Monday, October 31, 2011

I, Cavewoman??

Longer nights, more balanced hormones, cooler temps.  They all mean better sleep, longer dreams.

So, in the latest dream there is going to be a bit of equality.  They are going to do a reality show with 4 women.  I think it is going to be something like I, Caveman, but we aren't really sure.  Two women are friends IRL, and the other is Daphne Oz.

Daphne shows up late, and so far it is just general chit-chat with the others while she checks her iphone.  She isn't wanting to join in all the fun with the rest of us, just yet at least.

We think the producers are going to make us redesign a kitchen as our first project, which starts early the next morning.  Daphne is off to the side with her handlers.  I wonder why they didn't pick Denise Minger instead.

We start the project by camping out on a tarp at the TV studio headquarters parking lot.  We have sleeping bags but it is still too cold and there is not enough room.  I can tell we are probably going to all be really annoyed with each other by the time this is over.  I'll be deemed too old, and Daphne will insist on vegetarian food.

This sleepover reminds me, I'll have more to say about Dr. Oz later in the week.  Well most people reading this here blog probably know what THAT's about.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Giving 'em the Finger

I am attending several Halloween parties this year and need to bring along some finger food.  Last year, a friend introduced me to "witches fingers" and they were pretty gross.  Perfect!  Here's some photo's.

I prefer my recipe, and this is what I'll be taking to the parties.  I think they're the hands-down winner.  To make them, you'll need a small bag of baby carrots, a small bag of slivered almonds, a small container of almond butter and some finely grated nutmeg.

Wash and dry the carrots.  Dig out a shallow nail bed on the narrow end of the baby carrot.  I do this with a melon baller, the small side.  Works like a charm!!!  Use a paring knife to lightly score the carrots width-wise, for wrinkles.  Fill the nail bed with a dab of almond butter.  Don't use too much.  Press a large slivered almond piece onto the nail bed.  Dust the finger with grated nutmeg and rub into the wrinkles.  Adding more nutmeg or even cinnamon will make the fingers look even more freshly-dug.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are Dreams Paleo?

It's been tough-going in the Paleodome recently, especially if you are one of those puffy fat red-faced old people.  I was thinking later last week how much I wanted to pull away from it a bit, but also sad that this tribe I thought I would be able to fit into really has no place for me.  But, my discomfort was more than just that.  I had been thinking about the divisions, the hierarchies and the increasing rigidity and the grindingly boring one-sidedness of all the discussions.  And, I don't mean between the low-carbers and safe-starchers.  It's all so scientific.  Is being so scientific while lacking creativity, intuition, play, or harmony, is it really Paleo?

(Here's the musical interlude)

Such a division between the people at the top and their patients and fans, I concluded that my only role in the paleo world was to be a consumer.  Pretty much everyone is here to hawk their books, gyms, websites and products, to advance their careers and prop up their egos, or to be a patient.  Some have really been into the commercial aspect, others have been more freely giving and committed to "the cause".  But I wasn't being very good at this consumer part, as is any other consumer who is living in a van down by the river. Where is the part about just being?

Richard Nickoley has his Free the Animal.  But I want to free the Shaman, free the Fool, free the Dreamer, Free the Drummer, free the Mystic, free the Dancer.  Certainly they were as important to paleo life as caves, wild game, berries, macronutrient percentages and reverse T3 values?  More importantly, I want to be free.

Before I just gathered up all my atlatl's and left, I had a dream.  Now the really interesting thing about doing Dr. K's leptin reset it that I can sleep all through the night, without having to get up or anything, there is this very very long dream time before the dawn, and the dreams can go on with many passageways.

In my dream, I am working at a company as a consultant.  I have a long-term contract that I know will be ending soon.  I already started taking some of my personal items home from the office, my technical books, knicknacks, extra clothing.  One morning I get to the office and discover that the management decided to move on to the next big project right away, so they moved the office around.  They got rid of my office.  I can't find my desk or the stuff that I had carefully locked inside of it.  I am irked that they don't even have the decency to let me get to my desk to clean it out myself.

I mention to my co-workers that there is still work to be finished, but they say that the management cancelled everything, that they didn't even care about any of the documents, designs, blue-prints, nothing, or whether I have a desk.  We all think that was short-sighted.  My co-workers help me find parts of my old office:  my desk in one area, a chair down the hall.  They carve out a place for me as I go through my desk to get my purse.  They had put my desk near an older man scheduled for retirement.  He is really annoying, as he has fallen asleep at his desk and is snoring.  I make a mental note to call my business partner immediately, so we can find another gig.

Before I leave the office, I stop by a small courtyard outside the back.  It is the place were people go for a quick lunch or a smoke.  Someone had put in a small garden.  I noticed that there are several older lettuce plants that have gone to seed.  I pull off some of the seeds and notice that they are much larger than usual.  They look more like watermelon seeds than lettuce seeds, and I think, could it be that they are really lettuce?  That's when I remember that a like-minded friend had planted them.  They are a very ancient heirloom variety, and very rare.  I am sure the new management won't want these old seeds.  They are into the newer hybrid and genetically-modified varieties.  I pack them up with my four boxes of stuff and leave.

Now I am leaving the Paleo tent for awhile, not sure all where I am going.  I don't know all what it will be, but I do know more about what it won't be.

First.  I am not on a diet.  Not a low-carb diet, not a "safe" diet, and if you are reading this, not YOUR diet!  It will be mine, all mine, and I am not going to tell you about it.  I am tired of measuring, tracking, defending, tweaking, adhering, and tired of having computer-chair experts taking pot-shots at it, telling me I am stupid for following it, or telling me I am stupid for not following it.  Maybe someday if I really figure something out I'll spill the beans.  I might keep track, but it won't be on the computer with big red circles around it.

Second.  I am not a patient.  I am not going to order expensive tests, go to expensive specialists, compounding pharmacies, and I am not going to be an A, B or C student.  I am giving myself credit for just showing up to my own study program.  I am not going to try to change my doctor's mind.  Actually, I am going to try to avoid doctors of all kinds.

Third.  I am not metabolically deranged.  Gotta love it when the experts declare their perfect theories of everything, and then deride people who share a different experience.  Well, I am no longer living under that tent.  I remember when Dr. Gardener was lecturing about his A to Z study and he said menopausal women were excluded from the study for obvious reasons which he'd get into later, but he never got to it.  Neither have most other diet researchers.  Menopause is not a disease or a condition!  For more than half of us, it is a way of life eventually.  And, if someone tells me I'm not whole or optimal or clean or perfect if I don't follow their program, well, then it is their program that is deranged, not me.

I have always been a fan of Dr. Richard Feynman, the other doctor Feynman, that real Paleo guy.  In college, when I saw him playing drums out in the desert, I told myself, hey I'm going to do that some day.  About 20 years later I had the opportunity to learn to play the drum.  Recently this drummer group I used to be in has re-formed.  We play for a tribal dance group, and I get to play flutes, strings, drums, zills and didges, sing, yelp and clap my hands.  These people are my people.  I'm going to hang out with them for a time, at least until the next performance.

This week, I heard my neighbor's dog barking so I went outside to see what was going on.  A sidewalk conversation had turned into a party.  So, a realtor, an oncologist and a pilates instructor walked onto a sidewalk..... I turned off my computer and joined the party.  Soon the wine was flowing, pumpkins and other backyard fruits were exchanged and we were planning the next party.  I want to do more of this.

I'll visit and comment on other sites when I feel like it, and comment on this here blog when I have something to say.  That may be tomorrow, who knows.  Maybe I will be happy with one night of freedom.  I am cooking up some other projects for this winter, and with a big project in March, so stay tuned.

Is Baseball Paleo?

Interrupting the regularly scheduled blogcasts just to say:

Go Cards!!!!

The cards probably don't know this yet, but they had a huge influence on my life.  When I was a kid, they had a program where you could get free game tickets if you got A's at school.  There was a limit of six tickets for six A's, and in high school, that was a motivation for me to keep all the grades up.  It was easier in grade school where they hand out grades for just about everything, and even a mediocre student could grab a handful of A's on something like penmanship or school spirit.  In high school, I had to work harder to get free nights out with Dad.

Right after graduation, I'd send in my report card and it would come back with a schedule that Dad and I used to plan our summer.  This was the only time we did anything together by ourselves, so a really big deal for me.  Dad liked to go downtown to get more night camera shots of the arch, which was sort of like his Monet haystack.  We were usually confined to Tuesday or Thursday nights, and I usually picked the Phillies or the Pirates so we could watch Roberto Clemente or Tim McCarver after he left the Cards.  This was the era of Bob Gibson at the mound and Harry Carey at the mike so Holy Cow!, it was entertaining for all.

Going into town was a big deal for me, too.  By the time I was a teen, the city had become pretty rough, and we didn't just go down there without a purpose.  We parked in dark vacant lots and still had to walk for blocks and blocks, but around game times, it was crowded enough for me not to be scared.

So, thanks! Cards!  I hope you win the World Series.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm So Bored with the Paleo's - My N=1 Wheat

Here's another anecdote related to the locavore project I promised, and this is about wheat.  If you haven't read it yet, here's part 1.

During the year-long locavore project, we were allowed three non-local food items a month, with the option to switch them out to other foods at the end of every month.  We also were allowed other foods when out for non-local dinner (only two times a month) or when out of town.  After a few months of tinkering, I settled on a plan I would keep to for the rest of the year.  I would pick one grain, one meat, and then something extra, like chocolate, cinnamon, milk or coffee, and everything else was local.

I usually picked rice for the grain, but was looking forward to pasta and home-canned tomato dishes in the summer.  So I couldn't wait until June, when I switched from rice to wheat.  Starting June 1, I started eating wheat at almost every meal.  That meant cracked wheat for breakfast, wheat bread for lunch and pasta for dinner.  I thought I would be in heaven.

After the first week on the project, I lost about 6 pounds on mostly pork and rice with local vegetables, but I hadn't given up wheat entirely.  I still ate bread on my free meals out and oftentimes had some when I was out of town.  But, I never had it several times a day until June.

Around the middle of the month, I got very sick.  I went to the doctor and they did lots of tests and diagnosed me with lupus.  For some strange reason (fever-induced dilirium??) I just couldn't eat certain foods.  One look or thought of them and I felt sick.  I purged my kitchen of foods that made me feel sick:   milk from Von's but not Fresh and Easy, all my garden fava beans and unfortunately, wheat.

I called the locavore project leader, Kris Young (you can find him featured on primal docs) to discuss the situation, and he said it was OK for me to switch from wheat to rice for the remainder of the month, and I wouldn't have to abandon the project.

Slowly I regained my health, and learned lots about the failure of "modern" medical care.  I realized that once you are diagnosed with lupus, you can't get a doctor to take anything else seriously, because just about everything else is a symptom of lupus, which they really don't treat.  So I was on my own to find out what was happening and what to do about it.

I visited the rheumatologist every 4 months, did even more and more tests, and was eventually diagnosed with UCTD and secondary Sjogren's.  I was given pain pills (which I quit taking because they made me sick), dealt with fatigue, extreme morning stiffness and other symptoms.  This went on for about a year and a half until I went lower carb and all my autoimmune symptoms and obesity went away.

One thing I noticed on my food logs is that the little wheat I still ate greatly affected me.  Like Dr. Oz recommends, I had standardized my vegetarian breakfasts.  I had two of them.  One was a small glass of beet kavass, a small amount of yogurt with fruit, a small amount of oatmeal and one egg.  On the alternate day, I added in a bit more yogurt and substituted the egg for a piece of toast with butter.  I started noticing a zig-zag pattern on my food graphs.  Of course, the cholesterol zig-zagged as I went in and out of eating eggs, but my total caloric intake for the day had the opposite pattern.  Interesting!  Then I looked some more at my food diaries and realized that I had much greater trouble with cravings on the bread days.  Reading that it might be the protein in the egg that caused less hunger, I added an egg to breakfast every day, and I still got the same pattern.  Eventually I figured out it was the bread, and after seeing the craving pattern, it was pretty easy to cut the rest of it out of my life.

After two months on lower-carb, I went back to the rheumatologist.  This time, she took the autoimmune diagnosis off my chart, replacing it with "POSITIVE ANA".  I had no more symptoms, no complaints, no markers of AI disease of any kind.  I still hadn't really connected my illness to the wheat, and of course, with an N=1, there could by plenty of confounding variables:  menopause, stomach bug, tick bite, virus, etc.  One thing I do know is that when I add whole wheat bread back into my life, most of the symptoms return.  After three days of a higher-carb wheat-containing diet, I am tired and achy.  After just one meal of wheat, I wake up the next day feeling sick, and my fingers are locked together.

I still hadn't connected what was happening to the autoimmune disease symptoms to wheat.  I think it is a stretch to say that the great increase in eating wheat caused my illness, but I know for sure that avoiding wheat and excess carbs fixes the symptoms.  When I tell people that I have given up wheat, many tell me they could never do it because they just can't give up their bread.  Well, for me at least, I am happy to give up the lupus symptoms in exchange for being breadless.

Update 5/1/14:  Since I first wrote this post I have blood-tested positive for celiac.  I now believe that the great increase in eating wheat IS what caused my illness. This new diagnosis was a surprise, since I thought I was merely wheat-intolerant since I don't have any of the classic celiac symptoms.   I hope the readers of this blog who have any AI disease be tested for celiac.  I chose to NOT do the intestinal biopsy, for I feel it is cruel and harmful.  The fact that I tested positive on a blood test panel after giving up wheat for more than a month indicates to me I have a real problem.  Now, in addition to being 100% percent (vs. 95%) wheat-free, I am also gluten free.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pillar Envy - Part II

I think the two new pillars are going to be Rosedale and Kruse, and I am happy to see them contributing on their own blogs and facebook pages.

The main thing I like about Kruse is that he has an explanation of what is going on with people like me.

Now, according to people like Harris, people like me get fat cause we just can't control eating all that junk.  Apparently before he wrote such comments, he did not check my anecdote first, here.  Seems that right around menopause, I must have started getting lazy and eating tons of junk food that I forgot to include in my food logs because of the early-onset Alzheimer's, I guess.  Lazy, undisciplined slob who somehow managed to grow her own business, make her own office furniture and spin her own yarn to weave her own clothing, actually program in Mark-IV, but once she stops having periods, gosh, she's just never gonna  face the facts and quit drinking all that soda and eating all those fast-food fries. (Oh wait, I wasn't eating that stuff....)

According to people like Guyenet, people like me get fat cause my food is too tasty.  The tastiness of my food pretty much coincided with menopause, so isn't it amazing that as soon as I crossed over to the other side, all the farmers changed to genetically-modified food designed on purpose to make me fat and want more of it.  All the sudden, no matter what I ate, I wanted to eat more of it.  The fruit got sweeter, and the wheat got shorter.  Apparently before he wrote such comments, Guyenet did not check my anecdote, here.  (For those reading this far, but too lazy to click on the second link, the short story is that for the past several years, I ate clean and local, and grew much of my own food, no weight loss!  And don't blame Monsanto's sugar beet fiasco either.  I breed and grow all my own beet seeds so they're probably still "clean" since all that pollen would have to blow pretty far from Oregon to here.)

Now, here's why I can't fully embrace either Rosedale or Kruse yet.  I blogged about what happened to me, and how I lost a ton of weight, I didn't really get into what happened after that.  Last fall/winter I decided to try a low carb diet.  After a few days on the diet, I went off for a weekend camping trip full of "healthy" mostly-vegetarian food.  There was stress, lack of sleep, carby food, etc.  By the end of the weekend I had lost the magic.  My libido crashed, I started getting sore from my daily walk and couldn't recover, then I slipped and slid down a hill and stopped walking until I recovered.  My cravings became more intense.  Every pound lost was a battle.  I eventually lost over 10 more pounds eating both lower and higher carb, but it took several months to do it.  After that, I added back some carbs, immediately gained back a few more pounds, and have been sitting pretty much the same place ever since.  I never got back to that place I was before.  I tried all the low carb plans, then higher carb, then Schwarzbein, Protein power, Rosedale, Primal, Paleo, the leptin reset (16 weeks and counting for the reset, and the plateau is as flat as ever.)  As I switched from plan to plan, I did notice when I was descending into slugsville, and noticed which programs resulted in the gain in lots of flab, despite what the scale said.  It really isn't true that people get fat because they are lazy and eat too much.  I can tell when changes are a-comin', when all I want to do is eat and lie around.  It is surely not due to the type of food that is being overeaten!  Guyenet is dead wrong, dangerously wrong!

When my doctor prescribed trazodone, the weight poured off, my energy and libido soared, exercise was easy.  Then when I made a few changes, all the success evaporated.  Kruse would have an explanation for some of this:  lipoprotein lipase doesn't work the same for post-menopausal women, or it's the hypocretin neurons, to be solved by nipple massage.....or maybe it was the coming of winter and a lack of vitamin D, or pregnenolone steal....  I'm not buying all what he says because I know there must be a way to do this without spending thousands of dollars every quarter on testing and supplements.  I'm not buying all of Rosedale either.  See, I lost all that weight on a higher-carb diet than what he recommends.  I know weight loss works on a higher-carb diet because I did it!  I lost 30 pounds very rapidly eating 100-150 grams carb and now can't lose even a few pounds on 20 grams carb.  I think Kruse needs to address the issues that many women posting on Mark's Daily Apple with the adrenals and depression.  Maybe there is still some tinkering that needs to happen to his plan.

But I applaud both these guys building their plans to include anecdotes such as mine.  I really think they both really honor real people's experiences and know that there is a whole lot more to weight than gluttony and sloth.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pillar Envy

There sure has been a bunch of fighting in the paleodome this week.  Before, I was just bored with the Paleo's.  Now I am pretty much disgusted.  I had some time to think things over, and here's what I think is going on.

Jimmy Moore posted answers to his question concerning Jaminet's "safe starch" concept and all hell broke loose.  Either I can't remember where things are posted, or things have been seriously scrubbed.
Here are some links
Jimmy's post.
Posts on Paleohacks.
Jaminet's overview and response.

So, for background, Jaminet recommends "safe starches", and these are foods like potatoes and rice, foods that contain starches but don't negatively affect the gut like gluten-containing grains.  Other Paleo "experts" jumped on this concept and started trashing the people who have been the most successful on a low carb diet.  Of course, this behavior was a concern to the low-carb fans, so Jimmy's post attempted to bring more of the controversy out into the open.  To many low-carbers, there is no such thing as a "safe starch".
Jaminet pointed out in his overview blog that at least some people are able to keep a sense of humor throughout it all.  Some people haven't.  It seems like several of the luminaries lost it.

Now Jaminet, though I disagree with him on a number of points, is always polite about things and tries to keep the focus on the topics.  I like that.  Even though he did mention the quip about "pillar envy" I am afraid that many of Jaminet's most fervent readers will mis-interpret the comment.

Though I can no longer find the post, Harris really went after Kruse, posting that "they're" all snickering about him in their e-mails back and forth to each other and then tried to mop it up with an "honestly, I don't understand the infighting"-type message.  On the Paleohacks board, there have been many nasty sniping-like comments by Melissa (of hunt, gather, b*tch).  First it was trashing the low carbers.  Then it was going after Dr. Kruse, and commenting that Dr. Rosedale wasn't a real researcher and his studies showing the benefits of a low-carb diet weren't real studies.  She is really starting to sound more and more like Coach [redacted] at [redacted]  Arrogant.  Entitled.  Privy to esoteric knowledge the little people can't understand.  Coach [redacted]'s "One must be reading the correct research," comment comes to mind.

I think she was just mad that Jimmy didn't ask her.  You see, she fancies herself as heir to the paleo throne, and any official comments she may have had were not included.  She envies the pillar.  Now that the low-carb pillars have been toppled, she is ready for the inheritance.   Cordain's leadership status has fallen, Taubes has been discredited, Eades has been shunned as a has-been and off to the appliance section, Hahn and Kruse are just puffy and red-faced, Rosedale isn't a "real" doctor, etc. etc.  the new queen of paleo, claiming full backing by all those other real university researchers who use lots of fake people (lab rats) and real statistics can enter her court in her full regalia.  I think that Melissa has already picked out the new upholstery for the throne cushions and now she's irked when people like Kruse, Rosedale, Feinman, Su and others say "hey, wait a minute!"

It is stuff like this that decides what blogs I recommend, what blogs I merely follow and what blogs I generally avoid.  I originally started this blog for my fat buddies who were trying to lose weight.  In my next post, I'll discuss why I would place my bets on Rosedale and Kruse.  You can read it here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Cavemen vs. The Vegans

Disclaimer:  I used to be a vegan, and before I got old and fat on a healthy home-cooked low-soy, vegetarian diet, I looked even better than Denise Minger. So there.
As I mentioned in my last post, I really got into watching I, Caveman, and have been reading what other ancestral bloggers had to say about it.
Dr. Harris has posted more detail on the elk hunt, and there is a discussion of the viewpoints of hunters and vegans in the comments sections.
Just sayin!  I was a vegan for ethical reasons, but stopped it when my health was affected.  This was also before I became a farmer.  Oh, and what I now know!  Vegans who buy their food from grocery stores, farmer's markets, pretty much everywhere else don't know how much they are participating in animal killing.
When I was an undergrad chemistry major, the university I attended was situated right next to prime U.S. farmland.  Some days, the stench from the recently-applied steer manure was so bad, we had to hold our breath as we hopped from building to building.  Veggies are grown in steer manure.  Everywhere.  All those organic veggies that vegans eat.  But, people already know that.  Here's what many don't know.
One day I heard gunshots in the cornfields, and I imagined that they were lighting flares.  This went on all day long. Why?  I thought it was maybe to keep track of each other in the fields.  After all, corn can get pretty tall, and it is easy to get lost in it.  I remember thinking that they might do well to get some small walkie-talkies instead.
It wasn't until later that I realized that the crew was using a gopher blaster.  Check this out.  (Warning:  this vid can be disturbing to vegans and other animal lovers.)
Gopher blasters aren't considered suitable for organic farming, since the certifiers think it is like pouring live gasoline right into the ground, but the blasters would probably be approved if converted to methane that was produced on the farm from animal waste.  Organic farms still have to use a variety of snap traps.  Personally, if I was a gopher, I think I'd rather be blown up instead of caught in a trap, but YMMV.  Gopher smokers are also not organic approved since they contain an artificial source of nitrogen, and of course, most poisons are out.  So, the organic farms use stuff like this:
I can tell you that I have never met a commercial farmer who didn't kill these animals with a bit of glee, and I can assure you that few farmers are praying over their kill, or have the type of respect for animals that people who hunt to eat do.
Oh, and if you think being a fruitarian is better, don't let me get started on the problems with bird netting.....

Monday, October 3, 2011

I, Caveman

Luckily, I found a reminder from a friend in time to catch the show on Discovery channel.
In the show, Robb Wolf (Paleo darling, author, gym rat) and others spent 10 days living as "cavepeople" in the wilderness, getting their own food and using only stone-age tools and materials.
I don't want to be a spoiler, so I won't say what happened, only to say that Robb is the hero.  Who says a grown caveman warrior can't cry on TV?
I too, got emotional in certain parts.  This show reminds me to be thankful for the hunters and farmers in my life, for my metal gardening tools and sewing needles, for my gortex and polartec jackets, and for all the creature comforts that have come into my life.
Had I been on the show, I would have done some things differently.  Spend more time getting good water in the very beginning, right along with starting the fire.  Spent more time by the creek, catching fish, more time spent building and tending to traps.  Maybe they did that but it wasn't shown in the final cut.  Maybe it is living in the desert talking, but to me, water and warmth is the most important.
Watch this show!