Saturday, August 31, 2013

Want to Look Younger? Try Fangs

Weston A. Price must be spinning in his grave.

Why are Japanese women paying hundreds of pounds to make perfectly straight teeth look crooked and fang-like?

  • The look, known as the 'yaeba' look, is well-liked by men who find it 'childlike'
  • Cosmetic procedure involves attaching mini-fangs to canine teeth
Japanese women of all ages have been flocking to dental clinics to have either temporary or permanent artificial canines
So cute...if you're ten years old. Image from the Daily Mail.

On the upside, Japanese people who can't afford braces are right uptown now.

Hat tip to Allure magazine.

Read more:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

TMJ Headaches Again; DIY Healing; Heat; No Juice is Good Juice

This past month or so, I've had TMJ headaches in the morning, along with some mild stomach issues and acne the past week or so. I think it's muscle memory from years ago, back when I wore a night guard for TMJ pain.

Since getting my braces off and getting dental implant in early June, I've been wearing an upper retainer at night. When I wear it to bed, it reminds me of the old upper retainer I used to wear when I was grinding my teeth some years ago after a car wreck. I think I've started grinding my teeth at night again. I wasn't grinding my teeth just before I got my implant, when I was wearing a retainer during the day. I'm not grinding my teeth now, wearing my retainer after dinner and before bed, as my orthodontist recommended. Since I haven't worn my retainer for a few nights, my headaches and neck pain are gone. My skin is clearing up, too. (Inflammation can become systemic and affect other parts of the body.)


The toe I stubbed a month ago is continuing to heal. When I injured it, I recalled my visit to an orthopedic surgeon last year when I fractured my arm. He looked at my arm, looked at the x-rays, and said, "It'll probably heal on its own in a month." That's what $300 got me. I decided to save my money this time and trust that my body knew how to heal a badly stubbed toe. I put a Bandaid on top and used another Bandaid to attach a piece of cotton ball between the toe pad and the ball of my foot for support. After three days, I was walking fairly well on it. It got infected; I healed the infection with hydrogen peroxide and coconut oil. I have a new toenail now, but it's still thin, sensitive and funny-looking, so I'm still wearing a Bandaid on it. The other toenails are sporting an injury-inspired nail color. And I've kept my money.

OPI Nail Lacquer in You Don't Know Jacques!
You Don't Know Jaques! from OPI. Image from

Speaking of Allure magazine, this month's issue (September 2013) says that high heat ("overheated workouts") can cause free radicals in the skin and can worsen hyperpigmentation and rosacea. I say overheated workouts are miserable. Exercise that makes you feel that lousy probably isn't good for you.


Would you believe Allure also gives a thumbs-down to juice fasts? They quote a professor of dermatology who says that all that sugar (comparable to a can of Coke) spikes blood sugar and insulin, along with androgen, an acne-causing male hormone. It also AGEs* you:

Sugar molecules in the bloodstream can also latch onto and degrade collagen and elastin fibers in a process called glycation, which leads to wrinkles and sagging....The skin needs protein to build new collagen and elastin, and nut-derived milks** are also rich in good fats--essential for a healthy, hydrated skin barrier.

What--fats are essential and sugar is bad? Next issue, maybe they'll be telling us that whole grain bread is  just as junky as a danish.

*AGE = advanced glycation end products. You don't want candy-coated collagen, do you?
**Beware carrageenan, a thickener used in many nut-derived milks. It's an inflammatory.

"Surprise Skin Sins" by Jolene Edgar. Allure magazine, September 2013, page 236.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chicken Fencing for the City

Living in the city presents some problems with housing chickens. Chicken coops are expensive and yet so tiny that they seem like six-chicken CAFOs. Electric fencing is forbidden. Regular fencing is hard work to build, and it's permanent. If the chickens don't work out, you're stuck with a fence you probably won't need or want.

Living in the city presents some advantages, though. The biggest, toughest predators are dogs; aerial predators like owls and hawks probably don't hang around your place. And the city itself can be a source of inspiration for solving your problems.

Like free-range chickens, festivals and construction sites have to be fenced off. Around here, we use portable chain link fencing. Taking a cue from that, I built a six-foot by four-foot freestanding fence panel out of scrap wood and wire fencing.

I used 1/2" x 3s to make a 6' x 4' box, joining the pieces with metal angle braces that sit on the edge (see top photo). I flipped the box over and put on the fencing using U-shaped stapled that have to be hammered in. Next, I hammered in diagonal braces cut to 15-1/2" inches to make the box secure. I screwed the box to 2' plastic decking boards, then nailed two diagonal braces onto the outside of the box and the decking boards.

I will probably replace the 2' decking boards with 3' or 4' boards to make the panel harder to tip over. Two-foot boards would probably be fine for a freestanding trellis or as a barrier against a little dog, but my dog Molly is a 68-pound brute who goes berserk around birds. I'll change the boards outside so I don't end up with a panel I can't get out of my garage. You could put a board across the middle if you plan to move the panel very often.

I'll probably also replace the nails with screws. Some of the nails came loose while I was moving the panel. Since the panel is a little unwieldy, I don't suggest making it any larger than 4' x 6'.

How I Finally Got Good Skin: Mostly Diet

Someone asked me today what I used on my skin, saying that it looked good and that she'd like to improve her complexion. It's a question I never thought I'd hear back when I was trying everything available for acne, a time that covered most of my life.

Partly, it's good genes. Except for acne, we have good skin in my family and tend to look younger than we are as long as we don't smoke.

In my case, I had to change my diet and take supplements to (mostly) clear up my skin and make it softer and more resilient to abrasions and sunburn. I don't get razor burn now. Even with my fair skin, I don't use sunscreen anymore. It took a few years on the diet, but now, except for my shoulders, my skin doesn't burn under the Colorado sun. My diet is mostly low-carb paleo and I take vitamins D3, K2, and GNC Hair, Skin & Nails vitamins. I also eat half a pound of liver and two cans of sardines per week.

Why this regimen? I started this a few years ago to stop getting cavities. (My teeth had already improved on a regular low-carb diet. Coincidentally, my acquaintance also mentioned she had dental problems.) Most readers are familiar with Dr. Weston A Price, the dentist who studied people with healthy teeth but no dental care on traditional diets. There were a variety of diets, as you'd expect comparing food from such diverse places as Switzerland, Australia and South America, but they were all very low in (or free of) flour and sugar. Grains were soaked and sprouted to reduce antinutrients; everyone ate meat, and nobody avoided fat. Dr. Price identified a nutrient across the cultures and identified it as "activator X," which is now known to be vitamin K2.

What does this have to do with good skin? People following traditional diets and lifestyles were free of most modern health problems, including acne. This, without dentists or dermatologists. Why not imitate them and add supplements to make up for any deficiencies? Since I don't many eat foods rich in vitamin K2 (natto, cheese and insects), I take K2 pills.

Modern research says yes, menaquinone [a K vitamin] fights skin aging and the emergence of wrinkles by protecting the elasticity of the skin in the exact same way it safeguards the elasticity of arteries and veins...This uncovers yet another antiaging function for vitamin K2: preventing the mineralization of skin tissue to keep your complexion firm and resilient.(1)

Why liver? It's full of vitamin A, a nutrient that's so beneficial for acne that the medication Retin-A is made from it. (Check out the nutrients in a quarter pound of beef liver.)

I had to give up most dairy after finding that cheese makes my skin break out. Cream and sour cream are supposedly all dairy fat (it's likely that the proteins are what causes skin problems), but the list of ingredients on the cartons say otherwise.

The sardines are full of phosphorus, another mineral Dr. Price found was important to dental health.

I also think a low-carb, and therefore, high-fat diet helped my skin. I noticed right away after I started LC that my skin was softer and stronger and I didn't as many skin care products.

As to skin products, I use mild exfoliants every night to clear away dead skin cells. Every morning, I use a serum/moisturizer combo for my face, and another specially for the skin around the eyes. I bought some ridiculously expensive skin care products on vacation in San Diego, but I'm replacing those with Mineral Fusion products.

For further reading:

  1. Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rheum-Bleue, John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2012. Page 115.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cereal Sales Down 10% Over the Last Three Years

CNBC laments the decline of cereal for breakfast. (Click here for video.)

Cereal killers at the breakfast table

Thu 22 Aug 13 | 11:56 AM ET

The following transcript has not been checked for accuracy.
cuckoo for cocoa puffs anymore. how are cereal companies handling a decline? the good news, fewer people are skipping breakfast. the bad news, more of skipping cereal. where is mikey when you need it. he will try it. he eats everything. he likes it sm. in the game of life cereal, tastes change. consumers are swimming to yogurt or foods you can eat on the go. so-called cold cereal unit sales have cold 10% in the last three years. they'reinnovating, coming up with protein shakes, breakfast bars, however cereal remains the number one choice for breakfast in america. but not all consumer choose a bowl of cereal and milk. it's also impacting milk sales. also declining as people switch to other beverages. dean food says it's going to be a tough quarter. there's another problem translating this overseas. cold cereal is really only popular in the u.s., and so they've adjusted their cereal offerings internationally to appeal to that consumer that maybe wants to dunk a cereal bar in coffee or in yogurt. but look at the stocks. not that soggy until this summer. general mills and post have been outperforming the s&p and credit suisse says valuations in the sector getting a little high. also then to solve what may be a serial cereal problem, markets are targeting adults, not kids. gluten freechex. more adults eating lucky charms. at strike force hit says he has cher cheerios with soy milk because i'm that age. a box of cereal can cost $7 in some markets. it's ridiculous. i know we have to leave it there. and there's less in here. exactly.

I hope this means that people are finding out that carton of eggs or a slab of bacon is better for their health and wallet than a $7 box of cereal. A coworker remarked that one of her grandsons can eat a whole box of cereal at one sitting, and wondered if cereal companies will try to make something healthier. But what healthy food are they going to make out of flour and sugar?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dr. William Davis in Denver. Pictures!

Dr. Davis, author of Wheat Belly, gave a lecture in Denver tonight. His message was familiar to regular readers of his blog and books: it's not just gluten and it's not just celiac disease--there are many components of wheat that damage human health from every angle, from mental health to dental health and heart disease to autoimmune illness. He took some questions from the audience, but first, let's look at the charge that some have made that Dr. Davis is overweight:

Dr. William Davis at the University of Denver, August 19, 2013.
He looks trim to me.
Some questions from the audience, and Dr. Davis's answers, paraphrased:

Q: How does wheat elimination help heart disease?
A: What drives plaque is small LDL, and what drives small LDL is grain and sugar.
Q: What about being vegetarian?
A: Maximize what's left. (Dr. Davis recounted his own vegetarian experience after hearing Dr. Dean Ornish, and recalled that he ended up diabetic.)
Q: Why are so many doctors not getting the message about wheat elimination?
A: Some doctors are catching on, but basically, there's no money in good health. Sick care is where the profit's at.
Q: Are you still practicing cardiology?
A: Yes, but Dr. Davis has cut way back to focus on writing and lecturing.
Q: Is it OK for kids to go wheat-free?
A: Yes, as long as your kids are Homo sapiens and not ruminants.

Dr. Davis said he's working on two more books: 30-minute recipes and Wheat Belly Perfect Health for those really tough cases (like mine) that need more than wheat elimination. He hinted at problems with dairy protein (which I have), so I'm looking forward the second book.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Better Arguments in Ten Years?

"If you won't tell us, the bet is off, that is all. But I'm always ready to back my opinion on a matter of fowls, and I have a fiver on it that the bird I ate is country bred." [Sherlock Holmes]

"Well then, you've lost your fiver, for it's town bred," snapped the salesman.

Sherlock Holmes gathering clues in "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle"

In ten years, will urban poultry growing be so common that we'll be arguing whether country birds or city birds are better? Will medical appointments be so difficult and antibiotics so ineffective that we'll argue whether a sick friend should take vitamin D, coconut oil or phage for her bad cold? Will be be eating more pigweed and lamb's quarters? Giving funny looks to low-fat fossils?

Doctors aren't mean, most of the just haven't caught on. May the population get so well that they'll have time to raise some birds!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

From Supermax to Chicken Condo

...I've had it backwards all these years. I'm not exploiting [chickens]. They're safe, happy, warm and fed. I'm the one who's miserable....Chickens have gotten humans to work for them. -Lierre Kieth on feeding her chickens on a frozen January morning

For seventeen years, my garage has been accumulating spiders, dust and junk. I've been dodging nails sticking out of the wall in near darkness. Yet after all that time, I spent the weekend cleaning it out and refurbishing it. I'm not moving, I haven't gotten more stuff to store in there, and it hasn't become a rat's nest (not literally, anyway). No, I'm getting it ready for chickens: chickens exploiting humans, indeed.

When the chickens move in, they'll need a way to get from the garden into their new condo. To that end, I took off the north window, ripped off two layers of screen with a hammer and smashed the louvers off. (It was just as well--the sill and part of the window framing were so rotten I threw them in the compost heap.)

Before: Supermax. (Different window, same setup.)
I took off another screen, cleaned up the window, pounded the frame straight, replaced a piece of the garage framing, and put back the window. It's held in place with a barrel latch at the top and some hardware that was above the window. If I need to clean it again, or take it off for more ventilation, it'll be easy. 

After: Even my view of the back yard isn't this good.
There used to be hinges on the window and I was excited to add them, but my hundred-year-old garage has settled and nothing is square. They wouldn't have worked. It might be just as well: an opening of almost nine square feet could let in too much weather. A few minutes after I got the window back in, a downpour came out of the north, the direction the window faces. There was even a little hail. The inside of the garage stayed pretty dry, even next to the window.

Next, I started taking out nails: mostly large, randomly placed, and sticking out with no apparent purpose other than to gouge someone. I literally needed a crowbar to get some of them out. They filled an eight-ounce plastic cup.

Louvre with nails that held the screen in place.
Not all of the nails were sticking out: some of them held shelf brackets to the studs. I had to swing my two-foot crowbar like a baseball bat to get them off. Didn't these people ever hear of pegboard or modular shelving? Or overconstraining? In any event, getting rid of the shelves made another foot of space down the length of the garage.

Nail-free zone.
I happen to like modular shelving. I also like saving money and re-using items, so the plan is to use five-gallon plastic buckets for nests and sturdy, stackable shelves for the condo.
Work in progress.
Next: I need to get more five-gallon buckets and shelves and then build a screen around the area so the chickens stay out of the rest of the garage. Then I need to enclose the chicken garden. My toe is feeling better, so I think I'll be up to it next weekend.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Plan: Chicken Jungle

The site of my possible future chicken jungle:

Driveway reclamation area. Plants don't grow well here; maybe livestock would. Chickens' ancestors were from jungles.
I'm seriously thinking about fencing in this area of my yard--the part where nothing but holly and old garden roses grow well, the part I hate taking care of--and making it a home for some chickens. It's next to the garage (far right in the photo), which has electricity and room for some nests. I don't think moving the car in and out once or twice a week would hurt chickens. They'd probably do better staying outside in the summer since the garage gets very hot.

Risks of the birds being free-range: predators and hail. I live in the middle of a large city, and the only predator I know of here is cats. I have a setup in mind to deter them (3" PVC pipe strung on clothesline atop the fences and gates--the kitties shouldn't be able to get a foothold). I haven't seen a fox around here in years, and I've never seen an owl, hawk, weasel or raccoon here. The large New Mexico locust tree would provide some protection against hail.

Getting large chickens might help, too, with protection from predators, difficulty in flying over the fence, and cold hardiness. It gets cold back there, but not windy.

Any tips on raising chickens are welcome. If I'm off on anything, I'd rather know now.

Parts of my yard in better shape:

One strawberry: enough fruit for one day.

Ilse Krohn Superior. Cold hardy, disease resistant, beautiful--why isn't this rose more widely grown?

The steps I busted my toe on. The toe is still healing.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Is Denver Going All Real-Food?

Did I just wake up in another city? Three years ago, people here in Denver looked at me like I had two heads when I told them I limited carbohydrates. When I was a kid, my parents' fussy neighbors complained about the roosters crowing, even though they moved into a house adjacent to an agricultural lot. But maybe in a city that loves meat and attracts health and fitness buffs, it had to happen: more people want real food and real solutions to their health problems.

I just spent the morning at a chicken exchange, where people also had goats, ducks, rabbits and turkeys for sale. The exchange was in an urban neighborhood of Denver between Broadway and the tracks, five minutes from downtown. 

Chicken Swap. Image from
From there, I went to Vitamin Cottage, a health food grocery store, where some of the vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free books and magazines have been replaced by paleo, anti-sugar and pro-cholesterol books. There was even a magazine on raising chickens.
Go ahead, eat the beef...

...the cholesterol won't hurt you.
That's right, fill up on chicken instead of confection.
Chickens magazine
You can even raise your own. Back in 2011, Denver changed its ordinance to allow residents to keep chickens.

In every branch of the Denver Public Library I've been to, I've seen one of these books on display: