Friday, March 30, 2012

to hell in a hand-basket

The world we live in isn't what it used to be, but the problem is not what most "good-old-days-ers" might tell you it is.  The BIG problem is that things which are meant to nourish us -- things essential for LIFE -- have been denatured to toxicity.

First and above everything else, the human body requires air containing a quantity of oxygen appropriate for our biology, but not containing an excess of poisonous components.  Our air is burdened with industrial effluvia and pesticides.  Raise your hand if you've never had respiratory allergy symptoms....

Second, we mammals must have water.  Not only is it unsafe to drink from groundwater supplies in much of the world, even our sanitized tapwater is DELIBERATELY POISONED with fluoride in most US cities -- a toxic industrial waste-product.  Wanna go for the clean stuff, and drink bottled water?  Ever hear of BPA?  How about filters?  ...No, faucet-mounted filters and those clumsy pitchers don't get out the poison, either -- gotta spend much bigger money for something halfway effective.

"Give us this day our daily bread" might have worked a hundred years ago, but not any more.  Wheat, especially, has been bred out of production.  What, you say?  The wrapper says that it contains 100% whole wheat!  You know, that healthywholegrain!  [laugh of derision....]  No, sweetie, that's not wheat; it has been hybridized to the extent that your great-great-great-grandfather, the farmer, wouldn't recognize the stuff if he found it in his fields.  What you're eating is goatgrass.  No civilization has EVER subsisted on goatgrass.  This hybrid that is lauded for its per-acre yield and hardiness contains proteins that the human body NEVER used until the latter half of the twentieth century.  You tell me you'd never heard of gluten intolerance till lately?  What a coincidence!

I won't even START to discuss large-scale meat, dairy, poultry and egg industries.  There's a special place in hell for the people who introduced the current usages, and for those who continue to practice this horror.  And don't bother to argue that we couldn't feed the world without modern agricultural practices; that has been debunked by better minds than mine.

Right, left and center, our well-being has been undermined by Modern Civilization, and it has NOTHING to do with moral codes.  Sociological behaviors of individuals are irrelevant -- a DISTRACTION.  News flash:  we're being manipulated!  It's a satisfaction to me that the Lords of Karma will sort it all out in the end, because the modern human cupidity which created and proliferated this mess hasn't got a prayer of untangling it. 

It's also a satisfaction to me that the Mercury Retrograde has less than a week to go -- looking backward has been a depressing exercise this time around!  Moving forward again will be a profound relief.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

thinking too much

The title of today's post is a little on the ironic side to me, as i'm inclined to think that few people are guilty of it.  Perhaps, to be more accurate, i should have said something more like "over-analyzing" because that seems to be a preoccupation of some modern hunter-gatherer wannabes.

What proportion of my diet is too high for protein, too low for carb/fat ... dare i make that paleo chicken-wing recipe in such quantities, because after all, it includes the skin which is full of omega-6s ... i don't feel like fish for dinner but i haven't had a good source of omega-3 in days ... even though i have a cold, i feel guilty about missing my workout yesterday, so should i go to the gym even if i may be contagious....

Mark's Daily Apple has an interesting post today, which influenced me to write on this subject, a thing that has been on my list for some time.  His theme asks, how much should one react when in the possession of certain abstruse bits of information; he begins with the story of one individual who learned he had genetic potential for diabetes, and started tracking certain epigenetic changes.  Like many of Mark's articles, it's worth reading -- that guy is no one-trick-pony....

My slant is, how much micromanagement is wasted time, money and energy?  We already know that young people can abuse their bodies for decades before the damage starts to accrue.  We also know that remarkably small time-investments in fitness can pay off in a big way.  Also, technique X may work for person Y but not for person Z.  When should one stop hunching over the spreadsheet, and go outside to throw sticks for the dog?

There's something to be said for instinctive behavior.  If you have an unreasoning aversion to a food, don't eat it, no matter how many paleo nutritionists tell you it's "healthy"!  Even if people you respect say EVERYBODY should do something-or-other (or not do it) -- if it doesn't feel right to you, don't blindly obey!  Generalizations are generally wrong!  (I, like the Pirate King, enjoy a good paradox.)  Our hunter-gatherer ancestors managed to survive quite efficiently using their instincts in the absence of science.

Being health-conscious and willing to take pains for the sake of wellness is a terrific thing, but i can't help but think that some people micromanage it to a ridiculous extreme.  If you have a health condition which is sensitive to small variations in nutrient status, by all means count your milligrams, but if you're essentially robust, don't waste resources you could be using to actually LIVE.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

good old days, bad old days, or what?

I started thinking about all of the things that we "paleoids" have to make from scratch ourselves, so as to make sure they don't contain ingredients we are trying to avoid....  Makes me think of how our fore-mothers did essentially the same thing, for a whole different reason.

As a reenactor/living-historian, i take pride in being able to do all of the every-day chores as done by the lady whose portrait hangs in my dining room, my great-grandmother Laura O.  When participating in an event where school-children visit our camp, my friend Meg and i field questions about a wide variety of aspects of antique life.  We wear reproduction clothing appropriate to whichever time period we're interpreting, and make every effort to use household equipment of the same authenticity.  We cook period-correct, location-correct foods by historic recipes, and if those foods aren't fresh, then they were preserved by our own little hands, in the same forms as of old.

We make light of the work and discomfort, talking to the kids.  We explain how the clothes aren't nearly as hot as they think, and that working women didn't lace their corsets tightly as in ridiculous movies.  Heavy work like laundry was not generally done during the heat of the day, and there were "tricks of the trade" which made chores easier and houses cooler, which modern people have forgotten about.  We try to debunk a lot of the nonsense about the past which is promoted by popular media.  When the weekend is over, we trade our petticoats for jeans and drive home, get in the shower, and do things the easy way until it's time for the next event.

I feel like an absolute wimp, whining about having to make my own mayonnaise with the help of modern appliances, when i think of how much work it was to concoct entirely by hand.  Ever beat eggwhites to stiff peaks, without the use of a mixer?  It's very tiring to the arm muscles!  Of course, "ordinary people" such as we portray ate very simply, and therefore cooked simply, but it was still labor-intensive.  Preserving a summer's harvest was real work even from an urban-sized garden, and when a farm's autumn work included butchering, the efforts invested would be daunting to the modern householder.  EVERYTHING, from condiments to cleaning supplies to toiletries, was prepared at home.  Fortunately, even the middle classes could often afford hired help -- but that just goes to show how cheaply labor was held.  Unless you were rich, you EXPECTED to work, and work hard.

So when i comment with exasperation (like i did yesterday) that i'm going to have to prepare a staple that most people go out and buy, there's a part of me that is ashamed of being such a lazy bum.  Just because i CAN do everything my great-grandmother did, doesn't mean i actually do it regularly -- which is rather humbling.  Ladies of the past, i salute you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

yet ANOTHER thing to make from scratch

*Sigh* ....  Now that the weather is warming up, the subject of WHAT TO DRINK shifts gears.  Coffee, tea, wine and bouillon served very well in the mild winter we just had, while i was doing nothing to dehydrate myself very much.  Yesterday and the day before i did a little light yard work, and thirst raised its first hydra head (pun intended).

A very dilute gin and tonic sounded AND tasted good (after i invoked the 80/20 rule and decided to indulge myself).  Later on, my stomach wasn't as happy as my tastebuds, and i don't think there can be much doubt about the cause.  Tonic is such a simple substance in theory, but let a beverage manufacturer play with the formula and they manage to trade an X for the N, and it becomes ... toxic.

I don't want their bloody fructose, be its source sucrose, HFCS, agave or whatever.  And DAMNED if i want aspartame, which many of the artificially-sweetened tonics contain.  I've never seen one made with sucralose alone, or with stevia ... and it's those i tolerate best.  We compromise with saccharine-sweetened brands, but something in there is far from supportive of THIS body's processes.

Therefore, i hunted down a recipe for home-made tonic, and ordered myself a bunch of cinchona bark with which to concoct it.  Since the recipe calls for the juice and zest of three different citrus fruits, i'll try using it without any more sweetening than that, and add a little dextrose as needed.  Wish me luck!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday, Monday

...and the paleoblogosphere has been DULL recently!  I usually find something to write about easily, inspired by either the brilliance or idiocy of things i've been reading elsewhere, but not this week.  The most stimulating material i've seen are rants, and i'm not very good at responding to those.  Blame the Mercury Retrograde?  :-)

Weight loss stalled last week, too.

There comes a time in every human enterprise, when things just seem to bog down.  Like trying to run in a nightmare, you can't seem to get any traction, and the monster behind you gets closer and closer....  It happens after you start a new job or hobby; you've learned the basics, the shine of novelty is dimmed, and it's time to buckle down to the grunt-work.  It DEFINITELY shows its face, in every dietary plan i've ever utilized. 

It's easy to backslide at this point.  Take a "vacation," and the next thing you know you've regained the last five pounds, and what you had to do to get rid of THOSE doesn't work anymore.  Resign yourself to always being a butterball, or treat yourself to a goodie you've been fantasizing about, and say you'll get strict next week?  NO.  You can't let intellectual or dietary boredom derail you.  Ground lost may never be regained, at this time in our lives.  This is one of those moments when you HAVE to dig in your heels, refuse to wimp out, slog on through.

You need to have a fallback strategy -- something that you know will inspire and encourage you.  The first thing that always comes to mind, for me, is watching movies in which the hero conquers her/his own demons to succeed, like "Aliens" or "The Goonies" -- just make sure it's a movie that doesn't require popcorn consumption.  ;-)  Go outdoors and do light work in the garden, so that it'll be more of a "break" than a chore.  Search out a restaurant like those Brazilian grill types that became popular a decade ago, where you can get a carnivore's feast on a day you don't feel like cooking, yourself.  Do something you know you're damned good at, no matter how "silly" (a favorite of mine is Freecell, in which almost every game is winnable -- and i have to figure out HOW).

I will quote Jack Lemmon, quoting Billy Wilder:  "You're as good as the best thing you've ever done."  [Assignment:  memorize this.]

You ARE.

Friday, March 23, 2012

lack of real progress in obesity research

A researcher in obesity, well-known in the "paleo blogosphere," is celebrating because his hypothesis has become very popular among his peers.  It's a sad day for progress.  In fact, i see him as another Ancel Keyes -- so determined to prove himself right and "important" and listened-to, he's doing his fellow humans a grave disservice.

It's not news that researchers can have problems doing relevant work, because those who are willing to finance their experiments and trials don't have altruistic goals.  Most "angels" represent the pharmaceutical industry, or food processors, or other self-promoting interests, and what THEY want the researcher to find is a short-cut to the consumer's wallet (or cost-savings for themselves).

Add to this, the pressure from the peer-review system, luxuriating in its insulated, womb-like atmosphere of group-think and professional jealousy -- if the in-crowd doesn't accept you, you'll NEVER make your mark.  New, simple, vibrant ideas, it's said, don't stand a chance because it would make the old guard look bad.  Pity.  That means, we ALL lose, as a society, while the world gets fatter and sicker, and thinks that any day now, there'll be a pill that fixes everything.

So while this blogger-researcher crows, and revels in the accolades of the like-minded, he is completely letting down those for whom he theoretically chose this field of endeavor.  For the ALREADY METABOLICALLY-DAMAGED, his "finding" that a high-unrefined-carb diet does not automatically induce obesity is IRRELEVANT.  We KNOW how to make mammals fat, that's HISTORY.  Research is about the FUTURE -- how to fix the millions of overweight, diabetic, diseased people who have already sustained the damage inherent in the perverted diet of the modern world.

For this, he and his mentors and his sycophants are doing NOTHING.  Zilch, nada, niente, bupkis.  His work is WORTHLESS, meaningless to the people he entered this field to help.  I hope he's very proud.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

slippery slopes

Since the time i began eliminating "neolithic" foods from my diet, any try at reintroducing them illustrates to me how bad i feel under their influence, and how addictive my body finds them.  Small servings of certain carbohydrates fuel a strong desire for more (this might be why:

Yesterday morning, i felt stressed -- bad starting point.  I suspect that the circumstances (workman coming to fix my security system for heaven-knows-how-long, as well as wondering how extensive the damage was going to be) were exacerbated by the damp weather.  Humidity can help to set off allergic issues even worse for people who are inclined to mold sensitivity and candida overgrowth.  Even though my diet is low in the things that encourage candida, i'm VERY sensitive to mold.  Therefore, deciding to have a little hot sake with my lunch was an error in judgement.

One of the things your gut bacteria can do is turn carbohydrates to alcohol and send them racing into your bloodstream.  Four ounces of sake added to the self-produced alcohol created a minor buzz completely out of proportion with the actual amount i drank.  I decided to have a handful of macadamias, too.

Later, i felt a sugar craving -- highly unusual with me.  I retrieved an almost-forgotten stash of SUGAR-FREE jelly beans, and had a couple of tablespoonsful.  It was hard to stop there, but i did.

I ended up at many more carb-grams (and a few more total calories) than are common for me, at the end of the day.  The polyol-induced gas i endured as a fitting "reward" for my indulgence.  This story could be part of a modern Aesop collection, because the moral is so blatant:

Physical and mental stressors incline one to do things that are counter-productive to wellbeing.  THIS is one of the times to dig in your heels, and resist a single step down this road, because there are too many forces working together to sweep your feet completely out from under you, and carry you to entirely undesirable destinations.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

grey day

First, my alarm clock didn't go off, then the scale didn't show improvement, then i got a text that didn't bode well.  The sun isn't shining, either.  Yep, we're in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde.  It goes right along with my security system crapping out last Friday, the inability to fix it yesterday, and me twiddling my thumbs today, waiting for the technician to arrive and change the motherboard.

For those not familiar with the concept, Mercury Retrograde is the astrological event in which the planet appears to be moving backward.  Of course, it really DOESN'T -- it's just what SEEMED, to ancient astronomers, from the perspective of an earthbound observer.  Retrogrades happen to a number of planets occasionally, but Mercury does it three times per year, so it has potential to complicate our lives frequently ... according to the philosophy.

Each planet is "in charge of" some department of life:  in Mercury's case, it's travel, communications, electronics, that sort of thing.  This "department" retrograding will gift us with cars that won't start when we're in a hurry, traffic jams, dropped phone calls, bad internet service, electrical outages, malfunctioning alarms, arguments, and so on.  It occurs roughly every four months, on unset days (as does the full moon, for example).  Ironically, i've noticed, it makes an appearance during Christmas-shopping time every year.

If you keep an eye on astrological events, you'll be warned of its occurrence.  The big benefit of having this knowledge is that i'm less inclined to be irritated, frustrated and despairing at the cluster of minor catastrophes that befall me.  I know enough to double-check reservations, ask to make sure that unanswered communications actually went through, back up computer files (and save frequently), keep an eye on the gauges in my car, and have patience when things don't work right the first time.  "This too shall pass" -- the current retrograde began on March 12 and will end April 4.  It takes a few days, afterward, for things to get back up to speed.

Oh, look!!!  The sun came out!  :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

back on track

Yesterday i indulged in a fat-fast, to rid my body of the poor effects of my weekend intake.  I consumed a full can of coconut milk, divided between three or four cups of coffee, and a couple of tablespoons of butter (i bought two "new" brands at the import grocery, and needed to taste them for preference).  I wasn't hungry at all.

I'm a half-pound up from where i was on Friday, but i imagine it was because of drinking too little water yesterday.  I also woke up this morning with a stuffier head than usual -- support for the suspicion that i have a minor sensitivity to nuts.  Thank heaven for neti-pots!  :-) 

Having overslept a bit, i didn't get the walk done before breakfast, but Spenser doesn't care if we do it later in the day, so long as we do it.  I had my half-pound of ground lamb for breakfast with a cup of coffee, and i'm well into my morning jug of water.  The last of the pot-roast will be dinner, and supper will be a liver dish (with onions AND bacon) that i found in an old Scottish cookery book.  ...I'm DETERMINED to find a way to enjoy liver, in addition to foie gras!

I spent much of yesterday reading the archives of Pal Jabekk's blog, Ramblings of a Carnivore; Sunday i did the same on Lucas Tafur's.  The latter often stretches my understanding, when it's not completely over my head.  The former is very accessible.  Both have taught me a great deal about physiology which my body can corroborate!  THAT is the important bit -- over the last year or two, i've read a huge amount that SOUNDS plausible, but which doesn't pan out in practice.

Conscious intermittent-fasting and carb refeeding, conscious hormesis-inducing behaviors had the ring of truth, but like the failed low-fat hypothesis, seem not to make much of an impact on my body.  The Shangri-La oil-guzzling technique, on the other hand, works WITH the Strong Medicine protocol THROUGH Peter Dobromylskyj's description of FIAF (fasting induced adipose factor).

WOW.  Makes ya feel like you know what "42" means....

Monday, March 19, 2012

semi-fasting day

My husband and i tried a new restaurant on Saturday evening; we probably shouldn't have, though we generally love trying new places.  I had a night of poor sleep and "unhappy" guts, even if i had no overt distress, and a disinclination for breakfast yesterday.

Today, it's back to discipline, beginning with a fat-fast before resuming my usual ULC (ultra-low) regimen.  I had frothed coconut milk in my coffee for the first time in a month -- and very satisfying it was!  :-) 

...So, how do you keep coconut milk fluid, in the spring and fall???  Summertime, it needs no help, and in winter i set the can on top of the kitchen floor grating (i have an old-fashioned "gravity" furnace in my old house).  Pot-pourri heater, maybe?  Hmmmm....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

time for a little more "woo"

I'm occasionally troubled by the attitudes of "friends" on Facebook.  Some get very wrapped up in one or another group ideology, and seem to lose their humaneness.  Others seem to feel privileged to rebuke complete strangers for being too sensitive about some very loaded subjects.  There are those who can't be happy, and must always have something to complain about, however small.  Then there's the ... never mind, you get the point.

Is it the anonymity of the internet which encourages people to express themselves in ways they wouldn't dream of, face to face?  Is this the "real person" behind the facade they present to the everyday world?  Are some displacing rage they actually feel in a different direction, toward targets unable to effectually give them the response they might otherwise expect?  Or is it self-hate to which they are reacting, trying to justify their choices, to themselves, by making virtues of either vices or plain necessity?

In whatever case, i pray for something which i really have no hope of seeing -- that they would all take a quiet hour and examine their hearts. 

A young man i know complains of his bad karma.  It's no wonder -- bad karma it truly is, and all of his own creation.  Whether religiously-inclined or not, most of the people i know believe in some kind of repercussion from their behavior, be it heaven/hell, the self-approbation/condemnation of a rational humanist, good results in the Judgement Hall of Osiris -- whatever.  Myself, i believe in both lifetime and afterlife rewards. 

I believe that emanating hatred earns you hatred, and hostility, hostility.  You know, the old "as you sow, so shall you reap" thing.  A little understanding and compassion toward others goes a long way.  "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and "forgive us commensurately with how we forgive others"....

Conversely to what disheartens me on some social websites and forums, i also see much good ... and more is possible.  Goodwill is just as contagious as nastiness.  As long as i'm in a quoting mood, there's this one:  "Smile!  it'll make everyone wonder what you're up to" -- remember that?  :-)  Smiling is contagious.  I even read once that the physical act has a mental response, in increased cheerfulness, and it seems to bear out in practice.

Do YOURSELF a favor, and cultivate cheerfulness and compassion -- it pays more than you might expect.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

time for another progress report

Although weight loss isn't as fast as it was before, i'm still getting positive results with the Strong Medicine protocol.  This last week, i dropped below 27.0 BMI -- about fifteen pound lost since the first of the year.  The mostly-meat diet has been wonderful for my digestive tract, once i broke Donaldson's rule and put sea-salt on it.

That CA trip a couple of weeks ago has a lot to answer for.  The indulgences in cheese, fruit, chocolate and wine, and schlepping around my heavy bags, had quite an impact on my joints -- especially Ralph.  The shoulder and left knee are all better now.  The right hip is twinge-ing a little today with the rainy weather (and my sinuses went insane after doing laundry in the damp basement yesterday).  Elevation and heat improved Ralph somewhat -- i need to do more of it.

The tyrosine i added to my supplement intake hasn't made much of an impact, though i'm careful to take it with copper and without other amino acids.  I guess i need to try increasing the dose....

Most of my life i've awakened in the morning with NO interest in eating right away -- i'll bet it has to do with what i've found since i started experimenting with a glucose meter:  my liver is very adept at gluconeogenesis on a low-carb diet!  I wake up with plenty of fuel on board, and my body sees no reason to augment it.  As it's crucial to have a good-sized high-fat/protein breakfast on the SMD, i have to make myself do it, and i've found that ground meat goes down best.  I've also found that i like to grind my own; when i find chuck roasts on sale i snag 'em quick.

For the first time in 20 years, i actually have a realistic hope of reaching my goal weight!  The "sacrifice" in food variety i'm making now is child's-play.  I'm never hungry, compared with my old low-fat days; i'm not spending hours making lists and shopping and cooking for some regimen that doesn't produce results; i feel fit and strong, while exerting very little effort in making it happen.  If it weren't for Ralph, i'd feel great in my body!

Friday, March 16, 2012

divergent goals

Methinks there are several different main "populations" of individuals who have interest in the paleo/ancestral realm of health ... and each of them has separate, if overlapping, end-results in mind.  The lack of understanding between them can be breathtaking.  My imagination envisions it as being like a Brit, an Aussie, and a Texan all speaking their particular jargon; everyone is technically speaking English dialects, but it sure sounds like different languages.

I belong to the subgroups of "middle aged," "hypothyroid," "female," and "eat-less-move-more doesn't work anymore," of the larger set "wanting to lose weight." 

I read a variety of websites, some of which are more focused on the goals of groups with which i do NOT share characteristics:  "younger" (note, i did not say YOUNG, just youngER), "male," "never overweight," "desiring less than 10% body-weight," and "for whom, long hard workouts and rigorous calorie-apportioning are reasonable tools."  I don't assume that their advice will be useful to me as stated, but i occasionally pick up info with which i can do something.  It's distinctly possible that, among themselves, the usefulness of the prescribed regimen is generally applicable, but it's unthinkable that it might be widely important to the entire population of "wanting to lose weight."

One distinct group amongst the paleo/ancestral crowd is that which is not interested in personal weight loss, but in the theory of it.  These folks don't actually deal with overweight human bodies at all; most of them have never had a true PROBLEM with their own weight (even if they may have been a little chubby in the past), nor have they helped such a person manage obesity, as did Atkins and Donaldson, and current bloggers such as Kresser, Sharma and Briffa.  These researchers usually spend their time mulling over rodents, or other people's studies of humans.  Again, it's sometimes possible to glean immediately-useful information from their blogs, but most of it is either hypothetical, or extremely technical and over my head (note the addition of Lucas Tafur to my blog-list...) -- that's okay, i'm not the audience he's addressing, anyway.

Another group comprises people with illness, who are seeking relief that allopathic medicine has failed to deliver.  They have my respect and best wishes; they are those who are willing to ACT rather than passively drug themselves and die.  Their paths are frequently very instructive.

We make a mistake when we try to lump everyone together and generalize what is best for everybody -- outside the obvious things like "junk food is problematic for health."  ;-)  In Mr. Tafur's words, "...people who already have developed an inflammatory and/or autoimmune disorder respond differently to any diet. This means that the response to a diet is individual, and more importantly, in this case, the starting point is not a natural one."  People's tolerances vary widely.

Don't tell me i'll do better with more carbs in my diet.  Tried it -- doesn't work.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NOT blogging on the red meat "news"

Everybody in the blogosphere has been VERY busy this week, weighing in on why the headlines condemning meat consumption are full of ... ahem ... "horse hockey."  (They're right and they are, respectively -- but if i belonged to the opposition, i'd probably say "methinks thou dost protest too much.")

What I want to say, however, was inspired by the best debunker the world may ever have seen, the redoubtable Denise Minger, guest-posting at  She points out various studies in which people are shown to REPORT vastly different quantities of food, compared to what they're actually using.  It's true:  it's VERY easy to make mistakes in that direction, even if you're trying hard to get it right.  Cooks with a great deal of experience may be able to "eyeball" quantities, but most people aren't that good.

Getting around to my point ("FINALLY" my husband would think, but not say...) -- most people don't have a good grasp of how much they actually consume.

If you're having trouble with weight-loss and you don't know what's going wrong, investing in measuring devices is a VERY good idea.  Weigh that meat, before and after cooking -- you'll be surprised at the difference as well as how much/little animal protein you really end up with, and how much of the fat is left behind in the skillet.  A pound of spinach cooks down into a pathetic little mound.  Measure your liquids:  mugs and glasses usually don't have predictable volumes.  Use or, and let them do the calculating for you.

Try measuring EVERYTHING you put in your mouth for a week -- could be a revelation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

allergy season

Here i am, concerned about something left in my diet which is causing allergic annoyances. and i completely dropped the ball.  Yes, i went to the local department-of-health pollen-and-mold site, and saw nothing particularly noteworthy -- what i failed to do was take a drive outside my usual dog-walking route.

Yesterday i finally caved in, and went to do some shopping for the new tyrosine supplement, various meat supplies, and kitchen notions.  The warm spring weather here has caused Nature to rejoice in her usual way, encouraging blossoms of all sorts, flora and fauna, to multiply themselves.  Yes, the city is abloom with things that DON'T get listed with the DOH:  Bradford pear, for one.

The way-too-short time i lived in Tulsa, our property abounded with the trees; looking out the bedroom window, you would have thought a snowstorm was raging, the view was so white.  That first spring resulted in no misery, but every succeeding spring that i've been around the things, they've driven me crazy. 

Not only do new allergies pop up when we're overexposed to stimuli, the tricky bit is that they're also CUMULATIVE.  Pollen X or mold Y or food Z may not pull the trigger, but get all of them going at once, and suffering takes on a whole new form.  I learned this when we lived on the gulf coast of Texas, where it seems that NOTHING EVER DIES ... in the microscopic world, anyway.  You never get a break from the mold, mildew, algae, etc etc.  The ubiquitous oak trees pollinate THREE TIMES A YEAR.  Then there's the ragweed, goldenrod, yarrow....  Fighting fleas and roaches is an endless battle.

So the unpleasant surprise concerning an unknown allergen in my VERY limited diet is most likely a minor sensitivity when the landscape is covered with snow or heatwaves, instead of flowers.  I'll stay away from things i know (or suspect) to be irritating in small doses:  nightshades, citrus, eggs, nuts, chocolate, perfumes, whatever.  I'll have to be cozier, though, with one of the few pharmaceuticals i depend on anymore -- Benedryl!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

same as it ever was

I just finished reading about YET ANOTHER big trial of the SAME old low-calorie formula diet.  Why is this poor dead horse still being beaten on -- he's nothing but bones and hide anymore!

Nothing new was learned.  A great many participants dropped out, as usual.  The results reported were positive -- AFTER they massaged the data with the same old "intent to treat" BS*.  In six months to a year, i have no doubt that many will have regained the weight. 

At the risk of being redundantly redundant, ;-) ... Einstein is supposed to have said that insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  GIVE UP ON CALORIES-IN-CALORIES-OUT, kids.  OF COURSE you can starve weight off people, but it brings in its wake a whole hospital-ful of repercussions. 

There's a reason you studied inanimate objects in Physics lab.  There's a reason you handled the bodies of animals in Zoology.  BIOLOGY drives human bodies, not mathematical formulae.  Trying to manipulate weight loss by means of what is currently "known" to science is destined for failure, because science doesn't know nearly as much as it thinks it does. 

What we have, which has proven an effective tool, is WHAT HAS WORKED IN THE PAST.  Go back to real practicing physicians who succeeded in getting weight off their patients,  Ignore the theoreticians and lab-rats whose "research" has never been within a hundred miles of a real overweight human body -- those guys (hello, "Dr." Ancel Keys!) have given us the obese, fat-livered, insulin- and leptin-resistant world of sickness all around us.
* "intent to treat" is a researcher's con game, in which people who drop out are counted anyway, with the assumption that they'd get the same good results as anyone else.  if they were getting good results, they wouldn't have dropped out.  bad science.

Monday, March 12, 2012

still one unresolved allergy....

A zit appeared on my chin yesterday morning.  Damn.  That means there's STILL something in my diet that shouldn't be there.

When i went from the Personal Paleo Code to Strong Medicine, the slight flushing on my nose and cheeks i used to get in the evenings got better.  Before i started all this, i blamed it on wine.  When it didn't go away on the PPC, i suspected it was either the nuts (i used a lot of coconut milk during that month) or the eggs (a dozen and a half per week).  On SM, i expected that pimples would be a thing of the past, too.

Now, bearing in mind that i haven't been PERFECT this past week, it doesn't have to be the meat i've been eating, the coffee i've been drinking, or the slices of lime i've put in my six glasses of water a day.  BUT, since i've been back at home, the only other things i've had are a small acorn squash, some butter, and 4 oz. of sake (unless i'm forgetting something).  The things i ate before leaving California are not out of the question, however; some reactions take awhile to manifest.

*Sigh* ...  I'm going to have to try another experiment; that's the only way to erase ALL the question marks.  From last night on, it's black tea, not coffee, with my otherwise-compliant diet.  (Wish i liked green tea, but something about it puts me off.)  I could have removed the lime/lemon from my water first, but plain water-drinking is something i have so little enthusiasm for, i might not drink enough ... and i suspect that my mostly-meat diet requires more flushing away.  I've  read that people who have food sensitivities can react to coffee as well, so that is -- unfortunately -- a possibility.  :-(

Sunday, March 11, 2012

still benefitting from the magic, a tribute, and more

I am completely flabbergasted by the way "Strong Medicine" is STILL working.  If you follow Dr. Donaldson's directions perfectly, you lose weight at a steady predictable rate.  If you occasionally make a minor diversion, you MAY do even better. 

Yesterday, my porky breakfast was overlarge, and my lunch appetite didn't appear; i varied things up with half a small acorn squash with butter and a couple of ounces of sake in mid-afternoon.  Then i had my freshly-crockpotted chuck roast for supper (without the coffee) ... and found myself down a WHOLE pound this morning.

Why, in the names of all the gods at once, is this book not still in print?!  I'm forever in the debt of that dear lady, H, who recommended it -- and i'm going to change the template of my post in her honor, because she mentioned the current one bothers her eyes!

So far, today has already been stellar in the blogging world, with Pal Jabekk and Zoe Harcombe contributing intelligent, fact-rich, applicable-in-vivo-as-well-as-in-theory articles.  One can read a long time without picking up stuff that one can actually USE.... 

As a matter of fact, Mr. Jabekk wrote a very good essay last year, on the subject of "setpoint theory" which i agree with intellectually as well as through experience.  I've always HATED the acceptance this HYPOTHESIS has so long enjoyed, as it's absolutely unfathomable by my "instincts of rightness" ... or call it "intuition"!  Sorry, but when my subconscious mind puts the brakes on believing in something, i've learned (over 56 years) that it pays to heed it!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everyone!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

malnutrition on a national scale

My elderly mother was in a hospital recently; i worried about her.  Oh, i had faith that the surgeon's skill would do the job fine, it wasn't that.  Surgery and trauma care are where modern medicine are actually effective.  Two other things about hospitals disturb me:  food and mistakes.

Take the latter first, because it's more easily addressed and put aside.  The health care system is widely considered the third leading cause of death in America.  Love these statistics:
  • 12,000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgery;
  • 7,000 due to medication errors in hospitals;
  • 20,000 to other errors in hospitals;
  • 80,000 to infections in hospitals;
  • 106,000 to negative effects of drugs.
Nuff said....

Of more concern to me (because i know something about it) is the food.  The things a hospital dietician thinks are appropriate to bolster the health of a sick person are a crime and a sin.  But hospital food is only one mosquito in a swarm.  When she went back to her "community" it was going to be just as bad, or worse.

The widely-educated health-conscious person, in general, has gotten over the low-fat paradigm, and knows that a high-carbohydrate diet as eaten in the "modern" world has various repercussions.  Many MDs treating real live humans in private practice agree.  Medical "authorities" and organizations don't dare, openly -- they'd be sued out of their socks by the relatives of those whom they've done to death with bad advice.  The current generation of leaders in "health care" CANNOT back away from what the brightest of them know are worthless (or horrific) standards.

Unfortunately, these organizations have a stranglehold on professional medical care.  AND dietary "information."  A nurse gets in trouble if she mentions a paleo diet, however casually, in front of patients.

So multiply hospital food times school food times nursing-home food times retirement-village food, and you have quite a few people IN A SENSITIVE CONDITION being fed the kind of garbage that has given us the recent epidemic of ill-health and obesity:  you know, growing children ... the sick ... the aged.  IT'S A $%@^#& CRIME.  (You'll notice, in my choice of symbols, i put the dollar-sign first....)

We've been brainwashed into thinking that we need to be in constant obeisance to someone in a white coat, who gets his/her educational updates from drug company representatives.  Taking your health into your own hands is treasonous from their point of view, but it's the only way you'll have an counsellor who actually has a stake in the outcome! ... who really gives a damn.

All this is why i make such a tedious pest of myself, when i think that "a word to the wise" might actually help.  Hell, it might actually change a life for the better, unlike the ADA....

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Sumer Is Icumen In"

We didn't have much of a winter this year, and unless Mother Nature sends us a nasty late freeze (knocking on my skull...), the warm season is upon us here.  Time to prepare a new spot for tomato-growing, and remove the leaf-mulch from the sunchoke bed.  It's a pleasure living in the mid Mississippi valley as i do now; the Salt Lake valley was good too, but when i lived in the southern plain states i used to dread "sumer icumen in" -- too friggin' hot.

It'll be easier to do the before-breakfast walking that Donaldson recommends as an important part of his "Strong Medicine" when it's not so doggone chilly.  Got to buy some more REAL charcoal to cook steaks over, too -- they're just not the same done over a gas flame.  The grill and the crockpot will probably do most of the cooking for six or seven months now.

Everybody seems to get a charge out of springtime, but it was a college English teacher who made an impression on me by discussing the song entitling today's blog.  I'd learned it in an elementary-school music class (modernized lyrics), but had no idea what it was about till he described a medieval British winter for the working classes.  A fire-heated hovel without glass windows would be dark and smokey, and who could afford candles -- a tallow dip or betty lamp would be the best one could do.  Getting out and about was a cold and dirty business with paving a rarity.  As food stores slowly got used up, the monotony and limited nutrients probably got pretty tedious and energy-sapping.

Then, one glorious day, the sun came out and roads dried up, green shoots started poking through the ground, one's chilblains healed, and "a young man's fancy lightly turns"....  Singing about it seems highly appropriate.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

progress assessment point

During the two-plus months i've been writing here, my eating patterns have been far from consistent!  To recap:

I began, strictly following the Personal Paleo Code, with very good results.  I leaped into a new physical activity after only one week and irritated my weak knee, causing inflammation which hasn't completely left me yet.  At the end of four weeks, i began introducing a few foods, because i was on a short holiday and felt entitled/self-indulgent (that's so frequently a bad idea...).  For a couple of weeks after that, i experimented with a handful of different foodstuffs, which i had eliminated at the beginning.

Almost three weeks ago, i discovered "Strong Medicine," a book by a retired doctor whose experiences during the first half of the twentieth century taught him a considerable amount about diet and health, and which he decided to share.  I chose to try some of Dr. Donaldson's recommendations, but had to tweak them a little to make them work for me.  Both ways, they were remarkably effective.

About a week and a half ago i took another trip, and was away from home just over a week.  Most of the time i adhered quite well to a dietary pattern which was a hybrid of the two above, but on ONE day, i was VERY naughty.

So here we are, just over nine weeks from my starting point:  i've learned a CONSIDERABLE amount ... and lost about ten pounds.
  • the Personal Paleo Code WORKS.  It's a powerful tool for determining what foods promote well-being, as well as weight-loss.  Without even giving up ALL the "autoimmunity compromising" foods he listed, and despite the injury to my knee, i felt incredibly WELL -- considerably younger;
  • rice seems to be a harmless food for me -- but not for breakfast.  I must eat a fat-protein breakfast, or i'm hungrier all day.  My body agrees with the studies about meal composition and metabolic flexibility (for a change);
  • alcohol is NOT harmless, though i tolerate sake much better than wine.  I'll need to do the same sort of introduction as with the former, before i can make a comparative judgement about spirits.  The difference in joint pain and stiffness (between the beginning of February and now), i believe, can be attributed to the alcohol i used;
  • the "Strong Medicine" prescription also works, but doing without salt is out of the question for me -- my digestion apparently needs it.  It seems to work well, past that one-week point during which one is losing the easy stuff, and after which most eating plans don't render much progress.  It's not for the weak, though; you've got to be determined and motivated to forgo variety in the diet, even though hunger is not a problem;
  • the book "Deep Nutrition" made a big impression on me, and i'll be keeping Dr. Cate's viewpoints in mind while formulating my menus from now on.  Meat on the bone, organ meats, bone broths, fermented vegetables, etc., will be more heavily used in my house!
  • i have suspicions about eggs and many nuts as allergens for me -- they no longer get a free ride.  I also seem to have a fructose malabsorption issue;
  • i've decided to add tyrosine to my list of supplements.  That amino acid is not heavily present in the foods i customarily eat, so my body is only getting significant quantities through conversion from phenylalanine.  Since it's a building-block of thyroid hormone, and i've craved protein all my life, and i know i have absorption issues, i'm postulating that this may be something i need to consciously supplement.  My uneven energy levels MAY improve:  we'll see, and i'll let you know later.
So, i feel i'm on the right track.  I need to lose AT LEAST another ten pounds before i'll be satisfied -- but i'm making progress at any rate!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

more on willpower

If you haven't read the references in my other "willpower post," i entreat you to do so!  Don't torture yourself the way western society would have you do it!

It's all about stubbornness ... and brain chemicals.

I was just looking at some early postings on blogs i recently discovered.  Rarely ever suffering food cravings anymore myself, i realize how lucky i am; a lot of people struggle with them often.  They have my deep and sincere sympathy!

Time was, i did have cravings.  The difference between *now* and *then* is, 1) i'm customarily eating a very-low-carb diet, so my blood sugar is as steady as a rock;  2) the high-good-fat-adequate-protein content of it keeps me well satiated;  3) i've tweaked my vitamin/mineral intake through foods and supplements to the point that i believe i'm deeply nourished.

Not only does my body seem happy with the way i'm fueling it -- i see that eating this way is beneficial for my mood and cognition.  I'm more cheerful, less anxious and defensive, and increasingly "strong" and determined; it's been clearly noticeable for weeks.  I don't know EXACTLY what's going right, but i'm grateful for it.
Believing as i do that "overeating" is partially driven by malnutrition, I have to wonder if people who decry their own "lack of willpower" aren't short of some nutrient they need....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

new recommendations

Yesterday, during the course of some travel-waiting, i changed my blog list somewhat.  Some of the things i customarily read are "worthwhile" but not "recommendable" -- there are a couple of people i enjoy, but i'm disinclined to suggest that other people read some which are mostly rants.  Then, there are those who write an occasional relevant article, but with whom i usually tend to disagree -- they've left my list or never been a part of it.  Add to that, i discover more all the time ... so i guess this will have to be an ongoing activity!  :-)

Alas, even the best bloggers don't always deliver a product of consistent quality, so i've deleted a couple i used to read but which are less relevant to me (and theoretically, you?) anymore.  I mean -- is it REALLY helpful to someone like myself to know what works for a thirty-something gym rat?  Getting a body-fat under 10% while doing Olympic-level workouts is probably not healthy even for them! 

There's been a sad tendency of some erstwhile-entertaining bloggers to desert the low-carb philosophy lately.  It's no revelation that the young can get away with eating huge amounts of complex sugars without immediate repercussions in their weight and apparent health -- ye gods, the things I used to eat during my fencing days (let's just say, not complex)!!!  And as a lifelong hypothyroid, i already had a compromised hormonal system....  These folks are at least eating low-toxin forms of sugar.

The older ones, though -- i have a sneaking suspicion that a few of them will learn the hard way that although their weight may not be an issue, the other kinds of sugar-influenced health issues may catch up with them.  Let 'em have fun -- at least (as i said before) they're getting their carbs "cleanly."

I HAVE wondered on occasion if abrupt changes in the makeup of one's diet didn't have a special impact on the system, acting as a sort of hormetic waker-upper?  If one is primarily a glucose-burner, going toward low-carb wouldn't be likely to work -- teaching one's body to burn fat/ketones as the primary fuel doesn't happen overnight!  But a fat-burner can go the other direction as easy as kiss hands.  For many neurochemical reasons it would FEEL GOOD, too ... but it wouldn't last. 

Nope:  that direction is NOT for me, but for those who can get away with it -- more power to 'em.

Fortunately, there IS plenty of good stuff to be read online that gibes with my experience ... including a book i read this week, "Deep Nutrition."  THAT, i recommend whole-heartedly.  I haven't read much of Dr. Cate Shanahan's blog, but if it's as good as the book, it's thoroughly worthwhile -- i learned quite a bit!  Therefore, she's joined the list, along with a couple of others who have impressed me with the few of their articles i've read so far.
Oh, and it looks like a website i juuuuust found out about will be interesting, too -- The Food Lovers Kitchen....

Monday, March 5, 2012

back to the daily grind -- YIPPEEEE!

:-)  Flying back home today!  I'm REALLY looking forward to not eating so well!

Yeah, that's spoken ironically.  What i'm looking forward to is eating simply rather than sumptuously -- so which would BEST be described by the phrase "eating well"?  Trick question, of course.  As far as health and well-being are concerned, for me it's the simple kind.  Even though i do pretty well at avoiding things i know don't agree with my system, every once in awhile i allow myself an indulgence. 

Holidays and vacations need to be rare treats for a couple of reasons -- if we get to be well-entertained, lazy and indulgent TOO often, these treats lose their charm.  But they're also addictive, so when we have a chance to enjoy them, we often do -- at least, I do.  Even though i TRY to be "good."  Even though my husband is very supportive of my regular need of certain foods (which can't be met at most fast-food and commonly-found places).

So it's a pleasure to go home, and get my own food in my own kitchen where all the tools and ingredients i need are right at hand.  Where an outstanding farmers' market is two miles away and open 5 days a week (and has been located on the same site for well over two hundred years).  Where i'm familiar with restaurants that won't serve me unpleasant surprises.  Where my dog's unspoken invitations to go for a walk are harder to resist.

I'm lucky.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

off-topic holiday

<sigh of content>

My husband and i spent the day "drinking in" Napa valley and its wines -- we took the "wine train" and enjoyed the heck out of it!  :-) 

Delightful wines and food:  every course was just wonderful!  We shared tastes of each other's choices, and they were all delicious.  He had a seafood appetizer and the soup du jour (potato-leek), and i had a flourless ravioli starter and apple-endive salad.  My grilled salmon came with shrimp risotto garnished with parmesan cheese, and his seared tuna steak with various vegetables.  YUM.

After wandering around the train (enjoying its period charm) and tasting more local wines, we returned to our observation car to enjoy dessert -- goat cheesecake and "chocolate pot pie".

Again ... <sigh>

Friday, March 2, 2012

and even more blinding light

Oh boy....  Just the other day i was exchanging comments with Steph about the studies that indicate low-carbing inhibits thyroid function; i wondered if the subjects might be confirmed glucose-burners (because it can sometimes take awhile to achieve metabolic flexibility).

Today, while surfing around other people's links, i found something which illuminates the situation -- check THIS out!  Dr. Cate explains what happens and why, and how one can get around one's body's limitations so as to benefit from the perks of low blood sugar and insulin.  YEA!

This is not the first time that "the rules" didn't seem to apply to MY body!  When i hear blanket recommendations for certain health practices from "experts" (who have maybe read a couple of studies, but who have no experience of handling the condition, in themselves or patients), i want to tell them to shut the #$%& up!!! 

You HAVE to learn to decipher the messages your body is giving you -- and your body does NOT necessarily speak your language!  In some, the craving for sweets or snack foods isn't a message that you need carbs, but rather that you have an addiction to them, and would do well treating them with distrust.

I can't sufficiently praise food-elimination programs like the Personal Paleo Code!  If your sensitivity to a particular food doesn't send you acute symptoms, you may miss your body's signal that it's problematic -- AND it may have more of an impact on your quality of life than you realize.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

O-O-O-kay! (i.e., blinding light...)

Over a month ago, i expressed puzzlement about my once-injured right knee ("Ralph") and pain-reduction in it, at the same time i seemed to have stressed it some more.  Sounds counter-intuitive, i know -- the inflammation was there, but somehow the knee felt stronger, "righter" -- then again, this body constantly does exactly opposite what the "experts" say it should.

Now i know why, thanks to the ever-educational J Stanton at!  I won't even try to summarize the mechanism -- it should be read by anyone with interest in getting the best performance out of an aging body!  The punchline is:  exercise promotes healing. 

As a matter of fact, Dr. Donaldson in "Strong Medicine" states, "I had learned the value of exercise in the hospital wards.  ...Ninety days of exercise can work wonders."  He prescribes specific exercises for various different ills (physical and mental), but doesn't discuss the rationale behind it much; in his day, the exact physiological mechanisms were probably unexplainable. 

So even if i hadn't been convinced of the value of the Tabata sprints for metabolic health and flexibility, i now have an additional impetus -- it's the entry point for an UNvicious cycle.

It always seems to pay to revisit the archived posts of good bloggers!  You find posts you somehow didn't see before, and you sometimes understand better what you've already read.