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.