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Go To Health! (Because Life's Too Short. . .)

the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara signed with a New York Literary agency in December.


March is National Nutrition Month in the U.S. Nutrition will get a lot of exposure in the next few weeks: It's a good reminder for us to take care of ourselves.

One of the first things experts tell us is - Don't Skip Breakfast! This can lead to obesity over time.

You can see how this happens: You miss a meal during the time of day you're the most active. Then if you eat later in the day, when you are less active, your body will store that fuel.

Joan Smith, a hospital dietitian says, "We need a reminder of the constants: Limit fast foods. Bring a brown bag lunch to work instead of grabbing fast food, processed foods, that are high in fat and sodium. We may think we have a reasonable amount of sodium. Patients tell me all the time, 'I watch my diet. I don't use salt.' Yet they still can have high sodium just from eating processed food."

Smith points out how as we grow older we are more prone to constipation. "To avoid this, drink eight cups of non-caffeine fluids daily. Caffeine can cause birth defects in the unborn (Ed. Note: though some recent studies are less conclusive; ask your doctor). Caffeine is a stimulant; it does affect our heart rate.

"As it starts getting warmer, many of us drink a lot of iced tea. Aside from the caffeine it may contain, tea is high in tannic acid which blocks iron consumption. This is especially bad for pregnant women and for growing kids."


Nutrition greatly affects state of mind. You are what you eat, not just physically, but mentally. Poor nutrition and lack of carbohydrates can lead to depression and memory difficulty.

Energy directly relates to what we eat and drink. Lack of energy is often due to poor diet. Carbohydrates, starches and natural sugars, supply the body with energy. Simple carbohydrates (sugars) give a quick peak of energy that often ends in a crash or slump when the carbs are used up. Complex carbohydrates in whole-grains, potatoes, rice, and pasta, provide the slow-burning fuel to get you through a longer haul.

Habit is hard to change. For those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, many have the misconception that the drugs alone will correct the health problem. This can lead to a 'Now I can [continue to] eat anything I want' attitude. Untrue. Medicines adjust about thirty percent of the problem. The rest needs to be modified through exercise and nutrition.

When making our nutritional choices at the grocery store, North American shoppers now can make informed choices. Since 1989, in response to consumer pressure, the Food and Drug Administration has required increasingly detailed labels for food. Packages now display information about the nutritional content, ingredients (including additives), and the definition of serving size.

Although we have made progress in labeling, in our industrial society it's not always easy to get the nutrients we need from food; we have a tendency to overprocess harvested food, in the process polish off nutrients. Unfortunately, that 2% of iron from the bag of Doritos(TM) in your kitchen isn't the answer to a new iron supplement for your diet!

Next Week:


What do you remember about Nutrition from school? E-mail me your insights at Also - we bumped "Massage Therapy" into a two-part series. . .any comments on your experience with Massage Therapy are greatly appreciated.

Back to the top / The New Sideroad / Go to the latest column

Issue # 18
Tuesday, March 3, 1998


"Back" to Health

Part 1 of 4- Looking After Your Back

Part 2 of 4- Avoiding Back Sprains

Part 3 of 4- Medical and chiropractic treatments

Part 4 of 4- Physical Therapy and Self Help Tips

Humour and Health

Part 1 of 5 - "Think You're Funny?" (A look at laughter.)

Part 2 of 5 - What the Experts Say. . .

Part 3 of 5 - A Matter of Perspective

Part 4 of 5 - Humour as a Coping Mechanism

Part 5 of 5 - Wooten on Humour and Coping

Overcoming Sleep Disorders

Part 1 of 4 - how your mattress can make all the difference.

Part 2 of 4 - strategies to help you sleep.

Part 3 of 4 - more strategies to help you sleep.

Part 4 of 4 - what is a sleep log and how does it work?


Stats indicate that for those over the age of 50, one of every two women and one in eight men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. Our sedentary lifestyle puts us at risk for this disease. Yet osteoporosis is not inevitable. Here's some information on this disease and how we can prevent it.

Part 1 of 4 - - details the likelihood of developing this disease, and its dangers and consequences.

Part 2 of 4 - - presents the risk factors of osteoporosis and some of our misconceptions about the disease.

Part 3 of 4 - - insights into diagnosis, and basic management techniques.

Part 4 of 4 - - new medical treatments to stop osteoporosis, and safety in the home of osteoporosis sufferers.

Next Week:


Part of the original Sideroad. Text © 1998, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted March 3 , 1998. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at