The answer to my Halloween Dilemma

October 31, 2010

If you haven’t noticed yet I am trying to blog a little every week.  Call it part of my therapy to help insure that I practice what I preach.  After all for years I knew I had to change my diet, and I finally did.  Had my physical this week and waiting to see what the tests show.  Basics good, BP was 110/72 and the EKG came back normal (even if I have two dorky spots on chest where they had to shave me to get the electrodes to stick).  And just a heads up on health, right now the CDC (Center of Disease Control) says that 1 out of 10 adults already has diabetes…but they expect that number to rise to almost 1 out of 3 by the year 2050.  WOW.  Don’t be one of them or better yet, don’t let your children be one of them.  Stay away from sugar as much as you can, and bone up on healthy diets.  Diabetes is the leading reason for adult blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke just to name a few issues.

I have to tell you how fortunate I am to have some people around me who are way wiser than me and have helped me in more ways than I can thank them.  The last couple of weekends I have been lucky enough to spend a little time with some of them.  These friends help keep me grounded in how I act.  After all, crap happens all the time and it is only how we react to it that defines or gives the crap more importance in our life than it should have.  I know it, but practicing it all the time is another story.  But my friends help keep everything in perspective for me so that I can continue to work at being the best I can be.  Easier said than done.

As for my Halloween dilemma that I wrote about a few weeks ago.  Problem solved…. Won’t be handing out anything this year.  This year we have two dogs, our lovable (but barking) Corgi…Rocky and our new edition Oso (the 90 lb. German Sheppard who also barks, but scares the little kids even if he is harmless)  I can’t control all aspects of barking, handing out candy etc etc so I am bailing on the situation.  It’s ok, Joey has tons of schoolwork and we need to get it done.

Hope you have a great Halloween.


Why it pays to BLOCK some aspects of your cellular phones

October 24, 2010

Today’s blog is shifting gears a little bit.  I always make it a habit to check my phone bills because I have found charges that appear that really should not be there.  I would say once or twice a year something shows up that just does not make sense.  Usually it is not a big number, but when you multiply these errors over the millions of bills that go out monthly and it can be a big bonanza for the phone company.

Today I really had to look at my cell phone bill.  My wife had gone out of the country and she was setting up for her reimbursement for her travel expense.  The only problem was that her expense did not cover the added cost of the bill.  We found that there was almost $20.00 of charges on my oldest son’s bills that he had no idea about.  I went on line and checked it out and then called Verizon.  I was told that it was a sneaky thing, but there are companies that sent a text that once Josh opened it up he automatically opted in to a $9.99 monthly charge.  ONLY BY OPENING UP THE TEXT.  The nice operator from Verizon then told us how to opt out (which we did immediately) and then she put blocks on all our phone lines to stop this from ever happening again.  Sounds ok right?

Here is where it got a little dicey.  I asked her if the charges would be reversed and she said she could not do it, even though it was unsolicited her hands were tied.  I informed her that as a consumer I found this hard to believe, and I asked if there was a number I could call these two companies on to get it fixed.  The only numbers she had were the 5 digit numbers to text to opt out that we had already accessed.  I found this hard to believe as the phone company actually does the billing for these companies as a pass through so there has to be a way to get better info on it so I asked to speak to a supervisor.  The kind lady put me on hold, 5 minutes later she came back telling me she had the authority now to reverse the charges.  She apologized again for her hands being previously tied.

This is what I took out of the entire experience.  The phone companies actually support this agenda because they act as the billing source for these scam companies.  Why aren’t the phone companies protecting their end users.  There must be so much money in it that they don’t worry about making customers like me ask to speak to supervisors to get the charges reversed.  I guess some people would just take it and even if they get only 20% of the billing, there is a lot of money, particularly if you don’t check your bill monthly. 

Check your bills and if you don’t have these blocks set up do it right away.


Say No to Sugar in Drinks

October 24, 2010

OK..  this post makes pretty good dental sense right?  Sugar in drinks is just another avenue of providing fuel for the bacteria in your mouth to cause cavities and you are right.  But at Southern California Dental Health Associates we feel that the cavity risk is important, but that eliminating the sugar in your drinks will improve your overall health.

For the most part we really do not need to get any calories for our life through our beverages.  One can of soda a day equals about 15.5 pounds of fat a ayear.  That is only 12 ounces of soda,  and guess what…the bottles are now up to 20 ounces.  Imagine how much a wallop the 64 ounce Big Gulp packs for your body.

The doctors at UC Medical in San Francisco are also cautioning their pregnant patients that the more sugar drinks they consumme the increased chance of changing how their unborn child will deal with adipose deposition (add fat to their body)

Of particular concern is the amount of high fructose corn syrup that is found in beverages.  There is a lot of medical people out there who feel HFCS is not good for the body and the evidence they present is very convincing (for the lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth go to  http://tinyurl.com/ldgu9k )

There are few, if any nutrients you can get out of a beverage so keep it simple and drink water or unswettened coffee or tea.  Milk is also good, particulary for growing kids.  

I personally also like the Sobe drinks that have no sugar, they have a different sweetner, erythritol. It is 60–70% as sweet as table sugar yet it is almost non-caloric, does not affect blood sugar, does not cause tooth decay, and is absorbed by the body, therefore unlikely to cause gastric side effects unlike other sugar alcohols.

At Southern California Dental Health Associates we believe that practicing good nutrition goes hand in hand with reducing dental disease.  We will be keeping you posted on other areas of nutrition that can help you.  We have teamed up with a rRegistered Dietician, Jennifer D’Ambosi, to bring you more information.

To your continued health,

Dr.s Engel, Dana and Maya


Halloween and My Moral Dilemma

October 17, 2010

Sometimes I just don’t know where the time flies so quickly.   My wife and I were in the store and we were talking about Halloween, which in Valencia is a pretty big deal.  My wife is off the hook, she is going to be in Canada so it does not involve her this year.  I have always wanted to give out candy since I love the kids in their costumes and how appreciative most of them are when they actually get their treat….but I have a real moral dilemma this year..do I still hand out candy even though I know that the candy is absolutely the worst thing in the world for them?  It’s not only about cavities, it’s about the sugar and what it causes….obesity in children which in turn leads to a whole slew of other problems as obese kids grow up. Is there something else I can hand out and not get booed for?

This takes me to the story of one of my patients J.M.  We were talking about diet when he was in the other day, it was the first time I have seen him since I started eating better.  He told me that he had figured out the sugar thing a long time ago, but get this.  His family all thought he was a little weird for his anti processed food life style.  For over 10 years he has been following the evils of High Fructose Corn Syrup.  And even though by his own admission he can stand to lose a few pounds, every year when he has his physical his blood tests come back all well within  the range of normal.  I get my own blood tested in the next few weeks to see where I stand.

Just a little shout out for the Valencia High School Junior Varsity Football team.  Last year, as freshman, they won every game until the last league game against West Ranch, which they lost and ended up second in the league.  Last night was their revenge as they shut down the Wild Cats 21-7.  I am proud of both my son, Joey (2 catches including one that no one in the stands thought could be caught) and the rest of the team that did not let up at all complete domination.  They had four interceptions alone in the second half.  Way to go Vikings.


Your Body Weight and Gum Disease

October 12, 2010

So, I know you are going to find this amazing, but according to the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found that subjects that kept a healthy weight and had regular high levels of fitness also had a lower incidence of severe gum disease. The study continues to show that there is a correlation between overall health and oral health according to Dr. Samuel Low, President of the American Academy of Periodontology.
OK, not so amazing (just a little sarcasm for the day). What I like about this study is that it is discussing body mass index and exercise. I firmly believe that the direct link between maintaining a healthy BMI and exercise is eating properly. These three factors are essentially what I am striving for when I do my conscious prevention. And I know it is working…my weight is now lower than it has been in over 15 years. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to know that I am doing whatever I can to not depend on the health care system to fix me after I break down. I just don’t want to break down.
So what is next for me….I am going to start reviewing Jorge Cruise on youtube and facebook. He has a series on eliminating belly fat. I still have those love handles I want to get rid of.


I’ve Lost 12 Pounds Already!

October 4, 2010

Conscious Prevention is the phrase that I am using to describe how I am going to keep living my life from now on. And the funny thing is that every time I look at the changes I am implementing in my life style there always seems to be a link to improved dental health as well. It is not a coincidence that the term Oral-Systemic Link has been gaining so much traction in the literature over the last years. There is a strong case for that the health of your mouth is an indicator of your overall health.

So last week I mentioned the lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth that I saw on Youtube and how it was the catalyst for me to change my diet to be consistent with improved health. And I don’t know why but I have lost my sweet tooth, something I have had pretty much my entire life. I find myself snacking on fruit and vegetables like snap peas and baby carrots and nuts like almonds. I don’t feel hungry, but I do eat whenever I feel hungry. And I have lost 12 pounds without much other change in my lifestyle. Is it the less sugar orthe increased fiber in my diet, I don’t know, but I will learn more and share more after working with Jennifer D’ambrosia , our new nutrition partner (dietician) across the hall from my office.