Most Investors Appear to be Misallocated

Despite rising risks and low potential returns, investors continue to hoard cash and pour their money into fixed income. Certainly the global economy remains troubled, but we are no longer in crisis and both U.S. and international equities look attractive even after assessing risks. With interest rates at such low levels, resulting in miniscule yields on bonds and cash, I believe investors need to take a more balanced approach to generating income and long term gains if they ever want to retire, make their money last and maintain purchasing power during their retirement.

Back in 2006 the average annual income generated by a $100,000 6-month CD was $5,240. In 2011 the average was only $419.1 Despite this fact, cash as a percentage of total household financial assets continues to be well above historical averages and much higher today than it was during times like 2006 when rates were substantially higher.1 Seems counterintuitive doesn’t it?  When cash rates are high, investors don’t hold much cash but when rates at historical lows, investors are in love with cash!?!

Studying the flows of investor money into and out of mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) is a great way to gain some perspective. Market cycles exert a powerful pull on investors. For many the natural inclination when faced with uncertainty, confusion and market losses is to flee. In general, as markets rise money flows in and when the markets falter outflows follow. Regrettably many investors buy high and sell low. Since the 2008 we have seen record outflows from stocks and record inflows into bonds. As of August 2012, there has been $1,288 billion of flows into bond funds and fixed income ETFs since 2007. During the same time a total of only $209 billion has flowed into stock funds and equity ETFs. Bond fund flows exceeded equity flows by $51 billion in August 2012 alone!1

This pattern is nothing new. A study of the fund flows in domestic and international equity mutual funds and ETFs over the last several years shows a remarkable correlation with the returns of the global markets.2 The largest inflows into stock funds occur at market tops like in early 2000, 2004 and 2007.Large stock outflows occur at market bottoms like 2008. It should be no surprise that the largest quarterly outflow the last 10 years occurred during the fourth quarter of 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

Currently we have record flows into bonds and outflows from stocks. This should be telling us that stocks will most likely outperform bonds over the next chunk of years and bonds are most likely priced for disappointing forward returns. This is particularly true giving today’s historically low interest rates. This repeating cycle of human emotion endures. Positive returns lead to excess optimism, then overconfidence, greed and mistakes (i.e. buying high). Negative returns lead to despair, disillusionment, distrust and mistakes (i.e. selling low). It is difficult to time these trends with any degree of accuracy. That is why I believe investors need to own both stocks and bonds at all times. This balanced approach has been proven to generate solid long term returns over all market conditions.

J.P. Morgan, Guide to the Markets, 4th Quarter 2012

  1. American Funds Insights – Managing bear behavior – Winter 2009

Damien helps individuals invest and manage risk. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a principal of Walnut Creek Wealth Management. These are the views of Damien Couture, CFP® and not intended as investment advice. Your comments are welcome. Damien can be reached at 925-280-1800 x101 or Damien@WalnutCreekWealth.com.

Best In Show Hot Dogs


Make no mistake about it, this article is 100% ego driven. Sometimes even more valuable than the check to keep the lights on is the all important “bragging rights” that come with a confident foreshadowing, and I have the full confidence that one day I am going to be able to say that I knew Jesse and Erin before their first hot dog cart.

Truth be told, I have had Best In Show Hot Dogs on my writing docket since the minute I was gifted the opportunity to write about food in our area. I worked with Jesse at Forbes Mill Steakhouse and listened to Jesses “pipe dream” on numerous occasions. “Oh the things he could do with a pickup truck and a hot dog cart.” We have all heard it before until you find that person years later at a different restaurant, pouring the same drinks, serving the same food, and telling the same story…”oh the things I could have done….” But not Jesse. In the short amount of time since he left the Steakhouse, Jesse Gilbert-LaVere and his other half, Erin Ernst, have realized their dreams by building their product, reputation, and dare I say, empire.

It’s just a hot dog cart you say. I say you are wrong. Best In Show opened in July 2010 with a philanthropic philosophy and a working knowledge of the clients they serve. This mobile duo has exactly what it takes to make it big and they have carefully cultivated their passion to an award winning business venture.

The corner stone of this beef dispensary is their charitable work within our community. They have represented multiple little league organizations, schools, fund raisers, and church events on stages as large as the Oakland Coliseum and every time they do they give 30% of their profits back to the cause they are working for. Best In Show selflessly donated their services and 700 hot dogs to the 9/11 event for San Ramon Fire in 2011. They are the only mobile vending business in the tri-valley to earn a 5 star rating on yelp and work directly with Troops Direct. In a word, they are established, not to mention, they make the best hot dog I have had in years. The kind of flavor that brings you back to a better time and reopens an experience you had as a child.

The cart only serves Evergood Hot Dogs and Sausages including Hot Links, Chicken Apple, and Polish Dogs served on authentic Chicago Poppy Seed Buns, and no cart would be complete without your standard toppings of Ketchup, Mustard and nuclear green Chicago Relish to which Jesse added Chili, Cheese, Sauerkraut, Celery Salt, 2 kinds of peppers and Fried Onions. Further proving that the proverbial finger is on the pulse, Jesse pays attention to the weather, and if the forecast calls for a cooler evening then look for his homemade Southern Style BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

Charity is the corner stone, but business smarts drive the success and Jesse can be found outside Meenars Bar in Danville Thursday-Saturday from 10pm-2:14am (smart enough to have a firm quitting time to minimize the challenges that can come from hungry patrons leaving any bar at 2am), but just in time to set up shop Sunday mornings at the Walnut Creek Farmers Market on Locust and Cole.

His team has grown, his equipment has multiplied and his visions continue to soar and Jesse hopes to move his empire indoors soon and is currently shopping for a brick-and-mortar solution (insert potential bragging rights here).

Let me remind you that Burger King, McDonald’s and In-n-Out all started with this American Dream foundation and I have no doubt that Jesse’s generations will be supported by what was once a simple hot dog cart and a man with a dream.

Best In Show Hot Dogs, www.bestinshowhotdogs.com, 925-330-3429
email- mustardandonion@gmail.com

Style…Beyond the Fitting Room

Boots are a fashion must-have for a chic winter wardrobe. There are so many choices … which ones will withstand the test of time? Here are a few of my favorites:

*Flat riding boot: This classic, equestrian-inspired style is perfect for wearing with skinny jeans tucked in and creating a sophisticated look. Top with a cozy sweater or blazer, and this look will take you from a day of running errands to a casual dinner. Avoid “bunchy knees” by wearing skinny jeans, jeggings or leggings—boot cut jeans are too bulky, and should not be worn tucked in. Try “jean-grabbers”, a handy elastic devise that clips to the bottom of your jeans and holds them in place (www.jeangrabbers.com). Photo 1 (Michael by Michael Kors, $295, available at Neiman Marcus)
 
 
 
 
Tall boot with a heel: This style is much better to wear with a boot cut jean, tailored dress slacks or a dress, and is your best option for a professional setting. Keep the styling is relatively simple—not a lot of buckles and straps, and a toe is neither too pointy nor too round. Chocolate brown or black suede are the most versatile colors. Photo 2 (Vaneli for Jildor, $265, available at jildorshoes.com)
 
 
 
 
“Beatle” boot: Perfect for straight leg or boot cut jeans, this boot has been a classic since the Fab Four wore them in the early 60’s. They can be suede and simple, or they can be embellished with studs for a rocker vibe, depending on your style. Photo 3 (Sam Edelman, $130, available at jildorshoes.com)
 
 
 
 
Rain boot: East Bay fashionistas know that “Wellies” brighten up a rainy day while keeping their tootsies warm and dry. Coordinate your rain boots with your umbrella and jacket for a look that will bring smiles, even on the wettest days. Photo 4 (Hunter, $135, available at Neiman Marcus)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bootie: This trend-turned-wardrobe-staple gives an outfit extra a little extra edge. They can be worn with any style of jeans, or with a dress, which kicks it up a notch. It helps to have shapely legs—if you have “cankles” (thick calves/ankles), perhaps stick to wearing your booties with slacks.
Photo 5 (Sam Edelman, $149.99, available at heels.com)
 
 
Honorable mentions: Sorrell snow boots (for legit snow conditions), cowboy, motorcycle and desert boots. And as for Uggs? Not a fan — sorry.

Beauty Gift Ideas for The Holidays What We Love

It’s the time of year when our store comes alive with excitement with gifts galore in every corner. To keep up with all the excitement we have put together some of our favorites gift ideas to help you find that perfect gift for your loved ones. We aspire for our store to be precisely where your gift list and happiness intersect. Nothing makes us happier than helping to make holiday dreams and wishes come true.

What We Love: Sparkle Lip Gloss with Peptides, Fleur Visage Cosmetics
Why You’ll Love It: This extraordinary Lip Gloss has powerful peptides to keep your lips twice as nice while hydrated and smooth, giving you a perfect pout and extra twinkle this holiday season.

What We Love: Eye Shadow Paint Dust, Fleur Visage Cosmetics
Why You’ll Love It: Glow like a super model this holiday season with this incredible sparkle eye paint dust. Super Shimmery to brighten up your eyes and make them look decadent and irresistible for the holidays!

What We Love: Shimmery Bronzing Dust, Fleur Visage Cosmetics
Why You’ll Love it: Girls will love to find our gorgeous Bronzing Shimmer Dust in their Christmas stockings this year. It’s all the craze this season. Shimmer your hair, shimmer your skin and shoulders for that amazing glow and for that special night out!!! All the requirements for a beautiful holiday season!

What We Love: Ultra Firming Eye Cream, Ongrien Advanced Skin Care
Why You’ll Love It: With the hustle and bustle of the holidays and everyday life, getting a full night’s sleep, which is vital for healthy skin, can seem like a luxury. Apply this triple action eye cream around the eyes massaging nightly to decrease puffiness, minimize fine lines and to restore hydration for youthful looking eyes and you’ll look caught up on your Zs-even if you’re not.

What We Love: Ultimate Cellular Repair, Ongrien Advanced Skin Care
Why You’ll Love It: Quenching a Thirsty complexion takes a good dose of this nourishing treatment. Skin will soak up the healthy Nuero-Peptide based nutrients, which refines the skin and gives the complexion a toned appearance. This cream repairs sun damage and visibly reduces wrinkles. We love this fine anti-aging treatment, and you will too when you notice your skin is smoother and more beautiful than ever.

At The Rouge we only carry the finest cosmetic products with the highest grade of ingredients on the market. Don’t know what you want for Christmas? We have holiday gift certificates and wish list available.

HAPPY HOLDIAYS!

Making the Grade: Advocacy for Children with Special Needs


Recently, I started tutoring a former student who is autistic. His parents are extremely driven to find the best course of action for his education. This entails meetings, assessments, observation, tutoring…the list goes on. It got me thinking about advocacy and support for parents who have children with learning needs. Having a child with a learning difference, be it ADD, dyslexia or any other need, can be daunting. Where do families go to educate themselves and find emotional support? How do they begin the long process of making changes to their child’s education? I asked the mother of my student what they found to be the most challenging part of the diagnosis for them and what has been the biggest help. My hope is that this information will assist other families in the process of becoming well-informed, proactive advocates for their children.

The Most Challenging Part: Some school systems do an excellent job of guiding parents through this challenging time and unfortunately, some do not. In the case of my student’s family, they did not agree with the school’s stance and forged their own path and found their own support. However, it is not always that way. Often meeting with the school’s special needs teacher or administration can give you the information and resources you need to make the next steps.

What Has Been Helpful: Connecting with parents who are going through a similar situation is imperative. Her saving grace was a woman she met through the school who also has an autistic child. She acted as a comfort, a counselor, a sounding board and above all a friend.

Extra Help: If the public school system does not provide sufficient support or you find your child needs more assistance, there are organizations that can help. These companies give many services such as student observations, behavior management, classroom assistance and tutoring after school.

Know Your Rights: Find out everything you can about special education law. While you may never need a lawyer, consulting one for questions surrounding this complicated topic is beneficial to ensuring your child is well taken care of by the school.

Here is a list of local services that cater to a variety of learning differences:

  • Choices 4 Learning: A great website to use when starting this process as it provides many different kinds of resources in the Bay Area. http://choices4learning.com/
  • Pacific Autism Learning Services: Services for autism that include, evaluations, aids, and tutoring. http://www.palsautism.com/index.html
  • Step by Step for Success: Academic coaching K-12 specializing in ADD/ADHD, NDL, Dyslexia and executive functioning. http://www.stepbystep4success.com
  • Parents Helping Parents: Support groups and events for parents. http://www.php.com/

If your child has been diagnosed with a special need, remember that you are not alone. There are many local resources that are just a phone call away and that can help you gain the knowledge you need to make excellent decisions for you and your child.

Dr. Quarterback Sculpts Success in Two Fields

Every morning plastic surgeon Brett Stompro begins his day at his Danville office with thoughts of tummy tucks, eyebrow lifts, and the ever-popular rhinoplasties. By mid-afternoons in the fall he’s concentrating on three-step drops, cover-two zones and pulling guards as an assistant varsity football coach at California High School in San Ramon.

“It’s easy to switch gears,” Dr. Stompro says. “It’s two different worlds. Ninety-eight percent of my patients are women and are treated with loads of TLC. In the afternoons…well let’s just say that young men need to know you mean business.”

Dr. Stompro opened his doors in Blackhawk Medical Center in 1994 and started to work for the Cal High football program in 2006. In at least one instance, the two different worlds crossed. “The mother of one of my players had been in my care. After practice one day she said to her son, ‘I see Dr. Stompro is one of your coaches, isn’t he nice?’ The player said, ‘No, he’s not nice…and he cusses, too.’”

Before entering medicine, Stompro’s career as a star quarterback for San Leandro High School earned him a high school hall of fame designation and numerous awards. He also earned two varsity letters as the centerfielder for the San Leandro baseball team. “Coaching satisfies my competitive thirst,” he says. “It’s as close as you can get to playing. Every achievement I’ve had has been the result of hard work and not accepting failure. “I got into plastic surgery and coaching for similar reasons. I love helping people be everything they can be and seeing them achieve their dreams.”

Dr. Stompro’s duties at Cal include coaching the quarterbacks, the linebackers and special teams. “Our quarterbacks have done well,” Stompro says. “We may not have some of the gifted passers that Monte Vista and San Ramon have, but we’re efficient. Our quarterback ratings are among the highest in the East Bay, and our touchdown to interception ratio is consistently one of the best in the region. That measure is the number one predictor of success as an offense. Coach (Eric) Billeci’s play calling has also been great.”

Dr. Stompro clearly takes pride in all his work. He got into plastic surgery because it merged his interest in medicine with a talent he has for sculpting. “It was like combining my vocation and my avocation,” he said. The results in plastic surgery are often striking, as are those he achieves with young men. “I love taking a player who may not have played much as a freshman, and work with him within and outside practice to hone his skills and make him successful.”

Future Cal High star quarterback Drew Reil was relegated to playing in the “fifth quarter” of frosh games in 2007 after the scoreboard was turned off. With Dr. Stompro’s help, by the time Reil was a senior in 2010 he led Cal to a 12-2 record, breaking records along the way.

The schedule Dr. Stompro keeps every week this fall is daunting. He greets patients at about 7 a.m. and mixes surgical procedures with office work depending on the day. He leaves for Cal at 2:30 p.m. and is on the field for practice from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Thursdays the team has a dinner that runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Fridays games and post-game analysis can run past midnight. Finally they return to host the weekly Sunday night coaches’ game planning dinner.

“I’m a lucky guy,” says Dr. Stompro. “In my medical school yearbook I said I wanted to be a plastic surgeon, coach football and live on a golf course. I got two out of three.” And as the saying goes, two out of three ain’t bad.

Trivial Matters – December 2012

Looks like the greatest “legs” in history belong to James Bond. After 50 years, the latest in the movie series is making record earnings worldwide. Most of the moviegoers who are making this record were not even born when the original Bond movie came out in 1962.

  1. What was the name of the first Bond movie?
  2. Who played the first “Bond girl” in that movie?
  3. “Goldfinger” was one of the best of the early Bond films. What was the name of Goldfinger’s Asian accomplice?
  4. “On His Majesty’s Secret Service” was the first Bond movie that did not star Sean Connery. Who played Bond in that film?
  5. After Roger Moore and before Pierce Brosnan played Bond, a British Shakespearean actor had a go at Bond in two movies. Who was he?
  6. In 1955, the television series “Climax” made an Americanized TV movie of “Casino Royale.” Who played the character Jimmy Bond?

 

November Answers

  1. Teddy Roosevelt
  2. Punta Arenas
  3. Argentina
  4. 2002
  5. Peter Brand
  6. Ken Schott

NOVEMBER WINNER:
MR. NOBODY!

WIN LUNCH ON BEN!
The first person to email or mail, no calls please, the correct answers to all of the above questions will win a $25 gift certificate for Restaurante Forli in downtown Alamo, compliments of Ben Fernandez! Entries must be received by Dec 20, 2012.
In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random.
Please email your answers to info@aliveeastbay.com, or mail to ALIVE East Bay, 3200 A Danville Blvd., Ste. 204, Alamo, CA 94507. Employees and family members of employees of ALIVE East Bay are not eligible. Restaurant may be changed without notice.

Neuropathy – Heal it Naturally

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition in which there is damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. This can result in pain, tingling, loss of feeling, and inability to control muscles. As with any other condition, there is no “one size fits all” remedy for those suffering from this malady and treatment may vary depending on the cause and severity. However, many individuals find relief using natural remedies.

Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that affects people in every walk of life. It is estimated that 20 million Americans and 60% of diabetics suffer from this disorder. There are hundreds of different kinds of neuropathy, the symptoms of which include burning, tingling, weakness, numbness, paralysis, and dull to excruciating pain – especially in the limbs.

Although many neuropathies have no known cause, neuropathy is often associated with another condition, such as: Diabetes, HIV, shingles, toxins, autoimmune disorders, neurological conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, and malnutrition. Statin (cholesterol) drugs and chemotherapy can also cause neuropathy.

While medications can sometimes help with the symptoms, they cannot be relied upon to restore the health of the nerves. Most often the drugs that treat Neuropathy leave the sufferer feeling intoxicated and hopeless to lead a normal active life.

Understanding the Nervous System
Nerves carry the electrical signals that allow us to move, feel, breathe, digest, detoxify, respond to our environment, and much more. Nerves are the electrical wiring of the human body. Plain and simple, if the nerves do not work the body will not work, in some capacity.  It is also important to understand that unlike other tissues, the primary blood supply to nerve tissue is actually located WITHIN the nerve itself. So, if a nerve becomes impinged or compromised, so does the blood supply to the nerve.  Without proper blood supply, the nerve does not receive the energy and nutrition that are needed for the nerve to heal. Over time neural impingement leads to a painful chronic condition called Neuropathy.

How can I heal my neuropathy?

  • Class IV Laser Therapy.  Ending the pain caused by neuropathy requires reversing the cause of nerve damage. Class IV laser therapy is an excellent method for this, because it is presently the only modality that can both reduce pain and heal tissue simultaneously.  Laser therapy creates an optimal healing environment that reduces swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. As the injured tissue returns to normal, function is restored and pain is quickly relieved.  In other words, NO MORE Pain, NO MORE Numbness, NO MORE Tingling and NO MORE Burning!
  • Feed your nerves back to health. A single nutrient deficiency can contribute to any number of disorders of the nervous system, including neuropathy, migraines and even Alzheimer’s. We use SpectraCell Labs patented micronutrient test to measure the function of selected vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other essential micronutrients within your white blood cells. Standard blood tests do not measure if the nutrient is properly functioning within the body

With the proper combination of holistic therapies it is possible to heal your nerve pain and in the process feel more alive and energetic than you have in years. Depending on the type and severity of neuropathy we have witnessed patients begin to get relief after the first visit and with continued care receive complete relief long-term.

Dr. Niele Maimone of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA has been active in natural health & wellness since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.

 

So Many Movies, So Little December

I LOVE CHRISTMAS! Everything about the holidays gives me joy and not the least of these is the plethora of Christmas movies. I’m a feel good movie junkie, so when the Hallmark holiday movies start in November, I’m just a happy camper. As far as I’m concerned many of these movies rival what’s in the theaters. My favorite happens to be one that’s been around for several years, A Season of Miracles. Every year they give us many new entries into the mix but the others are like “old friends”.

So, right about now you may be saying who is this woman? I guess I’m the same woman who recommends movies all year around but turns into a sentimental fool in December. Call me Pollyanna (I’ve probably been called worse) but I love the soft fuzzy choices that come to our DVD players and TV’s that we can curl up with in front of a warm fire and a bowl of popcorn and someone we care about.

I am thrilled to find that Cinemark is bringing back Classic Movies into their theaters. Their December offerings include one of my all-time favorites, A Christmas Story.  I think my grandkids may finally be old enough to spend a Wednesday evening with me seeing it on the big screen (and they make the popcorn!). They are also offering The Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone and of course everyone’s favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life. This would be a great family outing!

Then you have the crazies like Elf, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, Scrooged and Shrek the Halls. Jack Frost will be new (again) this year in theaters. Babes in Toyland is a classic and no Christmas would be complete without at least one viewing of a Muppet or a Chipmunk!

Last year they actually brought Polar Express back to the big screen. Hopefully, they will do that again but if they don’t be sure to rent it. It’s amazing!

My favorite Christmas “oldie” is White Christmas. After I watch this movie I go around singing “Sisters, Sisters” for days. This film starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney literally epitomizes the kinder gentler times that exemplify Christmas.

I love How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s story of acceptance and love for others tied up with a big red bow has a message for young and old alike. Best contemporary love story of the season goes to The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law. This provides great cuddle up entertainment.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to encourage you to watch The Nativity Story (2006). Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. As much as we sometimes get lost in the Santa Claus vantage point of the holiday, Christ is the reason for the season. The Nativity Story is a beautiful telling of everything Christmas. Watch it with your kids, your friends or by yourself but watch it. It will give a whole new meaning to the holiday so you can say, like me…I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

I welcome your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com.

Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday!

Gaining weight during the holiday season is almost expected. Then we make a New Year’s resolution to take it off.  Most doctors and healthcare professionals agree that such a “roller coaster” weight program is detrimental in many ways.

Most of us understand that maintaining an optimal weight helps us to avoid many serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke.

Before you take a big helping of that store bought spinach dip or grab a plate full of those tasty little BBQ flavored baby hot dogs, take a moment to look forward. Do you want to spend future holidays at parties with friends and family or in an assisted living facility once you reach your 60’s, 70’s or 80’s? What you do now makes the difference between having an active and enjoyable life in your golden years and turning that gold into straw.

It’s more now than just carrying extra pounds around and suffering from the many side effects of doing so. In 2009 the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to three scientists for finding that the ability of our cells to reproduce is greatly affected by the breakdown of telomeres, which are pieces of DNA that form a protection to the chromosome allowing the cell to replicate itself and divide. Fat affects that. By the way, Dr. Blackburn and her graduate student, Carol Grieder, discovered telomerase, which corrects the damage done to telomeres, by cell division, basically creating a fountain of youth, on Christmas Day in 1984.

This gives us even more reason to stay good to our bodies. The kind of foods that make you fat, along with ingesting processed foods and chemicals, can increase the shortening of the telomeres and greatly accelerate your aging process as well as give you cancer.

I hope I have captured your attention, but I still want you to have fun and enjoy the holiday season while avoiding the need for that weight loss resolution.

You can make great spinach dip with all fresh ingredients and not need to fill it with poisons. The manufacturers of processed foods have to give that food the longest shelf life they can as well as preserve the color and enhance the flavor to make it taste fresh. They do that by adding chemicals, salts and fats that do us great harm. I used to own a cooking school, The Cuisinary in Danville. I never put turkey or chicken fat in my gravy and people loved it.

Beware that some cheeses have far more calories and fat than others. Olives and nuts, smoked salmon and oysters as well as wild shrimp make great hors d’oeuvres. Avoid vegetable oil, especially deep frying your holiday turkey. Eat as close to nature as possible. Pureed celery root can be absolutely delicious. Occasional desserts can be tolerated by our body, but not every day. The glucose found in most desserts is also found to have a negative effect on telomeres.

Since eating more than normal during holiday events is a given, you should avoid exacerbating the problem by eating a lot of gluten and dairy and over-imbibing in high-calorie holiday punch and mixed drinks.

The purpose of this discussion is not to put a damper on your holiday season, but to take a damper off the rest of your life. Combining the stress most of us face on a daily basis (another factor that damages telomeres) with poor nutrition and additive poisoning is absurd.

The good news is that science is now finding the mechanisms by which our aging process is accelerated and how we can prevent it. If you truly want a full, long, enjoyable life, we are getting to the point where we can get into the driver’s seat and achieve it. So many of our most common problems that totally take the joy from life for so many people, rich or poor, can be overcome. It only requires a commitment to paying attention to what you put into your body and getting into the habit of sensible, more natural eating.

In short, the closer your plate is to nature and the further you keep it from fatty and processed foods, the better. A long, enjoyable, productive life is achievable if we just pay attention to what we put in our bodies during the holidays and throughout the year.

Robert Brown, DDS has a TMJ and sleep apnea practice in Danville and thoroughly enjoys discussing holistic medicine. You can contact him at 925-837-8048, at info@aodtc.com, or visit his web site at www.aodtc.com.