04/09/2012 02:28 pm ET Updated Jun 09, 2012

Healthy Lifestyle Primer For Dummies

If you're like most folks, you may still have some urgent questions about fitness and health. All week you've probably been lying awake, asking yourself whether you should or shouldn't (or should) take more Vitamin D.

Or, if you're an avid exerciser: "Hey, what about recent evidence that suggests that taking vitamins DECREASES exercise benefits?"

Should you get the flu vaccine? Maybe you've been called a Cougar (it's a compliment) and are pondering Botox (Kathie Lee's looks pretty good). How about the life-lengthening benefits of drinking wine? Should you run when it hurts? What if it only hurts after you run?

Dairy verse non-dairy? Veganism... say whaaa? Or high-protein? A gluten-free diet, what is that EXACTLY?

If you can't use plastic, then what to use? Lap-band surgery may soon be available if you are only slightly fat. Do you wonder silently if the flatulence/diarrhea/vomiting side effects might be tolerable if you were thin again?

And the granddaddy question of all: Viagra? Yes? No? Perhaps only in emergencies? And if so, what would qualify as an emergency?

These are all questions worth pondering. And no health & fitness writer worth her (optimal) weight would leave them unanswered. (Which reminds me, if I'm an inch shorter now than when I was younger, do I still have to weigh the weight for my present height ? Or can I go by my highest height?)

Anyway, the answers to these questions are, in this order:

*Time-out on the Vitamin D/Calcium debate. First, experts said take Calcium. Then we needed extra Vitamin D. THEN, along comes this week's study, which says, in the words of Gilda Radner's Saturday Night Live character, Emily Litella, [images] "...Never Mind."

My advice? If you are a middle-aged woman, take two Viactiv's a day (at separate times since your body can only absorb so much calcium in any given time span) and if it's Vitamin D you're seeking,try getting 20 minutes of sunlight on your forearms (push up your sleeves and get it while you are driving or eat breakfast/lunch in a sunny spot).

* If you workout to improve your health or rev up your metabolism, don't take mega-doses of Vitamins C & E. Don't ask why. But click here and here if you like complicated answers.

*Get the flu vaccine if you're traveling in an airplane this holiday, if you are chronically sick, or 65 years old or older. Also get one if you have hypochrondria.

*If you are a Cougar and you cannot resist, get the Botox, but keep in mind that you will look like you had Botox and that everyone will recognize that you got Botox but they won't mention your Botox (to you, that is). Also keep in mind that everyone likes their own Botox better than other people's Botox, the same as men with toupees who love their toupees and who think that no one knows they have a toupee.

And that is because we are all blind when we look in the mirror.

*Stop drinking. Alcohol won't make you live BETTER for longer. Two glasses a week would be great, but who does that? Either you're on or off. Is anyone in your family an alcoholic? Then all the more motivation to quit. You get my point. Try it. Tell your friends that you've developed an allergy to alcohol. You'll be amazed at how great you will look. And feel. And sleep.

*Stop running if it hurts when you do it. If it hurts but only after you run, stretch more and cut way back on the distance/frequency until pain goes away. Get in the pool and swim.

*70% or more of adults worldwide have some degree of lactose intolerance (dairy allergy). Try a dairy elimination diet for one week and see if your gut feels better. Or flatter.

*Say yes to a vegan diet if you've got a personal chef and unlimited resources plus upscale food markets nearby. It'll also help if you've got a minimal appetite and are disinterested in the taste of food.

*If you are a menopausal woman, you need a small amount of lean protein at every meal. It has to do with insulin and hormonal balance.

*In all my years, I've only known one person that could stick with a gluten-free diet. It's a joyless existence. I'm just sayin'.

*Despite the success of Lap-banded celebrities, I've known several people who've had the procedure and ALL have had to have it removed due to complications. Don't do it. But if you can get a Brain-band, go for it.

*Viagra, in my opinion, is like lap-banding for the you-know-what. But seriously, you should be worried about heart attack and stroke if you have erectile dysfunction. Dr. Oz calls the male organ the "dipstick for health." He said there are two large arteries running the length of the organ, and if erectile dysfunction is about blocking the arteries, that mens your arteries are being blocked in other places in your body. Dr. Oz also says that body fat can also be a problem. "If your waist size is more than half your height, that fat is alive.. and converts testosterone, which is made by your testicles, into estrogen. Basically, the fat turns you into a woman."

And in reference to what might qualify as an emergency, it is my impression that, to a man, every erection is an emergency.

*And finally, as if we didn't have enough to ponder, alert readers concerned with issues beyond health and fitness may have read the new research from astronomers who are flummoxed by findings this week that indicate that there are three times as many stars in the universe than what they used to think. Hmmm, does this mean we get three times as many wishes?