Mary Beth Writes


Years ago I was out to dinner with friends. We were all just entering our 40’s and thus were all beginning to get the fun medical tests about this and that and cholesterol. I said, to a friend next to me, that I’d started eating oatmeal everyday for breakfast and my cholesterol had dropped …..

The room went silent.

Everyone heard “cholesterol dropped” and stopped speaking. Everyone wanted to hear how much it had dropped – which was about 8 points. In our twenties the conversation stopper was gossip about sex. Now the secret sauce was HDL and LDL

There are the basic things we know by now. Oatmeal. Psyllium. Exercise. Lose weight. Don’t stress. Tell me how one doesn’t stress in a world without hot fudge sundaes.

Last December my cholesterol numbers were as high as they have ever been but I don’t take statins because they make my thighs and legs ache so much that I can’t walk. I read People’s Pharmacy (Thank you Jayne. You told me about this website and I check it almost every week.) I’d read about three cholesterol lowering strategies at that site plus other heath news that burbles in my world. I told my doctor back in January I’d do four things and then check my numbers again in May.

The four things I said I would do are:

1. Eat 2 ounces of walnuts per day. That is, yes, a whopping 350 calories.

2. Take a milk thistle supplement. I take one per day that is 250 mg per capsule.

3. Include in my frequent walks at least two minutes of heart pumping exercise. I have a fancy watch that tells my heart beats per minute so yes, I have become one of those people who checks her watch while she walks. Gah. I now climb local hills to get my heart rate to 120 BPM and try to keep it there two minutes or more. Usually I get can get about 4-8 minutes of this heart rate several times per week. One can do this running in place inside, too, though it was hard on my knees.

4. I said I would lose 10 pounds.

Does it count if one gains four pounds on Easter leftovers and then loses that four pounds again? I did not lose 10 pounds. Sigh.

I did the other things. Milk thistle, walnuts, hills.

Today my cholesterol was down by 20 points and the breakdown of the various markers are all better than previously.

Never take my medical advice. I’m a retired person who used to work in a jail.

But if this is interesting to you, talk to your doctor.


PS: I have this to say about the walnuts thing. I weigh the 2 ounces in the morning and leave them in a ramekin on the kitchen counter. When I get hungry or I’m stressed about something, the nuts are right there. Research postulates that the good oils in walnuts are good for us. I think having something so healthy and tasty to grab when I want to eat helped change part of my body fat from candy/dessert/banana bread fat to walnut fat. Walnuts (like all nuts) are a lot of calories but they are also very filling.

If I go missing, check local squirrel nests.


Good Going, MaryBeth! So wonderful to know your lifestyle and diet changes made a difference. And thanks for reminding me that the People's Pharmacy has a website - I love that show.

Your timing with this article is perfect!
Mary Beth's picture

In our family, heart health ideas are always timely.... Hah.

You’ve outlived most of my other relives on that side, so I’ll take your medical advice!
Mary Beth's picture

That's some true, dark humor!

Good information - especially since my doctors appt is tomorrow. Goals!

As your former Doctor, now retired anyway, I love this! Your tip about the walnut bowl is THE BEST. I'm always passing the kitchen, looking for a little something anyway. Thank you! Lois
Mary Beth's picture

It takes a village to stay healthy!

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Hot Weather Diary #3


Today was another hot one and right now, it’s still 93 degrees in my backyard.

Hot Weather Diary #2


“Time wasted at a lake is time well spent.”  (I tried to learn who wrote this; it seems to have arisen spontaneously on a Pinterest plaque for your cabin.)

There is an argument that civilization started on the banks of rivers, the oceans, and along the shores of the hundreds and thousands of lakes on our earth. Waterfront is where people and animals gather to drink, eat, cool off, and watch the youngsters while they play. Also, it’s where adults gather to chat, fish, breathe in beauty, and sometimes swim far out there where joints don’t ache and its quiet.

Hot Weather Diary #1


We all knew it was coming and here it is. A Hot Week! We are in the news! We are important! Humans around the nation, especially in the East and Midwest, will be living through a week with temps in the 80’s, 90’s and worse.

What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 


Argh! I have a new phone because the old one stopped staying charged plus a few more foibles. My phone cost $400 five years ago so it makes sense that it stopped working reliably, right? If an appliance worked like this we would burn that manufacturer to the ground.

Swan Story


I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s writing lately and I have decided there is too much to read. Much of it is very good but there is JUST TOO MUCH!

So my goal going forward is to write shorter posts, more often, that might remind you of the glory, power, and goofiness of your life as well as mine.

So, let me say again what’s always very true. Thank you for reading what I write.


About My Memorial Day Story


Today my story ‘Memorial Day’ is posted at Substack. Read it here. 

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