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Ep. 19 – Answers to Questions You’ve Asked

In this episode, Dr. Chet is going to address some of the questions you’ve asked and a couple you haven’t asked yet. The goal is to help you improve your health by getting into some better habits

Welcome to Straight Talk and Health. I’m your host Dr. Chet Zelasko, together with WGVU in Grand Rapids, Michigan. What I do is examine the latest and greatest in the world health. Whether it's research that makes headlines, another miracle diet, a new supplement or an exercise trend. I Look at the science behind things and let you know whether it's real or not. You can check out other things that I do on my website: drchet.com and sign up for my free emails.

On this episode, I’m going to address some of the questions that I typically get. In so doing, hopefully it will give you some guidance and tips that you can use in your health as you change your lifestyle here in 2023. Now, none of these are earth shattering in and of of themselves. Do I think that they're important? If they weren’t important I wouldn’t mention them. But I think that there are things that can help you, things that, at least one of them, that you might not think of that can be very beneficial to you.

So let me start with the story. I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law in Summerville, South Carolina several years ago. And this was back when I was still running. My modus operandi was to get up early before everyone else did. Not hard with Paula, she sleeps until at least 9, but to get up early, and especially in South Carolina, to beat the heat, go out and run. And Summerville is a nice little town, fairly flat. No, absolutely flat, that's why they call it the low country. I had a route that I typically ran. But for whatever reason, my calves were fairly tight that day. So there was, of all things, let's call it a beauty shop. And it had a sign out in front and had some of those fake logs and those surrounded some plants, et cetera. And so what I would do, because I've done it before, was stand on those logs and just stretch my calf. Well, what happened this time was those things gave way and I fell forward into a bunch of rusty nails. No, it wasn't the fact that they were rusty, but one of these hit me right in the voice box and the others scratched my chest and they were pretty severe.

Now, once they determined that I didn't have any holes in my throat, I managed to recover and run back home, but it impacted my voice. Now, one of the reasons that I visit Somerville is it was one of the places where I did a speaking engagement and my voice did recover, but it hit me right voice box and it really messed up my voice for a couple of days.

Here's the thing. My daughter-in-law then made a rule. You're not leaving this house without taking your cell phone.

And so from that point forward, it's got to be at least 10 years ago, I have always taken my cell phone with me whenever I was going to run. Doesn't matter where - whether it's around my neighborhood or in just about every other state that I've run in, I always take my cell phone with me. And there have been some things that have happened. In one case, where I did have my cell phone with me, I stepped on the top of the glass and needed about 10 stitches in the bottom of my foot. You know, it's amazing how sharp glass is when you step directly on it. And it was a broken bottle. I thought I was running around and I did not.

What does this all have to do with your health? Well, several months ago I was doing intervals up a hill in my neighborhood - walking, you know, of course. And as I turned around and walked up the hill for about 90 seconds, turn around to go down, there was an elderly woman and she was walking around, looking confused. So I begin talking with her and found out she had been released from the hospital a few days before with a heart condition. And I asked her and she did not have her phone with her. Her daughter was her primary caregiver, at home, and she had left her phone at home. So she seemed OK, other than being a little winded. And she lived a couple doors down. So I watched her walk home during my next interval up the hill.

So what's the moral of the story? Never leave your home to exercise without your phone.

Please. Wear a fanny pack, if you even know what those are anymore. Wear a coat, if you must, but always take your cell phone with you. Look, there are myriad of things that can happen. You can sprinkle or twist a knee where you can't finish and end up getting back. Or falling off a bike or you can fall down the hill, which has also happened to me. Better to need it and take it, rather than to not take it and really need it.

So I would say that from a health perspective, being outdoors is wonderful. Walking through the woods. Great. Just make sure that you have your cell phone with you, always, and you don't have to listen to it. You can just keep it in your pocket. Just make sure that you have access to. That's my take on things.

Now with the question I get all the time, what do you do for constipation? For an adult and especially for a child. This one took a little bit of trying to, not research, but to discover what is what is the best thing and over a variety of years, I found something that I think that works for just about everybody. I've yet to see it not work.

So, your base of this is going to be a sports drink. It could be sugar free or it can have sugar. There's the thing about sports drinks is they have all the minerals in them. They’ve got magnesium and calcium and sodium and potassium. And that's something that you need. 16 ounce or 32 ounce. You want to add to it some fiber. For the 16 ounce, I would put in at least 2 teaspoons of fiber. You can use psyllium fiber, if you use psyllium fiber, you have to consume that right away. If you use something like inulin or dextrin, that's something that you can shakeup and mix up, but it won’t thicken. Psyllium is great fiber, but it thickens things up. So you take the sports drink. You put in the fiber and I would put in about an 8th of a teaspoon of sea salt.

Why sea salt? Because it has more minerals in it. Drink about 4 ounces at a time and then follow that with 4 ounces of water. What's going to happen is the minerals are going to draw fluids into the digestive system. And so the idea is using that for let's say, an hour or so for every 15 minutes, 4 ounces of this drink followed by another 4 ounces of water, in a couple of hours after that. Well, let me just say that constipation should be the least of someone’s problems.

Now, that's worked for my grandson, Riley. And for just about every kid I know. And you can use the same thing if your adult. Paula had chronic constipation for a number of years, and she regularly used that she doesn't anymore, finally found a different way of dealing with it. It’s something that if you're up against, rather than use some of the harsh laxatives and other things that are out there, that's something that seems to have a real benefit to it using reasonable things. But it just gives you an illustration of how important fiber is to your overall health and well-being.

Here's one that I got a couple times in the matter of days. Can I reduce my risk of getting another kidney stone? Well, it depends. And that depends on what you're going to do about it. You know, they give you a list of things. Now I sympathize. I've had a kidney stone and I don't ever have another one. And because I've had my prostate removed and had radiation, I also have had a tendency towards bladder stones. Tthere's a coating inside your bladder that prevents the formation of stones except when it gets destroyed in radiation. So there are a couple spots we're stones can form. And so my urologist told me about this and I enhanced it the little bit after doing some research. The one thing that seems to destroy stones naturally is citric acid. Where you find citric acid? Citric acid is normally found in oranges, lemons and limes, and grapefruit as well. But the highest concentration is in lime. What he told me was use a lemonade drink like a crystal light, So there's not a lot of calories in it, and drink debt bottle water every day.

Well, I've modified that. It's too sweet for me. So I use the citric acid that comes in the lemonade, combine that with the juice of one whole lemon and squeeze out the juice fresh and that citric acid on the water and mix it in. And then drink that - at least 3 times week. And not only have I had any more bladder Stones, I don’t have any more kidney stones. And the research supports that citric acid does work. You don't have to necessarily do it every day. You can. If you're in, let's say a crisis. I don't know if it's going help dissolve it. Research doesn't go that far. But it is something that may help you over time. If you drink it in a regular basis, it will prevent you from getting another kidney stones.

That's all the time for questions on the show. Until next time this is Dr. Chet Zelasko saying Health is a choice, people, choose wisely today and every day.

Narr: Straight Talk on Health with Dr. Chet Zelasko is recorded in the studios of WGVU Public Radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The views and opinions expressed on Straight Talk on Health are not necessarily those of WGVU, its underwriters, or Grand Valley State University. Episodes are found at wgvunews.org and wherever you get your podcasts, please rate and subscribe.

Dr. Chet Zelasko is a scientist, speaker, and author. Dr. Chet has a Ph.D. and MA in Exercise Physiology and Health Education from Michigan State University and a BS in Physical Education from Canisius College. He’s certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health and Fitness Specialist, belongs to the American Society of Nutrition, and has conducted research and been published in peer-reviewed journals. You can find him online at drchet.com.
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