Tag Archives: Arthritis

Being Overweight

It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.

These past few weeks, I have been lacking a little in energy and bounce, and I decided that one reason for my lack of ‘get-up-and-go’ was that I’ve been putting on weight.  So, I decided to look into what being overweight really was, and if I was actually overweight, what it was doing to me.  Quite frankly, I was horrified at what I discovered.

I hate overweight, because it implies there is a weight standard I should be adhering to.  ~  Camryn Manheim.

You know what?  There is a weight standard, and we should all be adhering to it.

There are lots of health and fitness problems attached to being overweight ~ and the older you get the worse the health problems of being overweight become.

To begin with, are you overweight?  How does one know the difference between a little curvier and softer than we used to be, and truly overweight?  What is the difference between being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Well, the chances are you’re overweight or obese ~ in the UK 68% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese.  In the USA more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

One easy way to tell if we’re overweight is to forget the scales and just grab a tape-measure.  Measure you height, and your waist at your belly button, (without sucking in your gut).  Your waist should not be more than half your height.  If your waist measurement is more than half your height you’re overweight with the worst kind of fat ~ visceral fat, (which will kill you).  More scientifically you can calculate your Body Mass Index, (BMI), but that won’t tell you as much about visceral fat as will a tape-measure.

There’s also a cut-off point to assess the overall risks to health just by waist measurement.  In men it’s 40 inches, and in women it’s 35 inches.  So if your waist is bigger than that, you’re officially overweight / obese and in danger of suffering serious health and fitness problems.  Having love handles is another bad sign, presaging heart and liver disease in your future.

Medically defined, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9,  overweight is having a BMI of more than 25, obese is having a BMI of more than 30, while morbidly obese is having a BMI of more than 40, (or 35 if you also have something like diabetes or high blood pressure).  There are plenty of online BMI calculators.

There are a myriad of downsides to being overweight, and even more downsides to being obese.  Some of these are;

We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health.  ~  M. Scott Peck.

The above are the worst of the medical problems.  But look at it another way ~ just how fit are you?  Can you walk up three flights of stairs without getting out of breath?  Can you run for a bus?  Can you walk five miles without collapsing?  Can you easily find clothes that fit, or do you have to buy plus size?  Can you still play sports, or are you limited to gentler activities?  What’s your performance in bed like?  The chances are if you’re overweight, then you’re not happy with your honest answers to any of those questions, because you know you’re not as fit as you would like to be.  Maybe you should take an online test?

It turns out my BMI today, as I write this, is 25.7.  However, according to another set of criteria I’m quite fit ~ much fitter than my chronological age, by 25 years or so.  But do you know what?  I’m going to lose some weight, starting right now.


jack collier


I can do that yoga position, but I don’t look as good as that.


Psychotropic Herbs ~ Sage


Like most herbs, common or garden sage is a plant packed with complex organoleptic phytochemicals.  These compounds are why herbs are great for flavouring food.  Organoleptic means affecting the senses, and as we all know there are a lot more than 5 of those.  It’s commonly held that humans have 13 senses, but that list may not even scratch the surface.  For example, how do you always know when someone is staring at you?  Not only that, the complicated stuff in the plants we commonly use as herbs would also seem to bypass the senses and work directly on the brain to affect a person’s mental state.  The unregarded sage, Salvia Officinalis, is chock-full of interesting compounds which would be illegal if you tried to buy them over-the-counter.


Sage ~ The Psychotropic Herb

As any organic chemist will tell you, if you add chemical compounds together, you will often create something that is more spellbinding, than the sum of the individual effects.  That is also what happens when we ingest herbs.  The separate ‘drugs’ in herbs are engaging, but in combination they can be enthralling.  The unique combination of chemicals in sage has a particularly strong influence upon adult women.

The modern urban man with a bit of a garden, balcony, doorstep can easily grow sage.  Like a lot of herbs it it very tolerant of poor soil and sun.  Sage also comes in a host of varieties ~ different sizes, colours, leaf patterns, in fact you could make yourself a sage garden.  Sage reaches a height of about 2 feet, can be pretty rampant, grows best in full sun in slightly acid soil, pH 5.5 to 6.5, and the old growth should be cut back by about half in early spring.  The herbs to grow along with common sage are parsley and clary sage.  Neither sage nor clary will grow well indoors.


Sages in the garden

Sage is one of the essential culinary herbs, and it’s brilliant for the aspiring cook, as there are many recipes where you can make sage the single herbal ingredient, without having to bother with a host of other strange bits of green stuff with strange sounding names.  One classic recipe is Fegato alla Toscana (sage seared calves liver, Toscana meaning Tuscany).  The recipe also calls for parsley, sometimes called ‘the poor man’s marijuana.’


Diviner’s Sage Salvia Divinorum

While common sage, (Salvia officialis), is packed with psychotropic drugs, diviner’s sage, (Salvia divornorum), is so psychedelic that its legality is under consideration in some US states.

The effective parts of the plant for culinary and medicinal uses are the leaves and flowering tops, and these are best gathered in spring.  The active compounds in sage include; asparagine, borneol, camphene, eucalyptol, oestrogens, pinene, salvene, saponin, tannin, and thujone.  Thujone has a very similar effect on the human mind as does the THC in marijuana.  If you can get hold of a plant, diviner’s sage, (a.k.a. Mexican Mint Sage), contains a lot of Salvinorin A which targets the brain’s kappa opoid receptors.   Salvorin A is the strongest natural hallucenogenic.  Basically, sage has similar stuff in it as the wormwood used in absinthe.

Sage is best picked fresh and used straight away.  You can easily dry it for use all year around, but dried sage isn’t always as effective as the fresh article.  Don’t pick it after early autumn, in fact don’t pick much sage after the flowers have all gone.

Two very important words of warning.  Diviner’s sage really is a potentially potent hallucenogenic.  Pregnant womenshould avoid clary sage, it can bring on child labour.  In fact if you are thinking about using sage for medicinal purposes, then it may be best to have a word with your doctor before you start experimenting.

Sage, especially clary sage, (Salvia sciarea), is a woman’s herb.  The other spices herbs and oils to use with it if it’s to help a woman with anything at all are; cinnamon, geranium, jasmine, sandalwood and  lemongrass.  Mixing these with a lot of alcohol is not necessarily a brilliant idea unless the effect you are looking for is euphoric desire.  In that case, run your lady a tub and add sage oil or fresh sage leaves to the water.  Get a couple of scented candles in jasmine or sandalwood.  Mix your lady an aphrodisiac drink ~ creme de cacao and tequila are good.  Wash her hair and give her a head massage using fresh sage leaves or sage tincture ~ which also treats dandruff.  If she’s a smoker give her a sage cigarette, which is also good for asthma.

The various types of sage have the following properties;

  • Anti-asthmatic.  If you suffer from asthma and must smoke, add dried sage to your tobacco, or just smoke sage and parsley.
  • Antiseptic.  ‘He who would live for aye, must eat sage in May.’  Sage kills staphyloccocus.
  • Athrtitis.  Sage is a useful anti-inflammatiry.
  • Aphrodisiac.  Enhances desire and performance.
  • Aids digestion of food.
  • Antisodiferous.  Stops breath, flatulence, and  sweat from smelling bad.
  • Carminative.  Cleanses the bowels. Helps deal with colic, flatulence, bloating, and belching.
  • Cholagogic.  Promotes the flow of bile from the gallbladder to the duodenum, aiding digestion and emulsifying fats.
  • Emmenagogic.  Helps to promote and ease menstrual discharge.
  • Grey hair.  If one rinses the first grey hairs with extract of sage, the natural colour will return.
  • Hallucinogenic.  Particularly diviner’s sage.
  • Lesions.  Sage helps with bed sores, nettle rash, and insect bites, itches, eczma, burns and cuts, and herpes.
  • Heart disease.  Particularly Salvia miltiorrhiza can be used to treat coronory artery disease such as angina.
  • Soap.  Women can usefully use fresh sage as part of their hair-care routines, remembering the possible side effects..
  • Soporific.  Especially clary sage.
  • Magic.  Salvia means to save, or to heal, as in; apply a healing salve.  Sage is the symbol of the Virgin Mary, even though the herb itself is given masculine attributes.  Sage is said to ease the pain of mourning, grant wishes, assist longevity, promote wisdom, and to offer protection.  Sagacious means wise or shrewd.

Maleficent ~ sage is a powerful soporific

The flowers, leaves and seeds of sage can be used fresh or dried.  Fresh sage will keep a while in the refrigerator, and you can freeze it.  Dried sage goes in the kitchen cupboards or just hang the stuff in bunches.  Culinary Sage is used as indicated by whatever recipe you are using.  One can also use fresh sage in salads, sauces, stuffings, tea, alcoholic drinks, fruit drinks, smoothies, floated in bath water, and as soap.  Dried sage has a more intense flavour than fresh sage, and one can smoke the stuff.  You can smudge both fresh and dried sage.  Sage makes a good addition to dried flower arrangements and potpourri.

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