Monday, August 31, 2015

new favorite brunch casserole!

:-D  ...Cuz my old favorite, while delicious, is a pain in the rump to prepare....

Again, it's a personalization of a Dana Carpender creation  In her HoldTheToast blog-post called EGGS! she outlines an infinitely-variable egg casserole -- she's a big afficionado of those things.  Me, i tend to not have my appetite satisfied by eggs, even in the presence of bacon or sausage, but when a steak is added, obviously it's THAT which makes me feel full and fed.

But i do love me a simple breakfast that can be prepared in advance!  I never was a morning person, though i CAN function at dawn if i need to.  If i were living in more primitive conditions (as extrapolated by camping experience) i COULD rise with the sun and turn in with it too, but i enjoy my civilized habit of waking when i've had enough sleep, regardless of the hour, and slowly readying myself to face the world with the aid of coffee, interesting reading material, and COMPLETE LACK OF CONVERSATION.  ;-)  Call me spoiled....

While my guests were in town i thawed a pound of breakfast sausage, with the intention of preparing my daughter's recipe for stuffed jalapenos, but alas i was "enjoying" one of those periods when just running around drains me out;  i never made them, or contracted to have L or J do it for me.  Thus i had a pound of thawed Jimmy Dean's Natural to use up.

I fried it up and drained it well, and set it aside.  This morning, i remembered it and added a couple of tablespoons of Dijon mustard, about 1/4 c. of boxed Chianti and a little filtered water, and let the liquid simmer down to nothing.

Then i cracked 6 eggs into the food-processor and added about a cup of cottage cheese and a little salt, and beat the hell out of them.  Greased an 8x8 baking dish.  Poured in about half the egg mixture.  Sprinkled on the sausage, then about a cupful of grated cheddar.  Topped evenly with the rest of the eggs.  Placed in a preheated 350-degree oven.  Baked 45 minutes.  Served with salsa.

YUM.  My husband liked it, too.  We discussed possibilities, and decided that the innards of a Denver omelette would be our next try, with italian-sausage-and-peppers-and-mozzarella-with-marinara definitely on the must-do list.  Then maybe bacon with tomato and mushrooms like my favorite Spanish omelette recipe ... and also bacon-avocado-swiss with a creole sauce....  INFINITELY variable.

Making omelettes for more than two people at once is awfully time-consuming:  i think this will be the perfect alternative.  And compared with my sister's outstanding breakfast casserole, SIGNIFICANTLY less work.

Friday, August 28, 2015


I participate in a ZC facebook group -- compared to many nutrition groups I've read, this one is outstanding.  Most of the people there are kind and supportive, even though some are pretty dumb and others pretty hard-line;  thanks to great leadership, people who aren't truly ZC (like me) are tolerated, and potential trolls are given the benefit of the doubt until they get really obnoxious.  Just as is my policy here, ASKING a sensitive question (hello, Charles) is not the same as being a jerk ("Christopher," why do you even try).

Over and over again though, on that ZC page, people report problems with how their bodies respond to what they're eating.  The page-owners leave their experienced-and-knowledgeable replies in amongst the comments of -- ahem -- people with considerably less of both qualities.  One of my "favorite" excuses for unpleasant bodily responses is DETOX!!!  "Your body is detoxing!"

Our bodies detox CONSTANTLY.  That's what the liver and kidneys and other systems do -- filter out potential trouble-makers and send them out of the body.  That's one reason we get the runs and breakouts of our skin, sure, but I subscribe to the thriftiness hypothesis -- the simplest, most obvious explanation is often the best one.

The kind of detox I mean is the sort in which bad fat-soluble substances get stored in our fat cells, and when we start burning fat, they get released again into the body.  Those kinds of detox symptoms are logical -- and I wouldn't call them "detox" as readily as I would "RE-tox."  With any kind of luck, our bodies are now more capable of filtering them out and successfully eliminating them than it was the first time around.  But when other people talk about detox it seems to describe a situation in which one is killing off the bad actors in one's system, and they then respond by throwing a riot -- a Herxheimer reaction to candida die-off sort of situation.

I'm not saying it CAN'T happen, I just suspect it's an "easy explanation" of a much more complicated response.  You've been getting pimples?  "Your body is detoxing through the skin" seems much more far-fetched than "you're sensitive to modern dairy products" or "you're STILL getting too much omega-6 in your diet," when it comes to a VLC-eater.  Most of them eat conventional meat, for convenience or economic reasons, and those meats are heavier in O6 than is ideal -- ditto when it comes to cheese and cream.

Okay, in the case of newbies to LC, we can expect a goodly amount of learning curve -- and those who start burning decades'-worth of stored fat WILL set free undesirable contaminants and PUFAs as their fat-cells shrink.  What tends to really get my panties in a bunch is when detox products on the market are touted by people who should know better.  How many programs as "Dr" Oz promoted in the course of his television career?  :-P

Wanna detox your liver, really?  Go on a fast, a good long one.  Drink very clean water.  When you get off of it, eat pristine paleo with lots of grassfed saturated fats.  No fructose AT ALL.  No alcohol.  No oxalates or hormetic-response foods.  Don't stuff yourself with more food than your stomach feels comfortable with digesting in a few hours.

Hmmm, I think I just described a cleaned-up version of Strong Medicine....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

quiet house

Back to the post i was writing before that infuriating newsletter started pushing my buttons....

Whoa, that was a busy week!  Before school started, our daughter and SIL and their two kids came to visit for a week.  Our backyard project is far from complete, but the interior of the sunroom is at least "functional," and they wanted to experience it.  We also got a visit from our "borrowed daughter" and her fiance -- LM lived with us for a couple of years, because she was in an abusive home from which she moved out when she turned 18.  Her mother left her and her sister with a MONSTER when she divorced him, and LM was strong enough to get out as soon as she legally could;  we were delighted to help her.

Well, we toured and feasted and hot-tubbed and went through a case of wine!  I put on fat -- i can feel it -- but am now back on the VLC wagon, to my great physical relief.  Even amidst all the jollification, i learned things:

  • The warmth-thyroid-carb connection is far more complicated than anyone has ever written about, to my knowledge.  My carb intake was highER, but not high.  I felt as warm as i usually do -- uncomfortably so a few times.  On the other hand, i had some symptoms i haven't felt for awhile, including puffy eyes.  I would have a burst of energy right after eating which faded into increased fatigue, leading me to the next point...
  • FATIGUE.  Granted that on a few days i was sleep-deprived, this was the kind of fatigue that made me sequester myself to recharge.  It was the kind that kept me less communicative for a full 36 hours after everyone left.  And it was the kind that had me pawing among my sporadically-used supplements for a boost.  Guess what helped?  High-dose sublingual methylcobalamin.  I was getting "enough" from my liquid vitamin and diet, but some of us just don't absorb it in the digestive tract well enough!  More evidence that malnutrition (this time, via malabsorption) is a cause of some symptoms of hypothyroidism....
  • Ten thousand steps is a HELL of a lot of exercise.  We went to the City Museum and a special event at the Missouri Botanical Garden and covered a LOT of ground ... and i never reached the goal according to my fitbit.  As i mentioned before, its accuracy isn't perfect, but probably pretty close.  On the museum day i logged 26 flights of stairs (a flight being defined by it as walking upward ten feet)!  We all arrived home completely tuckered out, and the step count was only eight-thousand-something....
  • That hot-tub is going to be a very good sleep-promoter!  :-)  
The " California Contingent" flew back home on Friday afternoon, but the Texas bunch stayed till Saturday morning;  the last evening's dinner was a beginning sushi-rolling party.  J and i had practiced a little beforehand, but for L and S it was new.  It was a moderate-carb night, what with the rice, but at least we didn't make the sweet sauces that can be found on the restaurant rolls.  Our technique has improved to the point that i'm ready to try the riceless rolls, made with grated vegetables in place of the starch.  Starting with smoked salmon or even leftover meats, this could turn into a favorite quick supper for us!  A bowl of broth with a little miso stirred in, plus some mushrooms or green onions or seaweed, a few rolls ... i'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Once again, fat-fasting is a lifesaver for reestablishing a ketone/FFA metabolism.  I can understand why some people dare not increase their carb intake during holidays and vacations -- the temptation to continue the practice is strong.  After the van took off southward, i napped and coffeed and ate LC leftovers like pork rinds, guacamole, tapenade and deviled eggs till dinnertime when we cooked up a couple of steaks to go with our SF coleslaw ... or was it the red cabbage that evening?  :-)  No matter -- we're back on the Atkins wagon, and completely happy about it!

Monday, August 24, 2015

"i'm only human!"

Right, left and center, the biggest PATHETIC EXCUSE out there has got to be "I'm only human!  I make mistakes!  Haven't YOU ever made a mistake?"

The big problem, of course, is that the only people I'VE ever heard using this line are always falling back on it when their attempts to bully or assault from a "higher moral plane" didn't work.  Their dumb-ass bleats being stood-up-to with courage and/or logic, they ALWAYS excuse themselves with the "human and fallible" defense.  Do you suppose they'd "forgive those who trespass against" them, if their adversaries used it?  HAhahahahaha.....

The "I'm only human" excuse actually reminds me of the CICO argument -- superficially true but a million miles from being significant.  They're weasel-words, designed to gain our acquiescence without getting us anywhere.  YOU are human?  Technically.  "You" are trying to create a bond where one does not exist -- you're trying to say that you and I are on the same team, just long enough to wriggle out of the underdog-position you find yourself in.  The quarter you would NEVER grant to an adversary, you try to claim from me, because i'm a human being, and "you're only human" too.

NO.  Just NO.

An email from Robb Wolf's kingdom talks about how, oh sure, there ARE lousy medical practitioners out there, but they're maybe like FIVE PERCENT of the total.  And ya know, doctors are like ONLY HUMAN.  A quote:

Today’s Medical Nightmare: A Day in the Life of a Practitioner

Imagine you’re an M.D. in modern medicine. Showing up to work, you know you have a fully-packed day. Every minute is scheduled, from the moment you walk into your office or hospital. Your staff is stressed and the paperwork from yesterday still isn’t done.
You’ll be lucky to have a lunch break today.
The patients start arriving in pain, sick, and upset. Most expect you to “save” them in the 15 minutes allotted to each appointment time. The responsible ones expect you to stay longer than 15 minutes and talk about every possible option.
Almost all of them have no desire to spend more money than what their insurance company covers and the company says 15 minutes is what you get.
The appointment starts…
Right away, you must try to defuse strong emotions that accompany their pain. You quickly scan their health history, listen to symptoms, and do some physical checks.
Now, you have 5-7 minutes left.
The patient is staring back at you waiting for a miracle. Your gut tells you, you need more time.  You need to tell them all kinds of things…
But the medical insurance industry, laws, and malpractice insurance dictates what your next move is… so you push those thoughts deep inside and lock them away.
Instead, you write a prescription or order further testing and tell them to come back in a week.
There are 2 minutes left, so you quickly skirt their questions because you know you are already behind for your next appointment. You have to go, to be fair to the next sick person.
So you walk out, even though the look on their eyes is saying “Wait, but can’t I get more help?”
You now have 30 seconds to reset your mind and prepare to tackle another case. And you know deep down, if you miss something critical someone might get very sick, even die… and you could be faced with a lawsuit at any moment. 

Oh, the POOR THING!  Having set himself up to do this job, he resents it that the patient actually expects HELP!  Expects to be HEALED!  And they're EMOTIONAL!  WHAT A NIGHTMARE!

Excuse me a moment while I go throw up.

The medical nightmare is what medical laissez-faire made it.  The AMA -- YOUR professional association -- is responsible for this mess, not your patients.  Dig your own way out with your colleagues who also helped create your "nightmare" ... and don't expect the sympathy of the people you KNOW you're not giving quality in exchange for their money.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

steam release


I was all ready to write a general "stoopid people" rant this morning, because i couldn't on facebook.  Oh, i COULD, but when some of the nicest people in real life write mind-bendingly stupid things, it makes one terribly conflicted -- you want to say "WILL YOU LISTEN TO YOURSELF?  Are you REALLY that dumb, or just blindly sentimental?  How do you manage to stay employed, if your grasp of logic is so tenuous?"  I like DJ, DM and GL, but some of the stuff they post is ... astonishingly brainless.  "If i can get 1000 likes, my daddy will stop drinking!"  ...WHAT???

But then i thought, i'm not the only one.  And it's not easy to find the right place to vent -- it's gotta be somewhere "they" can't accidentally find it.  So i offer you the opportunity to get shit off your chest!  :-D  Wanna "out" your boss' or MIL's vacuousness?  The comment section is open!  Have at it!

Friday, August 14, 2015

sleep ... when you need it most

We all know that sleep is often elusive when we need it most.  Times of excitement, times of busy-ness, times of stress, times of overload....

Sleep is the thing which keeps us sane.  I just read the other day that the latest thought on WHY we sleep is to give the brain a chance to take out its garbage.  A surprisingly large proportion of our energy is utilized by the brain -- somewhere in the neighborhood of 20%, and in mentally-challenging work, even more;  all forms of energy-burning have waste-products, and to export them from the walled enclave which is the inside of our heads, we have evolved to sleep.

Sleeeeep ... i hear the word as spoken by Henry V in the Kenneth Branagh version.  :-)  It sounds so seductive.  Kids resist it, and adults have a hard time understanding why, because to us it's delicious.

I used to sleep very well, except the night before a fencing tournament or a major vacation trip.  I've always been a sensitive sleeper, though -- my husband has learned the hard way that if he touches me and wakes me up there'll be hell to pay.  ;-)  Time, the great bitch, has changed that -- i'm one of those who usually dozes off pretty quickly if i haven't been overstimulating myself on the computer ... but within minutes i get a sense of dread and wake back up -- probably some of those afore-mentioned waste-product disturbing the chemistry.  I reach out for my bed-side book (with the little book-light attached), read another five or ten minutes, and then get properly to sleep.  But if my husband tosses too much, i can wake up to a too-great extent and have to read an hour or more to settle back down.  My bedside book is usually a piece of fiction i've read before, so i'm not on-edge about how it'll turn out -- the current one is a Nero Wolfe, which i enjoy because of the mental atmosphere of the series more than the mysteries themselves.

All kinds of sleep-tricks exist out there -- I've tried eating more carbs at dinnertime, but they too can be disruptive -- probably because i overheat under those circumstances and i like to sleep cool.  When we've been out for the evening, to dinner then to the theatre, i frequently come home and read for a good three hours before i get sleepy -- my supposition there is, too many carbs AND over-stimulation.  More than two glasses of wine at dinner can also ruin my night for me.

No, if i feel the urge to consume something near bedtime to aid sleep (rare!), i prefer a light-but-fatty protein.  I've taken to mixing a tablespoonful of collagen-hydrolysate into my evening vitamin drink, and sometimes i add a little liquid coconut oil too.  That seems to help.

I "used-to could" just pop a low-dose melatonin to help me sleep, but i now have a much larger stable of sleep-encouraging supplements.  I've mentioned valerian before, which is wonderful for dampening the cortisol/adrenaline rush that causes me to "wake up too much" in the wee-sma' hours.  There's magnesium too, of course;  even though my diet and multivitamin provides it, stressful times require more, and with our backyard project stretching well over the one-year mark, the stress his been both chronic and occasionally acute!  I recently bought some theanine as well, and my most-effective antihistamine (benadryl) is a famous sedative.  I layer these products as needed ... and this last year, HOW i've needed them!

Sleep is too important to let myself go too short -- when sleep suffers, it begins a cascade of effects which become catastrophic for weight, health, MENTAL health and life performance.  Some people may find it worthwhile to go the pharmaceutical route, but as much as possible i prefer to lull than "force" relaxation.

A new bed would probably help too -- our vintage one tends to creak, groan and wobble when my 200+-pound, 6-foot husband has a restless night, himself....

Monday, August 10, 2015

how the mighty have fallen

This morning, out of sheer reading-material-dearth, I clicked into Mark's Daily Apple's Sunday edition he calls "Weekend Link Love."  Right here in front of me, "Research of the Week" lists five items and four of them include "linked to," "associated with," "probably," and "might" ... and the fifth one is about dogs.

The man who taught us what weasel-words in the press to watch out for, because correlation does not prove causation, uses them himself.  But that's okay, right, because he's on our side and would never lead us down the garden path? 

The Diet Doctor has a headline that reads "The 2 Big Lies of Type 2 Diabetes."  Open his page and find that he's promoting the impressive message of Dr. Jason Fung;  he says there are two places to see this video, one where you buy a package for $70 or you can sign up for his service for $9/month (first month free).  He doesn't mention the same material presented elsewhere, free on

Some of my favorite writers, like J Stanton and Anna, don't blog anymore at all (and some have completely eliminated their sites).  Some print nothing but testimonials, or recipes, or ... oh, look, Mark has a special day for each category.  Some are all about their favorite exercises.  Yet others are sales portals and not much more.  Sad.

People in the LC-paleo world seem to be running out of things to say.  Well, once we all figure out what works for us, and what we each need to avoid, what else IS there to say?  The alternative on some sites (some of which I looked at years ago, but never read NOW) is a series of personal squabbles on the assumption that what THEY can tolerate surely can't be a problem for anyone else.  I STILL have a problem with wishful-thinking promoted as truths, but i'm less inclined to get my panties in a bunch about it -- seekers after nutritional truth CAN find reliable information if they want to, and they're the only ones who can determine what's the best answer for themselves, IF THEY WILL.  Meanwhile, I go out in public and see the bulging waistlines ... and the grocery carts full of corn, wheat, sugar and vegetable oils.  Have those people given up entirely, or are they doing their best using Conventional Wisdom?

I'm grateful for the bloggers who keep on keeping on;  I eagerly click on a few favorites regularly, and sometimes go digging into classic archives.  I just miss the thrill of the new ideas I used to read almost every day.  :-)  My morning reading is less exciting than it used to be, but I can't really blame people for spending less time at their keyboards, and more time living their lives.

Friday, August 7, 2015

another curiosity

A few years ago, i started using cod-liver oil.  I believe that the boost i felt, at that time, came from the pre-formed vitamin A in it, though i had been convinced by various writers that its omega-3 was a good balance for any excess omega-6 that i was getting elsewhere in my diet.  I'm not so sure about that latter part, now.

I decided to discontinue the CLO, as i am concentrating on eating liver more often ... and my husband bought a large lot of grass-finished ground beef which comes with a better o-3 ratio.  Almost immediately i started seeing better energy and fatigue-resistance.

Ray Peat would be nodding his head.  ALL polyunsaturated fats have shortcomings -- on this we both agree.  And despite backpedaling by some "obesity experts," there IS convincing data that PUFAs inhibit thyroid uptake by cells ... not least my own subjective experience.  Cuz who cares what experts say if your body tells you they're wrong?

I have a LOT of ambivalence about Peat's ideas.  Some of his writings reflect my nutritional experiences, and some of it seems a bit too far "out there" to be thoroughly believable.  Certainly, his opinion of gelatin/glycine APPEARS to be completely on-target ... but when it comes to his point-of-view about sugar?  No.

Over the last five years i've tried a lot of things that other people have reported worked for them -- some worked for me too, and others did not.  It really amazes me how much difference there can be between two comparatively similar people, and how much similarity between very different ones.  Well, of course microbiology IS microbiology for us all, even though it's affected by our histories of infections and deficiencies, and directed (in the theatrical sense) by our genomes.  Starting from a paleo template, we can suggest possible solutions to people having health problems that are strongly influenced by lifestyle, but there doesn't seem to be any such thing as a never-fail answer ... despite SOME things being an always-fail situation -- like the ADA diet!

It just looks like the vitamins A and D don't make up for the downside of CLO -- its polyunsaturated oils.  So i'm bidding adieu to a supplement i thought i'd always use.  Cod-liver oil IS a good product for some people in some situations, but i don't think it's optimal for ME, when compared to weekly liver and plenty of grassfed beef/lamb.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

a month of monitoring

My husband gave me a Fitbit for my birthday last month.  Using it has been ... interesting.  :-)  Our daughter had been wearing a "Jawbone" she won in a drawing and she piqued my curiosity, though i wasn't inspired enough to run out and get a tracker of my own;  i hadn't gone farther than to start looking at what might be the best product out there.

Well, after weeks of wearing the thing most of the time, my Charge HR has shown me some thought-provoking data.  First, a note on its inaccuracies -- the assumptions built into its algorhythms seem to be based on a hip lifestyle, not mine.  I noticed almost from the beginning that it was very lax in counting my trips up the staircases (it doesn't count flights DOWN, just the steps involved), but it increasingly dawned on me that it was when i don't carry anything that it does the best job -- the arm-swings are significant to it.  If you keep your "fitbit arm" on the bannister, or if you're carrying a laundry-basket, or a meal tray, or a couple glasses of wine, you're not likely to get credit for the stair-flight in question.

Conversely, i do get credit for "steps" even before i'm out of bed in the morning.  Merely adjusting a pillow is enough movement sometimes (though "sensitivity" is adjustible).  And speaking of sleep, the f-b was a little disruptive at first, because its display turns on, as a default, when you raise your arm as if to consult a watch!  I learned to turn that off, and to slide the f-b up my arm to mask the bright little lights on the back.  Not being in the habit of WEARING a watch since i retired from my last "real job," i've also been unusually conscious of having it on my arm -- i've always disliked watch-wearing.  I see that the moving around and getting comfortable before drifting off is shown as "restless sleep" ... and then there's the "awake" periods which can be truly periods of wakefulness or merely of increased movement and heart-rate.  I wonder if it might see dreaming as wakeful?  This morning, i woke up fully and got my ipad out and started reading, and the f-b interpreted that as being asleep a half-hour longer than i really was.

Despite my extreme variation in amount of "exercise" taken from day to day, the "calories burned" function seems remarkably consistent in the 1500kcal/day range.  To me, this echoes study observations in which people who are active in their jobs or hobbies subconsciously do less spontaneous moving around when they get home.  I do intensive shopping, then i come home and sit down with a book;  if i spend the afternoon with a movie and ipad-puzzle, i spend more time and effort in cooking dinner, and make more trips up and down all my stairs.  There's a "workout start and end" function, but telling the f-b what you're doing is a little cumbersome -- you have to look at their activity database in the computer software and match your chores with what they consider to be basic movement patterns.  Can't just look at the wristlet and choose from a list.

The software also allows one to track dietary intake, but the list is long on fast-food and deficient in the kinds of things i actually consume.  Naturally, it's CICO-oriented.

But i do find it very instructive, after taking into account what it can and cannot perceive.  One can enter a weight, sleep, exercise, or food-intake goal and it will report status.  One gets a weekly summary, and/or congratulatory emails on milestones reached.  The first time i achieved 10 flights of stairs climbed i got a commendation, but haven't received another one for even higher readings;  ditto for the first "marathon" walked.  For a person who appreciates acknowledgement of goals achieved, these things are probably supportive.

I'm enjoying it ... taking into account that it's a cross between an expensive watch and a pedometer.  I also like the heart-rate feature -- it already has informed me that the T-100 supplement i take is effective, when i ran out for a few days and my basal metabolism visibly slowed -- not something i would have noticed otherwise!