Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Odds 'n Ends Wednesday

Here's what's going on in my little world today:
The box, front and back, for the Dorco Prime starter set.
  • I have some new gear arriving soon from Dorco USA. Dorco is offering a new double-edge wet-shaver starter set called Dorco Prime. The set consists of a twist-to-open razor, a supply of blades, a travel case with mirror, and all boxed suitably for giving as a gift.
  • I will be publishing a review of this gear in the future, so stay tuned. If you want a preview and some other reviews of the product, you can always go to the Dorco Prime web site.
  • In addition to my Rimei RM2003 and Merkur 33 Classic razors, which have been my go-to instruments for several weeks, I've again taken my Lord L.6 razor head out of moth balls. With a larger blade-bar span than the 33, I want to again give it some exercise. I like my 33, but I'm returning to the L.6 to see if I can shave just a touch closer without so much fussing. As usual, I'll discuss that in my Saturday weekly-shave-review article.
  • The snow has been gone from the tennis courts here in Metro Detroit, though it still lingers in patches elsewhere that don't get much sun. The temperatures have been cool, but warm enough for hardy tennis aficionados like me to get out and return to outdoor play. Yesterday on a sunny, 41-degree (F) day, I played a two-set match in the late afternoon against one of my regular local foes. The force was with him yesterday, and though I didn't play badly, I need to be more patient on key points and I will likely prevail more frequently.
  • With more exposure to wind, sun, and cool temperatures, I've been applying balms, moisturizers (with sunscreen) and vitamin-E oil after my shaves just to help keep my face protected. As we get into summer, it is also my custom to wear large-brimmed hats to keep sun off my face and neck.  By the way, even in the heat of the summer I wear long-sleeved workout shirts that breathe well, wicking moisture away and keeping me cool while I play tennis. The main benefit from these shirts is to reduce the UV exposure on my arms.
  • Now that outdoor tennis has arrived, I've been playing less table tennis, which is a game that I started playing seriously late this winter at a couple of local centers that cater to serious TT players. In the near future, I've a project on the slate to custom make a TT table for my garage to meet my specific storage requirements.
  • The reduced-fat, whole-foods, plant-based dietary regimen has been going well. It appears that this diet is still the go-to plan if you seek to avoid heart and artery issues over time. This is compared to the standard American (western) diet and to the Atkins (low-carb) diet. One can lose weight on the Atkins diet, but the circulatory-system risks are higher on Atkins than even on the standard western dietary pattern.
Happy shaving!


  1. Can you explain the risks in a low carb diet a bit more?

  2. Sure, Mark, thanks for asking.

    A low-carbohydrate diet is potentially risky from a couple of perspectives. First, carbohydrates include not only grains, but fruits and vegetables as well. These foods are not only rich in many vitamins and minerals (which can be supplemented with pills), but also are the only source of phytochemicals -- that is, compounds that are neither vitamins nor minerals, but are found only in plant foods and are important for maintaining long-term health.

    Now a proper low-carb dietary plan will include good amounts of non-starchy vegetables, which can supply many of the needed vits, mins, and phytochemicals, true, but not necessarily in optimal quantity or variety. Also, when you remove most of your carbs, you remove most of your dietary fiber as well, which is so important for both GI health and also heart and artery health (because soluble fiber is crucial to the process of removing artery-clogging cholesterol from the blood). Which brings us to the second, and perhaps larger risk....

    The typical American practitioner of the low-carb diet is replacing many of his/her carbohydrate calories with fat calories. (After all, its difficult to get all your calories from protein, and it's EXPENSIVE.) Evidence is emerging that fats -- even some unsaturated fats -- contribute to the inflammation of the endothelium (the lining of artery walls). This inflammation seems to be the initial step in the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaques, which narrow and can eventually block arterial blood flow leading to heart attacks, strokes, dementia, peripheral vascular disease. The inflammation causes endothelial damage, which the body smooths over with layers of goo, which build up and eventually end with the afore-mentioned illnesses.

    That about covers it, I think. Happy shaving in good health!

    1. Upon further reflection, there is a tangential topic that I would like to mention.

      There are a class of oft-prescribed drugs called statins, which are intended to lower serum cholesterol levels. And this they do. They have been associated with lowering risk of heart and artery disease, which was always attributed to the lowering of blood cholesterol levels. According to my physician (I haven't personally seen the research yet), there is now evidence that statin drugs also lower endothelial inflammation, and he suggests that it is now believed that it is the lowered inflammation that is the primary benefit of these drugs.