Thursday, May 22, 2014

A yukky Week for the Celiacs

Don't let me rip apart another clinical study!!!!!!  (Especially when I haven't read all of it....)

By now you have heard from practically everywhere that a new clinical study has prooooved for all time that all that gluten-free faddy stuff is stupid.

The new vast-grain-conspiracy mantra is:  NO -SEE -BO'O

What don't I like about the study, even after not reading it:  First, media sensationalism.  Hyperbole.  Gluten FAD diets.  What's not to hate about the way the media has handled this?

Then there is the idea of replacing the BAD gluten with something equally bad, dairy.

Third, there is the short cross-over period, and very short wash-out time.  I don't know about you-all, but major symptoms for me need at least two weeks.  Three days for the big stuff, maybe that is for most people who have full-blown "intestinal" celiac.

Perlmutter says it best in his blog post, what is really wrong with this study.  He also hints at the idea behind why I refuse to get "officially" diagnosed for celiac.  There is no reason on earth why I should go to a gastroenterologist for an expensive and invasive test if I do not even have "their" symptoms.  At best they might find local antibodies, but damage, not as much.  I can eat all that FODMAP stuff like jerusalem artichokes, onions, greens, cole crops.  I eat tons of veggies.  (I know, SHOCKING, on a LCHF diet, just SHOCKING!  I must be the only one.)  Why force me to eat wheat for six months, surely increasing the gluten-related neurological problems, just so I can make some non-symptomatic GI problems bad enough for a gastroenterologist to make money off me?

Actually, I am OK with the small sample size.  A small, well-done study with responsible reporting always wins.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Celiac is stupid

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month.  Yay! (Unless you are Dr. Davis who believes wheat is a poison so a bad reaction to it cannot be a disease.)

I recently became aware that about 1 percent of people in general have celiac, but that two percent of seniors are diagnosed with it.  Rheumatoid Arthritis is the one people usually think about when they think of old people, and it is in the AI screening panel blood test.

Now the really interesting thing about RA is that while most people associate it with pain, limping and gnarled fingers, it can cause all sorts of other problems, and can look pretty much just like lupus.

So, how do you tell the difference?  Almost all AI diseases are diagnosed on the basis of autoantibody blood tests.  Except celiac, because celiac is stupid.  For celiac, they make you continue to do exactly the thing that makes you sick, and do it long enough for there to be permanent intestinal damage. 

Docs supposedly well-versed in celiac (almost ALWAYS pediatric enterologists - this is why they know so much about celiac in older people!!!!@!) demand that an invasive endoscopy be performed, despite what a silly little blood test does for all the other autoimmune diseases.  That is how they make their money.  Oh, I guess they can use the procedure to rule out other gastrointestinal diseases, but REALLY, if there are no gastro symptoms to go on, the test would be a total waste of time.

Let's go through the math.  Lets start with what we'll call PATHWAY A.  Lets say you are young and have gastrointestinal symptoms that totally go away a few months after ditching wheat.  You bring back the wheat, and the symptoms return.  What would a sane person do with this information?  Answer:  give up wheat.

Pathway B.  Now lets say you are still young and have gastrointestinal symptoms that totally go away a few months after ditching wheat.  You bring back the wheat, and the symptoms return.  You decide you would like a definitive celiac diagnosis and so decide to do the endoscopy and maybe a blood or genetics test.  Your results indicate that you have celiac and that you need to give up wheat for life.  What would a sane person do with this information?  Answer:  give up wheat.

Pathway C.  Now lets say you are still young and have gastrointestinal symptoms that totally go away a few months after ditching wheat.  You bring back the wheat, and the symptoms return.  You decide you would like a definitive diagnosis and so decide to do the endoscopy and maybe a blood or genetics test.  Your results indicate that you do not have celiac and that you don't need to give up wheat for life.  What would a sane person do with this information?  Answer:  give up wheat anyway.

All pathways lead to the same outcome, giving up wheat.  Therefore, it doesn't really matter what tests you do, the outcome is exactly the same.  But Noooooo, in CeliacLand, they force you through  either Pathway B or C.  This is why celiac is stupid.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Autoimmune "diseases" are Stupid

With NO apologies to Jimmy Moore, who thinks that a blah-blah-blah-is-stupid title is stupid.  Well, welcome to Snarksville.  I won't stop, and I also won't eat a stick of butter with a candle on top for my birthday.  (I just got a copy of Dr. Davis' latest cookbook.  Yay!)

Anyway, where was I?

I should have called this "Diagnosing Autoimmune Diseases 101", if I hadn't wanted to catch your attention.  Here's how its done.

Go to the doctor for something.  The trigger for the AI path can be just about anything, anything on the continuum from pain to having been in the hospital for a week with everything failing.

The first test is ANA.  If this test is negative they can send you home, declare you a hypochondriac, or send you down some other path that may be just as stupid but won't be covered here.

If it is positive, they diagnose you with lupus.

Now, the reason that AI diseases are stupid is this.  Just like what my med-school entry advisor told me:  "Medicine is the only educational pursuit where they weed you out BEFORE you get into school."  The AI playing field is the only one where they diagnose the VERY WORST condition first, and then back off from that as more data comes in.

Can you imagine if you go into the doc's office for a small growth and you get back a letter saying you have cancer, and then a few weeks later you get back a letter saying it was just a wart?  Yep, not gonna happen. go home with the diagnosis of lupus and read all about it on the internet.  People are all carrying on, and you know someone who's sister got it really bad and she dies at 29, and what will happen to the kids?   You start to get really worried.

You go to take a bunch of other tests, around ten of them usually.  You don't test for an immune reaction to EVERYTHING!, just the major stuff.  Stuff that will indicate that your liver or kidneys will explode.  Stuff that will tell if you have one of the major AI conditions or the other.  They aren't as interested in splitting hairs if they think that either-or won't kill you.

If something else shows positive, they might move you from the deadly lupus diagnosis to something that sounds a bit better, like arthritis, Sjogren's or thyroid disease.  Once you have your new diagnosis, they won't usually test you for all the little diseases unless you have really terrible symptoms that don't respond to treatments.

They'll send you to a rheumatologist, who will watch you every few months while you get better, worse, or stay the same.  They might also send you to someone else to take care of other symptoms.

In my case, I got diagnosed with lupus, had it changed to "not-lupus" with secondary Sjogren's syndrome, to UCTD, to "positive ANA" and told I didn't have to come back. (BTW, UCTD is the catch-all disease-name for "we don't know WTF AI disease you have, but you're achey and its not that bad".)

The tests for celiac aren't included in the typical AI diagnosis panel.  Stupid?  Hmmmm.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I'm Glad I Listened!

"Stop Telling me How to Eat to Cure My Incurable Disease!" screams the title of a blogpost provided by Woo.  Thanks Woo!

LOL!  I could have written this at one time, but I don't feel that way anymore.

A long time ago, a few months after being diagnosed with lupus, I still wasn't feeling very well.  I was getting discouraged by my inability to carry on throughout a normal day, thinking that I would never get better.

We got together with friends over the 4th of July, and I was talking about my illness with my friend, who has a BSN, so the conversations can get fairly technical at times and she is right there with me.  I was also drowning my sorrows in non-local wine.

They had another new friend at the party, a guy someone met at the gym.  At first he seemed friendly.  But when the others left to get more beers or to go to another part of the roof for an ocean view, I was left alone with him.  He got right into my face and started SCREAMING at me about what vegan food I should eat, what supplements I should take, how I should exercise.  Just like a drill sergeant.

This went on and on.  I was stunned.  I couldn't move.  I just sat there saying to myself, "Somebody rescue me!  Please!  Why can't they help me?"  Eventually the others came back, and the drill sergeant went onto other things, but I don't think I moved out of that chair until we were ready to leave.

Then again, if someone had told me at the time that I shouldn't eat wheat, I wouldn't have appreciated it either.  I didn't reduce wheat until over a year later.  By that time, I had figured out the appetite-stimulating aspect of wheat, and started reading about a low carb diet.  By the time Dr. Davis' book came out, I was planted firmly in the "wheat is poison" camp.  After a couple of years of monitoring (and a stint with Robb Wolf's autoimmune Paleo diet) my rheumy told me I didn't have to come back anymore.

I sort of forgot that I had an autoimmune disease.  And the concept that it might even be celiac was absolutely off the radar until I started reading Dr. Perlmutter.  So I am really glad that people like Dr. Wahls and Dr. Davis and Dr. Permutter are still telling people what to eat to cure their incurable diseases.  I just wish I had heard this information years ago.

Some time after the party, I mentioned the incident to my host.  He had no idea that the nutritional bullying was going on.  He still recounts the story to new guests, at every holiday, and he still keeps apologizing to me.  By now it seems pretty funny to all of us, but at times I am just so surprised at how many people think they can attack sick people.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Birthday Problem

Maybe it was all the resistant starch beforehand, or a ton of time in the ice tub, but I just had the craziest dream the other night.

I dreamed I was with my friends, and the "Birthday Problem" came up.  That is the one that many quant-y folks have run into in a statistics class.  It goes like this: 

There are 23 people in a classroom.  What is the probability that at least one of them has the same birthday?

The probability is astoundingly high by most people, because the natural inclination is to think that this is very very rare.  My students mouths always dropped open when the answer was revealed, and it really got them thinking that maybe statistics wasn't so useless after all.

I had one student who was a real go-getter, and in her spare time, she liked to rent roach coaches, create interesting menus and hang around the local sports stadiums for a quick buck.  Unfortunately, many other folks in the restaurant biz hadn't run into the problem.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah, the dream.

I decide to explain the birthday problem in great detail to my quant-y friends.  We arrange for a short presentation at a hotel we're staying at.  Other hotel guests get wind of the presentation, and by the time I am ready to start, the room is full of people with all sorts of interests and levels of understanding.  It gets quite comical.  I decide to start with some basics, and somehow I get into a discussion of the history of industrial statistics.  My new students are enthusiastic, but needy and time-consuming, so I remind myself and them what the talk is really about.  As I go back to the technical discussion of the birthday problem, most of the lecture-crashers leave, and I am left with my original presentation and my original friends.

As most dreams go, I never get to the presentation.  I wake up to my house-flipping neighbor's construction crew jack-hammering their front porch, and I sit there for awhile with my day-brain, wondering how I could actually describe the birthday problem more easily, and for that matter, why did this dream even come up?

Earlier I was reading about the percentage of celiacs, which is now around 1 out of 100 people if you include the folks who don't know they have it yet.  I had also gotten off the phone with a family member.  We were planning another mandatory multi-day get-together.  I was told I was "on my own" with the food situation, but also that we weren't going to make it a big-deal food-prep week like many of our gatherings.  Basically, it was, "You can't eat and you can't cook."  I was pretty mad about this.  (Said relative has now thought, back-tracked, and decided better accommodation was a good idea.)  But it got me thinking about how places like Starbucks and Panda Express pretty much say, "Hey Celiacs!  You're on your own here.  If you have some sort of problem, then don't eat ANY of our food."

And I thought, they probably think that there isn't much celiac to accommodate, right?  Isn't it like they are going to lose around .1% of their customer base by flipping celiacs the bird?

Like the birthday problem, the actual consequences of their decision are much larger.  The way to solve the birthday problem is not to look at how many people have the same birthday, it is to look at how many ways the students in the classroom CANNOT have the same birthday divided by the total possible ways that they can all have birthdays.  That is pretty easy to do, and then you just subtract that from one to get the answer.

So here's the restaurant problem.  It is not that they will lose even 1 percent of business.  People usually go to restaurants with other people.  So in order to see impact on restaurants, you have to calculate the probability that NONE of the dining party has celiac and then subtract from 1.

I have done the calcs, and put together a little table, showing the reduction in business if a typical table of 4 or 6 decides not to eat there if the restaurant refuses to provide workable gluten-free options.   The various percentages of celiac or wheat intolerances are also shown based on estimates by Drs. Fasano and Davis.  Of course, this calculations assumes independence, and we all know by now that this is not really the case with dining families, since it is an inherited disease.  So if one person has celiac, the others are much more likely to have it as well.  But, the table does work for friends.

Percentage C or WI                   Table of 4                  Table of 6
1%                                                 4%                                6%
7% (Fasano est.)                            25%                             35%
37%  (Davis est.)                            84%                             94%

You can see that the lost business starts to get pretty high.  Currently, it is pretty easy to ignore the celiacs, either by not offering appropriate menu choices, or improper preparation.  But it is getting pretty hard to ignore the gluten-intolerant.  This is probably what is going on with Lean Cuisine, bread stores, and even places like Red Lobster.                     

Friday, April 25, 2014

Meeting my Acquaintance

One of the advantages of going completely gluten-free is that I have more energy.  That is, more energy to be snarky ----------- or angry --------------or ranty.

Yesterday I was whiny.  I am already obsessing about what will go down during the next big holiday.  'Course, in order to make everything all better, I talked to MOM for a long long time over several days.  Mom was so great, having gone through severe bouts of autoimmune disease herself.  I spend a good part of my early youth shuttling around to different people's spare rooms while she was in the hospital for lupus, or whatever else they thought she had that day.  So, she has developed this really cool attitude about chronic debilitating illnesses and such.

She said it would be absolutely no problem, since she regularly cooks for other family members with such severe allergies that they routinely land in the hospital.  (Not from HER cooking.)  She is skilled in keeping the wrong foods out of the wrong hands.  But I am really fretting about another relative who does much of the cooking for our big family gatherings.  Her life is filled with 20 kinds of pasta and bread boards, and cakes, and hundreds of gluten-infested baking containers.  She carries a cloud of flour around her like Linus.  If she had an "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass" box for her life, behind the glass would be a box of cake mix.

I imagine my kitchen littered with drying bread-crumbs, flour from the cinnamon rolls and muffins and pumpkin pies strewn about.  I see her moving from dish to tasty dish, her various fingers and utensils stuck into every one.  Now I know why I have been getting so sick every Thanksgiving.  It is from the stuffing, made with half corn bread and half whole wheat, and somehow drenched in Campbell's cream of mushroom soup in a way that no one else has ever been able to duplicate.  And from the mashed potatoes with real milk, drenched in giblet gravy with even more flour.

How can I tell her that we have to do it differently this time?

I was supposed to get together with relatives over the Easter holiday, but I just didn't have the energy to do it, but truth be told, I wasn't looking forward to the food confrontations either.  Initially I had hoped to find an ally, or at least get some good help from someone who can read Hyperlipid like its the back of cereal box.  But that was not going to happen. 

How can I tell her that the diet that she detests so much is the only thing I can eat?

After missing the big Easter gathering, I checked her facebook page for posts and pictures from other attendees.  What I found instead was a link to that awful paleo fantasy book interview, and a couple of snarky comments.  (OK, guess snark runs in the family along with several copies of HLA-DQ2.)  The poster could actually read and understand Hyperlipid as well, but won't.

I don't know why, but seeing this post upset me so much.  I whined.  I cried.  My husband told me to get a life.  I thought I might have to unfriend her, or at least leave another snarky comment before I cut the cord.  But I couldn't unfriend the family chef!

I acquaintanced her.  And, changed a few settings.

I just hate that Paleo is mandatory.  I just hate Dr. MacDougall.  I just hate Joel Fuhrman.  I hate it all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gluteny and Sloth - The game changes

I know I know I have been awol.  Not for lack of things to say.

Just 'cause I don't even know where to begin.

I have celiac disease.

Yuk!  What was formerly a bunch of fun "food experiments" now becomes a medical necessity.

I don't want to be one of THOSE people!

There is more to this story.  Please stand by while I collect my thoughts.

My Resistant Starch Experiment - LOL!

or, cry out loud.  Whatever.

I have been following the RS debate for awhile now, carefully trying to avoid some of the prominent "C-word" websites all along.  But, you see, I already invented it.  I am lower carb, not VLC, and not keto much of the time unless I forget to eat or skip a meal.  This is more and more common for me to skip breakfast, but to also eat similar foods with more carbs than for keto.

And I think last season I grew around 100 pounds of Jerusalem artichokes.  (nuf said?)

This year, due to hoards of rabbits burrowing under the chokes and eating a great majority, I toyed with the idea of eating more potatoes instead of relying on my now-shorter choke season.  In addition, all the chokes that weren't eaten either by myself or the rabbits started sprouting early, making them not as fit for eating.  The little wascally wabbits even stole the tubers out of my basket that I leave right outside the kitchen.  (I wasn't bringing them inside due to all the pill bugs.)

So it didn't seem all that weird for me to buy a few potatoes and try them out.  As I was preparing them for my family, I had a bit of raw potato.  Resistant starch, right?  How hard could it be?

A couple of hours later, I didn't feel so well.  I was burping something, my arthritic knee started hurting, my other knee started hurting.  In fact, everything in my body that had sustained an injury in the last several months started hurting.  Then a huge headache, weird cramps, then chills, then I couldn't walk without bumping into stuff.  I decided I was done with that and went to bed.  I couldn't take an aspirin or anything because I thought I would throw up.  I slept sitting up, and woke up several times to drink more water and to try to mentally calm my racing heartbeat.

I woke up in the morning still very groggy and miserable, and whined to my family, "I feel like I am dying.  I don't want this to be my life from now on."  It felt like my whole body was liquifying, like I had been visited by Harvey Keitel and had been "cleaned".

I went back to bed, but forced myself up after awhile, and forced myself out of the house.  By afternoon I was fine.  There were confounding factors.  Had I been glutened?

You know, I am really done with potatoes for awhile.  I don't care if there are confounding factors.  I'm too chicken-s to go through liquification again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Um, Honestly???

Sooooo, sales of Lean Cuisine PLUMMET???

Jimmy sent out a link to this blog post about Lean Cuisine's sagging sales.  Honestly, I have never had many of these "TV" dinners, but I know lots of folks who eat them all the time.  Back in the day when I was doing Weight Watchers and got plenty of coupons, I did try a few of these "healthy"-type frozen dinners.  But I thought they were bland and the portions and ingredients left me starving.

Lean Cuisines are big with people watching their weight at lunch.  You can bring them into the office, pop them in the microwave, and when you are done, that's it.  Great for portion control, but I don't know anybody who confuses them with real food.

Roz O'Hearn (yes, that looks like a real name, not just a St. Paddy's name!) says that Nestle (the company, not the Marion) uses "the same quality ingredients our consumers purchase when cooking from scratch."

Being data-driven as I am, I had to check this out.  I checked out the ingredients list for the first entree I could find, something called "Glazed Chicken".  Yum.  Embedded in the long list of ingredients were lots that I never use when I cook from scratch.  And here they are:

High Fructose Corn Syrup
corn oil
modified corn starch
sodium phosphate
caramel color
partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
wheat berries (OK, might be some disagreement on this.  Some consider it natural, some consider it a natural poison.)
canola oil

Sorry to break it to ya Roz, but I don't think I could even buy modified corn starch at a store.  I think that is something people use when they are freezing things, not when they are cooking it from scratch.

Curious, I went to their website to check out more lists.  I noticed a new brand name, Honestly Good.  Now be careful and not use that phrase when describing food, since it is trademarked.   I guess it is just a brand, not an actual description of the actual food, which isn't as Honest as it first seems.

I scanned down the list of ingredients and found fewer than in the regular brand.  I don't have rice starch or dehydrated chicken broth in my pantry at the moment.  But wait, what is in this chicken broth?  My own scratch-chicken broth is chicken cooked in water and a few veggies for additional flavoring.  This chicken broth mix has added "flavor".  Yum, sounds flavorful.  They also add "natural flavor".  That's good.  I have lots of natural flavors in my food too.  I guess the difference between "flavor" and "natural flavor" is that one of the flavors is unnatural.

Its probably MSG.  They wouldn't "man-up" enough to admit that, in such an Honestlie-Good product and such.

Here's what I think about the sales plummet.  People aren't eating pasta anymore.  So many people are going wheat-free, and if they are going to blow it, a real pizza is a much better choice.  Just for fun, I started looking through all the ingredients lists for all the entrees.  Twenty-four out of the 24 I checked had added wheat.  When I tried to do a search, I found only two entrees that had no wheat at all.  People trying to avoid wheat altogether would also have a problem with the website.  When I entered "gluten" to exclude I got twelve pages of items, plus a gluten-ey list of entrees they somehow thought I would like at the bottom.

The one "Honestly Good" entree I checked had an astounding (to me anyway) 29 grams of carbs, and that included 6 grams of sugars that were hidden in various ways. 

Honestly, Nestle, people aren't buying your dinners because they suck.  They are either pasta or potstickers or whatever you want to call it, or bread or pita or whatever, and the few entrees that have the "safe" rice have either added gluten or wheat-based soy sauce.  We just don't want to eat that stuff anymore.  (And you should never have sold Peter's chocolate.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where's the Beef? Part 1

I could have written this:

Well, maybe not as well.  And my own situation wasn't as dramatic.  I was a vegetarian long-term, but only vegan for a short while because I went downhill more rapidly than he did.

Like Rhys, I was tired on the vegan diet.  I also struggled with restless legs, lots of skin problems and I caught every cold and flu version that passed my way.

For me, being vegetarian did "fix" certain problems, like weight and monthly hormones, but eventually it caught up with me.  I tried dozens of prescription and non-prescription creams and lotions for my skin, every type of shampoo and soap for my scalp, and every kind of laundry detergent on my clothing, but nothing helped.

Like Rhys, my gateway drug back to omnivorism was not bacon, it was a bottle of omega 3 capsules.  My skin and hair improved considerably.  My restless legs mostly stopped when I started taking Cal-Mag tablets.  My peripheral neuropathy stopped after I went on a low-carb diet.  I haven't gotten sick ever since I started supplementing with vitamin D over two years ago, so even a Paleo/Primal diet with sunshine didn't fully help.

However, unlike Rhys, I think it was my whole-foods macrobiotic diet that allowed me to be a vegetarian for so long without such severe consequences.  At least I had seaweed and a goodly amount of brown rice for my carbs, instead of wheat.  For me at least, I think an excess of wheat was the main culprit the whole time.  I remember when I became a vegetarian for the first time in my teens.  I had a huge bowl of wheat germ with milk for breakfast every morning, and my skin started to break out more.  Eventually I stopped eating the wheat germ so constantly, because it came in a little jar and I got tired of buying so much of it.

This winter I have allowed a bit of wheat back into my diet.  I was always following some sort of 80/20 rule, and didn't worry too much about going out to dinner, or the occasional cookie.  Right around Thanksgiving, we had a few goodies around the house, then with all the other holidays, there were more wheat options.  I tried to eat wheat only every other day, but eventually I started eating more.

You see, I work in the food rescue business, and most days I am working with mounds of bagels, boxes and bags of pastries, wonderful artisan loaves of bread wheat pasta.  So, a bagel here, a piece of broken cookie there, well you know the drill.

I started gaining weight around the holidays, and then I fell.  4 times!  Every time I fell, I would hurt my knee or something, then get stiff, then trip over something else in the garden.  My last fall was the worst.  I tripped on the vacuum cleaner, went sailing into a hope chest, and rolled down right on my already-injured knee.  My baby toe got numb and I still have problems with my knee several months later.  But then something really weird started happening.  My other toe got numb, and then my baby fingers.  I started running into everything and losing my balance.  And perhaps how I was sitting was causing a problem.  I used to sit anywhere, usually cross-legged on the floor and I could no longer bend my knee that far, or get up off the floor without damaging my knee further.  I couldn't do strengthening exercises or walking either.

I suspected that wheat was causing the problem, since the same symptoms happened after Thanksgiving.  I did a bit of reading and found that there is a condition called "gluten ataxia".  I don't think I have that, since my condition improved immediately after stopping all wheat.  I have been totally wheat-free for about two weeks now, and I am also doing Dr. Davis' wheatlessMarch challenge.  I know there is something else that is causing problems, and if I am not 100% better in a month, I will be eliminating other foods that could either be contaminating or cross-reactive.

This is so weird!  Who knew wheat could cause me to lose my balance?  Who knew it could cause nerve damage that may be permanent?  (OK, maybe Dr. Perlmutter.) Currently, I am experimenting with non-gluten grains to see if they are also a problem.  I don't know if it is due to the wheat proteins or the high-glycemic index of wheat products.  I KNOW that certain other foods are still a bother.  Now that I have drained the wheat swamp, other problems present immediately and dramatically.

I am not sure if I am ready to be one of those people who can't have absolutely any wheat.  In the meantime, I will continue to be one of those faddy people swept up in the anti-gluten craze.

Here's more info on gluten ataxia.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Well F3K 'em!

Dr. Yoni says it best.

Read all about the fancy "nutritional" conference, the "tool" RD's who attend, and the absolutely astounding verbiage from the conference hosts on the good Doc's blog.  Oh, and don't forget the amazing RD tweets.

Yeah, I think we should get rid of cell phones and processed food and all that nasty stuff.  EMF makes you fat, along with eating all that saturated fat.  Thank goodness we have registered dietitians learning all about physics and waves and power calculations 'n' geeky science-y stuff like NU-TREE-INTS. 

Same with baby formula.  Baaaaaad!  I am giving it up today.  But don't take away my internet, no matter how fat it makes me.

Sooooo, processed food isn't the problem?  Technology isn't the problem?  What, low carb advocates aren't even the problem?  You mean its NOT the microwave?

I blame the tools.

Go Here. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

23andme gets restrained while others run amok

By now almost everyone in the Paleosphere has heard that the FDA has "censured" 23andme, that organization that provides provided genetic testing along with analyses of risk of certain diseases.  (see this.)

So here's the recap:  The FDA doesn't like that 23andme is providing data that in their minds at least, could be used to treat, diagnose yada yada yada.... some disease.  See, the FDA wants jursidiction over all these activities, supposedly so they can assure the effectiveness of such treatments, preventatives, etc.

But OOPS!  It looks like some other "medical devices" circulating over the internet have been allowed to roam free WITHOUT government censure or comment, even though their treatments and recommendations seem to also fall within the confines of section 201(h) of the FD&C guidelines.

But there is a difference  between the two "devices".  23andme data used to come with recommendations to "take a look at", "consider", that sort of thing.  The other "medical device" comes with stronger exhortative statements.  Check out this link to what is known as the "statin calculator".  Note that this document and attending excel spreadsheet are supplied with the intent to estimate disease risk and to recommend treatment.

Interestingly, the guidelines admit that the calculator has flaws, but that the flaws are minor enough to initiate "lifestyle coaching".  I don't know exactly what that entails, but really, I haven't heard too many stories on the internet about doctors firing their patients who chose to ignore their 23andme results.  (OK, maybe Jack Kruse.)   But, I have heard stories of patients who were fired by their doctors when they chose to ignore their cholesterol or age panel and refused statin treatment after having that Very Important Discussion.

I actually did try out the online calculator (see the link above) and discovered that despite my stellar risk factors, by the time I am in my 70's or so, I would have to either be on statins or out of compliance with my medical professional's recommendations.  Just because I would be old and still alive.  For shame!

(Now gotta admit here that my PC physician isn't a big fan of statins.  He was even a heart specialist in the mother country.  He's not a fan of lots of drugs.  With that in mind though, he finally did prescribe a statin to a buddy of mine, and several months later my buddy got cataracts so bad he couldn't drive.  After two cataract surgeries he still dropped dead of a massive heart attack from his low fat diet.)

Since the recommendations and new calculator came out 3 months ago, there have been so many complaints that it was hard for me to find the link to the calculator.  Perhaps others have been cajoled or shamed into removing their links.  I tried to find a link to the software validation study that they submitted, but no luck.  I did scroll through all the FDA warning letters since the 23andme letter was released, and I could not find a letter addressed to the American College of Cardiology and/or the American Heart Association addressing the deficiencies of their medical device.  (Hmmm, looks like DNA genetek was busted, too.)

OK, now where was I?  Oh yea, the medical device.  In the industry, we have special technical names for such software.  POS, hokkered, bone-headed, lol-what-were-they-thinking,....POS, more lols for everybody.  The use of an Excel spreadsheet for a medical device is absolutely lol.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

For Shame

Today, another first!  When I got onto a yahoo page, I saw that "low carb diets" were trending.  Curious, I clicked on the link to see what Yahoo would give me.

Well, I'll have ta say, I guess they really ARE a bunch of yahoos!  Wedged between two versions of the now-famous twin-doctor-brothers-eating-really-bad-diets (bro-science at its best?) story was a link to "Grain News".

Did you know that the newest low carb news is that diets are fads?  Yep, read it on the internet.  I wonder how much Grainnet has been paying for all this bread placement.  A quick look at what yahoo thinks are the top links were decidedly hostile to low carb, including the famous WebMD article that has been making the rounds in the lowcarb-o-sphere recently.

If you haven't yet seen it, here is the laughable post on WebMD.  It is so bad, it is even funny.  Now don't go and close that link yet, because there will be a quiz later.

Careful readers might remember that WebMD was investigated for it's chummie ties to the pharma industry, especially with its treatment of depression in their posts, and the tie-ins with a major sponsor.  (Read about it here!)   Looks like WebMD is still at it.

I don't know about you, but when I went on to the WebMD link, Belviq ads were all over the place.  On the right side, down on the left, with all sorts of helpful links to convince people to take the weight loss drug if for some reason that low carb fad diet thing isn't working.

Page 2 offered up a huge ad for Tradjenta, a drug that will help people reduce HbA1c if for some reason that low carb fad diet thing isn't working.

Now I am sure these are perfectly fine drugs, with wonderful clinical trials blah blah blah.  One way to increase sales is to get some pseudo-scientific site spoon out lots of mis-information about some fad diet that will probably induce weight loss and/or reduction in HbA1c, enough mis-information so most folks won't even try the fad diet.

For shame! 

OK, so here's the quiz.

1.  What are the effects of a low carb diet?
a.  weight loss
b.  reduction in HbA1c
c.  better mood
d.  less allergies
e.  all of the above

2.  What are the negative side effects of a low carb diet?
a.  bad breath
b.  constipation
c.  vegans won't eat lunch with you
d.  your kidney's will explode
e.  we do not know.  The diet hasn't been adequately studied by Harvard.

3.  What are the side effects of taking the drug Belviq?
a.  bradycardia
b.  painful erections lasting for more than 4 hours
c.  depression or thoughts of suicide
d.  valvular heart disease
e.  all of the above

4.  What are the side effects of Tradjenta?
a.  pancreatitis
b.  sore throat
c.  weight GAIN
d.  muscle or joint pain
e.  all of the above

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Interrupting Our Regular Program

Wow!  Where have I been?  How is the Paleo on 100 a month challenge going?

I didn't even last three days this time.  That nasty stomach flu came to our household, so I was playing nursemaid and top chef for others.  There was too much food that wasn't being eaten by others not on the challenge.  There was too much new food being purchased because said patients wouldn't eat this.  Or that.  Or that other thing.  And then throw it all up anyway.

The other really weird and sort of funny thing is when the advice nurse told us what foods to eat.  She mentioned soup and rice and Gatorade and we just laughed.  I don't have soup or rice or Gatorade.  She continues, "That's OK, just eat crackers," and despite being very sick, we got lots of laughs from that suggestion, too.

I didn't have any time to shop or cook for myself either.  I did purchase some liver for the second day, but didn't get around to cooking it until later.  I had to actually run to several stores to get the required food, and then was so overwhelmed by everything that I forgot to get the Emergen-C's and had to go back again.  It was very difficult finding a canned soup without either wheat or milk.

Anyway, with all this going on, I just didn't have the energy or will to continue the challenge.  And, I felt guilty for maybe giving my family food poisoning.  Wait!  I was the one eating all the weird stuff, and I was just fine.  Anyway, I threw out all the soup, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned off the counters dozens of times, racked my brains regarding what we ate and did not eat together.  Then I remembered that everyone else was getting the flu this winter.  Still, we threw away the carrots because that was the only thing we could think of that could have been contaminated and not properly cooked.

After a few batches of white rice, I eventually settled upon gluten-free waffles made with real butter as the go-to carb.  (No stick-um.)  I know, not Paleo.  Who cares.  Just getting some perspective.

My fridge is pristine and empty.  There is some bacon, neatly sealed off from anything it may contaminate.  There is a bag of shredded cheese, a tightly-wrapped chicken carcass, and a box of tangerines from a friend's tree.  A container of sour cream, a pack of butter, a carton of cream and a carton of eggs.  I have become one of THOSE people.  People who have no food.  The cabinets are full of various kinds of canned fish, nuts, spices, vitamins and teas.  There is still a small container of Trader Joe's gluten-free mix.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Paleo on 100 dollars a month 2014 - Day 1

I am ringing in the New Year either rising to new heights or sinking to new lows.  Yay!  Gotta love the outliers!

We celebrated New Year's Eve with good friends, with good wine and two very meaty pork ribs from the grill.  After gnawing on all the bones, holding them with our greasy fingers and feeling quite primal about it, I proposed we save all the bones "for my garden".

And I am looking at the bag of bones on day 1 of this challenge, thinking, thinking.....  Naw, I couldn't EAT them, the scrapings off people's plates?  Then I remembered that I would be simmering them for hours, killing off any evil microbes that any of my friends harbor.  Then I remembered that we were eating off the bones of dead animals, and somehow, after the harrowing night at the grill, we came out better than OK.  And I also remembered that I and my friends had sips of wine out of each others glasses, either because of a mistake, or just to taste the latest offering.  And I woke up ready for the Rose parade NOT DEAD, so maybe it wasn't so bad.

By noon, I was hungry, so the bones ended up in the soup pot with a few veggies from my garden.  I tasted it.  Other than a lack of seasoning, the broth did not kill me.

While waiting for the bone broth to finish, I went to the grocery store and found pork chops on sale for $2.66, and an avocado for 34 cents.  The purchases totalled 3 dollars, leaving me with 22 cents extra.  Yay!  Splurge time.  Maybe I can afford a brazil nut tomorrow.  The grocery store free coffee was nice.

This year I am not keeping track of trading partners, but after only the first day, I had food from about a dozen partners.  I still have the staples from last year, including salt, pepper, hot sauce and a number of different kinds of vinegar.  I cooked the pork chops in salt, pepper and vinegar, and made soup with the pan drippings, including leeks, celery, mustard greens and squash.

Today's menu:

Breakfast:  Coffee with cream, pan drippings, arugala, all from my traders
Lunch:  arugala, strawberry, mandarin orange, sapote, chicken soup with spinach, coffee, lemon balm tea, hemp protein powder
Dinner:  broth, pork chop, hot sauce, salt and pepper, avocado, couple of bites of pastry, trail mix, a kiwi
snack:  apple

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year and a New Challenge

It's time for a new "Paleo on 100 dollars a Month" challenge!!!!!

Was it supposed to be April this year?  I keep moving it to see how the challenge changes with the seasons.  On first thought, you might think that January would be the hardest month.  Them Paleo's say that we need to eat whale blubber in the winter because our ancestors couldn't get fresh food.  Well, everyone around here knows them Paleo's are stupid, right?, and that there is plenty of fresh fruit coming in at this time of year, and the greens have never been better.  In fact, today's menu includes my own fresh home-grown tomatoes and strawberries.

Of course, this is with a modern twist, 'cause unlike Grok, who didn't have no stinkin' freezer, I do.  And it would have been too hard for Grok to keep the wooly mammoths out of his stash of fall berries that he hung from a tree branch right outside cave, but apparently, once some food goes into my freezer, it rarely gets stolen.  That's the modern twist.  Outrageous abundance, or waste for some, and always new food coming in so you don't even really have an opportunity to use left-overs unless you work at it.

Originally I was just trying to free up some freezer space right before the holiday rush, but the food kept coming in.  Our "cave" is a mecca for heat-seeking friends and family in the winter.  They visit, take us out to eat, buy stuff like liquor, books, small appliances, medicines and extra clothing, and then can't fit it in the luggage, so we end up with more stuff than ever.  I thought, "I can't possibly eat down the fridge by the next challenge!"

Sooo, this early challenge is just really a way to incentivize cleaning out my freezer.  This challenge will be harder than last year's, mainly because the prices of meat and dairy have risen, and I don't usually get all that stuff for free.  The biggest challenge for me will be to eat healthy instead of just to eat for cheap or free.  There really is plenty of free bad food.  I don't want to eat so much of it this time.

Yes, there is some stuff I actually paid for in the freezer.  Staples like ice cream and liver, and probably a pound of grass-fed butter somewhere way in the bottom. (Just joking on the staples-thing there.  I know many reading this here blog don't "do" ice cream anymore.)  There are a few ice packs, and a tray of ice cubes for eating, but the rest is free stuff from people's gardens, bits of this and that, and a gaggle of plastic bags stuffed with various kinds of rendered animal fat.

Happy New Year, and wish me luck!