Monday, September 30, 2013

HITting a brick wall

Yesterday started pleasantly but had some REALLY uncomfortable periods!  As we drove away from the city we had to visit for the funeral, the post-storm weather just plain lovely.  The richly-blue sky was studded with enough fluffy little clouds to set off its beauty.  The air smelled good and we could even scent the conifers by the side of the highway.  We decided to visit another of the Missouri state parks that lay pretty much in our way as we returned home.

Rewind about ten hours -- after the funeral i had about a glass of "cremante de Limoux" because, as Napoleon put it, in victory we DESERVE champagne whereas in defeat we NEED it.  Immediately pre-drive, there had been beautiful strawberries on the breakfast buffet, and i indulged in a small bowlful garnished with cream cheese (after my bacon and eggs).  As we got out of the car at the park, i was oddly stiff, and walking only loosened me up a little.  Our late lunch included a few ingredients i SHOULD have avoided under normal circumstances, but i thought a small amount wouldn't hurt.  WRONG.

I'm glad i wasn't driving.  I felt crummy as all hell, and SLEEPY too.  We're always told that post-meal sleepiness can be attributed to rebound hypoglycemia, but i've tested myself on occasion when it happened, and it wasn't THAT.  I know now -- it's HIT, a histamine "attack."

I hadn't been traveling with my DAO supplement, but i'll never omit it again, and i had even exhausted my purse-supply of benedryl.    Knowing from experience that nicotine gum is a good remedy for excessive fatigue, i popped a 2mg nugget and took out my smartphone....

Turns out, nicotine has a lot of virtues that people never hear about, who grew up during the push to discourage smoking.  You need to be using some pretty high dosages to become hooked on the stuff -- a few milligrams a day isn't going to do it.  In fact, almost all of the deleterious effects of "tobacco use" are the result of setting the damned stuff on fire, or concentrating its properties, or inserting it in what Dr. Donaldson termed "sacred ground" (the nose).  Native Americans used it for god-knows-how-long without developing "diseases of civilization."  ..."Civilization" -- HAH!

Although study design makes all the difference, nicotine seems to be a good anti-inflammatory as well as an antihistamine.  It's legendary as an energizing relaxant, like hot tea.  Perhaps one of the reasons people like to smoke after a meal is that it DOES allay histamine reactions to food.

At any rate, i felt better pretty soon after i took the "nicotine cure."  We arrived home, did all we needed to do, i made a quick burger dinner for us (it was later than our usual dinner hour), and i made my next mistake -- i put a slice of cheese on my beef and about a tablespoonful of "grapefruit barbecue sauce."  No problem YET....  I got to bed early and slept well for about four hours, but my throat was feeling a bit raw, and instead of having a zinc lozenge i made a cup of coconut-milk hot chocolate.  The "histamine bucket" overflowed.

If you've ever read up on the HIT concept, you've probably heard the bucket analogy.  Throughout the day, thimbleful by thimbleful, we add to our histamine load with what we breathe, rub on our skin, eat or don't intake enough of, and also through frustration or annoyance -- our emotions and ... even THOUGHTS OF FOOD.  If one is inclined to under-produce the breakdown enzyme, DAO, through age, hormone production, or whatever, the threshold can be reached in an unpredictable way!

When circumstances are less than ideal, it well behooves us to take the very best care of ourselves.  This is NOT the time for saying "i deserve a forbidden treat" -- but rather, eat ONLY, drink ONLY, supplement and spice and scent ONLY with THE most harmless known substances.  Now, THAT is life-affirming.

Friday, September 27, 2013

easy CFS test

I worked on the downstairs powder-room wallpaper removal a little while today, i was feeling so much better!  Afterward, i sat down with a glass of iced coffee and enjoyed the rest.  I came up with an interesting idea, too....

Which is the best answer to the following questions -- do you find:

  • getting a great new haircut/style, exciting or ... exhausting;
  • a walk on the beach with your beloved, romantic or ... exhausting;
  • finding the perfect pair of jeans while out shopping, exhilarating or ... exhausting;
  • a night out on the town with your friends, fun or ... exhausting;
  • a romp in the playground with your kids or grandkids, GREAT or ... exhausting;
  • a productive day doing work you love, satisfying or ... exhausting;
  • dinner and a show with your husband or lover, one of the best things life has to offer or ... exhausting?
Life is supposed to be worth living, not something to drag yourself through.  Unfortunately, when you reach a certain point of illness, mustering the energy even to do things you SHOULD find life-affirming becomes almost overwhelming. This is ... bad.

HOW can the medical industry at all levels, GPs to the CDC, rationalize their point of view that people with this problem are MALINGERERS?  Who the hell WANTS to live this way?

...I don't see any hands in the air, here....

an old favorite

Way back, when i came to the conclusion that i might never be accepted into the veterinary college of my university (very few women did, in those days), i decided to study my first love (literature, talk about useless) instead.  My first semester of THAT, i took an American Poetry class that i STILL remember (and still own the book, it was that good).  One of my favorite poems of the era:


It fell in the ancient periods
Which the brooding soul surveys,
Or ever the wild Time coined itself
Into calendar months and days.
This was the lapse of Uriel,
Which in Paradise befell.
Once among the Pleiads walking,
Seyd overheard the young gods talking;
And the treason, too long pent,
To his ears was evident.
The young deities discussed
Laws of form, and metre just,
Orb, quintessence, and sunbeams,
What subsisteth, and what seems.
One, with low tones that decide,
And doubt and reverend use defied,
With a look that solved the sphere,
And stirred the devils everywhere,
Gave his sentiment divine
Against the being of a line:
"Line in nature is not found;
Unit and universe are round;
In vain produced, all rays return;
Evil will bless, and ice will burn."
As Uriel spoke with piercing eye,
A shudder ran around the sky;
The stern old war-gods shook their heads,
The seraphs frowned from myrtle-beds;
Seemed to the holy festival
The rash word boded ill to all;
The balance-beam of Fate was bent;
The bounds of good and ill were rent;
Strong Hades could not keep his own,
But all slid to confusion.
A sad self-knowledge, withering, fell
On the beauty of Uriel;
In heaven once eminent, the god
Withdrew, that hour, into his cloud;
Whether doomed to long gyration
In the sea of generation,
Or by knowledge grown too bright
To hit the nerve of feebler sight.
Straightway, a forgetting wind
Stole over the Celestial kind,
And their lips the secret kept,
If in ashes the fire-seed slept.
But now and then, truth-speaking things
Shamed the angels' veiling wings;
And, shrilling from the solar course,
Or from fruit of chemic force,
Procession of a soul in matter,
Or the speeding change of water,
Or out of the good of evil born,
Came Uriel's voice of cherub scorn,
And a blush tinged the upper sky,
And the gods shook, they knew not why.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1847)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"a season in hell"

It's been a bad week....

A dear friend died.  He started feeling bad about two months ago; only ONE month ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and "given" six months, but for his sake i'm glad it took much less.  For his friends, though, it's been bad.

Many of us never had a chance to say goodbye.  He hasn't been online, or answering texts or emails -- i'm not even sure he ever received the two messages i sent.  I'm sorry to say (to his wife or to his ghost, whichever) -- THIS IS WRONG.

Friends need acknowledgement, at least.  An "answer" isn't required, but "message received, thanks" is not too much to ask.


EDIT -- allow me to make this clear -- the following is a new though related subject....

Friends OWE a certain amount of acknowledgement to each other.  To simply ignore a message is "karmically answerable" and i believe we'll get our comeuppance for neglect in this department.  Here, i'm not speaking about the dear departed, but to very-much-live people.

Someone i only know online, but who has nevertheless become dear to me, had this happen.  We, her online never-met-but-close circle can't believe that someone who KNEW her, who WAS her friend, can behave in such a way.

If you don't know what to say, say "i don't know what to say."  If "it's over," tell the other person, "i'm sorry [even if you're not], but this can't go on -- it's over."  If it IS over, don't keep people dangling.  KARMICALLY ANSWERABLE.

Tribal, hunter-gatherer communities only kick people out who are (as Lori pointed out in a recent blog post) unfixable.  It's a rare and exceptional circumstance.  These days, however, the behavior seems to be on the rise.  It almost makes me believe in the CARB Syndrome hypothesis, which i have been inclined to consider a bid-for-fame in the same vein as the stupid food-reward hypothesis of he-who-will-not-be-named.  But we KNOW that carbohydrate overload affects brain function, as we KNOW that viral/bacterial load can, too.

Who knows why the people who SHOULD treat us with extra consideration sometimes treat us with LESS?  Is it some kind of punitive behavior for a shortcoming we've unknowingly exhibited ourselves in the past?  I once had a "friend" who "ended it," and she said to me (to my surprise) that i hadn't been of any help to her when her father died, though her boss had been....  I'm not sure what kind of help she expected of me, but her boss had recently had a loss, and had received some "grief therapy" which i knew nothing about.  When MY father died, i was 12 years old, and there was no such thing as grief therapy....  I had offered my friend my sincere sympathy and regrets, and sent flowers and attended the funeral, but that wasn't enough.  When she ended our friendship, she made it definitive, which was painful but responsible of her.

But when we reach out to those who have been close to us (as in my case), or simply update our status to someone we used to be close to (as in the case of the internet circle member) and there's no reply at all ... it is indeed "wrong too."

Friday, September 20, 2013

a talk with oneself

A few recent posts by bloggers have talked about regain, how the hard part of weight loss is hanging on to the ground you have won.  Some very good sites concentrate on that subject particularly.  I don't think many of us will disagree with the importance of the subject, especially those who have decades behind us of "failure."

It comes down to THIS:  people with metabolic issues can NEVER eat in a manner conventional wisdom considers "normal."  Never.  We never should have eaten like other people in the past, and now that we've taught our bodies how to be thrifty through food restriction, we are front-loaded to regain at the least sign of carelessness.

"Young" dieters -- i mean either chronologically young, or those who never had a weight problem till mid-life, and are essentially having to consider it for the first time -- usually have a vision that, if they can only get back to a "normal" weight, they'll be able to join in the feast like everyone else, just be more moderate this time around.  Nuh-uh.  It doesn't work like that.

My history is pretty typical i think, barring the hypothyroidism; i was a chubby child, but got lean in my teen years and stayed normal in my twenties -- though that's where things started getting screwy.  I got "infected" with the low-fat propaganda in the middle of that decade, and from then on it was a battle to try to "eat right" and exercise and keep my weight where i wanted it.  Of course, i couldn't.  All those plates of low-fat pasta, all those bowls of oatmeal, all the baked potatoes with artificial toppings....  I could cry -- but of course, the tears are actually pretty far from the surface now that i do VLC, which stabilizes emotional behavior.

Through most of adulthood i've never been out of the "overweight" range as defined by BMI.  I almost made it to the lower limit last year, but vacations got the better of me.  Not to mention the failed attempt at reincorporating starches....  :-(  By now, i have no illusions.  It's VLC to the bitter end.

The sooner we have that big talk with ourselves the better!  We have to convince our conscious AND SUBCONSCIOUS minds that we can't go back.  We have to become comfortable with the idea that certain foodstuffs are simply not in the books for us.

I wrote the other day about convenience foods; i think i implied that work-arounds are particularly valuable for newbies in the low-carb world, but let me add here that they need to be "the new treat" for us long-timers as well.  Remember how, as a kid, that special cake or cookie was something you looked forward to on your birthday or during the holiday season, and even then your mom would ration it out to you and not let you make a pig of yourself.  That's us, once again.  But "mom" is now your higher self, as we say in the esoteric world.

For those of us who need to stay away from starches and sugars on an everyday basis, THIS has to be "normal" eating.  We can't let others' definitions of what constitutes a healthy diet seem at all appropriate, even in our imaginations.  If we can convince ourselves that THEY are the ones who are weird, and we are the evolutionarily congruent thinkers, the battle is won.  If our self-talk succeeds in pinning the "toxin" label on everything that actually IS bad for our cells, we've done what is also accomplished by ex-smokers, ex-alcohol-abusers, and ex-addicts.

Thursday, September 19, 2013



"The information provided here is as up-to-date, accurate, and as practical as possible in a field that is moving very quickly and is full of controversy.  Any strategies suggested in this book should be discussed with and managed by a suitably qualified physician, and implementation should be supervised by a registered dietitian/nutritionist for maximum benefit."


You can always tell when a book or website is produced by someone in a licensed field -- the trouble someone goes to in order to acquire a diploma or special accreditation inspires in them an ardent attachment to the field and most everyone in it.  They become identified with the organization, and hypnotized into believing that ONLY THEY hold "the keys to the Kingdom."  No one else has the RIGHT to screw with their monopoly!!!  THEY have the priviledge of authority over the daily choices of private individuals!

Incredible.  We should be "managed by," "supervised by" self-ordained lifestyle hall-monitors?  What HUBRIS on the part of "professionals" causes them to think that some deity-provided quality on their part gives them dictatorial rights over ANY aspect of MY life, let alone something like telling me WHAT I SHOULD EAT?

Incredible and laughable.  Those of us who have much experience of the world and of the medical industry KNOW how little wisdom and omniscience they actually possess.  The best of them realize their own limitations -- my mother was the executive secretary of the head of the pharmacology department of a respected midwestern university medical center, and i've been acquainted with two world-class "authorities" in this field all my life:  nobody could be more down-to-earth than John and Stata.  There's never been any brag or bluster about those two, and they'd be the first to declare they don't know it all.

But, the registered dietitians tell us, we cannot be trusted to choose what we eat without their input!  We are incapable of understanding the complexities of the vitamin and mineral content of foods, though they know EVERYTHING about food!  MDs, who get literally a few HOURS of instruction in nutrition know more than ANYONE else.  We MUST be managed and supervised by their beneficient guidance, and realize that it's dangerous to conduct an elimination diet on our own.  Above all, we must not eliminate ENTIRE FOOD GROUPS ... unless, of course, we've been inspired by the gods to give up meat for religious reasons, or ALL animal products for humanitarian ones....

Of course, if you choose one the latter paths, i just wanted to let you know that i have this BEAUTIFUL bridge for sale -- it's sure to make you lots of money -- and it's right in the heart of NOO YORK CITY!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Hard-core paleoids will ask with a sneer, why do so many low-carbers insist on making substitutes for modern foods?  Why doesn't everyone just eat food the way it's found in nature?  Why not eat an egg and a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit instead of compounding "paleo pancakes"?  Why do you think you need tortillas and cookies and BREAD?

There are easy answers, actually.  For one thing, when people first stop eating "conventionally" they don't know WHAT they should be consuming on a meal to meal basis.  They eat bacon and eggs with delight on weekends, but on working days...?  How do you go from toast-and-coffee or a cereal breakfast to paleo, when you are trying to get a household out of the door in good time?  And those damn lunch boxes to fill....  Families with children which, for one reason or another can't have a stay-at-home parent, sometimes have trouble switching kids (especially older ones) to a more healthful regimen -- and sometimes it's another stuck-in-the-mud adult who whines "just because YOU have to be on a diet [you repulsive slug], does that mean that *I* have to suffer?"  [sob]

Paleo/LC convenience foods to the rescue!  ...Illusions.  Nut-flour breads taste good and give the impression one is just eating a healthy version of the SAD.  Meal bars and "shakes" have been a part of the American scene for a long time, and seem pretty normal to people who dislike standing out.  Alternatives run from the half-assed to some pretty damn good substitutions.  They may be a crutch, but if you "can't walk" and haven't the time to crawl, crutches can be extremely valuable.

Arguably, convenience foods are what put us into this mess in the first place.  Easy-to-make versions of more time-consuming traditional foods fill our grocery stores:  instant oatmeal has largely taken the place of the porridge that used to cook all night over a banked-up fire, and canned soup replaces -- poorly -- the stock-pot that used to hang unceasingly over the hearth, being added-to and extracted-from constantly.  A cake used to be a VERY rare special-occasion treat for ordinary people, because not only were the ingredients expensive and sometimes unprocurable, but because the methods involved USED to be labor-intensive and time-consuming.  But now there's no more fire to build and wait for till the embers are just right -- electric and gas ovens took care of that problem.  The mechanical, rotary hand beater took the place of the whisk and spoon, then the cake-mix came along, then the electric mixer, until the just-add-water-pour-into-included-disposable-pan-throw-it-in-the-microwave turned what used to be something you had to plan ahead for into an everyday impulse confection.  Or if that's too much trouble, go to the corner store where you can get a shelf-stable product you just have to tear open.

Though it has become epidemic recently, for millennia people have been making foods in advance for those occasions when it's not possible to hunker down, build a fire and create a meal in a civilized fashion.  From historical record, we know that Aztec warriors would go on campaign with their own version of MREs -- chia seeds.  Same for pemmican, which is much more nutritious.  The drying techniques that allowed northern "Plains Indians" to save their hunted and gathered foodstuffs for winter also provided instant food for days when cooking up a stew would be impractical.  Prehistoric convenience food.

The earliest replica cookbook i own, Amelia Simmons' 1796 "American Cookery" already suggests adding ketchup to gravies to round out their flavor, though she doesn't include a recipe for any of the versions she would have been familiar with.  Of course in this era they were made most usually out of mushrooms or walnuts, though oyster ketchup was well-known and they'd already begun making the condiment out of tomatoes as well.  It was the MSG of its age, adding what we would call "umami" nowadays.  I once made mushroom ketchup, which kept indefinitely and was an excellent addition to gravies and soups whose flavors were a little flat.  Mary Randolph, in her "Virginia Housewife" of 1824, tells how to make a number of home-made condiments including "fish sauce to keep a year." Cuts down one of the steps needed to prepare the meal.  More convenience food!

Napoleon is famous for (among many other things) offering prizes for great new ideas to feed armies on-the-march.  This was the beginning of canned foods, though used champagne bottles were the first vessels to be tried, because of the sturdiness of their construction.  "Desiccated vegetables" -- or as the troops called them, "desecrated" ones -- and soup stocks boiled down to a powder so that all you had to do was add water, had appeared by the time of the American Civil War.  Tins of oysters were a prized commodity on the frontier; the soldier's hardtack and sailor's biscuit much less preferred though their value was appreciated.

Old-time writers of books describing the day-to-day lives of ordinary people -- beloved by reenactors like me, who want to demonstrate the experiences of our ancestors to those of our contemporaries who are fascinated by history -- sprinkle in hints of more grab-and-go meals.  Cold fowl, hard-boiled and pickled eggs, cheese, meat pies, johnny-cake (the etymology for which has never been determined beyond doubt -- it might have once been journey-cake), all have their modern equivalents at the drive-thru window.  Sherlock Holmes was once observed to cut a hunk of cold meat off the joint on the sideboard, slice some bread, sandwich them together and stick them in his pocket for later.  T. E. Lawrence wrote of a fat-and-flour mixture the desert tribesmen carried in a saddlebag.  The earliest tamales were a corn-husk-wrapped "lunchbox" food, and all around the world different leaves have been used to protect foods tucked away inside -- sometimes you eat the leaves and sometimes you don't.  (Relatedly, trenchers were originally thick slices of bread that luxury dishes were served on; when the quality folks had eaten what they wanted, the juice-soaked "plate" was given to servants and the poor for their dinner.)

Convenience foods have been around for a LONG time, though like so many other things, modern society has taken the concept to extremes, to fit in with our on-the-go activities.  I suspect that every culture throughout history has had some sort of equivalent.  Eating is essential, and sometimes you have to carry things along for a later meal.  It should be something that is compact and hardily portable, won't spoil very soon, will soak up loose juices, which won't require special equipment for consumption and ideally won't make your hands a mess in the process of eating them.

THAT is why recipes for various bread-like products are all over low-carb and paleo websites, why so many nut-flour cookbooks exist.  There are few more simply-convenient containers for food than the various styles of bread that can be found all around the world.  Tortillas, pita pockets, "coffins" and crusts, or basic absorbent slices are just so equal to the job.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

supplements for breakfast

I had to laugh at myself yesterday.  I've rearranged the time of day when i take a couple of my supplements, and the two i added just recently (inspired by the CFS book) are recommended for early-in-the-day;  i ended up drinking three cups of Sumatran Reserve (no problem from that variety) and having a handful of pills and liquids for my breakfast.  Not all at once, but staggered over a few hours -- however it was definitely supplements for breakfast!

All the young folks at MDA would probably admonish me for not getting my nutrients from whole foods, but i've been shown over and over that if certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids come in their natural compounded forms, my body doesn't do a good job of breaking them apart and absorbing them efficiently.  Different nutrients compete with each other for receptors and carrier-proteins, and they obviously don't use a take-a-number system like the meat-market does.  ;-)  Even though i don't complicate the issue with lots of fiber and starches, or even many nut-derived phytates,  these nutrients seem to be more entangled than my digestive system can adequately handle.  Spacing them out helps.

So, fortified with herbs, minerals and vitamins, cofactors and prohormones, carnitine, ribose and caffeine, i faced the world!  It was the kind of early-autumn day that my husband and i both love, cool, cloudy, and good-smelling.  We went to the Missouri Botanical Garden to look for the perfect trees for our front yard, to replace the tired ol' boring hedge that the previous owners planted god-knows how many years ago (i've wanted to get rid of the damn thing for most of the time we've lived here).

We wandered all over and chatted with people at the help desk awhile, coming to the conclusion we probably want three ilex opaca Foster or Canary (two female, one male) ... and i began to be HUNGRY.  J consulted his watch and i discovered i'd just had a twenty-hour coffee-fast!  I was PLEASANTLY fatigued.

Well, under the circumstances i felt that would be the time to have a carb re-feed, so we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and had an early dinner full of wicked delicious stuff.  I was full and happy till almost bedtime, when i had a last decaf with cream, then hit the hay for a blissful 8-hour sleep.

Woke up a little slowly this morning, but feeling pretty good!  Haven't had a histamine flare-up for quite awhile (knock on wood).  I feel more systemic inflammation than i like, but the Exclzymes are still on back-order and i'm having to use another brand which aren't as effective -- getting your systemic enzymes from some company which may handle them carelessly and allow them to overheat is a problem.  Note to self:  order enough in April to last till October, and overheating in shipment will be reduced....

All in all, a very good day.  :-)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dave Asprey is right

Dave wasn't my favorite speaker on the Low Carb Cruise.  I thought he was a bit in love with himself, though I suppose he has good reasons to be pleased with his own performance.  He's a successful businessman who managed to lose and keep off 100 excess pounds, not a bad-looking fellow, and nor was he rude or unapproachable -- just not my FAVORITE.

But one thing he's proven to me -- he's absolutely right about coffee!

Since Hurricane Histamine knocked me off my feet, I've kept track of my energy levels; when they've been particularly good or bad, I've done a careful review of everything I've eaten and drunk, and made note of what seems safe and what looks problematic.  When I awaken feeling pretty decent and then the energy (physical or mental) takes a nosedive, and I haven't broken my fast with solids yet, the only things possible to blame are environmental conditions and which coffee I've started the day with.  I've experienced significant trouble with two kinds so far.

And they're not bad or cheap coffees, though obviously "mass-produced."  Both have been in K-cups, that premeasured, fresh-brewed method that's stolen my heart for ease of preparation.  The first time I noticed -- J had made us a quart of bulletproof decaf using ordinary grocery-store coffee in the French press and I was fine, but a little later I wanted a cup of the high-octane kind, and as I sipped down that serving I felt my energy going lower and lower, and I started feeling colder and colder, till at the end of the cup I was huddled under my favorite blankie feeling like i'd just given two or three pints of blood.  This morning, we didn't have the butter-and-MCT-augmented kind first so I didn't have as good a start; I went straight to the ordinary stuff and though the effect wasn't as strong with this other brand, it was still there.

Over a week had elapsed between the two experiences, while I drank my shipment of a more favored kind of K-cup, and there's NO COMPARISON between the excellent Kenya AA and the [ahem] questionable brand.

Dave says it's the care that's taken in the processing of the beans, and I believe him.  He states outright, there ARE other brands besides his that are wholesome, but that some coffee (and cocoa beans, AND vanilla) gets a touch of mold along the way which turns a great commodity to a problem-creating one.  My beloved Coffee Fool products are "clean" too -- I can tell.  They're more invigorating than ordinary coffees, outstandingly well-roasted and fresh, just like his.  The Green Mountain and Diedrich coffees I like best are not QUITE as perfect, but they're very good indeed.

His coffee IS expensive.  He suggests, if you want to find another that's less expensive but also less likely to be mold infested, single-estate coffees are a better choice than blended ones.  Single-region coffees like Kenya AA and Sumatran Reserve seem to be pretty good.  Rio Blend is one of my favorites, too (I tend to like medium, Italian-style roasts better than American lights and the French-roast end of the spectrum).

So YES -- though sugar is sugar, coffee ISN'T coffee.  You may be able to fool my tastebuds sometimes, but you can't fool my mold-detector.  I'll bet Dave is right about chocolate and vanilla, too.

confirmation -- it feels GOOD

When i was hit by that histamine tornado, i started doubting my regimen.  I spent the first week of September eating VERY cleanly and vacationing from my supplements, and the second week adding them back in ... and i feel vindicated that I did a good job of choosing my additions well in the first place.

Well, although i might have rushed into trying new things there for awhile, stopping and starting again with them individually over the course of last year, i felt at the time that i had proven all of them "worthy"!  :-)  I've now confirmed that i'm benefitting from including them.  Last week, as i added them back one by one, i felt improvement with each.

This faulty body of mine just doesn't absorb nutrients the way it should!  About the only things i eat which give me a sort of "rush of well-being" are raw oysters, beef/veal liver, rack of lamb, and fatty beefsteak.  An appalling number of healthyfruitsandvegetables actually make me feel BAD, which surprised me mightily when i first discovered it.  Now, after further study and further experimentation i have learned to accept the counterintuitive!

We HAVE to accept what our bodies tell us, and ignore the "experts" if we adopt their advice and find our health deteriorate.  EVEN IF populations have existed healthfully eating certain diets, if we try the same thing and find diminished wellbeing, it's wrong for us.  EVEN IF other individuals, ostensibly similar, thrive on certain meal patterns and plans, that won't mean it's our own ideal.  We each have to experiment and tweak until our own ideal emerges.

May all my readers find theirs!  Amidst the storms of various opinions, there obviously is no one perfect plan for all of mankind, but i have to believe there's one for YOU.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

today is better than yesterday

...That's always a positive thing.  ;-)

When we eat what we know promotes well-being in ourselves, i think we need to consider it a job well done.  When we indulge in "yummy junk" which we know is going to mess us up, it's not a case of "a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips" -- it's significantly more sinister.

Those of us who have physical issues which are caused and/or influenced by lifestyle choices need to bite the bullet and think of our health first.  Modern rationalization tells us we CAN have it all, but experience of life proves that to be absolutely 100% WRONG.  Some of us (and i'm not complaining about my own limitations, here) can have darned little of it, and they have my profoundest sympathy.  Most of us can have part of it, and the cannier we are in our approach to nutrition, activity and other choices, the better our results.

We know that gliadin is highly problematic to a huge proportion of the population -- this much has been pretty undeniably "proven."  We know that chronically-high blood glucose and insulin both do incalculable damage to every part of the body.  Because most people around us don't know this, the self-immolation on the altars of diabetes, heart diseases, vascular diseases, and every kind of autoimmune problem possible, which goes on CONSTANTLY around us, looks more overwhelming than it needs to be.

WE know this, those of us who read nutrition blogs, studies and articles by enlightened writers.  We can't see a lot of the damage inside us unless we look for it, and for some of it private individuals don't have the means.  However, even if we don't know what our fasting insulin is, nor the degree to which our bodies are already inflamed and AGEd, we know we want to minimize damage, and we know how to do it:  avoid things which we KNOW are toxic to our bodies.  Coach ourselves till the first thing that we think of when we see a deleterious food is "if i eat that i'll feel terrible and only hurt myself."  Analyze ourselves till we realize that we are tempted by a food or practice NOT because of what it actually DOES, but by association with old feelings and reminders of emotional ties.  Detach and uncouple the CONCEPT of "comfort foods" from the mood we want to establish in ourselves now.

Is watching old movies sitting on the sofa with a carton of ice-cream actually going to comfort us?  Of course not!  It is going to remind us of something else which will give us an illusion of comfort in the present.  The satisfaction of the nutritional benefit of some of the ingredients may be found more appropriately in a better food.  The endorphin activity should be sought through more productive and less-damaging means.  The reminder of past emotional well-being can be pursued without the immediate physical harm-doing.

"You only live once -- eat dessert first" like so many catchy ideas is logically bereft.  IF dessert now is going to make you feel bad later, how can this be a good idea?  If _I_ eat the wrong food today -- knowingly -- i have only myself to blame for being miserable tomorrow.  How WILL i feel tomorrow -- will i think it was truly worthwhile to have eaten the charcuterie platter and consumed the half-bottle of champagne, or will i think that i had cheated myself out of a day of health and energy?

Friday, September 13, 2013

who's driving the malaise-car?

I woke up cold this morning, and a couple of times (briefly) during the night.  This means that something i consumed YESTERDAY was deleterious to my well-being.  I'm lucky that i have a promptly-responsive barometer, because those who have problems that take awhile to be observed have a much harder time figuring out what went wrong.

What i ate yesterday:  black coffee, important supplements, the last serving of Fat Fast Cookbook cheese-broccoli soup (the first time i had no problem on a larger bowlful, so i exonerate it), swiss cheese and pork rinds (similar side-comment), one small Campari-and-soda (ditto), 6 oz. chardonnay (ditto), and the condemned-by-elimination leftover-pork-roast-based chow mein i made!  It contained the coconut oil i cooked it all in, a minuscule amount of konjac flour (the stuff shirataki noodles are made of) to thicken, meat and natural broth, a little shallot, a little canned mushroom, moderate amounts of celery and canned bean sprout, and the largest vegetable component, my half of the small can of bamboo shoots i shredded to make the "noodle bed."

Insignificant quantities of carbs, as you see!  Can't blame the rice because i didn't have any.   Not likely the shallot or celery as i seem to find them non-toxic.  I've had the same brand of mushroom recently, and they're from the same cartonful of cans, so that too is unlikely.  Only suspects, the histaminic buildup of the meat, or the MULTIPLE GOITROGENIC COMPOUNDING of the bean sprouts and bamboo shoots.

Even eating tiny quantities of certain questionable foods can gang up together to give a sensitive person problems!  Now, imagine that your doctor is trying to help you determine how much your dosage of exogenous thyroid hormone should be, and you're eating a mixed diet of all sorts of things that affect your native output...!  No wonder it can be such a battle and such a puzzle.

What i DIDN'T eat yesterday, now -- ruminant meat that i know makes me feel GOOD...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ongoing search for health and fitness

Since i began writing here, things have changed in the paleo blogosphere.  It's kinda funny, really -- some very fervent advocates have deserted the cause, some continuing believers have slowed their rate of publishing, others have largely lost their audiences (you can tell from the volume and variety of commenters), and some "anti's" have crowed that they just KNEW paleo was BS and it was only a matter of time....

Meanwhile, there are still seekers after improved health, some of whom have also moved on to other schemes, and some like me who have experienced improvement but insufficient wellness to satisfy ourselves, who keep tweaking and telling you about it.

Since returning from our son's farm in VA where our dog Spenser picked up a bacterium which nearly was an end to him, both my husband and i have also dealt with some health issues which i can't help but suspect of being related.  J (the last one to catch "something" as he usually is) ended up with what looked like a virus that settled in his lungs, and which he recalls began when i got the super-vacuum that stirred up all the nasty stuff that was living in our bedroom carpet.  I (earlier) got that horrible exacerbation of allergy which i subsequently identified as histamine/tyramine intolerance, which INSPIRED the purchase of the vacuum and bedroom super-air-filter.  My studies into histamine intolerance led me into beginning a study of "chronic fatigue syndrome" -- something i think i've been dealing with for most of my 58 years, but which i've been too "proud" to admit widely.

I haven't even finished reading "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:  a Treatment Guide" but i've learned some interesting things which i'm beginning to put into practice.  Don't get me wrong -- the book is far from perfect (like, the authors aren't very savvy about diet), but i AM a big proponent of looking at the experiences of others and considering whether their tweaks might be helpful to me too.  There's a LOT more reading to do, and i think i can safely promise to keep passing along what i've found valuable and helpful.  ;-)

For now my message is, paleo isn't wrong, it's just incomplete.  "Coincidentally," paleo foods -- "non-neolithic" foods -- ARE lower in toxins than what people have been eating for the last couple of thousand years ... ESPECIALLY the last 100.  A big part of our modern malaise is because:

  • "neolithic" diet foods are much higher in histamines, tyramines and salicylates as well as overt toxins;
  • modern reliance on antibiotics for TOO MANY things have completely messed up our microbiota;
  • "recent" cultural ideals promote health-eroding behavior;
  • expecting drugs/medicine to be "the answer" cause society as a whole to hand over our responsibility for wellness to those who have a vested interest in promoting antagonistic practices.
I won't be surprised when i find that few people besides me find this a compelling reason to limit diet and influence behavior.  My biggest problem is knowing that a lot of the suffering around me is self-inflicted, and that although i know my findings COULD help others it will be widely ignored.  :-(

Friday, September 6, 2013

a digression

Some people fret that, on a long-term low-carb diet, they seem to run a slightly higher blood sugar than they did, when they first started.  I just had a little idea that might explain what they see....

You know how PHYSIOLOGICAL insulin resistance is different from its PATHOLOGICAL alter-ego, i hope;  Petro has talked about this phenomenon at length.  The first is the normal body's reaction to starvation, designed to save glucose for the cells that really need it, and the second is the panic-stricken cell's way to avoid a perceived toxic situation.

I suspect that a slightly-raised blood sugar as seen in LC eating may be analogous.

Reading along at, i found a string of interesting articles about "excess" protein being converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis (GNG).  The short version is, doesn't seem to happen in the absence of GNG triggers like raised glucagon -- it's not a supply-motivated operation, but demand-inspired.

It occurred to me to wonder, if GNG is demand-motivated, does this not explain why we sometimes see a higher morning BG?  For SOME REASON, our bodies are asking for a little bit more glucose, and our livers are obligingly -- and appropriately -- responding?

It's not like our blood-sugar is steadily rising.  If that were the case, we could truly be described as "pre-diabetic" but although a little raised, the FBG is not actually GOING UP.

The Mayo Clinic's website tells me, "Illness or stress can trigger high blood sugars because hormones produced to combat illness or stress can also cause your blood sugar to rise."  It took me all of thirty seconds to find this information.  The site also volunteered that a change in physical activity can also result in varying glucose levels, as can certain medications.

So the next time you see a slightly higher than "normal" BG but it doesn't get worse, it just jumps around a few points, do NOT start thinking OMG I'M GIVING MYSELF DIABETES WITH MY HIGH-FAT DIET -- no.  Ain't happening.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"post-viral fatigue induced food intolerance with hypotension" ... and variants?

In the CFS/ME world, there is agitation to change how people refer to their illness, and i can't blame them.  Doesn't "chronic" ANYTHING imply "oh, you're always bitching about something"?

Even more obnoxious are some designators that GPs are inclined to call it -- "bored housewife syndrome" ... "yuppie flu" ... then there's "20th century syndrome" and the ol' reliable "hysteria."  If i were one of the sufferers who is barely able to leave her bed without passing out, and i were described that way, i'm afraid i'd end up incarcerated for killing someone -- or at least hiring it done.  ;-)

I'll give credit to the writer of the article i just read for having more sensitivity and compassion than a lot of "authorities" -- especially in the CDC and other national- and international-level alphabet-soup organizations.  He objects to too much inclination to call chronic fatigue a psychosomatic illness, though psychosocial aspects exist for many physiological problems.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

HOW stupid can people be?

There's a current "funny" going around on facebook -- "i hesitate to ask anymore how dumb people can be, because some seem to see it as a challenge" or words to that effect.  But it's still a valid question!

I'm reading a very intelligent treatise on the role of food intolerance on CFS/ME, and after implying that the more perfectly people follow a diet designed to minimize known food intolerances, the better they feel, the article goes on to say that they hesitate to recommend this kind of avoidance technique! It seems that patients consider this healthful practice onerous, difficult and burdensome -- awwwww, poor things....  You CAN get significant improvement of life-limiting illness, but you're actually going to have to give up your favorite toxin!

What's the deal, here???  Is it THAT traumatic to dump wheat, or dairy, or chocolate, or whatever, in order to GET YOUR LIFE BACK?

This viewpoint points out some really screwed-up priorities!  YES, you're going to have to think and plan ahead.  Yes, you'll have to forgo some goodies MOST OF THE TIME (experience seems to point out that, once identified, trouble foods can be used on an extremely rare basis once the body has done some healing and the reaction threshold is lower).  Yes, you WILL have to exercise a certain amount of "won't-power."

There is no free lunch when it comes to wellness.  A few people (especially the young) can eat, drink and do whatever they want without noticing deleterious effects, but that doesn't apply to the majority of us, especially aging women.  I'm willing to trade regular high-histamine foods in my diet (yes, even wine) for increased well-being!  I'd rather be OFF misery-inducing treats than ON side-effect-producing pharmaceuticals!  ...  How about you?

Monday, September 2, 2013

conditions have to be just right ... i.e. wrong?

I'm currently reading "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a Treatment Guide" and it's interesting stuff.  It brings out in me the qualities of the gentleman who read a medical book on a rainy afternoon and found in himself symptoms of all the illnesses described ... except Housemaid's Knee.

Being introspective is helpful when it comes to self-diagnosis.  After all, if one's natural focus is outward it's good for some things but not necessarily observing one's own body's reactions to stimuli.

In discussing the search for causes and defining characteristics, the authors point out the frustrations of the researchers and physicians doing the investigating -- sometimes they see this and sometimes that, but "never always."  As a "paleoid" thinker, i can't help but add my own paradigms to their basic science and say, what happens when you start with a virus, add a bacterium or mycoplasma, THEN complicate with a diet full of lectins (or not), AND reduced native proteolytic enzyme production (from simply being over 30 years old)?  The latter two conditions certainly cause the subject to be more susceptible to any and all infections.

Being a rapidly aging individual having a faulty body to work with, i'm interested in avoiding all the stumbling-blocks i can and getting all the mileage-enhancing tips possible.  This book promises some insights i'll find useful!  I'm afraid my readers will have to put up with this subject while i work my way through the book and record my thoughts along the way.  ;-)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

the chicken or the egg

There are so many things which cause a body to dial back on its thyroid production and T4-to-T3 conversion!  Malnutrition (ie inadequate raw materials), illness, infection, excessive omega-6 or insufficient saturated fat, stress, a very-low-calorie diet, too-heavy exercising....  Anything which makes the body think it's in danger of hard times coming and needs to garner its resources -- a siege situation -- is enough to make it slow metabolism via the thyroid.

As i read about the assaults that "tainted" foodstuffs make (my histamine studies), and the postulated infective origins of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), i can't help but connect dots until i get back to thyroid function.  (It may not be my only tool, but i DO have a hammer....)  I had already supposed that there was a chicken/egg situation going on before, and this complicates the matter further.

Bad nutrient absorption (amino acids, vitamin A, iron or B12 perhaps) because one has poor stomach-acid production due to low thyroid will lower thyroid function which will lower stomach acid which will ... ad infinitum.  Or h. pylori infection can lower stomach acid which will also ....  Or other viral, bacterial or mycoplasma issues -- whew.  All roads lead to Rome.

So for those of us who suffer from thyroid misfunction (low, high or fluctuating), does the trouble originate in a faulty body, or do infective or nutritional influences cause the poor function which snowballs into worse function?  I suspect all the above.