Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Consider the Following

Maybe it comes with getting older but as the years go by I have tried to be less critical of others. The following passage from the first page of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has always stayed with me. I think of it almost every time I get the urge to be critical of someone else. It's so true. As an aside, if you have never read The Great Gatsby you really should. Forget the movie, read this great book!
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave
me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind
ever since.
‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me,
‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had
the advantages that you’ve had.’

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who You Are

This came to mind as I pondered a response from a writer who became irate after I questioned some incorrect info he had posted on several health/fitness 'gurus'. This person, who identified himself as a fitness author and instructor, went ballistic in his posted response to me, cursing, using insulting and demeaning language. It certainly was a big contrast to the smiling affable picture of himself he has on his Facebook and personal website. When I questioned him about his response in a follow-up letter and said that my simply questioning his info was hardly a reason to respond as he did, the author, rather than answering, simply deleted our posts. How he responded initially said a lot about the kind of person he is. As I said to him, you're a cool guy, as long as no one confronts or questions you.
The proof of who we are is how we walk our talk. For instance,if we say we are religious yet do things distinctly unkind or consistently self-serving then we are a phony and a liar.
If we say we are an expert in something yet become so totally unglued when we are questioned on something we espouse, then we are a fraud. I say this because with questioning comes the opportunity to teach,inform, and even, in some cases, learn.Yes, the teacher can learn, and should always be learning.
In an era when character has been expanded to include behavior and speech that is anything but "character"(our sports 'heroes' and celebs readily come to mind here), it is our choice to be different and not follow the misguided crowd. Truth is truth and real character is, like truth, unchanging.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lethargy and Getting Older

A definition of lethargy:
  1. tiredness: a state of physical slowness and mental dullness resulting from tiredness, disease, or drugs.
  2. lack of energy: lack of energy, activity, or enthusiasm.As you can see from the above, lethargy includes the mental and the physical aspects of a person. As we age, and I don't necessarily mean becoming a 'senior' citizen here, most people tend to play it safe. We are a little less willingly to take risks and/or go for it. We grow attached to what is familiar and comfortable. The end result of this is often stagnation. For those who complain that their life is boring, they are the ones who have been overcome by lethargy.
Resist lethargy and truly live.  Readers to my former blog, have read the following quote by Jack London before but it really needs to be repeated here in the hope that even one reader may be seeing this for the first time.

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

Live the Life you Love.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Three Factors That Can Effect Your Heart

Initially I thought the following by Dr. Kim was pretty familiar info, you know, what was good, what was bad for your heart, I assumed most of us would have either heard or read about this subject many times in recent years.
However, Dr. Kim's insights into the effects of stress on your heart is informative, alarming and a little frightening. I say this because the majority of us are under some degree of stress. The truth is, more people are "stressed-out" these days than ever before. So,reading at least, How Much Stress You Experience, is vitally important for anyone who has even the slightest interest and concern about their health. This article is speaking to everyone.

"The latest statistics on heart disease indicate that about a third of us will find out that we have heart disease just before we're about to die from it. Fortunately, modern medicine provides us with a number of tools to assess and monitor our cardiovascular health. And more importantly, we are aware of all of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
What follows is a look at the top determinants of the health of your heart and blood vessels, and what you can do to keep your cardiovascular system as healthy as possible.
1. How Much Stress You Experience
Your body is well designed to handle temporary spikes of physical and/or emotional stress. Chronic emotional stress is an entirely different beast, one that dramatically increases your risk of heart disease.
When you're stressed, your nervous and endocrine systems work together to cause many of your blood vessels to narrow and your blood to clot quickly - these physiological changes serve you well if you're fighting a grizzly bear, but they increase your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke over the long haul.
Chronic emotional stress is also likely to accelerate the buildup of plaque in your arteries, regardless of how healthy or unhealthy your diet is. This contention is supported by studies conducted by Kaplan et al. in the early 80's.
It's also well established that chronic emotional stress can induce irregular heartbeats. In some cases, stress-induced arrhythmias can be fatal.
Of all the emotions that fit under the umbrella of chronic emotional stress, studies indicate that chronic depression and anger are the emotional states that are most strongly correlated with an increased risk of experiencing blockage in your coronary arteries and an unexpected heart attack or stroke.
Perhaps the best example of the potential that chronic emotional stress has to damage your heart - even while the arteries supplying your heart are strong and healthy - is a condition called stress cardiomyopathy, sometimes called broken heart syndrome. Stress cardiomyopathy is a state of severe cardiac muscle weakness, brought on by extreme emotional stress (grief, worry, anger, fear, surprise), and when triggered, stress cardiomyopathy can temporarily disable heart function.
So the obvious question is this: What can you do to effectively manage stress to keep your cardiovascular system healthy?
You've already completed the first and most important step, which is to be aware of how damaging chronic emotional stress is to your heart and overall health.
As Dr. Dean Ornish says, "we sometimes view the time we spend relaxing, meditating, and hanging out with our friends and family as luxuries that we do only after the important stuff in our lives is done...studies make it clear that this is the important stuff."
Put another way, make time to engage in relaxing activities that you enjoy.
On a moment-to-moment basis, tune your focus in on your breathing to gauge your emotional state. Quick, shallow breathing is indicative of a stressed state, while slow, deep breathing reflects a relaxed, emotionally balanced state.
Whenever you notice that you're feeling tense, you can consciously decrease stress by taking deep, slow breaths. You can further promote deep relaxation by closing your eyes while you engage in mindful breathing, as a good deal of nervous system stimulation happens courtesy of your vision.
Some people find relaxation CDs to be helpful in systematically tuning out stress and promoting an emotionally balanced state. If you have interest in using such a tool, one that I recommend is EarthRain.
And if you can use some help with getting deep, restorative sleep while faced with significant emotional stressors, you may benefit from a natural sleep aid like Soft Ocean Dreamland.
But most importantly, strive to be aware of the undeniable connection between your stress levels and the health of your heart - this awareness is critical to following a heart-healthy lifestyle.
2. How Active You Are
Contrary to popular belief, über-athletes whose hearts and lungs have extraordinary pumping power and stamina do not have a significantly lower mortality rate than people who lead sedentary existences.
A study published in JAMA in 1989, led by Cooper et al. looked at more than 13,000 people over a period of more than eight years, and found that the greatest benefit from exercising occurred in people who went from being mostly sedentary to engaging in moderate exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes a day. Simply walking at a relaxed pace for a short while each day led to significant improvement in longevity.
The take-home lesson here is that if you're not doing a little exercise every day because you don't think it will make a difference, you're mistaken. You can improve cardiovascular function and extend your lifespan by going for a walk or engaging in any other type of moderate exercise for just 20 to 30 minutes each day.
3. Your Food Choices
Conventional advice for a heart-healthy diet typically involves lowering intake of foods that are rich in saturated fats and cholesterol. The problem with this advice, as I see it, is that it doesn't take into account factors like food quality and cooking temperature. Why do these variables matter?
Consider this: Poached organic eggs and pan-fried bacon both contain significant amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. But the relatively low cooking temperature that's required to make poached organic eggs is likely to leave the saturated fatty acids and cholesterol found in eggs in healthy states. To pan-fry bacon, a higher cooking temperature is typically used, which increases the chance of ending up with damaged saturated fatty acids and damaged cholesterol, along with free radicals, heterocyclic amines, and other disease-causing compounds thrown into the mix as well.
The truth is that you need a steady supply of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol to be at your best. If this fact is hard for you to accept, and you'd like more information on how your body uses saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, please view: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fats.
Food quality and cooking temperatures matter. And this is why I don't tell all of my clients that they need to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol. In fact, over the years, I've probably recommended increasing intake of these nutrients more often than I've recommended decreasing their intake, with the understanding that food quality and cooking temperatures must be taken into account.
Steaming and boiling are the healthiest cooking methods for animal foods because they require relatively low temperatures. Pan-frying at high temperatures, deep-frying, barbecuing, and broiling should be avoided most or all of the time, especially when animal foods are involved.
By the way, none of the studies that I have reviewed - dating back to the early 80's - that link saturated fat and cholesterol to heart disease have taken into account food quality and cooking temperatures. It amazes me to repeatedly observe highly respected physicians and scientists not take these variables into account in supporting low-fat, low-cholesterol diets.
Thankfully, most people in self care circles understand that low-fat, low-cholesterol diets that are high in sugar and other highly processed carbohydrates are sure paths to diabetes mellitus type 2 and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Cookies, cereals, and other highly refined foods that are labeled as having low or zero fat but have several grams of sugar per serving are horrible for cardiovascular health. A number of studies indicate that that such foods increase blood levels of the small, dense variety of LDL (sometimes called pattern B), which are more likely than other lipoproteins to contribute to plaque formation in your arteries.
The best foods for your heart include nutrient-rich plant foods like vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits, as well as nutrient-rich animal foods that are not charred to a crisp and that your body can tolerate without discomfort - organic eggs and wild fish are generally well tolerated by the masses.
For more of a comprehensive look at healthy and unhealthy food choices for your heart, please feel free to view: The Best and Worst Foods For Your Heart.
What About Genes?
It should be noted that your genes are also a determinant of your cardiovascular health, but your genes mainly mark predispositions, and we know that you can influence how your genes are expressed with your food and lifestyle choices. So ultimately, unless you have a rare genetic condition, your genes are not as important as the factors listed above in determining the health of your cardiovascular system.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One Day Delay

Today's scheduled post has been postponed till Sunday.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover." Mark Twain

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Living Long and Healthy

We all want to live long healthy lives. We also want to stay as vigorous and healthy as we can with each passing year. Thanks to Dr. Bortz for the following list that shows the way and the plan.

The Steps to 100
Step 1: anti-aging nutrition
Step 2: read well to eat well
Step 3: time to eat?
Step 4: your body's need for calories
Step 5: fat alert
Step 6: count cholesterol
Step 7: push carbs
Step 8: protein pros and cons
Step 9: don't dry up
Step 10: slash the salt
Step 11: keep your fiber up
Step 12: vitamin care
Step 13: calcium matters
Step 14: a coffee break for longevity
Step 15: alcohol: anti-aging foe or friend?
Step 16: chemical cuisine?
Step 17: beware free radicals
Step 18: cancer-fighting diet
Step 19: believe in longevity
Step 20: be necessary
Step 21: find meaning
Step 22: be an optimist
Step 23: take risks
Step 24: stay in control
Step 25: maintain the creative spark
Step 26: seek wisdom
Step 27: be a responsible ager
Step 28: have options
Step 29: be a good neighbor
Step 30: cherish experience
Step 31: get high on helping
Step 32: learn to learn
Step 33: don't kill yourself
Step 34: keep your senses sharp
Step 35: train your brain
Step 36: build memory
Step 37: keep order
Step 38: be attractive
Step 39: recognize that sex is for life
Step 40: stay in touch
Step 41: take rx pet
Step 42: keep family strong
Step 43: don't take yourself so seriously
Step 44: work with stress
Step 45: have time sense
Step 46: know your primary doctor
Step 47: pamper your glands
Step 48: be a good loser
Step 49: stay in tune
Step 50: stay on the road
Step 51: recognize depression
Step 52: die well
Step 53: have guts
Step 54: recharge yourself
Step 55: stay in flow
Step 56: renew your health
Step 57: cherish your world
Step 58: think travel
Step 59: think when, where, and why retire
Step 60: make your last nest your best
Step 61: beware of retirement myths
Step 62: afford retirement
Step 63: have a life money plan
Step 64: be wealth fit--save
Step 65: keep working
Step 66: spend it all
Step 67: lobby for yourself
Step 68: use leisure
Step 69: re-learn, re-think, re-educate
Step 70: sleep enough
Step 71: keep in rhythm
Step 72: steps for the woman
Step 73: steps for the man
Step 74: keep in rhythm
Step 75: know how hard, long, & often to exercise
Step 76: realize it's never too late
Step 77: make time for exercise
Step 78: when tired, exercise
Step 79: don't fear exercise
Step 80: it's ok to be sore
Step 81: watch your fuel gauge
Step 82: learn with what & when to fuel exercise
Step 83: keep your oxygen tanks full
Step 84: make exercise your circulation's best friend
Step 85: be strong
Step 86: stay loose
Step 87: stay balanced
Step 88: stand straight
Step 89: work dem bones
Step 90: respect your back
Step 91: honor your neck
Step 92: keep breathing
Step 93: use your brain -- exercise
Step 94: chase the blues
Step 95: be sexy, be fit
Step 96: avoid the big C -- exercise
Step 97: walk away from infection
Step 98: know that aging is incurable
Step 99: you don't have to win
Step 100: just do it

Saturday, January 11, 2014


"The past has no power over the present moment.” William James.

Too many of us live in the past and ruminate on our mistakes and failures, thus diminishing our chance of success in the future.

"I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened” Mark Twain.

Well said. Worrying about what might happen is crippling and self-defeating.

"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Unknown.

Re-evaluation and adaptability are two keys to success. The ability to change, and to be able to recognize when it is time to change, is vital.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On Colds and the Flu

The following article provides info on the best way to deal with colds and the flu. This information has been known by practitioners in the health and healing field for decades. The writer also shows how conventional treatment is flawed."The next time you experience a cold or the flu, remember this: rather than take conventional drugs to suppress uncomfortable symptoms, it's better for your health to allow the cold or flu to run its course while you get plenty of physical and emotional rest. 
Conventional medicine and the pharmaceutical industry would have you believe that there is no "cure" for the common cold, that you should protect yourself against the flu with a vaccine that is laden with toxic chemicals, and that during the midst of a cold or flu, it is favorable to ease your discomfort with a variety of medications that can suppress your symptoms.
Unfortunately, all three of these positions indicate a lack of understanding of what colds and flus really are, and what they do for your body.
Colds and flus are caused by viruses. So to understand what colds and flus do at a cellular level, you have to understand what viruses do at a cellular level.
Do you remember learning about cellular division in grade seven science class? Each of your cells are called parent cells, and through processes of genetic duplication (mitosis) and cellular division (cytokinesis), each of your parent cells divides into two daughter cells. Each daughter cell is then considered a parent cell that will divide into two more daughter cells, and so on.
Viruses are different from your cells in that they cannot duplicate themselves through mitosis and cytokinesis. Viruses are nothing but microscopic particles of genetic material, each coated by a thin layer of protein.
Due to their design, viruses are not able to reproduce on their own. The only way that viruses can flourish in your body is by using the machinery and metabolism of your cells to produce multiple copies of themselves.
Once a virus has gained access into one of your cells, depending on the type of virus involved, one of two things can happen:
  1. The virus uses your cell's resources to replicate itself many times over and then breaks open (lyses) the cell so that the newly replicated viruses can leave in search of new cells to infect. Lysis effectively kills your cell.
  2. The virus incorporates itself into the DNA of your cell, which allows the virus to be passed on to each daughter cell that stems from this cell. Later on, the virus in each daughter cell can begin replicating itself as described above. Once multiple copies of the virus have been produced, the cell is lysed.
Both possibilities lead to the same result: eventually, the infected cell can die due to lysis.
Here is the key to understanding why colds and flus, when allowed to run their course while you rest, can be good for you:
By and large, the viruses that cause the common cold and the flu infect mainly your weakest cells; cells that are already burdened with excessive waste products and toxins are most likely to allow viruses to infect them. These are cells that you want to get rid of anyway, to be replaced by new, healthy cells.
So in the big scheme of things, a cold or flu is a natural event that can allow your body to purge itself of old and damaged cells that, in the absence of viral infection, would normally take much longer to identify, destroy, and eliminate.
Have you ever been amazed by how much "stuff" you could blow out of your nose while you had a cold or the flu? Embedded within all of that mucous are countless dead cells that your body is saying good bye to, largely due to the lytic effect of viruses.
So you see, there never needs to be a cure for the common cold, since the common cold is nature's way of keeping you healthy over the long term. And so long as you get plenty of rest and strive to stay hydrated and properly nourished during a cold or flu, there is no need to get vaccinated or to take medications that suppress congested sinuses, a fever, or coughing. All of these uncomfortable symptoms are actually ways in which your body works to eliminate waste products and/or help your body get through a cold or flu. It's fine to use over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen if your discomfort becomes intolerable or if such meds can help you get a good night's rest. But it's best to avoid medications that aim to suppress helpful processes such as fever, coughing, and a runny nose.
It's important to note that just because colds and flus can be helpful to your body doesn't mean that you need to experience them to be at your best. If you take good care of your health and immune system by getting plenty of rest and consistently making health-promoting dietary and lifestyle choices, your cells may stay strong enough to avoid getting infected by viruses that come knocking on their membranes. In this scenario, you won't have enough weak and extraneous cells to require a cold or the flu to work its way through your body to identify and lyse them.
Curious about how to differentiate the common cold and the flu? Here is an excellent summary of the differences from
A cold usually comes on gradually — over the course of a day or two. Generally, it leaves you feeling tired, sneezing, coughing and plagued by a running nose. You often don't have a fever, but when you do, it's only slightly higher than normal. Colds usually last three to four days, but can hang around for 10 days to two weeks.
Flu, on the other hand, comes on suddenly and hits hard. You will feel weak and tired and you could run a fever as high as 40 C. Your muscles and joints will probably ache, you will feel chilled and could have a severe headache and sore throat. Getting off the couch or out of bed will be a chore. The fever may last three to five days, but you could feel weak and tired for two to three weeks.
One final note on this topic: because the common cold and the flu are both caused by viruses, antibiotics are not necessary. People who take antibiotics while suffering with a cold or flu often feel slightly better because antibiotics have a mild anti-inflammatory effect. But this benefit is far outweighed by the negative impact that antibiotics have on friendly bacteria that live throughout your digestive tract. In this light, if you really need help with pain management during a cold or flu, it is usually better to take a small dose of acetaminophen than it is to take antibiotics."

Taking pills and meds should be the last resort in so many illnesses.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Our Incredible Bodies

The following is by Dr. Fred Hatfield. It describes the regeneration that occurs in our bodies daily. It really is astounding. We have the ability to 'upgrade' our body's condition by changing our lifestyle and paying attention to what we put into our bodies. Consider this:

"Although your body appears to be unchanging, it's always in a constant state of flux. Body protein is constantly being turned over as old cells die and new cells replace them. Science has proven that 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced within one year. In three months, your body produces an entirely new skeleton. Every six weeks, all the cells have been replaced in your liver. You have a new stomach lining every five days. Every month you produce an entirely new skin as dead cells are shed and new cells grow underneath. The proteins in your muscles are continually turned over as muscle is broken down and new tissue is synthesized. Every cell in your body is constantly being recycled. Where do all these new cells come from? These new cells come from the protein you consume every day."

Amazing isn't it? Let me leave you with this: In the past I have always said, and believe it to be true based on the studies and findings of trained experts, that there are fundamentals to everything, be it mathematics or athletic training, physiology or the nutritional needs of the body.
Our bodies have very specific needs as it applies to our intake and usage of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. This subject has been studied and researched by scientists and experts for decades. Their findings, although not as glamorous and fashionable as going 'raw,' vegan or whatever, is based on research. Research that has been done by people who have degrees and titles from actual accredited universities, not from some nebulous online, mail order 'universities'. Their research has been done by people who have no financial gain in what they discover.
I know I have written on this subject previously but I see millions of people going down a road nutritionally that will lead to premature aging and poor health. Our bodies can take a tremendous amount of abuse and neglect, but, there will come a time when you will pay the price for your ignorance or vanity.
I'll leave you with this from Dr. Hatfield and it relates, again, to the necessity of getting quality protein in order for our bodies to thrive. It also speaks to the deficiency that exists in most of today's most trendy diets.
"In order for protein synthesis to occur, an adequate supply of both essential and non-essential amino acids is vital. If one of the essential amino acids is missing, synthesis is halted. Any amino acids that are not used within a short time cannot be stored for future use. Restriction in protein intake will result in protein degradation and muscle breakdown (catabolism)."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

10 Most.......

A quick look at the following top 10 list does two things, first, it  confirms what we have all known for years, tobacco is deadly, the other thing, and something that the public is gradually becoming aware of, alcohol serves no useful purpose in any health seeker's life. But, there are two other substances on this top 10 list that millions of adults and children take on a daily basis. One is benzodiazepines which include meds like Ativan, Valium, Xanax and  Klonopin. They are anti-anxiety drugs prescribed by physicians. They are addicting, and at least, cause mental and physical dependency. The other, amphetamines, are also listed here, and for some reason the author uses the antiquated term 'greenies' and a baseball reference for them. Today amphetamines are most common in the treatment of ADHD in children and ADD in adults. Interestingly, amphetamines slow children down but act as a 'speeders' in adults. Why they are used for ADD in adults is beyond me. I know about these drugs as one who dispensed Concerta, Adderall, Vyvanase and other ADHD drugs for years, something I now deeply regret. By the way, a very common side effect of amphetamine use in children are a loss of appetite and a delaying of growth. The U.S. prescribes 85% of the ADHD drugs (for children) in the world. That speaks volumes about the medical community in this country.
The message? Do everything you can do to keep it natural.

According to a study published this month in The Lancet, alcohol and tobacco rank among the ten most dangerous substances used by humans. Both alcohol and tobacco have been assessed to be more dangerous than illegal drugs like marijuana or ecstasy.
The following three factors were considered in ranking the harmfulness of each drug that was evaluated:
  • Physical harm to the user
  • Addictive potential of the drug
  • The drug's overall impact on society
Psychiatrists who specialize in treating addictive behavior and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise were asked to assign a score to each of the three factors listed above for each drug that was evaluated in this study. All told, 20 different drugs were evaluated, including cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.
Ranked from most to least dangerous, the ten most dangerous substances were deemed to be:
  1. Heroin - popular street names include smack, skag, and junk.
  2. Cocaine - often referred to as snow, flake, coke, and blow.
  3. Barbiturates - popular slang names include yellow jackets, reds, blues, Amy's, and rainbows.
  4. Street Methadone
  5. Alcohol
  6. Ketamine - a powerful hallucinogen, often referred to as Special K.
  7. Benzodiazepines - a family of sedative drugs.
  8. Amphetamines - known as greenies among baseball players.
  9. Tobacco
  10. Buprenorphine - also called bupe or subbies.
The remaining drugs that were assessed in this study ranked as follows:
  1. Cannabis - includes marijuana.
  2. Solvents - volatile substances that can be inhaled, such as glue, nail polish remover, paints, hair spray, and lighter fuel (gas).
  3. 4-MTA - is a derivative of amphetamine and has similar effects to ecstasy.
  4. LSD
  5. Methylphenidate - central nervous system stimulant, commonly sold as ritalin.
  6. Anabolic steroids
  7. GHB - short for Gamma hydroxybutyrate, a powerful central nervous system depressant, most commonly known as the date rape drug.
  8. Ecstasy
  9. Alkyl nitrates - group of drugs commonly referred to as poppers.
  10. Khat - an amphetamine-like stimulant.
It is estimated that tobacco causes 40 percent of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is involved in more than 50 percent of all visits to hospital emergency rooms. In light of these statistics, the authors of this study question why alcohol and tobacco are legal to use within current drug policies for Britain and the United States, while less harmful drugs like ecstasy and LSD are deemed illegal to use.
The bottom line: alcohol and tobacco are two of the most dangerous substances that you can expose yourself to on a regular basis. In terms of overall potential to cause harm, if used regularly, alcohol and tobacco belong in the same category as other recreational drugs like cocaine and heroin.