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Healthy Living

The Best of Midlife Matters

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 12/28/2011
Last Updated: 08/09/2012

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The year 2011 is quickly winding to a close. (Where DID the time go? The older we get, the faster it goes. A sad irony, don't you think?) And with the dizzying speed of the Internet, social media and how news gets out, it's possible—even probable—to miss a lot of important news along the way.

Added to that, all the conflicting studies (coffee is bad; no, coffee is good. Cell phones cause cancer; no, they really don't) are enough to make you want to tune out at times. So here, as we prepare to usher in 2012, are the top 10 posts that get high marks either in the number of readers they attracted or the number of people who reacted to them—or both. 

When I started this blog three years ago, I was just finding my voice and my audience. Blogging was new to me, and, although I had a vision, I really didn't know quite what to expect. It's truly heartwarming to see the loyal following Midlife Matters has gained and to "hear" and learn from the many voices that are moved to respond. I love reading your comments—it tells me someone out there is listening!

Thanks for being part of our community and chiming in with comments, observations and commiseration. Without that, it would be mighty lonely around here.

1. It may be fruit … but this one is not necessarily GOOD for you.

Cantaloupes from a single farm in Colorado were found to be contaminated with listeria this past summer, killing 23 people by October and spreading illness through 18 states. The CDC offers tips for avoiding the illness listeriosis, in general.

2. Cell phones cause brain cancer … do they or don't they?
Back and forth it goes. The verdict, as of June 2011.

3. Easy ways to get yourself some diabetes.
I had fun with this one, taking a counterintuitive approach to a not-so-fun illness that is the nation's largest health care problem and a huge expense to our health care system—up into the trillions of dollars.

4. When is the last time you had a decent night's sleep?
It seems to get harder as we get older. Here, an interview with Dr. Eric Braverman, who believes lack of sleep is a rapid age accelerator.

5. Is weight loss among your New Year's resolutions?
Everybody wants to know some simple secrets to losing some pounds, less the crankiness, moodiness and deprivation that can sometimes go along with it.

6. If you're like me and have a sweet tooth, here are some important facts about sugar.
It's not always created equal—and many times is disguised by other names, among them "high fructose corn syrup."

7. Spa experts spill their secrets.
We all want to know how to stay healthy and Zen-like during the rush of the holidays; here, some tips from top spas around the country.

8. There ain't no cure for the wintertime blues … or is there?

It's certainly worth a try.

9. We might have lost fitness icon Jack LaLanne, but his lessons never die. 
He was truly a man ahead of his time, and he did all of us a big favor with his message of health and fitness.

10. The ethics of concierge medicine.
It's something we can't all afford. Is health care a right or a privilege? An angry doctor responds and defends the practice eight months after the original piece ran, and says, among other things: "You want superior care and an hour with your doctor instead of a hurried office visit, then I think it's reasonable that you should pay more for it."


So many great posts! I must say the one I am drawn to still was on sugar, and avoiding high fructose corn syrup. I check labels all the time now. I have replaced sugar in my coffee with honey. I know that not all honey is created equal and buy honey from local farmers. Buying food that is nutritious has become an obstacle course. There was a post today on Daily Beast about How Cash Has Corrupted Congress. We need to get rid of the revolving door and elect legislators who are not tempted by $$, who have our welfare in mind and do not allow former, for instance, employees of Monsanto, to run the Food and Drug Administration. No wonder Monsanto's bottom line gets put first! I try to avoid all corn products now, since they are genetically modified, including HFCS!

There have been so many important health stories this year, hasn't there? Another one that comes to mind is the back and forth about what age to start recommending mammograms (or was that 2010?). What I've found following your blog is that good health is a matter of consistently making choices to watch what you eat and increase your activity level to feel good--that won't grab headlines, but it's something I keep trying to remind myself.

The mammogram controversy is in the news, it seems, each year. But the reversal that sparked so much controversy, setting the age at 50 from 40, was all the way back in 2009 (see, told you time goes fast!). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/health/17cancer.html

And thank you for following my blog and reminding yourself of good health!

Great work this year, Sheryl! Keep it up in 2012.

Thanks, Nancy, and thanks for reading and commenting. Best to you in the new year!

I love your blog. It helps me to stand straighter, eat better, exercise more, dump my slothful habits -- and is always written with gentle good humor. I'm always grateful for your well-informed reminders on how to live better. Happy 2012.

Thanks so much, Ruth. It's nice to know that my words are making an impact. Happy 2012 to you, as well!

Thank you, Alexandra. Sounds like you are making very proactive health choices in your life!

Thank you, Alexandra. Sounds like you are making very proactive health choices in your life!

I've enjoyed reading and learning from your blog this year and look forward to a healthier 2012 because of it!

Thanks for reading and contributing to the ongoing conversation, and glad you enjoy reading!

Thanks for all of the good advice over the past year. It's so hard to know which conflicting advice to believe!

I agree, Kris. There is so much conflicting advice and it's hard to sort it all out, especially when it changes so quickly. I think we all have to make an effort not to panic and jump at the latest trend or advice and read all we can to get all sides of the story.

Thanks for a great year of healthy advice. I also believe that the post on high fructose corn syrup is especially noteworthy because this sugar seems to sneak into just about everything. Hoping your 2012 is a great year for you.

Thanks, Jeanine. Yes, sugar seems to be everywhere; lately everything is tasting super-sweet to me, and that's coming from someone with a sweet tooth!

Regular reader here, too, so many of your picks familiar to me. I always pick up interesting tidbits and practical advice I actually put into play from your posts. Happy 2012, Sheryl.


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