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Showing posts from 2011

Avoid Breaking Bones on the Dance Floor

You're out on New Year's Eve dancing the night away in your glamorous new dress and stiletto heels. You feel something soft under your foot, and a woman behind you shrieks: you stepped on her foot with that stiletto heel. She gets your name and address before heading to the doctor. Two months later, a bill for her $3,000 emergency room visit arrives in your mailbox. You argue over the phone, and a year later, a judge yells at you for five minutes before handing down a judgment for the plaintiff's pain, suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Don't let this happen to you! If for no other reason than the spirit of good will towards men, leave the stiletto heels at home when you go dancing. They really can break a bone if you step on someone. Flats, wedgies and cuban heels , in my experience, cause a bruise at worst. The way you dance can help, too. A common newbie mistake is to take high, wide steps. Drag your feet just a little, and the worst you'll do is bum

Why You Should Give Up Cardio Workouts

A friend and I got into a discussion today about the benefits of exercise. She believes you have to exercise to stay thin and have muscle tone. I partly agree with her. A few years ago, I was eating what most doctors and nutritionists would call a healthy diet: lean meat, cottage cheese, lots of "good carbs," low-fat. I exercised hard six days a week. And I was gaining weight! That weight wasn't muscle, either--unless gaining muscle makes it hard to button your pants. I stopped eating wheat and started slowly losing weight. Then I went on a low-carb diet--about 50 grams of carb a day--and the fat fell off. I ditched the six-workouts-a-week plan because I didn't need it to stay thin. I'm not alone. Cookbook author Dana Carpender wrote that she gained weight on a low fat diet while taking an aerobics class.(1) Dr. John Briffa often writes about clinical studies showing that aerobic or cardio exercise isn't effective for losing weight (see this , this , th

Winter Skin Repair

I've had problem skin most of my life. Even at age 42, I still get breakouts. This time, though, instead of getting random skin care products, I thought about what was wrong and what I needed. I experimented a bit, and even after just a few days, my skin is looking a lot better. Here's my take on dry, flaky winter skin and what to do about it. Your skin gets dry, maybe because you don't drink as much water in the winter, or maybe because you sweat less. (There are enzymes in sweat; perhaps they break down dead skin.) Your skin gets flaky, and if you're prone to acne, your pores get clogged and you break out. Meantime, your fingers can get so hard and dry that they crack and split. Solutions: Cleanse. Obvious, but we all need to find a good cleanser. Different people swear by cold cream, coconut oil, or olive oil, but those are all too heavy for me. I've started using Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser. The salicylic acid comes from wi

Food, Dance and How to Lose Weight

Merry Christmas! It's the second anniversary of Pain, Pain, Go Away! Thanks to fellow bloggers, researchers and authors, this Christmas I'm feeling a mile better than I was two years ago. (See my posts on root canals if you're interested.) I hope all my readers are well, too. My polite responses were put to the test when my mother gave me a box of chocolate covered cherries for Christmas. This, from the woman with a serious case of diabetes, who complains about Dad always pushing high-carb food at her. Me: "Um, I really shouldn't be eating these." Mom: "But I've always gotten you those for Christmas." I left them at a party later that night. No, I didn't have any. Everybody danced at the party, and I was anxious to see the teenagers' hip hop moves since I've decided to learn the dance. The teenagers did the Charleston, suzie Qs, and a bunch of other 90-year-old African dance moves I already know. Maybe that will make it ea

Canine "Cavity" Update: No More Bones for the Dog

Readers may recall that my dog, Molly, has a cavity that I've been monitoring and trying to heal with a low-carb lacto-paleo diet a la Weston A. Price and Drs. Mellanby. The tooth recently started looking worse, so I took Molly to see a new vet (one closer to home). Dr. Poundstone reminded me of some of the CPAs I work with: pleasant, professional and down-to-earth. She said that she saw very few dogs with true cavities, and most of those were from grainy tooth-cleaning "bones" made in China. The "bones" are so acid that it's like giving your dog a Coke--and the results are the same: cavities. Without an x-ray, she couldn't be sure, but the vet believed that Molly had some flaws in her enamel instead of a cavity. She said that chewing on bones (actual bones, not fake ones) could cause this, making some grooves in the tooth, which is exactly what Molly developed. Dogs' teeth have only 1 millimeter of enamel, compared to 4 millimeters on humans, s

Last Minute Christmas Gifts II

A few gift ideas for your low-carb or paleo loved ones: A pressure cooker. In an age of little time and less patience, it's unclear how this time-saver fell out of favor. It'll cook a three-pound roast in under an hour--perfect for a meat lover who doesn't want to wait hours for dinner. A gift card to a coffee shop or grill. Yes, a lot of gift cards go unused. Make sure the person you're shopping for lives or works near the coffee shop or grill and would actually go there: don't get a Starbucks gift card for someone who hates corporations, no matter how much you might disagree. French Cooking in Ten Minutes or Adapting to the Rhythm of Modern Life (1930) by Edouard de Pomaine. "First of all," writes Dr. Pomaine, "let me tell you that this is a beautiful book." How French is that? Not all the recipes are low-carb, but they're mostly meat and vegetables and the rest should be easily de-carbed. My favorite recipe so far is Liver Americ

Guide to Politely Turning Down Food

Denver must be one of the most polite places. Strangers flocked to help me when I fainted on the street , I've never been bothered when walking downtown or in fifty-cent parking lots late at night, and on the rare occasion someone bothers me on the bus, the driver or another passenger puts the creep in his place. (It's the suburbs of Denver where people get shot.) Pressuring people to eat things they don't want to eat isn't done here. (Colorado also has the lowest rate of obesity in the US. Coincidence?) Here are some things I say to politely refuse high-carb food. If a phrase doesn't work on the first try, just keep repeating it. Q. Would you like a cookie? A. No, thanks. Q. Are you sure you won't have one? A. It looks delicious, but I'll pass, thanks. Q. It's low fat/honey sweetened/all natural/etc. A. Thank you, but most sweets just don't agree with me. Q. Are you on a diet? (Note: I've only heard of people asking this, so I'

Meditation for Heartburn?

A recent message on the elevator TV in the building where I work said that meditation could relieve mild heartburn. A better message would have been that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I can see how relief from stress (which may or may not result from meditation) could relieve heartburn: if tensing the stomach muscles pushes acid into the esophagus, relaxing them will keep the stomach acid where it belongs.  Problem: people are often in situations where they can't meditate. The larger issue is that if something about your lifestyle requires a lot of maintenance such as meditation, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate the lifestyle. An easy way to prevent heartburn is with a low-carb diet. Try it for a few days and see for yourself. Limit foods like bread, cereal, pastries, cookies, juice, noodles, cake, sweets, potatoes, rice, fruit, and other high-carb food, and see if your symptoms subside. Next post: how to politely turn down holiday food.

My Dog's Indulgence: Expensive Cookies

Would you feed cookies to your dog? What if the cookies were bone-shaped? Absurd? Read the ingredients in a Pedigree Jumbone : Rice Flour, Glycerin, Sugar, Cellulose Powder, Wheat Flour, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Caseinate, Natural Poultry Flavor, Dried Meat By-product, Potassium Sorbate (a Preservative), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, D-calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Folic Acid, Dl-alpha Tocopherol Acetate [source of Vitamin E]), Minerals (Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate). The fact that the treats are mostly flour and sugar is bad enough. But glycerine is an ingredient in soap, cellulose is indigestible by dogs, sodium tripolyphosphate is an ingredient in detergent, and calcium carbonate is an ingredient in cement. But wait--it's

My Indulgence: A New Stove

Some people would call me "green": I tend to repair things instead of throwing them away, and I avoid buying disposable junk in the first place. My house is furnished in mid-90s estate sale, along with some antiques and good quality furniture I bought new in the 80s. I generally dry my clothes on a clothesline. (Really, I'm just cheap and lazy. Drying the clothes outside saves wear and tear on the clothes and the dryer, fixing the dishwasher and coffee maker was much cheaper and easier than running out to buy new ones, and so on.) So I hesitated to replace my range, even though the burners didn't self-ignite anymore and the oven had stopped working. I looked up how to fix ranges on the Internet, but without an owner's manual, without diagnostic tools more sophisticated than my ohm meter, and without easy access to the stove's working parts, I didn't know what was wrong with it. (Contrary to popular belief, an engineering degree isn't much help when

This is me without the B

I mentioned a few days ago I'd stopped taking my new multivitamins with megadoses of vitamin B. I haven't resumed taking the GNC Hair, Skin & Nails vitamins, which also have vitamin B but in a moderate amount. Based on a few incidents, I believe that added vitamin B was making me lethargic and depressed. I don't believe added vitamin B has those effects on most people, but I may be sensitive to it. I don't know if the change in my vitamin regimen had anything to do with it, but today I got up at 3:30 a.m. (couldn't sleep), washed the clothes, washed the curtains, cleaned the refrigerator, finished painting the living room and entry (a project I started in April and resumed yesterday), cleaned, repaired and painted the heat registers, dropped off a bunch of items at Goodwill, did the grocery shopping, skipped dinner, and watched a movie at my parents' house. (Except for the painting, that's typically what I might get done in a week, outside my job.) It

Unifying Theory of Holiday Dinners

You've probably attended a family holiday dinner like this: the dinner is served a few hours late, the adults are slumped in front of the TV, and the kids run around the house screaming. What can account for these different behaviors? It could be what I've heard called sugar hangover, and when I say sugar, I mean carbohydrates in general. Consider a typical Thanksgiving Day: breakfast is some combination of cereal, juice, toast, jam, fruit, waffles, granola bars, pastries, yogurt, smoothies, and so on. It's all high carb food. Four hours later, everyone's blood sugar has crashed. For most adults, this means feeling tired and hungry. They won't snack because they don't want to ruin their appetite for dinner. For kids, though, some research has shown that they get a big adrenaline rush when their blood sugar crashes. Adrenaline is the fight-or-flight hormone--the one that sends them screaming around the house while their parents are too tired to send them outsi

Vitamin B Run Amok; Vitamin D on Target

Although it's been some time since I got over my sinus infection (after three rounds of antibiotics, the last of which ended a month ago), I haven't felt quite right: lethargic, unmotivated, and painfully bored. As I took my new multi-vitamin pill Friday morning, I thought, " It's just like that time I had those drinks with the B vitamins ." (See Feb. 13 comment in linked post.) Indeed, the vitamin pill label showed B vitamins in amounts 25 to 33 times the recommended daily allowances. This was for three tablets, and was taking only one, but that's still way over the top. Even a 100-gram serving of liver has B vitamins in the low single milligrams, or less, not the 50-gram doses of B-1, B-2 and B-6 and the 200 microgram dose of B-12 per three tablets of the vitamin. The bottle recommends taking three to six pills daily. Of course, I stopped taking the vitamins, and today I felt peppy enough to try a new hairdo, buy some clothes and take my dog to the dog park

Fodmaps Diet: Why Not DIY?

The Wall Street Journal has, for once, run a useful health article: "When Everyday Foods are Hard to Digest" by Melinda Beck, November 8, 2011. The article says what some of us have known for awhile: certain carbohydrates can cause digestive problems for some people. Now, a small but growing contingent of specialists is focusing on food intolerances as a possible culprit—and a new dietary approach, called the low-Fodmaps diet, is gaining attention around the world. The theory is that many people with IBS have trouble absorbing certain carbohydrates in their small intestines. Large molecules of those foods travel to the colon, where they are attacked by bacteria and ferment, creating the telltale IBS symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. A long list of foods—including dairy products, some fruits and vegetables, wheat, rye, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners—can potentially create such problems in susceptible people. Collectively, they're known as F

Sybil: Multiple Personality, Hoax, or Vitamin Deficiency?

After [Dr. Connie Wilbur's] presentation a Q & A followed, and someone asked how [recovered multiple personality disorder patient] Sybil was doing. Connie's answer was brief, almost throwaway. Sybil had lived for a long time without much energy, she said, because in addition to everything else that was wrong with her, she had suffered for years from a disease called pernicious anemia. Another audience member followed with an unrelated question, and that was the end of pernicious anemia and Sybil. No one stopped to think about the bombshell Connie had just revealed. -from the book  Sybil Exposed(1) My, how times have changed. In days of old, people who acted strangely enough were said to be possessed and put through bizarre and dangerous rituals to cure them. Wait, we're still living in that era. Change "possessed" to "multiple personality disorder" (or "dissociative identity disorder" as it's called now) and you have the story of

What to Do with All those Pumpkins?

Waste not, want not. -English proverb "I don't like pumpkin pie, but this is delicious. What is it?" Various people commenting on pie made with fresh pumpkin Pumpkins and other squash are used so much for decoration that people seem to forget they're edible. The flesh and seeds are a little on the carby side, but the seeds are full of minerals and pumpkin flesh is full of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium . If pumpkin doesn't sound appetizing, you're not alone: I never considered eating it until I was in my 30s. My mother makes a gooey, sugary concoction that desecrates acorn squash and we threw out jack-o-lanterns on November 1 when I was a kid. Pumpkin pie was made from canned goop. Forget all that. These are savory recipes I think you'll love, and they don't take much hands-on time. How to Roast a Pumpkin If you think you don't like pumpkin, maybe it's because you've never had anything but the canned goop. Here's how

Stomach Ache? Fight Fire with Fire

People seem intrigued by quirky, counterintuitive ways of eating. Here's mine: spicy food for an upset stomach. The horse pill sized antibiotics I've been taking for my sinus infection are giving me a stomach ache of equal  proportion. The cookies and brownies my employer set out today for recruits looked tempting, but I know from bitter experience that starchy, sugary food doesn't absorb stomach acid. Back when I was on Body for Life, a few years into the program, my stomach was constantly upset. Probiotics and herbal medicines didn't help: I ended up on prescription acid blockers. Once I stopped eating six servings of carbohydrates a day, the stomach problems evaporated--as long as I followed a few rules. 1. No wheat. 2. No fruit. 3. Limited carbohydrates--around 50g per day (net). A few months ago, I watched a friend of mine eat a breakfast of juice, yogurt and fruit (in other words, a breakfast of sugar), get a stomach ache, eat some more sugar, and get ano

Safe Starches? Whatever

Doris Day, on a movie plot suggested by Tony Randall: "You mean, I leave Rock Hudson for you? Forget it!"   From left: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall. Have you heard about the Perfect Health Diet ? It's the one where you eat a pound of safe glue starches a day--foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and some others I've never seen in a grocery store, even though I do my shopping at a few different grocery stores in a city of two million people (Denver). You also eat one-half to one pound of meat a day. There's more to it, but that's the general plot: a mostly paleolithic diet with a boatload of starch. Some people are reacting as if someone came up with the chocolate diet. I don't see what all the fuss is about. The diet cuts out or cuts way down on most neolithic foods because they have irritants and antinutrients, but we already knew that. It encourages eating natural fats, organ meats and fibrous vegetables because they're n

The Sinus Infection that Just Won't Die

Yesterday I was at a restaurant when I ran into one of my dance partners and promised to see him at the dance that night. Three hours later, I was lying in bed, sick, too tired to move, the furnace turned up to 75 degrees, regretting my promise. Even after two rounds of antibiotics, my sinus infection never really left. At my mother's urging, I saw the doctor today. In idle conversation, my doctor described modular robots during our visit: tiny robots that regroup on their own if they're broken apart. Sounds like an apt metaphor for this sinus infection that has held on for two months through two rounds of antibiotics. The next step: amox-clav, an antibiotic with penicillin (amox) and an extra ingredient (clav) to knock down the infection's resistance to penicillin. As I've said before, proper diet is great for promoting good health, and I believe cutting out the megadoses of zinc has helped me. But if it's true that a lot of paleo people died of trauma and

Denmark's Solution in Need of a Problem

Have you heard that Denmark has slapped a tax on foods that are a causing a public health crisis of obesity, heart disease and diabetes? Well, not exactly a crisis-- Denmark enjoys low rates of these conditions . Maybe the Danes just like to nip problems in the bud. The foods are those that contain more than 2.3% saturated fat--foods like butter and bacon, "foods you think of when you think of Denmark," according to this BBC video . In other words, traditional Danish foods, which seems to have made Danes a pretty healthy group, according to this World Health Organization table . I have in my possession a package of one of those menaces that are suddenly making a few Danes fat and sick: Just one ounce (think of a skimpy grilled cheese sandwich) has 6g of protein, 15% of the RDA of calcium and 8% of vitamin A. For those of us who don't run well on carbohydrates (read: sugar), it has no carbs, 10g of fat and 6g of saturated fat. For those of us whose livers don't

This Just In: Real Butter is Better than Margarine

Overheard: a couple of 20-something accountants in the break room talking about margarine: "I just put 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' on my toast because it's heart-healthy. Any oil that's made of vegetables has to be good for you." "'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter'? I can believe it's not butter." Young people making fun of fake food: this is progress. I may bring in some Organic Valley or Kerrygold butter to help end this margarine scourge at the office.

Cavity Healing Diet Six-Month Update

Back in mid-March, my last dentist told me I needed a bunch of fillings. I declined to get them, embarking on a cavity-healing diet instead . Today, I saw a new dentist--the one my best friend saw when she lived here in Colorado. Since he never gave her a filling, I assume he's not a drill-and-fill eager beaver. The 16 x-rays he took (yes, sixteen) didn't show decay on the teeth the last dentist wanted to fill. He also said I had a good jaw and more than enough room for all my wisdom teeth--something he said he rarely sees. As he went about cleaning my teeth as if my mouth were the Sistene Chapel, he remarked that my teeth didn't seem sensitive to cold despite some roots showing. Yes, I've observed that too: my teeth are no longer sensitive to temperature or vinaigrette, as they once were. And my TMJ problems and nighttime tooth grinding unexpectedly disappeared since I started the cavity healing diet. So even though Dr. Michelangelo (not his real name) insisted that

Paleo/Low Carb Calamari Rings

If you love onion rings but you're avoiding wheat or watching carbs, give this a try. It's my own creation. They're a little softer and chewier than onion rings, but still tasty. I wouldn't recommend them otherwise. 2 cleaned calamari tubes, cut into rings 2 T coconut flour with a pinch of thyme, oregano, salt and pepper 1 egg, beaten 1/4 c almond flour 1/4 c olive or coconut oil Lemon wedge Heat the oil on medium high heat. Dredge the calamari in the coconut flour, then the egg, then the almond flour. Using tongs and oven mitts for safety, fry for a few minutes, turning frequently, until they look done. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Edited to add: It looks like onions, gram for gram, have only a tiny bit more carb than calamari, so using onions shouldn't add add much more carbohydrate. (You could try small mushrooms, too, for *very* little carb.) It's the almond flour vs. bread crumbs and coconut flour vs. wheat flour where you'll really cut down o

Food Reward: My Thoughts and Experiences

The latest debate in nutrition is food reward vs. low carb. The argument goes something like this: low carb works in practice, but Gary Taubes et al have the science of it wrong. A cause of obesity is getting a reward from eating certain foods, and overeating them. At least, that's how I understand it. And I find it puzzling. Do people hit their mid-30s and suddenly start finding food more rewarding? That's when most people start putting on weight.  How is it that the French and Swiss, whose diets are well known for their wonderful taste, are thinner than Midwestern Americans, whose food is as bland as the Kansas prairie? And if food reward isn't about palatability, how do you know it's rewarding--because the subjects ate more of it? If they ate more of it because it's rewarding, then the argument is a tautology. Maybe I don't understand this part. It seems that most of the "high-reward foods" are the ones that spike blood sugar --even in

Why You Can't Cure a Sugar Problem with Starch

The Low-Methamphetamine Lifestyle From Breaking Bad , a TV show about two men who cook meth: Jesse: "I've been thinking lately that I'd lay off of [the meth] for awhile, 'cause lately it's been making me paranoid, so, for, like, healthwise I'd just lay off." I guess we all have to start somewhere on our quest for a healthy lifestyle. Curing your Sugar Problem with Sugar? If you've been trying to solve a sugar problem by eating starch, "complex carbohydrates," or "healthy whole grains" and failing, it isn't your fault. Did the doctors who recommend this sleep through high school chemistry and get their MDs from a correspondence school in the Bahamas? Watch these two videos and you'll know more about carbohydrates than they do. In this video (sorry, embedding has been disabled) what the teacher is talking about is that starches (or complex carbohydrates) are long chains of sugars.  Or as Dana Carpender puts it,

A Mystery, A Warning, and a Solution

If this were a short story, it would be full of foreshadowing. But like a good mystery, it's hard to connect the dots until the end. If you can't, don't worry--I'll tie it together at the end. I follow a mostly lacto-paleo diet and live pretty cleanly. But I've had a sinus infection for a month, and it's survived one and a half rounds of antibiotics.  I normally eat liver once a week, but haven't had the stomach for it lately. (Even when I'm well, I'm not a liver lover.) A few months ago, I started buying those big, dark chocolate bars--the 70% cocoa ones--and eating one per weekend. (I know what I said last night about hating sweets . It seems to be fruity sweets that I hate; maybe they remind me of medicine.) I started dreading my breakfast smoothie of butter, hot water, pumpkin pie spice and vitamins, even though I like the taste. I sometimes skipped it on the weekend. The vitamins included large doses of zinc and magnesium, a middling dos

Infantilization of our Taste Buds

There's a lot I like about my employer, but its contributions to America's declining health ought to be scuttled. An email arrived at work calling for dessert and holiday treat recipes for the company magazine's December issue. I replied that I'd like to submit instructions for an appetizer tray sans sugary treats. "There are folks who need to limit their sugar intake, as well as those of us who'd rather avoid the stomach aches, blood sugar crashes and holiday weight gain." The marketing director liked the idea and wants to get approval for it. Today, a recipe for pate; tomorrow, how to properly roast a turkey. Someday, mince meat pie might involve meat again. Why not submit a recipe for a low-carb dessert instead of pushing for savory appetizers? Maybe my sinus infection has changed my taste for the better. Between the sweet Umcka tablets for congestion, the elderberry syrup, and honey for my throat, I'd almost rather put up with my symptoms than g

The Bug is Back

I was *this close* to being over my sinus infection. I was well enough to spend an afternoon at a fair and go out dancing. The next day, though, when the antibiotics were out of my system, my energy left and my cough came back. Again: good diet does not conquer all; we can't heal ourselves against every bug. Consider how many Native Americans died of diseases when Europeans reached North America. Consider how much faster bacteria and viruses mutate than we do. This is a clever bug I have: it's held on through a course of antibiotics, yet it isn't strong enough to kill its host. Why me? Long ago, a scan showed I have only seven sinuses: they have to do the work of eight. And I've had some unhappiness at work. All my sinus infections have come when I was especially stressed at work or school. What to do? My nurse suggested giving myself a chance to heal using nasal washes. I already tried that. As much as I believe a good diet helps make you healthy, my observation w

Knockout! Right in the Bread Basket

Lennox Lewis is gonna win that fight. Nobody's gonna get in the ring with Mike Tyson unless they know they can knock him out. -Bud Miller, my father It was the most hyped boxing match of 2002: Mike Tyson, the boxer who once bit off an opponent's ear in the ring, finagled a boxing license in Tennessee and took on Lennox Lewis. My father called that fight: Mr. Lewis looked serene when he knocked out Mr. Tyson in the eighth round. Mr. Lewis knew both himself and his opponent, something that hardly anyone interested in the fight seemed to consider. And so it's been lately with contenders who spout the healthy whole grains/eat less move more/low fat dogma on the internet in forums that allow responses. The priests of nutrition don't seem to anticipate a bunch of Lennox Lewises, who know every move of their game, climbing into the ring and pounding them. Apparently, the nutritional priests don't talk to each other or pay attention to each other's work, either

A High Principle Diet

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. I spent a pleasant afternoon last Labor Day weekend at a fair canoodling with someone I'd just met. It ended awkwardly when I wouldn't go to his house, and he didn't offer any other suggestions. I don't go home with people I've just met, period, no exceptions. It's a first principle of mine. This, and a post by Dr. Richard Feinman about portion control really meaning self control made me think about sticking to a healthy diet.  "Most people know not to eat too much," Dr. Feinman says in the comments. "The question is how?" Tactics like eating a small portion and waiting to see if you're hungry for more, filling up on good food before going to a party, and taking healthy snacks with you all help. So does getting moral support from other low-carbers. But there will be times when you're hungry, surrounded by carbs, and without snacks or a nagging spouse. Or worse,

My Sinus Infection has Lost its Bite

A wooden stake won't kill a vampire. Flamethrower, would kill a vampire. Or we can lose our head. I mean, literally. Other than that we heal. -Mick St. John from the TV show Moonlight How would you feel if an illness that had previously left you cold, tired and slogging through the day for months, could suddenly be 95% beaten in 17 days? Like you'd gained superpowers? I came down with a sinus infection August 16, and aside from a little coughing, I'm well again. Let me tell you about other sinus infections I've had. I spent a week in the hospital with one when I was nine. I spent a whole summer dragging myself around classes and work in a thick sweater in my early 20s in a nasty bout with staphylococcus aureus . Another sinus infection struck again in 2001, a few years after the septoplasty surgery I had was supposed to have prevented them. What's different about this one? Vampire Mick St. John (see quote above) told a blind friend from his past that he'd

I Did Everything Right and Still Got Sick

Something has happened to me that, judging by comments on certain blogs, isn't supposed to happen to those of us who follow a low carb, high fat, high nutrient diet. I got sick--so sick that I've missed three days of work in two weeks and finally saw a nurse today. Diagnosis: sinus infection. This doesn't mean I don't think my dietary changes haven't helped. I've had many sinus infections in my life and this one doesn't feel nearly as bad as the others: I don't feel congested and I'm not in pain, I've just been tired and coughing for a week and a half. I feel like I have a stubborn cold. Previous sinus infections left me feeling tired for months; I'll follow up on how this one goes. I credit the lack of congestion to dropping wheat . Just a few weeks ago on Dr. Davis's Heart Scan Blog, I remarked that I'd had no seasonal allergies this year . (A few others echoed the comment.) And as the nurse talked to me, I wondered how many mid

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead: A Review

Do you like come-from-behind-to-snatch-victory movies? Do you like road trip movies? Buddy movies? Documentaries? If you do, you may like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a movie in which financial entrepreneur Joe Cross seeks to lose weight and cure a rare skin disease through a two-month juice fast. Do you enjoy testing your critical thinking and debunking pseudo-science? If you do, this movie will give you plenty to chew on. My criticism isn't of Joe Cross or his friend Phil Staples--I admire their strength of will and Cross's compassion for Staples, who was just an acquaintance when he called Cross for help from halfway around the world. Nor am I critical of their break with nutritional orthodoxy or the short-term results they achieved: they both lost 90 pounds or more, their hives disappeared, their energy increased, and their blood pressure and cholesterol improved. They either reduced or quit medications (including prescription prednisone for their hives--that's the

Solid Science!

Dr. Richard Feinman remarks in a recent post that saturated fat is now called "solid fat (the USDA thinks that 'saturated' is too big a word for the average American) and the American Heart Association and other health agencies are still down on solid fat." I guess that means I can safely eat coconut oil this time of year, since it's sitting in an 80-degree house and has taken on a liquid state. If I need to put away any leftovers fried in coconut oil, I'll be sure to reheat them first.

Good Health on a Budget

Low-carb and paleo/primal diets have a reputation for being expensive: meat and cheese (especially if you buy pastured, grass-fed animal products) are more expensive than bread, beans and potatoes. But as I posted last year, it doesn't always work out that way in real life. (Last year, I calculated that because of my low-carb diet, I was spending a few dollars more on groceries, but cut my medical spending to zero . I haven't recalculated my food bill this year, but I've spent nothing on doctors or prescriptions in eighteen months. And I'm still using minimal skin care products--yet my skin looks and feels the best it ever has.) If your diet is causing health problems such as acid reflux, tooth decay, diabetes or hypoglycemia, stomach upset, low mood (in some cases), or weight gain, you have to consider doctor visits, dentist visits, counseling, bigger clothes, medicines and time lost from work as part of the cost of your diet. Do some figuring, and you might find tha