Monday, February 16, 2015


It may be worthwhile to try the FODMAP diet.  FODMAP is an awkward acronym for a large group of carbohydrates that ferment in the large intestine.  It may be that many people that think they have gluten sensitivity or dairy sensitivity actually have FODMAP sensitivity as there is much overlap between those foods.

There are also many overlaps between FODMAP and the Paleo diet.  They recommend avoiding lactose, gluten, legumes, many kinds of seeds and high fructose fruits...

The FODMAP diet also has more scientific backing than similar diets like GAPS and Paleo.  Universities and WebMD suggest that it is worth trying, and works for 70-75% of IBS sufferers.

Further reading:

There seem to be some hints in these articles that the problem is really one of gut biome problems, but yet there is no concrete suggestion of probiotic solutions to the problem.  (Some mentioned probiotics, but they were downplayed and the suggestions were not specific.)  The most common probiotics are all the same strain, and often come in capsules that break down well before the target destination, exposing the delicate bacteria to stomach acid, but it seems to me that a multi-strain probiotic protocol with a better delivery system will eventually be a part of treating this sensitivity.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jala Neti

I realized as I mentioned neti in passing in my last post that I've never discussed neti here.  I don't consider neti to be a major part of my health turnaround, but it is an alternative health practice that I find helpful to have in my toolbox.

In short, jala neti is the practice of cleaning the sinuses with salt water.  It is an ancient hindu medical and spiritual practice, and has gotten some recent attention under the more modern term of nasal irrigation.  The water is mixed with salt in a isotonic ratio, meaning it is the same as the salt concentration in your own body, and warmed to body temperature, which makes it more soothing to delicate nasal tissues.  Water is poured in one nostril, travels through the sinuses, and out the other side.  Be sure to read and follow your nasal irrigator product instructions for how to do this safely and comfortably.  It is not hard to do, but it may take some getting used to to relax into the correct position and perform comfortably.  As your sinuses clear up it should get easier in future sessions.

I bought my pot in 2007, from Health and Yoga.  I recommend their product because it is large, easy to sanitize, and if you get the starter kit has an excellent instructional video.  It is especially important to learn how to dry your sinuses after having done neti, to reduce side effects.  Other nasal irrigation products I've looked at do not emphasise this in their instructions.

I also used the SinuCleanse Squeeze bottle.  It is a bit easier to use than a neti pot, but the anti-backwash valve got leaky after a bit.  Advocates of the neti pot dislike the squeeze bottle method as it puts pressure behind the water, which may put stress on delicate sinus tissues.  In practice it also does blast past congestion better than the more gentle method.  It has some clinical trials behind it.

Although I ditched my SinuCleanse Squeeze, I do occasionally buy their refill packets, which travel much better than a jar of kosher salt.  (Packets also available from Health and Yoga, but I can find SinuCleanse locally in many ordinary drug stores.)

In the squeeze bottle category, you can also make your own nasal irrigator with a sport top disposable water bottle.  In my area Poland Springs is the brand that offers these, but your area may vary.  Simply measure out where 500ml of water comes to, and draw a line.  (You need to know how much water you are using to mix a good isotonic salt solution.)

There are some mild side effects.  You're sticking water up your nose, and if you don't dry your nose out enough, it will come out later.  This may manifest as a runny nose or post nasal drip.  Depending on the issue you're having this may not be entirely a bad thing, as this drip will continue to flush your sinuses for several hours after your cleansing.  Secondly if you mix the water incorrectly, you may have stinging in the nose.  If this happens stop immediately, dump out your water and re-prepare according to your irrigator's instructions, the water should not hurt.

Monday, February 9, 2015

New coach, new schedule

Some of my best writing comes after I delete the first draft, but it is frustrating when that happens involuntarily while trying to go back and fix a minor typo...
The Health, it is pointed out that HEALTH is a very individual matter and should be taken care of by the individual him/herself; anyone else, including medicine man or woman, can only give a second opinion.
John K. H. Kong. The Art of Tai Chi: John Kong Tai Chi 100 Forms (p. xii). Kindle Edition. 
My health is my own responsibility, but yet it is helpful to have second opinions from time to time.  I've had some questions about the things that my doc has been recommending, and a friend of a friend is helping me look into it.

Changes I'm making:
  • Actually take the recommended amount of Vitamin D.  I have three sources now (including Vitamin D Council)  telling me it's good, my prior adverse experience may be entirely coincidental.  
  • Add Magnesium back in.  I'd been taking a combined Zn, Mg, Ca supplement and dropped it when the doc added a standalone Zn.
  • Reduce B6 levels to avoid long term nerve damage.  I knew the amount the doc prescribed was a toxic dose, but I'd previously read that I had about three years to revise that down, so was giving the doc time on that one.
  • Increase Omega 3 supplementation to 1-2 grams per day.
  • Adding strength exercises.  The "ZMA" supplement replacing my prior zinc and B complex vitamins is designed to support recovery from exercise.
  • Keep up the dairy consumption, ignore doc's advice on that since I can't seem to get enough fat in my diet without it.
  • Making a strong effort at fixing my time management problems.
In the spirit of my prior post "Writing Your Way To Health" I'm going to try to write down a schedule to follow to help fix my time management issues.

This would apply to Winter, M-R, short term.

7 AM - Alarm, Stretches, Bathroom, Sleep
7:30 AM - Alarm, Bathroom, Barn Clothes, Walk Dogs
7:45 AM - Feed Dogs, AM Barn Chores (Outgoing checklist: water, basket, treats.  Incoming checklist: bowls, eggs, water.)
8 AM - Shower, Moisturize, Work Clothes
8:30 AM - AM Breakfast, Supplements, Teeth, Neti
8:45 AM - Carpool (Checklist: Keys, Wallet, Cell Phone, Badge, Bag, Lunch, Breakfast Pills)
9:30 AM - Work
1:30 PM - Lunch, Supplements, (Walk or Tai Chi)
6 PM - Carpool
6:45 PM - Home, do something active (gardening, extra barn chores, house chores)
7:30 PM - Supper, Supplements, Creative or Educational activity
9 PM - PM Barn Chores, Strength Exercise.
10 PM - Teeth, Neti, PJs, Wart Remover, Moisturize, Book
10:30 PM - Sleep