Water, Water Everywhere.

Day two of drinking copious amounts of distilled water and feeling really, really good. Almost suspiciously good.

Assorted fleeting aches and pains but oddly alert and energetic.

While I seldom get sick these days, and feel myself to be in pretty good health, there are little things here and there which I sort of associated with getting old. Like a certain degree of stiffness and my vision being a little bit blurry in the morning.

I imagine it can’t last forever, but so far so good.

(Snake) Oil and Water Mix

The Boy has been easing into a nutritional program to help with his diabetes and I have a rule that I don’t do unto my children what I wouldn’t myself endure, so I’ve been easing into the same program myself.

The first part of the program involves drinking distilled water at regular intervals. This is somewhat controversial, as you might discover if you were to Google it. But I have reason to trust the doctor I’m dealing with, who’s very knowledgeable about body chemistry.

Actually, water is an interesting sticking point for a lot of programs. You hear a lot about people being dehydrated, for example, but Adele Davis eschewed the eight-glasses-a-day meme saying she’d never met anyone who did that who wasn’t seriously deficient in some vitamins. (The water flushing water-soluble vitamins out of the system.) The IAHP warns against too much fluid on the basis of over-hydration leading to seizures. (One of the effects of a seizure is to push fluid out of the body with saliva and urination.)

Conventional medicine seems largley unconcerned with the quality of fluids–water, Gatorade, whatever, it’s all fluid, though most draw the line at soda–but alternative medicine hyperventilates over the water’s mineral quality, fluoridation, source, etc.

For myself, if I have a glass of water at my desk that I can easily refill, I’ll end up drinking a gallon in a day. But I have no dog in the what-sort-of-water-and-how-much race; I have no idea.

So, yesterday, I drank the prescribed amounts at the prescribed intervals for about 3/4s of the amount prescribed me. (I started late and ran out of time.)

Those of you who are regular readers know that part of my treadmill desk environment is to reduce some stiffness in my achilles’ tendons that I acquired during a particularly sedentary job. I had made great progress. The only stiffness I’d feel any more was after sitting for a while or sleeping; I’d take about a minute to loosen up. You also might recall that I was experiencing a bit of numbness from the early days from when I had overdone.

This morning I was walking around for several minutes and realized there was no stiffness at all in my tendons. Just a very slight ache. As I was writing this, I had to stop, get off the treadmill, take off my shoes and double-check my foot–numbness all gone.

Wild, eh?

Then, of course, I’ve reported on the stiffness in my back. (As I’ve mentioned, I’ve always been tight: Even during my martial arts years, with tons of stretching, I was never much of a kicker.) The downside of doing all the walking seemed to be that I had to make sure I did some periodic back stretches or I’d feel sort of locked at the waist. (And I’d forget to do those stretches; it’s been weeks since the last time.)

As of this morning–without a single stretch–I can now comfortably grab my legs just above my ankles.

That’s a hell of a placebo. I love a good placebo.

On the flipside, I was warned that this water regiment would likely lead to a cold due, allegedly, to the body using this water to flush out things it hasn’t been able to before. No cold yet, but a remarkable amount of goop in the throat.

Pajamas and Poison

Went to see The Boy in the Striped Pajamas tonight and it was sold out! Second week in a row, they said. (Well, not exactly sold out, but they said the only seats were front row and The Boy likes to sit in the back. In the corner. Go figger.)

Also recovering from some kind of food poisoning. It happens every few years with something that a normal person would throw up. I don’t throw up so a temporary discomfort turns into several days of that not-quite-right feeling.

It’s weird because it often feels like I’m hungry but sorta not, then I’ll get a fever for a few hours, then it closes out with stiffness in my neck and shoulders. The intestinal discomfort moves lower and lower, but usually disappears before, em, the end of the line.

I’d think it was flu, except for not really having the symptoms, and it never spreads. I actually don’t get sick very much. I went from April of 1997 to December of 2005 without so much as a sniffle. Then in 2006 I got three colds in eight months. And I haven’t been sick since.

But all three of those colds went from me to the kids. They crawl all over me. They’re not sanitary in the least. They also do it when they’re sick and I’m not, but I scoff at their puny child germs.

WebMD’s symptom checker–and isn’t that a little bit of awesomeness, especially for hypochondriacs–says I may have gastritis or indigestion (both of which I’d probably classify in my non-doctorial way as “food poisoning”) but there’s also this little gem called Giardia.

Dovetails nicely with the parasite discussion over at Althouse.

But if I’m going to have parasites, I want these.

Have A Coke And A Smile And Shut the F— Up.

I’m “into” alternative medicine (in the sense that I’ve seen miraculous changes from a diet that’s not well understood), and I think there’s a lot of hoo-ha in “conventional wisdom” about the body and health. Still, articles like this set off the BS-meter.

  • In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.

A quarter cup of raisins has 44 grams of sugar to a 12 oz soda’s 36 grams. Think you could eat a quarter cup of raisins without barfing? How about 2 oz. of Raisinets, which is 40 grams?

  • 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)

Yeah, if you’re diabetic. Your blood sugar really shouldn’t be spiking much if you’re not. I do imagine you could exhaust your pancreas if you do it too much, but I don’t know.

  • 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.

Have you been fasting? Because even then the spike shouldn’t be too large if you’re not diabetic. True about the adenosine receptors, tho’.

  • 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

Not quite. Heroin inhibits dopamine uptake while caffeine stimulates dopamine production. N.B. that the amount of caffeine in a 12 oz soda is anywhere from ½ to ¼ the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee, depending both on the kind of soda and kind of coffee.

  • >60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

I thought we’d already suffered sugar shock. This is a diet drink now? Also, apparently, caffeine doesn’t increase the urinary excretion of calcium much at all. (New York Times)

  • >60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.

As it turns out, caffeine isn’t a diuretic! (New York Times, same article.)

But thanks for making soda sound like an exciting psychotropic experience!


I wanted to re-emphasize this point where the scold switches from “sugar” to “sugar and artificial sweeteners”. This is a common sleight-of-hand: The scold doesn’t want you to do something (or wants you to do something) and they just slip in an element that is similar (soda is soda, right? diet or otherwise?) but which, when you think about it, is dramatically different.

Artificial sweeteners may be bad for you (some people are most certainly affected negatively), but it’s, I think, chemically impossible for them to act the same way on your body sugar does. (Indeed, that’s the whole point.)