Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bike Accident

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 damaged in the accident. I've been applying coconut oil to my scrapes and rinsing my mouth with it to prevent infection. (See this and this.) The thing that has hurt most has actually been the tetanus shot.
Even an explosion couldn't damage Mello's awesome hair.(1)
I was worried that the orthopedic doctor was going to take a dozen x-rays, run a lot of tests, and prescribe extensive surgery. When I saw him today, he shook my fingers, and having already looked at the x-ray I brought from the urgent care center, said, "You fave a minor radial fracture. It should heal quickly. Come back and see me in two weeks." He explained a little more and got rid of my splint, but that was about it.

My teeth are the bigger problem. The fractured one can't be salvaged, but the other two beside it that were knocked loose just need to heal and have some orthodontic work. The displacement of the canine keeps me from being able to chew, so I've been eating sanguinacchio and bone marrow tomato soup. (Imagine an angry chef wielding a big knife--that was like me chopping vegetables.) I find I prefer the sanguinacchio as a warm pudding, without the xanthan gum. On the menu: LC, non-dairy, alcohol-free eggnog, pate, and egg drop soup from the Chinese restaurant nearby.

More bike riding is not on the menu. My father didn't offer any advice, but he said I was lucky. I could have had a head or neck injury, or lost a bunch of teeth. The joy of tooling around on a bike isn't worth it. What's surprising is that almost everyone thinks I ought to get back on. Avoiding a death trap that I don't need to be on seems like common sense to me, but maybe Judge Judy can explain the idea better than I can.

When I was four years old, I was enrolled at Miss Noddidge's Dancing School....I participated in all the exercises and classes. I studied ballet, tap, and acrobatics--and I didn't exactly fly through the air with the greatest of ease. After one fairly  severe injury--caused by a failed double back flip--I was excused from dancing classes until I could bring a note from the doctor. My parents were smart enough to realize that maybe dance and acrobatics weren't for me. So I was allowed gracefully to withdraw--until then the most graceful thing I'd ever done--from Miss Noddidge's Dancing School. Until I could walk again, anyway.
Failure doesn't build character. Success builds character. Whoever said, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" warped the minds of several generations of parents. People think that their children learn important lessons from failure. I believe a child can learn more in a moment of success than can ever be learned in a month of failures.(2)

I'll stick to walking and driving. I don't need another humbling experience of being unable to bike down the street without a disaster.


1. Picture: http://witegots.deviantart.com/art/251-Death-Note-Matt-Speaks-71518083
2. Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever by Judge Judy Scheindlin. Harper Collins, 1999.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fun with Proteins

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 tutorial, and start playing.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Simple Solution for Nosebleeds

A few years ago, I had what I thought was the bright idea to take megadoses of zinc for my nosebleeds. It did help--but I found out that zinc is a copper inhibitor. Copper is important for your immune system. Could be the reason I had a persistent sinus infection last year.

Without the big doses of zinc, my nosebleeds slowly returned, but a book called The Paleo Solution had the solution: zinc oxide, an ointment you can buy at the grocery or drug store. The author, paleolithic researcher Loren Cordain, lives in the arid Colorado climate, as I do, and recommended this. It started working on day one: I started dabbing some inside my nose once a day, and my nosebleeds are gone. Why didn't I think of that?

The zinc oxide worked its wonders on the little cuts on my fingers that came from cleaning out the garage. (Aside: I poured some old paint into a big cardboard box; you can't throw away cans of paint around here. I left the box in the alley, and never saw it again--someone took it!)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Non-Dairy, Low Carb Lemon Ice Cream

Ice cream that's good for you? Yes--when there's good fats (MCTs), eggs, and no added sugar. What a shame I couldn't persuade a vegetarian acquaintance that this is a perfectly good food! Hat tip to Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Cookbook for the basic recipe and Nick Stellino's Mediterranean Flavors for the flavor inspiration.

2 cans coconut milk (13.5 oz each) (full fat, not light)
2 eggs
1/2 c Splenda
6 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract (required)
Chopped pistachios (optional)

Whisk the eggs in a bowl for a minute or two until they're fluffy. Whisk in the coconut milk, Splenda, lemon juice and vanilla extract until it's well blended. Churn it in an ice cream maker for 30 minutes Add pistachios if desired and enjoy.

This ice cream becomes very solid when it's been in the freezer for several hours. If it's completely frozen, take it out and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Fat fast info: 1/8 batch has 193 calories; 89% from fat (without pistachios).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Feel Lousy? Maybe You're Being Poisoned

Relative: What are you doing?
My mother: I'm throwing out everything with carrageenan in it. It's really bad. Scientists use it to make [research] animals sick. That's what made Lori so sick the other night with a migraine headache.
Relative: I'll take the salad dressing. It doesn't bother us.
My mother: Doesn't your daughter get migraine headaches?

This conversation sounds absurd, but knowing the people involved, I'm sure it happened as my mother described it. In the relative's household, there's obesity, diabetes, migraines, hypoglycemia, fatigue, acne, and no doubt some other ailments I'm not privy to. Is this the new normal? Does illness seem so inevitable that some people aren't willing to think about what's causing it? Or do anything with an answer when it's handed to them?

Let me tell you how I've felt since I've been free of carrageenan poisoning for the past week. My stomach doesn't hurt, I can eat low carb food without getting bloated, I'm not tired, and my face isn't puffy in the morning. Last weekend I finally whipped the house into shape, helped my father practice walking, and went out dancing for two hours. My belly flattened out and I'm down three pounds. I've craved red meat and ketchup (of all things), but lost my interest in coffee. This is how it feels to be healthy; it's how I should have felt in my twenties. (I'm 43.)

Since my father has been off statins for a week, he's been able to stand by himself and his walking improved even from Saturday to Sunday. (He recently had a stroke.) He's more energetic and sleeps less. Fatigue, mental fog and muscle weakness are well-known side effects of statin drugs. Cholesterol has been demonized, but it's a substance your body needs to make vitamin D, sex hormones, CoQ10, and to digest food. The benefits of statins? Dubious.

Another common poisoning: high blood sugar. Frequent, sustained post-meal blood sugar levels over 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L) and/or fasting blood sugar levels over 100 (5.6 mmol/L) cause or are associated with nerve damage, beta cell destruction (beta cells make insulin), inflammation, retinopathy, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. (Simple ways to lower your blood sugar are here.)

Maybe it's because people have been led down so many blind alleys like blaming salt, saturated fat, Nutrasweet, and power lines for their ills that they're throwing up their hands. I understand the frustration, but if you accept being sick, you'll stay sick. Jimmy Moore is glad he didn't give up his N=1 experiments--he's finally losing weight. As for me, I'll leave carrageenan as the exclusive property of people who need to de-ice airplanes or study illness in rats.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Non-Dairy, Low Carb Sanguinaccio

Jennifer McLagan's recipe in The Odd Bits inspired this recipe. Since I can't get blood off the shelf in the U.S., I pour the blood from liver packages into a tightly sealed container in the freezer. The cinnamon keeps the sanguinaccio from tasting like liver.

3/4 cup Splenda
1/3 c Dutch processed cocoa
2 big pinches xanthan gum
Pinch of sea salt
1 c coconut milk (full fat, not light)
1/2 c blood
1-1/2 t cinnamon

Place the Splenda, cocoa, salt and xanthan gum in a bowl and mix will. Stir in the coconut milk until the mixture is smooth. Pour in the blood through a mesh filter and stir well.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and begins to bubble. Remove from heat. Refrigerate, serve cold.

Optional: churn the mixture in an ice cream maker once it's cold.

ETA: This may be the most filling food I've ever had. One cup of it for dinner--after no lunch today--and I'm full.