Monday, December 8, 2014

Chocolate Denial

Many Paleo folks abstain from every form of seed, because of unfavorable omega 6/ omega 3 ratios, but yet they keep dark chocolate on the good list.  It just occured to me to realize that chocolate is a seed, and wonder how it's much better than other seeds...

USDA data on "Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares"

Nutrient Unit Value per 100 g Fat Class
18:2 undifferentiated1 g 1.435 Omega 6
20:4 undifferentiated1 g 0 Omega 6
18:3 undifferentiated g 0.117 Omega 3
g 0 Omega 3
20:3 undifferentiated1 g 0 Omega 3
20:4 undifferentiated1 g 0 Omega 3
20:5 n-3 (EPA)1 g 0 Omega 3
22:5 n-3 (DPA) g 0 Omega 3
22:5 n-3 (DPA) g 0 Omega 3
22:6 n-3 (DHA)1 g 0 Omega 3

That's a pretty sad Omega 6/3 ratio for a "healthy" food.

I'm still slightly in denial, and many chocolate companies use cheaper fats in their products, so I looked up cocoa butter, the results were not much better:

Nutrient Unit Value per 100 g Fat class
18:3 undifferentiated g 0.1 Omega 3
18:04 g 0 Omega 3
20:5 n-3 (EPA) g 0 Omega 3
22:5 n-3 (DPA) g 0 Omega 3
22:6 n-3 (DHA) g 0 Omega 3
18:2 undifferentiated g 2.8 Omega 6
18:3 undifferentiated g 0.1 Omega 6
20:4 undifferentiated g 0 Omega 6
Dark chocolate may be a reasonable cheat food, low in sugar, rich in antioxidants, minimal processing agents, but it can hardly be considered a "good" food on the low omega 6 diet.

Sorry Paleo dieters!

Friday, December 5, 2014


Long ago, I used to get bronchitis every year.  I think I'm allergic to leaf mold, as the sinuses start in as the leaves fall, and I don't really stand a chance of recovery until hard frost.  Most years if I keep after the sinus symptoms and lay mouth downwards to keep post nasal drip out of my lungs, and take lots of hot showers and cubs of herbal tea as needed, I can ward it off with only a slight wheeze and no lost work time.

This year I ran into some issues.

  1. The boiler is half dead, so no hot showers, and I was breathing cold air even when inside.
  2. I ran out of cough syrup.
  3. I ran out of herbal tea.
  4. We started to freeze up, but then got another complete thaw resparking my symptoms just as I thought I was getting better and didn't need the syrup/tea.
  5. We have more animals now, and some of them like to hide eggs in very strange places, so barn chores in the cold air takes longer.  
Sunday evening we managed to kick the boiler enough to get a hot shower out of it, but I'd waited too long and before I could clear all the accumulated junk that cough turned into airway constriction.  I resolved to call my doctor Monday morning and get something to open my airways.  At 3 AM I woke up completely unable to breathe for a few seconds, and got too scared to wait until morning, and there were no immediate care places open at that hour, so we went to the ER.  My breathing was so restricted and my throat so sore I could barely talk, very glad I had hubby there to do much of the talking for me.  We both know a wee bit of sign, so that got practiced.  

Between the ER and the follow-up with the doc I now have a short and long term inhaler and an antibiotic.  I got my tea and syrup supply restocked and space heaters in critical rooms of the house.  I'm improving, the sinus infection part seems to have cleared up, but still under the weather and exhausted.  I'm out of sick time for the year, to get through working partial days this week I had to borrow against my vacation I'm accumulating the rest of the year.  Looking forward to the weekend and getting as much rest as a farmer can.

I'm a big fan of healing naturally whenever I can, and preventing more than fixing, but there are times to pull in the modern medicine big guns.

Tomato Quiche

Since we have chickens now, and they are producing a bit more than we need, quiche has started to take on a major role in our meal planning.  (If the egg rack is filling up I plan a quiche.)  This one I planned at home but cooked at work so I'm going to count it.

1/2 can tomatoes
2 Tablespoons frozen pepper and onion mix
Italian spice mix.
4 eggs
2 bowls

Microwave the veggies
Meanwhile, beat your eggs together with the spices
Scoop the hot veggies into the eggs and mix after each scoop
When the bowl gets full pour some egg back into the veggie bowl and fiddle things until both are about the same.
Microwave until egg is done in the center.

Manhattan Salmon Chowder

This one was whipped up of leftovers and things that had sat in my desk drawer too long so forgive it not being authentic.

1/2 can of diced tomatoes (partially drained)
1 jar of sweet roasted red peppers (drained)
1 can wild caught red salmon (drained)
leftover Italian spice mix from Tuesday's quiche.

You might do two half batches if your bowl is as small as mine.
Mix.  Microwave.

It is a bit zippier than I was expecting, probably due to the spice mix I carelessly threw in, which reacted with the vinegar bite of the peppers.  I think next time fewer peppers and a more mild spice.  The tomato and the fish do complement each other well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pills, pills, pills: What's in them?

Well, I purchased the supplements the doctor ordered today. Not going to list the meaningless brand names, but here are the active ingredients in them.  I note a couple items are double-covered, but we're almost a factor of 10 below dangerous levels for B6, and factor of 100 for B5.  I am going to lay off the multivitamin and the Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc.  I should probably pick up some plain calcium to replace the latter with.  I'm going to work up to the Vitamin D levels slowly given my previous poor experience with high levels of D3.

Supplement/Drug Amount DV
Riboflavin 10 mg  588% 
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl) 25 mg  1250% 
Pantothenic Acid (as D-calcium pantothenate) 50 mg  500% 
Raw Adrenal Concentrate (bovine) 80 mg 
para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA) 25 mg 
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) 330 mg  ** 
DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) 170 mg  ** 
Other Omega-3 Fatty Acids 60 mg  ** 
Palmitoleic Acid 105 mg  ** 
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 240 mg  400% 
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl) 100 mg  5000% 
Pantothenic Acid (as D-calcium pantothenate) (vitamin B5) 500 mg  5000% 
Magnesium (as magnesium oxide) 75 mg  19% 
Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex 100 mg 
Protease 104,000 USP units 
Amylase 104,000 USP units 
Lipase 16,640 USP units 
Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®
Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07
Zinc (as zinc arginate† and zinc glycinate†) 20 mg  133%
Vitamin D 5000 IU 1250%

Mini Mackerel-Pumpkin Quiche

I went to a social occasion this weekend, and brought way too much smoked fish which I came home with.  The fish is rather salty and needs something to pare it down.  I also purchased about a half a ton of pumpkins from a stand closing up shop at the end of the season (for the sheep).  Among those pumpkins were some little acorn squash sized ones I thought might make decent lunch bases.  Thirdly, I now have chickens and am starting to explore more uses of eggs in preparation for the oversupply I expect in summer.  As a result I came up with this unlikely lunch.

1/2 pumpkin, seeded
1-2 Tablespoons of peppers and onions, chopped (leftover in the freezer from a previous lunch)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Sprinkle of salt (probably didn't need that)
Microwave for 2 minutes
3-4 Tablespoons of shredded smoked Mackerel
1 egg
Remember when adding the egg that it is only nominally a liquid and may try to run entirely off the top of the pumpkin and escape if you don't quickly mix it in.  Perhaps next time I'll break the egg first and then add the solid ingredients.
Microwave for 5 minutes.

I'm not entirely sold on this preparation.  The edges of the egg were done way before the center.  Perhaps a stir after the first minute or two?  Also with no milk or separate bowl for beating the egg, it came out much less smooth than a normal quiche.  The little pumpkin itself has a spaghetti squash like texture, and may do well with some sort of sauce. An acorn squash has a smoother texture and might do better with this.  The squash releases moisture as it cooks, so it's a bit difficult to see when the egg is done, if the moisture is uncooked egg or pumpkin juice.

I'm not entirely giving up on the concept of pumpkin shelled quiche though, I'm going to try a larger pumpkin, in the oven, with italian sausage, peppers and onions, and the eggs properly blended before baking.

Health Blogging as a Diagnostic Tool

I know hardly anyone reads my blog.  I've got one family member that comments occasionally, occasionally I strike a nerve with someone that has a similar issue or a religious stance on my diet.  But overall most of the hits on my blog are indexing robots.

I'm ok with that.

I will continue blogging even if I have nobody listening.  If it annoys people perhaps I'll turn off all the social plugins that announce the fact that I'm blogging.  But the most valuable part of blogging is the search tool.  Before I started this blog I had a user group that I discussed many of my health issues with, which is also searchable.

Yesterday, my Dr. proscribed a high level of Vitamin D for me.  I recalled vaguely that I'd tried that before and had a negative reaction, but wasn't able to say what time of year it was or what dose I'd been taking.  So when I got home I went to my blog and my old usergroup and did a search.  I was able to update the doc with a lot more detail:
I looked up my records, I previously tried 4000 IU vitamin D in late May 2011.  I was getting a lot of fatigue, sleeping in, needing caffeine to function.  (I don't make a regular habit of caffeine.)  I stuck with the regimen for over a week, and then backed down to 1000 IU.  I was not yet on the Paleo diet at that time.  I was also taking K2 and Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc at the time.
Another time I was able to look back through my records and discover when I started moving from a low carb diet to a ketogenic diet, and line it up with symptom patterns.  My commentary on two meals with similar macronutrient profiles was staggeringly different over time.  Lots of habits drift over time, and only by blogging minutia am I able to pick up on what exactly happened.

Doctors have encouraged health logs for a long time when tracking down obscure problems.  I encourage you to do the same, either in a paper journal, a private blog, or a public blog like my own.  The public blog has the downside of muting some TMI info that I might write in a private log but not a public one, but the occasional feedback is also an incentive to keep it up regularly.  To each their own on that one...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pills and more Pills

For three years I've been off the prescription muscle relaxants and pain killers, and doing better than ever before.

Today my test results came back.

Low adrenal function.
Borderline Vitamin D3
Possible low pancreas function
Low Zinc
High inflammatory markers
Slightly high cholesterol, but favorable HDL/LDL ratio.
Thyroid looks ok, but she suspects that may test differently when adrenal function is fixed.

The doc has 8 new supplements/medications for me to take, at 4 periods during the day.  :(  I'm gonna get one of those big pill organizers.  This better work...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Unpleasant Subject Warning: Poo...

My mother always kept Imodium in the house.  For me, it is effective, way too effective.  Just one pill binds up most any issue into the complete opposite problem, so I tended to radically different treatments, like eating coarse fiber to flush out whatever was bothering my system faster and get it over with.

A couple weeks ago, I got bit by a tick.  Not even sure it was a deer tick, though the best course of action was to take it to a doc and let them decide.  They wanted to send The Tick off to the lab for analysis, and give me the preventative antibiotics just in case.  No big deal, I had a tick bite a couple years ago and went through the same thing.  Except last time I wasn't already experiencing some chronic err...  loose & frequent stool.

The antibiotics played havoc with my already upset system, giving me indigestion with each pill, even looser stool, and slowly taking away my appetite in general.  Well, I took the last pill, and went to the grocery store for lunch, and the only thing that looked appetizing was dates and peanut butter.  Now I know, why on earth would an intelligent person eat a high fiber food when their digestive system was already upset?  Because I was calorie deficient but couldn't find food appetizing, that's why, and normally such foods bind me up for a short while and then take not terribly long to find their overly merry way out.  This time however, I was to learn a very severe lesson in self care: DON'T RISK IT.  The predictable bind-up occurred, then about 2 days of intense cramping and hourly bathroom visits.  Even all through the night when my poor little digestive system normally gives me a break.  The first day was not so bad because I was at work and stayed well on top of the rehydration with broth, poached eggs, and lemonade.  I was fatigued from not having been asleep enough at night, but felt manageable after a long lunch including a nap in a quiet corner.  But then I went home, leaving the support groceries at work, went to bed early without any extra nutrition or hydration, and I crashed hard from the lack of calories and dehydration.  I started out just very cold, but once I started shivering I couldn't stop.  It took me a bit to even be able to reach the phone beside me to call hubby on the other side of our soundproof house.  Once I managed to clearly communicate to hubby that he better bring me sugar water NOW and not caffeinated soda either, I started to recover, but took about 20 hours of sleep (with a missed day of work and hourly hydration, carbohydrates, and further dehydration breaks) to start feeling human again.  Yesterday we went out to dinner and I was able to eat half of my normal fare, including all of the simple starch (mashed potatoes, which I normally don't like but called me as one of the few low-fiber sides.)  I even managed to make a late night snack of the leftovers and make it gone.  (The best ribs in town will perk up anyone's appetite, and I don't care if you're not supposed to have fatty food in that condition, it never bothered me much and I needed my first real food in days.)

Back to the Imodium.  A sane person would have taken the Imodium.  I actually did on day 2 of this, when the uh... dermal side effects were becoming too much to ride out.  It happened to be the last pill in the house and as I was contemplating putting a box on the grocery list, I had a "why are smart people so dumb" moment.  Just because mother bought this stuff doesn't mean I should.  It's horrible for me.  There are other brands, there may be other active ingredients that work better for me.  Egad, some are even liquids that can be dosed out in smaller units than one pill...  So Pepto Bismol is getting a trial in this house.  Granted I'm already on the mend, but a half dose seems to have a positive effect for 10 hours or so without side effects... (label directions allow 8 doses a day)

I have an appointment to look at the chronic issue in a few weeks.  The doc is waiting for some test results to come back.  Hopefully I'll mend enough over the weekend to not have to call Monday for a sooner appointment for the acute one.  The last doc I saw for an acute issue thought I should ride it out a bit longer, that I was managing my hydration well enough to combat it, so why waste the appointment fee and lost work time if I have hydration back under control?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Wonder I'm Hungry (Soup)

I have never really appreciated most soup.  Sure it's easy to make, and you can extract the last bit of goodness from bones and tired vegetables, but my stomach remembers we were poor growing up and soup was a way to stretch real food, all that water was supposed to make us feel full.  Well, my well-educated tummy now knows that's just water and there's no real calories in it, now I can't even appreciate a good soup without getting that feeling when I'm done that I'd like a bit of solid food to finish it off.

Despite that, I was stuck without a lunch and wasn't in the mood to do anything fancy, nor do the meat and cheese thing, so I wandered down the canned soup isle.

One of the few flavors that didn't have pasta was Campbell's Chicken and Rice:

So, besides the fact that this has a ton of additives, is mostly rice, and soup never makes me feel full anyway, there's only 200 calories per can. Then the directions say to water that down some more... 200 calories? No wonder I'm hungry. I'll give Vegetable Beef a try this afternoon when that rice wears off and I start falling asleep at my desk...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tick Bite

This has not been my season.  Thursday morning I harvested beets from the garden, Friday morning I found a tick on my backside.  The doc isn't in on Friday so I went to the immediate care place she recommended and got the precautionary antibiotics.  Keeping an eye on the bite mark as best as I can look at my own backside.

This is my second tick bite.  I got my first a couple years ago when crawling through the woods in November.  That time around I'd been dressed to the hilt, it was cold so I had on three layers of pants, a couple pairs of socks, and the bugger still found a gap in my armor and crawled up me.  He was also found the next morning after the most likely exposure.  I think the best advice is to shower after being outside rather than waiting until morning, and throw your outside clothes in the wash.  Ticks often crawl around on you and your clothes a while before they bite and at that stage they are easy to be rid of.  I've never gotten a tick bite while wearing shorts, which is what the conventional wisdom says you must not do.

The New Doctor

I have a new doctor.  She was highly recommended by someone who eats a diet similar to my own and also has a complicated chronic condition.  She is an endocrinologist and a holistic practitioner.  I went in skeptical because of some of the alternative medicine mentions on her website, but conventional docs have not done well by me so it seemed worth a shot as long as I keep my eyes open.  I've only had one visit so far, but my thoughts:


  • Ordered a huge pile of blood tests to try to cover all the bases in one draw.  (I'm a difficult draw, it took them three pokes to get a good blood flow, and I'm bruised on both arms.)
  • Ordered Cortisol test that should show if I have Adrenal Insufficiency.
  • Covering all her bases, even ordered a parasite screening of the real medical variety.  (I have heard of some pretty hokey alternative medicine tests for parasites that I would not have accepted.)
  • Recommended an herbal salve that I think is less effective than A&D.  It does help some, but any over the counter intensive moisturizer used on the proscribed frequency works as well.
  • Recommended an herbal supplement for sinus health that happens to contain something I'm allergic to.  Thankfully I read the label and didn't open the bottle.
  • She did not cover any bio-mechanics or sun exposure.  On the other hand we used most of our appointment time on other things, it might come up later.
  • Implied that she subscribes to the blood type diet which has little to no scientific basis.  All four blood types are instructed to avoid processed food, so I'm sure everyone that tries the diet benefits over the standard american diet, but which of the four diets works best for you may have nothing to do with your blood type.  I do strongly recommend elimination diets if you think you have a food related problem or any chronic inflammation, to determine food sensitivities by experimentation, but wholesale elimination of food groups based on a fad diet or someone else's sensitivities may do you no good and may do you some harm if you don't properly re-balance your diet without that food group.  Note that my diet is not a strict interpretation of anyone else's Paleo/Ancestral diet, but I've experimented with specific suggestions from those diets and worked out a diet that works for me.
  • Her website and signs in the office indicate a belief in homeopathy.  Now sometimes herbal remedies are labeled homeopathic for marketing reasons and some of those are valid, but true homeopathic remedies are diluted beyond usability and have no scientific plausibility.  That said, true homeopathic remedies are decent placebos.  If the modern american is so easily fooled by a placebo that they are affected even when they are aware the drug is a placebo, and that they are more heavily affected the more expensive the placebo is, if there is no viable medical alternative, or patience and time to heal is the best remedy, I can't really say it's unethical to sell magic water, oil, or alcohol to patients that would benefit from it.  It would be unethical to sell magic water to someone that really needs an antibiotic, vaccine, or other well-proven and effective medication.  Who knows, the herbal salve she sold me could be considered magic oil.  I am being more diligent about applying three times a day than I was with my cheaper over the counter moisturizer, because I don't want my skepticism to prevent me from seeing possible benefit that *might* be there.
In my search for health, I have found a lot of wisdom mixed in with nonsense.  People willing to look outside the box for answers find good and bad ones alike.  I'll just have to stay on my toes and independently vet her recommendations.

I'm considering making my own salve when this is gone.  I think the herbal is less effective than my over the counter because the carrier is too thin.  The herbals may or may not be helpful.  My cousin grows Comfery and will send me a plant, and I can order pure lanolin online.  Can't hurt, the lanolin will still do it's job wether the comfery has any effect or not...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Epley Maneuver: Resolving Vertigo

One of my minor side issues is vertigo.  It tends to get worse over the course of several days, getting to the point where I get dizzy trying to drive or turn over in bed.

Luckily, I have a very easy type of vertigo to temporarily fix.  You know those awkward reset sequences for resetting your car computer?  Apparently our inner ear has one of those too, and it's called the Epley maneuver.  The first time you do the Epley maneuver it should be under medical supervision.  Your symptoms will get real bad during the maneuver and they can monitor that things are going correctly and you don't have a secondary issue being made worse by the odd spine positions.  After that anyone you trust that is willing to study up on it can help you do it at home.

It's a wonderful thing, the most instant cure I know of in medicine.  It's one of the things conventional medicine has done right.  If you experience vertigo you should definitely talk to your doctor and see if it's a good treatment option for you.  I had vertigo for about a decade before anyone taught it to me, and it has made a huge difference in my quality of life.

Why on earth I have fewer of these problematic "free floating particles" in my inner ear when I'm on a low carb diet no-one has explained to me yet, but at least I don't have to suffer.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not so kneeling chair

Well, at least it was easy to assemble, but I don't really feel like I'm kneeling.  I picked this one out because it was "adjustable".  In the lowest position the seat is almost flat and almost no weight transfers to the knees.  In the highest position the knee rest is at just as steep an angle as the seat, meaning you're semi-wedged in place, not really resting at all but having to actively and awkwardly lean to stay in position.  I'm playing with the middle settings, but have not found one I'm really happy with.  It does make for a more obtuse angle between spine and upper leg, but not much more than just tipping your seat in a standard ergonomic chair would do.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Is blogging bad for my health?

It may be that what I thought I was doing with my diet and what I was actually doing with my diet were two different things.

For two years I ate as much butter and bacon as I wanted, and I steadily lost small amounts of weight.  In March 2013 I'd gone down 5 belt hole positions and 40 lbs.

In July 2013, I started blogging about specific lunch choices, as going out to lunch was an especially challenging time to stick to my diet.  In late August I made up a little calculator that could compute the keytogenic ratio of my meals, with a target ratio of 150%, the ratio used in well studied anti-epilepsy diets.  I stopped loosing weight and even put a little bit on.  At the time I made no connection, because I'd just gotten my first livestock and a larger garden, and I thought perhaps my increased activity was increasing my muscle mass.  My old belt gave out so I had no regular measurement reference.

My reading up on adrenal issues points out that stress is a major trigger for symptoms (as it is for fibromyalgia) and the incident that made me drop fruit may have been triggered by stress rather than diet.  I do frequently see similar symptoms when I eat out, but perhaps it's something besides the carbs causing stress in my body.

Methinks it is time to stop running the numbers, and think more about what my body wants than what my calculator wants.  The unconscious mind does amazing things with health and nutrition analysis and I should trust it more.  Stay low on seeds, but bring back the root veggies and fruit in moderation.  I do still need to be moderate about high glycemic index foods, I'm still hypoglycemic, but I don't need to be as strict as I had been the last year.  Last night we had potatoes, onions and sirloin for supper, and I feel pretty good about it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Adrenal Crisis?

This is scary
Acute adrenal crisis
Symptoms of adrenal crisis can include any of the following [notated by me as symptoms I've had in an episode]:
  • Dizziness or light-headedness [Yes]
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness [Nearly]
  • Slow, sluggish movement [Yes]
  • Unusual and excessive sweating on face or palms [Yes]
  • Vomiting
I've had a half dozen of these episodes, about half of them had professional medical personnel called.  No medical professional recommended follow up testing.  (The ER recommended I see my doc, the doc pawned me off on the nurse practitioner, the nurse practitioner called it a migraine and ran no tests.)
Acute adrenal crisis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is not enough cortisol.
Life threatening?


Last episode was January 2014.  It was a bit more scary than average, I actually told the hubby to drive me to the hospital if I didn't recover by the time we were done with our errand...  I recovered faster than normal though, and was mostly able to move by the end of our 4 mile drive.  Five minutes later I was out of the truck and slowly helping unload.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Adrenal Insufficiency?

Some friends have pointed out that I have some symptoms of adrenal insufficiency.  Unfortunately the NannY state of NY has made it illegal for me to swab my own spit or walk into a self-directed blood testing center, so I can't take the test my friend recommends without seeing a doctor.

I have seen plenty of doctors.  In the whirlwind leading up to Fibromyalgia diagnosis, I had something like a half dozen doctors, and none of them were able to fix me.  Some of the pain was managed by the pediatric rheumatologists, but the rest of the symptoms pretty much went untreated until I started helping myself three years ago.

I'm out of personal time for the year, I'm rather hesitant to spend the hours allocated for Christmas vacation on doctor visits.  On the other hand, I've been a mess lately.  Fibromyalgia acting back up, leading to inactivity, leading to a back strain when I did have to be active, leading into a couple days of lost work time.  On top of that I've had an irritable bowl since March.  (Bye bye Christmas.)

A co-worker has had very good luck with a doctor all the way on the other side of town and he recommended I try her as a primary care physician who would understand and work with my self-treatments.  Just so happens she is also an endocrinologist, so I have two reasons to try her now.

Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison's Disease
Cortisol belongs to the class of hormones called glucocorticoids, which affect almost every organ and tissue in the body. Cortisol’s most important job is to help the body respond to stress. Among its many tasks, cortisol helps
  • maintain blood pressure and heart and blood vessel function
  • slow the immune system’s inflammatory response—how the body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, and substances that appear foreign and harmful
  • regulate metabolism
Hrm...  Yeah, that fits...
Aldosterone belongs to the class of hormones called mineralocorticoids, also produced by the adrenal glands. Aldosterone helps maintain blood pressure and the balance of sodium and potassium in the blood. When aldosterone production falls too low, the body loses too much sodium and retains too much potassium.
The decrease of sodium in the blood can lead to a drop in both blood volume—the amount of fluid in the blood—and blood pressure. Too little sodium in the body also can cause a condition called hyponatremia. Symptoms of hyponatremia include feeling confused and fatigued and having muscle twitches and seizures.
 Thank goodness no seizures, but yep...
The slowly progressing symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are often ignored until a stressful event, such as surgery, a severe injury, an illness, or pregnancy, causes them to worsen.
Huh, they say the same thing about fibromyalgia.


My truck is at her own doctor's right now, but perhaps after she comes back I should make an appointment.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Studies on Grass Finished vs. Grain Finished Meat

Oddly enough someone sent me this one when trying to prove that there wasn't any nutritional difference between grain and grass fed meat, but it shows quite the opposite, with differences in everything except protein and mineral content:

This article goes on to show a link between the consumption of grass fed meat and the blood tests of the consumer.  I think this study was particularly well done with the management of the meat animals monitored by the study to reduce confounding factors:

We do still lack definite knowledge of how all those blood tests affect final health, but I know eating grass fed works well for me.

Oscar Mayer P3

This blogging thing may be going a bit too far, I just bought this item specifically to review it:

I'd seen ads from the product launch and was hopeful that this would be something available in most grocery stores friendly to my diet, but the company website was lacking in nutrition info, so I wanted to get my hands on an actual package.

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingFiber grams per serving
Oscar Mayer P3 Ham1.0111341
Total Calories163
% carb calories7%
% protein calories32%
% fat Calories61%
Ketogenic ratio136%

Really not bad for something that I might be able to find in a convenience store.  If you're going ketogenic to treat epilepsy you might want to skip the nuts or have some other fat supplement with it to push up over the 150%.  

The quality of the contents is about what you'd expect from Oscar Mayer, good but not gourmet.  I'd love to see a lunch sized version in the future, low carb eaters don't tend to need as many snacks as high carb eaters.  

The real downer for me personally, is the calcium sulfate on the cheese.  A snack sized portion probably won't hurt me, but if I downed four of these for lunch I might have a bad reaction.  (One of my health care professionals called it a migraine and not a true allergy, but it has never been well investigated.  Some people have expressed envy at my ability to get drunk on potato salad, but for me sulfa allergy has been no picnic.)  For most people this is a non-issue.

So overall I call it a win for Paleo eaters, but it's not going to get the epileptic kid out of having to carry his special shakes, nor is it going to work for me personally.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Barn Boot: Fail

 I really would like a pair of barn boots that fit.

I made a couple boot blanks from polar fleece.  I figured this would make a warm and soft interior and a decent framework for the rubberizing agent to stick to.  I used HERCULINER Truck Bed Liner as my rubberizing agent.  I'd been looking for a product that just had bags of granulated rubber and an adhesive separately, but this came with both mixed together in the can.

I stuffed the boot with plastic bags full of paper to get a boot like shape to start with, and started daubing on the rubberizing agent with a brush.

Several problems came up with the rubberizing process.  The material is meant to be applied with a foam roller to a flat surface.  It got very clumpy when trying to daub on with a brush on an irregular surface.  Second I am not a neat person, and if you get a drip on the dry side of your boot or on the newspaper you're putting the boot down on, you're going to end up with paper adhered to the boot.  Thirdly the adhesive soaked through the fleece and also adhered to the plastic bags inside the boot.

The next problem was that although I'd realized I'd need more room in the boot to get it on after stiffening, I didn't account for it enough.  You can see the problem here in the trimmed down version of the boot.  (I trimmed it at three different heights hoping to find one still usable.)

Finally, a trim that fits!

But the sole is lumpy, and the shape is a bit more rounded than it should be, leading to it being short in the toes.

You can see in this shot how little of the upper I laboriously hand sewed on is still present.

But it was not a total loss.  I learned something about the fit of a barn boot, and didn't waste leather in the process.  I also learned that the base material should be resistant to being soaked through so the rubber remains on the outside of the material.  I may also consider rubberizing the toe area with the material flat before sewing up the heel.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Can't Beat a Block of Cheese

Someone called my attention to Epic Bars, so I made a little scout around for some over the counter low carb paleo snacks.

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingFiber grams per servingCalories% fat caloriesKetogenic Ratio
Epic Bison Cranberry1.0121110118857%96%
Tanka Original1.01.57769.519%41%
Wolf Snax1.020151228863%110%
Monterey Jack Cheese187110469%178%

Guess until they make me some real pemmican bars I'll be sticking with my meat and cheese.

I should rephrase that, there is a nearly real pemmican bar (not dehydrated enough to be shelf stable though), but it's frequently out of stock and never available in local stores or on Amazon:

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingCalories% fat caloriesKetogenic Ratio
Grassland Beef Pemmican, Honey/Cherry Free12615129879%246%
Grassland Beef Pemmican, Regular12411829274%159%

Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach

You know that bit about not shopping when you're hungry?  Holds true for the paleo diet too.  I bought a pound each of Provolone and London Broil.  I knew I was over the 1 meal target, but I figured it was for both breakfast and lunch:

ServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingFiber grams per serving
Cold Cut London Broil8.62130
Peppers, sweet, red, raw2.00.30.996.032.1

Total Calories2,381
% carb calories4%
% protein calories39%
% fat Calories57%
Ketogenic ratio139%
Uh.  That's more like 4 meals there.  Guess I better get some back in the fridge for tomorrow.

Good thing it's tasty.  The pepper gives it that bit of crunch without adding a lot of carb calories.  The cheese and meat flavors blend well...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ice Cream Vs. Yogurt

My Fibromyalgia flare-up leaves me exhausted, and sometimes exhaustion leads to doing dumb things like drinking burning hot beverages and ruining all appetite for foods with texture while the burn heals.

So yesterday for lunch I had ice cream, and today I had yogurt.  Which is better?

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingFiber grams per servingCalories% fat caloriesKetogenic Ratio
Haagen Daz3.5174250941.5056.88%59.06%
Lemon Merange Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt4.04.511210674.0024.04%32.73%
Key Lime Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt4.04.511180626.0025.88%36.69%

Looks like ice cream has it in the normal case, but perhaps while I'm healing the protein counts for more.  The total calories in one container of Haagen Daz was a bit high, perhaps I could look at some of the smaller container sizes.  Secondary note here is that not all flavors are equal.  I already knew that different Oikos flavors have different additives, apparently they have different nutrition profiles as well.


It's a bad week.  Thursday I had a big pile of blueberries with honey on them, and got a sugar high and crash.  For desert that night I had blackberries with honey.  That night I came down with a very bad cold that lasted about 24 hours.  Saturday sore shoulders and PMS.  Sunday morning I realized that this was a Fibromyalgia flare-up, and went back to bed for 5 more hours of sleep, but was still tired in the evening and needed caffeine to make it to bedtime.  Monday I was hallucinating/dreaming while awake at work (my code was talking to other parts of my code, and I was trying to investigate their conspiracy).  It didn't help that I burned my mouth at breakfast.  (Tried to sip the top off an overly full travel mug of recently boiling broth.)  I'm exhausted.  I need to be very careful about my diet and sleep and get back on a regular PT routine again until this calms down.

It's still not as bad as flare ups used to be, I was able to climb the stairs in to work this morning without much trouble.  Flare-ups used to always center on my legs, and this time it's just my shoulder.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lindt vs. Ghirardelli

I found out that Lindt owns Ghirardelli, so it makes me wonder if there is any real difference between their recipes?

Quick answer: yes, Lindt 70% dark compares most closely to Ghirardelli 72% dark, so there's a bit of a discrepancy there before we look deeper.

Unfortunately Ghirardelli doesn't put nutrition facts on their website, so we turn to  Lindt data from product page.

Unfortunately I don't trust CalorieCount info, somehow that bar manages to have 17 g of fat in a 3 g serving?  but assuming the rest of the info is correct:

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingFiber grams per servingFat gramsProtein gramsDigestible Carb gramsCalories% fat caloriesKetogenic Ratio
Ghirardelli 72% dark1.017217417213.00213.0071.83%102.27%
Lindt 70% dark1.019317319.003.0014.00239.0071.55%104.76%

It's about a tie there, depending on if you're going with %fat calories or ketogenic ratio it could fall either way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I guess I've always been a fidget-er.  In 6th grade I got kicked out of reading class for reading in class.  In 7th grade I incessantly cleaned the desks by rubbing drops of glue dry on them, or munched on pretzels.  In 9th grade I used my compass to draw circles laid out hexagon-ally over and over and over again...  When I had the phone center job I did origami cranes while on calls.  I think the question is not why do I fidget, but why did I do it more in some subjects than others, and why has it not been a problem in my career until recently?  Nobody at work as called me on it, but I feel that I'm getting distracted too much and not giving 100%.  I want to be really good at what I do, and I can't be that if I'm distracted.  Does the type of distraction matter?  Are origami cranes small enough units to not keep me away from typing too long?  Are drawn circles thoughtless enough to leave more room for the primary brain task?  I know tatting is out as a work fidget as my fingers always end up tangled in the work right when I think of what to type next...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sliced Mozzarella, Tomato, and Chorizo

I missed breakfast, so I had a big lunch:

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingFiber grams per serving
Fresh mozzarella8.06500
Plumb tomato1.00.120.552.410.7
Total Calories842
% carb calories2%
% protein calories25%
% fat Calories73%
Ketogenic ratio207%

Salmon & Cream Cheese Stuffed Pepper

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per servingFiber grams per serving
Chive Cream Cheese3.09220
Red Salmon3.551300
Peppers, sweet, red, raw3.90.30.996.032.1
Total Calories719
% carb calories12%
% protein calories31%
% fat Calories57%
Ketogenic ratio114%

Just not feeling well, I decided to ditch my planned lunch and walk through the grocery store.  If you have someone to share it with, the texture would be improved with more cream cheese per can of salmon, but I didn't need that many calories.

The pepper I found was enormous.  You might use two normal peppers, or a baggie of the minis to stuff.

Unfortunately all the brands of cream cheese had a lot of additives.  Might be better to use a fancier soft cheese.  I was not being imaginative enough to think of Boursin while still in the store.

Just open the can (yeah, that step requires planning if you don't get the pop-top variety) pick out any bones that offend you, and mash with the cream cheese.  I also added a dash of salt, because that's how I like my canned salmon.  Serve spread on generous slices of pepper.

The pink salmon is usually much cheaper than the red, but generally doesn't come in lunch sized cans.

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

I'm not normally a re-blogger, I think the web is elevated when we all contribute original content, but this one looked really good:

Grocery Budget 101: Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

I'm quite fond of the sweet pepper stuffed with soft cheeses, I should experiment with more of it's hot dish possibilities.  Perhaps pulled pork in a pepper?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Running Ragged

Nothing good to report this month.  I'm running ragged around the edges.  Working full time, summer time farm chores, trying to get the house ready for my sister's visit next month...  the truck needs work, the hyper-reactive dog I can't take near a vet needs spaying, I've got some digestive issues I'd like to see a doctor about if I liked seeing doctors at all.

...and I ate a doughnut yesterday.

So much for my plan to catch up on this week by getting to bed early and getting up early.  I left my phone/alarm downstairs with hubby while he worked out details with my sister and it didn't get brought up and plugged in.  I slept for 9 hours like the old days.

Not good.

I had that annoying thing happen with my left knee again.  I wish I knew what it was, feels like old scar tissue snapping or something.  Knee feels great after I get over the twinge.

I am able to get all the physical work done that I have time for.  I get winded and take a half hour break, but I'm functional when I march out to the barn again.  That much is a major improvement over the old days.  I just don't know if I can hold it together emotionally and get my priorities straight.  Sometimes I just can't stop myself from sinking into Facebook, Hulu, or stupid phone games to escape for a bit.  Tonight I'm working until 8:30 PM to catch up on hours because I had priority issues earlier in the week.