Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blog 012 - link to the department of family medicine at the medical university of south carolina

Here’s something pretty cool: Fitness Rocks has entered into a link partnership with the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Some of you may recall that recently I had a great interview with Dr. Dana King who is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at MUSC. Dr King and his colleagues are involved in a lot of current research on the relationship between lifestyle and the risk of chronic diseases. So, it’s a perfect relationship for Fitness Rocks.

Dr. King and the Department of Family Medicine at MUSC have offered to do at least six interviews with Fitness Rocks relating to their research over the next year.

The link to the MUSC website is on the Fitness Rocks Home Page and you can follow it to some really terrific health information. Be sure to check out the Health Assessment Tools link.

This is an incredible honor and opportunity for me and my little podcast, and a tremendous resource for you – the Fitness Rocks listeners.

So, take advantage of the good news here at Fitness Rocks World Headquarters.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blog 011 - falmouth road race

Summer vacation. Visiting friends and relatives. Falmouth Road race. These are my excuses for not writing more frequently.

The Falmouth Road Race was this past Sunday, August 12, 2007. It is a seven mile race along the roads of my town - Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The race route includes some of the most picturesque scenery in the country. There are quaint New England lighthouses, beaches, and views across Vineyard Sound toward Martha's Vineyard. Just running the race makes me happy that I live here.

This year my whole family entered the race - including my daughter who turned 15 the day after the race. It was her first race. Since I have been struggling with a stress fracture in my foot and wasn't able to run for most of the past year (I do a spinning bike for my aerobic exercise) I decided to run with her - to make sure she didn't get trampled.

At the last minute it occurred to me that I could carry my video camera with me during the race and capture it on video. So I did.

Editing the video was nauseating because of the erratic motion of the images filmed while I was running. I had to stop multiple times to recover from the headache and upset stomach caused by watching the bouncing video. But, I did it. And then I decided to post the video on YouTube!

You can watch the video by going to the Fitness Rocks website ( and clicking on te video button. Or, you can click this direct link: Falmouth Road Race

Let me know what you think.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Blog 010 - tomatoes

This is a story I wrote a couple of years ago and posted on a blog that nobody ever read. I decided to recycle the story after I discovered a rogue tomato plant growing where the tomato plant in this picture was two years ago. It came back to visit and remind me that every day we have a chance to examine our lives and start over.

Tomatoes will always remind me of a date I had in college. She was pretty and smart and it had taken months for me to get up the courage to ask her out. We were having dinner at a small cafĂ© popular with students. Conversation between us was going along swimmingly when our salads arrived. Perched on the top of my salad was a plump, ripe, shiny red cherry tomato. The tomato was so inviting that I was distracted from our dialogue and went straight for my fork, spearing the fruit and popping it into my mouth with great expectations for the savory experience to follow. Biting into the tomato caused an eruption of tangy juice and succulent seeds that squirted out of my mouth like a popping pimple and shot across the table onto my horrified date’s white button-down shirt.

I don’t know what became of that girl; oddly, she never returned my calls. Fortunately, this traumatic experience did not diminish my love for tomatoes. And that’s a good thing. Tomatoes, it turns out, are fabulously healthy to eat in a multiplicity of forms including cooked and fresh.

The American Institute of Cancer Research reports that diets with lots of tomatoes on a regular basis are associated with lower risks for developing prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

One of the nutrients in tomatoes that may account for their cancer-fighting strength is lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid compound. Other carotenoids in tomatoes include phytoene and phytofluene. Tomatoes also contain fiber – about 2.5 grams per medium tomato. They are rich in vitamin C, with a single medium tomato supply 66% of the recommended daily allowance. B-vitamins, potassium, and alpha- and beta- carotene are additional nutrients found in tomatoes that are health-promoting.

Cooked tomatoes are actually better than raw tomatoes. Cooking makes the nutrients, especially the lycopene, more available for absorption by your body. So here’s an irony – canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste seem to be great choices, evidently better than fresh. Although it’s probably a good idea to have fresh raw tomatoes several times a week as well. When selecting canned tomatoes read the label carefully – most are loaded with excess sodium. Buy low-sodium or no-sodium-added tomatoes.

A friend of mine recently told me that she had been advised not to eat tomatoes because they would worsen her osteoarthritis. Tomatoes are a member of the “nightshade” family of vegetables which includes potatoes and peppers as well. The idea that nightshade vegetables aggravate osteoarthritis is as unfounded as it is old. There is simply no evidence to support this assertion. Tomatoes won’t make your arthritis worse and they may well help prevent cancer – you should eat them.

Here’s another useful tip – you can’t get the good-for-you benefits of tomatoes in a pill, you have to eat them. Supplement manufacturers have already started marketing lycopene supplements. Lycopene is only one of the good things in tomatoes; there are many others, and it is this nature-perfect combination of nutrients in tomatoes that gives them their cancer fighting ability. Single nutrient supplements like beta-carotene, or vitamin E have been consistently shown to be unhelpful compared to eating the whole foods from which they come. Skip the pills and eat your tomatoes (along with your broccoli, spinach, beans, zucchini, blueberries, apples, etc.)

Finally, eat your tomatoes with your mouth firmly closed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Blog 009 - careful what you say, or at least how you say it

This week I have been going to selected discussion panels at the Woods Hole Film Festival here in my little town on Cape Cod. It’s been a lot of fun, and another example of how cool it is to live where I do.

Woods Hole is an interesting place where world-renowned scientists do Nobel Prize winning research at the Marine Biological Laboratories and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The Film Festival is held every year in some of the old, historic buildings of Woods Hole. Woods Hole (part of my town of Falmouth) is a postcard-perfect New England coastal town with stunning views across Vineyard Sound toward Martha’s Vineyard. Martha’s Vineyard is where they made the movie JAWS.

People who are passionate about making films come here from all over the world to show their movies and to talk, excitedly, about their “next projects.” The very coolest part of the whole deal is that I live close enough that I can ride my bicycle to the festival on a bike path with no cars!

Anyway, today I was at my third discussion panel. There were only about ten or twelve people attending the panel. The moderator had us sit in a circle and have an open discussion. The discussion was about media literacy and how to interpret the new media and the role of the Internet in spreading ideas around the world. There were old guys, like me, and some young kids (eighteen years old and going to start film school in the fall).

I spoke more than I should have and shared some of my views on how I see the internet, podcasting, blogging, and video blogging evolving. At one point one of the young, refreshingly idealistic kids spoke about how the conference had really opened his eyes to the possibilities of using the Internet to find an audience for his future films. He was genuinely excited and optimistic about his future as a filmmaker.

Evidently, my responses to his comments were received by the group, and the young man, as harsh, cynical, and frustrated – basically too negative, too bitter. He had expressed his enthusiasm for the power of the Internet to spread his message. I had responded by saying that it could indeed, but the stories that had been shared by others during previous discussion panels were probably exaggerated, and that he would still need to expend a great deal of effort in marketing his films beyond simply posting a few clips on YouTube.

I also expressed my concern that as the “new media” gains a larger audience the business leaders of the “old-media” will be waiting to move in and capitalize on this new source of revenue – and they will have the money and the power to do it much more effectively than a guy like me. I argued that the romantic ideal of a level playing field where every individual can share the stage with media superpowers is probably destined to become little more than fantasy.

Okay, I was, without intending to be, a bitter, frustrated old man throwing cold water on the newfound passion of a young kid who’d found what he wanted to do with his life.

Shame on me!

But, the stories that others had told (in previous conferences) about posting clips of their movies and having “half-a-million downloads in one weekend” were equally destructive, in my mind, because they are stories that probably weren’t true or were misleading. My thinking was that the kid should be encouraged, but not led to believe that the Internet was going to make him famous overnight.

The bottom line, I think, is that my intention was good, but my delivery sucked!

I continue to run head on into the reality that words matter, and what we say to other people can be powerfully uplifting, or terribly defeating.

Hopefully, this kid will grow up to be the next superstar movie director and be able to tell his own kids how lucky it is that he didn’t listen to the angry old man at the Woods Hole Film Festival.

Be careful what you say – someone might be listening.

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Monte Ladner