Welcome to "The York'52 Weight Room" --- last updated on Saturday, May 8, 2010 @ 9:00 pm EDT

York High School The York '52 Weight Room

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Junk Food
Participants e-mails
Non-Participants e-mails
Hugh Wang, M.D. e-mails

What follows here below is an on-going series of e-mails between myself and others who tell us about the food they eat and why.
Check back here regularly for updates in my communications with these york '52 people about their food. 

---e-mails will always be posted here below with the most recent always on top---

 Austin Swartz, York '52:---

----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Austin
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 4:11 PM
Subject: Re: Junk Food

Hey Austin--- Thanks for writing.  And thanks too for telling us about why you cook from scratch.
As for Splenda containing Aspartame?  You're right--- for in-and-of-itself Splenda does NOT contain Aspartame.  But I call your attention to what Dr. Hugh Wang tells us all in an e-mail of his dated Sunday, April 11, 2010 already posted at "The York '52 Weight Room" --- and so I now re-quote his take on the problems with Splenda:--- 
  • "Bruce, I'm back to talk about Splenda which itself is not bad.  It was approved by the FDA which tested it as a natural sweetener which I am trying to grow in my back yard having ordered it from a mail-order nursery.  It is struggling, and I'm not sure if it doesn't like my heavy clay dirt or if I'm not watering enough or too much.  It is sweeter than sugar, and fast became a favorite for diabetics.  A cup of coffee requires only a twentieth of a teaspoon.  Here's where the fraud occurs.  After the approval, the company added sugar to bulk up the packet to a teaspoon or more, so now what was okay for diabetics and obese patients with omental baggage is now causing insulin/leptin resistance and rises in blood sugar.  The company markets it as "made from sugar" without the downside of sugar.  Boo!"
As for the Glysemic Index?--- No I haven't heard of it--- so tell me more and I'll put that too up @ "The York '52 Weight Room"

----- Original Message -----
From: Austin
To: H. Bruce Downey
Cc: Carolyne Jordan
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 3:22 PM
Subject: Junk Food

Hi Bruce!!
     Thx. for the junk food info. Now you can see why I cook most things from scratch, Well, I do use some cheese and other dairy products and
canned stuff like tomato sauce. And I eat manufactured cereal. In this case, I look for stuff that is low suger and fat. Oatmeal and Cheerios are
2 good ones.
    Pls check again about Splenda---I don't think that it contains Aspar-
    If anyone wants to lose weight, they can eat ONLY raw vegies and fruit along w/ the above cereals for awhile. Also, do you know about "Gly-
semic Index"? If not, let me know and I'll fill you in.
     Take care, Austin

----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Austin
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 4:55 PM
Subject: Re: Important updated info @ "The York '52 Weight Room"

Thanks Austin, for this bit about watermellons.  Very helpful as another source of  "whole fruit" in our diet.

----- Original Message -----
From: Austin
To: H. Bruce Downey
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 1:21 PM
Subject: Re: Important updated info @ "The York '52 Weight Room"

HI Bruce,
     During watermelon season I eat 1/8 of a watermelon a day, or approx 1 --3 lb piece/day. Yesterday I bought 2 @ $0.25 / lb. Watermelon is loaded w/ all kinds of goodies including firber, plus it is a mild diuretic, and passes through the colon quickly, with a cleansing action. So-- eat more watermelon. And for me, it helps w/my weight problem.
     Here's my contribution to "The York '52 Weight Room".

 Carroll Knight, York '52:---

----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Carroll Knight
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:48 PM
Subject: Re: Of the "ripples" found at "The York '52 Weight Room"

Thanks for this Carroll.  It's helpful.  And its useful too, for we can all learn something from all who are willing to share their thoughts with us.  And so I thank you for yours.

----- Original Message -----
From: Carroll Knight 
To: Bruce
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 6:43 PM
Subject: Re: Of the "ripples" found at "The York '52 Weight Room"

I`am kind of busy and have not had much time to review your new activity of weight situation. The world is full of experts and book authors on the subject.
There are two parts to this; what you put in your mouth and how you exercise.
When I am in the 1st  pew of church doing all the right things I try to follow the advice of one of the experts that said do five things; no sugar, no caffeine, no refined white flour, no red meat and no dairy products.
That's my rule that I try to maintain and cheat from to some degree.
Always listen to what your body tells you and exercise pushing yourself a little.
Getting older we lose muscle mass and bone mass and need to eat better and exercise.
I am like a yo yo, up and down on weight. Being a wrestler in high school and college weight was a part of my daily life.

 Ken Jones, York '52:---

----- Original Message -----
From: Ken Jones
To: H. Bruce Downey
Sent: Saturday, May 08, 2010 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: Of worm bins and cleanliness...

I finally found my way to your worm bucket piece.  My PC has been acting funny.
I was expecting to read something about modern America's focus on zero tolerance cleanliness.
Mom used to say,  "Kenny, don't worry, you'll eat a peck of dirt before you die."   We had the ten second
rule (others used a different measure of time).  It takes ten seconds for the germs to get off the floor onto
whatever bit of food is dropped on that floor.  Result of the ten second rule?  If you got it off the floor inside ten
seconds you could eat it and not worry.
In my dotage I don't bend as quickly as in that Elmhurst house.  Now I tend to eat anything I find on the floor.
Remember when flies were considered so dirty because they have little hairs on their feet which allow them
to walk upside down on the ceiling?  Those little hairs also picked up GERMS from all the manure piles? 
In Elmhurst?  Manure piles?  I could not put two plus two together sometimes back then.  The buzzing of 
house flies is a nuisance but I no longer worry about their hairy little feet.
Ever noticed that hornets don't particularly want to sting?  We have many white face hornet nests around
our house and down in the meadow.  If one lands on a guest's hair I usually encourage it to get on my finger
and ride with me outside where it will likely fly away.
ON THE OTHER HAND.  Last week in the up scale town of Sudbury, MA four adults were admitted to the
hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.  One died.  They were running a gasoline electricity generator in
their basement.  How could they possibly not know?
ON THE OTHER HAND.  Many Fitchburg streets either have no sidewalks or have impassable sidewalks.  
You and I were told to walk facing traffic.  Now-a-days that message is not well communicated.  You and
I were told look both ways before stepping off the curb.  Now folks behave as though arrogance will outweigh
one and a half tons of General Motors product.
Thanks for all the stuff you do.

----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Ken Jones
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:34 PM
Subject: It's not about either what or even how much or how little you eat--- it's about price and preparation vs. convenience--- Right?

Thanks for this, Ken.  And so how's this volume setting underneath it all?  Better, I hope.  Or is it still too loud?  E-mails cannot be interactive, hence what you hear is what you get (WYHIWYG).
Your recipe looks good, Ken, but for now I'm off such items as grains, dried fruit, grapes and bananas.  But once I lose my 20 lbs., perhaps I can then relax my diet a tad and begin to come back to the real world--- if only for a little while--- or perhaps it's better said as 'only once in a while.'  So if and when that time should ever come for me, I'm going to try your home cooked cereal mix that you describe below.
Still, your home cooked cereal recipe calls for a lot of preparation time, and the horses are always calling me for theirs.  Besides, I always liked Special K, which is what your Jennifer reaches for at breakfast time.  And by the time you're ready to take your breakfast creation out of that micro-wave oven some 25 minutes later, Jennifer is already out the door and gone to work.  Am I right on that?  Well, perhaps not, for in re-reading your note, you don't even try to eat this home cooked cereal of yours on the same day...but on the next day, and perhaps at a time when Jennifer is just getting ready for work, then her Special K, and out the door she goes, leaving you to consume your HM cereal later...or whenever you want throughout the course of your care-free day.  Now am I right?
By the way--- without revealing your weight, Ken--- care to at least tell me what your BMI is? 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Jones" <>
To: "Bruce Downey" <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 5:14 PM
Subject: I wish I could soften your music

> Bruce,
> I enjoy and look forward to your email, BUT
> It would be much better if there were a dial or a button  in the message
> itself which gave me the power to modify the volume.  I have WINDOWS XP
> professional.  I use  Outlook Express for email.
> My  computer has a general volume control button, but it takes too long to
> appear after clicking on it.
> Anything you can do about this?
> Another subject -- diet.
> You suggested that maybe we eat a "natural" diet.  That may be true, but
> that is not the motivation.  We eat a cheap diet with little preparation
> time.
> I do all the cooking.  Most every dish I make lasts the two of  us two to
> three days.  (Including bits slipped to Bubba who begs with his chin on my
> lap while I am sitting at the table.)  The double boiler,  the steamer, the
> crock pot and the oven set at 180 degrees do most of the cooking.  The
> microwave does the reheating.
> Here's one for cereal.
> My "cup" is really a plastic 2/3 cup measure.
> In a large glass bowl put:
> 1 cup regular oat meal
> 3/4 cup milled flax seed
> 1/4 cup not milled flax seed (alternative: 1/4 cup wheat bran)
> 3/4 cup Maltex (milled whole wheat with malt added)
> 1/4 cup oat bran
> 6 cups cold water
> stir in:
> 2 large bananas sliced
> 2 apples, sliced not skinned
> 50 red seedless grapes, cut in half
> a fist full of raisins
> some prunes
> some dried apricots
> Cover and cook in micro wave on 1/2 heat for 25 minutes.
> Leave in microwave over night.  Put in ice box the next morning.
> Eat all you like whenever you are hungry warmed with skim milk.  Actually,
> Jennifer does not eat this pile.  She prefers Kellogg's SPECIAL K.
> Ken

----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Ken Jones
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 9:20 PM
Subject: Re: "The York '52 Weight Room"

After reading your note, Ken...suddenly I'm hungry.  Wonder why that is?  Sounds like you're on what I would call a "natural foods" diet.  Maybe after I lose my 20 lbs...
----- Original Message -----
From: Ken Jones
To: H. Bruce Downey
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: "The York '52 Weight Room"

Soy Sauce.
A one pint (guessing) bottle lasts over a year.  I would put two to three tablespoons into that five pound squashed cabbage I wrote about.  I just made a brown rice thingy using one and a half cups of rice, a couple pounds of chicken, a big pile of various vegetables.  Some olive oil keeps the rice from sticking.  Two table spoons of soy sauce gives some body.  I save the water whenever I steam (never boil) vegetables and us it to boil rice.
Snacks are either cashew nuts or  gorp (good old peanuts and raisins).
For years my breakfasts have been the same.  Real peanut butter (the oily kind) on toasted whole wheat or pumpernickel raisin bread.  Jennifer and I consume olive oil on Italian bread or various designer breads from the bakery.
----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Ken Jones
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: "The York '52 Weight Room"

Thanks Ken.  Yours is both informative and interesting, which oft times is difficult to do.
But tell me this, Ken--- please do a little research on this soy sauce business.  I think of soy sauce as being very salty stuff--- the very heart of Chinese food everywhere, which of course is off limits in my "Weight Watchers" diet.  If you could, look into this subject (Soy Sauce and its sodiium content) on the Internet or just read the label on your own bottle of it.  The use of olive oil for butter is commendable, but must take some getting used to--- like olive oil on top of toasted raisin bread?  Hmmmm.
In our house we don't buy the old standby---"When it rains, it pours"--- a 100% sodium product.  Instead, we use a product called "Salt Sense", containing 33% less sodium.  It's iodozied, and label-wise claims itself to be "real salt".  It's maker?:--- Diamond Crystal.  And if I'm right on this, you may want to switch your allegiance from Soy Sauce to Salt Sense.  Just a thought.  Check it out.

----- Original Message -----
From: Ken Jones
To: H. Bruce Downey
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 10:23 AM
Subject: Re: "The York '52 Weight Room"

Interesting, Bruce.
My diet is very unlike the Weight Watchers Diet of your WEB page.  I eat a great deal of grains and fruits.  We have not opened a bar of butter in over five years, but we eat quite a bit of olive oil.  We drink skimmed and fortified (added milk solids) milk.  I have no idea where the sugar dispenser is in the kitchen cabinets.  We do use granulated sugar to feed the humming birds.  Our salt shaker sits lonely in the corner by the stove.  We use soy sauce for salt.
My exercise has been weight lifting for power.  Pushups, pullups and weight repetitions no more than fourteen.  Once I can do 14, I am obliged to up the weight.  I walk a hilly path most every morning with my dog.  For cardio I punch the speed bag.  My tin hips limit the pounding my legs can endure.  I also play racquetball two to three times per week.  (I do not dive for the ball.)
As I told you in that past email stopping taking Lipitor has been an absolute age reducing miracle.  All kinds of limitations caused by what I thought was "getting older" have gone completely away.
Carroll Knight is in good shape.  He kicked my ass in racquetball back in Elmhurst in 2007.
Good idea this WEB site.
----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Class of York '52
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 7:59 AM
Subject: "The York '52 Weight Room"

  From: H. Bruce Downey

A few days ago, I inquired whether any of you were interested in weight loss?  A handful responded.  So for them, I invite you now to go to a brand new website which I call "The York '52 Weight Room" ---
My plan is to update this website from time to time, even on the spur of the moment and without necessarily advising you by e-mail each time there has been an update posted to it.  So for anyone interested, you might want to make this new website "a favorite place" by making it into an icon on your desktop so that you can easily come by "The York '52 Weight Room" at anytime to see what's new.  And from time-to-time "The York '52 Weight Room" is a place where you too can tell the rest of us of anything on your mind--- including any comments or questions you might have--- concerning your own personal weight program.
The road ahead is "full of sacrifices" and of course "misery loves company" but in the end, "this is for a new, healthier you!"
Remember the name of the place on the Internet where it all happens:--- "The York '52 Weight Room"


----- Original Message -----
From: Ken Jones
To: H. Bruce Downey
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 11:23 PM
Subject: Re: About "Your perspective" and "Ripples"

If you are interested I have been very lucky for a guy of the ripe old age of 75.
I do eat all I want, but I have found that I want less.  I also tend to graze rather than eat three squares.
I think my weight is a pretty good for my age and size. (190 5'10" ( I can do eight pull ups from the bar at the YMCA)  My big discovery has been the damage LIPITOR was doing to my muscles.  Last May I stopped taking all statins and switched to hyper dosage of niacin, the B vitamin.  I now take 2grams of niaspan (a slow desolving form of niacin).  My blood counts are as good as they were before the change.  I can now---
1.  look out the rear window of my car from the drivers seat.
2.  cut my own toe nails without stress
3.  put my trousers on in the middle of the room with nothing to lean on
4.  easily tie my shoes
5 . touch my toes doing a situp.
Yes I am aware of what I eat, but my tastes have changed.  Jennifer is at work all day.  I buy and prepare all our food.  I don't think we are extreme, but we eat mostly chicken for meat.   Mostly I make comfort food in large batches.  For example, squashed cabbage.
Sautee onions (plural) and garlic in olive oil.
Put in crock pot.
Cut  5 pound cabbage in thin slices.
Put in crock pot.
Add three tablespoons of soy sauce.
Cook all day and half the night in its own juices - no water added.
Cool,  put in ice box, eat next day.
You can add sausage near the end of the real cooking if you like.
Cheap, easy, tastes good too.

----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: York '52
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 10:02 PM
Subject: About "Your perspective" and "Ripples"

  From: H. Bruce Downey

The following is an e-mail from me to a friend-of-a-friend--- Dr. Hugh Wang, a friend of my classmate at Harvard '56--- Malcolm Ing.  The subject is "weight loss."  If anyone is interested in doing what I've just begun doing...let me know...for I have heard once again from Dr. Wang--- in a follow-up e-mail not enclosed here--- an e-mail Dr. Wang calls "Ripples." 
Dr. Wang is a native Hawaiian who went to High School with my friend from Harvard '56, Dr. Malcolm Ing, MD.  They were the only two from that same High School in that same graduating class (1952)--- the very same H.S. that Barrack Obama years later was to go to--- that went on to pursue careers in medicine.
And I want you to know that I have new info from Dr. Wang that the key to weight loss is not controlling quantity as I had previously thought...but rather, what we eat...and once you commit yourself to that regimen...you can eat as much of it as you want...and do so without exercising...and you will lose weight!  The exercise can come later...as a kind of a maintenance program.  Learn what you should know about what Dr. Wang calls "belly weight" or "omental weight"--- and how to get rid of it by controlling what you eat...and not how much you eat...with noticeable results in as little as two weeks time--- that is if you too want to join me in my efforts to lose some weight.  Just let me know and I'll tell you what weight loss secrets Dr. Wang has since told me.

----- Original Message -----
From: H. Bruce Downey
To: Hugh Wang
Cc: Malcolm Ing, M.D.
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 3:53 PM
Subject: Re: "Your perspective"

Recently Malcolm Ing, MD in Hawaii sent me an e-mail that you wrote on the subject of "Your perspective".  In particular I was interested in what you had to say about obesity in this country, suggesting that if we eat right and controlled our weight we would all be healthier, to wit:--- 
"I have proven to my satisfaction among my patients, friends, and 
acquaintances who are willing to do it, that eating a certain way in 
content and volume will decrease prescription drug need, will reduce much 
debility, will reduce heart disease and cancer which cause 75% of the 
American deaths at an earlier age and with disability.  Not many will do 
it.  They prefer taking diabetic, blood pressure, and heart pills it 

So I looked into this from my own perspective.  I started by buying a new digital scale with a memory chip from Bed Bath & Beyond--- a Taylor "Cal-Max" scale.  After programming into this machine my gender, age, height, and activity level, I discovered that while not obese, I am overweight at 221 lbs when fully clothed except for shoes.  My BMI (Body Mass Index) is 27 whereas it should be no more than 24 @ a desired weight of 197 lbs. based on my gender, age, height, and activity level.  In addition to displaying all this info, my new scale tells me that by eating 2,900 calories a day I will maintain my current weight (221 lbs).  So I must undertake a calorie count program to eat something less than 2,900 calories a day in order to lose weight and get my BMI down to the desired goal of 24 @ 197 lbs.  Even then, it will take me a very long time to get there...but I now have a scale that will "remember" where I once was and how well I'm doing every time I get on it.
I have no particular plans as to what I will eat, for I plan on starting out by simply reducing the quantity of what I eat at any one sitting.  To this end I plan on keeping track of the calories I eat on a daily basis, for I figure that's the key to success. Snacks will be out for me (Did you know that just 7 Triscuits--- the healthiest cracker one can eat--- add up to 140 calories?  Deserts too will be gone, other than say fruit of some sort.  We also have this new book--- "Eat this, Not that" which I highly recommend to all. 
I know too that before embarking on this less-than-2,900-calorie-per-day diet, you would advise me to see my primary care physician and/or my cardiologist.  In my case at 76 years old it's hard for me to tell which of the two is "primary" anymore.  But I'm still very physically active--- personally doing all the chores of maintaining this place here in Southwest Virginia with its 27-acres, two houses and three horses on this mini-farm of mine.  The most strenuous thing I do is bend over and pick up horse feet to trim and shape their nails using a big, hand-held file in my right hand.  I used to be able to do all 4 feet at one sitting, but can only do 2 feet now--- for tomorrow is another day.  Not everyone would be happy with this way of life, but it's the way I want it until the time comes when I can no longer do any of it anymore. 
I know too that the world is "paved with good intentions" but when you get as old as I am and considering the alternatives that are just around the corner for the likes of people like me, I think I have enough motivation to stick this thing out.  Twenty pounds is a lot to expect, but being "retired" as I am, I figure I've got the time to invest in my own health.  And it's about time that I paid some attention to something I've always just assumed would always be there for me.
And your e-mail that Mal forwarded to me re: "Your perspective" is all the encouragement I need to get started.  And for that,  I thank you, Dr. Wang.