Tuesday, April 7, 2015

spring cleaning -- body version

A boost in energy and ambition might be universal, in springtime.  Culturally, this used to be the time of year to do a thorough house-cleaning.  Well, until our construction project is finished, i don't think i'm going to put an unusual amount of effort into THAT, but i'm definitely in the mood to tidy up my body.

I decided to get tough, and go back on the Strong Medicine regimen -- you know, the mid-twentieth-century version of ZC as described by Dr. Blake Donaldson in his 1960s book, which i used with such good results when my husband was working out-of-town.  Since he's been back, i've tried to get him to do it, with poor results;  a couple of days into it, he said he felt bad, and stopped.  As he's expert at derailing me when i'm trying to do it solo, i've never been able to continue more than a day or two ... but this time i'm going to get tough.

There are two important tweaks i have to make so that eating this way is a winning situation:  i have to salt my meat generously, and i have to supplement betaine-HCl from time to time.

I suspect that not performing these tweaks is why a lot of people don't feel comfortable on ZC!  It's all about digestion!

The chloride in salt is where we get the raw material for stomach-acid.  I strongly feel that the "adverse effects of dietary sodium" comes NOT from salt, but from flavor-enhancers and preservatives which are found in processed and RESTAURANT FOOD.  NaCl is an important nutrient, the best sources of which are sea-salt and land deposits like that lovely Himalayan stuff.  The "sodium" that eats your lunch is in compounds like MSG and sodium benzoate et al.

Stomach acid is I-M-P-O-R-T-A-N-T.  The reason you get reflux is not because you have too much acid, but too little.  It makes me REALLY REALLY mad when commercials claim the opposite.  It makes me even madder when dumb-asses in the medical industry do it, too -- they should know better.

Additionally, stomach-acid is the front-line destroyer of pathogens in what you eat and breathe.  A dip in the HCl-pool is what decommissions the bacteria on your steak tartare or nigiri, and the viruses that get trapped in your sinuses (which subsequently drain down your throat).

Betaine-HCl is one of the most important members of my supplement armory.  I never know when it's going to be necessary to use, so i MUST keep it on hand.  Running out last fall seemed to be the beginning of a very unpleasant pylori experience....

Acid and enzymes in the stomach are what break down the pound-or-so of meat which i take in daily on this regimen.  When i first tried the SMR i knew that forgoing salt was not a good idea, so i used it from the beginning.  His instruction to take three meals, of 8 oz. meat in each, proved to be too much for me, so i cut back to three of 6 oz. or two of a half-pound -- that turned out to be the right formula for my system.  If i'm getting enough salt, i don't generally need the betaine supplement ... but it's at-hand if i detect sluggish digestion a couple of hours after a meal.

It's important to not dilute the stomach-acid by drinking a lot just before or during meals;  Donaldson recommends no more than a 5-oz. cup of coffee (which is not a bad replacement for wine; the bitterness of a couple of sips before the meal induces acid and bile secretion).  Somewhere around 6 cups of water a day ARE recommended, but definitely separated from mealtimes.

No alcohol.

I find it a remarkably simple and effective regimen.  The old "what shall we have for breakfast/supper" question is a lot more easily answered!  As long as i followed the protocol, even my tweaked version, i DID lose the three pounds a week he "promised."

I can see how some people might have more problems with it than i did, though.  I began in a fat-adapted state, so i didn't double-down on the Atkins Flu it could entail.  The meat-centric nature of it suits my taste perfectly.  My microbiota weren't highly fiber-dependant, so didn't scream with rage when i put THEM on my diet.  ;-)

There's one thing he recommended that i didn't jump in and do regularly -- he prescribed a half-hour walk before breakfast to get the liver moving (my paraphrase).  With the improving weather, i think i'll be more inclined to do it, this round.  This is a lovely time of year to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden!


  1. I wish I could've pulled off ZC. But my testy left kidney, that LOVES to produce uric acid stones...was telling me otherwise. Oh wells. I fully support your efforts though, which IS hard to find. ;)

    1. we each have to listen to our bodies' idiosyncrasies! :-) if your kidney says "NO" you have to respect it.

  2. Spring is a great time of year for renewing the body ...... I think many people find a re-look at foods, exercise etc is easier now than say at the New Year, .....resolutions are often broken.

    Regards to walking / exercising. There are those that go early to the gym - there are those who enjoy an early morning walk. I have to admit I love a walk but generally not too early in the day.

    We do what we find best. It's our body, it's our health and we should do our best to look after ourselves.

    All the best Jan

    1. ...and the MoBot (abbreviation of our outstanding Garden) was beautiful this morning -- I think you'd enjoy it, Jan! the crocuses are almost gone, but the azaleas are just starting to come out, and the daffodils, tulips, and stocks are glorious. :-)

    2. You're right Tess, I would love a walk around 'the MoBot' those flowers sound lovely.


  3. Can't thank you enuff for posting Dr Donaldson's book; I have skimmed it voraciously between appts this PM ;-)
    (Wish I could acquire some of Woo's "Carb Antabuse" however - certain foods such as aforementioned chips & tortillas at Tex-Mex restaurant are still WAY too rewarding!)