s Corner -

  • Changing the clocks, sleep and your weight

  • Dad’s Corner -

    Safety in the Snow

  • Planet Earth -

    Earth Hour-Vote for the Earth

  • News -                                                                                                        

    Natural Disasters-Are More Happening?



Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for March-April 2010.

     We are finally beginning to dig out from the historical blizzard of 2010. We can even see patches of grass peeking through the piles of snow. We live on the shady side of the street and get less sun so it always takes much longer for our snow to disappear than our neighbors.

     The other big news for me is that I broke my ankle at the end of January and have been in a cast for over a month. It’s amazing how much a broken ankle limits your ability to get around, especially if you have to use crutches. I’ve had injuries before but this is the first time my mobility has been really restricted. Because of my injury we are going to talk about injuries in older men and how to recover from them.

      This winter has been historic for the many natural disasters that have occurred. Earthquakes causing huge tsunamis, unprecedented snowfalls and changing weather patterns have had a huge impact on the whole world. In this newsletter, we’ll talk about why we are seeing so much extreme weather.

     Happy Easter and we hope your family enjoys Spring break, especially if you don’t have to make up school snow days.

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"Eat your breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day!"

Why do your parents always say that to you? The body is like a machine and needs fuel to run. For people, food is the fuel we need for our bodies to run. After a long night of sleeping, your fuel tank is empty and eating breakfast gives you the fuel that gets you going so you can hit the road. Did you know that 40% of kids, that’s almost HALF, don't eat breakfast?

     It may be because your family is rushing around the house in the morning, or you get up too close to the time you need to leave for school and you don't feel like you have time to eat a nutritious breakfast. But remember that breakfast doesn't have to mean eggs, waffles or French toast every day. A big bowl or oatmeal or granola with yogurt is a great way to start the day. Don’t eat doughnuts or pastries because they are high in calories, sugar, and fat. Donuts don't contain the nutrients a kid really needs for the long day ahead at school or playing in the neighborhood.  Maybe you skip breakfast because you think it will help you stay skinny. But skipping breakfast doesn't help you maintain a healthy weight. Most kids who skip breakfast end up eating MORE food throughout the day because they feel HUNGRY!

     Take time to eat breakfast and try different foods such as:

  • Whole grain breads and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • hot cereal, such as oatmeal or cream of wheat with dried fruit or nuts on top.
  • whole-grain toast, bagel, or English muffin with cheese
  • yogurt with fruit or nuts

     Remember, kids who eat breakfast do better in school, are more likely to participate in physical activities, and tend to eat healthier overall.

My wife always makes my son a HUGE dish of hot oatmeal with fruit if he is going to have a test. She makes it in the microwave with whole grain oats. That way she can be sure his body has the fuel it needs to keep his brain running at its maximum efficiency.

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Spring up…Fall back.

     People like to eat and go to bed at the same time every day. Humans follow a 24 hour cycle called the “circadian rhythm.” Up until the industrial revolution the use of gas lights and electric lights, people went to sleep when the sun went down and got up when the sun came up. Because we like to sleep and eat at the same time Daylight Savings Time (DST) can really affect our daily diet and our sleeping pattern. If you ask people whether “falling back” or “springing forward” hits them hardest, most will say spring. For some people, sleep is the area hardest hit and the last thing to finally adjust. A lot of people feel thrown for a couple of weeks and struggle somewhat to keep their energy up while they transition their sleep schedules.

     Many studies have shown that our circadian rhythm doesn’t really adjust to daylight savings time.  It’s clear that we need to follow a daily scheduled based on cycles such as the rising and setting of the sun. While it is not practical for most of us to go to bed with the sun because nighttime is the only time the family is together, it does make sense to get up with the sun. Remember Benjamin Franklin’s saying “the early bird gets the worm.”  Going to bed earlier also give us a good reason to not be sleep deprived which causes increased appetite and possible accelerated aging as well.

Try to establish regular and healthy habits. We should try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and not skip meals, including breakfast. Here are ways to improve your sleep and how you eat:

  • Relax earlier in the evening to prepare your body for sleep. Change into your pajamas (if you wear them), don’t drink caffeinated beverages or exercise.
  • Have low calorie snacks such as raw carrots, celery, wheat crackers and those new 100-calorie snacks quickly available so that you can eat if you get hungry.  Some people like a cup of chamomile tea to help them relax instead of a bedtime snack

     The key to minimizing the negative effects of a time change means listening to your body about eating and sleeping. Maintain a good diet, eat an early dinner and be patient with the transition from dark to light. You will survive the time change and just think…in six months you’ll set the clocks back and GAIN an hour of sleep.

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     I’m 62 years old, and although I’m overweight, have been very healthy all of my life and have never been in the hospital overnight. I’d like to share my recent accident which could have changed my life forever. On January 30, 2010 we were experiencing the beginning of the first of many snowfalls in the Washington, D.C. area. As I was walking home from my office I slipped on ice and broke my ankle. I knew from the start that it was probably a fracture because of the intensity of the pain.  I made myself get up and walk the mile to my house but I did some serious whining all the way home. I couldn’t go to the emergency room, because of the snow, until two days later. When I did make it to the emergency room the orthopedic resident started talking about surgery or letting the fracture heal naturally. As I have several patients who have had ankle surgery and who are struggling with the effects of having plates and pins in their body I was very happy when they decided that I did NOT need surgery.

     This fall made me think of the old saying “you can take the time to be healthy–or you’re going to have to take the time to be sick.” Injuries such as my broken ankle are sometimes called “secondary agers” because they speed-up the aging process by limiting long-term mobility and cause early onset arthritis in the joints. Try to put yourself in a situation like mine in which you know that you’ve broken something. I was watching where I was walking very carefully, but many accidents are because we are rushing. We will then have to live forever with the physical limitations caused by our accident.

     Be careful, don’t get hurt because you are rushing or doing risky things, like climbing on an unsteady ladder to the roof. The famous “multi-tasking” while driving (as my wife constantly reminds my almost 15 year old son) is an equally dangerous example. You’re risking your future mobility and independence.

      Most home accidents are preventable if you recognize dangers situations and environments and taking the necessary steps to minimize risks. Here are some major safety tips:


  • Have lighting that shows each step and the top and bottom landings
  • Repair loose stairway rugs or boards immediately.
  • Do not leave objects on the stairs. This is especially true if you have young children.
  • Don’t use patterned or dark carpeting on stairs. You won’t be able to see where one step begins or ends.
  • Install full-length handrails on both sides of the stairway. We only have a handrail on one side and it’s really hard going up and down stairs with a cane.


  • Put non-skid textured adhesive strips on the bathtub and shower floor and have a slip-resistant rug next to the bathtub for safe exit and entry. With my broken ankle I am especially watchful getting in and out of the shower.
  • Install grab bars on the walls around the bathtub to make it easier and safety to get in and out of the tub and off the toilet. Boy, I wish I had grab bars which I first broke my ankle.


  • Place a lamp and flashlight near your bed. Turn on the lamp even if you might wake up your bedmate.
  • Install a night-light along the route between the bedroom and the bathroom and keep clutter out of the way.
  • Have a stable step to help you get up on the bed if your bed is higher than normal.

Living areas

  • Move furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms
  • Keep electrical and telephone cords out of your pathway
  • Secure loose area rugs and runners with double-faced tape, tacks, or slip-resistant backing
  • Don’t climb on unstable chairs or ladders to reach into cabinets or to change light bulbs.


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     Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held every year on the last Saturday of March. Earth Hour asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Earth hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Coliseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness. Earth Hour 2010 will take place on March 27, 2010 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, local time

              For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations. We as a society are taking a stand on how much energy we use. It is something we have control over.

             VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour on

                                  Saturday, March 28, 2010.

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                   Why are there so many natural disasters lately?

     In the past five years we have had MAJOR natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, the Sichuan earthquake, the Australia bushfires, the Samoa tsunami, the Haiti earthquake occurred and most recently the earthquake in Chile with a severity of 8.8 on the Richter scale, the worse earthquake ever recorded. With all of these natural disasters most people are asking if the number and severity of natural disasters are on the rise. Unfortunately, the answer is “yes,” natural disasters are increasing in both frequency and severity. In fact, according to one study "over the past 30 years, the number of reported natural disasters has increased steadily, from slightly fewer than 100 in 1975 to a little more than 300 in 2003." You have probably noticed yourself that the winters are more severe and summer temperatures are higher.

To understand this increase in frequency we need to look at the three primary factors causing this trend, 1) degradation of the environment, 2) population growth and urban migration, and 3) climate change.

Degradation of the Environment

Cutting down trees (deforestation) for building supplies or for farmland and over grazing or overplanting exhausted farmland directly impacts the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Deforestation or overgrazing on hillsides increases the probability of landslides after heavy rains, deforestation and overgrazing in marginal lands can lead to dustbowls or desertification. America has experienced both of these. California had huge mud slides this year because forest fires had burned all the trees and bushes. The southwest had huge dust storms in the 1930s after farmers inadvertently broke up the topsoil and prairie grass that held the soil together.

Although earthquakes cause tsunamis, the impact itself was increased in some areas due to the destruction of the mangrove swamps that act as a buffer absorbing some of the force of the waves. It’s impossible to outrun a wave of water traveling at 30 miles an hour. Hurricane Katrina was worsened by the destruction of the bayous and marshes that used to protect New Orleans.

Population growth and urban migration

Simply speaking, the greater the number of people in an area the greater the number of people that will be affected by a disaster. Higher population densities mean that even if the strength of the earthquake is no greater than before, the amount of people and property it will impact is far greater than ever before. Look at Haiti or Chile, places where the population density is so great with an enormous number of buildings and dwellings. Overpopulation because of urban population migration forces people to live on unstable hillsides, in flood plains, in shabbily constructed slums or on top of fault lines.. Surrounding this park are numerous houses and apartment buildings, all of which will likely be destroyed in an earthquake. All of these factors increase the likelihood that more people will be severely affected by natural disasters.

Climate Change

Although many people deny the obvious,(thank you Al Gore) climate change is raising sea levels and changing precipitation patterns in many parts of the world. This incredible winter with its patterns of rain and snow are proof that “things are changing.” As the sea level continues to rise, low lying coastal areas are more prone to damage by wave surges, tropical storms and other coastal issues. Areas that have increased rainfall are more likely to have issues with flooding and landslides, while areas receiving less rain fall may face crop failure, desertification, wild fires and other serious issues.

Take time now to prepare yourself for a disaster. Put aside a two week supply of food, water and medicine. Gather all your critical legal documents so they can be quickly grabbed in the event of an evacuation. Get trained in first aid and disaster response. Remember the Boy Scout motto “be prepared.”

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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.

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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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