Friday, August 30, 2013

pleasant fatigue and ... the other kind

This morning i was having a bit of trouble with fatigue.  Caffeine wasn't making any impression on it, nor carnitine nor tyrosine.  I decided to try some nicotine, and all of a sudden i had an urge to get out of my chair and work on the powder room some more.  The rest of the afternoon flew!  I finished removing the wallpaper from all of the west wall i could reach without a ladder, and called it a day.

When we're feeling more-or-less GOOD, with "normal" energy levels, work and exercise feel good too.  People who don't have chronic fatigue issues probably only experience this kind of weariness, which carries with it the satisfaction of accomplishment and the promise of good rest and returned vitality tomorrow.  This is the way it should be.  Unfortunately, some don't share this experience -- theirs is completely otherwise.

And this is one of the reasons that normal people can't empathize with "chronic fatigue" sufferers.  Hell, even the name of this problem is felt by its victims to be a minimization of the disease;  while some have widely-varying day-to-day energy levels, others are completely prostrated by the lack of available energy for the essential activities of living.  Their lives are devastated by inability and they're not even taken seriously by much of the medical establishment -- they're constantly told that they're malingerers and it's all in their heads.

So many medical problems have fatigue as a significant symptom, i can imagine that pinning down the diagnosis IS tricky.  As a hypothyroid, i've always had energy issues, and my fatigue has waxed and waned in a manner not at all predictable.  Fatigue crops up in association with neurological problems, too, and with mitochondrial issues and in concert with difficulties in energy-retrieval and ... innumerable others that i'm not qualified to list.

In the last few decades, CFS/ME [(Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and its aliases  post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or by several other terms] HAS gained some ground, though the whole situation is far from well-defined OR understood.  The sufferers and their doctors have amassed quite a few techniques for improving energy and quality-of-life, and i'm hoping to be able to pick their brains for some good pointers.  It's turning out to be a very interesting study!

You see, i WANT to be able to enjoy more afternoons like i did today -- expending some energy i actually have TO SPARE, and accomplishing things.

"seeking cures"

Oh brother....  If anything engages my gag reflex more than what i wrote about the other day, it's solicitations and races to help FIND CURES for what ails us.  It's not the concept of actually curing illness -- if only!!!  Alas, no.  What they want is to look like they're TRYING to do something constructive.

What they're actually trying to do is fund drug research in order to market something new -- it doesn't even have to be something effective!  Most pharmaceuticals have a piss-poor track record for alleviating suffering, especially in the psychiatric world from what i hear.  And "they" want to put statins in the water supply....

A dear friend was very recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and his prognosis is bad.  This has prompted me to revisit a few sites that discuss cancer from a professional and informed point of view, and ... what can i say?  The state of the union in the treatment of this sad illness is a bloody JOKE.  Same-ol'-same-ol' poisoning of the patient in hopes that they'll kill the renegade cells before they kill the host -- nothing more!  In other parts of the world they're "softening up" the cancer's defenses with enzymes before administering the poison, to give a little advantage to the victim but we don't want to do that here!  We want to pretend that American medicine is evidence-driven and state-of-the-art, and our propaganda machines have convinced the poor suckers that it is SO.

For chrisesake, if _I_ can find reasonable evidence that at very least a non-omega-6-based ketogenic diet, and the use of serrapeptase SUPPORT conventional treatment in a safe and cheap way, there's no f'ing excuse for the resistance that both get in the medical industry.  Doctors, alas, support each other in faith and confidence:  they give each other the secret handshake and assume the other guy knows what he's talking about.  They rarely suspect each other of ulterior motives or stubbornness or IGNORANCE of actual data -- more's the pity.

So "survivors" are turned into shills supporting the systems that let them down in the first place.  I pity them as enthusiastic suckers, while scorning them as deluded and indoctrinated, and so addicted to sugar that they aren't even willing to give up their fix to help their bodies heal.  They've been poisoned, and poisoned, and poisoned again; assaulted with knives and ray-beams, and they go on to praise their assailants and dig up money for them to continue doing it to others.

There are damn few "cures" in this world, mostly "treatments."  The treatments some doctors and researchers like best are the ones that keep the victims coming back for more till their resources run out, they're discarded by the system that didn't care about them from the beginning, and they die in misery.  People with respect for this appalling industry wonder why i despise it so much;  why, those annual cancer screenings they've been brainwashed into taking every year or so throughout their adulthood "saved their lives"!!!  Pardon my skepticism -- i don't necessarily believe that to be true.  I strongly suspect that these screenings are designed to scare the patient into undertaking procedures which are more harmful than helpful in an awful lot of cases.

The world of nutritional information about which i've become so passionate has taught me about far more than food and supplements.  It's taught me that the people who SHOULD be looking out for the health and well-being of their "flocks" are more interested in their incomes and reputations than THE REASON THEY THEORETICALLY WENT INTO THE FIELD (to help people) or THE OATH THEY TOOK UPON BEGINNING PRACTICE (to first do no harm).  Their outdated ideas and bad advice are killing people, and they don't give a shit.  Hell, if they were ONLY killing i'd be less censorious of them -- they're causing needless pain and suffering, and they just don't give a damn.  They could be ameliorating the lot of miserable people everywhere, and it's not that they can't, but a shocking proportion of them WON'T.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

feeling much better -- on a diet aimed at lower histamine

Whew -- although i'm awake and it's the middle of the night, i'm feeling MUUUUUCH better.  The DOH reports mold and ragweed readings still in the "high" range but grass pollen has dropped down to "moderate."  For the most part, i've been trying to eat a lower histamine/tyramine diet, but i've made a few additions -- and i even got a little accidental mold contact in the house in the last 12 hours!

Part of the improvement MAY be attributable to a short fasting period i enjoyed yesterday -- on Tuesday evening we ate a whole duck between us (cooked in a "new" and wonderful way as described in Dana Carpender's "Five Hundred Paleo Recipes" "Unsightly but Delicious Duck")....  Well, eat half a duckling, and you're not going to be hungry again for quite some time!  I drank mostly black coffee until Wednesday dinner, at which time i couldn't even finish my (admittedly huge) ribeye steak ... though i polished off my share of the swiss chard with asian spices that J prepared to go with it.  With this i allowed myself about eight or nine ounces of petite syrah ... oh, and twice during the afternoon (when i started to feel hunger again) i had a small square of the egg-cheese-jalapeno preparation that's on my recipe page.  Yum.

I started working on the next house-rehab project -- the downstairs powder room where the wallpaper started to fail.  That's where i found the mold, behind the toilet (which is under the window).  Some of the previous owners' rehabs have been very poorly done, and every time i pull down old wallpaper i find things that make me roll my eyes in disbelief.  Friends, if you have to make repairs to old plaster walls, do yourself a favor and put a layer a primer between it and your new wallpaper....  I'm surprised my sinuses didn't start screaming at me, working in that tiny airless room, up-close-and-personal with mildew ... or whatever it was.


Got back to sleep around 5:30 and got a few more hours -- and i still feel very good!  :-)  I guess my next experimental move will be to [gasp] go outdoors for a little while.  We'll see if the summer heat (which finally arrived) makes me feel crummy again.

My husband, though, says he now feels symptoms of a chest-cold and has for a couple of days -- dating to when we got the new vacuum cleaner and air filter.  Although our rugs and therefore the air we breathe are much cleaner now, there's no doubt i stirred up some almost-literal "old shit" (the stuff that Spense scratched off himself, which then got trodden into the carpets).  This may be an indication that he's catching something i just got over.  Bear in mind that J almost NEVER gets sick -- he's got the most robust body i've ever heard of, even compared to my mother's 90 years of generally good health!  Back in the days he was smoking, he was always able to blow the lung-testing machine to the top of its scale, whereas i (nonsmoker) barely got it into the "normal" range.  I'm grateful he's learned tolerance of my wimpiness!

Today's pollen and mold have been reported -- mold and grass pollen have both moderated and only ragweed is still high.  Quality of life continues to improve.  ;-)

Doing a last proofread while sitting down for awhile -- just got finished making more mayo and oopsie rolls, and clarifying the duck fat i saved the other day.  Also reclarified the last tallow i saved, but alas it's developed a little rancid smell -- this will get saved in the "ordinary tallow" bag for use in my new betty lamp, or making candles.  Damn.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

it WAS "the other thing" ... i think


How could i have been so stupid?  I think i CAN guess what it was that set off my allergy/histamine system so badly!  It could easily have been the same thing that made my dog so sick.

Not that i know EXACTLY what it was, but it was definitely bacterial because it responded to antibiotics.  It was something that he picked up on the farm, and which i suspected might have been associated with the water-well, because that had just been repaired when we arrived in VA.  All the way home, Spenser chewed on himself, and it took me a long time to get his coat back in order (using his brush), because he was too stressed to bathe.  I continue to brush of course, and have to remove hair from it every time.  That brush must be teeming with "buggies."

Also "of course" i wash my hands after brushing him, but not just after casually touching the brush.

There are many kinds of infective agents and they can do all kinds of different things to us -- not all of which are logical and intuitive.  If i may use our dear Sidereal as an example, some of the fatigue she has suffered may have originated in a years-ago infection....

One hint that i was already a little fragile while on vacation lies in the fact that the chigger bites i suffered made huge bumps instead of the tiny ones i usually get.  My fault -- i SHOULD have hunted down a can of repellant before J and i walked the length of our son's property, and me having put on shorts that morning!  I'm lucky i didn't pick up ticks, too.

If i were not on a very-low-sugar diet, might i have gotten as sick as Spense was?  (It's not like he actually eats sugar, and he is on a grain-free diet, but the sweet-potato filler in his kibble is bound to give him blood-sugar spikes larger than my usual.)  He never was able to tell me exactly where it "hurt" but he obviously felt like shit and needed extra rest ... just like i did.  His poor little eyes got all inflamed and goopy, and his white fur is still stained from it to the point he still looks a little like the walking dead with their dark circles....

So my malaise may have been the direct descendant of his, and i didn't need antibiotics because my natural biota were able to deal with the problem.  I just had to be extra-careful of my diet and environmental contacts, as he was when he refused to eat and spent most of his time in a quiet corner.  He feels much better now, you can tell because he now enjoys a healthy appetite and a propensity to growl at J about toy-possession.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Every time i see the word "detox" on a blog or facebook, i gag a little bit.

It's usually promoting some kind of product to "flush your liver," and at other times to urge a vegetarian diet.  A lot of sincere and wanna-be-helpful people have fallen for the BS, and encourage it.  It's still BS.

The body is DESIGNED to filter and discard toxins.  What it has trouble dealing with, it sequesters instead.  Your conscious part of the process is primarily to AVOID CONSUMING TOXINS IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Subsequently, when successful dieting may set some free, your power lies in knowing that your nasty symptoms come from the released substance and not that LCing itself is at fault for making you feel bad.

Like candida die-off symptoms, it can happen.  Does this mean we need to increase our sugar intake, so the candida can be fat and happy again?  ...Hardly.

Analogous to "new vegan high," when you change your input, some of the results are not direct cause-and-affect.  Do you REALLY want to make your liver happy?  (...'Cause it's actually pretty easy and pleasant.)  Lay off the omega-6 oils.  Avoid fructose and be careful with the alcohol.  Eat plenty of nice clean saturated fats.  Go for the organic and grassfed end of the "healthy foods" spectrum.

Apparently, traditional cultures have been cognizant of the importance of the liver for a long time -- only the modern world has come to neglect it so horribly.  What i see when i go out in public ... right and left, people with fatty livers hanging out from under their ribcages, pushing their subcutaneous fat stores out even further.  Not a healthy sight, and it's ALL OVER the produce section of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

Monday, August 26, 2013

observations continue and diet purity begins again

Despite the lack of rain here, the mold reading in St. Louis is back up to high, as are the pollen levels of grass and ragweed.  Since "Dysonizing*" the entire second floor of the house and "Idylisizing" the bedroom, my allergies/histamine issues have been much better.  When i stepped out into the backyard, though, the fatigue recommenced -- the steamy, motionless air and relentless sunshine just flattened me.  I've been forgoing wine (one short Campari-and-soda yesterday) most days but had some mushrooms during the course of the week.  Heigh-ho, life is a balancing act....

My husband announced last night, over our dinner of leftovers, that he was going to start induction again today, so we're both back on the wagon.  Just as well -- with our busy year and many recent trips, my weight has inched up two or three pounds with each excursion till my "skinny" size 6 jeans are on the snug side.  (I completely wore out my "fat 8s" so there's no going back.)  So my breakfast was bulletproof coffee (and J had his favorite scramble), then we went to Schnuck's and Costco and stocked up on dietary staples:  ground beef, strip steaks, rib roast, chicken breasts and deli meat (to make breadless turkey clubs), pork rinds, eggs, cream cheese, and so on.  J is banging around the kitchen as i type this, concocting meatloaf.  There's both a duckling and a rack of lamb thawing in the sink.

Compare this to how i USED to feel going on a diet before LCHF!  Dread and a grim tightening of the belt, as i anticipated hunger and dissatisfaction, and miserable hours on the treadmill or stationary bicycle.  Thank all the gods that i got curious about that Atkins guy!
* OMG i can't believe how much dust and hair that machine can pick up!  i've been using a vintage Kirby, and it's been completely put to shame.  The two bedside rugs from the rarely-used best guest room yielded as much debris to the Dyson as our bedroom historically surrendered to the old vacuum....

Friday, August 23, 2013

is it this, that or the other thing?

Frustratingly, my allergy issues are continuing, despite my attempts to minimize histamine triggers.  I'm glad that our area has a very good resource to help track environmental irritants -- most cities probably have some such resource, but i seem to recall that the one i accessed in Salt Lake City wasn't nearly as good as St. Louis'....

Last night after i turned out my reading-lamp, i got up again and visited the "medicine cabinet" one last time, taking an additional dose of my anti-inflammatory systemic enzymes and even a squirt of nasal decongestant to prophylactically combat the irritation of my sinus passages.  This morning i woke with gummy eyes, and the tender throat that confirms the drainage issues that were irritating my stomach yesterday.  During allergy season, "it's always something."  :-P  The DOH website says the mold levels are still "moderate" but that ragweed- and grass-pollens have moved into "high."

I'm going to have to be even more of a purist with my diet today, and probably use the neti-pot more, too.  Nothing gets rid of internal pollutants (of nasal passages) better!  More tea-tree-oil-laden steam as the gentlest form of "sterilizing" the sinuses.  Perhaps the addition of zinc lozenges for the throat.  NO WINE (i had a little syrah with my steak last night) -- but i reserve the option of some Campari for the sake of my stomach.  The mushrooms waiting in the fridge will have to wait a little longer, and "real" cheese is out of the question.  GOK what i'll make for supper -- white meat poultry with a cream sauce of some sort would probably be the least burdensome, and carrots Vichy...?

At least the weather forecast is for dry, very warm weather.  That won't inhibit the pollen, but the mold situation should get better!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

perfect timing for histamine study

Oi gevals (did i spell that right?) -- if i NEEDED a "perfect storm" situation for observing histamine-related malaise, nature certainly decided to cooperate with me....  Sunday was a normal summer day when it came to environmental pollen and mold but the count doubled overnight, and on Monday i felt like death-warmed-over!  I woke up feeling a LITTLE better yesterday, but in midafternoon my stomach joined my sinuses in their land of unhappiness, and i chose to fast for the rest of the day.

This morning i'm feeling better -- hope it lasts!  At least the mold-count is coming down.  I also got two nights of sound sleep, as i've been cheating and adding earplugs to my eye-mask (if the dog or husband wake me at all, i tend to have a difficult time getting back to sleep).  I took a 24-hour fexofenadine instead of 4-to-6-hour-effective diphenhydramine last night before bed too (yesterday i woke up unable to breathe through my nose).  And as we know, allergy/histamine effects are cumulative.

We also know that EVERYTHING we eat (or think about eating) gives us a certain amount of histamine response!  I wrote before how i agree with J Stanton that fasting can actually feel good -- add to that ghrelin effect the histamine-reduction from fasting, and you significantly reduce some burdens if you're inclined to suffer allergic symptoms!  Once one is ketoadapted, eating nothing CAN make one feel better than anything else ... for awhile, anyway.

I did my best to feel better naturally, across-the-board -- staying out of the basement, using my neti-pot, inhaling tea-tree-oil-laden steam, taking serrapeptase as a systemic anti-inflammatory and encouraging stomachic happiness with the help of old-fashioned bitters.  Tiny steps, but they help.  At least i woke up breathing this morning.  ;-)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

tying it all together

 What people call "having a life" can really disrupt one's train of thought.  ;-)  I was chugging right along on the subject of histamine/tyramine when a distraction or two caused me to lose control of the mental plates i was juggling  and CRASH -- the shards of ideas lying around my feet are quite a mess i need to clean up!

The short version is, when our bodies can't process properly what we put into them, repercussions spread far and wide.  Anything that hints to our bodies that things aren't going well causes stress hormones to rise and thyroid levels to fall.  Such simple things as too much exercise or glucose-yielding foods, environmental mold, extremes in temperature, and foods for which we don't reliably produce the right breakdown enzymes can set off a cascade of different symptoms.

To be fair, it's not surprising that doctors don't know how to diagnose a lot of the illnesses they see until they have a good deal of experience -- especially considering how many textbooks seem to be written by purveyors of pharmaceuticals, disease seems to be a kind of drug-deficiency to a lot of people.  The old days of young medicos going into practice with old-timers, thus having a sort of in-the-field apprenticeship, would appear to be over; doing apprenticeships in hospitals (as interns and residents) where illness is more of an acute situation wouldn't seem as sound a background for someone with an eye to General Practice.  Because of the current system, we end up with excellence in dealing with trauma and we totally suck at promoting actual WELLNESS.  If the difficulty can't be sewn up, cut out or killed with antibiotics, or if the dis-ease is too subtle or generalized, the medical industry doesn't know what to do with it.

And wellness is exactly what a lot of us want to be pursuing, in the paleo/primal/WAPF blogosphere!  This is why those of us whose difficulties can't be sewn up, etc., have turned into renegades and iconoclasts and have turned our backs on the mainstream medicine which is not interested in our goal.

If we want to be as healthy as possible, we HAVE to define what's best for us, usually by trial and error.  Then when that line is defined, we have to toe it to the best of our ability, realizing that every excursion from it causes pain and suffering commensurate with how far out of bounds we have let ourselves go.  Some can have the occasional "fling" with nutritional good-for-nothings and experience minimal repercussions, while others flirt with anaphylaxis merely by light exposure to some substances.  Some can have a "forbidden" treat occasionally, and others find one cookie can put them on the slippery slope.  It's all highly individual.

Having become alerted to how bad high-histamine foods can make me feel and the range of possible symptoms, i've started to notice histamine-related responses more.  This is a good thing!  Like other kinds of allergy, these responses are cumulative.  Balancing range-of-tolerance of foods with environmental conditions can make a huge difference to daily quality of life.

Robust thyroid function allows for the kind of energy that makes life worth living, and thyroid function can be tweaked hugely with diet.  ENOUGH of the foods which are good for the thyroid, like animal protein, and saturated and O3 fats, helps immensely, and excessive calorie-restriction is guaranteed to reduce production.  MINIMIZING what inhibits and puts excessive demand on our systems is equally important -- contrary to what euthryroid athletes believe, carbohydrates require more hormone to process and so put a strain on our resources.  Omega-6 fats make it difficult to get thyroid into our cells for use, and MUST be strictly limited.  Our digestive inadequacies make it doubtful that we can properly absorb or convert the critical nutrients we HAVE to acquire, and some kinds of supplementation can be mandatory.

Not only are grains and legumes problematic by way of the gut-damaging lectins they contain, but they also carry a large histamine load.  Large histamine load EQUALS stress, and stress causes us to produce, convert and use thyroid hormones in a less-than-optimal way.  Looking at the list of symptoms suffered by the histamine/tyramine-sensitive is almost a mirror of those experienced by the thyroid-challenged among us.

Tyramine is a breakdown product of tyrosine, which is the building-block of thyroid hormone (along with iodine) -- this was the point in my research where i was interrupted, and where i need to start regathering the tangled threads of ideas i was weaving.  When meat and fish have been processed for preservation (or simply kept around too long), some of the health-giving amino acid gets too far gone -- past tyrosine and into the irritating tyramine which behaves like those nasty histamines, setting off the alarms in our bodies which are so uncomfortable.  I strongly suspect that a lot of thyroid malfunction (both hypO and hypER) is inextricably entangled with this process.

Monday, August 12, 2013

kids, it ain't the sodium

It happens all the time -- to my husband, to my daughter, to friends -- they go out and celebrate with their friends and family, then the next morning they step on the scale and exclaim that they've put on WHOLE POUNDS.  How could this possibly have happened?!

Having observed this phenomenon for pushing-a-half-century myself, the short answer is "it ain't fat."  People don't put on fat that fast -- i suspect it's physically impossible to store adipose tissue at such a rate even if one is actually trying to do it.  For years i would have said it's salt-induced water retention, then in my late-twenties and early-thirties (when i first began reading about how dieting works) i would have said that when we store or take carbohydrate out of storage, we can get big swings in our weight, because every gram of carb is tucked away with three or four grams of water which is either tied up or freed up very easily.  These two factoids, along with the realization of monthly swings of water retention, were behind my relaxed attitude toward several-pound fluctuations in weight for decades.  One is "officially" one's lowest weight (never measured except first thing in the morning, after peeing), but that higher weight was at least acknowledged.

When i first went on Atkins around a decade ago, my weight steadied out in a way it NEVER had before; he explained it in terms that were just an elaboration of what i already knew.  When i went out for a restaurant meal and ended up bloated, it just HAD to be about the salt, or maybe there were insidiously hidden carbs....  It wasn't till i moved on to ultra-low-carb primal-style eating that i suspected there was something more to it.  I had switched to sea-salt and i wasn't afraid to use it, because the explanation came about insulin itself causing water retention ... and besides, i didn't notice deleterious effects of generous usage at home.  It was only eating out that made me all puffy like the bad old days!  So maybe it wasn't actually SALT -- maybe it was another sodium-based compound? i asked myself but hadn't really begun to explore when...

it ain't the salt, and it ain't the sodium per se (although the sodium benzoate and sodium sulfite might be contributors).  That nasty bloated puffy feeling one gets after even the best-quality and most-innocent-seeming restaurant meal is all about the histamine load ... which is "always" higher away from home because of how food has to be handled in an industrial setting.  Eat a "fresh" food at home, and an identical one in a commercial establishment, and the latter is bound to give you a bigger jolt of the old bioamines.

Authorities on the subject tell us that eating ANYTHING -- even thinking about eating -- is enough to start our bodies producing endogenous histamines.  They're neurotransmitters, after all, which regulate a stunning array of normal bodily processes ... like digestion and appetite.  It's an unfortunate coincidence that allergic problems use the same pathways and we begin to associate histamine-response to pathological-histamine-response (just like we do with physiological vs pathological insulin resistance)....

But despite the care restaurant kitchens have to take for the sake of good hygiene -- or even because of it (think "preservatives") -- it's common to come away from one of their meals toting a bigger histamine response than one gets at home.  They're likely to use high-histamine ingredients like wheat flour, bean-gums, tomato-paste and spices in such a way that most home-cooks don't.

So when you feel waterlogged and horrified by the scale's reading after what you THOUGHT was a pretty innocent restaurant meal, just remember that your body is just trying to protect you -- those distended and more-permeable veins all over your body are making every effort to get blood and white cells where they're needed.  They don't care if you feel puffy and uncomfortable; they're trying to warn you that there are ingredients in the aged cheese or preserved meat (etc) that your body finds a bit toxic.  Add stress, heat-and-humidity, red wine or beer, and anchovies, and your pizza might turn into the kind of perfect storm that will make you REALLY sick.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

histamine reading continues....

While eating a lot of the wrong things myself, i continue to read about theoretically controlling histamine....  :-)  Today's brunch was a really yummy platter of preserved meats (sausage, confit, headcheese, bresaola, ...), goat brie, pickled vegetables and a couple glasses of champagne, and i paid the price -- feeling miserably bloated sitting on the sunny side of the car, and having to soap my ring off when i got home.

I have no doubt that some of my allergy problems are in fact histamine-intolerance issues.  When i first read about the subject a couple of years ago, it rang a bell (set off an alarm clock actually), but something distracted me and i'm only just getting back to it.  This time i'll make every effort to stick with it a little better.

On the way home from the restaurant, though, we stopped by the neighborhood health-food store and i picked up a bottle of holy-basil tincture and at home i took a dropperful -- felt better pretty quickly.  Gonna use it for a little while in place of benedryl and see how it works in the long term.

Well, back to the reading ... but just have to gripe a bit about the people who write on the subject!  OBVIOUSLY know diddly-squat about the subject of nutrition because they seem scared to death they're going to give themselves a case of malnutrition by omitting "whole food groups" -- where have we heard THAT before?  ;-)  ...Unless of course they're talking about giving up MEAT* -- that IS a mistake!
* and the proclamation against "red meat" is based on the factoid that "Red Meats are hardest on us as they are usually from animals who had antibiotics injected or were force fed etc."  also that they're supposedly very high in omega-6s -- i guess these people don't know about grassfed....

Saturday, August 10, 2013

new clues to encourage a happier body

A couple of days ago a new realization filtered into my brain....  The way Dr. Donaldson ("Strong Medicine") designed his dietary recommendations, his approved food list ("allergy bandwagon" he called it) turned out to be LOW HISTAMINE.

I read a little bit about the question a couple of years ago, but while doing the program it didn't occur to me -- i have no idea why it popped into consciousness now.  But yeah -- freshly grinding a beef chuck into burger and cooking it the same day decidedly gives you a smaller histamine dose than buying that family pack of ground beef.  A lot of the foods Donaldson frowned on are high in histamine irritation:  wheat, tomatoes (all nightshades in fact), citrus, strawberries, chocolate....  It seems also that some foods which give me hypothyroid symptoms -- sauerkraut leaps out -- are also high in the nasty bioamine, too.

Oh, and also those "neolithic agents of disease" grains, legumes and polyunsaturated (ie. rancid) seed oils.

I think it's highly likely that i'll feel much better by trying to minimize histamine-containing foods in my diet.  According to "" one of the huge number of histamine-intolerance symptoms is trouble with the thyroid.  Gotta read up more....

The worst part of this is that red wine falls into the "avoid" category.  :-(

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"i did it, so you can too"

Many of the blogs i read -- which i find valuable -- are written by women of all ages, with differing degrees of metabolic damage.  Some of them have totally succeeded, some have lost weight but have maintenance or other side issues to deal with, and some are still struggling.  The difference between them and the review of [ahem] a certain book i hadn't heard about before, is that the book basically says what i wrote as today's post title.

The author of the book said it was simple:  he merely CHOSE not to be fat anymore.  It's simple, he says, just stay away from sugar and HFCS and fast foods, eat plenty of lean protein, and get up out of your computer chair!  He gets really testy about people who make excuses for still being overweight, and claims that all it takes is determination!  It's hard to tell from a review, but it sounds as though every other sentence begins with the word "I." 

THIS is why i positively rage against non-clinical male advice for overweight women.  Dr. Atkins, the doctors Eades, and endless other clinicians never paint solutions in black and white, but realize that infinite hues in between are the actual reality.  

People like the author of the book in question have NO IDEA how easy they have it.  Just as billionaires whine about hints that they should pay a bit more in taxes than working-class families, some individuals enjoy exceptionally good metabolic health and have no appreciation of the struggles of others.  Because THEY got fat eating boxes of cookies and supersized junk-meals, they assume everyone did;  because THEY resumed normal weight by bicycling to work and dropping sugar, bread and potatoes, they take for granted that THAT is all that's necessary for everyone.

Sorry, you self-righteous know-it-alls, you're wrong again!  If you merely crow to your friends, i couldn't give a damn, but when you promote this same old bullshit to those who struggle to drop a very few pounds but are still obese, it just plain makes me FURIOUS.

They can have no conception of how discouraging their advice turns out to be for people not so lucky.  People with recalcitrant systems can STARVE and not lose weight.  They can exercise till they do real damage to their bodies and not burn significant amounts of fat.  When the average American woman reaches the age of 50, she will have spent decades restricting her intake and attempting to work out enough to improve her physique -- at this point, just cutting out sugar isn't going to make much of an impact (she probably did it years ago, anyway).  A huge number of such women are immensely disciplined -- implying the contrary from the position of "authority" that many of these writers assume is an insult which shouldn't be borne.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

home again, AND eating is like reading....

We just got back from another trip to Ol' Virginie -- had a great time with both our kids and their loved ones, visited some great vineyards, and got thoroughly worn out.  ...It's nice to be home again!

As usual, i look enthusiastically forward to eating the way i usually do.  Most of the trip i was "good" but on three occasions i just shrugged and ate "the bad stuff."  I'm fortunate that i don't have a problem with trigger foods; this was my annual pizza binge, and it'll hold me for awhile.  ;-)  As a matter of fact, shortly before we started our vacation we ordered Dana Carpender's "500 Paleo Recipes" and when i had to turn off the ipad to charge properly (in the car), i opened the cookbook and got out a package of tape-flags and started reading -- OMG, do her recipes look good!  Going shopping today to pick up a few ingredients!

It occurs to me that "what we eat" is similar in theory to "what we read."  If we choose things to read that are merely amusing or titillating, we finish our books to find ourselves neither more informed nor wiser, but perhaps with implanted notions that affect our thoughts and behaviors with deleterious patterns.  For example, "teabag philosophers" dangle plausible ideas that people want to hear and whip up their readers' emotions against innocent hate-targets.  Fantasy-fiction (like television) shows us a non-existent cosmos and solves ITS problems in a way that isn't applicable in the real world.  Romantic novels allow all kinds of improbable love-related behaviors to become plausible, believable, EXPECTED -- to people who will then suspect that their perfectly normal and decent relationships are deficient somehow.  And i won't even MENTION bad self-help books...  I tend to consider television/movie watching as a lazy form of reading.  Questionable reading leads to poor thinking, choice-making and behaving.

Correspondingly, choosing "wrong" things to eat -- amusing and titillating things -- not only fails to nourish and fuel our bodies adequately, so that we can do what we need to in this world, but can set us up for disease, misery and death.  When i look at all the "food porn" on commercial television and facebook, i sometimes think to myself DON'T PEOPLE REALIZE HOW NUTRITIONALLY BEREFT THIS STUFF IS?  I see restaurant "healthy choices" like breaded and baked chicken breast meat in the middle of a virtual LOAF of white bread and slathered with a sugary sauce -- can anyone think that this is anything but JUNK?  I find over-sugared cocktails, and dessert portions that are not only enough for four people, but excessively sweetened to the point that i can't stand to eat them.  I detect "all-beef patties" which are obviously lying because of the state of my teeth when i finish eating them.

No wonder that once those twenty-somethings who used to get trashed on beer, mojitos and cosmos notice they've developed quite a belly when they pass the age of 30 (27 according to Dr Wong, 33 by the observation of Dr Donaldson).  No wonder that when these people decide to start families, they often need medical help to conceive.  No wonder that the mother's elevated glucose and insulin lead to their children's predisposition to obesity, diabetes and mental/emotional problems -- after all, folic acid is important in pregnancy, and orange juice is a great source of it....  (<-- sarcasm notice)

Reading for pure amusement has its place, just like treat-foods do.  The problem arises when the treat occupies a central position in daily life.  New low-carbers sometimes fall into this trap -- instead of concentrating on "meat and vegetables" they go searching for lower-carb substitutions of foods that got them in trouble in the first place, and which have minimal capability of digging them out of the hole they're in.  In choosing our daily diet, we HAVE to concentrate on getting the (animal) protein we MUST consume along with whatever plant materials our bodies tolerate and our minds/systems "necessitate."

Even though nuts are good food, a little goes a long way and they can actually threaten to take the place of more valuable choices.  Pork rinds and bacon, ditto -- it IS possible to overdo some of these things, though some people want to think otherwise.  Is our goal to eat as much as we possibly can without gaining, or is it to be healthy and feel good?  Although when one comes from a starvation diet of poor nutritional content to LCpaleo, the former seems important, once one gets over the hunger and starts becoming replete, i think the latter goal is the important one.

I'm not trying to take away your almond-flour birthday cake, thanksgiving pumpkin pie, or christmas trifle -- I'm saying that a constant stash of low-carb cookies is a questionable thing.  I'm saying that good LC pizza is a nice thing to have in your repertory but not valuable to eat weekly while liver IS.  I'm saying that a new Harry Potter movie every year has been fine, but the unending flood of crappy superhero remakes is NOT.  I'm saying "pick your poison" on a VERY INfrequent basis.

Writing this reminds me of an obese friend who used to eat things she knew she shouldn't, "just this once" ... every single day.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

mood, diet, and ladylike behavior

A certain blogosphere loudmouth has begun blaming a VLC diet for irritability in its proponents.  Truth be told, the mood-influencing qualities of diet are PROFOUND -- but not at all as claimed by the trolls.

I'm not the one who should be posting on this subject.  I have no technical qualifications in the health fields:  as i've said before, what i write here is only a report of what HAS or has NOT worked FOR ME.  Wooo has the medical background, insight from her own experiences, and what she has learned from her particular studies, inspired by people and situations which particularly interest her.  Sidereal has insider information which comes of her doctoral studies in psychology, and Minijumb and Kim also have professional qualifications.  THEY should be the ones to present just exactly what happens and how/why -- all i "know" is what i've experienced.

When i was eating a "standard-but-clean" diet of ordinary foods -- lots of those healthy fruits and vegetables, and whole grain, home-made breads and other cereal products -- my mood was a lot more variable.  I didn't have an anxiety disorder, but felt a modicum of anxiety on a regular basis (i'm a born worrier, which Chris Masterjohn describes as one of the poles of speed-of-dopamine-methylation, in the worrier/warrior spectrum).  I had significant brain-fog in the morning which dissipated as the day progressed.  I never had significant PMS, thank the gods! only discomfort from the water retention.

The very first benefit i noticed from beginning Atkins, lo those many years ago, was that the morning fog completely disappeared.  All other noticible results were physical.  It wasn't until i went ketogenic that i observed "psychological" changes -- i started converting from worrier to warrior.  From a serotonin-oriented person, i've been moving in the dopaminergic direction, especially since i've been encouraging dopamine with mucuna and nicotine and ... probably other components of my diet.

This bring us to more cultural standards of behavior when it comes to acting on one's mental state...

The world has never had much affection for strong women, but of course the great women of history never gave a damn if they were liked and appreciated or not.  These qualities are closely associated with hormone and neurotransmitter levels, and are influenced by diet and environment.  Female hormones contribute to gentleness and placation, depression and anxiety; male hormones toward fearlessness, risk-taking and self-confidence.  NEWS FLASH:  a lot of men HATE it when women display the latter characteristics!  "Inferior" men want their women weak, stupid and ... inferior, because it's the only way THEY can feel SUperior.

Western society has tried to train women to be docile, obedient and subservient.  Religion and civil law prohibiting certain types of behavior provided the strong-arm to bully half the population into self-inhibition.  Wealthier women, who have more leisure, educational opportunities, entitled attitude and sheer wherewithal to do whatever they want, require a more stealthy technique to wheedle them to do as paternalistic society wants -- therefore, we have this set of guidelines saying "this is how 'ladies' behave:  if you don't follow the rules, you are no 'lady' and therefore can be mistreated with impunity."

This was particularly effective with the rising middle class.  The etiquette books were invented for their benefit after all -- upper classes were brought up with the examples of those around them as guides to behavior, and the lower ones didn't have the luxury of choice.  But to be taken seriously, the genteel-but-impoverished HAD to use their manners as indication of quality, and the nouveau riche to keep open the doors that their money made accessible in the first place.  Manners maketh the man.  Pretty is as pretty does.

The twentieth century upset the status quo in this respect, and we see anti-feminists today doing their damnedest to reverse the tide.  Modern young women have been brainwashed to think that "feminists" are extremists and "the enemy" -- which is just sad.  Nineteenth- and twentieth-century feminism is what originally promoted their rights to pursue whatever course they desire, and a lot of them don't know what they owe those women who came before.  Hell, the right to vote is less than a hundred years old in the USA, and reproductive rights are significantly younger ... and THREATENED.

It's a truism that "well-behaved women don't make history."  "Well-behaved" women are usually treated as doormats, because our culture doesn't actually value them as individuals -- only as accessories.  Women with "masculine" traits are treated seriously;  assertive, self-protective women are often considered less "womanly" or "ladylike" and their deportment is decried by males who feel threatened by them.  Double-edged sword -- be nice and be ignored or regarded contemptuously, or stand up for yourself and be labelled a bitch.  Women in relationships frequently have to alternate humoring and raging behaviors to even be HEARD.

So in response to the loud-mouthed blog-troll i spoke of, it isn't our diets which cause us to become irritable;  the "breakup" is not about us, it's about YOU, after all.  You are a childish jerk, and we're not your mommy.  We have no incentive to put up with your BS, and therefore we won't.  We'll tell you exactly what we think of you whether you like it or not.  We'll BAN your ass if you talk back on OUR platforms, and ignore you elsewhere.

Dopamine is a wonderful thing -- it encourages us to do what we wanted to, all along.