Tuesday, December 31, 2013

rant alert

If I read another overstated caution to hypothyroids about low-carb diets by half-educated quacks I think i'll ... WRITE YET ANOTHER RANT.  ;-)

There's a new pseudo-reason for people with poor thyroid function to eschew VLC -- I guess the nonsense about LC "causing hypothyroidism" has been efficiently branded as bullshit, and the wannabe-gurus are grasping at new straws!  This time we hear that VLC is bad for us because [gasp] "insulin is required for proper thyroid-hormone conversion."

REALITY CHECK:  if you eat adequate protein and are not T1-diabetic, there's plenty of insulin available for any reasonable process.  BULLSHIT CALLED.  AGAIN.

And even more BS (if one needs more evidence of inadequate competence in some circles) -- promoting foods such as sweet potatoes and yucca to a hypothyroid is just plain ignorant.  They're GOITROGENS, you moron.

Not everybody NEEDS a VLC diet, but some of us feel much better on one, largely because our bodies react badly to higher blood-sugar, and to those mild toxins which other people praise as "antioxidants."  Hormesis is only a good thing if you don't cross that poison-dose threshold, and for some of us that threshold is very low.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism can be induced by any significant insult to the bodysurgery, infection, malnutrition, severe physical or emotional stress, "poisoning" by histaminergic foods and environmental factors, chronic lack of sleep, deleterious gut-bugs, and excessive exercise and low-calorie dieting among others.  For self-anointed "experts" to proclaim a low-carb diet to be "stressful" is ... oh, i'm inclined to call it FUCKING STUPID ... but some people are offended by that kind of vehemence.  It's not stressful to the body in and of itself, or a lot of hunter-gatherers wouldn't have been marvelously strong and healthy eating that way.

VLC eating is only "stressful" to people who jump into it without learning how to do it right, to those who have severely messed-up metabolisms, and to the suckers who have been sold the idea they can eat whatever they want and still lose weight and thrive on ANY kinds of food, so long as they take their multivitamin every day and limit calories.  I.E., it's stressful psychologically if you think you're entitled to eat like an obesity-resistant young jock, and feel deprived.  It's stressful if you've lost your metabolic flexibility and haven't taken the time to adapt to burning fat as a primary fuel.  It's stressful if you eat nothing but muscle-meat every single day for extended periods.  It's stressful if it's only a junk-food diet in low-carb clothes. 

LIES like "the body requires carbohydrates" bring out the berserker in me.  There is NOTHING we require that is in carbohydrate foods but can't be found in more absorbable and complete form in animal products.  Anyone who says otherwise either has an agenda or ... is gullible enough to think that what is taught by BigPharm/BigAg-financed institutions is actually true.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

why systemic enzymes are important for me?

I've been a proponent of systemic enzymes for years now.  23andMe may be giving me a hint as to WHY.

It's been established for a long time that one's production of enzymes is generous in childhood through young-adult years, then begins to dwindle after the age of 27.  An easily-visible example of this lies in one's wound-healing as one gets older, the writers on this subject tell us -- we get a cut or skinned knee in gradeschool, and after it heals the scar tends to be thin and pliable, but in later life one's scars are thicker, stiffer and more unsightly.  I see the difference between pre-supplementing scars and the ones that I've acquired more recently;  when Spense bit me six or seven years ago, he really ripped up the skin beside my left thumbnail, but you can't see the traces unless you use a magnifying glass.  Not so, for the first scar he gave me!

"Authorities" like Dr. Wm. Wong tell us that this happens inside the body as well as outsidesurgeries and other internal insults cause fibrous scar tissue to build up, and our organs' functionality can suffer.  Supplemental proteolitic enzymes travel about our bodies cleaning up the excess fibrin that our natural supply did when we were younger.  Fibrous plugs in our smaller blood vessels, fibrin thickening our lymphatic fluid, fibrosis in our lungs and other organs, all eaten by the serrapeptase and nattokinase in systemic enzyme supplements....

As a child, my wounds didn't heal as invisibly as some kids' did.  Look closely at my knees, and you can see the Ghosts of Bike-Spills Past.  When i was about ten, i ruptured my spleen at Girl Scout campthe surgical scar is bright and clear and well-raised, after all these decades.

And guess what 23andMe reveals -- some risks of fibroid disease (pulmonary) and keloids (and maybe some other fibrosis-related disorders that i don't know enough about to speculate).  I should have expected it.  But this thing has started me wondering, did i suffer from inadequate endogenous enzyme production in my earliest years perhaps?  My old scars would seem to be evidence in that direction.

Whatever the case, i'm inclined to hypothesize that anyone who observes a genetic risk of fibrotic diseases, whether by DNA testing or simply the existence of hypertrophic scarring, would probably benefit from supplementing with a good systemic/proteolytic enzyme!  ...Oh, and zinc too (thanks, George!).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

information beginning to trickle in

I got good news yesterday -- my 23andMe sample has been analyzed, and the data is starting to arrive!

Only the preliminary health information has arrived, but it's interesting so far.  First, they tell me that I have 3.3% Neanderthal DNA.  I was predicting that THAT was going to be on the high side, because of my stocky build and unattractive profile, but I probably wouldn't have expected being in the 99th percentile....

Of the "high confidence"-quality associations, it turns out that I don't have VERY high likelihood of being predisposed to illness save in age-related macular degeneration, gallstones, lung cancer, bipolarity, and limited cutaneous type scleroderma.  Since i'm a non-smoking low-carber, i'm not too worried.

Interestingly enough, some things I have minor risks for, I also have ameliorating genes for as well.  Take the bipolar thing -- I have a 0.20% risk as compared to the 0.14% which is "normal."  However, on the list of "decreased risk" results, I ALSO have bipolar disorder -- one reduced-risk marker, and two "typical" ones.  Mercifully, there's no record of other family members having a problem with this disorder.

Predictably I have two increased-risk markers for hypothyroidism alongside three normal ones, and I have a moderately-increased (not "substantially-increased) risk on the one gene they identified for Hashimoto's thyroiditis.  Looks to me as though the wrong diet is enough to epigenetically push a borderline case like me over into active hypothyroidism.

I eagerly look forward to getting the rest of my results over the next couple of weeks, and to plugging my results into the other SNP-decoding services I've heard of.  But the first wave of information I've received is not bad -- i'm sure glad I did this!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

my answer to overindulgence

Under circumstances like the christmas holidays, i'm not as strict with myself as I am ordinarily.  This week has been one of those times.

It's not that I practice austere privation on an everyday basis -- i'm NOT an austere kind of person!  I always fully appreciated dear Mr Wilde's epigram "Nothing succeeds like excess."  [evil grin]

No, I just know how much better I feel when I eat what a lot of people would consider an extremely limited diet!  Coffee (both hot and iced), beef, lamb, a modicum of eggs, pork and poultry, a small amount of cheese and wine, and a little garnish of vegetable matter like mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and nuts, and i'm thoroughly content.  The "paleo musts" like big-ass salads and fermented vegetables do nothing but chap my innards, and 85% chocolate I actually find rather boring and not at all life-enhancing.  Butter is something I put on vegetables to make them palatable, or on cuts of meat which are too lean, like tenderloin or white-meat.  Cream is how you make poor coffee drinkable, and another way to boost the satiation potential in naturally-low-fat dishes.

But occasionally, a day is made less stressful by NOT going to great lengths to find ideal food.  When traveling with others, for instance, it sometimes saves a lot of time and trouble to cave in and get lunch at the fast-food place that's close to the highway, and where it's easy to eat in the car because you can't leave the dog alone.  Then there was the time we went to the special dinner benefitting a local arts group.  Yesterday I could have been a lot more disciplined, too -- I blame the champagne.

What to do when I kick over the traces?  Hate myself?  Throw everything to the winds and binge?  At my age, I've probably tried every choice there is at one time or another, but I like to think i'm a little wiser now.  I just take the situation as a cue to start a 20-hour coffee fast and consider the whole experience as a carb re-feed.  What some people might consider a failure, I prefer to think is an opportunity to teach my body that resources are plentiful and it can afford to waste energy via a leptin surge.  It's not a setback!  It's an indirect signal to my thyroid that my body does not need to conserve resources.

There is a philosophy that calorie restriction is life-prolonging, but it does have repercussions that don't get talked about much.  Constant deprivation may encourage autophagy but it also raises stress hormones.  Leptin, the satiation hormone, "dries up."  After a few days, the body DOES respond to a diet of inadequate energy intake by slowing down -- but a slower metabolism not only makes our vehicle "run cooler," it also makes our brains sluggish and our systems less hardy. 

If there's no danger of triggering a PROLONGED binge simply by feasting for a short time, I suspect that that feast is good for us occasionally.  It's important not to do it "just this once" EVERY SINGLE DAY (or week), but if it's truly an unusual occurrence, the signal we send our bodies is they are not in danger of starvation, that they can afford to spend energy for heat and to fuel activity. 


UPDATE:  i wrote the preceding a few days ago, but [busy busy busy] didn't manage to finish it.  Since then i've been continuing my evil ways, so the day after Christmas is going to be one of those fast-days i wrote about!

The extra carbs i've been indulging in have done nothing but stoke my appetite!  Most of the family- and restaurant-meals have been less protein-replete than i usually eat at home, too, and NOTHING affects satiation for me as well as a big chunk of beef or lamb!  On Monday we had steaks and BOY did that help....  Yesterday's stroganoff (over zucchini noodles) didn't come close to satisfying as well.

It reinforces my understanding and resolve to have experiences like this.  I'm not forgetful enough to fall for the short-term lack of nasty repercussions caused by eating things i shouldn't -- i know that i WILL suffer from unpleasant effects even if i don't feel crummy yet.  I already do notice some joint pain, and i wake up in the morning with the stuffy head that used to be the norm, but is no more.  (I won't go into details of the change of bathroom habits....)

But this once-a-year orgy IS pleasantly celebratory.  Yesterday, my daughter and i went to visit a friend, and we tasted a few favorite-family-recipe cookies at Gina's house -- we broke each one in two and shared them, and they were VERY GOOD.  :-)  Our pleasure in being naughty probably equalled the pleasure that G's mother had in receiving our compliments on her "masterpieces."

And giving and receiving pleasure and thanks are some of the best aspects of this season, aren't they? Happy continuing holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

ooh, he lost TWENTY POUNDS!

Or, as I entitled a blog post a few days ago -- OY ... again.


I get really tired of the over-reactions of certain individuals making a huge deal out of unremarkable accomplishments by poster-kids in the LCHF and paleo/primal world.  So-and-so lost twenty pounds, and improved his sinus and skin problems by adopting a better diet, and now has a book out about it!

You know what I think is impressive?  Karen at the Garden Girl blog, Dave the "bulletproof" guy, Terry who cured her MS, Yasmina who conquered histamine intolerance, Wooo, Sidereal, and many more who have lost LOTS of weight and kept it off, having been REALLY metabolically deranged before discovering what works for them.  People who have worked their butts off (literally and figuratively), people who have been sick and in despair, and when they learned what actually WORKS to improve health and lose burdening fat, who engaged their determination and accomplished something above and beyond. 

People who have been obese since childhood.  People who have struggled for decades, and finally triumphed.  People who were in a wheelchair, unable to hold a job, or sickening toward their deaths, but found the answer and turned their lives around.  People who ACHIEVED, and then started writing so they could share what they learned.

So when I read that Mutual Admiration Society (which the paleo/primal blogosphere can sometimes be) lauding to the skies some Johnny-come-lately who has climbed into prominence on the backs of the REAL INNOVATORS, I got a little testy.  Low-carb, whole-food dieting has been around for over a century and a half.  Paleo-diet theory has been around for about a third of that.  Why, in the names of all the gods, are we seeing praise poured out for a young, well-to-do male -- THE EASIEST DEMOGRAPHIC TO IMPROVE IN HEALTH AND BODY COMPOSITION??? 

He lost TWENTY POUNDS!  He got rid of pimples and sinus problems!  He wrote a book, containing information which has been around for years!  Whoop-whoop -- lets all get really excited about his accomplishments!

Not.  I prefer to save my admiration for those who have STRUGGLED for their place in the sun.

when is a menopause symptom NOT a menopause symptom?

...when it's actually a histamine-intolerance issue!

Estrogen irregularities set off histamine problems.  Environmental chemicals set off histamine problems.  Tyramines and salicylates set off histamine problems.

Every time I get those nasty pseudo-feverish feelings these days, I review what I ate in the past half-dozen hours.  It doesn't happen ACUTELY very often anymore because I try to be cautious in my eating.  When we visit restaurants, though, we can never be sure of what kind of additives may be put into the hamburgers or rubbed on the steaks. 

A lot of people would advocate not eating out regularly, but for some of us it isn't practical to ALWAYS cook for ourselves.  And there's only so long one can snack one's meals with cheese, boiled eggs, nuts, and dried meats; to survive an airplane flight, yes, but more than a day is inclined to drive me to ANYTHING hot and savory!  Coping strategies are in order.

If, despite how careful you are to avoid foods to which you're sensitive, you get those uncomfortable feelings in the hours after a meal, your best friend could be benedryl.  It's an antihistamine available over-the-counter in the US, but alas other countries often require a prescription I hear.  :-(  The next best thing I've found is less intuitive -- NICOTINE GUM.  It has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antihistamine ones.  I have also tried the diamine-oxidase supplement DAOSIN (it's like Histame), but compared to diphenhydramine and nicotine, it's pretty wimpy.

I heard an interesting hypothesis recently -- someone observed that though smoking rates are low here, there is no diminution of teens STARTING, and opined that they're getting a vitamin-B boost from it that they need.  I might offer a counter-suggestion -- perhaps the hormonal storms of adolescence are causing histamine reactions which are tamed by the nicotine in cigarette smoke.  I DO know that the beneficial qualities of nicotine have long been known, but they've been downplayed.  To announce a GOOD side of cigarette smoking is not going to help when you're trying to get people to STOP.  By using the gum or patch, though, you avoid the admittedly-nasty tar and toxins you get when pulling smoke into your lungs intentionally.

So when I feel the suspicious weariness or downright SLEEPINESS, or the puffy hands/feet, or the hot-flash after consuming something questionable, I reach for the benedryl or gum.  It's AMAZING how fast it helps.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Ya know, I really do dislike being negative more than 10% of the time.  Unfortunately, the big virtue of having one's own blog is the opportunity to blow one's frustrations off into the cyber-void.  When one doesn't have a sympathetic audience to LISTEN to one's grinchings, the Internet Gods are there ... whether they actually LISTEN or not.  ;-)

Mark has fallen into the trap of recommending the impossible again!  How can we move from finding the holiday season stressful, to finding it more enjoyable and life-affirming?  Hint:  don't be poor, or associated with conventional family and friends, or "responsible for the happiness of others" ... and it would probably be wise to not be female, either.

In my experience, Mother is the one who finds the holidays most stressful.  Coincidentally, 40% of the population see a lot of stress and ... probably 40% of the population is that female and maternal demographic in question.  Mother usually does most of the decorating, gift-choosing and making/buying, cooking and entertaining.  She stays up late on Christmas Eve wrapping presents and filling stockings, while Dad (in a lot of houses, anyway) dozes off in his easy-chair.  She is expected to provide all the traditional goodies, at the same time as fighting to RESIST cookie-eating and eggnog-swilling, etc -- because if she "loses her figure" it's her own damn fault that her health goes down the toilet, her husband deserts her for the student-intern, society sneers at her, and she hates herself as well!

In a perfect world, there are no monetary worries and everyone will LOVE exactly what you give them for your holiday of choice.  No-calorie treats will taste exactly the same as the ones full of butter and sugar.  The string of lights will NOT go dark the minute you finish hanging them, and there will be no internet outage as your order from Amazon is being processed.  Your favorite Christmas special will be aired on the one night you don't have a delightful party to attend.

Most people don't live in that world.

As educated SAD sufferers can tell you, there are biological reasons our bodies get fatter and more lethargic in the fall and early winter.  We are DESIGNED to slow down just at the time our culture insists that we speed up, revving our brains with the resuming school year and autumnal observances....  The winter-solstice holidays are logical celebrations of the "return of light" -- not because of silly oh-my-god-the-sun-is-disappearing superstitions, but because the lengthening daylight is energizing and mental-health-promoting to those who are sensitive.  If a light-box helps you, then Christmas/Chanukkah/Diwali make PERFECT sense.  (thanks, Wooo, for all you've taught me)

So what to do to reduce seasonal stress?  Well, it's going to depend on your particular situation.  If you're a young family, you can condition your kids and spouse to have different expectations from "the norm."  If your family is reasonable, you can make a pact to simplify and share the load.  There are probably ways to ameliorate almost any difficulties, even if you can't remove them entirely.  OF COURSE you want perfection, but if you don't make yourself miserable with a sense of failure when it doesn't happen, you will be less stressed.  Do YOURSELF some kindnesses as well as all you insist on doing for others.

If any of my readers have traditionally been a more passive enjoyer of the season's pleasures, you can make everyone happier by being more proactive.  Even a patient, appreciative and cheerful attitude will be a blessing on the household! 

Happy relaxing holidays, everyone!  :-D

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

once upon a time...

We're off for the holidays again!  After a few exhausting weeks of test-driving vehicles, we finally replaced Oly the Volvo with Klaus the Audi, so we've been having fun working on providing ourselves with entertainment on this 14-hour drive, using the fancy media possibilities we now have.  Part of our preparations included recording a schmeer of vintage radio plays.

Today we've listened to a couple of Sherlock Holmes adventures, a Radio Mystery Theatre episode, a few Philip Marlowe stories (straight from Chandler's pages -- I was impressed) and some miscellany.  Though we've enjoyed a number of SHes in the past, they were all sponsored by one company; today's episodes had different advertisers, and at the end of one adventure there was a plea for help on behalf of the suffering people of Europe after WWII.  A ten-dollar donation to CARE would provide a significant amount of food for, say, a French orphan or Belgian widow, as examples.

Once upon a time America actually did GOOD in the world.  I'm ashamed of how we've slipped.

We used to come to the aid of our allies because it was the right thing to do.  I won't claim we had nothing but altruistic motives, but ... how things have changed.  The closest thing one sees to charitable generosity, these days, is taxpayer funds being handed out to already-prosperous businessmen and foreign governments which turn around and stab us in the back at the first opportunity.  Individual Americans pour out their private donations to charities which don't do what they claim to, or enrich mega-churches and their showmen "pastors."

Nice, kind, good people i know are heard to say that they don't want their tax-dollars going to help "freeloaders" who "don't want to work" to help themselves, while they don't want to learn that the ones they punish are mostly children, the elderly and disabled.  Our famous food-stamp issue hides the fact that a lot of the money in that program goes not to poor people needing help feeding their children, but to BigAg businesses.  These then turn around and bribe the FDA and USDA and anyone else they can influence to make BAD food CHEAP, and promoted to busy or less-educated people as "healthy" choices.

There are some really screwed-up priorities in the world today, and though we don't have a monopoly on it WE might be the worst example.  How the mess will pan out ... well, i'm hoping that the pendulum's inevitable backward swing will come sooner than later, but won't be holding my breath.  :-(

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


^ ...that wasn't a typo.  ;-)

The last week or so, I too have wandered into the "desire for fattening foods" slough.  :-)  This slough is a demonic association between Nature and Culture!  Due to the seasonal biological drive to put on fat before winter, our bodies have a head-start on making us vulnerable -- but it's the "holiday season" which springs the fatal trap.

It starts with the first cold stormy weather!  We start fantasizing about our favorite autumnal foods like thick rich stews and chowders.  Halloween is the first approach of the Chocolate Demon -- hey, very dark chocolate with its small quantities of sugar is virtually beneficial!  It has those lovely antioxidants, and it's luxuriously delicious, and for some people the sugar-free version that's sweetened with sugar-alcohols make it "completely innocent" ...  bwahahahaha!

Weeks into November, we're still finishing up our chocolate stash when along comes Thanksgiving!  We find all kinds of ways of lowcarbifying traditional favorite dishes, but we often manage to eat a higher-carb diet than USUAL -- just one meal, right?  I know from personal experience that all I have to do after a particularly decadent meal is to fast for 24 hours and I won't have any negative repercussions ... except something like additional knee pain if I've eaten some proscribed ingredients like wheat or oats ... or too much cheese ... or histamine trigger foods or ... uh-oh....

Then come old family Christmas favorites.  The slough is around my ankles, trying to suck me down before I even know it.

The autumn/winter holidays are centered around food for biological and cultural reasons.  In "the old days" it was HEALTHY to gain weight for winter for a number of different purposes.  Back when things like sugar and dried fruits were rare and special, one used them for the most important cultural celebrations.  The best brandy was used in the Christmas pudding.  Hours could be spent cracking and picking nuts, and stoning raisins.  "Important" households in the Old World hired extra servants for the extra work -- after all, when people went to visit their friends and relatives before the age of railroads, they didn't stay a weekend but months, frequently.  Celebrating Christmas was "big business" even before universal-present-buying became the norm.

For those of us who put on weight easily (or are otherwise easily damaged by the wrong foods), this season is a challenge.  It's best, of course, to do any solstice-season celebrating in a manner that does NOT center around foods.  Those with "conventional family" to deal with may find this horribly difficult, though.  These people most benefit with the low-carb work-arounds that are so generously found online in LC and LC-paleo circles.

The trick I find most helpful is to use the treats as replacements rather than add-ons.  If you ARE going to have the reduced-carb party mix, skip the carrots.  If the LC eggnog is going to be your dessert, have a lower-fat main dish.  Control like this is most easily acquired if you can manage to be the host, or have a host who is amenable to your schemes!  Despite the "a calorie is not a calorie" theory, it's STILL possible to "eat too much" of almost anything on the holiday menu!

The other day, I cooked a lovely roasted, pastured chicken with a sort of walnut pesto, and had a little mashed purple sweet-potato with it.  Fat content too low!  Around midnight I found myself "too hungry to sleep" so I went downstairs and made an eggnog for my third meal, and it did the job;  eggnog is, after all, liquid food.  This is how I like mine:


1 pasteurized egg, cracked into a pint measuring cup and well-beaten with immersion blender
1/2 c. cream or rich coconut milk
tiny pinch salt
tiny dollop vanilla extract
4 drops liquid sucralose, or stevia to taste
jigger brandy or rum, or combination
sprinkle of nutmeg on the top of the foam in a pretty cup -- AHHHH!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

karma ... and catch-words

I feel the necessity to speak of a great "natural force" which is widely misunderstood in the western world.  Karma isn't like HELL, a punishment visited upon the wicked for their past sins.  That's the over-simplified concept people seem to identify with the word -- I killed you in my last life, and you kill me in this; he was a villain in his previous incarnation, and so came back as a cockroach.  Amusing as well as satisfying when you see the wicked prospering like a green bay tree, with their victims unable to get justice on the earth plane, ... but complete nonsense.

See, the purpose of karma (which is defined as "volitional action") in our philosophy is not to look upon the suffering and judge them -- save that judging BS for sanctimonious puritan types!  According to the "masters of wisdom" the only appropriate response to suffering is compassion.  As a matter of fact, it's probably a big mistake to think of karma in reference to other people, and their good or bad fortune, at all.  At its best, this doctrine is a tool to help you form YOURSELF into the best person you can be.

I happened to have mentioned karma to a facebook acquaintance the other day, and she got extremely upset.  One who believes in karma is a horrible person, because that means BLAMING THE VICTIM!  One who believes in reincarnation is deluded and psychotic.  One who believes in anything spiritual is stupid and unrealistic because she is too smart to have fallen for group hallucinations and fairy tales -- and if she doesn't believe in it, it just ain't so.  She's a secular humanist, and obviously a better person than anyone who believes in any kind of life between lives: she does right BECAUSE it's right, and people who do right while believing in an afterlife are expecting to get a reward out of it, so they're impure or something.

She reminds me of conscientious vegetarians.  You know, they're better than people who eat vegetarian for health reasons.  It's not enough to do the "right thing" -- you have to do the "right thing" for THEIR reasons.

Rather a strong response to my statement of belief, I thought.  I briefly tried to explain that karma is more complicated than she seemed to think it, but no, I was a victim-blamer and a horrible person because I have reason to believe that a politically-incorrect tenet is real.  She spoke as though I had invented a dreadful system of heaping coals of fire on the heads of innocent sufferers.

This afternoon while doing some holiday baking I had plenty of time to muse on her comments.  How did a central belief of one of the most gentle and compassionate World Teachers turn into a hateful and ugly concept?  Buddhists SHOULD be lovely people!  Why do bad things happen in countries where they predominate?  ...Of course, there are probably as many ignorant and unevolved Buddhists as there are ignorant and unevolved Christians, but that's what happens when people are brought up in (or converted to for political reasons) an exotericized belief system for which their spiritual development isn't ready.  Blaming the Path for unprepared travelers upon it isn't reasonable.  I started googling "blaming the victim and karma Buddhist philosophy."  I waded through a lot of garbage before I found this:

"Sometimes this teaching is decried as a harsh doctrine which blames the victim, and even justifies social abuses. If someone is born poor, this argument goes, karma makes a convenient excuse for leaving them that way, because it is their own fault from a previous life. This is a gross distortion that cannot be justified from the Buddhist teachings. On the contrary, karma means that we have a responsibility to act compassionately towards others. To fail to do so is to make negative karma for ourselves. Judgmental attitudes are negative mind-states which cause bad karma in and of themselves*."

People are extrapolating from a social-psychological trap into an esoteric complexity, and getting tangled in the subtleties.  We WANT there to be justice, so we invent philosophical systems that explain OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS ... but when it comes closer to home AND WE KNOW we didn't ask for the hardships we are experiencing in this life, we have a conundrum on our hands. 

"But what of the case of someone born with a physical challenge like blindness? Some critics find it cruel to 'blame' the person's previous actions. This is also a misunderstanding. The emotive word 'blame' should not enter into it. The determining power of karma is not a moral judgment, but simply an explanatory tool. If karma is rejected as an explanation, are the alternatives any less 'cruel?'  It is then either the deliberate act of a creator-deity or the result of blind chance in a hopeless and meaningless universe."

My facebook acquaintance obviously prefers the latter, and goes out of her way to make a virtue of unbelief.  Again, like a religious person who lives a rough, joyless, hard-working life, she convinces herself that the life she MUST lead is the life ALL SHOULD lead.  If the frontier-dwelling church-goer does her damnedest to be a good, god-fearing person and her short unpleasant life is the high-road to heaven, why, the high-road to heaven is defined as an unpleasant one, filled with hardships and sour pain.

People like our archetypal frontier "soldier of the cross" see any pathway different from their own as a path with an entirely different destination.  If s/he experiences a special affliction or hardship, it's God testing her/his faith, BUT if that "different" person is visited similarly, The Other is being punished.  It's just human nature, but as Katherine Hepburn's character in "The African Queen" declares:  "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above."  And that is EXACTLY what the Buddha prescribes.  We're here to learn to improve ourselves, rather than be the condemnatory, self-important prat we started out as, in our first incarnation (or earlier in this one).

Actually, the Buddha's teaching goes that there are many other forces in action that influence our lives -- karma isn't responsible for it all.  We have various purposes, and we are sent experiences which will teach and prepare us for what we need to do.  Naturally, if one doesn't believe in anything "unseen" one will not believe this either.  But great things have been done by people who have been "sent" afflictions either personally or via their loved ones.  These innovators -- like Bell who in attempting to develop an aid to hearing for his deaf mother and wife, gave the world telephony -- don't just SEE a need, they FEEL it; they rise to the occasion and apply their gifts in truly inspired ways. 

Sometimes a highly-evolved individual actually CHOOSES to be a "sacrifice" for the good of his/her group.  Am I blaming the victim for pointing out that such an individual is responsible for the plight s/he is in?  I don't see it that way.  I bow before their amazing unselfishness.

So when we see someone who has been treated appallingly, either by fellow humans or by the fates, we don't know if this person is being taught a lesson for past misdeeds, or if s/he is "a human angel in disguise" doing special work for mankind.  Don't judge.  At all.  The ONLY appropriate response to suffering is compassion.

*  quoted passages from http://www.arrowriver.ca/torStar/karmanote.html

Friday, December 6, 2013

calling in a sub

I just finished the last bowl of the chili I made the other day.  Let it be known I LO-O-O-O-OVE chili on chilly days.  :-)  When I went low-carb I made it much less often, because chili without beans is NOT the chili I grew up loving.  It CAN be made with frozen green beans (frozen, because they're not already overcooked and they're cut a convenient length), but it doesn't look quite right and hangs off your spoon....  A lot of other vegetables are either too starchy or sugary, or don't fulfill the bulk requirement.

This happens a lot when converting favorite old foods to low-carb.  How do you make clam chowder, or vichyssoise, or other dishes which traditionally carry a lot of potato- or rice-bulk, if you can't handle what your body does with all that starch?  Hot soups and stews are winter comfort foods!  It's just not SATISFYING to come in from the snow and chow down on broiled fish and buttered greens -- at least, not to me....

The paleo world is full of recipes using cauliflower or turnips in place of potatoes, and from a low-carb standpoint, they work all right.  As a hypothyroid, I DON'T want to be eating these things every day, even though some of their deleterious qualities are reduced through cooking.  Furthermore, the gas would keep me awake at night (mostly second-hand).  Thank you, i'll save cauliflower for holiday mash and J's wonderful casserole, and turnips (which I find too strong in most recipes) as the topping for shepherd's pie.  For years I sought in vain for potato-replacers, and I've settled on two that I really like. 

Jerusalem artichoke (aka sunchoke) will be no surprise to those who saw my harvest* photo.  Their flavor is mild and artichokey. and their texture very potato-like.  It's true that the first time I tried the stuff, I tasted some raw and had some flatulence issues, but the experience hasn't recurred, as I always cook it now. 

Celery root is a favorite!  So many soups and stews really "sing" when celery stalk is added -- celeriac has a double benefit because it adds celery flavor and potato texture.  The big problem with IT is the expense and difficulty in finding it in groceries.  Only a few places in St. Louis can be relied upon to carry it consistently:  the chance of finding it in, say, Hutchinson, KS (hi, M!) is microscopic.  (Hell, our "borrowed daughter" in San Diego couldn't find sunchoke -- we ended up sending some to start her garden with.)  Next year, we plan to try cultivating celeriac ourselves.

So how did I solve the chili dilemma?  Well, my sunchoke harvest included about a pint of large-pea-sized tubers.  The first year, I would have left them in the ground for future growth, but now that the bed is well-established, I don't think that's necessary any longer.  I washed them off, let them dry, and stored them in the basement fridge along with a bigger bag of respectable-sized chunks.  After the onion was sautéed in red palm oil, the ground beef added and browned, the tomatoes and spices cooked down a bit, (about an hour before I was ready to serve) I poured in that pint of  'chokes and let them simmer till tender.

YES.  The chili had the flavor and texture it was supposed to have.  The skins of the 'chokes kept them from mooshing, just like bean-skins do. 

Of course, if you're not growing your own, you won't end up with the pea-sized bits I had.  However, cutting larger ones to size will work just fine, and if you don't reheat several times (like I do), they shouldn't overcook.

How about my "Gentle Readers" -- do you have favorite potato-replacers I haven't mentioned?

* dammit, I plant tomatoes and squash and rhubarb and not much happens.  the only things that I can produce in decent quantity are jalapeños and sunchokes!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

the magic of glutathione

What a crazy year 2013 has been....  A lot of people have had to deal with a lot of changes!  For me it hasn't been very bad, but I HAVE had some shocks and adjustments.  It's been like that story:

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer....
Through my dog getting sick and me catching something of his infection, thus triggering a severe histamine reaction and setting off my under-the-radar chronic fatigue issue, I studied up and learned some remarkable things.  I discovered Rich van Konynenburg's methylation hypothesis, and added some recommended supplements to my regimen, most notably GLUTATHIONE. 


Within HOURS of taking the first capsule, I felt a tremendous difference.  The fatigue that had flattened me was reduced significantly.  The lingering effects of the infection (inflammation) began to fade.  Ordinary daily chores were no longer exhausting.  I "survived" the trip to Phoenix and my mother's visit here without undue weariness.  We've been shopping for a new car and test-driving "crossovers" for a week -- and I really dislike shopping and dealing with sales-people -- and I'm still standing.  It's a miracle.

There have been days when I experienced the detox/die-off symptoms (basically, a revisitation in brief of the fatigue, brain-fog, etc), but they pass pretty quickly with a little extra rest and careful eating.

Eating!  Brother, do I easily observe what foods set me off!  It's the histamine/tyramine trouble foods which I should avoid.  And guess what -- most of them are "Neolithic agents of disease"....

I've been using glutathione for two months now, and my energy level may not be HIGH, but it's so improved, I could hardly ask for more.  I feel like I've discovered the answer to "life, the universe and everything."  ...Could glutathione have any connection to the number 42?  ;-)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

yes, i'm still alive

I had another living-history event last weekend (finally) so I've been busy as a hustler with two bunks.  ;-)  How do you define "comedy of errors"?  Well, consider this....

Many weeks ago I requested the job of preparing the Saturday lunch at this event, which was "hosted" by "the Oklahoma gang" of which i'm an honorary member.  When I hadn't got my confirmation (with time running out) a week before i'd need to SERVE IT, I sent a prompt with a deadline attached -- unlike most of the rest of the participants, I have to dedicate an entire day to get to the venue!  Finally heard, YES, I was doing the meal.

Now, for the first few years I attended MBS* the only meal with individuality was Friday dinner -- one breakfast is usually pancakes and the other eggs (both including bacon or sausage), Saturday lunch used to be either carried-in fried chicken or build-your-own sandwiches, and Saturday dinner is still (and always will be) STEAK.  :-D  As you can well imagine, the only meal I count on eating with the rest of the town is the latter.

Whenever I have the opportunity, I volunteer to be the primary cook for Saturday lunch (or Friday dinner, but there's more competition for that).  I don't try to impose my lowcarbism on nonbelievers, but I do try to reduce the damage, and to stick as close as possible to the paleo religion.  But this is just an "aside."  The comedy part is the way I had to scramble to get my menu prepared and to get where I needed to be.

In my refrigerator's freezer was some leftover meat from a previous MBS lunch (meat pies -- leftover filling); I determined to use it up somehow.  The character/persona I planned to portray to serve this meal is French, so a recipe from my beloved Picayune Creole cookbook was definitely in order, and delivered as promised.  It's a wonderful thing that old cookbooks often have recipes for what they called "cold meat cookery"....  I adapted the recipe for rissoles, and was pleased to add to the frozen meat some small portions of leftover sausages and some coconut-rice I had in the freezer -- got a pretty good cleanout, actually!  :-)  Then I found out how many people we expected to attend; I was going to need twice as much main-dish as I had.  I went downstairs and dug around in the BIG freezer....

Three big packages of Costco ground turkey!!!  My croquettes were less "miscellaneous" than my rissoles were, but i'd still be challenged to replicate exactly how I made them!  The technique was identical, however -- muffin tins filled with one dip from my old ice-cream scoop, baked in the oven, made for a PERFECT alternative to the frying that the book recommended.  I made a hundred little meat patties, and went looking for mini-croissants to serve with them.  ...Failed.  Improvised.  I baked the crescent rolls that fat little dough-boy pre-mixed for me.  Not something I was proud of, but economical, and J helped me get them ready for the oven.  Bless his little heart, he wanted to help more, but the configuration of our kitchen and limitation of tools stood in the way.  I also decided to provide a potato-based side dish -- Saratoga chips are a period-correct but too-common choice for MBS lunch -- I wanted something different.  Seasoned mashed potato cakes with cheese, made the same way as the meat cakes, turned out beautifully.  Dessert was easier -- I asked the ladies to make cookies, which provides variety as well as assistance.  Selfishly, to have a low-carb choice for myself, I also made a batch of "oatmeal" cookies from a recipe by Dana Carpender, and they were FABULOUS!!!

I bagged up everything and put them in the freezer.  Ready for the next challenge!

My poor old Volvo has been unreliable for way too long.  Last spring, on my way down to Texas, I experienced the last straw, and I've been unwilling to take it on ANY road trips, however short, by myself.  I arranged to rent a car for this event, and on Wednesday, J went to pick it up. 

Now, when you're facing an 11-hour drive, your comfort and safety are going to depend on some subtle details in your vehicle.  Different cars are designed for different physiologies, and if you have a mismatch going on, your trip will be less than optimal.  I DO NOT recommend the VW Passat if you are less than 5'8" ... and the dashboard lights, icons and information screen were invented by someone from another planet.  I THOUGHT I was getting an Altima.  :-(

It was mizzling when I left home, an hour later than I planned (no comment).  Parts of the trip, it was raining so hard I couldn't see the stripes on the road.  I had a completely disappointing dinner, and when I had to fill up the gas tank I got drenched.  I couldn't raise my friend on the phone to make sure the road into MBS was passable, so ten miles up the road I decided to be a wimp and get a hotel room; there were bugs.  Or, at least I saw one bug, and that makes one suspicious....

When I got to town the next morning, it was lovely to see my friends, and the condition of the ground wasn't nearly as bad as I HAVE seen it.  :-)  But it was cold, windy and wet all weekend.  Meg's and my little cottage was pretty snug, with the bedrooms' excellent insulation and the wood-burning stove in the parlor/kitchen allowing hot water for washing.  Our rooms were adequately heated by just our Aladdin oil lamps -- those things are amazing!  We have small kerosene heaters, but got along without them this time.

To my delight and relief, my lunch was very well received!  I made enough, but not too much (something that doesn't always happen when you're cooking for 50).  Even my cookies were favored!  I plan to make the recipe a little more historically correct and name it the Banting Biscuit, in memory of the first published low-carb diet.

It was excusable, I believe, to cheat and use some modern technology this time.  Bad weather was moving in on us, and I kept track of the storm's progress and the forecast for the area and our routes home (Meg lives in Kansas just northwest of Wichita).  She ended up bugging out on Saturday night.  I woke up horribly early on Sunday, and decided to consider it fortuitous and packed up, myself -- it takes some time to get everything packed up and loaded, and to ready a cabin for two months of non-habitation.  I take down my curtains and store them in a trunk so as to have a less-dusty place to sleep, and make sure there's nothing that will attract vermin or insects in my absence:  windows nailed shut; chamber-pot cleaned and aired; vessels turned upside-down; hats dust-covered; foam mattress inverted in such a way as to discourage mouse-nesting....  I had awakened just before 4, and headed out at 7.  It was cold but still and dry, and my drive was uneventful for about four hours.

I clipped the oncoming edge of the storm front right where a lake borders the highway for a number of miles.  For some reason, the traffic had gotten pretty thick, too.  For 20 miles I crept along at 50mph, keeping my fingers crossed as I changed lanes to pass people who probably had less practice than I have, in driving in winter weather!  Topping it all off -- my gas tank was very low.  I feared the rest of the drive was going to be hell, and calculated when I could reasonably expect to check into a hotel....  Finally had a chance to stop for gas, and by the time I did so, used the restroom, and texted my position to J and Meg, the precipitation had pretty much stopped.

The road wasn't even horribly slick, but I must say the car was pretty sure-footed on that sleety day!  The rest of the trip was uneventful except for having to take measures to stay alert.  I got home before dinner and had a lovely hot bath and a delicious rack of lamb before tucking myself in for a 10-hour sleep!

So that's why I've been "missing" for the last week!  Busy times, mostly good....

*  i'll use the common abbreviation to protect the anonymity of our "resort"....  ;-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

allergen advocates

The second thing i read this morning which yanked my chain was YET ANOTHER report of how chocolate is good for us and contains SOOOO many good properties.  Certain paleo/primal sites ring its praises constantly.

Unfortunately, it's also a very common allergen.  So are wheat, dairy, citrus, tomatoes, and even eggs.

I wonder how many people try low-carb and/or paleo/primal, and give it up because they feel bad BECAUSE they've been told how good for them certain foods are, and they eat a lot of things they're actually intolerant of without even knowing it.  I occasionally see people note that they love cream or chocolate or whatever, but after a whole-30 they reintroduce things only to find that what they love has betrayed them.  ;-)

Then there is the question of sweet potatoes.  And brassicas.  And nightshades.  A lot of "paleo darlings" have a dark side, especially to hypothyroids and the histamine-intolerant.  It's a real pain in the ass to have to learn what foods are widely problematic THE HARD WAY.

We all know that "just because it's natural doesn't mean it's benign," and the converse as well.  But it's truly shocking how many foods lurking in your friendly neighborhood grocery -- even your local farmers' market -- are downright health-damaging.

If you find, as a lot of people do who have Chronic Fatigue/ME, hypothyroidism, and most of the gastrointestinal problems, that you have whole strings of dietary intolerances, you probably start investigating the things you should avoid eating.  The easy things are the ones which paleo proscribes:  grains, legumes, industrial seed oils, and maybe dairy.  Then you get into finer points -- hypothyroids also need to avoid goitrogens like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard and turnip greens, collards, cabbages of all kinds, rutabagas and turnips, radishes, maca, and even condiments like mustard seeds and horseradish), AND cyanide-containing fruits and vegetables (including cassava/yucca, cabbage again, sorghum, flaxseed, peaches, apples, cherries, almonds...), AND glycosylflavones like millet, AND animal-fat sources of excessive omega-6 fats, AND ... and ... and ....

If you have Histamine/Tyramine/Salicylate Intolerance, there's a whole 'nother list of foods that cause trouble.  This list includes more PDs (paleo darlings) like fermented vegetables, red wine, and avocados.  Then there's the trouble with FODMAPs (the length of that list is jaw-dropping) ... and also when there are problem biota in the small intestine.  Again -- and and and.

There are probably no foods which are 100% safe for everyone.  According to Dr. Donaldson, fat meat and water SHOULD be, but i know people who swear they're allergic to beef or chicken or whatever.  I rather suspect it has more to do with the feeding and health-maintaining practices of those raising the meat-animals, but that's just the way i think....

The point is, there are few foods which are almost entirely undamaging to modern humans.  Part of it has to do with how things are raised these days, but a good deal is our tendency to want to eat the wrong things in the first place.  We were conditioned by nature to enjoy sweet things, and this predilection has taken on a life of its own now.  The fruits which were wholesome in their wildness have been cultured to deliver a STUNNING level of some of the most toxic micronutrients we can indulge in.  Somehow, "eating the rainbow" has been turned into a big virtue, and why?  Because the poisons in them are so dilute that they seem to put our immune systems on their mettle -- preposterous!  :-D  ...And don't get me started on our fondness for grains.

that dreaded "common denominator"

In my morning reading today, two things got my goat.  The first was one of those sweetness-and-light sites on the "natural" or "paleo" end of the spectrum.  It was linked by someone who is in a facebook group i sometimes read -- not like i had a lot of faith that it was going to tell me anything particularly enlightening, but i frequently skim unpromising articles and am pleasantly surprised occasionally.  This time, i was struck by the "headlines" which repeated paleo/primal truisms ... which are not ALWAYS good ideas.

Something that correlates with a positive outcome in the general population can be a big mistake down at the personal level.  "Good relationships are vital to your health."  To some this might just put a warm healthy glow around their pre-existing tendency to do stuff with their friends and families, and that's fine.  IF you have good relationships, cherish them!  If "relationships" is a word that makes you shudder a little bit -- and i know people to whom this applies -- fercrissake, don't rush out into the world and try to make friends in the wrong places!  I look at that quoted sentence from its flip-side:  bad relationships are HAZARDOUS to your health, so if yours are NOT good, DTMFA (as Dan Savage says).

Not-good relationships undermine your self-confidence, ADD to the stress in your life, keep you on emotional tenterhooks, waste precious time, and suck away your joy.  SEARCHING for good relationships often does the same damned thing.

A lot of people live very full and happy lives in a solitary mode -- don't let some stupid new-agey website suggest otherwise!  Some time ago, i read about a study in which it was found that the most happy group in the US were married men, next were single women, then unmarried men, and most miserable were the married women.  Now, society has always tried to convince women that their greatest fulfillment and joy is to be found in the married state, and THAT IS TOTAL BULLSHIT.  Ask any intelligent and realistic woman (ignore the ones who are obviously trying to convince themselves...) -- would your life be more peaceful and less stressful without ... uh ... you know....

What's good for "everybody" may not be good for YOU.  

Even our best friends seem to bite us in the butt occasionally, and friends don't "have to" put up a pretense of affection, as family members seem to.  And family members!!!  Some of our deepest and most lasting emotional scars come from those who (society says) "love us most."  

The most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves.  THAT is the good relationship we need to cultivate!  We each have to like and respect ourselves, because if we approach an outside friendship/romance WITHOUT this in place, it's doomed to imbalance and misunderstanding. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

pass the tallow, please

I found the information i've been wondering about for a few days....

Wooo and Lifextension have been discussing, on a social-media site, their observations and experiences in weight loss as their intake has contained more or less fat and protein.  Now, Wooo needs to carefully tailor her diet for the sake of brain-function and mood, so i tend to follow her discussions carefully but not emulate her diet wholesale -- my problems are different from hers, and her omega-6-heavier regimen wouldn't suit MY body well at all.  LE has an iffy thyroid like me, and her ideal diet would better match mine, but she's also more than 30 years younger*!

They found that going lower in protein and too high in fat has not been effective for them, as it has been for Petro (of Hyperlipid) and Jimmy Moore.  Cutting back on dairy fats, particularly, has been beneficial for the body composition and overall wellness of them both.

My husband, who loses weight easily when following a strict low-carb protocol, also found that avoiding dairy is a very good idea.  The last stall he struggled with was resolved when he stopped drinking his coffee with cream.  I too do better avoiding dairy products -- my digestion, weight-loss, AND skin quality are much better without cream, particularly.

Is it a form of dairy intolerance, or perhaps an insulin response?  As we know, milk, yogurt and fresh cheeses invoke a hefty insulin surge, but cream and butter are considered pretty innocent ... but they BOTH contain small amounts of lactose and casein, and it seems to be the latter that is most damaging to our weight-loss efforts.  Well, i was meandering around Hyperlipid's archives yesterday when i found something that looked promising:  http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/search/label/Butter%20insulin%20and%20Dr%20Davis

Petro was reacting to a post by the WheatBelly guy which pointed out Davis' perceptions of the weaknesses in the Atkins program and how butter is one of the problems ( http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2010/03/butter-and-insulin.html ).  Now, bearing in mind that a "GLUCOSE and triglyceride test meal" has nothing in common with the way a VLCarber actually eats, it does point up an interesting idea -- that butter actually does something different from other fats.  Not that i think that there's a problem with having one moderate insulin spike after each of two to three meals every day....  In fact, a mixed meal NEEDS a goodly spike just to get that damned BG down in the presence of FFAs in the bloodstream.  ...In a more sensitive population, though, are dairy fats causing a bigger insulin response than in those Spanish test subjects, who are probably young and metabolically healthy?  After all -- most studies DO try to find the least "complicated" subjects possible!

To load up on butter and/or cream in order to artificially raise the blood ketone level, which seems to be the fashion in LC circles these days, strikes me as questionable -- kinda like artificially lowering cholesterol by using a lot of polyunsaturates.  YES you're getting a lab number that correlates with a good health situation, but is that your actual goal?  If HDL, for example, is raised through drugs one doesn't see the health benefits that go along with higher HDL in a proper diet.  Surely, sheer numbers representing ketone levels in the blood don't actually mean we're burning more body fat -- it just means we have ketones AVAILABLE to burn.

If the composition of the diet necessitates that we ARE primarily using fats and ketones for fuel, i can't see that we need to worry about blood or urine levels AT ALL.  Urine ketones indicate that we're managing to "waste" energy, and those strips are a wonderful thing when first starting a low-carb diet, as a tool demonstrating that our body's processes are changing.  Eventually, however, our bodies become more adept at burning the ketones we produce, and our levels can reduce significantly.  Does that mean we're not getting the brain and body benefits of ketones?  Hell, no.

To get back to the butter-and-cream question, it seems that there might just be a little problem with residual quantities of lactose and casein exacerbating insulin response.  If YOU find good results IN YOUR BODY (not mere ketone levels in your blood and urine) when you add plenty of supplementary dairy fat, good for you ... BUT i wouldn't assume that everyone can benefit from it. For myself, the best type and quantity of fat seems to be what occurs naturally in ruminant meats such as ribeye steaks, lamb racks, and shoulders of grass-eating animals with cloven hooves.

[Sigh]  If only margarine were STILL made out of tallow....  (i wonder what they added to make it taste like anything?)

*  on the LCcruise last spring, Jackie Eberstein (Dr. Atkins' long-time amanuensis) stressed how time changes our dietary tolerances, and brother ain't it the truth....

Monday, November 11, 2013

bacon love

Of course i love bacon -- duh.  I believe i've heard it claimed that it's the food that most tempts veg*ns back to the "dark side."  Adding some improves the hell out of almost every dish imaginable -- even some desserts. Just don't try to pretend that it's the ultimate healthy choice.

When manufactured from conventionally-raised hogs, the fat in bacon is full of omega-6 that promotes fatty liver and ruins your physiological insulin resistance -- that property of muscle cells that keeps them from taking up more than their share of blood glucose, and therefore making you more hungry on a low-carb diet.

Remember when i wrote before that a very clever study showed that the thyroid works best in the presence of plenty of saturated fat in the diet, and less well as the degree of saturation goes down?  Pork AND poultry NATURALLY contain less saturated fat and more unsaturates even when they're pastured.  Add to this predilection the fact that almost all birds and swine raised for sale get extra feed beyond what they forage, and you can bet the farm that it won't be as good for a weight-loss diet as ruminant meats, especially grass-finished ones.

When CICO-promoters point out that low-carbers frequently still fail to meet their weight-loss goals, and attribute it to "unsustainability" or simply the incorrectness of the philosophy, i think they're on the wrong page.  I believe that the failure is rooted in the insistence upon using Atkins-approved but deleterious dietary choices -- WHICH ARE INDIVIDUAL in applicability.  Yes, Virginia, we ARE unique snowflakes (or as good as unique, in our individual rarity).

Because of genetic predilection, the diets of our mothers and grandmothers before us, our exposure to a huge variety of potential toxins, parasites, viruses and bacterial infections, our history of particular injuries and allergies, our microbiome, and factors we don't even know about yet, our tolerances to diet are all different.  So are the ideal choices for each of us, to promote the best health we can achieve.  These are things we have to discover for ourselves.  BUT...

...Biology is biology.  We KNOW how certain processes work in the body, and even if they're screwed up in some of us, we can logically predict how some things will work -- things like linoleic acid promoting certain biochemical processes, and palmitic tending toward others.  Things like dairy fats being problematic in weight loss even though butyric acid is our friend.

We all make trade-offs that promote quality-of-life over the HEALTHIEST choice:  i have a pretty good idea of how "clean" my diet OUGHT to be, but i choose to use alcohol pretty regularly and to have dairy products, sugar sources, and even gluten grains from time to time.  I KNOW i'd feel better without all of these, but again -- it's a quality-of-life thing.

But tell myself that these foodstuffs are harmless?  Tell myself i can eat all the bacon, cream, nuts, etc that i want, and they're perfectly healthy?  NO.  I may be ignorant of a lot of things, but i ain't stoopid.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

...and a P.S.

Something that van Konynenburg and others of a similar mind SHOULD have mentioned but didn't....

Reading other discussions on what glutathione is, where it comes from, what it's good for and so on, i happened across an important note!  It seems that when supplementing this important chemical, people often need more zinc, which has itself been the topic of conversation at the Scribble Pad recently.  Now, zinc is a VERY important mineral in the thyroid world, and one which even a lot of "normal, healthy" people tend to be a little short of ... and a significant shortage WILL make you miserable.

THIS is why running out and impulsively adding supplements to one's regimen can be a big mistake. I suppose this is why a lot of proponents of supplementation insist that one should work with one's physician in tweaking nutrients, too -- though the shortcoming with this notion is that most doctors are more ignorant about nutrients than the "interested amateur."  One has to do quite a bit of extra reading to find information such as the glutathione-zinc connection, and that kind of rabbit-trail tracking is time-consuming and nerdier than most professionals care for.

It's been suggested that hypothyroid people who have had trouble with iodine started supplementing too lavishly or without having their selenium bases covered.  I'm in no position to make judgements on the situation, but it IS a valid question to ask.  So many vitamins, minerals and aminos don't operate as lone-wolves;  they need their mates or their entire packs to help do their jobs properly.  Unless one does some pretty extensive homework, "details" like balancing one's A and D are totally overlooked, and some ugly little results can appear.

The homework necessary for success in tweaking one's health through supplementation is far more demanding than merely cleaning up one's diet paleo-style.  A significant variety of sources needs to be accessed, because a lot of websites quote each other without doing THEIR homework!  I look at conventional sources like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic sites (and many others) just to attempt to find VALID naysayers to what i've found in "alternative" circles.  I occasionally read some of the wingnuts too, even if i take their recommendations with quite a few grains of (unrefined sea) salt.  

When we become disillusioned with mainstream medicine and seek to be our OWN arbiters of wellness, we take a responsibility that most sheeple don't.  If good health is our goal (and what else COULD be our aim?), then we have to go the EXTRA distance to learn things that conventionally-trained medical personnel picked up in the course of their educations -- what we excitedly observe as a big revelation is often a "duh moment" for them.  On the other hand, we have a greater incentive to get it right for our particular situation and genome, and to them we're just another statistic or victim of probabilities.

Short version?  (Too late....)  Don't be in a hurry to invest in the (usually expensive) supplement-du-jour without doing a LOT of reading in a variety of sources!  Just because Oz (or Mercola or Kruse or Rosedale) makes a "new" nutrient or superfood sound like the answer to prayer, checking up with somebody who could easily be an "anti" might be the best idea you ever had.  

Don't believe ME, either.  ...Oh, okay, believe that what i say is what I EXPERIENCED (because i have no incentive or desire to lie about it), but don't believe that what works with me will work for YOU, till you do your own checking up and careful experimentation.  ;-)  

Friday, November 8, 2013

methylation success

The current Mercury Retrograde has really taken a bite out of my communication skills -- i can't figure out the best way to begin this, but i feel the need to share the remarkable results i've been experiencing.

The horrible fatigue and malaise i felt after returning from "back east" in August started me reading on Histamine Intolerance and CFS/ME -- both fields rather in the hinterlands of medical acknowledgement, and not having a long history of study and research.  The latter, especially, is complex and murky.  Chronic Fatigue has no one cause or characteristic, just a set of basic symptoms and common infections that most sufferers seem to share, and because of this, the more stuck-in-the-mud members of the medical industry tend to treat it more as a psychological disorder than a physiological one. 

I was lucky enough to happen upon a very helpful book, though, which gave me an overview of the problem -- "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a Treatment Guide" by Erica Verrillo.  SO much material is in it, i hardly knew where to start, but a combination of circumstances caused me to focus on Rich van Konynenburg's approach to treatment.  His simplified program would only make me add a couple of new supplements -- that argument was impossible to resist!  ;-)  I procured a superior B-complex vitamin and some high-powered glutathione (decided i'd add the phosphatidyl serine later if i needed to), and away i went....

And it was amazing.  I felt more energetic immediately, and i could hardly credit that the glutathione could get to work SO FAST, but Sidereal assured me that it really has that ability.  I've been using it for just over a month, and it continues to give satisfaction!

Occasionally i experience what RvK considered detox symptoms, minor flareups of old ills.  A few days i had some recurrence of inflammation here and there, some body aches, some weariness, but NOTHING like i experienced just a couple of months ago.  Mood, endurance, sleep, clear head -- it's been truly rejuvenating.  

I started reading additional sites to learn about the experiences of others, too.  Stumbled across the Freddd protocol as well, and there's a LOT more out there.  Here is a good place to begin, if you'd like to hear more:  http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_The_Methylation_Cycle

Sunday, November 3, 2013

back to work, yet again

Being distracted from pursuing my health-and-fitness goals by Life is an ongoing problem with me!  Since my husband retired in May, i've wrestled with this issue and am slowly developing a strategy ... but it's still a work in progress.

A simple low-carb diet suits him fine, though when he wants to accelerate weight LOSS he has to be more strict.  I have to be far more restrictive in every phase of my diet because i have problems that he doesn't.  He doesn't have FODMAP or histamine concerns, fatigue issues, or a lot of other intolerances that i have to work around.  He is, in fact, "disgustingly" healthy.  :-)

But it's back on the LC-wagon for both of us, this week!  For the last half of October, what with being out of town for my mother's 90th birthday party, then her visit with us, then a little whooping-it-up for Halloween, we've both been unusually self-indulgent!  Thursday afternoon, i actually made a batch of popcorn and split it with him -- WICKED!  ;-)  I made some sweet-potato fries, too, to accompany our grilled lamb chops.  At least we didn't buy any candy....

Today we had our last "evil" meal, trying out a new restaurant.  Pat's Bar & Grill offers huge servings, and we're STUFFED.  Tonight we'll have a light dinner, and tomorrow we'll be "perfect" again.  There's a leg of lamb thawing in the sink, and a couple of beef tenderloin steaks in the fridge.  We have smoked salmon ready to be made into cornucopias with cream cheese and capers, and a pastured chicken to be grilled a la diavolo.

As i've observed before, going back on a stricter diet in our house is something to look forward to!  It's only for "convenience" and accommodating others that we start getting sloppy in our food choices.  That's why i like living a "boring" existence, i have to confess -- i just prefer the good physical feeling that comes from eating an ascetic-but-ketogenic diet!  It's not like a traditional ascetic diet of coarse bread, potatoes and unbuttered vegetables, thank goodness.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

happy halloween!!!

It's opined by some that our attraction to celebrating the Dark Side on All Hallows Eve is EEEEEVILLLL -- to which i reply POPPYCOCK.  These folks are inclined to be afraid of everything that is "different" from their experience.

Others are more philosophical, but equally wrong IMHO, in assuming we want to be scared as an artificial means of getting an adrenaline fix.  They remind me of book-experts of historic costume who have never actually WORN authentic clothing of a period, and therefore have ridiculous notions as to why certain practices existed.

Closer to truth, i believe, is the desire to analyze our fear of death and come to terms with it by plumbing the depths, seeing the worst, understanding it, and thereby removing a lot of the Unknown quantity that causes the uneasiness.  We aren't afraid of the dark -- it's what's hidden by the darkness that's scary.  If we know what's out there, we're better equipped to deal with it.

Those of us who believe in reincarnation are convinced that we know what's on the other side.  By and large, we're not afraid of death, but would dearly love to know more of the DETAILS of what our departed friends are experiencing.  We want more insight, and long to communicate.

Dead people are very important to the living!  We seek out their writings for access to the wisdom they accrued, for amusement, and insight into the world they walked through, ages before we were born.  This doesn't even take into account the longing we have to make one more contact with loved ones we've lost.

Play a game:  if you could ask just one question of someone who has passed beyond the veil, who and what would it be?  As you are trying to drift off to sleep tonight, ask it.  Some remarkable results have been experienced, doing this.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

oh, and one more thing....

Yesterday was the first day with just the three of us at home again -- J, Spense and me, being lazy and self-indulgent!  I watched Halloween movies (it was Mummy day, both ancient and modern), ate J's good quiche, had a couple of glasses of wine in the afternoon, and finished up some leftovers for dinner.  That might have been a mistake.

There were "compromise foods" in that meal -- a few cannelloni beans and LC pasta in the soup, and possibly more nightshades than are optimal for me.  I made little sandwiches from the (innocent) brisket and some gluten-free french bread which was not one of my usual recipes.  I spent the evening  with obviously inadequate digestion going on.  My bedtime supplements sat on top of it very uneasily.  I gave up trying to sleep at 11, but a nice hot epsom-salt bath made me feel a lot better; after that the night was short, but comparatively good.

My histamine issues have gotten a lot better over the last month, but this fortnight of higher stress and worse nutrition took its toll.  One of the things an "attack" does to me is dramatically lower my thyroid functioning.  If i eat/drink/breathe enough of the wrong things, i particularly experience poor digestion and a difficulty getting warm.

The tendency of poor nutrient absorption to participate in the cycle of poor thyroid function to poor digestion to poor absorption, 'round and 'round, is something i've written about before.  However, i have NOT yet spoken of the temperature issue in metabolic function, an inexcusable omission!  My only excuse is ... there are just SO MANY things to think about, when crafting one's best possible health-lifestyle!  :-)

In agreement with Dr. Denis Wilson's temperature theory, there will be a similar Vicious Circle of low metabolism and temperature and thyroid function.  It boils down to the enzymes which catalyze every chemical reaction in our bodies -- it has been found that a small variation in temperature can distort their shapes, and since a lock-and-key situation exists, an overly-warm "loosened" enzyme can't do its job well, and nor can a too-chilly "tightened up" one.

Wilson found that, in patients experiencing hypothyroid symptoms but showing acceptable lab values, just normalizing their temperatures with the use of T3 supplements was enough to get them functioning well again, even after withdrawing the thyroid supps.  No wonder i've always found that a hot bath helps when i feel crummy -- my temperature comes up to an appropriate level, and then my body is able to take over the job of climate control as it was designed to do.  No wonder that being exposed to prolonged heat makes me feel awful, and that i'll only regain decent function when i cool off.

This is a notion i've ONLY seen on his site, http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com.  But between this and the thyroid-lowering power of inadequate nutrition, a low-cal diet, histamine intolerance and CFS/ME, a lot of apparent contradictions in patient experience can be explained.  Symptoms can come from a huge variety of causes.  A mixture of hypO and hypER symptoms can come from mixed messages by the regulatory systems of the body -- fuel and toxin messages -- and NOT be a hint that one is better off without a thyroid at all, as allopathic medicine has sometimes interpreted it.  Unless a part is diseased or injured beyond repair, surely allowing it to heal in a nutritionally-replete and hygienic environment is to be preferred!  

...but of course, that takes WORK.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Here's where i have to make a confession -- i've got my selfish side!  ;-)  In defense, we HAVE to take care of ourselves primarily, because 1) what others think is right for "everyone" usually isn't, even if you're confident they have your best interests at heart; and 2) we can't do what we need to do, which includes unselfish acts, unless we ourselves are functional, which requires taking care of ourselves first, which is ... selfish...?

For two weeks now, i've been in company with a lot of people, which is completely opposite of the position i was in, this time last year.  Without all the distractions and the need to cooperate with the "food desires" of other people, it was comparatively easy to determine and define what is best for myself.  I found how to pretty-much eat optimally for my own health, well-being, energy and weight control when i spent a lot of time by myself.  That plan is VERY hard to pursue when other people are added to the mix.

There's a big range in how much people use food for "entertainment" purposes.  Some get up in the morning and the first thing they think of is "what can i eat today?"  Some "get bored" by a diet of limited variety, no matter how nutritionally replete it is.  Some treasure their sweets* and treats to the point that they seriously endanger their well-being for the sake of sensual enjoyment.  To me, these notions range from "unworthy" to just plain loony.  Planning meals for them and otherwise catering to their amusement gets problematic;  it's hard to accommodate everyone's absolute needs, let alone please them.

Being around people with that "chow down" philosophy is difficult for those of us who would rather eat simply and eat less -- even more so when we need to cook for them!  Supplying meals for those with different requirements is a constant temptation to err.  Effort expended (energy requirements thus changed) and stress add to the difficulty.  As an OCCASIONAL thing, one little trick has occurred to me, and it is exemplified by the starch-apologists' darlings, the Kitavans.  (Of course, if one is diabetic or pre-diabetic what works adequately for ME is off the table -- pun intended).

I pig out at supper, and if it's safe-carb-heavy i don't worry about it.  It WILL be stored as fat, being in excess of what my body would currently use.  Sometime during the night my body will switch from glucose-burning to fat/ketone burning, as i have reestablished metabolic flexibility through habitual LCHF eating.  Then, i don't have anything but coffee for breakfast.  At lunch, i continue to go heavy on the fat and have as little protein as will get me through.  Nicotine gum is occasionally helpful to tide me over till everybody else is ready for their regularly-scheduled meal.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  One glucose spike a day, and the rest of the time one is running on a fat/ketone fuel system, consisting of one's own body fat.

It's not something i'd want to do as a regular policy.  I do so well on an ultra-low-carb diet of fatty meat two or three times a day, and i feel so good on it!  But long trips and houseguests happen.  I've discovered that this little trick helps me cope.

*  In the case of sweets-loving, i think a lot of blame belongs on the shoulders of nutritionists (as bribed by their corporate sponsors) who say that sugar is harmless in moderation.  DEFINE MODERATION.  At what point does that frequent glucose spike stop being harmless and start promoting diabetes, cancer, heart disease and brain damage?  What, you don't know?!?  Maybe you'll use the onset of serious overweight as a sign of damage -- but that doesn't help all the lean people who (SURPRISE) develop all these illnesses....

Some also say that life is too short to deny oneself dessert, as a prime example.  To this i would counter, life is too short to spend the last few years of it feeling like shit!  I think it's worth a little privation to promote good health further down the line -- wellness is more important to me than sugar.  Limiting cookies, candy, chips, potatoes, bread, desserts ... boohoo!  Frankly, i think that NOT limiting them and then having to spend one's last years incapacitated is what life is too short for -- excuse my grammar.  ;-)

Friday, October 18, 2013

revisiting Atkins

Between other diet-doctors wanting to put their own twist on the Atkins program (so THEY can sell books, too), food manufacturers wanting to cash in on low-carb products, and individuals who want to eat their cake and have it too, the original Atkins message has kinda gotten lost....

Wooo has been writing about what seems to work best for most people for weight loss, and what the current popular tweak to LCHF has become.  Other people i know have dialed back on the ADDED fat with good results.  I well know my own best formula for weight loss, too -- and it has nothing to do with drinking cream, adding butter or swilling EVOO.

The original message was, don't be afraid of natural fats.  Eat like your great-grandparents, not like a late-twentieth-century diet-obsessed yuppie.  The original fat-fast was a technique Dr. Atkins invented, then developed, with the purpose of forcing a person who was stubbornly glucose-burning into HAVING to burn fats for fuel because the usual over-abundance of carbs isn't available.  In the decade since his death, things have changed.

Maybe the first person to suggest DRINKING oil was the creator of the Shangri-La diet.  Before that, the only fat-bibbing i was aware of was the suggestion of real cream in one's coffee -- a substance known for suppressing appetite and providing energy all by itself.  There's a reason you can just drink coffee for breakfast and not feel the need for solid food for several hours!  It wasn't till much later that i heard anyone suggest adding butter to one's coffee ... but adding eggs as Sisson suggests is actually a very old idea.  When i read Donaldson i also learned about the tradition from the British Isles of adding tallow to one's tea as a laxative, apparently another antique notion.

For overweight and obese people to burn their own body-fat for energy, they'll have the easiest success if they become "fat/ketone burners" rather than glucose burners.  That's the magic of LCHF -- if our bodies still want to burn glucose, we'll get the constant hunger signals and be miserable and tired, but if our bodies are content to burn FFAs and ketones, they won't always be telling us to "eat eat EAT" like a bunch of old-world grandmothers!  :-)  The easiest way for us to know that we ARE fat-burners is to be in ketosis -- Atkins knew this, and recommended we check ourselves with the urine test strips which are cheap and easy to find and use.

But in this modern world, "more is better" to a lot of people.  If you're seeing success by walking, surely you'll see MORE success if you run; if you can eat a 1500-calorie diet and make progress, you probably expect quicker weight loss at 1200; if you're doing well with pink pee-strips, you're bound to be an even better fat-burner if the strips are purple.  ...However, if successful methods of losing weight were truly intuitive, there wouldn't be an obesity problem.  The human body is not like a car, and the laws of physics are trumped by the laws of biochemistry when it comes to what actually WORKS.

With this philosophy, we find the original LCHF method getting tangled up with conventional wisdom!  Is our goal to conform to a certain laboratory value for blood ketones, or to maximize burning of our own body-fat for energy...?

Just because we've managed to set fats/ketones free FOR burning doesn't necessarily mean we ARE burning them!  If anything, a higher value on the pee-strips are superior to higher blood ketones because if they're in our urine that means we've already wasted "calories," spilled out energy!  If fats and ketones are still in the blood, they're not gone yet, and fats at least can be sent to storage.

On a low-carb diet, we replace easily-stored energy with something which our bodies happily burn, then when the dietary source is exhausted, we switch to the endogenous supply without a lot of fuss (hunger).  The more of the dietary source there is, the longer it will take to make that switch -- ie, start burning body-fat.  So does it make sense to take in more than is required to satisfy the basic appetite, if you're trying to get rid of body-weight (as opposed to supplying fuel for a heavy workout)?

If energy-intake-restriction is a virtue (as in the popularity of the "fat fast" and its 1000-calorie goal) why do we want to add EXTRA dietary energy on an everyday basis?  The most popular sources of added fat seem to be from dairy products, and they actually have problematic aspects for a lot of people -- even butter.

If you want to lose weight, first figure out how much protein you need or can tolerate.  Then figure out how little carb you can get along with (some people need "none" and some people feel better with more).  Finally, figure out how much fat you need so that you're not ravenous.  If you find yourself losing so fast that your thyroid slows down and you feel bad (which has nothing to do with carb intake, but are merely starvation symptoms), add a little bit more protein and fat.  Your weight-loss will slow down, but that's the tradeoff you'll have to make, if the lethargy bothers you too much.

As JanKnitz reminded us, ya gotta choose your "hard."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

brilliant quotes

I'm fond of pithy quotes and epigrams, but i usually spare my dear readers.  ;-)

Today, though, i will indulge -- just read one that i got a chuckle out of, by Agatha Christie in "What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw"
"A doctor's life, I always think, is so noble and self-sacrificing," said Miss Marple.
 "You can't know many doctors," said Doctor Quimper.  "Leeches they used to be called and leeches they often are!"

how to do everything wrong

The Royal Crown people are to be congratulated -- they've managed to make a first-class, across-the-board, bad-for-EVERYONE product!!!

What a pity.  Diet RC used to be the best diet cola out there, if one tolerates sucralose well (and most people do).  It disappeared from our grocery shelves months ago.  Yesterday the "new improved" product showed up at one of the shops i patronize, and i read the label.  It has:

  • high-fructose corn syrup AND
  • aspartame AND
  • acesulfame-K AND
  • sucralose
in that order.  Mind you, i didn't take notes, so there might have been a couple of other things in it that are problematic to people....

Such a brilliant plan!  Change a product which has only one substance that a few people object to, and create one that EVERYONE can hate!  Well done, RC!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


If it's not the answer they want, no matter how obvious it is, they will not hear....

I know a nice lady who is not dumb, but she sure does and says some dumb things.  Unfortunately, when people behave that way, they make the rest of us look bad.  No wonder so many doctors write "hypochondriac" on people's charts.  They complain about feeling bad, but there's always some excuse for not implementing tried-and-true means of treatment.  They want a magic pill ... and those don't exist.

I lose patience sometimes, and despite my wish that everyone might be healthy and happy, i slip into the attitude of "if they're not willing to make an effort to help themselves, they don't deserve help."  It's interesting to observe the reactions of people asking for advice in certain forums:  some women suck up to male attention in a way i haven't observed since the sixties; some people keep asking the same question over and over, rephrased, till they get the answer they WANT.  Sorry, the least onerous and most pleasant "solution" may only be useful to people with the fewest problems.  Tricky problems in older or sicker people will probably require a tougher regimen, and the REAL solution might involve some unpleasantness.                        

You can't try Atkins one day (Oz!) and then pass judgement on it.  You can't try a supplement for three days and say it doesn't work.  You can't try ketosis for a week and expect to feel like a million bucks.  You can't get "temporary relief" indefinitely -- i don't care WHAT that nice doctor-actor said on television.  You might have to forgo chocolate or dairy, and you may have to take desiccated liver tablets if you find eating real liver "yucky."

You have to get stubborn and stick to the course for a whole month sometimes.  ARE YOU THREE YEARS OLD?  "I don't LIIIIIKE it!" is not a valid excuse for a grown-up.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

your mileage may vary

I don't think there's anything more frustration-producing for a lot of people than trying to lose weight.  There are countless diet/exercise plans and theories to choose from, not to mention unsolicited advice from surprising sources.  Then there is the desire humans have to see what they WANT to believe is true.  People WANT to think they can eat what they like and move as they like, and still get the results they desire -- and a lot of the time it just ain't true.

There's a mis-match going on, in many cases.  Trying to use a diet or type of workout that produced good results for someone else can be like changing the fuel-filter in your car to try to improve its performance because that worked for your brother -- but if the problem is a clogged AIR filter instead, YOUR car won't run any better.

I have to conclude that the best way to choose a regimen that will work for YOU is essentially how i decide which of various similar products to buy on Amazon:  you read a couple of the positive reviews, and a couple of the negative reviews, THEN think about the tone of each before developing an opinion of who is credible.  So many diet books and sites give examples of success stories and testimonials....  It's only if the good reviews come from people LIKE YOU, and the negative comments are from dissimilar individuals, that you can reasonably assume they're relevant in your case!

Then, you may have to match your key activity to an eating style that will specifically support it (or vice versa).  Again, there are SO many little tricks and tweaks that people have worked out for themselves -- intermittent fasting, supplement use, various carb-intake levels, starch VS fructose, etc.  You may simply LIKE doing certain things, but if all of them don't work right TOGETHER for YOUR physiology, they might not be right for you in an "active improvement stage" even if they're fine for maintenance.

It's a good idea to start with basics again, and become thoroughly equilibrated THERE, then add in new techniques very slowly, one at a time.  If weight loss is the aim, re-read the WHOLE Atkins book and follow the rules strictly for a goodly period of time.  Usually, when we re-start Induction we aren't sufficient purists -- we use the compromises we learned some time ago, which COULD be the stumbling block that derailed us before.  Also, the first time we read the book, it was all new and there was a lot to absorb; now that we're more familiar with the philosophy, if we read it again it's very possible we'll notice a point that didn't click for us when we were newbies.

Back when i was actively fencing, it was impressed upon us that the best way to cement one's own mastery was to teach the basics to someone else.  All the little things that are so important may be forgotten or at least placed on the back burner as we progress.  When we revisit the details that are important for the beginner to know, we tend to clean up our act and correct sloppiness that has infiltrated our style.

...I really do need to finish reading "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" -- sounds like an important key.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

on the road again, and misbehaving already

Is it the "holiday atmosphere" of taking a trip, or just the fact that side-dishes are limited in airport restaurants....  The waiter didn't blink when i asked for my bacon-cheeseburger without the bun, but the ONLY side available was fries, and i ended up eating a few.  Ah, well, breakfast was only one cup of coffee -- i can probably "afford it."  I'll just be extra good at dinner!

Yes, my husband and i are off again.  My mother turned 90 a couple of months ago, but since she and my sisters live in the desert southwest, it was opined that the official celebration should be scheduled in a more temperate season.

My mother is one of those "moderation is all you need" believers.  Of course, she grew up eating home cooking, drinking raw milk, and eating pre-goat-grass wheat products.  In latter years she's had a few significant health issues but for most of her life she's been pretty illness-free.  She was slender as a teen and young adult, put on "normal" overweight in mid-life, and now is ... medium-sized i'd say.  There aren't a huge number of nonagenarians i know to compare with her!  When your experience has been like hers, it's easy to believe in moderation....

She'll be returning with us to St. Louis -- she misses the changing seasons, where she lives now, but come winter is pleased to escape the ice and snow.  Here's hoping we have a little fall color to show her when we get back!