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Showing posts from December, 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…