Well, That Sucked!

I basically lost April from that damned ear infection, which now appears to be cleared up. My ears aren’t right yet, but that’ll take longer.

I started doing the same nutritional program as The Boy, only a bit more severely. I’ve just finished two weeks without meat, sugar, white flour–you know, all the good stuff.

Perhaps surprisingly, this hasn’t been particularly hard. Despite Trooper posting pictures of pastry. (Hey, the best thing is still on the menu.) And I have eaten like this before, even if it was as a strident, organic-lovin’, tofu-munchin’, birkenstock-wearing post-teen.

Guess I should’ve kept it up.

Anyway, meat should be okay, at least in small quantities, after a while. And I don’t plan to always be saintly. But for now, I’m on the wagon.

Weep for me.

My Preoccupation…

You guys have left some great comments, much appreciated. I hope to address them in a bit when I catch up on things.

Unlike some quitters, though, I’m not going to be running away to worship God. (He pretty much told me he needs me on the front lines. I think I’m supposed to be fodder.)

It’s crunch time, diet-wise for The Boy. The doctor has reduced his meat intake dramatically, so he has little choice but to eat veggies or starve. (And starving’s not an option.) I’m showing my solidarity here, so I’m also downing the rabbit chow.

I’ll have a review of I Love You, Man soon. (Executive summary: Romantic comedy where the principles are straight males. Surprisingly charming and female friendly.)

Also, the refrigerator broke, distilling water is more complicated than it seems, the pilot light on the water heater keeps going out, and (on the positive side) I’ve apparently won Darcy.

No, don’t tell me it was April Fool’s Day. I don’t wanna know.

All You Need Is Loaf?

For February, The Boy’s blood sugar averaged 155. In the last two weeks of February, about the time we started with the water, it averaged 122. He seems to be keeping it in that low range, despite having cut his mealtime insulin by 25%.

This is good. The doctor reminds us that he’s not actually on the program yet. He’s just gearing up with the water and the green drink. (The “green drink” is basically a bunch of leafy greens fed through a juicer. Tastes as good as it sounds.) He’s been doing some changes in his diet, as well, though that’s been milder than it probably will need to be once we’re actually on the program. But besides blood sugar, he’s been sleeping well, and longer. The sickness passed last weekend, and he has only a mild nausea (also predicted by the doc).

As for me, well, the phenomena mentioned in earlier posts continue to persist. I didn’t really mention the energy thing because “I feel so alert and full of energy” is such a cliché, and easily the most placebo-influenced effect at all. (Really: Change up your diet and exercise and start a new plan, and you’ll find morale-related effects kick in immediately, even if the diet and exercise aren’t very good.) A very concrete effect I’ve noticed is that after a difficult night (which is not rare when you have a bunch of kids) that gets cut short, I can still function very well and without the mid-afternoon drowsiness. I’m still tired and I fall asleep in the evening if my sleep is cut short, but my awake time is not overwhelmed with the urge to go unconscious.

There are also things I didn’t mention because I’m not Titus. (Suggested in the title of this post.) Things have definitely improved in the area of his favorite subjects.

In the interest of full disclosure I should point out that I just lost a tiny piece of a molar. No pain; it just came out while flossing. The tooth pain I described earlier that went away is still gone. (Hmmm, but this piece is on the same side so I need to get to a dentist to figure out what’s going on.) The mouth phenomena could be a complete coincidence.

Also, I’m feeling somewhat “acidic” at night, which, given the changes in body chemistry the water and juice might be bringing is worth watching. (The doctor wants me to do the full program at the same time, but I’m not sure I want to shift the focus away. On the other hand, the tests involved keep you from going too far one way or the other.) Come to think of it, though, this may be akin to the nausea the boy is feeling.

And, while it’s not easy to drink this much water and still eat enough to maintain one’s weight, I’m in there pitching. Still haven’t lost anything. Heh.

De-Talks

I wrote about fairness not long ago on these virtual pages and I wanted to point out that there is one area in which I’m particularly unreasonable on the topic: My children.

In an early experiment with one of the Boy Scout groups, The Boy entered a Pinewood Derby. Apart from shaping the wood with the power tools, which no one in his age group could do, I required him to do everything on his own. I was there to offer advice–not that I had much to give–but I wasn’t going to be sanding, oiling, talcing or whatever tricks they do for those things.

Which, on the day of the race was evident, were extensive and well researched by all the fathers involved. The disinterest from the actual boys was obvious but the guys my age? They were into it. Not even the vaguest premise of having the troopers do their own work.

This is a minor unfairness, and it had its own value in showing The Boy the way of the world.

A more serious unfairness is that The Boy has been sick for the past three days from drinking water and the vegetable juice. His blood sugars have been great, fortunately, and this is precisely what the doctor said would happen, but I feel bad.

I’m an old man (at least relatively) and somehow this stuff isn’t affecting me negatively at all. It’s just unfair that a 13-year-old should have to put up with it. His whole life’s been a lot harder than it should be. We do this on the hope that he’ll come out the other side better.

Which brings me to the subject of de-toxification.

Detoxification is a hot topic because every quack pedlling snake oil talks about “detox”. Like those foot guys on the television selling wasabi or kinoki or shinobi or whatever it is that, if I’m not mistaken, takes the dirty outer layer of skin off your feet and tells you you’re being purified.

The drinking of distilled water at regular intervals is done to provide the body with a basic, necessary resource to let it do its thing. (The vegetable juice is for minerals; these guys are crazy about the minerals! Later we add calcium.) The symptoms of this detoxification process are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, lots of phlegm in the lungs (with coughing), and even things like fever or some nausea. Even if you don’t understand how it happens, you sort of have to respect the predictability of it, given that there’s no conventional medical reason that slightly greater hydration should lead to it.

One of my main issues regarding “snake oil”–a term I use affectionately about a time period before the government locked up medicine–is that the theories behind them may be completely whack. That doesn’t mean the medicine’s no good.

My canonical reference is Ignaz Semmelweiss, who didn’t know why washing your hands before surgery helped, he just knew that it did. Likewise, ancient astrologers (sorry, guys, they were astrologers at the time, not astronomers!) could map the motion of the planets in the sky, even though their understanding of said bodies was fanciful at best.

And so I take that approach with medicine. (Alternative or otherwise. You don’t get a free pass from me just ‘cause you can prescribe drugs.) I’m utterly unconvinced by the theories behind mood-altering drugs, and in every case I’ve seen them used, they’ve failed.

And then there are the enema guys.

You know the enema guys, right? They have a long, storied history going back to the Kellogg brothers of Battle Creek, Michigan. And, oh, my, they have pictures! Pictures of twisted intestines, all gnarled up by residual fecal matter and, heavens, it’s quite awful.

But the enema guys have a problem, I think: We now have footage of the insides of people’s colons, and they don’t appear to be the messes that the enema guys predict. I haven’t thoroughly researched this, mind you: I’m just going by the shots that I’ve seen which show the walls of the intestines to be pretty clear. (And by their own literature, the enema is necessary to clean said intestines out, the drink you get before a colonoscopy shouldn’t be sufficient.)

I’ve not seen any benefits from enemas that couldn’t be explained by the rapid infusion of caffeine into the blood stream. (Enemas are often done with coffee, and the lower intestines are way more absorptive than the digestive system from top-to-bottom.) And this absorption factor makes enemas potentially dangerous, too.

But now watch this sleight-of-hand: I’m totally willing to let the enema guys be, because, hey, I could be wrong. And people need to have the right to explore these things on their own. That’s just how I roll. As it stands, right now conventional medicine is being hampered by government regulation. And, predictably, politics–more than science–seems to be the big factor in what gets made available.

An effort to make things fair always seems to make things even more unfair than ever.

Up Till Now, Everything Was Okay

It is a characteristic of men that they are stoic. Not to say that all men are stoic, and certainly I know some who play up minor illnesses and injuries in a bid to win sympathy from their significant others. But stoicism is a manly feature. To the point of stupidity, even: Men will let health conditions go too long, until they’re untreatable.

Up till recently, I’d not thought of myself as particularly stoic. I’d noticed a few things and I attributed them to getting older. Unlike, say, Instapundit, I’m not particularly concerned about death, but I’ve always–especially when younger–wondered which features normally attributed to senescence were not due to some other factors.

In my case, apparently, a lot. But until I started drinking the water, I didn’t know how many.

I mentioned stiffness and morning vision blurriness, but in a week I’ve noticed that the occasional tinnitus, digestive issues, farsightedness, fatigue and a few other things I just assumed were me “getting older” have rolled back.

As I said, stoic to a fault: It’s one thing to endure and another to be so accepting you never try to improve things.

We’ve started to add in some juiced leafy greens, which isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The Boy’s blood sugar has been coming down but it’s still not quite under control. He’s had to undergo some dietary changes, and I think he’s somewhat depressed about that, though he is being a good sport. A big change is that he’s waking up faster: Most of my kids have a “need that first cup of coffee” kind of wake-up cycle, The Boy especially so. The doc attributed that to low morning blood sugars. The water’s made a big difference there.

I’ll keep posting on it, as the story progresses.

The Joys of being Seven

“Can I pour the water?”
“Sure…Can you…okay, I’ll get it, you hold the bottle.”
[Water comes out. Laughter. Bottle fills.“
"That was awesome!

We have the 2.5 gallons of water with the spigot at the bottom. Gravity–always a reliable source of entertainment–does the rest.

The Flower had another basketball game today and was her usual presence on the court, though I did notice that the other team was particularly huge today. She’s at the bottom edge of the age for the league and there are guys who must weigh half-again or more what she weighs.

Doesn’t stop her from snatching the ball, mind you. This may have something to do with playing with The Boy who is a foot or two bigger and more than twice as heavy. He does not treat her gently, either. (Oh, he holds back, but he’s at that stage where he doesn’t know his own strength.)

On The Flower’s team is a kid who is playing up a league. He’s younger than The Flower–and shorter and lighter, and not a super-gifted natural athlete, but he plays up a league by his own choice. He’s also completely unintimidated by the much bigger players and relentlessly enthusiastic.

Sometimes you can see at an early age who is most likely to succeed and why.

Skin and Bones

I don’t want to get in the middle of the fat-battle between Trooper York and Freeman Hunt, but my attention was directed to this Sports Illustrated “models taking their own pictures” post.

Some of these women strike me as too thin, where “too thin” is a purely aesthetic consideration. My friend (mentioned in the Stacked Decks post linked above) was very thin, too, and used to fret putting on five pounds here and there. But, in person, she didn’t look too skinny in person, usually. Meanwhile she had some other friends from back in the day who were the opposite type (shorter and curvier), who were clearly on the higher end of the BMI scale. They also looked fine in person.

I know “the camera adds ten pounds” but it also can subtract ten at certain angles. (There are angles on Chris Reeves in the Superman movies where he looks positively skinny, e.g.)

I’ve been thinking about weight lately because I haven’t lost any. (I lost about ten pounds last year just due to changes in lifestyle, but none since I started doing the treadmill.) I suspect if I keep drinking water I’ll lose weight, though. It seems to change your sense of taste and fullness.

Should be interesting.

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.