Friday, August 31, 2012

can't resist

'Cause i FEEEEEEL good.  Amazing how that works.  A certain kind of low-carb intake for me, and pain-free ease of movement happens that, if i were a natural-born dancer, i wouldn't be able to stop myself.

[Why did dance movements have to get more complicated than the Twist and the Jerk?  I could manage THOSE.  ;-) ]

I had an extra glass of wine last night, and started eating stuff -- oh, it was low-carb stuff, but included things like ice-cream made from the recipe in Nourishing Traditions (except the sweetener was liquid sucralose and i deleted the arrowroot.  why arrowroot?  home-made ice-cream doesn't need thickeners).  Some of that excellent prosciutto-mozzarella roll (WITH basil) made by the Volpi company right here in St. Louis.  Sugar-free chocolate.  Since i didn't measure anything, i don't have any idea how the calorie-count would differ from the usual.

The additional alcohol mandated a bi-phasic night's sleep, but there was no distress associated.  I feel good!  ;-)

just plain cruel....

So bloggers from "both sides" are looking at the NIH study which "proves" that caloric restriction does not prolong life in the rhesus monkey.  ...I don't think the proof is quite final.

I'm inclined to side with Dr. Rosedale upon learning that the poor things were eating a low-cal diet all their lives, which was 60% carbohydrate.  Imagine how hungry they must have been!  I think that the depression that you see in human beings eating like this should be factored into the mortality rates.  Anybody but me ever read "When the Body Says No"?

Imagine eating 30% below normal intake of calories through your growth spurts and reproductive years.  Then think about 60% of the calories you ARE allowed to eat, being things that will spike blood-sugar ... and the low-sugar "hungries" that follow.  I think that's just plain cruel.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

effective dose(s)

Today, the boost i got from the increased dosage of tyrosine continues....

Yesterday, the wired feeling wasn't there in the excessive way it was on Tuesday; today is similar to yesterday.  Both days, i woke up a bit slowly, but after the AAs and ONE cup of regular coffee, i was ready to be busy.  When i let the dog out at about 7, the evening was so pleasant -- balmy and good-smelling -- i went back inside, put on shoes, got a leash, and we went for walkies.

I didn't get this huge boost when i first started tyrosine supplementation.  I THOUGHT my energy was a little better, but it was far from obvious.  Just goes to show, taking piddly little amounts of SOME nutrients is not going to impact one's quality of life.

Of course, there are nutrients which are only needed in small quantities, and with any supplement it's prudent to "start low and go slow."  However, tyrosine is one of many which obviously require a significant amount before they benefit ME much.

Self-experimentation is important in these matters -- the one gram that's energizing me so well is probably too much for some people but not enough for others.  We have to keep an eye, also, on interactions between nutrients; in the case of vitamins A and D, appropriate ratios are essential, just like the situation with iodine and selenium.

I'll keep taking this quantity, and see how habituated i become to it.  So far, SO GOOD.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


...At least i was, yesterday afternoon.  I need to watch what happens the rest of this week, while i continue the increased level of tyrosine supplementation.

I had something on my mind yesterday, though, and i suspected that the "overstimulated" feeling might have been psychological in origin.  It didn't really occur to me that it might be just a very high-revved response to the only change in diet/supplementation i had made.  I self-medicated (with a couple of glasses of wine), but it took me a little more time to get to sleep last night (and this was well after the thing-on-my-mind was resolved).  I then overslept this morning.

So i'm a little off-schedule today, but loaded with some abnormal energy.  Whether it's physical or mental will reveal itself eventually....

Meanwhile, i'm going to reduce my caffeine intake.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

HERE'S a thyroid-adrenal connection for you....

It's my favorite non-essential amino acid.  It's one of the two building-blocks of thyroid hormones.  It's an important precursor to catecholamines too, i find.  It's tyrosine.

Tyrosine is created in the body from phenylalanine, with iron as a part of the catalysis, and oxygen.  If something is missing -- voila, hypothyroidism and STRESS in capital letters.  It makes me want to take the "iron-overload" alarmists by the throat and shake.  HARD.

I've been supplementing with tyrosine for months now, and i'm very pleased with how it has improved my native thyroid production.  I had no idea it was important in stress-management, too, through its role in norepinephrine and dopamine production; it alleviates depletion of brain catecholamines when administered to animals (including humans) who are subsequently exposed to stresses of various kinds.

Of course, i like best those trials which are decently designed and controlled, and use PEOPLE, who (for the most part) differ from mice.  ;-)  In one, the subjects were kept up all day and night, and given some mood and performance tests, in which tyrosine beat placebo for both kinds of "decline."  In another, tyrosine beat placebo again when tried on cadets undergoing combat training, and lowered blood-pressure as well.  Yet another showed that tyrosine buffered subjects from the mood and memory decreases in people stressed with cold exposure.

Hmmmm, cold exposure....  Maybe if i up my tyrosine supplementation, i can actually try (and perhaps benefit from) CT?

Well, CT or no CT, i DO plan to increase my daily dose.  Who knows what all will improve -- i'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 27, 2012

benefit from exercise to the struggling thyroid

Don't expect me to tout a vigorous exercise program to help you lose weight if you're hypothyroid -- it ain't gonna help, and it might hurt.  Now, is that what you wanted to hear or not?  ;-)

Start looking into the subject, and you'll find a lot of the old conventionalwisdom.  Since hypothyroids find it easy to gain weight, CW dictates anything you do to combat this is a good thing, including those lovely strictures about aerobic exercise and a balanced diet.  The more progressive sites might actually recommend strength training and a lower-carb diet.  If you're persistent in pushing that "next" button on Google, you'll eventually find a couple of actual evidence-based sources of information.

Like here:  i learned that hard exercise "eats through" thyroid hormone like it's going out of style (kinda like eating a high-carb diet).  If, like me, you make enough hormone to get you through a good day but are challenged when things don't go just right, this is a recipe for massive discomfort.  In another study, the upshot i got was that you can manipulate the lab numbers all you want, but it's not going to improve the body's actual performance.

This is not to say that i don't believe in ANY exercise, but i now find the argument weak that we believed in so long -- that exercise revs your metabolism, and that a revved metabolism results in weight loss.  Wooo's post about that convinced me ... along with my personal experience.

What exercise is best for seems to be the chance to get outdoors, breathe some fresh air, and move at a constant pace for a half-hour or so, giving all my muscles a chance to extend and contract, not just the ones between my ears.  ;-)  More importantly to those of us who find weight-loss challenging, i believe, is encouraging mitochondrial health and development, which is what the tabatas do.

My experience says that a good brisk walk in nice weather is both pleasant and helpful; it improves the wind (no, not THAT kind of wind) and i find it also dampens appetite.  The little bit of tabata-sprinting i've done on the stationary bike seems constructive, too, but what feels best is about three sets of 15-20 seconds of hard pedaling with a couple minutes slow movement in between -- certainly not the full minute of all-out effort in one go, that some sources recommend.

I don't know about you, but i consider my findings rather encouraging!  Even if i were convinced that hard aerobic exercise was going to be beneficial ... well, it just would NOT happen.  KNOWING that working that much is actually problematic makes me face a "workout session" a lot more cheerfully.  I don't have to feel guilty -- as if i ever would -- under the misapprehension that self-torture is somehow good for one.

funny, now "adrenal exhaustion/burnout" IS real....

A couple of years ago when i was first reading up on how to improve my hypothyroidism, i came upon a website that spoke of how "adrenal fatigue" complicates it.  I'd never heard of such a thing before, but perusing the chart it sure hit home.

You see, i don't HAVE some of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism (mine are those most closely associated with nutrient deficiencies).  I should have a slow heartbeat and low blood pressure and poor appetite, but in fact, it's historically been the opposite.  I used to be strung WAY too tight.  Yep, i seemed to be exhibiting the "combination" problem.

So i tried a cheap-and-dirty remedy -- i started using tincture of licorice a couple of times a day, and concentrated on relaxation and stress-avoidance.  It helped a LOT.  I haven't felt the same kind of exhaustion i used to, in a long time.  And when i was doing all that reading, "authorities" were pouring scorn on the whole idea that mere stress could result in depleted adrenal function....

As usual, when i was reading about what nutrients might bolster adrenal function, there was a lot of common factors with thyroid function -- vitamins A, C, E, quality proteins, magnesium and zinc....  No wonder that my adrenal function seems repaired, as my recent supplementation covers the bases pretty darned well.  Note to self:  start adding nutritional yeast to soups and things -- i already have a big bag of it in the freezer, because i used to use it regularly.

Oh, i also need to add, i had never "done" VLC when the "adrenal complication" made its presence known.  When i began developing it, i hadn't even done LCHF.  To blame burnout on LC is just plain nonsense, though i can see how it might exacerbate the problem.

Well, i obviously need to read up more on the situation ... now that it actually EXISTS!  ;-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

food elimination for achy old bodies

As today has progressed, the waterlogged feeling from last evening's carb-fest has morphed to generalized weariness and muscle aches.  Interesting.

I broke my fast in the early afternoon with The Kitchen Sink burger at Molly's (without the bun, of course), and i was wicked enough to have the Cuban Black Beans as my side-dish.  Yum.  My belly comfortably full, i immediately got sleepy, so when we returned home i had a cup of coffee to help keep me conscious until it should be a reasonable time to go to bed.  I sat down to read, and when i got up again some time later i was stiff and sore.

This isn't the first time that the relationship of diet to pain has come to my notice.  But who would intuit such a thing in the medical community?  When somebody says, "Doc, i'm full of body aches," does s/he reply, "You need to try an elimination diet," or is it more likely to be, "You have to expect this as you age," or "Here's a prescription for a new fibromyalgia drug"...?

Diet is not an example of "what does not kill me makes me stronger."  In the case of food, the adage more like to be helpful is "the dose makes the poison."  You CAN have too much of a good thing, but a little of a bad thing tends to be much more likely to occur, over and over, till the body's coping mechanisms give out one by one.

It's a real pity that some people will never know how their choice of food impacts their daily comfort and well-being.  Perhaps they'd choose the wheat, sugar and seed-oils anyway, but i'd like to think that some would consider it worthwhile to avoid the irritants rather than live with the irritation and try to numb it with pharmaceuticals.

Well, three days of the anti-inflammatory VLC diet i favor will make a new woman of me, who will eventually whoop it up again ... and so on and on.  But i'm making my choices with my eyes open; i feel sympathy for people who don't have a clue.  I even feel sorry for medical professionals who are taught that diet isn't important.

i was bad again


Oh, not really horrible -- there will be no lasting damage.  We just spent last evening with our dear neighbors who ALWAYS fill us with great food, wine and friendship.  Had a great time, drank too much and ate a lot of carbs.  Won't happen again for some time.

THIS is why i'm "good" most of the time -- so i can enjoy a blowout like this occasionally with no regret.  Should i call it an unintentional leptin reset?

I DO realize that i'm lucky, and what i ate over the course of a few hours won't start me down a cravings-slide:  some people are in danger if they have ANY disallowed food.  If i indulged for an extended period, it would be more dangerous in that respect, kinda like when my husband worked in New Orleans for almost two years.  I had been doing low-carb for five years or so at that time, and going back to occasional wheat-eating was hard on my body, but i was also doing a huge amount of walking, so the scale went up only a little -- though the pain levels were significantly higher.  But sometimes things were irresistible -- barbecued oysters, anyone?  :-)

Today i'm delaying my fast-breaking, allowing some of that stored sugar to come out and be burnt.  Tomorrow i'll have the guts to get back on the scale.  I have a beautiful chuck roast all ready to go into the grinder, and i'll start eating right again, and we'll all live happily ever after.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Donaldson's 25%

This idea occurred to me several days ago, but i was in the middle of something and i didn't write it down....  Well, i'm reminded of it again now.

A favorite blogger has been on a VLC regime which, though she doesn't really like it, IS effective for weight loss.  Unfortunately, the discomfort of it caught up with her and she's had to abandon it -- you HAVE to abandon an eating plan which makes you feel awful, no matter if others thrive on it or what.

When i read in "Strong Medicine" that 75% of Donaldson's patients did very well on his VLC regime, i didn't really spend much time thinking about the ones who did not.  He didn't describe them in much detail, but left me with the impression that they just didn't care to comply.  I'm rethinking that now.

Suppose they were like our blogging friend, who was doing the program determinedly, but had to give it up because it didn't agree with her physiology?  Shall we use as a reasonable assumption that up to 25% of the population CANNOT do VLC, for thoroughly valid reasons?  Perhaps their genetic backgrounds are such that they do not make the right enzymes to thrive on a diet providing very few carbohydrates.  Perhaps their collections of gut-bugs aren't optimal for the situation.  There could be all kinds of reasons, but the upshot is, VLC is just not right for them.

Makes good sense to me:  NO single regimen is right for EVERYONE.

Friday, August 24, 2012

good sleep, good morning -- just CORRELATION

Yes, i took melatonin last night.  I woke up slightly in the wee-small hours, but drifted right off again.  Got somewhere around ten hours of good rest, making up for the two previous nights.

I woke up cheerful, serene and alert; the scale was down another half-pound.  I was WICKED yesterday, and had a couple of cocktails (home made -- only significant sugar was in the ounce or two of Cointreau) with my pound of meat (over two meals), and my supper was a good-sized glass of home-made raw-milk kefir.

Since i had tired myself out on wednesday, patching plaster in my still-renovating living room (it was all the ladder-climbing), i took it easy yesterday and included a long hot bath.  No walkies, only one or two trips to the basement and none to the attic.

Am i going to advocate this as a perfect formula for weight loss?  HELL no!

Just because a sugar-containing increase in carbs for one day RESULTED in weight loss, doesn't suggest to me that yesterday's intake was optimal.  It was just delicious and satisfying.  If i repeated it, the scale would probably be up tomorrow.

In looking at the recent iniquitous studies that condemn red meat and egg yolks and all those foods WE have been improving our health with, paleo/low-carb authors are always decrying the confusing of correlation with causation.  But ya know what i've noticed?  They don't mind mere correlation at all, when results tell them something they want to hear.  Chairs kill?  Standing-desks are best?  People who walk or bike to work are thinner?  I don't think anyone has even done a randomized, controlled study on those things.  Why are they considered gospel?  Because it fits into people's belief systems.

Now, i'm not one to deride anecdotal evidence.  In many cases -- like, when Drs. Atkins or Davis observe hundreds of patients improve health with the removal of sugar, wheat, vegetable oil, whatever from their diets -- THIS is powerful evidence and more likely to be true than a BigPharm trial that's rigged from the start.  You just have to make sure that the people telling the anecdote are on the same page with you.

So today, i'm going to resist the temptation to repeat my good-resulting behavior of yesterday.  My breakfast was a good-sized serving of Italian Almond Cream (an Atkins recipe -- if you've never tried it, you SHOULD -- delicious!) with my coffee.  I think i'll have a steak for lunch/dinner, but no cocktail-hour today.  Since i've had such good luck on weight this week, i won't anticipate the scale going down for several days.

That should correlate with long-term success.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

let's all drink to chlorogenic acid!!!

I've been enjoying myself, reading the archives at Low-Carb for You (and learning that Stargazey is still around, despite her long silence).  Reading about coffee/caffeine (one of my daily indulgences) was very illuminating.  :-)

Now, i was already encouraged in this consumption by Dr. Donaldson -- his strongest weight-loss regimen includes nothing (ingested) save water, fatty meats and coffee, though he has less-stringent prescriptions for those whose problem is less urgent or more allergen-related.  I already know enough not to take too much coffee in total or ANY non-decaf too late in the day; the former practice so customizes me to caffeine that i can't get a "jolt" when i need it, and ... well, an old broad like me doesn't tolerate high-octane coffee in the late-afternoon or evening worth a damn.

Since i did the food-elimination exercise in January, too, i've learned to enjoy coffee without additives, and this causes me to put it into the "innocent" (i.e., non-fattening) category.  I also like iced coffee, which provides the refreshment of a cold, caffeinated beverage without the baggage that colas (etc) bring with them.

...So i read Stargazey's blog-post, and decided i needed to read up on those other components of coffee which theoretically make it superior to mere supplemental caffeine for weight loss and metabolic health.  My affection for Wikipedia was once again supported, through what i read about the coffee-component, chlorogenic acid.  An excerpt:

Chlorogenic acid has been shown in in vitro studies to inhibit the hydrolysis of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase in an irreversible fashion. This mechanism allows chlorogenic acid to reduce hepatic glycogenolysis (transformation of glycogen into glucose) and to reduce the absorption of new glucose. In addition, in vivo studies on animal subjects have demonstrated that the administration of chlorogenic acid lessens the hyperglycemic peak resulting from the glycogenolysis brought about by the administering of glucagon, a hyperglycemiant hormone.
It could be involved in the laxative effect observed in prunes.

No wonder there's a reverse correlation of coffee-drinking and diabetes, be it ever so small.  And that coffee provides the bonne bouche of "encouraging" the bowels (always desirable to a hypothyroid).

So i raise my cup of Sumatra Reserve to chlorogenic acid -- may our association be a long and happy one!

insomnia -- not a bad thing?

I seem to go through phases of sleeping less and sleeping more.  Like the phases of what i feel like eating, and phases of greater/lesser thyroid function, i'm concluding that these things are not pathological unless they go on too long, or go out of reasonable boundaries.

"This morning" i woke up at around 3 (four hours sleep), and when i couldn't doze off again over the next hour, i gave up the attempt.  This follows a night of only about 6 hours.  Tonight, i'll make sure to take some melatonin so it doesn't become a habit.

The body is an amazing self-regulatory system.  When we try to micromanage it, we end up doing things we never intended.  (This is one of the reasons i avoid pharmaceuticals....)  If we try to INSIST that our bodies eat or sleep or give birth or poop or whatever, when our bodies aren't READY to do it, doesn't it make sense that the rebellion might be an ugly thing?  Not to mention the emotional stress that we get from the frustration, when our control-demanding minds completely fail to get the results we think we should.  And the physical stress that we cause when we try....

A little bit of the fatalism and acceptance-of-the-unavoidable of times past may be good for us.  If we don't EXPECT to be able to control every facet of our lives, the stress goes way down.  It helps to have a philosophy that says that things will be okay anyhow -- i suppose that's why people can have some really irrational religious beliefs when times are hard.

It can be easy to let it drive you crazy when you NEED SLEEP and it eludes you.  Just like, when you're doing everything right and the weight just won't come off.  Western culture telling us that we SHOULD be able to have and do ANYTHING WE WANT, if only we want it BADLY ENOUGH, has been a piss-poor influence, in my opinion.  Ironic, that the voice of reason in this regard comes from a pop icon in "you can't always get what you want, ... but you just might find, you get what you need."

I think that giving your body what it needs, and then having a little trust in it to manage itself properly, is wiser than trying to get it to perform the way you want and to schedule, like a synchronized-swimming team.  Especially if your body is ... shall we say, atypical?  There's NO authority which knows it as well as it knows itself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

dichotomy of good and evil ... in blogging

Something good DOES come out of the occasional dearth in publishing of the best bloggers' posts -- to keep one's insula built up, one has the incentive and opportunity to read more from the archives of the Great.  This time it's Peter's turn, and i'm reading about AGE, RAGE and ALE.

I'm not saying that he's not an ornament in the veterinary field he graces, but DAMN, this guy probably missed his vocation.  He's a spectacular teacher.  I'm still rather behind in understanding THOROUGHLY his current series on protons, etc., but i have confidence that, if i read it through enough times and keep looking up what all those molecules do, i'll catch on eventually....

I started to write the above, yesterday.  The carnitine i've been taking HAS been giving me more physical energy (more on that later), and i interrupted myself to do some house maintainence and other things, though.  Then, i was "energized" by the MDA post to write what i did yesterday evening, leaving this one for later....

Some good blog-related news greeted me this morning, though -- Mike Eades has finally posted again, and what he had to say was very cheery for "our" point of view.  Mere macronutrient variation has profound effects on physical composition ... but i'll let you read it yourself if you haven't already (ha!).

Without the help of laboratories, i could have made the same attestation ... but i had to drop into VLC-land before it became apparent.  You have to understand, although i'm not averse to MOVING, i HATE to "work out."  Always have.  I enjoy taking a hike but not a walk.  If it's "play" i'm willing to consider it, but for the sake of "exercise..."?  Two thumbs down.

But i can tell that i've been putting on muscle since i went ultra-low in my carb consumption, and the mechanism has been understood for some time (hint:  what does protein do?).  ;-)  I'm stronger without having CONSCIOUSLY tried to build muscle.  If the lab-rats find new examples of how it works, that's GRAVY!

I'll append a progress report here, since this is such a miscellaneous post.  The scale was down a bit this morning -- hurrah!  :-)  Digestion back in balance, no weather-induced allergy woes, 8.8 pounds to goal ... life is good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

women usually....

Uh-oh!  ;-)

Poor Mark -- he may have opened a can of worms today.  Granted it was more of an "intro to" than a "definitive guide," but when he started describing female fat physiology, i started ticking off items -- one after another -- that not only fail to describe my body NOW, but consistently fail to describe its performance EVER.

You know where the most annoyingly persistent fat is on my body?  The upper back.  Where i lose fat first?  My hips.  Where i'd LOVE to lose some weight, and can't seem to?  My boobs.

I've always had a comparatively flat stomach, though two pregnancies and an abdominal surgery have left it looking rather like a weathered WWI battlefield.  My legs are almost embarrassingly muscular, and i have a strong butt and longisimus dorsi muscles (tenderloin).  My flexed biceps promise more power than my upper body actually has, and my lower arms both promise and deliver strength.  In my slender youth, i never had a "nipped" waist, but it's decently defined now.

But i sweartogod i'm a woman....

(One that hates generalizations.)

digestion, again -- cashews!

Yesterday afternoon i ate a few cashews that i had soaked "raw" and dehydrated myself, along with the last half-glass of champagne from last week.  ...I'm beginning to think i have a problem with cashews, or champagne*, or both.

After my dinner of baked wild-caught salmon (which was very rich), i ended up taking a betaine-HCl ... and then finally, shortly before bedtime, a dose of enzymes.  That helped.

OBVIOUSLY, i'm going to have to change the way i process my cashews, or give them up entirely.  "Raw" cashews are in fact not really raw; they've been heat-treated in the process of removing their casings -- i hate to call them SHELLS, because cashews aren't really like other nuts.  In fact, they're related to mangoes and poison ivy.

From what i've been able to find out in 15 minutes with the help of google, a lot of people have trouble digesting cashews -- it seems the main protein(s) aren't broken down well with pepsin in the stomach.  The most complete info came from here:

I was ready for them to perform differently in soaking and dehydration, upon advice from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.  You're not supposed to soak them for over 6 hours, because the heat-treatment they've already gone through keeps them from being sproutable, and they just get slimy and ferment.  They need dehydrating at a higher temperature than the other nuts/seeds i've worked with, too, and it took quite a long time.  They finally came out, with a very good texture, but there was barely any saltiness to them.

I might use up the rest of the quart of the "finished" nuts i have, by putting them in combination with other things and cooking them more, or ... maybe they won't bother my husband, and he'll happily finish them.  The last of the raw ones, i'll try doing in the oven (higher temp than the dehydrator) with a little sea-salt sprinkled directly on them.

[sigh...]  And i love cashews.  :-(  But if it's a case of feeling like i have a nascent volcano in my belly, they may have to go the way of wheat.  There are plenty more fish in the sea -- i mean NUTS in the TREE!
*  the good news is, there doesn't seem to be a lot of anecdotal evidence for champagne causing maldigestion, outside overdrinking.

Monday, August 20, 2012

but you CAN'T count 'em

More and more people are saying, in the low-carb world, that calories still count.  In an abstract way, you can't argue with the logic -- if, over time, your intake of energy is less than what your body burns or excretes, you can't help but lose weight ... and the opposite scenario works, too.

The sooner people are disabused of the idea that they can eat endless quantities of fatty foods (as long as they're low-carb) and still lose weight, the better.  It seems typical that SOME of us get carried away with tricky stuff like heavy cream and nut-based baked goodies....  To reach our goals, a LITTLE self-restraint seems inevitable.

But as Pal Jabek once said, although calories count, don't bother to count them.  I would change that maxim a bit, myself -- energy-balance counts, but there ain't no way on god's earth you can measure it without a great deal of time, money (a metabolic chamber can't be cheap, nor endless blood-tests), and expertise.  Calorie tables, and the amount your treadmill says you're burning, are bullshit -- both being notorious for telling you what you want to hear:  the low end of the truth in the first case, and the upper end in the other.

Biology just doesn't seem to work like math and physics, but has the subtlety and "surprise" of chemistry.  Perhaps the people who cling to CICO are those who want to force the numbers to do what they want done?  A left-brain/right-brain situation?  :-)  I'll leave it to our psychology-savvy friends to illuminate us, there.

The compromises we make for the sake of success don't seem that tricky.  We don't HAVE to eat our coconut-flour pancakes in the form of a chunk of raw coconut beside a couple of plain eggs as some purists would have us do, nor should we have to forgo cream cheese because it's "processed."  But chowing down on the equivalent of a cupful of nuts (easy to do when they're ground up), or drinking a whole glass of cream seems like TOO MUCH of a good thing, to me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

plant rant ;-)

I tend to smirk when i hear of recommendations that our diets be of "mostly plants."  WHY?  Because this is a sop to nutritional powers-that-be, a sort of middle ground we can all agree on?  (Tra-la-la....)  A gesture that shows how reasonable and moderate we are?  A tipping of the hat to agriculturalists and the vegetarian agenda?  Screw dat.

I just began to read "Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice, and the Physiology of Digestion" by Dr. Beaumont in 1839.  I'm already amused, just from perusing the table of contents.  Then there's this:  "The facility of digestion of different articles of diet, and the quantity of nutrient principles which they contain, have been subjects of some discrepance of opinion among physiologists.  They have settled down, however, into a belief, probably as near the truth as practicable, that animal food is more readily assimilated, and affords more nutrition in a given quantity, than vegetable or farinaceous food."  IF WE KNEW THIS SHIT BY 1839, WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL ARGUING ABOUT IT?

Because convincing us that peasant food is good for us, keeps us peasants.  Weak, dumb, sick, docile ... and pouring more and more money into the pockets of people who sell us the cheap carbohydrate foods, who are in bed with the doctors and medical researchers, who are in bed with the pharmaceutical companies, who are in bed with politicians on every level and in every field.

How i and a growing number of others in the VLC community eat is a slap in the face to the "health-" and junkfood-promoting portions of our societies. We refuse to play.  We won't dance.  We WILL NOT participate in their weakening, pathology-producing rituals of mutual acceptance and social bonding over CIAB.  We're renegades.

Our WOE gives us power, and societies HATE individuals with power.  We can do without the "kool-aid" so where can they come at us, to subjugate us again?  I'm sure they'll try to think up something.

Oh -- when we end up in the concentration camp being fed "their" diet, remember what we learned from the Kitavans:  eat your carbs in one big meal in the evening, so when the glucose/insulin levels go down you can burn fat for the other 22 hours of the day.  ;-)

adventures in questionable nutrition

It's a grey morning and my husband is still out of town, so i'm reveling in that wonderfully self-indulgent treasure so precious and rare to people like me....

NO, i didn't pull out some hoarded treat!  ;-)  I'm talking about QUIET, about opportunity for thought with no distractions.  At this time of day, even the dog is still and undemanding.

I'm looking back on the last few weeks and assessing progress, summing up the lessons that life has sent.  An' ya know what?  Well-being, for me, seems to be mostly about the gastrointestinal tract.  Aside from allergic annoyances (which definitely have an interaction with the microbiota), what discombobulates my body most is an upset of the system which is dependent upon what gets fed through the input valve.  The right animal flesh runs the biological mechanism very well indeed; the wrong plant matter presages a fuel-line or combustion problem.

I think back to the Salad of Doom, and to the difference between the Indulgent Anniversary Dinner and the Decadent Anniversary Snack, and things seem so simple....

Since that time, in the last half of the twentieth century, when it was pointed out that some of the favorite vegetables in the western diet in fact contained less vitaminsandminerals than people thought, first "fiber" and then "antioxidants" became the rallying cry for the "goodness" of healthyfruitsandvegetables.  What are we finding out now?  That fiber is unnecessary, and that antioxidants seem to work through a mild form of poisoning (aka hormesis).  Technically, we don't need this junk.

That beautiful big healthy salad (which DID taste good) made me feel crummy for a solid week.  The wicked and self-indulgent carbs (rice and sugar, a tiny bit of wheat), eaten in small quantities in the company of plenty of lovely raw (and cooked) meat, were minimally harmful.  Food and drink which are "innocent" under the right circumstances are problematic when consumed incorrectly.

Sorry it's not more original, but ... the dose DOES make the poison.  Get what nourishes you first (steak tartare in this case, but oysters work well too), and the asparagus and spinach, AND sugar (as a "garnish," not as a "full course") aren't going to hurt you as much.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

and another one bites the dust

LOL -- i keep having to add and take away links on my blog-list....  (And i'm still waiting for you, Keto, to do your duty and join in!  ...Just teasing, of course.  You'll start writing when you're READY.)

I removed the Perfect Health Diet from the list, because i think Paul has gone too far in entangling his ego with his safe starches.  The point he originally made, that things like white rice are non-toxic compared with phytate- and gluten-bearing starches, is the valid one.  Where he's gone from there -- suggesting that 30% of diet from these foods for EVERYBODY is appropriate -- is downright batty.  He's holding on tighter to safe-starch than the good doctor has to food-reward!

I considered adding Dr. Rosedale, but he's a little too extremist for my taste (ditto for Dr. Kruse):  SOME of us need rather more generous amounts of protein than he'd allow.  

And, dare i say, websites that feature photos of grinning, slim, white men are starting to get on my nerves?  ;-)  Even drawings of them.....

Dogs, however, are always a plus.  ...I do wish Sam would post a little more often!  Adele has joined the list, too, and she's quite a bit more prolific.  But what's become of Stargazey?!

being crude, sorry ... [burp]

Yesterday was our anniversary (proper) and my better half was out of town, which is why we had our celebratory dinner a week early.  Didn't stop me from opening a bottle of sparkling wine and being a bit nutritionally-wicked, anyway....  my dinner was mostly swiss cheese with a few rice-crackers, and i indulged in a dessert of decaf and a couple of sugar-free chocolates.

By 10:00 my stomach was screaming at me, and a betaine-HCl tablet hadn't helped.  Three glasses of champagne plus coffee are more than enough to foul up my stomach acidity, and that much cheese (probably 3 oz.) was unadvisable under the circumstances.  At 11:00 i had a few enzymes, and laid on my left side, waiting for my book to put me to sleep.  I was glad that nobody but the dog was there to hear the ... eructation.  This morning i have that low-acid/please-don't-eat feeling still.  I need to take some more betaine-HCl and see how it goes, before i even have any coffee.

I wonder what other people make of the situation when they have this feeling, who aren't as aware as i am of what it actually means.  It's distinctly possible that they'll translate it as hunger (there's a bit of gurgling going on), and go have themselves a nice bowl of high-fiber cereal.  I can't think of anything more likely to make them feel like hell.

When one has gotten one's nutritional education from television commercials, as so many have, one tends to believe that fiber is a GOOD thing, highly necessary for health.  I can't remember where i originally heard about, but what Konstantin Monastyrsky has to say about it (and what happens with the stomach) is a shock and a revelation.  Now, "Fiber Menace" kinda reminds me of the old adage, "if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."  HOWEVER ... there's another adage that goes "there can't be a lot of smoke without SOME fire."

I think the truth lies more on KM's end of the continuum -- MY experience inclines me to that belief, as well as the experience of those close to me, and what Dr. Donaldson has to say in ... ahem ... that book i quote ad nauseum.  ;-)  I need to read Dr. Beaumont's book on digestion, too, to round out my education.

What we eat has not just a chemical affect on our physiology, but a "mechanical" one also, as demonstrated by what happens when you try to eat substances that "you" cannot digest.  The stomach's abilities are geared toward breaking down proteins, not the sawdust a lot of people try to feed it.  That sawdust, euphemistically known as FIBER, can only be handled WAAAAAY down the pipeline with the help of our gut-bugs -- which, in the antiseptic-loving, sugar-swilling, "normal" part of our citizenry, tend to be badly misrepresented.  Imagine being a hypothyroid veg*n with a cleanliness phobia, trying to be healthy the CW way....

Well, my rambling about digestion here, at such length, has had one good outcome -- my own feels significantly more normal and appropriate than it did when i began writing it.  It's too late for "the short version," but i'll leave you with a brief wrap-up, that should be instructive and useful:

Stomach acid is our FRIEND.  It not only does a lot of the donkey-work of digesting our appropriate FOOD, it does its best to protect us from nasty buggies who try to manipulate our systems for their own gain.  Buggies like heliobacter pylori, which have cleverly learned to manipulate stomach-acid levels themselves!  Oh, and btw, HP has also recently been identified as having an impact on blood glucose levels as well as its long-known connection with ulcers and cancers....  A lot of problems seem to cluster around bad digestion, don't they?  Last thing you want to do, most of the time, is LOWER your acid levels!

Friday, August 17, 2012

back to business :-)

Now that i've expressed myself about the foolhardiness of taking some abstract researcher's advice to not take iron if you think you might need it....

Iron is a very important component of MANY of the enzymes your body uses to catalyze reactions, without which you will DIE.  Certainly, a mere shortage will only reduce your well-being.  ONLY (ha!)....  Our bodies are "intelligent" and will funnel resources to the functions it considers most urgent.  Since iron's #1 mission seems to be oxygenating our tissues via the blood, all those "housekeeping" functions of the iron-containing enzymes will suffer first, if there is a relative shortage of iron in your system.  By the time you're certifiably anemic, you are SERIOUSLY deficient.

And how could a red-meat-eater like me be at all likely to have a shortage of iron?  EASY.  I'm a life-long hypothyroid.

One of the first things a doctor will ask, if s/he suspects hypothyroidism is, "how is your digestion?"  We hypos tend to have low stomach acid.  Low stomach acid leads to bad nutrient absorption, among many other things.  (And with the very high numbers of hypothyroid people around these days, most of the people suffering from GERD probably owe it to LOW rather than to elevated stomach acid.)

When we eat a meal, or even a single food, all of the components compete for absorption throughout our bodies, and whatever is in larger proportions usually ends up "winning."  This is why sugar-eaters need more vitaminC -- they compete for the same receptor.  Different amino acids also compete with each other.  Ditto, with the metals.

This is why most of the supplements i take are NOT taken WITH a meal.  I take my systemic enzymes in the morning, half an hour or more before anything else.  (Since i started taking my coffee black, i don't worry about when in the sequence i start drinking it.)  Next i take the tyrosine, so it doesn't have anything to compete with at all; if i haven't had oysters or liver in a long time, i sometimes take copper with it.  A half-hour or more later, i take T-100, iodine, vitamin D, and my first dose of carnitine, and afterward i eat when i get hungry.  Some four or more hours later, i have the iron, B12, C and selenium, and after a bit i eat another meal.  The second dose of carnitine (which is not an amino acid as it was originally described, but actually closer to a B-vitamin) needs to come by 2:00 in the afternoon, because it has been known to delay sleep.  Before bed, i take another thyroid glandular with my magnesium, zinc and manganese.  I rarely need melatonin, but if i'm wound up for some reason, or if i have something special to get up for the next morning, i find it valuable.

Not eating grains, or an excess of unsoaked nuts, WILL help you absorb iron and other minerals better.  Some of us must still make special efforts to get the nutrients we need.  Not wasting our "powers" on nutrients we DON'T need -- most carbohydrates -- allows us to make the most of our calories and "aging bodily resources."

Thursday, August 16, 2012


OK -- it's ranting-time again.

...I started getting suspicious when i found myself sighing a lot, and feeling the need to breathe deeply.  It reminded me of Lucy Westenra in "Dracula."  HER problem was, she had lost a lot of blood, but i hadn't.

However, we did have something in common -- not enough oxygen in the tissues.  In my case, what could it be but iron?

It makes me feel like running amok when i hear people caution against supplementing iron.  What the flying F does a complete stranger know about what supplements one might need?  Just because a VERY small subpopulation (mostly male, as usual) has a problem with a certain micronutrient, that doesn't mean that THE VAST FRIGGIN' MAJORITY OF US DON'T NEED MORE OF IT!!!

*cough* ... excuse me....

I'm absolutely incensed that some arrogant insulated academics in this world presume to pontificate over something that they have NO BLOODY EXPERIENCE WITH.  I don't care if they've tortured and murdered thousands of those gentle, intelligent creatures known as laboratory RATS* -- until you've done proper on-and-off-and-on-again experiments with real live human patients, they don't know SHIT about the effects of nutrients IN VIVO.  They have no shaggin' business acting like they know their ass from a hole in the ground.

Short version:  i tried supplementing iron (in the presence of vitamins C, B12 and selenium, which are reputed to improve absorption) and not only did i feel more oxygenated, but my hairbrush needed clearing out less.  I stopped, and the bad stuff showed up -- then i recommenced and the symptoms went away yet again.  MYSTERY SOLVED.

So if you suspect you might have a problem with the oxygenation of your blood OR excessive hair loss, do the experiment on yourself -- and to the deepest, darkest, coldest reaches of HELL with the self-proclaimed SCIENTISTS who PRESUME to dictate that it's dangerous and you don't need it.

P.S. -- and if you haven't read it before, i STRONGLY recommend this article:
* memory of two of the sweetest pets we've ever had, Sid and Catherine, who happen to have been rodents of the Long-Evans variety.

as Roseanne Rosannadanna's daddy used to say...

Doggone it, i was hoping to have more to say after almost a week of using carnitine*, but Mother Nature has been picking on me for the last few days.  The good news is, it's no longer 105 degrees in the shade, but the bad news is that the increased precipitation has driven the air quality into the orange zone.  Mold.  I've been struggling with a headache and sinus issues since Monday.  :-(

The first time i read Dr. Atkins' book, almost a decade ago, i was surprised and interested to learn how much my allergies affected my metabolic health.  I don't remember suffering from "hay fever" as a child, but it got pretty bad when i was in my 20s.  Maybe i was infected by a new strain of yeast when i moved to a more humid place that didn't get weather as cold in the winters?  Whatever the case may be, i've got it now.

I picked up a sensitivity to oak pollen and yarrow in Texas, to goldenrod, ragweed and Bradford-pear pollen in Oklahoma, and to sage pollen in Utah.  The worst offender here is the mold, which makes me miserable when i need to do laundry in humid weather -- my washer is in the basement, where 116 years' worth of molds/mildew have found refuge.

The respiratory symptoms got a lot better when i went low-carb, but i still keep benedryl on hand for when the wrong irritants are in the air, or when i have chores to do downstairs.  At least i KNOW now that antihistamine-time indicates poor weight-loss results -- it makes things less frustrating when i eat "perfectly" and see no progress on the scales.  (Actually, this week hasn't been bad in THAT regard.)

But as Rosanne Rosannadanna's daddy used to say, "It's always somethin'."  :-P
* For what it's worth, the carnitine experiment SEEMS to be going well -- at least i see no indication that the theoretical lowering of thyroid function is true!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

treating the symptoms of hypothyroidism

I was reading on a website that listed a whole bunch of hypothyroidism symptoms and thought -- not for the first time -- what we have here is really just a bunch of signs of malnutrition!

Weight gain -- FAR from specific to hypothyroidism
Depression -- ditto
Insomnia -- do i have to repeat it?
Swollen legs, feet, hands or abdomen -- okay, i'll change it up...
Constipation -- lack of magnesium and animal fat, ...etc.
Brittle nails -- amazing what fatty meat can do for this...
Rough dry skin -- more of the same
Menstrual irregularities -- back to "unspecific to hypo"
Fatigue -- can everyone say mi-to-chon-dri-al dys-func-tion?
Poor circulation -- [snort] diabetics don't have THIS...
Fluid retention -- and female hormones aren't to blame?  nor salt?  fooled me
Hoarse, husky voice -- iodine supplementation alone has been known to help this
Elbow or arm keratosis -- funny, i don't have this but my euthyroid husband does
Low or high blood pressure -- aw, c'mon!
Muscle weakness -- not buyin' it
Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks -- carbohydrate-linked, as i can attest
Sparse, coarse or dry hair -- eat some brisket, fergawdsake!  :-)  really, it's all about iron and dietary fat
Decreased memory -- ...uh ... i forget ... never mind  ;-)
Dull facial expression -- now they're confusing hypothyroid with stoopid
Inability to concentrate -- connected with carbohydrates and sleep deprivation ... oh, and iron AGAIN
Yellowing of the palms and skin -- ???  dare i suggest liver problems?
Muscle and joint pain -- if you don't believe THIS is diet-related, you badly need to do a Whole 30
Muscle cramps -- get your minerals!
Drooping eyelids -- ...where do they find these "symptoms" anyway?
Infertility -- do i START listing all the things that contribute to this?
Morning Stiffness -- see what i said about muscle/joint pain ... or read the second paragraph here
Carpel tunnel syndrome -- means INFLAMMATION, that's all; systemic enzymes got rid of that!
Dry and irritated eyes -- yeah, and Paul J attributed that to "glucose deficiency"....
Elevated cholesterol -- okay, gotta be specific about particles; thyroid deficiency DOES limit LDL receptors
Reduced heart rate -- unless there are adrenal complications, when heart rate is fast
Cold intolerance -- unless there are adrenal complications (again), which make for heat intolerance
Slow reflexes -- now, this IS a classic symptom, and i'm not familiar with other etiologies for it
Puffy face -- granted
Cold hands and feet -- yep
Low body temperature -- DEFINITIVE, and you don't need a damned blood test to check it
Slow speech -- i saved this one for last, on purpose.  I'm not sure if "they" mean what sometimes happens with me, but from time to time i have a definite "disconnect" between my brain's "language circuits" and my mouth.  It's why i always come across better in writing than verbally, when i want to be precise in the way i phrase my thoughts.

Honestly, in making up this list, did some researchers just get a roomful of hypothyroids together and ask them what physical limitations they have?  'Cause that's what it sure sounds like.  Really, why try to throw a prescription at a patient ... IF a proper diet can fix what's wrong?

As my long-time readers have heard ad nauseum, i'm terribly fond of the book "Strong Medicine."  If you start reading at the last paragraph of this page and go on a couple of pages more, you'll get an interesting perspective on the use of thyroid in the treatment of "symptoms of hypothyroidism."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

stepping back to write THE INTRO to the intro to hypothyroidism

What i planned to write next was a list of the nutrients we hypos need, but which we either aren't getting or aren't absorbing even from a theoretically-good diet.  This is trickier than it sounds, as i found in the past, when troubleshooting my problems.  There are COUNTLESS sites full of advice and information for the "thyroid sufferer" but unfortunately, almost all of them include something which i know from sad personal experience to be DEAD WRONG.  A gazillion nutrients ARE important for proper function, but some of them are pro and some anti, and some websites get the two lists hopelessly confused.

If you're new to the hypothyroid label, you have my very deepest sympathy, because OH BOY do you have a lot of learning and experimenting to do before you can feel normal again.  Don't believe ANYBODY all the time, because your situation is absolutely positively unique.  Take everything you hear with a grain of salt, especially information from a card-carrying endocrinology-specializing doctor, because he THINKS he knows it all ... but he doesn't know YOU.  No matter what the lab test reports, if you don't feel right over the long term, your medication is wrong.

But getting back to the nutritional aspect....  One big problem in hypothyroidism is that once the imbalance is in place, it's self-perpetuating.  Iron makes for the perfect example:  you need iron to make thyroid hormones, but if you're low on either one, your digestion won't be up-to-snuff, so you'll absorb less iron, and you'll make less thyroid, and you'll have worse digestion, so you'll absorb less iron, so you'll make less thyroid ... ad infinitum.  Some people will cut to the chase and supplement thyroid hormones, and they'll feel better for awhile, but then another imbalance will make itself known.  This is the fast-lane to spending half your life waiting in doctors' offices and getting blood tests, and frankly, i have much better things to do with mine!

I'm taking the slower route to optimizing my health, BUT I DON'T RECOMMEND MY WAY TO OTHERS.  That would be utterly irresponsible of me.  Unless you're a stubbornly-self-governing, long-experienced old fanatic like me, what you need to spend your energy on is finding a competent, progressive, open-minded doctor who knows how to listen.  There have got to be some out there!  ...At least ONE?  ;-)

But nutrition is profoundly important.  Now that i've got all this off my chest, i'll go back to work trying to make some sense out of it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

celebration and "recovery"

Before my husband left town again, we went to our favorite Italian restaurant on The Hill for our anniversary dinner.  I had been craving Dominic's wonderful steak tartara -- i've never been anywhere that makes it better!  But of course, i ate a few things i'm better off without, and i'm not properly back into ketosis yet.

Sometimes, you just HAVE to suspend the rules, and when you do i believe you should enjoy it to the utmost.  I started with a Sidecar; it's one of those classic cocktails which usually isn't "corrupted" with modern mixers like that nasty HFCS-laden sweet-sour stuff.  Brandy, Cointreau and lemon juice.  The tartare next, then a spinach salad with house-made dressing (HOPE they used a reliable olive oil), lobster risotto, saltimbocca and asparagus enjoyed with a delicious Oregon pinot noir, and a few bites of a shared dessert with decaf.  [sigh of remembered satisfaction].

Some wheat "snuck" in:  i can feel it in my knee.  I'm meekly bearing the pain though, knowing that i earned it, but not really regretting what was an outstanding dinner.  All in all, i didn't do much actual damage (according to the scales), and we only indulge like this a very few times per year!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

the thyroid scenario...

...Seems to be extraordinarily oversimplified a lot of the time.  One has this image of the gland manufacturing and sending out hormone like a factory responding to orders (TSH) from the head office (pituitary).  Given enough raw materials going in (tyrosine and iodine), you expect your workforce (thyroid gland) to put together and ship whatever the orders called for, and it's up to the customers (body-wide tissues) to take the material (mostly T4, some T3) and further turn them into the finished products they require.  If you have a less-efficient workforce, you may not get as much product from a day's work as you should.  Then if a shipment of raw material doesn't arrive on time, they may work their butts off but will be unable to do the job; and if a shipment of fluoride, bromine or chlorine is mistakenly sent, it can tie up the iodine "loading-dock" while the truck-driver and foreman argue about the debacle....

Actually, this turned out to be a better analogy than i thought it would.  ;-)

It's when the gland's products go out into the world to achieve their life's-work that things get REALLY complicated.  That's what i have only STARTED to explore in my reading these days.  The sheer number of different interactions is mind-numbing.  The first thing that caught my attention:  carbohydrate metabolism.

THYROID HORMONE HELPS INSULIN FERRY GLUCOSE INTO CELLS FOR ENERGY-PRODUCTION.  It promotes more GLUT4 (as well as LDL) receptors.  If there is less glucose in the system to be disposed-of, less thyroid is needed to do the job -- THAT is why you get lower free T3 on a low-carb diet.  You just don't have the requirement; it's not pathological, it's physiological.

We should never forget for a moment that the longer our blood-glucose is high, the more DAMAGE it's inflicting on our organs, nerves and vessels.  Insulin and thyroid are working their asses off to use it up or store it away FAST.  Raising temperature and giving muscles a reason to do their thing are the first choice, but insulin WILL store it as fat if it has to.

When normal quantities of the thyroid hormones are called away from their usual duties to assist insulin in its endless toil, you end up with hypOthyroid symptoms.  A strong healthy thyroid will do its best to make the amount you need, but it can overproduce, too, and hypERthyroidism isn't a good thing, either.  Most people don't supplement tyrosine -- they make it from phenylalanine in the diet with the help of enzymes ... and remember how i said people produce fewer enzymes as they get older?  Add to this iodine-deficient diets* and you have the perfect recipe for a metabolic MESS.

Some time ago, Chris Kresser wrote a good article on the connection between thyroid function and blood-sugar, and more recently, Sam Knox wrote a better one.  Unless you really WANT to think that carbs in your diet are a good thing for your thyroid, i don't know how you can avoid coming to the same conclusion i did -- that MY thyroid is MUCH healthier and happier on LCHF.

* most people think that they'll get plenty of iodine from salty foods, not knowing that commercial foods are usually made with NONiodized salt.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

...and a quick note

My husband has commandeered my time to do some yard work today, so i'm having to put the thyroid studies on the back burner for awhile.  :-(  I was finding interesting stuff, too!

On the other hand, all the stuff that has been neglected during the hot weather is getting its share of attention.  And it's such a pleasure being outside while the temperature is under 80!  The dead canes on the rose bushes are gone, and i don't have any wounds to show for it -- now THAT is a miracle.  Those roses usually "bite" when i try to groom them.  You don't have to duck to get past the pin-oak anymore, and you have to duck less under the dogwoods.

I've been wearing my new Vibrams since this time yesterday, too, and i LOVE them.  Two long walks with the dog, countless trips to the basement, and the pruning work have not presented any challenges they couldn't handle -- and we have those nasty sweet-gum balls all over the front yard.  :-P  Those hurt through moccasins, and can turn your ankle in ordinary shoes.

J made shirred eggs for our brunch, using the breakfast sausage i made from the "Paleo Comfort Foods" cookbook and the last of our duck eggs.  YUM!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

interrupting myself

Mercury has turned direct again, so a lot of the delays and misunderstandings of the past month should be unraveling.  :-D   I look forward to better internet-connectivity -- it's been HORRIBLE recently.

Boys and girls, i did it -- while out looking for an attachment for my meat-grinder (to allow me to stuff breakfast-sized sausage casings), i tried on and bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers!  They're on my feet right now, and feel great on the stairs (good tread); i look forward to walking the dog while wearing them, too.  I'm always tempted to walk Spense barefooted, even though it's not very advisable to do in the city.  Look strange, though....

I was overawed to see that Jimmy Moore included me in his list for August!  I feel like a real live grown-up now.  ;-)  I also feel a little immodest though, because i suspect it wouldn't have happened if i hadn't "tooted my own horn" on Mark's site....  Somebody had mentioned the Little House foodways right after i had posted on it, and i'm afraid i couldn't resist.  Anyhow, my thanks go to Jimmy!

While we were out, i also picked up some L-carnitine.  I was reading up on it yesterday, and it sounds like it might be worthwhile.  I know, i know -- "theoretically" it isn't advisable for hypothyroids, but i found the arguments weak in the face of the experiences clinicians have with it.  I'll keep you posted....

Thursday, August 9, 2012

beyond Synthroid

I spent a good part of yesterday reading about a few things that encourage or discourage thyroid activity.  It looks as though this subject is significantly more complicated than most people seem to consider it.  Between all the minerals, amino acids and binding proteins to create it, convert it, ferry it around and escort it into cells for use, then its interactions with catecholamines, leptin, estrogen and progesterone, and the conversion of some to inert molecules (rT3 and 4) to keep it from overtaxing a stressed body -- WHEW....

To think that the usual analogy people use to describe thyroid sufficiency is an automobile engine that's WAY too simple.  If a patient seems to have low metabolism from an underactive thyroid, just throw ONE little chemical at it and expect everything to run fine again?  The multiple hormones that the thyroid makes and converts, and all the things they interact with, makes the appropriate comparison something more like an entire ECOSYSTEM.  For that to work properly, you need the right proportions of various gases in the atmosphere, the presence of water with the right living things in it, the right minerals in the soil, the right plants and bugs growing in that soil, the right animals in the right population sizes, some eating the plants and some each other....  See what i mean?

Thyroid hormones also "regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, affecting how human cells use energetic compounds," to quote Wikipedia.  HOW, i haven't found yet.  I may end up an amateur endocrinologist (perish the thought) by the time i'm finished ferreting out what i want to know.  Suffice it to say, my experiences lately are leading me to believe that the body REQUIRES more hormone when more carbohydrate is consumed.  Lower thyroid activity in a low-carb diet is apparently NOT pathological, just like insulin-resistance is physiologically appropriate in the ketotic state.

No wonder there's such a wide range of "normal" test results for TSH, T4 and T3 -- there are SO MANY variables for how much is needed!

[sigh]  Well, back to my reading....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

you don't just "die early"

Funny, the people who believe they enjoy eating more than i do seem to think that the difference is merely that they'll die at a younger age ... oh, and that i'll probably be a little thinner than they are, too.  Kids, that will be the LEAST of the differences in our results.

"A short life and a merry one.  It's a philosophy that might have some justice to it if it would work according to plan.  The George Begays know very well that they are virtually killing themselves.....  'But,' they say, "it's not a bad way to go.  Presto!  Something snaps, then you're through.'  What they don't know is that the majority of men who have apoplectic strokes do not 'go out like a light.' One, two or ten years of a really tragic existence may follow.
"You will see these prophets of a short life and a merry one helpless with paralysis in a wheelchair.  You will wonder, sadly, what thoughts go on in their minds.  Here are those who loved life dearly -- the good times, jolly companions, and all the amusements the hail-fellow-well-met lives for.  It is a cruel punishment that glues them in a chair where they must sit helpless and useless and watch life all about them.
"The short life and the merry one is utterly impossible to ordain.  Probably, fourteen times out of fifteen, the chronic degenerative disease that is brought about by high living involves long torture. It seems as if Providence were strict about paying the George Begays on the basis of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
"It just doesn't work out." *
Granted, this was written back in 1939 and some things about morbidity and mortality have improved.  Some have gotten worse, too -- Alzheimer's was barely heard-of in those days.

I hardly know anyone who is "healthy" these days; almost everyone is taking some prescription drug.  Am i the only person who thinks this is shocking???

And in most cases, it's all about what they choose to eat.  If ANYTHING is inclined to encourage and spur me on in my "dangerous red-meat diet full of arterycloggingsaturatedfat," it's looking around at those who are eating as they're "supposed to," and suffering as a result of it.

NO doughnut can possibly taste as good as being well FEELS.  Nor a pasta dish, nor fresh-baked bread, nor potato casserole, nor carrot cake ....
*  from "Eat and Reduce" by Dr. V.H. Lindlahr

keep the mouth CLOSED

...As i said in yesterday's post, but not in the way i implied.

We went out to lunch -- dangerous.  I misbehaved, and this morning i'm hungry.  It's AMAZING how an unusual amount of carbohydrate can screw things up, isn't it?  I was sleepy in the afternoon in the most atypical way (though i concede i also got minimal sleep the night before last), and even though i ate a "controlled" supper, it was higher in carbs than usual, because i made "paleo biscuits" to go with the scallops in sherry-cream sauce.  I got to bed at a good hour, but woke really early, COLD.

Last time this happened, i had eaten rice in an ordinary-serving quantity; yesterday, it was corn.  It is ABSOLUTELY DOUBTLESS that even these non-gluten grains have an impact on thyroid function.  And when i say "function" i'm not talking about a set of nice abstract lab values, but on what the hormone should be accomplishing in the body, and significantly failing to do right.  In the case of the (white) rice, you can't even blame autoimmunity as you theoretically can with the corn -- the former is not much more than "sugar molecules holding hands."

:-)  I wish Mario were a reader -- he's probably written all about this already.

Today, i'll be good:  we're going to Billie's for one of those fabulous omelettes, and tonight it'll be spareribs and low-carb coleslaw.  Mmmmmm....

Monday, August 6, 2012

what Monday ought to be

Despite my shortage of sleep last night (the Irish coffee last evening should have been decaf, but wasn't), i woke early and r'arin' to go -- well, no wonder....  From (general influence for all sunsigns):

An unexpected emotional encounter in the morning is likely when the combative Aries Moon activates domineering Pluto and irrepressible Uranus. However, our memory fades quickly along with any lingering negativity as the Moon harmonizes with jolly Jupiter and the radiant Sun. Although we may express our emotions before thinking about the consequences, everything should work out fine as long as we remember to consider the feelings of others, too.
The moon in Aries is a go-get-'em kind of influence, and it interacts with two "beneficial" planets in a good way, and two "tricky" planets in a more questionable way ... but they don't tell you exactly what those angles are.  Tsk-tsk!

Now, THAT is the trouble with so many horoscopes -- GOOD basic information, but sometimes blown out of proportion.  Septiles, quintiles and semisquares?  Theoretically impactful, but usually indetectable when placed beside the fact that THE MOON IS IN ARIES and THE SUN IS IN LEO.  Now THOSE are palpable.

Summary:  good day for getting things done; just watch your mouth.  ;-)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"weapons of mass distraction"

I WISH i could take credit for the title, but it comes from a regular column in the tabloid periodical, The St. Louis/Seattle Sinner.  When i go to the diner for breakfast, and the racks are empty of the Riverfront Times (or if i've already read it), the Sinner is a entertaining alternative.  It's full of incendiary opinions and offbeat amusement, and some undergroundish news from which mainstream sources like to "shelter" us.

The only reason i stole the columnist's title is that, when i think of the state of the nation and world, and then i think about the intellectual pablum we're fed by the media, i feel completely disgusted.  Big things can happen in the world, and our news sources will tell us ALL about the inane goings-on of some adolescent poseur.

I assign the blame directly to those who have the most to gain from keeping us stupid, fat and happy -- the moneyed owners of almost every information and entertainment channel in the western world.  They tell us only what they want us to hear and believe, and the sad thing is, it often works.  You've no idea how many people think they're hearing Truth from "Faux News."  Mass distraction, indeed.

And people willingly consume this drivel.  "Reality shows" -- which are anything but -- clog the time-slots that used to be host to works of actual cleverness, imagination, ingenuity, ... TALENT.  Some may argue that "creators" are only giving the public what it wants, but i don't believe it for a moment; they're merely filling the over-expanded "airways" with the cheapest products they can get away with -- kinda like breakfast-cereal manufacturers....

Not long ago, i was ranting about the trivial "problems" which had been presented for serious discussion....  I earnestly hope -- now that we all know that it's safe to drink distilled water -- that these people may turn their minds to something of a little more substance.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

the exhaustion factor

There's something i notice, reading "the latest" on some days:  the more bad political news there is, the less easy it is to eat rationally.  Or rather, the easier it is to go get a glass of wine and something to nibble with it.  If i choose to ignore the temptation, i continue my day with an increased sense of weariness.

Lesson:  hopelessness is a poison.

Strangely enough, one of the presentations i look forward to hearing from the AHS2 is that of Richard Nikoley.  I disagree with him on a number of issues, but agree on a few.  He's speaking on how our modern sociopolitical situation is out of step with the systems with which our species evolved (my paraphrase).  In this limited concept, i agree heartily; i just wonder if he has any ideas on how to remedy the problem besides the old hippie dropping-out thing.

What DOES one do, when one's world is fubar?  I haven't got a clue.  I haven't got the ambition or the gifts to enter politics and "change things from the inside" [snort:  we all know how well THAT works].  I haven't got the energy and passion to march and chant and carry a placard.  I haven't even got the stubbornness to debate things in writing, though that's more my metier.  I can only marvel at the stupid behavior and (lack of) reasoning in people i could have sworn were smarter than that.

So i block the most obnoxious on FB and resist blocking those who are more of a benefit than liability despite their occasional disconnect from reality, and refuse to follow up on their idiocies.  (I also sometimes satisfy myself with a little fantasy, picturing them in the world they would consider ideal, and their subsequent illumination....)  I do a little chakra balancing and take a deep breath, and try to clear the psychic air around me.

But, DAMN!!!  It's no wonder so many people feel the need to medicate.

Friday, August 3, 2012

goals beyond fat loss

I was thinking about the kind of goal that helps you choose a permanent dietary plan....  What do you want to do, eat as much as possible without gaining (or while still losing), or be able to eat as little as you can and still be healthy and comfortable?

Of course, "we" know that our low-carb plan does both, but what do we really WANT out of it?

When we come to low-carb from a "normal" diet, i think the former goal is the attractive one.  Eating all the steak, bacon, butter, cheese, cream, whatever it was i wanted and shorted myself on, back in my calorie/fat restrictive days, seemed like a vision of heaven.  Imagine eating that stuff, and being able to lose weight at the same time...!!!

Nowadays, i actually relish the other aspect of it.  The ability to go most of the day without HAVING to refuel myself is a real luxury.

You'll probably get sick of hear this, but back in the old low-fat days, i was ALWAYS "hungry" ... that is, when i was eating for weight loss.  My belly may have been crammed to bursting with pasta, fruits, vegetables, and chicken breasts, but i was never satisfied.  That's a nasty feeling, and it pours over into other aspects of life.  I was NOT HAPPY in those days.  "Triumphs" didn't come close to often-enough to be encouraging, and although not actually depressed, i was more like constantly irritable.  Doing my best, i might be able to lose one pound in a week, and that was when i was in my 30s!  Walking the dogs every night and riding the stationary bike regularly.  It's no wonder that people can't keep going on that kind of program -- there's way too much privation and effort for very little return when you're young, and when you're at my current age ... well, "best of British luck" as they used to say....

My mother is a stick-in-the-mud for moderation.  She's one of those lucky types who was always healthy, though as far back as i can remember she was considered "pleasingly plump" -- it's been a long time since you heard that expression, isn't it?  :-)  In her later years, she's had a number of problems:  high-blood pressure for decades, GERD, both knees replaced, skin cancers, breast cancer, recently some colon cancer, too (she'll be 89 this month).  She thinks i'm some kind of nut because i try to eat to improve my health, and she loves to remind me of the old low-fat days ... even though she believes the saturated-fat nonsense.  For decades she hasn't been able to delay a meal for more than a half-hour without extreme loss of energy and mood.  If unavoidable circumstances take things farther, she gets shaky and weak.  She likes to keep peanut-butter-cheese-crackers in her purse, just in case.  I tell her why she feels so bad, but i don't think she believes it.  In any case, for her to improve metabolic flexibility at this age is probably a pipe dream.

Compare this food-dependent situation with my recent experiences:  one of the best examples is what i carry in the car to eat and drink, when i do one of my marathon drives.  I USED to pack (in my Atkins days) a bagful of bars and shakes, nuts, cheese, and processed meat along with the cooler full of diet sodas and water.  Last trip (coming back from Houston, a 13-14 hour drive), i had the cooler and the remains of a bag of home-processed pumpkin seeds.  Oh, i was fully prepared to stop for a bunless double hamburger (and i ended up doing so, in Atoka, Oklahoma when i stopped for the dog's sake), but the bit is -- it's now easy to go for a LO-O-O-ONG time without refueling.  No snacks.  It's a rare glucose-burner who can say that.

Along with low-carbing and eating whole foods, i have also come to believe in eating instinctively, in the sense of not eating when not hungry.  If a certain food really calls my name these days, it probably means i need something that it provides.  I track nutrients and calories in Fitday not because i'm really CONCERNED about them, but because it can be interesting to "keep score."  For example, one day this week i consumed about 2200 kcal (protein refeed day), and yesterday less than 1000.  I wasn't planning to, it just happened through eating TO APPETITE.

Once the carbohydrate "addictions" are overcome, i think it becomes possible to listen to your appetite cues again.  Of course, being a predominant fat-burner is important in this equation, otherwise you'll be cued to eat when the fuel switchover drags a little.  Regaining the best possible degree of metabolic flexibility seems to be the other goal that low-carb-diet-success aspirants need to aim for.

Training your body to primarily burn fats and ketones for fuel seems to be like training a child or dog -- until the lesson is well ingrained you need to be very consistent.  If i ALWAYS require Spenser to be patient and submissive before i reward him, his behavior is reliable.  Switching back and forth, confusing him with unfamiliar demands and allowing him to run amok occasionally makes him an unruly and self-willed dog.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

great "old" bloggers without recent postings

Sometimes, i scroll down my homepage looking at the right-hand column, and marvel at the lack of recent postings by some of the people i read so constantly in the past.  :-(  Right now, of course, a lot of them are getting ready for presentations at the upcoming Ancestral Health Symposium, but that doesn't "excuse" them for their silence (in some cases) for months.  So, what do you do when you want some encouraging or enlightening reading and there's nothing fresh -- you start reading archives.  Something made me think of the Eadeses' blogs, and i went back to Dr. Mike's and reread his discussion of their holiday "misbehavior," and i started following some links to his old postings that i didn't follow before.

The one he wrote back in '09 on why it's easy to slip out of our low-carb ways even though we make progress and feel great on it, is a MASTERPIECE.  He likens eating low-carb now with being a non-smoker back in the '50s, and i found him very convincing.

Even though the way "we" eat makes us feel good and lose weight, sometimes it feels like swimming upstream in this world of ours.  Some restaurants make it darned hard to do what we know we should, and sometimes the people who should be encouraging us make it more difficult.  When in the middle of a plateau, it can be easy to start doubting.  Unfortunately, THAT'S LIFE.  I like to think we've cobbled together a funny little internet family of our own, in which like-minded people half a world away will encourage us when we're feeling a little defeated, congratulate us when we do well and give us good advice and information when we have a question or problem.

I don't know if Gallier2 ever visits here (he's never commented), otherwise i'd ask him to correct my grammar/spelling:

Vivent les communaut├ęs internets!

the scale relents

FINALLY.  Things are back to normal, and i can stop obsessing.  ;-)  This mini-plateau had me concerned -- i admit it!  SO many times i've thought i found "the answer" and had been disappointed....  My belief in what i learned over the last half-year is confirmed.

Ultra-low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat works for me.  "Shaking things up" with nut dishes and dairy OCCASIONALLY can help.  A little red wine doesn't hurt much.  Vegetables get more iffy all the time, and fruit is an indulgence i should trust but rarely.  This morning's weight reading is lower than it's been since i started spending time in New Orleans (has it been four-five years already?) and was seduced by the delectably evil food there; i have less than 10 pounds to go, to get out of the "overweight" category.

For somebody like me, who has always had to WORK to keep my weight within limits acceptable to myself, this is HUGE.  GOK how much time and energy i've poured into this subject since my teens (i was a chubby kid, but it didn't concern me then).  However, this may have been a blessing in disguise; how often do we hear about people who didn't have to think about what they ate, and then in middle-age started to gain and didn't know what to do about it?  At this point, i've tried almost everything, and i have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't, and why.

As a matter of fact, it's a very interesting thing to look backward.  I realize NOW that as a teen, i practiced intermittent fasting without having a clue -- i was doing that horrible thing called "skipping breakfast" (i wasn't hungry in the morning), and i frequently did without lunch as well.  The snack i had after school simply filled the glycogen storage i had depleted during the day.  Looks kinda like my eating pattern was like a Kitavan's, doesn't it -- put on fat in the evening, burn it all the next day, rinse, repeat.

In my twenties, i discovered that the CICO hypothesis just didn't calculate out right -- again, not in those terms, but just the concept.  In my thirties, exercise still helped a little, but i had to work a lot harder.  A low-fat diet meant constant dissatisfaction, but i was convinced i needed it for health.  :-(  From there it went downhill.  I ended up at 168#, lacking energy to make an effort to be fit, with early-stage carpel-tunnel problems and damaged plantar fascia, occasional hand-tremors, heart-palpitations and knee pain.

I'm not "perfect" today, but i'm happy to say that all the above problems are a lot better.  Not only the physical ones -- i'm now delighted with my increased confidence in my judgement that what "authorities" said about diet, exercise and health, and which did not fit my experience, was ALL WRONG.  It was no failure of MINE, it was not that i was self-indulgent and lazy.  I was being set up to fail.  We were ALL set up to fail.

It's like in the 1930s films i enjoy so much, when the heroine puts up with the hero's BS till she gets to a breaking point, and then she dumps his sorry ass with a scalding character assessment and change-of-philosophy statement right before the grand finis.  Conventional Wisdom, in your conservative, oppressive, self-aggrandizing way, you've completely failed in your mission.  Your job was to build us up and make us strong, healthy and happy, and your pompous self-interest has achieved NOTHING.  You've been revealed as an insecure private-millionaires'-club, a mutual admiration society of nitwits who don't even know what figures of ridicule you are to everyone who has a functioning brain.  You only maintain your place in society because of the deep pockets you use to bribe the corrupt, mediocre poseurs whom your money also helped to promote to positions of policy-making authority.  Enjoy what time you have left, because TRUE science knows you for the farce you are.  Those of us who KNOW you are now your adversaries, and will fight you every inch of the way till you're universally acknowledged to be the losers you are.

"The End."  ;-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

new thoughts about the Salad of Doom

I went to Philosophy of Weight Management, as i so often do, to look over Fred's list of interesting blogs and ended up reading one about some benefits from glucosamine (amongst other things).  The light came on again.

The authors of a study found that their "substances of interest" caused a beneficial change in gut biota, and there was a cute little drawing to show which are our friends, and which cause trouble (sending a message to the liver to deploy inflammatory mediators).  The list of troublemakers included many familiar names ... and it struck me -- lettuce is notorious for frequency of contamination.  Just SUPPOSE one tiny little smidge of nastiness was lurking in my romaine.  The general discouragement of intestinal misbehavior that my diet promotes might have kept me from getting sick, but not from having to do battle with an invader.

Doesn't have to be true; just thinkin'....  (The previous time i had eaten the same dish at the same place, the result was DIFFERENT.)