Tuesday, July 31, 2012

systemic enzymes ... finally

Back in '04 or '05, my doctor suggested i take Iodoral.  Naturally, i started reading up on the stuff; as a result i ended up exploring this site and finding out about systemic enzymes, too.  Sounded interesting, so i then had to start reading up on THOSE.

It seems that in Germany, back in the cold-war days, Eastern Bloc sports trainers were looking for a better way to control inflammation in their over-trained corps.  Hearing of a Munich doctor/manufacturer who was getting good medical results from enzymes for inflammation, they managed to procure a large amount and started experimenting.  To their surprise and delight, there were benefits above and beyond the immediate goal.  More info here, if you're interested....

Systemic enzymes (designated so to distinguish them from digestive ones) have an application in not only fighting inflammation but in "eating" a lot of proteins which aren't beneficial to the body.  Protein and fibrin coatings on viruses and cancer cells, excess scar tissue, debris in the bloodstream that clogs microcirculation, fibrosis that limits organ function, all this is controllable with enzyme use.  They've been used in Europe and Japan for decades, but they still haven't widely caught on in this country.

The body, it turns out, makes a finite amount of enzymes in a lifetime, no matter how long it lasts.  This fact could be used as an argument that all nature really wants us to do is survive till we reproduce, because at around the age of 27 our production of enzymes tapers off dramatically, to "keep" us as best they can on dwindling supplies.  As an example within the experience of most people, compare the scars you get now to the ones you got as a child -- now they're thicker and less pliable, more unsightly.  The logic goes, then, that supplementing the enzymes your body now doles out so scantily will help you heal and maintain functions like a younger person does.

When i started taking them, i felt like i was beginning to experience fibromyalgia, and i had carpel-tunnel symptoms when i did any sewing or crocheting -- these faded away.  I've been curiously resistant to viruses since i began enzymes, too.  A couple of years ago, the dog roughed up my thumb REAL GOOD, but i can only see the scar if i look very closely.  I'm a believer.

I understand that systemic enzymes do great things for diabetics and cancer-sufferers as well as helping to keep viruses at bay.  Of course, mainstream medicine pooh-poohs their use for anything but digestion.  They claim that orally-administered enzymes won't live to reach the bloodstream, let alone pass the blood-brain barrier to aid a person with a brain tumor.  As usual, they're wrong, because the latter has been documented to happen.  Of course, to survive stomach acid, the supplement must have the "enteric" coating -- that's one reason why your brand of enzyme is important.  The other big reason is, they have to be handled right; overheated enzymes are dead enzymes, and they won't help anybody.

I started out using a brand called Vitalzym, then when Dr. Wong came out with his own (stronger) version, i switched to Zymessence.  Unfortunately, they BOTH changed their formulations, and i was about ready to dump the whole lot of them.  :-P  I'm happy to say, it wasn't necessary, because the lady at Quackcenter (a nurse with a PhD) had done her research and found someone who made a product that turned out to be identical to the ORIGINAL Vitalzym -- it's called Exclzyme -- and i'm contentedly taking that these days.  Three caps in the morning a half an hour (at least) before anything else goes in my mouth.

Did i mention that in the last seven or eight years i've only had the flu once or twice, and very lightly?  A lot of supplements and foods have done good things for me, but THAT i credit directly to the systemic enzymes.

a good diet will spoil you

It's been almost a week since i ate The Salad of Doom, and my gut flora haven't perfectly recovered yet.  A respected fellow blogger had a carb/protein fest, and it took her brain awhile to get back to normal again, even after reestablishing ketosis.  Some people have one taste of a "trigger food" and they can't stop.

The aged or damaged body doesn't behave the same way as the bodies of the young, fit people who participate in a lot of the dietary trials.  Only a simpleton would expect them to.

We seem to be finding that, although our bodies had managed to function on what they'd been accustomed to, once we put them on a regimen of a more optimal diet, there's no going back.  A diet full of sugar or sugar-resulting foods wreaks its damage SO slowly and progressively that we don't notice it; reintroducing such foods when we have become accustomed to functioning without them produces havoc almost instantly -- like watching a flower wilt via time-lapse photography.

I've come to believe that the phenomenon we call "aging" is actually the result of slow-poisoning -- a carbohydrate-accelerated process of nutrient deficiency and accumulated organ damage.  There's also the diminution of enzyme production; i can't put off writing about that much longer.  In the presence of any imbalance, the body makes an adjustment, which alters another organ's function, which makes another adjustment, ad infinitum.  It's like how carrying a heavy purse on one shoulder all the time makes every muscle group in the body change structure.  The first day you tote that purse around you don't notice it, but after 30 years, you don't stand up straight anymore.

Once we, as adults over 27 (when enzyme use slows), drop our junk-foodstuff-chowing ways and eat what nature intended, the body starts performing better.  It will only go back to these semi-foods kicking and screaming, as i've found out.  Numerous times.

Monday, July 30, 2012

brisket's in the oven

I had a coffee-fast yesterday (with coconut milk).  The scale still hasn't budged.  My mind and my body are obviously having a very fun time stymying me and defying the laws of physics this week!  ;-)

The mind is working on sneaking up behind, today; yesterday was about ketosis and autophagy -- today is a protein re-feed.  I have a steak marinating to take care of it until the brisket is done.  Taking a hint from Mrs. Beeton, i sprinkled a tiny bit of allspice on with the salt and pepper, and sealed it in its foil coffin before popping it into a low oven.  I would have gone the whole way a la Flamande, but i don't have any carrots....  I like to half-cook a brisket, let it cool and slice it before putting it back in the oven to tenderize.  Trying to slice a TENDER brisket produces huge quantities of shredded beef, which is less desirable when you don't eat sandwiches anymore.

Interestingly enough, Mark's column today answers a question about carb re-feeds, and i was proud of him -- this guy is no simple-minded extremist, even if he is a jock!  ;-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

the light comes on

The big lightbulb over my head finally came on, concerning my particular "problem with plant foods."  I took some probiotics this morning.

So as not to provide TOO much information, let us just say that Dr. Donaldson is right about lettuce:   "one of the hardest foods to digest that is known."

Gotta get more meat out of the freezer -- i think it's time to defrost the BIG BRISKET.  :-D

Saturday, July 28, 2012

what's so confusing about fat, that "science writers" can't understand?

Rant alert!

Does this look like a photograph of "saturated fat" to you?  Maybe i'm brainwashed, but in my world, the picture below is what fat really looks like....

Despite the masterful job Tom Naughton did in "Fathead" to convince us that people DO know what's fattening, i'm not sure we can excuse them from dietary ignorance.  Clue:  the top photograph contains perhaps 15 grams of fat in the meat patty, a third of which is saturated.  FIVE GRAMS of saturated fat.  That's about a fifth of an ounce.  It also contains probably close to 200 grams of carbohydrate.  So why does the New York Times label it a meal high in saturated fat?  Total fat, yes -- because of the industrial seed oils soaked into the starch....

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED to journalistic integrity?  The goal used to be, to print the truth (before everybody else).  Kinda looks like they're in a race to be last, as far as nutrition is concerned.

Friday, July 27, 2012

what is it about plant foods?

This is Day Two of dealing with one of those annoying little upticks of the scale....

On Wednesday, i had to go out into the world, and i thought it was about time for the mini-binge which customarily does good things for me.  I lunched at a certain restaurant which offers a very good taco salad, and included some guacamole and sour cream instead of a commercial dressing.  I didn't get anything so wicked as a sweet-sour-laden margarita -- oh, no!  I had ONE glass of a pleasant, civilized red wine.  Next morning, i wasn't surprised that the scale had stagnated, and just hit the half-caf hard, thinking that would run the water out of my body.  I finished the take-home box of salad-and-guac; no 'rita, no chips.  Supper was a tin of sardines and a glass of wine.

The scale should have been down this morning.  It was up.  Two days in a row, i had a significant quantity of lettuce, a small amount of other salad vegetables, moderate animal protein and maybe an ounce of cheese (just on Wednesday).  I didn't exceed 1350 calories (estimated, since i didn't compile the recipes) the second day, or 1600 the first.

I swear, if i had lettuce in the fridge, i'd do a day of nothing else, and i bet the scale would be up again tomorrow.  What is it about plant foods that makes my body misbehave so?

In "Strong Medicine," Donaldson says, "Green vegetables can contain unknown irritants, aside from additive sprays, that bother some of us a great deal. Annoying intestinal gases or joint pains or sudden elevations of blood pressure may all stop when such patients are deprived of green vegetables. I have one family who love asparagus and have a big patch of it to feast on during the season. The whole family run elevated blood pressures at that time."  Now, the intestinal gases we can explain very easily, but the other symptoms he mentions are a little more mysterious in their etiology.*

He goes on to say, "No one knows why the yellow vegetables seem better tolerated by children who have a background of eczema. Onions and beets and celery can sometimes be used with no apparent ill effect, but yellow vegetables always seem to be safer, perhaps because they aren't sprayed."  Unfortunately, he doesn't list the items he characterizes as "yellow" but by inference he seems to include carrots, corn, winter squash and turnips.  He praises real sweet potatoes and the better varieties of white ones.  You'll notice that most of these foodstuffs either grow underground, or have some kind of protective "casing".

Dare i take a leap of intuition and suggest that above-ground plants (green ones) produce more self-protective toxins than edible portions which, being underground, don't need to conduct chemical warfare as much?

Amongst zero-carb enthusiasts, it's postulated that there are enough plant toxins in vegetables to make them poor choices for those of us who are sensitive.  In fact, the antioxidant chemicals, ironically labeled "protective," seem to be the ones that irritate us most.  Proponents of hormesis say these substances do us good BECAUSE they irritate us; although some people may benefit from it, i'm not sure we all do.

When doing my research on what foods are goitrogenic, a staggering array of "healthy" foods become distinctly deleterious.  As a hypothyroid, i should avoid most of the "green leafy" things that every health-fiend from vegan to paleo can agree to ... agree to.  ;-)  Broccoli, kale, apples -- kiss 'em goodbye!  Oh, they're okay if i boil the hell out of them, though....

I believe that plant toxins are a big reason why Atkins and Paleo/Primal only give outstanding results when people come to them from the SAD.  Getting the virulent poisons out of your diet only gets you part of the way.  The chronic trace poisoning that people love so much is what stands between some of us and real health.
*  i have my suspicions....  more on that later.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"i don't" eat cake

I disagreed with Dr. Freedhoff's column today, in a minor way.  Of course, being a person prone to fattening most of my life, my point of view is different from his, as a practicing physician.

He deals with people with a WIDE variety of problems and personalities, i'm sure.  As a result, he has to approach each new problem in a what-works-for-the-mean fashion, and then refine the treatment depending upon the reaction of the patient.  I COULD be right in the middle of the pack and respond typically, but i rather suspect i'd be more of an outlier, and in that case, the "right" approach/treatment would be all wrong.  This goes for the psychology of dietary change as well as the physical aspects of it.

In his posting, Freedhoff says, "my issue is whether or not blind restriction is a sustainable long term strategy.  My experience says that it isn't, and that blind restriction, the belief that if you're trying to manage weight or live healthfully you simply can't (or don't) eat nutritionally bereft but hedonically wonderful foods, is one of the reasons so many dieters ultimately fail."

My point is, when most people change their eating habits in order to lose weight, they're not thinking "i'm going to eat like this for the rest of my life" (even if they ought to).  They're living life in a day-to-day manner, wondering if they can hang in there, wondering if they'll actually take off a significant amount of fat THIS time, and dealing with all kinds of derailing surprises, pleasant and unpleasant. The last thing in the world they need to think about is, am i going to be content doing without foodstuffofchoice when i'm 70?

When people are dealing with food restrictions TODAY, they need tools that will help get them THROUGH today without undue hunger and stress, in such a way that the diet isn't ruined.  Tools like ... foods that are pleasant and satiating enough though "innocent," until their bodies unlearn the bad habits that got them to this point in the first place.  Tools like ... tested ways to beat stress.  Tools like sleep and metabolic-flexibility-promoting exercise and truly useful supplements.  Tools like mental habits that encourage one to take the dietary high road.

In that vein "i don't" eat grains, or sugars, or a lot of other things.  This is not to say i NEVER have them these days, or that i never will again.  I just DON'T, as a generality; it makes things easier.  Like what i said before about stubbornness=willpower.  My choice.  Eating the Italian bread on the table while waiting for the saltimbocca to come?  I don't eat bread -- no decision necessary.

So if you're in the doc's position, you may need to strategise like a general planning a campaign -- looking down the road and thinking "we must not allow the troops to feel hopeless, even though it doesn't look very encouraging."  Those troops in the trenches though -- eating their k-rations and worrying about going over the top later -- need to be able to say, "today, 'i don't' eat cake ... but i will when i go on leave."

next time there's cake....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


When it comes to figuring out our optimal macronutrient intake, we get reports of a wide range of ideals.  Most agree, limiting protein becomes important when the low-hanging-fruit of the controlled-carb diet has been harvested.  Once you've cut all the carbohydrate-rich foods you're willing to forgo, reducing the amount of protein-foods adds that extra fillip necessary to get the fat burning again.  More fat is added to the diet, and the scale starts measuring downward anew.

This seems to be pretty universally applicable in the LC community.  The truism that low-carbing allows ad-libitum meat-eating is, like most of its logical kin, only true up to a point.  Ideally, eating the appropriate meats will fill you up long before fat-burning is threatened, but in practice (especially as one approaches one's goal) it seems to be easy for some people to take in too much.

There seems to be one great big exception, though -- the closer to zero-carb you go, the more protein you NEED.  Even though it's been documented that the body CAN make glucose out of fat, it appears to be easier for it to do so with protein.

Also, there are many beneficial effects of insulin that are stimulated in the ZC enthusiast by protein metabolism.  Insulin is far from being "the enemy" to people who have trained their bodies to burn fat and ketones as the primary fuels!  Going ultra-low-carb induces physiological insulin-resistance in muscle cells, particularly.  To drive amino acids into cells for muscle-building (important in us old broads), we do need a bit of an insulin spike from time to time.

And it seems to work spontaneously.  My husband, neighbors and local acquaintances see me too often to notice those body changes which happen over time, but when i was with some friends in the spring who hadn't seen me since last autumn, i was made aware of something:  after a round of hugs, somebody said, "You're turning into quite a hardbody, aren't you?"  I was surprised -- i have been very remiss when it comes to intentionally seeking a gain in strength.  My goal is ENERGY ("vitality") gain as well as fat loss.  It got me thinking....

Just as "the paleo diet becomes the fail-eo diet if you don't add enough fat," a ZC diet is not going to be healthy without sufficient protein.  And ironically, it may be all about the insulin.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I have a confession -- there's ONE network television program i do enjoy watching, and that's What Not to Wear.  I see my younger self in some of the "frights" that are featured on the show, and i really rejoice in their ultimate realization of how good they CAN look, when a little insight is able to get them past a few preconceived notions.

Women who are past their "first youth" are frequently poster-children for the whole makeover concept.  Often, those who had their heyday in their school days cling to the look that worked for them back then, and those of us who were (speaking charitably) "cute" strive to find a style that will take us to an improved level, at least.  When we've done our subjective best to look as good as we can, the results can be ... ahem ... not what we intended.  Some are just dated or dowdy, some trampy, and some (who pride themselves on intellect, personality and imagination) go for a quirky look.  In the end, some of these individualists turn up on WNtW.

I believe that it's both a product of society and hard-wired in women to want to look pretty* (and as a corollary, feel loved).  When nature is less than generous, we turn to art to bring it about, but ... doesn't Art go through phases of being less-aesthetically-pleasing from time to time?  (Well, at least i think it does....)  Society then rewards the more attractive and penalizes the less-so, both professionally and in social relationships.  It just reinforces what we suspected all along -- if you're pretty, you win, and if you're not, the universe hates you and you're just SOL.  It's hard not to be sour and negative.

The thing you see, over and over, with these semi-unattractive subjects on WNtW is a persistent, unrelenting negativity.  One "failure" when they try on some item of clothing, and that kind of item CANNOT look good on them.  They see another item of clothing, and it reminds them of something unappealing in their past, and THAT item is tabooed.  Then, one of these items, that fits properly and is chosen mindfully, is tried on and -- miracle of miracles -- is suddenly a success.  Sometimes, a really becoming outfit is brushed aside because the wearer doesn't look the way she wishes she did, in it.  Some of them have a hard time accepting a compliment (and i credit the hosts and aestheticians, that their compliments are believable and not overblown); they've been efficiently brainwashed to not celebrate their best points, only to bemoan their worst ones.

The psychological conditioning we all experience growing up, from family and friends and society at large, is often HORRIBLE.  People who SAY they love us, frequently set us up to fail, and it takes some of us an awfully long time to rise above it ... if we ever do.  We need our successes to encourage us to more effort, and we need to view our failures in a realistic light.  None of us, not the most beautiful, is flawless.  NONE of us.  We DESERVE to be able to think well of ourselves for anything positive in our hearts, minds and bodies, even if it's a gift of nature rather than "earned."  The stupid societal proscription of "vanity" as a manipulative tool to keep people from being braggarts constantly overshoots its aim, resulting in self-defeating diffidence and feelings of worthlessness.  That's BAD.  

DAMN repressive monastic asceticism.  It's "medieval" in the worst possible way.  Keeping people in their place -- i.e., not allowing them to shine -- is a hellish practice, and will reap the karmic reward it so flagrantly deserves.

One of my friends from community-theatre days taught me a lesson that i happily practice as often as possible.  If i THINK something nice about a person, even a stranger's beautiful eyes or clothing, i tell them so.  Maybe they need to hear it.
*  it's funny -- "ugly" men can be very attractive.  Doesn't seem to work the same for women.

Monday, July 23, 2012

exercise, again

Whew -- just finished my morning workout.  I unloaded the dishwasher, started some laundry, tidied up while i was in the basement, pulled weeds, cooked, and did "fur patrol" (a curious exercise which long-haired-dog owners have to deal with on a regular basis -- requires either a dustmop or a DirtDevil).  Worked up a good sweat, too.

And the Lancet (i learn via Zoe Harcombe) thinks that inactivity is driving the problem of overweight?  Even in our mechanized age with all of our labor-saving devices, a SMALL amount of LIGHT housekeeping is a workout.  We lift and step and bend and stretch a LOT in everyday life.  If there's any class of person who shouldn't be gaining, by CW rationale, it's young stay-at-home mothers -- taking care of small children is very work-intensive.

You think it might be something else that puts weight on "young marrieds"?

I noticed with interest, the last time i watched that excellent film version of "The Women" (1939), one of the earliest gym scenes i've ever seen; the ladies are tending to their figures ... because they can afford to.  (And also to defend their income in their competitive world, ie, to keep their husbands.)  Someone else is paid to do the housework.  Before that, you hear about exercise for weight loss from William Banting (didn't work), but literature is curiously quiet.  I read a goodly amount of fiction and nonfiction from the 19th century, and aside from the heroines going on walks (and the elderly taking their constitutionals), you don't hear much about what we would call "working out."

There was a "physical culture" movement amongst the sort of people who got into vegetarianism and utopian communities, but i only learned about it through a living-history friend who goes in for abstruse fads of the 1800s.

From what i can divine, though, Sport was all about FUN rather than fat-burning (as i believe it ought to be today).  Women's magazines showed tennis dresses and bicycling ensembles and swimming costumes ... and there have been special outfits for horseback-riding for over a millennium.  I've yet to see anything that was DESIGNED to be perspired in.

IF exercise helped to keep the population lean in the 19th century, it was in concert with their dietary practices, and certainly not the kind you see today.  It was the built-in movement of people who LIVED life rather than observing it.  People whose intact metabolisms made them want to move around.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

so much for the pyramid (or plate)

I have some butter that needs using.  Much as i like my butter-bell for keeping the stuff spreadable, if i don't use it comparatively quickly, it starts developing a bit of an odor and discoloration.  I pulled out my earliest copy of the Joy of Cooking to see about making a good butter cookie dough with rice flour, to freeze.

I LOVE old cookbooks.  As a living-historian, being familiar with them adds a lot to one's "impression" -- popular recipes DEFINITELY change as time goes by.  Not only the recipes are interesting, though, as the meal plans, "necessary" kitchen equipment and so on are often fascinating, and inspire some interesting antique-hunting, too.  I've got some really unusual reenacting "toys."

GUESS WHAT I FOUND!  :-D  Health recommendations from 1943:

"A daily diet list for balanced and protective meals.
   1 quart for each child
   1 pint for each adult
Fruits and Tomatoes:
   1 or more servings of citrus fruits ... tomatoes or tomato juice or any raw fruit or vegetable rich in Vitamin C
Bread and Cereals:
   2 servings of whole grain or products made with enriched flour
   At every meal ....
   1 or more servings of green leafy or yellow vegetables
   2 or more servings of potatoes, other vegetables or fruit
   1 each day or at least 3 or 4 a week
Lean Meat, Poultry, Fish:
   1 or more servings
   May be added to satisfy the appetite when a sufficient amount of protective foods has been eaten"

I wouldn't call it optimal, myself, but beats hell out of the advice we get these days.

the morning after: me eating "well"

Yesterday seems to have fixed the "misbehavior" of the day before.  I had 1400-1450 calories instead of 1100, and i almost slept the clock around:  all caught up!  The scale is down again.  Oh, i did have a bit more carbohydrate, as my supper was a glass of home-made raw-milk kefir.  I also had two glasses of champagne* with my steak and butter for dinner.

I'm almost coming to the conclusion that the alternate-day fasters have a good idea.  Not that i would go the length of eating ANYTHING i wanted on the feast day, but just loosening the reins a little seems reasonable and effective.  Remember when i said that "shaking things up" seems to help break a plateau?  It kinda looks like the ADF'ing might be doing this in an ongoing fashion -- you never HAVE a plateau because you're constantly breaking up the tendency.

* i know, i know -- you shouldn't call it champagne unless it's FROM Champagne, and this is from Limoux....  :-P

Saturday, July 21, 2012

ME ... eating too LITTLE

It's a little tiny bit hilarious to me, a problem i awoke to this morning.  I was cold, and looking at the clock found it to be only 5 a.m.  When i got on the scale, i hadn't made progress.

Like flicking a switch, i accidentally ate too little yesterday and my metabolism took a nosedive.  The MOST interesting thing about it (to me) is that i was far from hungry; i consumed my pound of fatty beef plus a little more, and ended up like this at ~1100 calories!  Good lord, when i think back on all the days of my youth when i ate 6-800 for days on end....

Well, the good thing is, i don't feel draggy and energy-less, just a little sleepy from my short night.  I already had a hearty breakfast, and will make sure to eat something carby with tonight's steak.  Ah, the good ol' cosmos, wanting to make sure i never run out of things to challenge me!

Friday, July 20, 2012

a big WHAT IF

Now, i generally don't like to play the "what if" game.  It's usually all about something that DIDN'T happen or COULDN'T happen, and the conversation is usually started by somebody who has a fantastical vision of "wouldn't it be cool if"....  Entre nous, fantasies are rarely attractive to those NOT INVOLVED with the fantasy, and if they ARE widely attractive, they make a lot of money.  Fantasies are all about wish-fulfillment, and if you're not having your wishes fulfilled by somebody else's dream, there's nothing in it for you.

But while reading a blog today about a lady and her thyroid woes, i was struck by something:  she had never had very high TSH levels, but had been practically incapacitated by symptoms generally recognized in hypothyroid people, including low free T3.  BTW, she's also struggling with adrenal issues.

WHAT IF the problem this lady has is not about her thyroid at all -- her symptoms are caused by shortages of ... oh, say, the nutrients in the supplements i've found that help ME?  Her thyroid is doing its job, according to her brain, but suppose her body is converting the available T4 to rT3 to protect her from even more internal stress -- the stress being exacerbated by poor absorption of nutrients?  WHAT IF all she has to do is "get selfish" and remove the impediments to good sleep and peace-of-mind in her life, thus reassuring her body that it doesn't have to hunker down in preparation for a "long winter"?  Would she perhaps not be any more hypothyroid than i am, a borderline case?

Just thinkin'....

progress addendum: exercise

One of the things i intended to mention but never got around to is exercise -- for the most part, i haven't.

Yes, yes, i fully realize that exercise has numerous health benefits, having nothing to do with aerobic capacity or calorie burning.  There have been times when i've conscientiously done my duty -- walked, bicycled, yoga'ed, lifted -- but this year so far has not been "it."   Circumstances have simply been discouraging me from doing much, lately.

In the middle of January i started attending a dance class -- hurt my knee and slowed down for MONTHS.  It still gives me trouble.  When i've been in California, i've walked (or perhaps i should say, been on my feet) extensively but it hasn't been the kind of walking that feels like a brisk hike -- i.e., EXERCISE.  Some of my other excursions (and incursions ... of guests) have entailed a good amount of on-foot time, too, but it's the kind that more exhausts than invigorates.

Not to say i'm completely idle.  I do my own housework and go up and down countless flights of stairs when i'm at home.  (I tried to count how many trips one average day, but lost count at around 18.)  I do light gardening.  I carry suitcases and bags of dogfood and my reenacting trunks and large containers of water and tubs of coconut and palm oils....  "Moderately active" is the box i check on questionaires.

There's the walking debate then -- my husband likes to take the dog for a walk in the morning before we go out to breakfast: i often have to disappoint him by not going along.  I'd have to take the walk, then come home and wash the sweat off before putting on going-out clothes and shoes OR i'd have to wear heeled sandals at this time of year on the walk before driving to the restaurant.  :-P  I really prefer walking in the late afternoon, because the heat generated dampens my appetite for supper.  It is now midsummer in the midwest -- no way on god's green earth am i going to go for a nice brisk walk when it's 100 degrees in the shade!!!

I HAVE discovered the joys of the Tabata sprints on the stationary bike.  I just haven't gotten in the groove of doing them regularly.  When my knee is acting up, even the bike hurts.

So i'm doing a lot less than is ideal.  I am nevertheless doing well with diet and weight-loss.  Scheduled exercise is NOT a sine qua non.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

progress update conclusion (i think): what WORKS

I'm down another pound this morning, putting me under my "San Francisco starting weight" of three weeks ago.  As i don't have to go anywhere for over a month (knock on wood), i COULD actually make my goal weight before summer ends.  Here's hoping i won't get any surprises in my life to derail me....

A year ago, i was coming to the conclusion that i might have to reconcile myself to being overweight the rest of my life.  I felt i had gotten all the good i could out of low-carbing and paleo/primal eating, and that hormones had finally gotten the better of me; no matter how i reduced intake, it didn't seem to make any difference to my fat load.

This morning, i sat down in my thinking-chair (OKAY, the wing-chair in my bedroom where i like to read and watch movies) KNOWING that what's healthy for me is effective, and vice-versa.  It doesn't take super-human willpower to eat a restricted diet, and i can even have a wild splurge every month or so with no ill effects.  WOW.  This is the definition of empowerment.

I think that the first thing a person like me has to do is BECOME A FAT-BURNER.  If you're not fat/ketone-adapted, your body will fight you every step of the way.  Hunger and cravings will take over your mind.  Now, i was lucky in that i had broken the spell of carbohydrates quite awhile ago (and fully realize how seductively dangerous they are), so my quest was all about learning to control the metabolic flexibility we all need to thrive ... although, i didn't know that when i started.

I've learned that my instinct to wait a considerable time in the morning before eating is the correct one.  Kindke blogged about the morning cortisol peak, which gave me a good reason to indulge myself.  At home by myself, i have supplements and black coffee for breakfast most of the time.  :-)  The funny thing is, i've learned to PREFER my coffee black -- never in a million years would i have predicted that!  If i have a good reason to eat a meal in the morning, it HAS to be a protein-fat one -- i'm a walking example of a carb-laden breakfast inducing appetite later in the day.

Being fat-adapted, i sometimes have to make myself eat a meal in the middle of the day, because (with the load of "food" i carry around under my skin) i constantly have fuel to burn.  But i NEED my protein, so my dinner (my largest meal, whenever it is) is ideally about a half-pound of pastured meat; if it doesn't carry its own lipids along, it gets the addition of butter or real-cream sauce.  Depending upon how "good" i'm behaving, black coffee or 4 ounces of wine is the mandatory side-dish.  Drinking water or other cold beverages with a meal is a BIG mistake for me -- one thing a hypothyroid needs to make sure of is stomach acid!  Coffee and wine unbalance me the least.

Water, i drink at the midpoints between meals.  If i feel like a cocktail in the afternoon, but am inclined to deny myself the carbs, i'll make a pot of tea.  Jasmine or Earl Grey make for the perfect stress-buster, in lieu of a Gimlet!  The important thing is to make it in a pot and pour it in a cup (not a mug), and not work at anything while drinking it.  It makes you slow down.  Speaking of tea -- should i not be in the mood for coffee with food, i find lapsang souchong is about the only tea that isn't overpowered by a meaty meal.

I make sure to have something to eat before it gets too late; i never really like to start a meal after 8.  If i'm allowing myself any carby food at all, this is when it's acceptable.  Supper can be like dinner if i really feel an appetite, or it can be a tin of sardines, glass of raw-milk kefir, home-made gelatin, or even my own ice-cream if i'm not particularly hungry.

Sleep is immensely important to me.  Even though some experts get really hot about the legitimacy of "adrenal fatigue," i've found that treating it like it's real has improved my health considerably.  Stress creates a whole cascade of horrible effects on anyone with a weak thyroid, so by doing my best to pamper my adrenals, i save myself a world of discomfort.  I've installed F-lux on my old not-quite-dead laptop as well as on the one i'm using now, AND my husband's.  I darken my bedroom to the best of my ability, and cover the blue light of my cellphone.  The goal is my ideal of eight to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep, but if i wake during the night, i no longer stress about it; with the knowledge of biphasic sleep i've gained, i just read something soothing for an hour or so.

Sounds so simple....  But like my supplement routine, it took a lot of trial and error and PAYING ATTENTION to my body to come down to it.  It took input from knowledgeable sources of all kinds, many of whom write the blogs on the list on this page.  It took reassurance by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Dr. Donaldson and Lucas Tafur that i wasn't ruining myself with the "extreme" diet i thrive on.  It took the notions put forth by eccentric doctors whose central points are sound, despite the lengths to which they push them.  Hell, i want to thank the WORLD for the help i've gotten in managing this tricky body of mine!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

progress report, part 2: eating out is the DEVIL

I can't even wait a day before continuing, because looking back on all i've learned is so exciting and encouraging to me.  Looking back is an excellent Mercury-retrograde activity....  ;-)

Since the beginning of the year, when i've been at home and doing the cooking i haven't failed to lose weight, and when i've been eating out a lot, i haven't failed to gain.  It's that simple.  Because i know what the pitfalls are, i haven't gained MUCH, and i haven't failed to lose it again, but it just goes to show you what happens when other people are in charge of the kitchen.

Other people's condiments are full of industrial-seed oil, sugar, texture- and flavor-enhancers (like carrageenan, guar gum, MSG, etc), preservatives (which may or may not be a problem), artificial colors (which sensitive people find problematic), and so on.  Other people don't properly nixtamalize corn, ferment grains and legumes, soak nuts and seeds -- in other words, they take shortcuts that ruin potentially-nourishing substances.  Other people believe advertising propaganda, and think grain-fiber is a good thing, and that metabolic poisons are "a good part of this balanced diet."  Other people don't realize that anti-meat "information" is frequently from veg*an sources.

Yes, you can eat out.  You can eat out a McDonald's, for heaven's sake, and not ruin your health.  What you CAN'T do is make any assumptions about what you're getting.  The "best" Italian restaurants are known to use artificial "olive oil."  Almost any restaurant steak is going to be seasoned with things you really don't want to consume.  The first thing i look for in an omelette is, whether the egg is homogenous or streaky with white and yolk -- if you have doubts, it's best to order the eggs fried rather than scrambled, because GOK what might be in there.

So, when i was in Texas in Jan/Feb and again in May/June, when i was in San Francisco a week in each the spring and summer, and when i had houseguests for a week in April, i did a LO-O-O-O-O-OT of eating out, and it totally screwed my weight goals.  Most of the time, i tried to eat according to what i know is best for me, but on about a half-dozen occasions (single meals, that is) i completely FEASTED.  The thing i've learned from feasting is, though, to FAST afterward, for a meal or a day.  When i'd get home again each time, especially when my husband was still out-of-town, i'd get right back on my VLC diet and/or the Strong Medicine protocol, and i'd be back to normal within days.  I've gained and lost the same five pounds, four or five times, but i'm about eight pounds down from the first of the year.  Twelve to go.

And rather than thinking it a privation to go back on my "diet," i resume my eating pattern with RELIEF.  I just don't feel good when i'm eating like other people do.  When i eat my 100 grams each of animal protein and fat per day, i don't feel hungry and food-obsessed, and my brain works, and i hurt less, and i'm HAPPY.  I don't like to snack anymore, even though the thought of cocktails and antipasti STILL has allure.  I still enjoy some junkfood, but i know it comes with a price i don't like to pay.

I have a lot of sympathy for people who haven't found the "formula" that works to tame their appetites and control their intake for maximal comfort.  Until i tweaked the Strong Medicine and my supplement list to "fit" me, i did a LOT more thinking about food with longing!*  Now i tell myself, "You're perfectly satisfied, and you feel great on these foods -- you're losing weight with no hunger.  Don't even think about luscious foods you're not allowing yourself RIGHT NOW -- you'll have them later.  Meanwhile, make progress while there are no distractions!"  And i AM!  :-D
* I also did a lot more planning, shopping and cooking; a lot more SPENDING of money and time.  I love the change.

progress update time, part 1

More than half a year has flown by, since i started writing here.  Whereas i haven't made much linear PROGRESS in losing weight, the scale hasn't been stuck anywhere ... and i feel i'm significantly wiser about the whole subject.

In January, i began the Personal Paleo Code program, which was an eye-opening experience.  Whether a person wants to lose weight or not -- i firmly believe it's in EVERYBODY'S best interests to go through a strict elimination diet and slowly add back every other ordinarily-eaten food, just to see what causes problems that were never even SUSPECTED before.  I understand the Whole 30 is pretty much the same thing, and there are others out there, too, which offer a description and how to go about it without spoiling the results ... but i really think people who care about their health need to check it out.

I discovered that i have issues with nightshades, which i never suspected before.  Industrial seed oils seem to give me zits, especially when i'm not getting enough zinc.  Milk products (even fermented) seem to contribute to tremors (like any overdose of carbs) -- could high insulin the be the cause?  Cream SOMETIMES contributes to an unhappy gut, but butter, never -- could have something to do with carrageenan in the former....

Wheat doesn't give me overt gut symptoms, but it really brings on the knee pain ...AND hip, and shoulder.  Oats (even soaked) do the same, to a lesser degree.  An occasional (rare!) bowl of porridge will stay in my future, but it's gotta be the unsteamed kind, and it has to be soaked overnight with whey.  I allowed myself so little of the true-sourdough ("salt rising") rye/rice bread, i don't know if it causes much trouble -- further tests are in order.

Home-cooked food (by me) is the highroad to health and weight control.  I've eliminated dozens of products i used to use with confidence because SO many of the things we buy are adulterated -- you have to be careful even buying tuna in "water" because it ISN'T -- it's a soy-laced broth.  "With olive oil" in the commercial world doesn't mean OF olive oil; i make my own mayo and dressings anymore.  The caveat above, "by me" is important -- my husband is sympathetic but not thoroughly aware.  And as for other people?  Absolutely, completely, incomprehensibly BLIND.  Obviously, most people think that if it doesn't kill you SOON, it doesn't have a negative impact on health (face-palm...).  Think CIGARETTES, kids....

I've learned a bit about alcohol, too.  The "cleanest" drink i can have is warm sake; a small amount satisfies and it's easy to stop there.  Even cold (filtered) sake is more ... moreish!  And other things also contribute to a low-grade headache while sake doesn't.  My low-carb cocktails come next, then tepid wine -- which is to say, reds.  White and/or chilled, and the "food reward" thing kicks in -- wonder if the "good doctor" can explain that one?

A very nice lady who went by the screenname "H" made the next big impact on my dietary adventures; she introduced me to "Strong Medicine," Dr. Blake Donaldson's retrospective on how he learned to treat allergy and weight loss, in the early part of the 20th century.  This book, and my subsequent reading, have revolutionized my view of limiting carbs.  H did her good deed, then kinda disappeared like The Shadow.  OOOOhhhh.  ;-)

This, as the title suggests, is going to have to be just the first report, because i realized after i started that the ground i've covered so far this year is going to take longer than i thought.  ;-)  I do hope this isn't just an exercise in self-absorption, but a useful record....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

more wooo for Wooo

I've mentioned astrology in earlier posts -- how i think it's a valid art, though not in the sense of what most people are familiar with:  "sun signs" for descriptions of personality and predictions of events.  What astrology IS good for, is choosing the best time for any at-all-important activity.

My great-aunt (we called her Ant) had a spectacular garden, renowned in the family and the small town in which she lived.  She and her husband planted acres of flowers and vegetables, had fruit trees and gooseberry bushes (probably had currants and grapes, too, though i don't remember them specifically), and they dried, canned and preserved vast quantities of food.  Needed it, too -- not that the family they supported was large, but they were very hospitable, social people -- even railroad tramps wouldn't be turned away hungry, back in the old days.

Ant and Uncle Ranse cultivated, planted, weeded, harvested -- did everything one does in a garden and in dealing with its products, by the moon's sign.

The moon as well as the sun and all the other planets each have their own signs and aspects as they move about in relation to one other.  Each moment has its own "natal chart," so that whatever happens (like a birth, for instance), it has an astrological signature all its own.  That's why all Cancerians, as an example, don't fit the timid, mommy-dependent, home-worshiping stereotype.  (I should know, being a Cancerian with my moon in Sagittarius, and my Mercury AND Venus in Gemini....)

But although interesting (and useful in dealing with one's children or a prospective partner), knowing these things about oneself is MOST valuable as a guide to action, in relation to the planets in the passing moment.  "The value of utilizing astrology in your life is to increase your conscious awareness of valuable timing and trends to be aware of in order to optimize opportunities for growth" wrote Kristen Fontana (who has a good free weekly horoscope online).

Speaking of growth, astrology is not only valuable in gardening, but in hair care.  Most of the beauticians i've asked about it heartily endorse the notion of cutting one's hair by the moon sign.  There are days which are more auspicious for "cutting for thickness," "cutting for growth," and "cutting to grow slowly"....  I used to have a great website to link to here, but it doesn't work anymore.  :-(

When i was first delving into the deeper aspects of astrology, i wasn't entirely convinced that there was anything in it.  I had borrowed a book which teaches how to draw up a chart, and i "did" myself, my husband and kids, my closest friends, and a few of the people i worked with, back then.  I was even inclined to doubt MORE when i did Tammy's chart; it described her as being flighty and unreliable -- and she was the most dependable of my co-workers!  ...Then one day, she didn't come in to work, because (we learned) she had just run away with her lover, from her husband and two little girls.

I'm a believer.  ;-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

thinking too much (by others) again

I don't know if this should be filed under "orthorexia" or "wasted youth"....

I no longer have a link to Mark's Daily Apple on my site, but i still strongly respect the guy.  He's no Peter or JS ... but then he's no SG, either; i don't agree with all he writes, but i still consider him reasonably reliable and not devious at all.  Of his readership, i don't think nearly so well.

The muscle-heads asked him some questions which he answered in his column today, and i have to be astonished that the former have nothing more important to occupy their thoughts.  How much is too much coconut milk?  How important is it to have cookies and/or juice after i give blood?  Is it okay to drink distilled water?  If i think i've depleted glycogen stores in my body, can i still deposit fat in my cells when i eat carbs?  JEEEZ!

Do these people have jobs, relationships, LIVES?  Some folks have REAL problems.  Some are out there trying to make the world a better place.

Rant over -- thanks.

another Mercury Retrograde

Here we go again.  The MR started over the weekend, and as i mentioned (repeatedly) in March, all kinds of frustrations are likely to occur for three weeks, involving travel, communications, electronics, buying/selling, learning/teaching....  So hold on to your hats ... er, patience!

The secret to "surviving" a MR is to check and double-check EVERYTHING.  Leave early, mail it registered, take an extra battery for your cellphone -- you get it.

On the other hand, retrogrades are good for some things.  Old projects which are unfinished may get a new lease on life.  You may run into old friends, or regenerate a relationship which you thought was over.  Watching old movies and listening to old music will be particularly appealing, and nostalgia will be in the air.

Me, i'm going to be working on the renovations of my living room, which have been in process for YEARS.  I have every confidence that it will work out well.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

yet another new beginning

All my socializing and gadding about seems to be over for awhile, so i start being perfect again tomorrow.  I know, i know -- i meant to do this exact thing last week, but it was easier said than done.  It's awfully hard to eat simply when someone else's tastes and appetites are to be considered too.  Also, my husband likes to cook, and it's darned difficult not to eat what he prepares -- you can imagine....

I started being more disciplined today (yesterday we were the guests of some friends, and i was pretty wicked). We had bacon, scrambled duck eggs*, buttered paleo toast and coffee for brunch, and after i returned from taking him to the airport, i had my beef and decaf for dinner, then had the last glass of red wine in the carafe -- waste not, want not!  Tomorrow it's back on the Strong Medicine regimen, because it controls hunger better than any means i know -- and having been corrupted with too many carbs over the past day or two, i BADLY need to get hunger back under control.  Right now, i've got a pretty bad case of the munchies ... which i will NOT yield to!

Tomorrow it's to be all meat and coffee, and i have a treat lined up -- a pastured pork roast that should last me at least four meals.  YUMMMMM!  I can see the scales readings going down already!

*  it surprises me that duck eggs haven't become the new magical food in the paleo world -- they're marvelous things, containing more nutrients than chicken eggs ounce for ounce, and more yummy fat, too!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

drugs and their rationale

"...To check healthy people’s blood to find deviations from normal is the freeway to unnecessary medication."  (Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD)

Does anybody but me think that it's weird to be constantly visiting doctors and testing things, when there is no feeling of illness prompting it?  At what point were we brainwashed into thinking the "annual checkup" was for OUR benefit rather than for doctors' financial well-being?  Could it have been around the time that the rich-office-practitioner golf-playing paradigm took over from the hard-working house-calling-country-doctor stereotype?

And do all the obsessive crossfitters, constantly reporting their lab values of this, that and the other thing REALLY go in for that many blood tests?

Honestly, the constant testing does tend to puzzle me.  Maybe it's one of the few things they CAN do to add that little razzle-dazzle to the office procedure.  "Ordering tests" sounds so important....  Besides weighing one, taking the blood-pressure, making one sit around barely covered for quarters of hours reading the fine print on framed documents to pass time, poking various tender portions of anatomy -- hmm, what can we do that will seem significant and will be simultaneously painful and expensive?  I KNOW!  We'll install a very fat needle under your skin and wiggle it in/out/side-to-side occasionally.  At least it's not as humiliating as lying there with one's feet in aerial stirrups....

And to what end?  So that some BigPharm-educated pusher can write yet another scrip and earn his kickback.  Prescribing statins for women.  Viagra for 80-somethings.  What a joke.

It's amazing -- since i took charge of my own health a few years ago, i've NEVER been healthier.  I don't get colds or flu worth mentioning -- maybe once or twice lightly in the last half-dozen years (and then, only when i've been around sick grandchildren).  Worst i've ever felt since i went low-carb is when i've fallen off the wagon.

Remember the reputed quote from a retired Merck CEO -- that it was his dream to sell drugs to healthy people so that he might expand his market....  I for one am not going to cooperate with this travesty of "health care."  Not going to give the pill-pushers a MODICUM of respect, because they've forfeited any claim to our good opinion.

Friday, July 13, 2012

WOW -- yet again!

Wow, indeed -- i'm doing a happy-dance (figuratively speaking) as i write....

Peter at Hyperlipid just did a blog-post on thyroid, and it fills in some holes in my understanding.  THIS is where a clinician runs rings around all the researchers and theoreticians in the world!  :-D  When you REALLY want to find out what's going on in a body, you learn to get the info you need one way or another -- if you can't get it directly, you find a way around.

I can't begin to summarize all his points -- you'll have to go read his post!  ...But i feel like it's a vindication of all i've been writing the last few days.

Of course, a knee-jerk reaction of mine within the first few paragraphs i read, was "how does a cat become hypothyroid?  could it be ... malnutrition?"

just take a pill....

[groan]  Don't bother.

Malnutrition IS associated with obesity.  So the first suggestion that people hear is "take a multivitamin/mineral."  Unless your diet is 100% GARBAGE (and some people do have such a diet) it's not going to fix much.

What are the worst imbalances in the common diet?  Maybe, lack of pantothenic acid?  Hardly (by dictionary definition, it's everywhere).  My vote is for TOO MUCH omega-6 fats, TOO MUCH fructose, TOO MUCH insulin-stimulating foods of all kinds, TOO LITTLE protein, TOO LITTLE omega-3s, short- and medium chain fatty acids....  No vitamin in the world is going to balance these problems.

Then, what good is it going to do you to take calcium, if your low K2 just sends it into your circulatory system instead of your bones and teeth, where it'll actually do you some good?  What good, all the minerals in minuscule quantities, which compete with each other for absorption?  What good vitamin C, when all the sugar in your diet ties up the receptors?

Thanks to SOME researchers, who have determined how nutrients perform in the body (NOT in vitro, which tends to mean about as much as epidemiological studies do), we can approach the subject of supplementation intelligently.  Read up on anything you have doubts about, from a reputable source -- people get themselves into trouble supplementing single substances when they don't.  Heard the stories about Hashi's patients getting sick on iodine?  That's because somebody didn't do their homework, and make sure they were sufficient in selenium too....

I don't think that there's much doubt, nutrients are BEST acquired through whole foods ... UNLESS there are absorption issues.  Nature, which formed us, also put our ideal food together -- though not in that order -- and the way nutrients arrive through a pre-agricultural diet require less adaptation by us to assimilate.  Less STRESS to our bodies (don't we have enough stress with modern lifestyles?).

But the next time your body doesn't act quite right, it's only reasonable to ask yourself, "could i be deficient in something" rather than "can i get a prescription to fix this."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

MY thyroid on VLC

Quite some time ago, there was a lot of noise in the paleo blogosphere about low-carbohydrate diets causing a drop in thyroid function.  I was puzzled by it, as i feel SO much better on LC.  Surely if it really DID lower function, i'd be the first to notice it!  The high-carb afficionados especially made a big deal about it.

Why do they insist so ardently that their way is the only way?  Because they hate eating that way themselves, and they don't want others to benefit from it, what?  ...Makes no sense to me.

Upon reading more from a range of sources, it turns out that ANY decent loss of weight makes the thyroid slow down -- LC is just more efficient for fat loss than most others.  It's all about energy availability in the diet -- your body is slowing down to protect you from the famine it thinks is coming.   From a subjective point of view, i didn't notice feeling worse because it obviously wasn't slowing down MUCH.  It may have been statistically significant, but those numbers they use are often arbitrarily chosen.  (Read Chris Masterjohn on statistics....)

I suspect that the lack of slowdown in MY body is all about the FIAF and the ghrelin.  One thing i DON'T feel on very-low-carb is draggy, dopey and dim -- i have to eat a "normal" amount of carbs to feel that crummy.

So if you're making good progress on LC but are worried about what it might be doing to your thyroid function, monitor yourself for energy levels and symptoms -- but remember that a lot of thyroid symptoms are tied up with nutrient deficiencies ... which may be causing your poor thyroid function in the first place!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

malnutrition causing hypothyroidism?

In THIS body, i think the answer is YES.  Other people often have different causes.

I was diagnosed at the age of about six months.  At that point, i had been fed artificially for about four months.  Back in the 1950s in Kansas, that would have meant cow's milk with added sugar; perhaps i had been started on cereal by that time, too.  I know NOW that i am sensitive to pasturized dairy, wheat, other gluten grains, corn, nightshades and molds (think candida):  hmmmmm....

What nutrients are crucial to thyroid function?  Maybe those minerals which don't get absorbed well when one's intestines are being irritated by the diet, like iron?  Maybe things that aren't plentiful in midwestern soil, like iodine?  Maybe things in foods that people don't give babies under 6 months, like liver and eggyolks?  Again -- hmmmmm....

As a child i always craved protein foods -- MEAT.  I think this was my body telling me what i needed to be healthy:  amino acids, saturated fat, trace minerals, B-vitamins.

Why do so many women develop hypothyroidism in middle age these days?  Is it because they're being so "good" they're starving themselves of the nutrients that they require to function properly?  We've been told for a long time that RED MEAT is wicked, you know!

Monday, July 9, 2012

thyroids and diets

The Wheat Belly blog is talking about thyroid issues as associated with weight loss today.  I tried to reply to one of the ladies' comments, but the spam-inhibiting system over there is really funky and i gave up.  However, this subject is important to me, so i can't resist saying a word or two.

Not being in the medical community myself, i'm not hindered by my ortho-education.  Whatever they ARE taught is obviously all about drugs or surgery.  High TSH with low T, and they medicate; high T and they 'ectomize.  Like a lot of allopathic medicine, i think it's lousy and half-assed.

When the "shortage" of natural thyroid happened a couple of years ago, i got mad (with "upset" as an intermediate step).  There were no fewer pigs, sheep and cattle than there were before, so it's a "feckin lie" that there was a shortage -- Armour simply wanted to change their formulation, and they were hand-in-glove with the bloody idiots who think that Synthroid is just the same as natural.  It's distinctly possible that some entity bought up supplies and dumped them out of the country or in the ocean, too.  Some people sneer every time they hear a hint of what they consider conspiracy theory, but there wouldn't be a name for it if it didn't exist.  I FIRMLY believe in conspiracies when it comes to parting fools and their money.

At that point, i did what any good internet-lover would do -- MY HOMEWORK.  Since then, i've learned a hell of a lot.  The way MY situation turned out, i take a generous handful of supplements and no prescription drugs -- though there are those who really ought to take both.

One of the most telling things i learned comes from my much-referenced source, "Strong Medicine."  Gettaloada THIS:

"At times thyroid extract can increase the cooking flame in the body, just as new sparkplugs may increase the efficiency of an automobile engine. It used to be thought that feeding it in small quantities might help to burn off excess body weight. With the exception of about four per cent, that happened regularly to people with the disease called exophthalmic goiter. They would usually melt away under the load of too much thyroid hormone in the blood. But it didn't work in simple obesity. Because so many thousands of fat people still uselessly take thyroid extract to lose weight, the subject needs to be more generally understood."*
Didn't work in simple obesity?  This was very interesting to me, on account o' because, "logic" dictates that increasing metabolism burns more calories, and increasing thyroid increases metabolism so WHY DOES EXTRA THYROID HORMONE NOT CAUSE WEIGHT LOSS across the board?

Short answer:  overweight people have messed-up metabolisms.  Something "different" is happening within the obese population Donaldson describes -- their bodies are not behaving normally in the presence of a metabolic stimulant.  Something in the thyroid-hormone domain has gone haywire, just as their energy-mobilizing/utilizing domain is also awry.  Thinking this through simplistically:  either the patient is getting T4 only and it's not getting converted to active T3, or there is so much rT3 in the system it's blocking the receptors of T3 so the latter is not getting utilized.  Then there are the adrenal complications which are only now gaining a degree of credence....

This is where the nutritional tweaker gets to be creative.  What nutrients are needed to make T4?  T3?  What competes with those?  What inhibiting factors hinder creation, conversion and usage?  What can we do to optimize every step of the way?

This is also where being a passive patient, popping pills instead of making lifestyle changes, will never make you feel your best.  If you're not getting enough sleep, you can take all the Synthroid your sources will allow and you'll be wasting it all down the rT3 slippy-slope.  It's like the diabetic woman who thought she could eat danish and take her insulin and everything would be all right -- no!

NO!  One has to make efforts to eat an appropriate diet, get appropriate exercise, and take appropriate supplements for anything one may not absorb, convert or synthesize adequately.  The hypothyroid body has distinct limitations on what it can absorb, convert and synthesize -- that's why i take so damn MANY supplements, why i take some together, some on an empty stomach, etc.  You have to do your own researching and testing.  Nobody else has your exact physiological situation.  Hop to it.

*  Donaldson says a lot more about the subject, and i encourage readers to look at it themselves here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

too tired to think -- so i'm blogging! ;-)

Yes, i'm being facetious....  I hope that i DO think adequately before i write, most of the time.

I just wanted to drop a line about the diets of dogs.  While out driving today, getting breakfast then shopping to restock the meat drawer, we drove past the place where i customarily buy Spenser's food and treats.  Something made me think about a friend who has mentioned that her dog has diabetes.

DIABETES IN DOGS???  This is just plain outrageous.  Of all the "diseases of civilization," doggie diabetes is just something that generally leaves me with my mouth hanging open, speechless.

Read the labels of mainstream, even high-end dogfood "products" and you'll see how it could happen.  An awful lot of the chows read like the labels of breakfast cereal.  One otherwise-acceptable treat had sugar as an ingredient.  What kind of idiot manufacturer thinks that sugar is a reasonable additive to DOG TREATS?

A few years ago when i ditched grains (for the most part) myself, i decided that it was even more absurd for Spense to eat them as it is for me.  I looked into a raw diet (which i personally believe is the optimal one), but decided that it needed to be easier for others to feed him when i'm not around, and therefore compromised on a kibble which contains some vegetables but not grains.  I went to Taste of the Wild, and it has definitely been beneficial for him -- no more problems with his anal glands, cleaner teeth, less itchiness, lower body fat ... and he likes it very well.  I'm pleased.  Finding the ideal treat is more difficult, as availability comes and goes when i find one i really approve.  I should probably just buy meat on sale and dehydrate it for him.

Really -- if you have a pet, DO think about what's in the stuff you feed him/her!  Grain products are not an evolutionarily-appropriate diet for dogs or cats.  And as for vegetarian diets for obligate carnivores...!  [groan]

made it!


The most punishing aspect of my return home from San Francisco may just be the climatic change!  Although we missed the 107-degree high, when we landed it was around 80 and it had been raining -- STEAMY!  The flight went well, especially since my husband had been bumped up to first class and gave the seat to me!  Bless him and splash him!!!

The house was still standing and the dog was still fine!  As i predicted, our dog-sitter reported that Spense had an anxiety-filled Fourth, but recovered by the next day, so all's well that ends well.

Tomorrow (TODAY!) it's back to being perfect.  Gotta do some meat-shopping!  :-D

Friday, July 6, 2012

another check-in

lol -- Y'all are going to get tired of hearing from me, today.

I've been catching up on miscellaneous posts as well as checking places where i've left comments and not been back, during this my day of recovery before i allow an airplane to stress me (i hate flying these days)....

One thing i've noticed the last few days is how dopey my thinking has felt.  Unless i'm much mistaken, i've been speaking more disjointedly and have been more easily distracted, too.  Having had nothing but coffee with cream and stevia (and supplements) for the last 18 or 19 hours, i feel as though my brain is coming back.  For me, this is the sine qua non of existence.

The "ghrelin effect" has kicked in, too:  that keen and alert feeling which encourages me to go out to hunt-and-gather....  ;-)

Ok, i'll shut up.

quick update

Four hours later, and i feel better already.

I can't help but think that the hypothesis is true, that the secret to coexistence with carbohydrates is all about calorie restriction -- either through modern IF'ing, or old-fashioned starvation.  Not that i'm in the least interested in embracing a higher-carb diet!  It makes me feel bloody awful.  On my beloved low-carb, the palpitations and tremors that more carbs cause are completely absent.  No muscle aches, fewer joint problems, happy intestines -- why on earth would i go back to carb-scarfing???

Nope.  ...I think i'll go pour myself another cup of coffee, WITH cream!

when will i ever learn?

This week of indulgent vacationing is almost over -- thank heavens!  ;-)  It's been something of an inversion -- a PERversion of what food-elimination diets are all about.  I've eaten things over the last week that i KNOW i should not eat, and am observing the consequences -- and don't try to tell me it's a reverse-placebo effect!

I have body-aches that i haven't felt since last year.  Anyone who has read some of my oldest postings might remember my awe when, after three weeks of the Personal Paleo Code program, i took a roadtrip and found that i was able to get out of the car (after driving for 6 hours straight) and experience no stiffness upon moving around.  At the time, i was SO impressed with the effects of the frequently-problematic-food avoidance, i couldn't see ever eating them again.

I ate them this past few days.  OUCH.  Wheat.  Corn.  Sauces containing mystery ingredients.  Industrial seed oils.  Sugar.

I HAVE had individual-meal "excursions" before, from my ideal diet, with limited repercussions.  One day of being "bad" can affect my knees, my water-balance, my allergies, and/or my digestion.  It takes several days to give me this gawd-do-i-feel-old sensation.  I'm sitting here right now with my feet up, leaning back comfortably against cushions; my lower-back hurts, my upper-neck hurts and my temples ache -- inflammation causes my glasses to fit poorly, and i get a pain behind my ears, as well.  I woke this morning with my hands and feet aching from the water retention.  Climbing out of bed was more trouble than it has been for seven months; i limped to the next room.

Today i'm fasting until dinnertime, and i anticipate feeling MUCH better.  I'm also going to do a little upper-body bodyweight exercise right before dinner -- some planks, maybe some pushups.  (Weightbearing exercise, especially in the upper body, is reputed to burn a LOT of glucose/glycogen.)  I'll be drinking as much coffee as is comfortable, with cream if i start feeling hungry.  I CAN LICK THIS!  ;-)

When i fly home tomorrow, i trust i'll be feeling at least a little better than i do right now.  When i get there i'll start being "perfect" again.  Perfection is MUCH easier than moderation.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

this one's for you, kids!

Toward the beginning of this week, when my daughter and her family converged with my husband and me in SF, i heard the news that my granddaughter had recently had several cavities.  She's five years old -- this needs to stop.

I still had a few sublingual K2 tablets from my last bottle, so decided to see if the kids would be willing participants in dosing them up.  Their mother being amenable, we gave it a try, and to my surprise and delight they didn't find them "gross" ... or even "YUKKY!"  (If there's going to be a perpetual struggle, it's sometimes a better idea to conduct a guerrilla-style nutritional war....)

Where they live, there's a significant drive involved in acquiring raw or pastured milk, and so i'm resigned to the fact that it's not gonna happen.  My daughter is interested in providing superior nutrition to her family, but with their busy young lives, there are limits to how much pastured and organ-meat, obscure vegetables and alternative-carb sources are going to be utilized.  Getting vitamin K2mk4 may just depend on using a supplement.

I find it's most effective to conduct my nutritional brainwashing in small steps; even here on vacation, i managed to get my daughter to watch "FatHead" via Netflix and my laptop -- and i was pleased that my SIL seemed interested, as well.  :-)  There's a virtue in having a talented presenter like Tom Naughton helping one conduct the education!

Next, i'll try to get her to read Chris Masterjohn's exposition of the vitamin K story -- that's the reason for today's post, to make this information easily available.  After that ... hmmm, should it be Mary Enig on fats, or J Stanton on protein, or That Paleo Guy on D...?  I'm so devious!!!  (She already knows about Mark's Daily Apple as an all-purpose site -- love those definitive guides.)

So anyway, when i reorder K2mk4, i'll get one for myself and have one sent to the kids as well.  The next thing i get my daughter to read or watch might depend on any challenges the children encounter.  That's a very powerful incentive for her to make progress in her nutritional education.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Son, you're on your own!"

Fred at Philosophy of Weight Management has a column that's very much to the point, today.  Everybody and his dog has something to say about obesity -- where it comes from, what to do about it, and who's at fault.  Few, however, are actually helpful.  Further, there are a great many entities which have a great deal to lose if a "cure" is widely available -- and these entities are frequently the most vociferous about what we should be doing.  (It's obvious how effective their advice is, too....)

How can anyone trust the advice of those who are making a lot of money out of the overweight???  But people do.  [eyes rolling]

We have to make ourselves responsible for our own health, because nobody else really has a stake in it.  If you must have a doctor to help you with some aspect, you should do your homework and see if his/her philosophy jibes with yours.  There ARE low-carb-sympathetic doctors out there, just as there are those who have had weight problems of their own.  Some of them have licked their weight challenges; i can only imagine that they have a little more insight and empathy than the always-lean ones -- but if they succeeded through starving and running marathons at the age of thirty, and you're 55 and female ... who knows?  ;-)

I'm sure i'm preaching to the choir when it comes to those who read here often.  I just hope that any newcomers will be inspired to think about it on my suggestion....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

horrible American food and dietary habits!!!

I'm in San Francisco for another visit this week.  It ain't N'Orleans, but we haven't had a bad meal yet. This is part of why i get a little annoyed with sweeping statements about how bad "American" food is, and how it's no wonder so many people are fat, seeing as how we eat fastfood all the time.

HUH?  News to me....

The Americas, in fact, have an awe-inspiring culinary heritage as a result of being the "melting pot of the world."  That statement may sound like a piece of self-important fatuousness, but like most banal truisms it has a basis in fact.  When people came here from all over the globe, they brought their food traditions -- and recipes -- with them.  The magic happened when old-world dishes couldn't be made exactly as they were before, and new-world ingredients were added in an attempt to replace the unobtainable.

Can ANYONE deplore the addition of pumpkins ... tomatoes ... CHOCOLATE to the world's collective cuisine?  I even stand staunchly behind potatoes and maize (if it's properly nixtamalized...).  Stevia.  Turkeys.  Why fixate on Dr. Pemberton's contribution to international culture and forget the rest?  And why conflate greedy businessmen trying to make a fortune off a cheap product, with creative purveyors of outstanding cuisine?

Jokes (and prejudices) aside, there's a wealth of great food here.  If you can't find it, you don't know how to look.  In some of the most out-of-the-way, unlikely places one may find a jewel, and some of the shabbiest dives serve the best food -- i could tell you stories....  Customers flock to our farmers' markets, which are packed with beautiful locally-produced foods of every variety.  Grass-fed beef, pastured pork, poultry and eggs, raw milk (where legal) are eagerly sought by people in-the-know, who impatiently sit on waiting-lists for an opportunity to buy.

Yes, a LOT of people eat McDonald's "food."  Most people don't eat it often, though.  They grab a burger or some doughnuts when they're on the highway or vacationing in a strange place, because they know what they'll be getting, and these places are EVERYWHERE.  Pizza becomes a "treat," when you don't allow yourself to eat it but once a year.  Ditto for Kentucky Fried Chicken.  These are things we picnicked on when we skipped classes and went to the park instead; we sat on the grass and listened to Chicago or Crosby, Stills & Nash on transistor radios, and "made out" in public to the shocked disbelief of our elders....

The only "people" i know who really seem to LIKE fastfoods are children of a certain stage of development, and i suspect it has a lot to do with the rarity of their visits, the fact that they don't get to drink soda with meals at home, the especially-enticing playground equipment, and the collectible toys that come with the "meals."  My grandchildren have the same enthusiasm for McD's that my own kids did; none of them has ever eaten like this regularly, because responsible parents (and there ARE a lot of them here, despite the poor advice they get about childrearing) don't allow it as a generality.  This stuff is designed to entice kids, and SOME kids (far from all) bullyrag their parents into going there SOMETIMES.  Especially when vacationing.

But "bad American food"?  It's out there, but it's pretty easy to avoid, too.  Next time you're in St. Louis, go to Billie's Fine Foods -- it's an old-school diner, and it has one of the best omelettes i've ever tasted, the Supreme.  Highly reminiscent of a supreme pizza, as a matter of fact.  At the Deja Vu in New Orleans, get the Deja Vu omelette (not available during Mardi Gras week, though).  These are not places you'll find in touristy areas -- you actually have to look for them, google-search good restaurants in strange towns and read the reviews.  Of course, if your bus is leaving in 20 minutes and you're ravenous, McDonald's and Cici's Pizza IS right there, and you know what you're getting....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

eat low-carb, or punish yourself

That title was meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek.  I have to announce this up front, or some doctorate-types would insist that i'm 1) lying; 2) ignorant; 3) unqualified to open my mouth in public; or 4) all the above.

Reading all the commentary (in TPJ-approved sites) on why the Kitavan diet isn't a high-carb diet in the "modern world's" sense, something occurred to me:  a truly high-carbohydrate diet is all about Biblical-style asceticism!  YES!  If you eat a high PERCENTAGE of your diet as carbs you have a few choices to make, to keep yourself from embodying the Deadly Sins of Gluttony and Sloth.

You can eat your huge percentage of carbohydrates in comparatively meagre quantity.  A very low CALORIE diet can afford to be high-carb!  And what do we call a very low calorie diet, kids?  STARVATION.  Saints used to be very fond of that; it shows that you value spirituality more than worldly hedonism -- and you get really kewl visions and stuff -- sometimes you get to hear God talk to you!

Instead of eating very little every day, you can also choose to eat as much as you want today, and nothing at all tomorrow -- it balances out the same way.  If you prefer to eat every day, you can also decide to eat for a very short time.  Fasting is a multi-disciplinary-approved means of self-denial.

OR ... you can eat enough to saturate your bodies with all those strengthening "energy foods" and work extra hard to make them go into the SPECIFIC tissues you want them in.  Punishing the body to chasten it was also very popular in the height of the monastic era (AKA the Dark Ages).  If you worked hard enough you could make your body forget it has all sorts of horrible urges like ... a LIBIDO!  Ewwwww....  Where's that Ben-Gay -- i mean HAIR SHIRT?

;-)  Thanks but no thanks.  Their self-righteousness is not for me!  The believers in Gluttony and Sloth (reincarnated as food reward) may think i'm damned because of my faith in the Golden Calf (BEEF, yes!), but i'm not afraid.  Even if they're right about my destination, their idea of hell has no terrors for me -- and the music there is said to be much better.