Archive for the ‘Blue Zones’ Category

Blue Zone Weekend

November 18, 2014 @ 10:14 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

“Babysitting” grandkids RJ and Gwen is a Blue Zone.  They grow and change every time we see them. 

RJ zoomed all around the 8 level climbing and sliding set-up at the Rec Center.  Gwen has now mastered the little kids section.  We ran them ragged.  They ran us ragged.

The 4 hour drive each way is well worth it.  We are already missing them until next time.

Family is a Blue Zone.

Jay Ginther, MD

Thank You For Serving

November 11, 2014 @ 7:56 am
posted by Dr Ginther

On Veterans Day we should thank those who have served our country.

Serving in the military is always a sacrifice.  Military service, especially combat, forever changes a person.  Some changes are positive.  Too often there is damage – physical or psychological.

Our veterans have given part of themselves for our country.  Sometimes a large part, or even all.  So have their families.  We owe our veterans and their families our thanks, whether or not we agree with the particular military actions that our politicians required of them.

We are obligated to meet their needs in a timely manner.  The housecleaning at the Veterans Administration is long overdue.  These are fellow human beings, injured by what we asked them to do.

Thank you for your service.  We promise to do better in showing our thanks.

Jay Ginther, MD

Travel Is Great – Jet-Lag Is The Pits

October 17, 2014 @ 8:17 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

We have just returned from nearly 2 weeks in Portugal and northwest Spain.  We had never been to either location.  As always, visiting new places and experiencing different cultures is enlightening.  We were thrilled.

Portugal is attempting to preserve the best aspects of its past, while moving to integrate into the EU.  Family and Community are strong bonds for many.  Blue Zones abound.

Porto and the Douro River are all about the ancient vineyards and steeply terraced hillsides.  Port wine is giving way to a renaissance of dry reds and whites.  We visited a small villiage which produces wines and bakes thousands of loaves of bread daily the old-fashioned way, in wood fired ovens.

Castello Rodrigo is a small hilltop fortified village occupied in turn by Celts, Romans, Moors and Christians over millenia.  The streets are steep, narrow, and primarily pedestrian only.  The buildings are mostly from the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

We visited the 4th and 5th oldest Universities in Europe.  We explored Salamanca and Santiago de Compostella.  Not all of history is pretty, but it is enlightening.  How can you understand where you are, or have any idea where you are going, if you do not know where you have been?

River Cruises make travel easy.  This was our second trip with Viking.

European diets are different.  More about that later.  First I need to recover from west-bound jet-lag.

Jay Ginther, MD

The Biggest Living Single Being On Earth

October 3, 2014 @ 7:26 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

The “General Sherman” Giant Sequoia tree is the largest living tree, and the largest single living organism on earth.  275 feet tall, with a footprint 36 feet in diameter at ground level, and an estimated trunk volume of 52,500 cubic feet.  Wow.

We were awed by the immense size of this and other trees nearly as large.  Photos cannot properly picture these giants.  You have to experience them in person. Even then they are difficult to comprehend.  Their cousins, the Coastal Redwoods are taller, but nowhere near as wide.

We saw the giant sequoias last week when we went to our son’s wedding just 4 miles from the Mariposa Grove of giants in Yosemite National Park.  The biggest are in Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks.  I had not been there before.  I am overwhelmed to have seen them now.

Humans caused serious harm to these trees by supressing natural lightning strike fires from the 1850s to 1970s.  The undergrowth began to choke the giants and prevented new seedlings from growing.  Although the most striking characteristic of these trees is huge fire scars 50 to 75 feet tall, they require fire to supress competition for water and nutrients. 

Studying the growth rings of fallen trees reveals that they grow the fastest in the years just after fire scars.  And those fire scars are every 5 to 13 years over the centuries before European settlement. 

Wandering through the forest in the company of these giants (some over 3000 years old) is truly a trip to the Blue Zones.

Yosemite Valley is incredible.  Kings Canyon is 1/3 deeper than the Grand Canyon.  So much to see of the natural world.

Jay Ginther, MD