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Showing posts from October, 2013

Vitamin D May Not Help a Cold. Maybe Avoiding Sugar Does.

I just found this from the Vitamin D Council: Also, readers should be aware (if they are not already) that vitamin D does not prevent all viral respiratory infections. As we noted in correspondence to our first influenza paper, rhinoviruses, the most common cause of the common cold, are not seasonal; that is, they are just as common in the summer as in the winter, and they do not have a lipoprotein coat for antimicrobial peptides to destroy....If you are already taking 5,000 IU a day and you get a cold, chances are that more vitamin D will not help much. No one should take large doses for more than a few days and then only if the infection is severe(1) However, vitamin D levels are inversely associated with upper respiratory tract infections .(2) If you haven't been taking any vitamin D, a moderate dose might help. Nevertheless, I have (mostly) gotten over my cold faster than some acquaintances, who came down with colds before I did and are still sick. (One coworker

A Thinking Person's Halloween Movies

As much as I love movies and TV shows like Harry Potter, Moonlight, and The Dresden Files, it's refreshing to watch a suspenseful movie without ghoulies or ghosties or long-legged beasties, where the dead stay dead and the most rational person in the room stays alive. I bring this up since low-carbers tend to be thinkers and rationalists who might enjoy these movies as much as I do. A few of my favorites: Call Northside 777 . Based on a true story about a man wrongly convicted of killing a policeman. For reference, the $5,000 reward that the man's mother earned scrubbing floors is worth almost $50,000 today. Gaslight. Paula is innocent, too, but her conniving husband wants her to think she's losing her mind. If you've ever heard the term "being gaslighted," this is the movie where it comes from. Coma. Afraid of doctors or hospitals? This movie should give you a good scare. Nancy Drew. Something lighter: a smart, nerdy young heroine solves a

Fat Fast for a Cold?

Inflamed: this is how my nasal passages felt yesterday evening after a few days of sinus congestion. Even though I was well enough that day to take part in a round table discussion on where morality comes from (where I mentioned the story of 1808, a Homo erectus who was taken care of for months or weeks through an illness ), and walk to the grocery store and back, by bedtime, I felt like I was going to drown in mucus. It was 9:30 a.m. before I could rouse myself from bed to call in sick. I already have way of dealing with sinus infections: SWAMP (sinuses with a mucus problem). I take 100,000 IU of vitamin D, Mucinex, and salt as needed. But last summer, I had such good results getting rid of gastritis with the fat fast that I've decided to add that. The fat fast (book here ) involves eating 1,000 calories per day, with 90% of the calories coming from fat. (My lack of appetite is helping me stick to it.) So far, I've eaten some dark chocolate, a cup of broth with a bit of

Catalyst Program on Cholesterol and Saturated Fat: What to Believe?

Regular Janes and Joes who watched the TV program Catalyst: Heart of the Matter on saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease are probably confused now. What is this idea that saturated fat is good for you and that sugar and inflammation may cause heart disease? Everybody knows that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad, right? Regular Janes and Joes don't need to be doctors or scientists to consider some of the evidence for themselves. Or in this case, the lack of evidence. For forty years, and using hundreds of thousands of people, researchers have been trying to prove that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. The result, according to Dr. Robert Grenfell of the National Heart Foundation of Australia: When you ask that question of 'Do dietary fats increase heart disease?', you're sort of trying to negate all the other risk factors that, in fact, actually also cause heart disease. So, to imagine creating a study that would prove that conclusivel

Halloween without Sugar, without Weight Gain

Once again, I'm planning a Halloween without candy, temptation or weight gain. Instead of turning off the lights and ignoring the doorbell, I'll be giving the kids money. I'll put my spare change in a big bowl and throw a few coins into their bags. The kids love it and so do I. My hairstylist has her own way of avoiding eating leftover candy: she buys the same candy she puts out for her clients, and puts leftovers in the dishes in her salon. She remarked today that if you give kids fruit, they'll probably throw it away. We saw this with changes in school lunches, and even if a kid does like fruit, it can be hard to eat if they wear braces. Meantime, here are a few videos to get you in the mood for Halloween. Above: "Gus Fring, Hiding in Plain Sight." Scenes from Breaking Bad. Warning: violent scenes. Scenes from Death Note. Song: "This is Halloween" by Marilyn Manson. The Orphanage trailer. Creepiest movie I've ever seen.

How Can You Afford an Accident?

Regular readers know that I'm fully healed from an accident that happened a year ago. After a month with my arm in a sling, nine months in braces, and surgeries to remove and replace a broken tooth, I'm back to normal. And as of this month, so is my emergency fund. Readers may not know that the accident set me back $7,000. Most of my injuries involved my teeth, and American dental insurance generally doesn't cover braces for adults or dental implants for anyone. Now that the cost of health insurance has dramatically gone up for some people to the point that they can't afford it, having some savings has become even more important. Having savings gives you some security. It'll also save you money over having to get a loan or using credit cards. I thought about offering some money-saving tips, but those are easy to find, and my tips may not apply to everyone. Besides, it's not useful if you take the savings and spend it on something else. The real question is

Elderly, Disabled Parents? Just Pony Up!

That’s what a social worker and one of my parents’ neighbors say I ought to be doing. “Pony up” is the term the busybody neighbor used--the one who brings high-carb dishes to my diabetic parents. Let’s see how this might work in real life. My parents live out in the suburbs; I work downtown and live halfway in between. I have a full-time job and a 45-minute commute each way. Certain times of the year (like last week), I work long hours to meet deadlines. I have 138 hours of paid time off I need to take. There’s also my house, yard and dog to take care of. So every morning, I’ll jump in my car at 6:00, get my parents’ breakfast and make sure they’ve taken all their pills. Oh wait, they’re not up then. I’ll just water their yard. At 7:00, I’ll leave to go downtown, park, and walk to the office. At 10, I’ll call my parents and ask what pills they’ve taken. If they’re out of something, I’ll get their prescription at lunch, fix their meal, drive back downtown, pay for another parkin

Prana on a Plate!

Check out the little red symbol in the ad for ground beef. I didn't see it with any ads for hearthealthywholegrain products. Click to enlarge. Sprouts sale flyer. Not Photoshopped. Sticker shock? Ask the butcher for some grass-fed fat to add to your burger.

Carb Creep, Thanksgiving, Dogs, Chickens and Worms

Carb Control Works Again Something that just happened makes me wonder how often low carb diets "stop working" for people because they don't realize the extent of their carb creep. The scale and the clothes-o-meter told me last week that I was gaining weight. I had to face the idea that I can't eat peanut M&Ms without gaining. weight. Just by cutting out my few handfuls of M&Ms every day, I'm down four pounds. That doesn't sound like much, but on me, it makes the difference between having a flat belly and having the beginning of a pot belly. What really struck me, though, was how much better I felt. Once again, I can run on six hours' sleep. My head feels clearer and I've started on projects I meant to do months ago. A coworker happened to give up the M&Ms at the same time and noticed how much better she felt, too. As she put it, you know all that sugar has to be bad for you if you feel so much better without it. Who Says Thanksgiving

Bowling Alone? Yes, Thank You

I just spent five hours playing video games, by myself, and I don't regret it. I don't want my five hours back to sit on a bar stool, talk about Breaking Bad, watch whatever game is on with other fans, or do something, anything, else with another person. Constant company for a good life is one more piece of conventional wisdom I've scuttled. I like going home and bolting the door. I like to read, think, watch Netflix, play with my dog, and putter around the yard. None of this requires another person. I don't keep up with the Joneses and nobody gives me a hard time about much of anything. I've read that being alone is as bad for you as smoking, but as we like to say, correlation isn't causation. Even if it is in this case, I'll take my own company and take my chances. If you're lonely, I empathize. I've been there. But not all of us loners want company. If togetherness is so good, why have houses gotten so much bigger and households so much small