February 2012

Free Radicals

No, this isn’t a call to release a group of protesters, it’s about good health. In previous posts I’ve talked about various foods and beverages that are beneficial in maintaining our health during retired life. I thought it might be useful to explain why foods high in antioxidants are so vital.

While you may have heard or seen the term “antioxidants” before, do you know why it’s so important we get large quantities in our diet? It all has to do with the oxidation process. Have you ever cut open an apple and noticed how it starts to discolor in the open air. This is the oxidation process in which the cells become damaged and die. Cells within our bodies are constantly dying and being replaced. Sometimes due to things like toxins from cigarette smoke, air pollution, poor diet, etc., cells become damaged. At this point they have become free radicals and  begin to attack other cells in an attempt to repair themselves. Once this chain of free radicals has begun it becomes the seed for disease.   

It’s much the same as the oxidation process that takes place in our automobiles.  Oxidation can damage the fuel system and gum up the works. At that point there are additives we can put  into the fuel that will repair the system. Foods and beverages high in antioxidants are the additives for our body. They can actually repair the free radicals making them healthy cells again.

If anyone should doubt the power of antioxidants, let me share this brief story. On a recent trip a friend of mine accidentally hit his head and suffered a severe gash above his eye. An ambulance was called as the blood flowed. He insisted he would be fine and didn’t even get any stitches. He said his abundant antioxidant diet would heal his wound in short order. He was right. It was like something out of a science fiction movie. His severe gash quickly became a small cut and in just a few days had virtually disappeared. Antioxidants, along with exercise are the keys to good health at any stage of life. 

Here is a list of the top twenty antioxidant foods:

 You may have also heard that chocolate, tea, and red wine have antioxidants. They do, but be careful. Only dark chocolate with very little sugar is good for you. Tea is great but you need to be careful with wine. Recent studies have shown that large amounts of alcohol can trigger free radical production. Probably not a good trade-off.

Media Update

Yesterday, February 26, my wife Trisha and I were guest speakers for the Oakmont Sunday Symposium. It was lots of fun and we certainly enjoyed meeting all the good folks who live in that beautiful wine country paradise. Our presentation was streamed live on the internet and I’ve provided this link for anyone who might be interested in viewing it:      Trisha and John Parker

Photo Credit: Dick Green


I’m sure you all remember the late comedian George Carlin. One of his comedy bits really hit home with me. It’s  the one about people having too much stuff. He made fun of the fact that many of us have so many clothes we don’t wear most of them and have acquired so much other “stuff” in our lifetime we have to pay for storage containers to house it. Sound familiar? How many of us are spending money on storage for objects not worth the rent we pay to store them? After our last move, my wife and I finally got it down to one smaller storage space and that’s now a work in progress.

The point is, this is our retired life. A time to keep it simple and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Having too much stuff to manage can cause lots of stress and make us miserable. Of course there are the possessions that have sentimental value and we should pass those things along to loved ones. It’s all the other things we’ve acquired and will really never use that create a problem. Let’s all take a vow right now: Give the stuff away or throw it away. There is somebody out there right now that could really use and appreciate your stored items. It’s guaranteed to make you feel better and save a few dollars in the process.

Readers of this blog know I cannot seem to write about any topic without mentioning my wife. Simply stated, she is the sweetest, most intelligent and beautiful human being on the planet. We’ve know each other for almost half a century and been married for more than forty-two years. In addition to putting up with me, she is the mother of our three sons and grandmother to our five grandchildren. These are just the basics and I could go on and on. In the interest of time, I simply want to share something I consider to be very special.

Research tells us, as seniors, one of the major factors in our health and well-being is to spend our lives in positive relationships. If we are lucky enough to have a positive and loving spouse, we are very blessed. If not, it’s important to surround ourselves with other positive relationships. The value of good and caring friends cannot be over-estimated.

Recently, on our latest travel adventure with good friends to New Zealand and Australia, my wife went well beyond the call of duty. Mind you, we had already hiked through the thermal hills of Rotorua, taken the gondola up Mt. Ngonogotaba and luged down the mountain twice. We also donned wet suits in Akaroa and swam with dolphins in the Tasman Sea. She was just getting started.

Sometime ago while watching a travel show, I was fascinated when I saw people jumping off the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand. The Sky Tower is the tallest structure in New Zealand, and the jump itself is made from 630 feet. That’s about the same as jumping off a 60 story building. It’s called a base jump with a wire instead of a parachute to stop your fall. For some reason I can’t explain, I wanted to make this jump. Well, I got my wish when we visited Auckland for the first time in our lives. Our friends tried to talk us out of it, but we did it anyway. Notice I said “we.” Yes, my loving wife put on the flight suit, got fitted with the harness, took the elevator to the top of the Sky Tower, and jumped after me. That was the one provision, that I go first. As she said, when she didn’t hear sirens, she figured it was safe to go.

Was it a big deal? Yes. She was petrified, but did it anyway to share the experience with me. She is the love of my life, and my special Valentine. By-the-way, we liked it so much, we went back up and jumped again.

Click on the links to see our jumps:

 SkyJump John

SkyJump Trisha


Back from Down Under

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit New Zealand or Australia, I suggest you make every effort to place it high on your “life list.” My wife Trisha and I, along with good friends Lyn and Herb just returned from a great travel adventure down under. The scenery is spectacular, the people genial, the rich history fascinating, and the iconic landmarks surreal. I should also add, these countries have the most complex diversity of cultures I’ve ever experienced, but there is a commonality of spirit and attitude that permeates throughout. Virtually every person you talk with or ask for information greets you with a “No worries,” or a “Cheers mate.” It was a very uplifting and encouraging experience when compared to our “diversity” which seems more like division. I could go on, and probably will in future blogs, but several have asked me to share some photos from our trip. Here are just a few of the many hundreds we took.

(Lady Knox Geyser, Waikato Territory, Lyn luging down Mt. Ngonogotaha, with musician friend Maurizio in Tauranga, swimming with dolphins in the Tasmin Sea, out for dinner at a club in Rotorua, Trisha in the Conservatory garden in Melbourne, top of Taieri Gorge, Lyn and Herb on a moutain gondola, having fun at Captain Cook’s home in Melbourne, my two new friends from the Netherlands, the iconic Sydney Opera House, and Herb the Maori Warrior)