Thursday, August 18, 2016

on the road again

Yep, AGAIN.  We've owed my MIL a visit for at least a year now, so are having a little extra fun while fulfilling a pleasant duty.  :-)  We took off on Monday (leaving Pip the canary, the pond fish, and the houseplants to the care of our erstwhile dogsitter), and headed north- and west-ward into Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

Along the way we saw field after field, mile after mile, state after state, of cornfield cornfield beanfield cornfield beanfield cornfield cornfield cornfield....  In one crop, maize provides ALL the major "neolithic agents of disease" -- grain, industrial-seed-oils, and the raw material of high-fructose corn syrup.

I like to think of it as the ultimate Native American revenge.

Friday, August 12, 2016

the pitfall of a hurried dinner

When we've been busy on a hot summer day like yesterday was, meal-preparation becomes a bigger chore than it needs to be.  We had no leftovers ready to nuke, i had thawed some "tenderloin tips" and so i decided -- what the hell, i'll just make stroganoff, and serve it on some rice-noodles J ordered:  THEORETICALLY fettucine, according to the amazon-dot-com description.

The stroganoff was good as usual, but the noodles were barely linguini-width, and despite all the good reviews, they didn't cook up as expected.  I boiled them the maximum time suggested, and though some were tender, others were unpleasantly chewy and they stuck together badly.  I do NOT recommend Tinkyada brand....

But here's the rub -- i had fries with my bunless lamb-burger at our favorite pub at lunchtime, thinking i'd work off the carb while shopping.  But the noodles added too much carb for one day.  I slept long and woke up dopey, almost as bad as in my pre-Atkins days.  This morning i've had that can't-find-the-word-i-want problem -- every comment i wrote lambasting idiots on FB, i wrote much slower than usual ... and you know how important it is to insult idiots with words they'll probably have to look up in a dictionary!  [evil grin]

Ya know all those Trumplodytes who can't handle vocabulary beyond the fourth-grade level?  The ones who display a look suggesting they live on beer and Doritos?  Do you suppose it IS the beer, Doritos, Little Debbies, and cheap doughy pizza which CAUSE them to be so dense and resistant to logic...?

On a more serious note, there HAS been some planned dumbification in this country.  Textbooks for much of the country are printed in Texas, where the head of the state school board is a home-schooler who is a young-earth fundamentalist and doesn't believe in evolution;  where REAL teachers protest listing MOSES as a founding-father of America, to deaf ears.  Despite the inefficacy of ingested fluoride in improving dental health, most of our cities STILL insist on poisoning its denizens with the stuff, which has been credibly shown to damage developing brains (it easily crosses the placental barrier).

It's very hard to get anyone outside the paleo/ancestral community to believe that malnutrition affects mental function.  Our credulous acquaintances have vague ideas about the virtues of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they usually get the details wrong.  I firmly believe that PART of our appalling national foolishness -- irrational fundamentalism and deification of firearms, among much more -- is the fault of bad nutrition coupled with improper mental culture.  Our society is encouraged to dope itself with "bread and circuses," mindless religiosity, absurd jingoism, and condemnation of "elitist" "intellectuals."

...In the country where Thomas Jefferson once praised our "aristocracy of Virtue*"....  [smh]

*  By "virtue" TJ meant "great qualities" like intellect, upright behavior, etc.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

disappointment and the opposite

EDIT:  We returned to the Tulsa Rose Garden to get photos of the devastation;  as we approached it from a different spot, though, we found this:

At least the garden was not just allowed to die of neglect -- twas a different kind of act!  Probably some helpful-but-ignorant volunteer deadheader....  Some of the wasteland is here:

On the same premises, what they call the conservatory:

Here's a view of the garden at Philbrook, though, from just below the terrace:

If you're ever in Tulsa, i couldn't recommend strongly enough that you visit this wonderful house/art-museum!  :-)


Now that our sunroom addition and backyard renovations are pretty much done, my husband has become sadly restless, so we're facing a certain amount of short excursions to keep him from getting bored.  Well, i'm certainly willing to see more of my native land, and i'm DEFINITELY inclined to enjoy it more by car than by plane!

So we struck out onto the road on Tuesday, to revisit the city we enjoyed living in for far too short a period.  In the late afternoon we arrived in Tulsa and settled into our hotel with plans to start early the next morning, to revisit a few old favorite places and see some new ones as well.

We drove past our old house, which looked much like it did, except for the addition of a new dormer in the attic area.  Hmph....  The front was also excessively festooned with flags, despite the length of time since the last two patriotic holidays.  :-P  My impression of people who over-display ANY indicator of alliegiance is a suspicion that someone doth protest too much....

Then we drove a few blocks away to view what i think was my husband's first object in our visit and thence the disappointment!  The Tulsa Rose Garden, when we moved away, was a Victorian delight!  But since we left, the bottom two or three terraces no longer held rose bushes, but perennial common flowers and a shocking number of weeds, even in the paths.  The fountains and pools were either dry or full of green, scummy water.  We were appalled!

Up toward the top of the slope, there were still beds of roses, but they seemed sadly neglected.  Obviously, many bushes had died and been removed, but not replaced.  The other plants, like big conifers, had weeds growing up under and within them.

We learned that the Garden now belongs to Woodward Park, which it adjoins.  I don't know if it did at the turn of the century when we moved away, but the upshot is that it looked INFINITELY better then.  Considering how stunning and glorious the azaleas of WP are, you'd think they'd at least TRY to do as good a job with the roses, but obviously they don't  care.

From the Tulsa Rose Garden we progressed to the newer (unimpressive) garden space connected and the "conservatory" (greenhouse) which did look well-managed, and then the arboretum where we used to walk our dogs (okay but not impressive either).

Then we crossed a parking-lot and entered the museum belonging to the Tulsa Historical Society, which hadn't been open when we lived there.  It was a good, but not great, museum which documented the significance of our first capitol of the petroleum industry -- good historical narratives, but not much by way of relics or material displays.  Tulsa, despite its small size, has a distinguished history of innovation -- we enjoyed the museum.

After lunch at the Wild Fork in Utica Square (which we had also patronized during our residence), we went to MY first choice of sites in the city worth visiting -- Philbrook.  NO disappointment there at all.

A little background -- my husband used to work for Phillips Petroleum, the creation of Frank Phillips (first class jerk, and i can tell you some interesting gossip about his wife, wink nudge...);  Philbrook was originally the Tulsa home of Frank's brother Waite, who seems to have married a woman of a great deal more class/character.  Frank's and Jane's "mansion" in Bartlesville is far from impressive, while one can see that Waite's and Genevieve's had some very nice touches ... and their garden is very impressive indeed!

Waite Phillips gave his house and art collection to the city of Tulsa, and also gave his property in New Mexico to the Boy Scouts (Philmont).  I don't know if Frank EVER gave anything to anybody.

After spending hours perusing plants, historical relics, and works of art, i was ready to relax for the rest of the afternoon!  This morning we checked out of our hotel and began a NEW adventure ... but more on that later....

Thursday, July 21, 2016

hot, hot summer

...After a chilly spring....

Not much is going on with me, except an ongoing war with the squirrels in my garden!  The bunnies seem to be stymied by the raised beds and knee-high fence on the side they could access, but the squirrels have stolen three or four ripening tomatoes.  I daren't poison them, because if they die in the yards to the east or west of us, dogs might suffer.  So we've bought some "critter barrier" netting and stakes, and will try to fence THEM out, too.

Not a single word of new information is coming from the nutritional world, that i've seen.  Of course, there continue to be BS articles and studies reported by corporate media, and the slap-downs from our favorite researchers, physicians and journalists.  There are also confirmations of things WE were convinced about a decade ago -- that's great for people just making up their minds now, but the rest of us are yawning.

My husband has independently discovered the efficacy of 2-5 intermittent fasting.  He is becoming pretty consistent about designating Mondays as fast-days, and extending it at least until Tuesday supper, and is getting good results from it.  I join him for Monday, but i usually have to start eating again at lunch-time the next day;  individual tolerance of fasting is obviously quite variable!  It works quite well for us to do it this way, though;  the rest of the week, he eats pretty much whatever he wants, and i'm more liberal with myself than i might be otherwise.

The light-triggered not-really-hypomania-but-something-similar, which i noticed in the late spring, is getting better.  Interestingly, i never noticed it before this year!  I've been controlling it with valerian, and keeping dark chocolate at my bedside to help me get back to sleep if it wakes me up.  I've cut back on caffeinated coffee some days, too (and i don't allow myself caffeine or nicotine after 4 in the afternoon, either).  I'm inclined to hypothesize that the insomnia many older people face is because of a dysregulated stress-hormone system.  Valerian seems to help control its secretion.

Self-awareness is truly the key to health when it comes to our diet.  I've gotten to where i can tell what macronutrient i need, if i sometimes feel unsatisfied in the evening.  I can tell when i need more B12 or iron, or magnesium, or salt -- definitely!  I can tell when i've taken in more carb than my body prefers.  Younger women with very-busy lives probably aren't going to be able to do it -- they're paying attention to too many other things to be able to devote attention to subtle physical clues, on top of their constantly-fluctuating hormonal balance.

You bet your ass, i wish i had learned 30 years ago what i know now, but i recognize how unlikely that would have been.  ;-)

Enjoy the sunshine, friends!  It won't be with us ALL year!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"redundancy" redundancy ;-)

The other day when I posted, I named it before I wrote it, and then managed to forget to say something.  Oh well, whenever I post while busy, I often make mistakes of that nature!

The redundancy I was referring to is what has been going on in the LC nutrition world I frequent.  There is very little under the sun which is new, unfortunately.  ;-)  I'm the member of a few private groups on facebook, and a lot of the posted studies and articles are either repetitions or confirmations of everything we low-carbers are already convinced-of. 

Resolved:  that butter is good for you;  that sugar is bad for you;  that the amount of starch you can handle is extremely variable, depending on many things;  that the people who make our policy are dangerously influenced by processors of junk-food....

I suppose I should be glad that good studies/articles that support my own observations are out there -- the best-written of them I pass along to my friends who are interested in diet-influencing-health but who don't have my free time or passion for the subject.  I should also be unsurprised by the corruption of researchers (it's much harder to fool clinicians) who insist that metabolic and neurological toxins are okay "in moderation," but it still infuriates me.

In the end, that's why so many bloggers slow way down in producing fact-filled posts, or like me, change the discussion to observations of anomalies of experience.  I really miss the frequent expositions that Wooo used to treat us to, concerning everything from sociology to pharmacology, to her entertaining rants.  I sadly miss J Stanton, too, but he pointed this situation out a long time ago, here.

It's kinda like a version of "evolve or die," isn't it?  ;-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

redundancy, self-ratification, and travel

This has been the busiest spring in my entire life (with second-place going to our move to college in '74)!  On Saturday afternoon, we got back from an extended-family vacation, including a side-trip to visit my mother in Arizona, and a VERY sad trip to our daughter's veterinarian.  :-(  RIP, Spenser -- i miss you dreadfully!

He was the perfect poster-puppy for taking your dog off grain-based kibble -- only going to Taste Of The Wild was enough to improve his dental health, weight, and anal-gland problems.  The breed is predicted to live 15-18 years, and he was 16.  We woke one morning to find that he could not stand up anymore.  ...It was time.  He passed away peacefully in my arms.

We missed most of June in Missouri, going to TX, AZ, and FL (Disney and Universal parks with our daughter and family), and returned to St. Louis in a heatwave (97 degrees and 60% humidity).  I could only laugh when i saw our garden again for the first time -- the dill and cilantro looked like they were on steroids!  The zucchini with the weeds growing among them looked like a miniature jungle, and the tomatoes were sprawled like couch-potatoes in their grandma's basement.  ;-)

I ate horribly during our Florida idyll!  I drank lite beer in the parks, when available, to rehydrate and fuel my mad dashings (not to mention my standing in lines) between roller-coasters.  I ate pizza and hot-dogs-with-buns, and ham sandwiches on rye....

And ya know what?  I didn't gain fat.  And ya know the difference between Florida and the Mediterranean countries we visited earlier this spring?  SUN.  Our rental house had a screened-in pool, beside which we spent much of our after-park-hours.  Every morning I put on a hat and used zinc-based sunscreen on my nose, chest, and lower arms, but my legs soaked in the rays in a natural fashion.  I made an effort to get sun on my shoulders and back, too.  In Europe i wore trousers most of the time, and in Florida i wore shorts.

Over a comparable period of time, i walked a little less here than there (about 40 miles vs 50).  I remembered my vitamins about as frequently, and had snacks more often in FL but dessert more often on the ship.  (I also pretty much wore out my Vibrams by the time the second trip was finished -- i'm asking for new ones for my birthday!)

So what's the secret -- vitamin D?  Other beneficial effects of the sun?  Dopamine?  I did have a lot of fun, riding roller-coasters and interacting with our grandchildren.  I had a WONDERFUL time in both places, and though it was often exhausting, i wouldn't have missed either experience for the world.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

not just me fasting this time

Okay, i know i've neglected this journal horribly over the last month.  All i can say is, i've both been exceptionally busy having a good time, and the victim of some bad internet service.  It's not that i didn't WRITE, i just didn't post.  I have quite a few observations jotted down, but by the time i had a good opportunity to publish, the right moment seemed past.

We're back home, but going to be taking off AGAIN after the first of next month.  Dropping off the dog and bird in Texas again, we'll make a quick flying visit to relatives in Arizona before returning to TX, then flying off to Florida to visit the Disney and Universal parks with the grandchildren (and their parents).  J has never been to the former at all, and i went to the original California site, half a century ago.  Things have changed significantly since then (today's understatement).

This last "outing," though, hit J's waistline pretty hard.  I stayed more-or-less level, but i STARTED that adventure with more subcutaneous fat than i can bear seeing in photos.  :-P  So despite the last half of our vacation including 50 miles walked and 344 flights of stairs (including the equivalent in hill-climbing), SOMEBODY (okay, both of us) really wanted to lose some weight before the next trip....

J joked, not for the first time, about simply NOT EATING to accomplish his goal.  I took up the subject, and told him that if he does it right, fasting can be very effective  He knows i sometimes fast briefly, in recovering from a feast or because i don't feel particularly good for whatever reason.  He decided to give it a try.

The day after his birthday, which we celebrated low-carbily, we had our morning coffee as usual, and toward mid-day took off in the rain to buy some more plants for the garden.  By the time we got home we were no longer hungry, so San Pellegrino was our "cocktail" of the afternoon.  The evening passed in reading, word games and a long hot soak in the bathtub for me.  We turned in around the usual time -- no fasting-insomnia with either of us -- and i woke up refreshed after only about six hours of sleep.

The absolutely BEST thing about being in ketosis, for me, is how clear my head is.  All of my adult life, i'd wake with horrible brain-fog ... until i discovered Atkins.  It was so extreme that i noticed at the time, after about the third day, that ... whoa, this is how "normal" people feel when they wake up! It was a revelation.  A favorite writer once observed that we accept as inevitable anything we're used to -- when it comes to diet and other "paleo" practices, this is definitely profound.  We accept the symptoms of aging as unavoidable, when "our brains on ketones," our knees without gluten, and our gut without problematic plants tell us that there IS something we can do about it.

J got on the scale this morning to observe that he was down four pounds.  Even though it's almost all water, nevertheless one feels so much better when one's cells are not bursting with superfluous liquids.  He feels very up for continuing.  I gave him the next instructions -- that losing water this fast can result in malaise which can be remedied with the use of broth to resupply electrolytes.  I don't know how long i'll continue with the regimen;   I'm not as overweight as my husband is.  But fasting together is even easier than being LCHF together.  No meals to make or to clean up after, no shopping to do (we have plenty of allowed liquids) -- i'll be enjoying this period, as long as it lasts.

...And now to finish my coffee and started figuring out where to put the plants we bought yesterday....  While we were gone, it rained about half the time, and my garden hasn't been thriving -- the seedling tomatoes and peppers are hanging in there, but panting for more sunshine.  The zucchini are larger, but in the same boat.  The leeks are doing okay, but i fear for the scallions.  On the other hand, the herbs look very happy, and i think i might harvest some chard to put in the broth, some time this week.

We bought hosta and colei and some other shade-lovers to plant under some of the trees;  we got some more mature tomatoes to add to the previous plantings;  we got some flowers, too, to add more color.  When we break our fasts, i anticipate meals of gazpacho and white wine, and of mezes and retsina (J fell in love with tzatziki in Athens), or sushi and sparkling saki out among the day-lillies and iris.  ...Which reminds me, i still need to get some snapdragons, foxgloves, and other old-fashioned cottagey flowers....  :-D