Archive for October, 2008

Attaining the Rescue Diver certification

Monday, October 6th, 2008

I have been an avid scuba diver for over 25 years since getting ‘the diving bug’ from my father, who provided my initial training in an Iowa lake in the early 80′s. 

Back then, we breathed undewater using a long hose attached to an air compressor motor floating on an inner tube.  Many years and many dives later, I still enjoy the freedom of underwater weightlessness.  Matter of fact, my father, now in his late 60′s, and I have completed several dives together this summer.

It was only relatively recently that I decided to transition from recreational diving toward instructional-level certification.  Why?  Not for any great desire to start a new career as a scuba diving teacher, but rather in a quest for knowledge and training in advanced techniques. 

On the pathway toward this goal was a Rescue Diver course which included techniques and in-water training scenarios for preventing emergencies and saving lives involving in-water rescue of scuba divers, swimmers, or anyone involved in an in-water emergency.

Given my background in healthcare and emergency response, the course work and written examination were simple, yet the in-water training scenarios were totally new to me, including coordinating a search and then actually searching underwater for drowning victims, providing CPR and other First Aid while simultaneously swimming a victim toward safety.

All in all, well worth the time and highly recommended for aspiring scuba divers.

A balancing act. Omega 3 and Omega 6

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids, and both are required components of a healthy diet.  Unfortunately, our ‘modern’ diet, replete with processed and fast foods, is far too rich in Omega 6 fatty acids, and generally deficient in Omega 3.  The result?

Inflammation. 

A dietary imbalance of these two fatty acids may explain why we are seeing increased cases of cancer, asthma, heart disease, degenerative and auto-immune diseases.  These diseases are exacerbated and/or caused by inflammation.  While we don’t know the full extent of involvement of fatty acid balance and diseases, it is almost certain that a gross imbalance of these two fatty acids isn’t helpful in the presence of these diseases.

Research hasn’t agreed on the exact ratio of Omega 3:Omega 6, yet we know that the typical ratio of 1:10, or even 1:20 seen in our ‘American’ diet is unhealthy.  Research has show benefit in reducing the ratio of Omega 3:Omega 6 to 1:2, 1:1 or even a reversal to 4:1.

How?

1) Cut down on omega-6 levels by reducing consumption of processed and fast foods and oils such as cottonseed, corn, sunflower, safflower, and others.  Search the Internet to discover dietary sources of Omega 6.

2) Increase your consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids, for example, use extra virgin olive oil for cooking.  Eat more fish (not farm-raised fish) or take fish oil supplements.  Add walnuts and ground flax seeds to your diet.

3) Always try and eat and supplement with organic foods when possible.

To conclude, take a look at your intake of these two essential fatty acids.  What’s your ratio?  If it’s imbalanced, take steps toward balance.  In doing so you may be preventing disease or even reversing the effects existing disease.