Brain Brawn & Body

Brain Brawn & Body blogs on health, nutrition/fitness, lifestyle, leisure and finances.

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Eric Von

Eric Von

Eric Von is a former radio talk show host and a publisher of Brain Brawn & Body ( You can contact Eric at

Posted by on in Health

What if there was a Hall of Fame for healthcare professionals? Who would make the line up? Who would you choose? 

Your doctor should be the first person to come to mind. He or she is the most important figure in your health and wellness experience. 

I certainly choose my doctor. In fact, I can look back at two of my former doctors and would have to vote for them to be first ballot Hall of Famers for the care they gave me. I’m no easy patient, but they all have hung in there with me as I went through a series of very serious health issues. With each of them I tried to do my own analysis and diagnosis, all without the necessary know how. We may not recognize or acknowledge it, but doctors are special people.

Posted by on in Health

We’d all like to be healthy. That would be ideal. But the reality is that with life comes ailments and as we age, frailty is often the companion.

While we might not escape minor illnesses, and nagging pain, we can live healthier lives if we practice good housekeeping skills. Today we know more than we did even a decade ago about health and wellness. And to their credit, some people are living healthier lives through better diet, exercise and other methods of weight control. 

Posted by on in Health

When was the last time you and your honey danced? I must admit, I’ve been the stick-in-the-mud when it comes to me and my wife. She always asks me to take her out dancing, but I decline and really, I feel bad about it. 

I’ve always been shy or reluctant to get out on the dance floor. This dates back to my teen years when dancing was absolutely necessary to win over that cutie you had your eyes on. But I always found other ways to entice the ladies; wit and charm worked for me. I wasn’t a bad dancer, but I was no James Brown and I surely wouldn’t have won a Soul Train dance contest either!

Posted by on in Health

I was moved by a piece I saw on PBS this past Sunday. It was titled, Cafeteria Man. The film chronicled the work of Tony Geraci, who was then the food service director for Baltimore City Public Schools. 

Have you seen it? If not, and you want to be enlightened by a inspirational bit of cinema that will change your view of school feeding programs and what our children are fed, then you want to see this. 

For us in Milwaukee, it has a familiar face – Will Allen, the founder of Growing Power. After many years of trying to educate people here, Allen has found some traction. He has almost single-handedly taken on the issue of urban farming, winning over some of his biggest doubters. I know, I was one of them. I didn’t think that people would or could change their eating habits. 

Posted by on in Health

It’s wonderful when you witness a plan coming together.

There isn’t a day that passes that I am not totally overjoyed that Brain Brawn & Body is alive and doing well. 

More importantly, it is doing what we envisioned when we launched the website – it is changing lives. Those are not my words, others have told us so. We wanted to see men take control of their health. We believed that if men knew how to live healthier they would, in turn, lead their families to live healthier lives. 

And so far, the prognosis is good. 

Posted by on in Health

I was recently diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). It, like most other illnesses we seem to be contracting these days, comes with outcomes that even the best doctors describe as “unpredictable”. They are uncertain, it seems, why I had this first bout, except to say that given my chronic heart disease it’s not unexpected that I might suffer from Atrial Fibrillation. 

Okay, but they can’t say why with any certainty why the attack occurred when it did or as it did. My heart, they say, is fine. No real damage evident despite three heart attacks. The arteries are not what they should be, I get that, but my heart, according to the doctors is pumping just fine. 

Posted by on in Health

I remember as a young boy I used to ride in the car with my brother and for some reason I would ask him about car accidents. He always avoided the conversation or forbade me from going too far with the subject. I recall him saying, “If you don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.” 

I was young; he was my big brother, so I believed him. Don’t mention it and we’ll always be safe in his car. Sounded reasonable to a seven year old.

Posted by on in Lifestyle

I don’t typically find myself giving relationship advice. But an article I read for Brain Brawn & Body (Fight Fairly and Keep the Peace in Your Relationship) led me to think about my own relationship and how my wife and I get along. We do pretty well and I think we can provide others with a beacon to help them through a difficult stretch they may be facing. 

With the help of the article and the recommendations it presents, I offer these observations.

It may seem obvious: a healthy relationship could mean a healthier you. That’s right, two people getting along better could mean that you, the individual, will fare better in many ways.

Posted by on in Health

She came to town for two days, providing a story so rich, yet, so full of pain that those of us who heard her story were left feeling as if we had to join her in this fight against this dreaded disease. 

 Sylvia Mackey, wife of NFL Hall of Famer, John Mackey, is a whirlwind. She travels from coast to coast sounding the alarm on dementia. Anyone in her path will be swept up and moved to act by what she has to say. I know I was. 

 I learned many things in the two days I was fortunate to spend with Sylvia. The most shocking may have been that there is no cure for dementia. Sad. One would think that in this day and age of advanced medical discovery, where there seems to be a pill for everything, that there would be something available that could snap a person back from that dark, cold place their minds have ventured into.

Posted by on in Health

For the past few days I’ve taken my nephew Isaiah to school. He’s a senior at an area high school. Nothing extraordinary about that except I’ve noticed the astounding number of kids carrying backpacks. 

Backpacks and more backpacks, that’s all you see in the mornings. At his school you’d be hard pressed to find a kid who isn’t carrying one on his or her way into the building. But it doesn’t stop with high school kids…just blocks away is an elementary school and to see the little boys and girls lugging and laboring with what appears to be the weight of the world over their shoulders and on their backs got me to thinking. 

Posted by on in Health

I lost a childhood friend today. He was the first of our crew to pass away. At 6:00am my phone buzzed with a text message from another of my old friends, Kevin. The message was short…”Mike passed.” 

What a tough way to wake up.

I had been waiting for a call like that for some time. About a month ago I got the news that Mike was sick; really sick. I called him and he said to me with all the courage I remember him having all his life, “My body isn’t doing so well. They sent me home because there wasn’t anything they could do for me…”

His faith was strong even if the doctors had given up. He felt he had done his part to ready himself for whatever was to come. The conversation was difficult for me, but for Mike it was, as he said, “…what it is.” He seemed to have no regrets except that maybe he had cheated his wife and kids by checking out so soon. 

Posted by on in Health

I wanted to share a health story with you about autism.

By: Karen Stokes

In 2000, my 3 year old son, Elijah was diagnosed with autism. In retrospect, I guess I realized something was wrong because after he met the typical milestones for a child, at 2 years old he lost his vocabulary, he lost his interest in playing with his brother and other children and he seemed to be living in a world of his own.

Where do we go from here?

Young people today face many challenges, especially ones with Autism. According to Autism Speaks, autism affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 are boys. These numbers are growing. Autism is a cognitive disorder that impairs social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and also can bring about repetitive behaviors. As of now, there is no cure, but there are outlets and information that parents and caregivers can utilize. 

Posted by on in Lifestyle

I am fortunate to serve both as the editor and publisher of Brain Brawn & Body. I have learned so much since launching this website. In much the same way as I spent two decades prepping for my radio show, reading and researching topics on a regular basis, I have found myself doing that type of prep work for Brain Brawn & Body. 

It has been a rewarding experience. This past year has been a whirlwind of activity for the website. We have done workshops and forums, health fairs and seminars, but mostly the enrichment has come from the monthly publishing of articles that enlighten our readers about health and wellness issues. 

Posted by on in Health

Lately, it seems I’ve been on both sides of the issue – the bearer of good and bad news as well as the recipient of both. I can tell you, it’s not easy delivering bad news. At the same time I find it difficult to be the recipient of good news from people because it seems that right behind the good news they have for me, they share a sad story with me. 

I feel for them and it makes rejoicing in the good news I’ve just received quite difficult.

The conflict of delivering good news and/or bad news first came to mind because of the number of my friends and acquaintances who have been met with some misfortune recently. In some of those situations their anguish has been compounded by multiple incidents. 

Posted by on in Lifestyle

My sister emailed this to me the other day with the subject line: Absolutely priceless.

I’d have to agree. It is simply, priceless. I don’t know who compiled this list, but I am thankful to my sister for sharing it with me. Read it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.

An Elementary School Teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

Posted by on in Health

My wife often asks me to walk with her. She is an avid walker. She gets her day started with a brisk walk through our neighborhood. I admire her commitment to this daily exercise routine. 

As a former athlete, a weekend warrior really, I still look at walking as a wimpy way to get your fitness fix. But I must admit, it’s better than nothing and nothing is what I’ve gotten good at. 

My greatest wish is for all to have the best health possible. As one who has faced many health challenges over the past 20 years, I know and appreciate the importance of good health.

While I have never asked, “why me”, I have often wondered just how someone who has never been a drinker, nor a smoker could have been hit with such devastating health issues. Obviously, there are many other factors that contribute to or detract from one’s health. But it is clear that these two aforementioned vices, which, when they become habitual, can be detrimental to one’s health.

Posted by on in Health

You may not recognize his face and certainly, his was not a household name like that of James Gandolfini, the star of the hit HBO series the Sopranos. But Christian Benitez’ fate was the same as that of Gandolfini’s in that both men died of a heart attack; both unexpected.

I don’t know much about soccer. I’m not familiar with the stars of the game. I was watching ESPN and saw the story of this young man who had succumbed to an apparent heart attack. The people in the story who knew him were devastated and in shock.

Posted by on in Health

Suzanne Leigh

Health Reporter, Essayist, Blogger

I am standing in line in one of our state's legal pot clubs, which sells marijuana to anyone with a doctor's letter of recommendation. The "patients" look similar to the customers in a middle-market liquor store. There are a preponderance of frat boys and surfer dude-types, women with tattooed shoulders and piercings and a few older folks, who might be military vets fallen on hard times. Most of us look like we are shopping for something to put the spark into Saturday night, but I am here in the hope that marijuana will help my 11-year-old daughter enjoy her food once again.

Posted by on in Health

I was stunned and saddened by the news of the death of television star James Gandolfini. My daughter called to tell me. She knew I was a huge fan of the show, The Sopranos when it was on HBO.

It was hard for her to tell me, I’m sure, not only because she too is a fan of the show, but because of my recent heart issues. Gandolfini is reported to have died of a heart attack. Just a few weeks ago I suffered my third heart attack and it’s been rough on my family, my daughter and my wife especially.