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Showing posts from 2012

2012: Adversity & Epic Wins

For our powers can never inspire in us implicit faith in ourselves except when many difficulties have confronted us on this side and on that, and have occasionally even come to close quarters with us. -Moral Epistles, Seneca, Epistle XIII.

What a year this has been: a sinus infection resistant to antibiotics, an allergic reaction to Benzonatate, my father's stroke, a migraine headache and ensuing ambulance ride, a fractured arm, broken tooth, two teeth knocked out of place, excruciating TMJ pain, oral surgery, and the real bane of my existence, adult acne.

Yet it's been a good year. With the help of fellow bloggers, researchers, doctors, and writers, I've discovered and created solutions and blogged about them so that they might help other people.

SWAMP (sinuses with a mucus problem). My brainchild for curing sinus infections with a huge dose of vitamin D, salt and mucus thinner. Based on integrated pest management (a method used in gardening and agriculture), the idea is m…

An Antidote for Hedonism

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It's funny how a holiday season of giving thanks, religious rites and the start of a new year has turned into a festival of avarice, gluttony and drunkenness. An antidote: Stoicism.

Hear me out. Briefly, Stoicism is a middle way about material things, between being ascetic and finicky. Alcohol, fine foods, trendy gadgets and fancy furnishings can be enjoyed, but they aren't held dear. If you're hung over, if your pants don't fit, if you can't pay off the credit card bill, you've gone overboard, even if everyone else is doing it.

Stoics don't care much about what everyone else is doing. It's out of their control, so they don't worry about it. They don't worry over the past, either. If you overindulged over the holidays, they'd tell you to forget about it and get back on track. If there are things you simply can't eat, drink or buy, stop thinking about them. And internalize your goals. Instead of saying that you'd like to lose 20 pou…

XXX Chocolate Ice Cream (Low Carb, Non-dairy)

With no added sugar and a complex flavor, and taking only a few minutes to make, this is better than any $10 gut bomb from a restaurant. Not for most kids or anyone else whose taste hasn't outgrown Rice Krispies treats.

1 egg
1 can (~2 cups) coconut milk
1/4 cup Splenda
3 T baking cocoa
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 t coffee extract

In a medium bowl, beat the egg. In a separate small bowl, blend the baking cocoa with 1/4 c of coconut milk until smooth. (Stir the coconut milk well first if it's separated.) Add the coconut milk-baking cocoa mixture to the egg. Stir in the rest of the coconut milk, Splenda, and flavorings. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. (In my electric Cuisinart ice cream maker, it takes 10 to 15 minutes.)

Homemade ice cream gets very hard when frozen. For leftovers, remove from the freezer and let sit half an hour before serving.

Fat fast info: 1/4 batch has 202 calories; 87% from fat.

Natural Selection, Diet and Health

I've been on a reading jag about evolution: The Greatest Show on Earth  by Richard Dawkins and Why Evolution is True  by Jerry A. Coyne. I also threw in Dawkins' 1991 Christmas Lectures titled "Growing up in the Universe."(Link goes to online videos.) A few things worth knowing (among many others):

Evolution hasn't made our bodies perfect. The earliest life was bacteria, and all life forms have changed by tiny increments ever since. There was no going back to the drawing board and starting a new, more logical design. For instance, our maxillary sinuses draining at the top is a trait we inherited from ancestors who walked on all fours (their sinuses drain at the front).(1) Both books have an entire chapter on parts that have evolved badly. Good fuel helps a lot, but it won't fix a bad design.

Natural selection can occur rapidly. We're all familiar with bacteria evolving resistance to antibiotics. But natural (or artificial) selection has been observed ove…

Little Meals aren't always Possible

Let me tell you about the assault trial I was involved in.

Last Friday, I showed up for jury duty around 8 AM. Since the court was having some technical difficulties, we had to wait an hour just to get started hearing instructions from the judge. By the time the lawyers got a satisfactory jury put together, it was noon.

The trial commenced after lunch at 1:30. From then until 8 PM, with a few short breaks, we listened to witnesses, arguments, lots of objections, and instructions from the court. We deliberated for about ten minutes and found the defendant not guilty on both charges. We agreed that the evidence just wasn't there (we were surprised the case even got to court), and that the three feuding neighbors deserved each other.

On a day like that, needing frequent little meals would have been a major inconvenience. Our breaks weren't long enough for us to go out for a snack, unless it was to a vending machine. There wasn't anyplace to store food that needed refrigerat…

Body-for-Life v. Low-Carb: Pictures

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Ten years ago today (yes, the day before Thanksgiving), I started Body-for-Life. BFL involves eating several small meals per day that balance protein and carbohydrate and minimizes dietary fat. Daily workouts involve intense weightlifting or cardio. One day a week is a free day, where you don't exercise and eat whatever you want. Initially, I lost weight, gained muscle and felt great. Eventually, though, I gained back the weight and developed cavities and upper GI problems. The cardio workouts left me exhausted. Free day foods found their way into the other days. I developed GERD, an esophageal ulcer, chronic sinus congestion and a constantly upset stomach. I've written about the logical fallacies of BFL here, here and here. If only I'd read the book with a more critical eye back then, I 'd have saved myself most, if not all, of the misery.

The endpapers of the Body-for-Life book are before and after photos taken 12 weeks apart. Let me share some photos here.



For thos…

Thanksgiving Stupor: It's Not the Turkey OR the Fat

An article on the Mental Floss magazine website blamed the stupor people usually feel after a Thanksgiving meal on (what else besides turkey?) the fat--229 grams of it in an "average Thanksgiving meal," according to the article.

The urge to snooze is more the fault of the average Thanksgiving meal and all the food and booze that go with it. Here are a few things that play into the nap factor: Fats — That turkey skin is delicious, but fats take a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. Reduced blood flow in the rest of the body means reduced energy.  My response:

Say what? First of all, even if you ate all the skin from half a turkey plus a whole stick of butter, that would be only 190 g of fat. (source: nutritiondata.com) Thanksgiving is mostly a carbohydrate fest: potatoes, yams, desserts and most snack foods are mainly sugar and starch. Second, I'd like to see the evidence that a high-fat meal "reduces blood flow to the r…

Magic Jewelry Makes you Smarter and Bolder!

Peace, love, positive energy. "...it's like a second skin. I don't leave the house without protection and guidance," goes a current radio ad.

The voice actress isn't talking about carrying a map and some condoms. Does the peace, love and positive energy bit mean, for instance, helping homeless youth, or raising awareness about foster care, or fighting city hall? No, all those things are hard. The annoying radio ad is about Alex and Ani jewelry: "positive energy products that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit."

I love jewelry. What I don't love is the message that wearing jewelry will make you smarter, positive or more courageous. It's a no-effort solution, and like almost all no-effort solutions, it's bunkum. It's the twenty-first century, and yet a big business can be built on a bunch of BS.

Want to empower your spirit--for real? Even where magic really does exist, people (like Harry Potter) need courage and w…

Process This!

At lunch today a couple of coworkers mentioned how icky they found meat. What a nice topic of conversation! If we hadn't been at the table, I'd have mentioned that plants process poop.

Who Put Lead in my Weights?

A few weeks ago, I was wondering, smugly, how many people at the airport wheeling their bags along were paying for gym memberships. Everyone--to a person--had wheeled luggage except me: as long as my old suitcase holds out, I won't buy another one. And I wasn't willing to pay $40 to check my luggage cart. Three months after my accident, my fractured arm was well enough to carry a week's worth of clothes and toiletries, and so it was pressed into service. After all, I'd pushed, sawed and hammered my fence back into place and planted 15 or 20 plants a few weeks before without a problem.

With this in mind, I didn't think my first workout in three months would be too hard. And for my legs and abs (which weren't injured in my bike wreck in late July), it wasn't. At first, the upper body workout wasn't hard--I got through three and a half Slow Burn pushups without undue hardship. But the weights felt twice as heavy as they used to. Did a five-pound weight re…

Wheat Farmer's Dilemma

A coworker asked me today if I was familiar with a book called "Bread Belly" or somesuch. "Wheat Belly? Yes," I said, "I'm very familiar with it."

Her husband bought the book after a friend of his raved about it, having lost 65 pounds on Dr. Davis's wheat-free, low-carb way of eating. The friend is a wheat farmer.

"What's he going to do, knowing that wheat is so bad?"

"I suppose he'll be like a diabetic sugar farmer, who can't have sugar even though other people can have it, or he could grow corn or soybeans."

If the wheat-free wheat farmer continues his food education, he'll learn that growing any of these things isn't any great service to his countrymen. Will he do something better with his farm? Or will he be like cigarette executives who don't smoke or entertainers who don't let their kids listen to their work?

Taubes, Denver Dentist: Big Sugar Bought Influence

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Sweetened tea is good for you? Handouts for dental patients that don't mention restricting sugar? Controlling diabetes by eating less fat? None of these recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, Prevention's National Diabetes Education Program and a health guru & author made any sense to Denver dentist Cristen Kearns Couzens. But instead of drinking the Kool-Aid, she researched how nonsense became policy.

After quitting her job to do her research full time, Couzens uncovered evidence documenting specious industry-sponsored studies and boards staffed with members friendly to (that is, paid by) the sugar industry. Last year, she contacted Gary Taubes at a lecture in Denver, and the two have written an article for Mother Jones magazine.



Need some humor? Check out vintage ads touting sugar as a weight loss tool.
Slideshow: "Enjoy an Ice Cream Cone Shortly before Lunch"

Articles in Morther Jones magazine:
Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies
How a Former Denti…

Low Carb in Lincoln Park and Indy

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I've recently been on vacation. Some wonderful things from my trip:

I bought a pound of hot Italian sausage from Royer Farms, Indiana, purchased at the Broad Ripple Farmers Market in Indianapolis. Tasty, tender and pasture raised, but hot? Not even mild by Denver standards.

I'm enjoying the Canterbury tea made of black tea, mango and flowers from a store called Tea Pots 4 U, who blends it for the Canterbury Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. (Call the store if you want to order it.)


*****
My best friend and I took the Megabus to Chicago and stayed in Lincoln Park. Back in Indianapolis, I downloaded from a book from the Denver Public Library to my Kindle called City Walks: Chicago by Christina Henry deTessan. We walked the Lincoln Park Architecture tour in the rain. I got cold and wet with no coat, and her feet hurt, but the beauty of the area made it worth it. I've heard that movies set in Chicago often used to be filmed in Denver since the cities look so much alike at …

Leverage

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. -Archimedes

By conventional wisdom, I should be a fat, lazy slob. I eat at McDonald's, play a lot of video games and watch violent cartoons when I get home. I haven't exercised in months, not since my accident in late July. I have my reasons for these things, but they're not important here. What's important is that these things haven't turned me into anything. I'm still slim and trim (though I've lost some muscle tone), still thinking critically, and my coworkers and creditors can still depend on me. Today I even downloaded a book on salt--400 pages written by an engineer in 1898.* It's unlikely to be light reading.

My point is the difference between what matters and what doesn't. The endless worries about fat and salt and dietary cholesterol don't matter. Chronic cardio--exercise that's supposed to make you lose weight--doesn't matter (unless you…

Dentists, Where Are You?

The past few months have seen me spending a lot of time in dentists' offices. A few observations: most of the dentists and their employees are fairly svelte--at least, more so than the medical staff at a hospital or nursing home. The dentists also advise against eating sugars and starches, knowing what they do to teeth. Why aren't there more dentists in the low-carb internet community? Heaven knows we need all the allies we can get--and help won't come from most dieticians, nurses, "health organizations" (not when they take money from junk food and pharmaceutical companies), medical journals, government, or MDs (not even endocrinologists). To wit:

"In January 2012, the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition informed [blogger] Steve [Cooksey] that he could not give readers personal advice on diet, whether for free or for compensation, because doing so constituted the unlicensed, and thus criminal, practice of dietetics." Institute for Justice

&quo…

TMJ and a Cold: Getting Out of Reverse

Between severe episodes of TMJ, an oncoming cold and a mountain of work, I was tired and miserable this time last night. Thank goodness I didn't use any common sense, but, as Tom Naughton would put it, used my functioning brain.

Fifty thousand IU of vitamin D last night strangled the cold in its cradle by mid-morning today. A few doses of Umcka Cold Care probably helped.

My TMJ is back under control. On the assumption that my roaming TMJ pain was from a tension, pain and spasm cycle spiraling out of control, I started taking ibuprofin every few hours. Some extra magnesium might have helped, too. It's needed for proper muscle function, and you can burn through more than usual when you're under a lot of stress. Vitamin D is a natural anti-imflammatory, so it might have helped as well. The TMJ pain started Saturday night after I missed lunch, missed a dose of ibuprofin and worked at the office for a few hours after the heat shut off. I don't do well skipping meals even u…

A Turn for the Worse

The past two days have seen a return of my TMJ problems, as severe as I had in 2007 after a car wreck. I've been trying all sorts of things to help, but the only thing so far that puts a dent in the pain is ibuprofin. The odd thing is, the site of the dental implant is tender, but feels fine. The teeth that were tender from being in braces feel fine. The agonizing pain wanders around my jaw joint, lower jaw, ear and sinus passages on my right side. It feels like a needle without anesthetic, except when the pain isn't there. I'm wondering if it could be someting a neurosurgeon described to me many years ago: tension leads to pain, which leads to spasms, which leads to tension, and so on. If that's the case, the best thing would be to take the ibuprofin at the first sign of a twinge of pain.

I also feel like I'm getting a cold. Per the SWAMP protocol, I took 50,000 IU of vitamin D a few hours ago and already feel better.

I took a chance having surgery so close to a…

Having Oral Surgery & a Dental Implant: What it was Like

The short answer: like a moderate headache; it hasn't been nearly as bad as, say, a sprained ankle or wrist. Having my braces restrung was more painful than the surgery.

Now for the long answer.

My surgeon started with two shots, neither of which bothered me. (Full disclosure: I have a high threshold of pain and no aversion to needles. The surgeon remarked that most people find the second shot painful.) For the next 45 minutes or so, I sat there with my mouth open while he worked on me, feeling nothing. I saw him using a socket wrench on me (I've turned enough of them to know one), then saw him pulling thread. Finally, he showed me an x-ray of the titanium screw in my upper jaw. He explained that he didn't like the original position of my eye tooth, so he put the screw where there was more bone. Extracting a tooth and putting in an implant in one sitting was pushing the envelope, as he put it, but in the worst case, he'd extract it, let my mouth heal, and try again.

What's Worse than Going to the Dentist?

My surgery is tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to it, but at least I'm not seeing Dr. Stephen Stein tomorrow (not to be confused with the other Dr. Stein, whose mischief included turning a colleague into a zombie). A coworker told me today she was one of his patients. From CBS4 in Denver,
There are now six former patients of a dentist accused of reusing needles who have tested positive for either hepatitis or HIV.
It’s not known whether they contracted the diseases from Dr. Stephen Stein’s office. Stein has since surrendered his license as an oral surgeon.
About 8,000 of Stein’s patients were sent letters asking them to get tested. The health department says it’s impossible to definitively tell if the infected patients got sick from Stein. I figured I'd better check out my oral surgeon. The Colorado government site to check out dentists is down for maintenance. But according to Healthgrades.com, my oral surgeon doesn't have a history of malpractice or disciplinary ac…

This Just In: Kids Hate Diet Lunches

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The Geneva Convention prohibits the killing of our taste buds. -Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H

School lunches have never been known for being appetizing, but under the new Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, they're so bad that students are organizing protests.



Some critics of the protests say that an 850-calorie limit should be enough, and if the kids don't like it, they should bring their own lunches.

First, the calories. They're poor quality sugar and starch that's like Chinese food without the flavor and texture: it leaves you hungry an hour later--or a minute later for some kids. Google school lunch images: it's a beige sea of bread, breading and potatoes. The new guidelines call for more fruits and vegetables--which the kids have to put on their trays--but (1) fruit is mostly sugar, (2) it's hard to eat certain fruits and veg if you wear braces, (3) fruit and veg aren't filling, and (4) the fruit and veg are going in the trash anyway. Those whole grains that th…

Plans for my Dental Implant

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My fractured arm continues to heal. Tonight, I set out 15 plants in my front yard, then stopped only because it was dark. Tomorrow night, I'll plant five clumps of tall grass in place of the large spruce my neighbors cut down. I'm hoping the grass will shade and cool the wild roses and golden currants to the north of them.
Friday, I met with my oral surgeon. As soon as I can get a temporary tooth made, he'll extract the broken tooth and (if possible) implant the titanium screw where the root is now. Down time should be about two days. The temporary tooth will be attached to my braces. It'll take four months to heal, and then my dentist will put in the permanent tooth.
My insurance doesn't cover braces for anyone over age 19, nor does it cover tooth implants. (The alternative to an implant is bridge work, which destroys the two surrounding teeth.) They might make an exception for my braces through my medical insurance since I have them because of an accid…

Good Teeth: A Confounding Variable in Veg Eaters?

Since injuring my teeth, I haven't been eating as much vegetable food as I used to. (I'd already given up fruit, since it's one of the worst things for giving me acid reflux.) Why? I have a hard time chewing them--just like my mother, who has several bad teeth and a partial. Bad teeth are a sign of bad health and are associated with diabetes and low socioeconomic status. And they make it hard to chew certain foods.

Sure, you can go to the trouble and expense of juicing, but people who do that are outliers who are probably doing several good things for their health. And V-8 is a bit like oatmeal for most people: the only reason they consume it is because they think it's good for them. For most people with bad teeth, it's just easier to eat tuna casserole and mashed potatoes or a hamburger and fries.

Someone who's being funny might look at my case and say, "Aha! She became tired and weak and had several medical appointments around the time she stopped eati…

Getting Back to Normal

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If I haven't posted much lately, it's because I've been resuming a normal life after a month spent getting well and getting by. I've weeded the yard, filed all my papers and amended my state tax return. I took my computer in for repairs and having lost all my data, reloaded my music and found a free home accounting program (mint.com) to replace Microsoft Money. My lindy partners have given my right arm some exercise (dance partners in lindy use one another's weight), my favorite stock screener brought up a promising company to research (Global Payments Network), and fold.it came out with a streptococcus puzzle and a "quick frozen" puzzle that have kept me busy.

  Something that seemed to help push me back into feeling well was resuming my GNC Hair, Skin & Nails vitamins. I always felt good taking those, but got nervous about taking more vitamins than I should. I've also been diligent about taking an iron pill every night. My eye tooth (the …

Banishing Stress

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As much as people complain about stress, they go out of their way to create it. They over-schedule, overspend, under-sleep, and under-nourish themselves. I'm still working on getting enough sleep, but I've found some ways to reduce other sources of stress.

Poor diet will affect your mood. Contrary to what's written by a lot of self-help authors, your mood isn't just a matter of attitude. Your brain is mostly made of fat and cholesterol and requires various nutrients to run properly. It needs glucose, but the glucose needs to be in your bloodstream, not your stomach in the form of carbohydrates. (Your liver can make glucose out of protein.) Drs. Phinney and Volek describe how low-calorie, high-carb diets can affect the brain in The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. (The short answer: depending on how much you exercise, you can mentally and physically hit the wall.)

If for example you decide to eat 1200 kcal per day, composed of 25% protein (75 grams), 25% fat…

My Remarkable Lack of Pain

Falling off a bike, falling on your face, fracturing and spraining an arm, breaking a tooth and knocking two others loose sounds terribly painful. I certainly looked bad afterward: a lot of strangers in stores, on the bus and even on the street saw my black and blue face and arm in a sling and asked me what happened. At the urgent care center; I rated my pain a 4 out of 10 as long as I held my arm still. But 4 out of 10 isn't horrible pain. The bottle of Vicodin I got that day is still in the bag, unopened.

My arm wasn't that badly injured--not as bad as my cousin's when she tripped over her dachshund and broke both of her wrists. And my jaw, despite landing on it and still having a bump on my chin, wasn't fractured or broken.

Could be I'm a tough old bird--I'm descended from bull riders, homesteaders and blacksmiths. But I think diet has helped. I know that changing my diet to low-carb, taking vitamin D and later adopting the cavity healing diet made my teeth…

How I'm Doing: Good News

Tuesday I was back at the orthopedic doctor's office looking at x-rays of my arm. You know how a typical bone is slender in the middle, then comes up to a head? The head on my radius (lower arm bone) looks like a mushroom. It got smooshed in the accident--yes, the doctor agreed it was smooshed. "If you're going to have a fracture," he said, "that's the kind to have." It's better than the bone being cracked through its head, which sometimes happens.

Mine was fractured because I'm double-jointed: instead of my elbow bending in the right way when I fell, it bent the other direction.

"When will my arm straighten out?"

"Hopefully never. Come back in a month if it isn't feeling better."

The doctor also looked at my shoulder, hand and wrist, which still hurt from time to time, but that was about it. I've regained most of the use of my arm: I can unlock a door, open my purse and take the lid off the deodorant without help fr…

More Soft Real Food

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Pumpkin pie in August? Chareva's butternut squash crustless pie? Is it a meaty cheese or cheesy meat dish? Peanut butter bars? Nope--though all of those are great, save the last one. It's marrow and mushroom custard from The Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan.

Even if you don't require soft food, it's well worth making. I get marrow bones cut about 2" long and steam them for 15 minutes, then extract the marrow with a filleting knife. Boil the bones for a few hours for broth for another dish; save the marrow for custard or making croutons. (Roll them in almond flour and fry them in fat.)

McLagan recommends having a sharp-tasting salad with the custard; I had a bit of V-8, a few bowls of lemon ice cream, some nut butter and dark chocolate.

Truth in Advertising: Breakfast

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Want to be like cardiobunny Mom and bounce around like it's 1989? Have some healthy whole grain waffles. Gotta carb up so you can work out, and you gotta work out so you can burn off those carbs! Since all those lovely whole grains and complex carbohydrates break down into sugar, the kids will soon be bouncing off the walls, too.


Want to relax and act like a normal person? Eat some sausage instead.


Recovery: How It's Going

Best conversation yet:

Cashier: How did you get hurt?
Me: I fell off my bike.
Cashier: Are you going to ride a bike again?
Me: Nope.
Cashier: So you didn't lose your common sense.

That was Sunday. It's Friday, and strangers have stopped asking what happened to me since I'm a lot less black and blue now. I'm washing my own hair, putting on makeup and getting through a day at work without exhaustion. I don't do much at home besides cooking and dishes, and out-eating a teenage boy. Two eggs or a quarter pound of beef is a snack; either one used to be a meal. Rebuilding flesh and replenishing blood (I bled for a day when I fell) must take a lot of nutrients. I'm not wearing the extra calories--I've lost weight.

The braces are working. My front teeth are straighter than they've been since I was a kid, and I can chew a little bit, very carefully. Since the tooth that broke was narrower than an implant, I'll have to have my top teeth re-aligned to make ro…

Soft Low Carb Food Recipes

A diet of soft food doesn't mean you have to live on protein shakes or broth. Over the past week and a half, I've been making real food, mostly paleo, that I can eat with my dental injuries--and that I can make with an arm injured, and that doesn't get stuck in my braces. These three recipes, along with others on this blog I've labeled "soft food," are my best results.

A suggestion: get a food processor strong enough to puree meat. The Cuisinart 9-cup food processor does the job, and I can put it together with one hand. A battery-powered can opener that sits on top of the can as it works is indispensable if you can't open cans and have few plug-ins. For opening jars, run hot water over the lid for a minute, hold the jar between your heels, and twist. For portable dishwashers--let's just say it can be done.


Clam Chowder

2 strips of bacon
2 cans (~3 to 4 cups) clams, with juice
2 cups stock
2 cups clam juice
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into 1&quo…

Deathmobile

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ETA 10/9/2012: Using a Google image search, I see that this photo is from the collection of Robert Flynn Johnson, a collector of old, anonymous photographs.

Low Carb Liquid/Soft Food Diet of Real Food

Never again do I want to hear how hard it is to do an elimination diet. If you think you have a natural right to happy and content and eat whatever you want without consequence, of course it will be hard. If you see life as a series of challenges to be met, and see that every food has consequences, it will be easier. And in fact, I find eliminating certain foods easier than eating them in moderation.

My recent bike accident has left me unable to chew and with limited use of my right arm. (I'm right handed.) I can't eat wheat or carrageenan, can't tolerate more than a little dairy, and can't tolerate a high-carb diet. That leaves me with a low-carb, high fat (LCHF) diet of soft foods. So far, it's been a minor challenge. No, that's not an understatement, and no, I haven't had any protein shakes. I'm snooty as a Frenchman about food.

To live on a soft LCHF diet of real food, you'll need a food processor with a motor powerful enough to puree meat. At …

Coconut Oil for Road Rash from Hazardous Exercise

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My bike accident a few days ago left me with bad road rash. To help keep it from getting infected, I've been applying coconut oil to my scrapes and rinsing my mouth with it. In my last post, I linked to a couple of papers about coconut oil's ability to kill certain bacteria, and in some cases, its superiority over traditional antibiotics. So far, I don't have any infection.

What has surprised me is how fast my scrapes are healing. I don't have a photo of myself from four days ago, but the pink spot on my chin was a bad scrape, so red the nurse called it a cherry. She put two bandages on it. Here's how it looks today:

This isn't Photoshopped--there's just a rosy pink spot of intact skin and no scar. Same story with my knee. Look very closely above my kneecap and you can see the thin brown outline of where a large bandage was.


I didn't bother applying coconut oil to a scrape on my foot. It was small, so I figured it would be fine on its own. After a few …

Bike Accident

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Monday morning found me in the dentist's chair for the fourth time this year. "You look like one of those Tour de France guys," said Dr. Michelangelo. It wasn't a compliment on my cycling ability.

The day before, I was riding my bike and went to enter the driveway of the grocery store. The next thing I knew, my face hit the pavement. I'm still wearing cement in a few of my teeth. A little girl and her father asked me if I was OK. We talked for a moment, and the little girl said, "Just walk your bike home. I fall down on my bike all the time, and that's what I do." I took her advice.

I have a minor radial fracture in my arm and a fractured tooth. The arm should heal in a few weeks. Meantime, friends and neighbors are opening cans, bringing me things I need, and offering to water the yard. Strangers helped me pull a movie out of the Redbox machine and open a bottle of children's Alleve. A cosmetology student washed my hair, which wasn't damag…

Fun with Proteins

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Sometime soon, I'm going to post on the germ-fighting properties of coconut oil. (In a nutshell, your body converts the oil into a microbe killing machine--as long as the microbes are lipid coated. If you have staph or H. pylori, among other things, it could help. Cold sufferers, you're on your own.) It might even help HIV. FWIW, it helped my recent ear ache.

Meantime, I've been taking another approach to help medical science: a video game called Fold.it. Computers aren't very good at determining how proteins are folded. Some humans are good at spatial problems, but most of us don't know much about molecular biology and aren't inclined to read a book on the subject. So a group at the University of Washington created Fold.it.


I'm a bit puffed up about placing 8th out of 298 players in my first competition, and being first and third in two others in progress.

Want to try it? Go to fold.it and download the game (for free), go through the beginner's tutor…