Sunday, February 24, 2013

the "metabolic advantage" everybody has looked for?

...Well, except for the CICO-apologists.  ;-)

One of my link-following adventures led me to THIS paper, which led to THIS magazine article, which i can't read in its entirety for less than thirty bucks....  :-P  Aw well, such is life.  The abstract probably says the important stuff.  (It's got enough acronyms in it -- Kindke might find it worth interpreting for me if he gets bored sometime!)

Bile acids induce energy expenditure by promoting intracellular thyroid hormone activation.
Watanabe M, Houten SM, Mataki C, Christoffolete MA, Kim BW, Sato H, Messaddeq N, Harney JW, Ezaki O, Kodama T, Schoonjans K, Bianco AC, Auwerx J.
Institut de Génétique et Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS/INSERM/ULP, 1 Rue Laurent Fries, 67404 Illkirch, France.
While bile acids (BAs) have long been known to be essential in dietary lipid absorption and cholesterol catabolism, in recent years an important role for BAs as signalling molecules has emerged. ...  Here we show that the administration of BAs to mice increases energy expenditure in brown adipose tissue, preventing obesity and resistance to insulin. This novel metabolic effect of BAs is critically dependent on induction of the cyclic-AMP-dependent thyroid hormone activating enzyme type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (D2) because it is lost in D2-/- mice. Treatment of brown adipocytes and human skeletal myocytes with BA increases D2 activity and oxygen consumption.  ...  In both rodents and humans, the most thermogenically important tissues are specifically targeted by this mechanism because they coexpress D2 and TGR5. The BA-TGR5-cAMP-D2 signalling pathway is therefore a crucial mechanism for fine-tuning energy homeostasis that can be targeted to improve metabolic control.

It looks to me as though this may be the secret of the success of Dr. Donaldson's fatty-meat diet, and possibly the Shangri-La (oil-bibbing branch) as well -- it's all about fats which prompt a squirt of bile for our bodies to process.  I was "promised" a boost from coconut oil which i never observed to benefit me (although i love the stuff and intend to keep using it generously); this could be the big secret.  Coconut oil doesn't require bile for digestion.

It turns out, then, that the fat IN THE MEAT of the Strong Medicine regimen is the trick -- and modern science tells us why.  Donaldson clearly stated that dietary fat was important, as he had learned from Vilhjalmur Stefansson (all-lean-meat diet = BAD).  As a matter of fact, his suggestion was that if you choose to eat a leaner kind of meat than his recommendations, you should buy extra SUET and chop/grind it into your choice to make it appropriately balanced.  As an interesting aside, he observed that most of his patients adapted to a fat-burning metabolism in about five days.  Also, his only recommended exercise (except for special stretching for certain conditions) was a daily half-hour walk.

So forget the low-fat diet (as if we haven't already)!  Put the coconut oil on the back burner!  We've already forgotten heavy exercise and calorie-counting.  To lose fat weight and increase our energy, what we need is enough fuel to convince our bodies they can afford to rev up a bit ... and the best fuel of all is good old-fashioned animal fat.

Sure sounds like a LCHF metabolic advantage to me.

Friday, February 22, 2013

thyroid sufferers -- do NOT be afraid of low-carbing!

I just read the study Eddie linked on The Low Carb Diabetic, about "shifting the paradigm" in treating various illnesses with a low-carb diet (co-authored by our good Adele Hite); i was COMPLETELY on board with the paper till i found THIS statement (emphasis mine):
 There are, however, certain populations in which reducing carbohydrate intake to very low levels may not be appropriate:  patients with ... thyroid defects, .... 
 There are a couple of rationales for why this hypothesis persists, and i wish to gawd somebody would run a proper RCT to straighten it out -- because i'm absolutely, positively sure that the position is BULLSHIT.

I'm not the only one, either.  One of those who agree, Sam the "worldly monk," wrote an outstanding article about this misconception -- i can hardly add anything to make the point better!  It's just that compared to a lot of theorizers, i'm the one in the trenches with considerable experience.  Notably, the only significant argument Sam got was NOT from a hypothyroid....

The more starch/sugar one consumes, the more thyroid hormone is needed by the body to clear the ensuing glucose spike from the blood.  We see the same situation with vitamin C -- the more BG, the more C is needed.  Apparently, lab-test-junkies of the gym-rat persuasion have extrapolated LOW T3 FROM A LOW-CARB DIET!!! without actually experiencing any hypothyroid symptoms ... the absence of which defines a diagnosis of EUthyroidism.

Wooo also CLEARLY elucidated the situation of hypothyroid symptoms being seen in euthyroid individuals who are losing fat weight; it's all about the body getting enough fuel so that it knows it can afford to "waste" energy for optional purposes!  One apparently just does not see people damaging their thyroids irrevocably on a low-carb diet, and becoming clinically hypothyroid!  But you DO see people doing that who insist on eating things like wheat and legumes and sugar and industrial seed-oils -- THAT is where the modern glut of thyroid patients are coming from (opinion:  don't ask me for references).

So if you're hypothyroid and want to try LC-paleo to see if you can improve your health and sense of well-being, DON'T AUTOMATICALLY BELIEVE that because someone as savvy as Adele wrote it, it has to be true.  The paper quoted above makes the point ITSELF, that the historical record of health and dietary recommendations are full of mistakes.  You'll only KNOW if LC gives you a better quality of life if you dive in and try it yourself -- and NOT like that Oz yoyo did for ONE DAY!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

pointing fingers at the wrong villains

How synchronicitous!  I just read the year-old WAPF article on salt which ties in very neatly to my recent ponderings on the subject.

We're accustomed to seeing high-carb rodent diets being described as "high-fat" and all their ill effects being blamed on the lard in them -- as though that were good old-fashioned pig-fat from pastured swine instead of the high-PUFA, partially-hydrogenated garbage the passes for lard today.  But i'm not sure the bloated PMSing women out there (of which i was one) might have any clue that it's NOT the salt that came on their pizza or fries that is making them miserable....

Ya know what else causes water retention?  Sugar (and other carbs, especially lactose and fructose if you're intolerant).  Insulin.  Cortisol.  Allergies.  MSG.  Alcohol.  And probably a whole lot of other things, too.  But of course i keep coming back to the fact that "TABLE" SALT takes the rap.

As i pointed out before, i love salt and use it liberally at home.  I NEED salt for the sake of my digestion.  I find it hard to believe that i'm getting significantly more NaCl in restaurants.  When CW slams something that i KNOW is beneficial for me, it makes me mad that others like me (but less headstrong) might believe the idiots and forgo something that would make their health better.  And since the "logical" way CW deals with failure of a public policy is to make the original recommendations stronger, we get stupid reactions like denying school-children the use of salt-shakers....

The WAPF article makes it clear that although in a small population, severe salt restriction may lower BP by single digits, all-cause mortality in the general population seems to rise.  Why is it, with salt and dietary fats, tiny fragments of demographics getting bad results get extrapolated to the rest of us, and now that we have large-and-growing bad effects of grains and other carbs, the cautions against them DON'T happen?  If it were only the case of lobbying, i'd think the egg, dairy and meat-producers would band together and stand as strong as the wheat/corn/soy group does, but it doesn't seem to work that way.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

what is it about restaurant food?!

It's not like i don't use salt at home -- i LOVE salt.  When i tried the Strong Medicine regimen the first time, i HAD to add salt (Donaldson proscribes it) because my stomach was screwed-up without the chloride.

Most of the time, restaurant food tastes about right, though on rare occasions it's too salty for me.  So WHY does restaurant food cause more water-retention than home-cooked?  Are other sodium products (such as one finds in processed meats) present in ground beef from their suppliers?  I'm not talking about cheap fast-food outlets -- i KNOW there are additives there -- i'm referring to obviously-hand-formed fresh ground beef in my favorite pubs and dives.


Vegetables, too.  We ate out on Friday (Scottish Arms), and mashed turnips came with my pork cheek -- YUM.  Then i introduced my husband to salsify on his second evening back home.  Sunday lunch out with our dear neighbors at Hamburger Mary's -- i was "good" and with my bunless Proud Mary burger i had the seasonal vegetables as a side-dish.  I got around the meat, and ate a cross section of the fresh-veg mixture (peppers and broccoli -- a third to a half of the serving).  The root vegetables didn't seem to do the damage the above-ground crops did -- yesterday i felt the bloat.

Not only are some of us not designed to eat an animal-free diet, but i'm beginning to think that some of us aren't designed to eat many vegetable substances at all.  Again, Donaldson's admonition to avoid "green" vegetables and to favor "yellow" ones hit the mark.  The roots/tubers wear their toxins on the surface, and if you get past that you seem to be home free, but those that flaunt their leaves and flowers for all to reach are toxic (to me at least) through and through.

An update on the subject of cashews....  I had that one bad experience with the cashews that i bought "raw" and soaked and dehydrated last year.  Well, i made a batch of the Fallon/Enig recipe Brazilian Shrimp Stew and got the same response from my digestive system.  It's "cooking" them that does me in -- i can eat them with impunity otherwise!  Fortunately, the almond,coconut and hazelnut flours i make "breads" with don't seem to have the same effect.

I know nuts are dangerously more-ish for me though, and i limit my quantities to a couple of ounces per day.  When i DO have breads, cookies or cakes on hand, i use them sparingly.  A treat is a treat, no matter how low the carb count!

Friday, February 15, 2013

was i "sick" and didn't know it?

Yesterday gave me a return of the old low-energy blues, and after the hypomanic evening i'd had Wednesday, i wondered if i had just overdone my exertions.  I woke up this morning with a stuffy nose, perceptible inflammation, and low-grade headache -- i think i caught somebody's bug, and it was so mild i didn't perceive significant malaise!

Being the reclusive cat-lady* i am, i don't come in contact with a lot of "germs" from day to day.  In the past this has meant that whenever i visit my grandchildren i run the risk of catching all those buggies that are so communicable in the "real world."  I think there's a darned good chance i'm improving my immune system a huge amount at the same time i'm fine-tuning my nutrition.

Not surprising.  If i wasn't getting enough pre-formed vitamin A before to keep my mitrochondria churning out the ATP decently, i probably wasn't getting enough to keep my immune system firing on all eight, either.  We all know that A is important for immunity, and i THOUGHT i was getting enough with my cod-liver oil, but the food version of liver is so much more effective, i won't be buying the Carlson brand of CLO anymore -- i have to doubt its potency.

But today i'm back wanting to trot up the stairs instead of trudge.  I had a couple of ibuprofen and a couple of benedryl, so the aches are almost gone, even though i can still feel a little inflammation in the tissues of my upper respiratory system.  I'm going to get myself a zinc lozenge next time i'm in the bathroom, and use the neti-pot later, and i expect tomorrow will be even better than today.

YIPPEE!  I may have been "sick" but i'm not SIIIIIICK!

*  i'm less of a cat-person than a dog-person but ... the leap from dog-lady to BITCH is just too easy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

most people probably aren't happy today

Last year i wrote about the dark side of Valentines' Day, and i'm not likely to change my mind much about the unfortunate character of this "holiday."  I imagine that others who feel like i do have described their objections well enough, so anything i could write in that direction would be redundant.

One of my objections to the observation of St. Valentine's feast-day as a romantic celebration is ... the time of year!  It must be granted, the "church" which gave us the holiday in the first place has always been AGAINST earthly love, save as it might be a means of procreation = more church MEMBERS = more power = more income.  "The church" is scared to death of sex because it's such a powerful thing, and they've wrapped all sorts of myths around it, like "original sin."  Kiddies, "original sin" is your own bad karma you brought into this life with you, from the last -- it doesn't have a bloody damned thing to do with the fact that we all are "conceived in sin"!  The misogynist "saint" Paul and the raging pedophile Augustine are largely responsible for the ridiculously anti-feminine slant of Christianity and all its writings.

In the middle ages, this feast day (thought to be a cleaned-up version of Rome's Lupercalia) became associated with the convention of "courtly love."  If you're a history buff, you know that it was rare for anyone of wealth or importance to wed a person they were in love with -- marriages were mergers or alliances, and some really inappropriate matches have been made through the centuries with those "ideals" as a guide.  "Courtly love" was all about sleeping with somebody you actually WANTED, although it was dressed up in prettier finery than that.

But from an esoteric point of view, could one possibly choose a WORSE astrological signature for a holiday meant to celebrate affection, romance, and devotion?  I can't see it!  The sun is currently in Aquarius the "intellectual" sign; the 50-years-ahead-of-everyone-else sign; the cool-headed, reasonable, detached sign.  Piss-poor time for romance, to me!  And since the inner planets (Mercury=mental, Venus=hedonistic) signs can never be far from the sun, there's a darned good chance they'll never be in an auspicious sign, either.  This year, the moon (emotions) is in Aries (hot-headed, stubborn, selfish, rash), Mercury is in Pisces (a wild-card), Venus in Aquarius, Mars ("drive") is in Pisces also, and Jupiter (good fortune) in Gemini (duality).  Frankly, i don't think it looks good.

If we MUST have a holiday "for lovers" i would lobby for May as a much better time than February.  The first three weeks, the sun is in Taurus, the sign associated with hedonism (also fertility).  Or July, September or October, for various reasons.  Even March!  Give people a CHANCE to have something to celebrate!

[sigh]  Since we're stuck with what we've got, the least we can do is try to make sure our honeys know we CARE.  Be extra nice today, because most people need it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

... and liver led to vitamin-A reading

My energy has been SO phenomenally better recently, well ... i just HAD to look at this gift-horse's teeth! :-D  I googled "vitamin a and energy" and hit the jackpot.

I read (in an blog that doesn't deserve quoting because it won't let me copy a single PHRASE to paste here) that in the FASEB Journal there was an article about retinol's role in ATP production.  AHA!  Then a short paddle around the PubMed pool revealed another wealth of information -- the author has done a LOT of work on mitochondria, our favorite organelle!  ...Okay, okay -- they're ALL important....

It's going to take awhile to read and digest this information, but the starting-point is here: and the takeaway is this -- low retinol results in bare-minimal energy.

I also googled the factoid that 45% of people don't convert carotenes to retino's adequately; all in one place i got the (uncited) number i was looking for, PLUS material for thought.
Some people may not absorb adequate carotenes from the diet due to digestive problems and some people, even those with adequate thyroid activity, seem to have some difficulty converting the carotenes to the active form of vitamin A.  In one study, up to 47% of British women were unable to adequately convert beta-carotene to vitamin A.  The problem may be even worse in some populations.*
Am i the only one who goes on point (the hunter-bitch that i am) at the notion that SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST NOT DESIGNED TO LIVE ON AN ANIMAL-FREE DIET?  Some people do not convert this ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL nutrient from the form in which it's offered in the modern diet!  Every time i see the title "foods that provide vitamin A" followed by a list of friggin' VEGETABLES (which have NO retinol content) i want to erupt.

But no time to read today!  I'm teaching a class in tatting to a couple of dozen ladies at the Chatillon-de Menil House tonight, and i still need to print my hand-outs and collect my examples.  :-)  Later!!!

 *  see, i LOVE to give credit where it's due!  it's the writers who are so friggin' scared that somebody's gonna STEEEEEAL their work that they make it really difficult to quote them AT ALL....  oh well -- this quote is from

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"liver" is the new "oysters"

If the fashion industry can do it, i can too!  :-D  "Red is the new black" -- PLEEEEEASE...!  (Even though red IS my best color.)

Just recently broke my fast on a liver-bacon-onion stirfry, and now i'm enjoying that glow i described a few posts ago, when discussing how good i feel eating oysters on the half-shell.  It really is a wonderful discovery!  When oysters are out-of-season, liver will ALWAYS be there.

Why does my body seem to be able to absorb the nutrients it wants from liver and oysters, better than from muscle meats?  Can't tell ya....  Could be the sheer volume of nutrients in them, or it could have something to do with nutrients COMPETING for absorption, who knows?  (And that IS a real question, not rhetorical.)

I find it so ironic -- a food i've avoided most of my life because of my dislike of its texture is transforming my life NOW....

Monday, February 11, 2013

hope there's some winter left

I really fell down on the job!  Around yule-tide, i meant to include the perfect cold-weather drink in my recipe collection, and i kept forgetting about it!  Could have been because my immersion blender was misbehaving, and that little tool is a wonderful aid in producing it; not letting others have a treat because it wouldn't be easy for me would be a little passive-aggressive, though....

Much of the English-speaking world has probably seen the cartoon Tom & Jerry, and that's the only T&J they're familiar with, but some years ago i came across the trail of what i suspect is The Original.  And all because i'm so fond of a good murder that one of my annual must-reads is "Murder for Christmas."  :-D  The collection includes a little gem by Damon Runyan called "Dancing Dan's Christmas" -- you can read it online here -- in which the tough guys are sitting around on Christmas eve getting mellow on Hot Tom & Jerry.  Well, OF COURSE i had to find the recipe and try it out!

And it turns out to be a Low-Carb Lush's dream!  Here's the modified version i love so much:


In a nice big mug, beat well with your immersion blender:
   one whole egg
Add and beat together:
   1/8 teaspoon each (ground) allspice, cinnamon and cloves
   about a packet of sucralose or stevia
   1/2 jigger brandy
   1 jigger dark rum
Stir in boiling water (or very hot coffee) to fill the mug, and taste for sweetness.  Grate a little nutmeg over the top.  YUMMMM.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

i agree with Zoe

Britain has been having troubles with their processed-food supply like the one we had with our infamous "pink slime," but in their case it's worse because the offending ingredient is not even a bovine product (sorry, Cow!).  Horse-meat has been found where people thought they were eating beef.  My indignation doesn't have as much to do with the "ewwww factor" but with trust and disclosure.

There doesn't seem to be anything actually WRONG with eating horse or slime (nutritionally) if you compare it with eating sucrose and wheat flour.  If those pairs of "foods" were my only choices, you can easily guess which i'd pick.

But i'm of the opinion that truth in labeling is important -- sometimes there are darned good reasons for eating a prepared meal, and people should have informed choice.  A lot of people don't read labels, and ... frankly, if they don't care enough after they've been alerted (and i'm not shy about alerting people -- my FB posts are full of that), let the buyer beware.  But when you DO read labels and you DON'T know that "spices" can mean "MSG" as an example ... to me that's wrong.  Some people's health can be seriously undermined by the duplicity of BigFood.

The serious snobs will say, well just don't eat processed food!  Eat what you've seen growing with your own eyes!  Know your farmer! ... All well and good actually -- IF YOU CAN.  Some people can't.  Some people have so many other things in their lives requiring attention, they HAVE to get on as best they can.  Even people like me who can take the time and spend the money to source healthy whole foods, SOMETIMES have to cut corners!  It's called "LIFE."

So, all you libertarians -- we NEED central entities to make those "smart successful businesses" treat the consumer with a decent degree of fairness.  We need those smart successful businessmen to add a little integrity to the mix.  Zoe thinks we're fools to trust processed-food manufacturers, and she's got a point ... BUT if they're breaking laws to ensure their "success" we should be able to trust that the bastards WILL be nailed to the wall.

...Anecdotally, mule is supposed to be a better meal than horse.  It's said that explorers, emigrants, hunters and trappers in the "old west" preferred using mules for several reasons, only one of which was that if things went bad ... mule tasted GOOD.  ;-)

the day i become a potatoista....

EB joked that she wanted to see a blog post on the subject.  ;-)  In a comments section, i said i'd become a potatoista the day i reincarnate as a young male gym rat.  Well, never say never, because the gods WILL make you eat it.  Or more precisely, the Lords of Karma.

I share the belief that we keep coming back till we get it right.  It isn't a random come-back-as-a-cockroach-next-time thing -- one progresses through human lives which are circumstanced in such a way as to cause us to evolve, to improve our characters, to perfect ourselves.  At the end of each incarnation we go to "the Judgement Hall of Osiris" (only one of the names it's been given), and our progress is assessed.  We are made to "realize" any harm we've done, then get a rest period before returning to that classroom we call life.

A hateful abusive bigot is very likely to come back as the sort of person he used to victimize, just so he'll learn how wrong that is.  The gentle vegetarian gets points for "doing no harm" but the PETA hypocrite doesn't, and as for cold, heartless doctors ... they probably come back with a nasty illness that LOOKS psychosomatic.  ;-)

My philosophy gives me a degree of comfort when i see the massive, unconquerable misery in the world.  No doubt many people will want to tell me that they hope i'm happy in my little fairy-tale (even if what they REALLY want is to make me unhappy with their scorn and "superiority") -- but yes, it IS my "illusion" and YES i'm pleased to keep it.  I have my reasons for thinking it valid, which will convince no one but myself.

So i could come back as a male next time ... but i hope i'll be evolved enough to have better things to do than waste much time in a gym.  I hope i'll have more health and vitality than i've had in this one, so that i can get more GOOD accomplished.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

seasonal inclinations

The instinctual tendencies i observe in myself, concerning what foods i WANT to eat from one day to the next, are fascinating to me.  Here in the midst of winter with chilly temperatures but lengthening daylight, i seem to have lost a lot of interest in meat and starch, and my appetite is leading me in the direction of seafood.  Left to itself (with no media-invoked temptations to pursue commercial foods), would our "nutrient sensors" cause us to eat the appropriate seasonal diet?

I can only speculate, because i've never heard much that's very scientific about seasonal eating, except the advisability of consuming what's seasonally grown in one's own location, for different reasons.  I know that in the summer we grow muscle easily on protein and carbohydrate, and in the fall our endocrine systems urge us to put on fat to survive the upcoming winter (which never actually arrives for a lot of people).  But what are we SUPPOSED TO EAT, physiologically-speaking, in the winter?

Is it because the fresh green grass, which helped to load our meat-animals with vitamin K2 and omega-3 during the spring and summer, is no longer THEIR diet, that my appetite is leaning toward ... other things?  I'm not much on cravings, but when my appetite screams for a food, it generally means that food packs the nutrient my body wants -- like during the visit we made to VA last year when my body screamed for a big, very-rare steak ... then a nap.  My body KNOWS....  The last few days (since the last family-pack of GF ground beef got finished), it's been NUTS which sound good.  One day i'll eat an ounce or two of macadamias, the next day it might be pistachios and the following, cashews -- and these are not snacks, but a self-contained meal.

This is not to say that nuts are all i HAVE been eating (along with my wine/cocktail) -- the day before yesterday i made a new crockpot stew based on Julia Child's daube de boeuf Provence-style (LOVE the garlic-caper mixture to dollop on the finished bowl).  But i have NOT had the steak-craving that has been known to drive my meal plans.  OR ... is it because the liver i've been eating is SO full of similar nutrients that when a nutrient-calling happens, my appetite skips over steak to go straight to the powerhouse?  If the latter is the case, it points up a big flaw in the FRH -- steak is much higher on the palatability scale than liver is ... at least to me!

A really wonderful college English teacher one day called something to the attention of the class which has stuck with me ever since -- and that's been a LONG TIME.  ;-)  He pointed out the numerous songs and poems Britain's literature has which are paeons* to springtime, and frequently specific to May-time, tra la!  He described the medieval rural scene in winter -- small, smoky rooms without glass windows; dark, because before the kerosene (paraffin) lamp with glass chimney made decent lighting affordable, the working classes with their betty-lamps and tallow dips could not do as well as (expensive) candle-burning did; miserably damp, cold and muddy before the days of paving and india-rubber boots; eating a diet of progressively-less-appealing nature, which they were capable of storing through the winter....  Then he described how their world changed in spring, when they were able to open the shutters and fling the doors wide without excessive chill, the sun warmed everything and dried out the roads and encouraged things to grow (GREENS -- yummmm).  So no wonder they composed songs of happiness, huh?
Bullock sterteth, bucke verteth, merrye sing cuckoo!
...I guess it's apparent what we should be eating in the spring.

* yes, i KNOW that "paeon" actually describes a specific meter, but i'm using the word in the generic sense -- poetry.  ;-)

Friday, February 8, 2013

devil rum strikes again!

And just after Sid commends me for holding my liquor....!  tsk tsk!  I left two important supplements off my list yesterday!

Of course, i've sung the praises of epimedium and mucuna pruriens very recently -- and very literally, in the case of mucuna.  It's been impressive in improving that damned tremor of mine.

How i look forward to finishing two or three bottles of things -- i might SEE my bathroom counter again!  ;-)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

supplements to keep and increase

As i was saying before i so rudely interrupted myself....  ;-)

The results i've felt from adding liver to my diet have really impressed me, as have the last couple of additions to my supplement collection.  It has prompted me to make some revisions in my nutrient regimen, which should amplify the benefits i've found in my supplement additions over the past year as well as reduce the appalling number of bottles which clutter my side of the bathroom counter.  The following are STAYING:

At this point, the most valuable of my supplements are two different glandular preparations which i've been taking for several years now, Dynamic Nutrition's T-100 and Natural Sources' Raw Thyroid.  They both contain other dried glandular substances and additional nutrients as well as the thyroid, and they SEEM only slightly different from each other, but i experimented with using different dosages of each alone as well as using both on the same day, and i finally concluded that i do BEST when i have their different virtues working for me in tandem.

After the dried thyroid preparations, the next most important supplement in my lineup has got to be iodine -- i use the caplet version of the antique formula of Lugol's solution.  It was the first item in my collection-to-be, recommended to me by one of the best doctors's i've ever had;  he had thyroid problems himself, and so had my other great doctor -- amazing isn't it, that a physician having a problem him/herSELF might cause them to actually give a damn about the subject, and give good advice about it? ... Hello?  (Hello, skinny obesity experts???)

Iodine's value, however, goes far beyond its part in composing the thyroid molecules themselves.  There are iodine receptors all over the body, to which the toxins bromine, fluorine and chlorine (which are so overabundant in modern life) may attach, and a generous supply of iodine in the body is protective against them.  It's also postulated that iodine is protective against bacterial and viral threats, and that cancer cells cannot thrive in its presence.

When you take iodine, it's highly recommended that you take selenium as well.  The research i've been doing today has given me a hint that i may even want to RAMP UP my selenium, as i've found that not only is this mineral a component of the deiodinase which helps convert the more-or-less-inert T4 to the metabolic torchbearer T3 -- it also is an important component of the molecule which escorts hormone into cells for use, transthyretin.  So although i've found that liver is an excellent vehicle for ingesting selenium, i believe that an extra daily supplement is a great idea.

I've recently sung the praises of pregnenolone, so i won't weary my gentle readers* by going on any more about it.  I recently did a stop-and-restart of systemic enzymes, and i believe they're still doing me good; i wrote a whole post about them during the summer, so that can stand as an explanation and defense of them ... if the latter is actually needed!  Carnitine, too, has been recently discussed....  Magnesium and zinc STAY -- we have a close and caring relationship.  ;-)  They're great for everyone, and doubly important to hypothyroids.

Going-to-be-added is ubiquinol, on EB's suggestion; she considers it possible that it will provide the boost that ordinary CoQ10 never delivered for me.  At this point, i'm not aware of any other supplement likely to improve thyroid function for me, or provide additional energy -- but you can be sure i'll keep my eyes open!


* expression stolen from Miss Manners, whose writings have given me much pleasure!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

no dieting allowed!

Shortly after i started the blog, i also started a notepad document where i compiled ideas for postings and references for later reading (and possible comment).  There are a sluagh* of items on different subjects, but most center on hypothyroidism, which is by far my biggest health hurdle.  I occasionally review my previous notations when i add something to them; sometimes i'm not ripe to appreciate them when i write them down, and i AM, later.

Today i followed a link i discovered some time ago, and it has put me onto a tangent i can believe in.  It speaks of the deiodinases which convert T4 to 3 (and also to rT3), and D1 is shorthand for the deiodinase which contributes largely to SYMPTOMATIC hypothyroidism when it's in reduced supply.  One's T4 can be in an acceptable range, and peripheral T3 can be too low as a result.  There's quite a laundry-list of things which inhibit our D1....

The conclusions drawn in the article are NOT what i find interesting here.  THEY say, because of the actions of these Ds, to be healthy the patient's TSH number is immaterial and if there's not enough free T3 ... GIVE 'EM MORE DRUGS!  We want our DRUUUUUUGGGGS!!!  MO-O-O-O-ORE TEE-THREEEEEE!!!!!

As they say down in Texas -- sheeee-YIT!  I know people want to feel normal, but did it never occur to them that the body is dialing down on thyroid conversion for a reason?

A few of the things that suppress D1 (and which they discussed in the article) are:

  • physiologic and emotional stress; 
  • depression; 
  • dieting; 
  • weight gain and leptin resistance; 
  • insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes; 
  • inflammation from autoimmune disease or systemic illness; 
  • chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia; 
  • chronic pain; and 
  • exposure to toxins and plastics.
Taking the T3 to normalize physiological processes while the causes of reduced D1 are tackled is obviously very supportive to the patient.  But taking the supplement and not addressing the ROOT CAUSES is just plain dumb.  This goes back to my objection to looking for "temporary relief, indefinitely"!

The body OBVIOUSLY wants us to slow down when these destabilizing causes are in action!  It wants us to fix what's the matter, not carry on as if nothing were wrong.  Remove the poisons, heal the injuries, outwear the stressor while getting extra rest, increase omega3 and hang around upbeat friends to help inflammation and mood, and ... FGS stop calorie-restricted dieting!

One thing i find marvelous about LCHF is that i'm "never" hungry.  Assuming i eat the right foods, i can eat to fullness in two to three meals, i'm not tempted to snack, and i don't gain weight.  I just CAN'T consume those "excess" calories that CICO-enthusiasts are so fond of condemning -- there's no room.  Entering my intake in FitDay reveals to me that while eating this way, i spontaneously eat from 1200 to 2200 calories per day, with between half and three-quarters of them from fats.  I guess some people would call that low end "calorie restricted" but since i'm not consciously trying to do so, and it doesn't happen every day, i don't believe it would be accurate to call it CR.

Apparently, a thyroid-challenged person HAS to find non-toxic foods that will satisfy without causing her/him to gain, if T3 values are to remain within an acceptable range.  And while i would object to telling hypothyroids "don't diet!" if they have excess fat that is burdening their systems, i know damn well that choosing a reducing diet careful is in their best interests!  ... I also hope that they'll exercise reasonable skepticism about the absurd promotion of a LFHC diet for their condition!
* while trying to ascertain the proper spelling of "sloo" -- whether it's slough or slew -- informed me that this americanism derived from an irish word.  therefore i'll honor the source by spelling the original way.  erin go bragh!  ;-)


The most intractable of my hypothyroidism symptoms is lack of energy.  I actually was unaware of this until very recently!

Weird, but explainable.  I thought i had a willpower or motivational problem, or a tendency to laziness, and so did most people around me -- i could tell, though they were too kind or tactful to actually accuse me.  Truth is, i always COULD pry myself from the couch if i HAD to, or wanted to badly enough, and when i'm in action ... i trust i'm not being immodest in saying that i'm GOOD.  I'm just not good OFTEN ENOUGH to be a big success in the world.

But the close observation that i've given my health over the past year has opened my eyes to a few things.  Wooo's discussion of her childhood was a big help, too.  People with "normal" metabolisms have a well-spring of energy that isn't available to all of us, and the seed seems to have been sown in our prenatal environment, or at least in early childhood.

My best friend, M, is only about four months younger than i am, so the age factor is immaterial -- we met in our seventh-grade music class and have been dear to each other ever since; she's the person i've known longest, outside my family.  Our natures harmonize together though we're outwardly different in many ways, especially in appearance.  I'm short and stocky, and she's leggy and lean.  I tease her about being an overachiever, but she's actually just an EXCELLENT achiever of whom i'm jealous because of her abounding energy (and other qualities which are not relevant here).  K is another dear friend of us both, and she's very like M -- the amount of work she can accomplish in a short time is phenomenal.  My husband J is another one of these workers.

When i'm out and about in the world with any one of them, trying to keep up, i go home at the end of the outing absolutely EXHAUSTED.  If J gets me up early to go out for breakfast and run errands all morning, that's it -- i'm done for the day!  We return home, i take a beverage to my chair, sit down with a book or my computer, and spend the ensuing hours marshaling my vitality so that the next call on my exertions will actually find me able to answer.  In other words -- a moderate amount of energy expenditure is immoderately draining to me ... and probably to a lot of other people, also.

Fitness enthusiasts, professional or otherwise, try to urge us to ignore our instincts and just get up and go for a walk or a run.  In some respects, this is good for us as we know that getting some kinds of exercise helps us to create new mitochondria.  What they don't understand is that exhausting ourselves in what to "normal" people is nominal exertion, we are draining our scanty resources to the point that OTHER activities (like making a living or taking care of our families) has to pay the price for our exercised-diminished vitality.  More mitochondria are GOOD -- but buying them may be too expensive for some of us.

THAT is why i'm on such an obsessive quest to improve vitality through diet, supplementation and lifestyle.  Once i improve my baseline energy available for all my everyday uses, i'll have more to spare for the optional ones, which have a potential for enriching my life ... like more exercise.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

more supplement talk -- what i'm going to drop

I could call 2012 my own Year of Diet and Supplementation.  I learned what i SHOULD eat, what i CAN eat, and what i'm best off staying the hell away from (may the gods of grammar forgive me).  I learned what supplements are essential to my well-being because i obviously don't absorb them well.  Finally, i learned what foods do practically the whole job in making me feel like a properly-functioning human being.

My REQUIRED foods actually make for a very short list:  grass-fed beef or lamb, wild-caught fatty fish, raw oysters and liver.  Everything else is garnish.

Iron is especially necessary to me, a life-long hypothyroid, and one of the quickest ways to send me into Mama Grizzly mode is to whine about iron-overload -- CONTEXT CONTEXT CONTEXT!  ...Okay, i feel better.  Through long experimentation, i've determined that i don't absorb iron well FROM FOOD.  I absorb it just fine when i take a supplement on an empty stomach with cooperating supplements like selenium, B12 and C.  Iron is one of the minerals necessary to convert T4 to T3.  As a small child AND in my adulthood, moron-doctors prescribed Synthroid for me and i did not thrive.  It's easy to see why, with my absorption issues.

But a highly interesting thing happened during my exploration of liver-based cuisine -- day after day i forwent my iron supplement and day after day my hair-loss diminished.  The four before-lunch supplements i used to take can ALL go on the back burner.  All i have to do is eat liver on a weekly basis.  Did i say i don't absorb iron well FROM FOOD?  Amend that to "from ORDINARY food."

When i discovered raw oysters -- yet another thing i love N'Orleans for -- i noticed right away that i felt a glow of contentment.  Every time.  I go through a half-dozen or more raw oysters, and i sit back relaxed with a smile on my face, regarding the world around me with a sense of benediction.  Much is made of eating animals snout-to-tail, and i heartily commend it, but eating raw oysters is eating the whole animal all at once, in one convenient bite -- EVERYTHING is in there!

About the grass-fed ruminants (with their butter) and wild fatty fish, i think anything i say will be completely redundant ... except to note that i can safely omit the K2 supplements i've been taking, and i can save the cod-liver oil for when i'm traveling, too.  I don't even need to have laxative substances around, for the rare occasions when i eat too much vegetable matter and get stopped up.  From Donaldson (of Strong Medicine) i learned that "by regulating his intake of caribou fat, he [mankind] can have as many bowel movements as he pleases."  And it works.  I am now saving all the drippings from my GFburgers, doing a quick-and-dirty clarification of them, and adding some to my coffee from time to time.  The resulting drink is bouillon-like in flavor -- i like it better than with unsalted butter, though that has its virtues too.

Now that i'm armed with my new-found "personal superfoods" i also plan to stop supplementing CoQ10 or acetyl l-carnitine.  I never have FELT any benefit from them.  It's actually possible that i am able to absorb/synthesize SOME THINGS properly....

So a whole schmear of the bottles on my side of the bathroom counter are going bye-bye!  I'll wave them adieu with thanks for a job well done, for most of them have helped me a LOT -- they're just redundant now.  The other half of my collection is staying .. but more on that later.

Monday, February 4, 2013

you know your energy is better when...

That was almost like the old "you might be a redneck if" jokes.  ;-)

With me it's the temptation to run up my staircases instead of walk, the impulse to spring out of my reading-chair and do/fetch things in other parts of the house, or to spontaneously play chasing games around the dining table with Spenser.  (Of course, for the sake of my iffy knee i find it's a good idea to resist springing up those stairs....)

The supplements i've added, which i'm inclined to credit with this recent improvement, are carnitine, pregnenolone and epimedium -- which, though a little surprising, aren't really too "out there."  The last two are boosting my age-related decrease in endogenous hormones, and the first ... long story.

Wooo was taught in her medical training that carnitine binds to thyroid receptors, and is therefore not recommended for improving health in hypothyroids.  OTOH, i also read that "Hypothyroidism has been found to deplete the body of L-carnitine stores. A six-month placebo-controlled study cited in the August 2001 edition of 'The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism' examined the effectiveness of L-carnitine supplementation for the management of hypothyroidism. The subjects were given 2 to 4 g of L-carnitine daily, and the study concluded that L-carnitine effectively helped to reverse and prevent symptoms of hypothyroidism. The research is preliminary, however...." *

Whichever is the "true story" i'm not qualified to judge, but all i read gave me sufficient encouragement to TRY carnitine and see what might happen.  I started with a small bottle of 500-mg caps, but am now using a BIG bottle of the one gram size.  Again, i don't KNOW how it works but i can speculate -- does carnitine perhaps spare thyroid hormone because the receptors it binds to are where FAs are passed into cells for use?  That is, after all, what carnitine is famous for doing, and one of the many things thyroid does as well.

Short version:  carnitine HELPS.  At least, it helps ME.

Pregnenolone, as you may know, is a precursor to a whole avalanche-ful of hormones and neurotransmitters.  I was getting SOME benefits from the progesterone creme i was using, but for various reasons i chose to swap over to an "upstream" supplement -- and am i happy i did.  The negative effects of my previous progesterone boost aren't an issue anymore, and there are many less-specific plusses!  Doubtless, my body is partitioning the pregnenolone to the balance it considers appropriate -- and its judgement seems to be sound.  Is it making more estrogen, more testosterone, more progesterone, what?  I really don't care which -- i just like it.

But why don't the makers of epimedium supplements label them EPIMEDIUM?  It would make things less embarrassing when you have to ask for help in the health-food store!  ;-)  Actually, i'm joking -- the virtue of being "older'n dirt" is that you care much less for what people think!  The common name you find on the supplement bottle is HORNY GOAT WEED, widely publicized for improving sexual performance -- it's splashed in good-sized type across the label.  I think all of us users agree, though, that its beneficial effects go far beyond improving blood flow to the penis....

LOL -- it's hard to care too much about the WHY, when the WHAT is so satisfactory!  I certainly don't agree with Dr. Lustig across the board, but when he said that quality of life pretty much equates with how much energy we are able to burn, i have to raise my glass to him!

*  from -- and i'm not a fan of the site.  :-)  if they hadn't quoted a "respectable" source, i wouldn't have credited it as much as i did.

AHS-12 videos finally coming through!

I enjoyed the hell out of J Stanton's presentation when i saw it the other day, but i may have been wowed more when i watched Chris Masterjohn this evening

Funny thing, though, i was most interested in an early point he made -- that salivary amylase activity is predictive of glucose tolerance, and that it varies significantly from one individual to the next.  Unless i'm much mistaken, this is highly significant for choosing one's life-long dietary path.  The only problem is how to know where you stand early enough....  I wonder if this is one of those tests you can just order up on the internet?

To me it also means that all the pro-carb blow-hards who claim everybody ought to be able to shovel down potatoes as fast as they do are DEMONSTRABLY wrong.  Hee hee!  :-D

The rest of Chris's talk was not only great material, it was very well presented.  I had to back up and listen to a few points again, and i paused even more times to peruse his slides at my own pace, but he explained things so well i never actually got lost. Great job, Dr. M!

I'm so glad they "listened to me" [smirk] and provided a microphone for the questions at the end of the talks this time -- the AHS-11 q&a session drove me batty.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

physician, heal thyself

I frequently read certain blogs that i don't have on my OWN list (which is long already); PrincipleIntoPractice is one of them.  Her recent post reminded me of something that has always bothered me about the medical profession.

THE HOURS THESE PEOPLE WORK are just outrageous!  How do they expect people to do good work when they don't have time to sleep enough or eat right ... or go to the bathroom for chrise-sake?  Hell, if airlines made their pilots do this, the uproar of protest would echo from the welkin!

Some brave soul on the inside is going to HAVE to start a movement to remedy this situation.  Making it a virtue to work 36-hour days is not rational.  No wonder fatal mistakes by hospitals and doctors are so numerous.

I used the quote, "Physician, heal thyself" as my title today, but it should have been "heal thy profession."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

the snack that FILLS

I've been on a mission to find more-ish ways to eat liver.  Boy-howdy, have i found one!  Bacon-wrapped bites of chicken liver:  the very IDEA of calling them a snack....

It has long been known to me that one of the few foods that's so nutritious, it's possible to have too much of it, is liver.  I also subscribe to the "nutrient-deficiency theory of obesity."  My solution to THE epidemic -- get people to eat a mere quarter-pound of bacon-wrapped chicken liver before they eat anything else.  After that they can have pizza, they can have Krispy Kremes, they can have any goddam thing they want ... if they have room for it.

Did i say "more-ish"?  That was dumb.  I'm completely stuffed.

Friday, February 1, 2013

miscellaneous food notes, etc

LATE-BREAKING NEWS!  :-)  Since it fit in the theme of the day, i decided to just add it in....

Digging about in the refrigerator, i found a yellow squash which i had forgotten about and which needed to be used very soon.  In addition, the last of the bottle of cream also cried out to be finished.  Hmmmm....  Pseudonoodles alfredo!  It was great -- i haven't eaten anything so seductive in a long time!  The sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 t. each powdered garlic and onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 ounces parmesan cheese shredded
  • 2 ounces provolone cheese, shredded

I had a chunk of codfish left after J and i had some of that huge fillet fried last week.  Being uninspired by most of the recipes i found (without having to make a sauce) i was rummaging in the meat/cheese drawer of my fridge when ... what did i find?!  A snack-pack of salami and other Italian masterpieces! Why wrap your cod with plain ol' prosciutto, when you can do it with HOT CAPOCOLLO!  :-D

And it took all of fifteen minutes to make!  I don't usually take photographs of my meals, but i'm rather excited to share this one.  That's J's sugarless sweet-sour slaw on the side -- i partake of it sparingly, raw cabbage being a goitrogenic substance.

Still struggling to perfect shirred eggs!  You see, i thoroughly dislike undercooked eggwhites, but i like my yolk liquid.  The flavor solution HAS been found -- to about a quarter-pound of cooked sausage and two eggs, two tablespoons of cream and one of SHERRY.  mmmmmm....

Next trial, it's ten minutes in the oven and only one under the broiler!

New rule for myself:  if on day 1 there is no -- ahem -- significant waste disposal, on the second day i DO NOT step on the scales.  Just sayin'....