Archive for the 'Health' Category



24
Apr
13

good thing they have all those anti-oxidants

Many Celestial Seasonings Teas, despite their claims at being “all natural,” have been found to contain unacceptably high levels of pesticides.

celestialseasoningsOf course, this is reported by a company that has “shorted” the company that controls Celestial Seasonings, so their interests lie in Celestial Seasonings stock falling, so who knows if it’s even really mostly true.

Their disclaimer even includes this sentence: “This report and all statements contained therein are the opinion of Glaucus Research Group California LLC, and are not statements of fact.

Oh. I see. So maybe not even partially true.

How does a report quoting a violation of pesticide standards fall under “opinion”?

Caveat emptor all the way around I guess.

09
Jan
13

does less = more?

As those of you who have been reading this blog for a while probably know, I would usually like to weigh a little less* and fit into my clothes better. I oscillate between wanting to live life fully, enjoying good food and wine and meals with family and friends and striving for better habits in terms of eating more healthfully, getting more exercise (yoga, walking, an occasional training-for-a-theoretical-5K every once in a while) and drinking more water (and less scotch). To varying success, all of it.

When I recently realized that I was even “outgrowing” my “fat pants” I decided that drastic measures needed to be taken. I am now 5 days into the 14-day first phase of the South Beach diet — no potatoes, no bread, no rice, no pasta, no sugar, NO WINE or alcohol or any sort. Lots and lots of water.

Today I actually find myself 600 calories under what I’m allowed/supposed to eat, and I don’t even want them. I had kale for dinner (Only Daughter conceded that it “wasn’t awful,” high praise from an 11-year-old gymnast-turned-ballerina. It’s a long story. Another time.) I’ve lost a few pounds, and feel pretty good, and am not actually starving, etc. etc. But I don’t want to do this by starving myself either, because I know then I’ll just put it back on.

kale

At the same time I’m reading Hungry, the book/memoir (if one can call a book written by a 23-year-old a “memoir”) by the “plus-size” (12. As if.) model Chrystal Renn. Here are “before” and “after” photos: before, contrary to the usual arrangement, being when she had managed to starve herself into a 98-lb vacant-eyed, non-menstruating version of her former self, and after being when she had begun to eat again and had returned to a healthy weight, where she now stays and has a wonderful modeling career as a vibrant, healthy, voluptuous woman:

;

crystalrenn

The one on the right is “plus size”? Seriously?

So, I am my usual conflicted self. Am I eliminating carbs and sugar to regain some control over my food cravings and get my body to a healthy weight, or am I succumbing to the pressures of society and trying to conform to a weightmeaningimage imposed upon me by people whose only concern is that they make me feel badly about myself so I buy their product/join their gym?

Husband was not home tonight, so I sat on the couch after a very long and busy day and watched Frasier reruns. Amongst the awful and incessant commercials aired during an hour and a half of television there were 11 commercials for diet programs and/or “diet” foods, 2 commercials for anti-aging makeup, as well as one commercial each for an artificial sweetener, the “Curves” exercise facility, and for Gorton’s grilled fish, “only 80 calories per serving.”

Is it any wonder we’re all so filled with self-loathing? Does makeup really keep me from aging? Is aging such an awful proposition? Is buying processed, pre-grilled fish really a healthy alternative for someone who cares about the food he or she is putting into his or her body? (I should just say she/her — in all of those commercials, only ONE of the “protagonists” was male — and he was having his powdered donut being crumbled into bits by his loving and “supportive” significant other.)

Maybe it’s just me, but the one on on the left in the photo above is clearly starving; the one on the right is vibrant and strong and sexy and alive.

And not that far off from where I am right now.

Maybe if I just lose 5-10 more pounds.

Sheesh.

*Is it Freudian? I actually just started to proof this and realized I had written “I usually want to weigh a little more. . .” Pah.

22
Oct
12

New Year’s Resolutions, in October

Heard a little bit of discussion on the Diane Rehm show this morning by various pollsters, including how unreliable the answers to the “Do you intend to vote?” question are. One of the pollsters compared it to how committed people are on January 5 or so to carry out their New Year’s Resolution.

Some of you may have figured out, especially if you read the comments/discussions that ensue sometimes, that I broke a bone in my foot around 8 weeks ago. I would like to say it was a result of something heroic and/or exciting, like tripping over the lead runner in the Chicago Marathon, but actually I just stubbed my toe on the foot of my bed, in broad daylight. Now I’m not all that graceful, and am often doing three things at once while thinking about at least two other, completely unrelated, things, so these kinds of pratfalls are not all that unusual. I even laid on the bed, whimpering softly, for about 10 minutes before I limped out to the kitchen to tell Husband what I had done. Not that I wasn’t expecting sympathy, but these occurrences are quite frequent, and I didn’t want to push my luck. When the throbbing was getting worse rather than better, though, I thought maybe a little sympathy, and, oh, maybe an ice pack was in order.

The stupid thing was that two weeks more passed before I had it X-rayed, including a weekend when we were power washing the deck and house and I walked right off the edge of the deck while looking up at the soffit I was washing. (I don’t know how to spell soffit. I think that’s right, but wordpress is giving me grief. Anyway.)(And the deck is only ~ 3 feet off the ground, so it’s not quite as bad as it sounds.) Of course I was barefoot, because my toe hurt too badly to wear shoes, and of course I landed on the broken foot, so I’m sure that didn’t help either. So yes, I broke a bone in my foot. The tip of what I’m calling the 3rd toe bone — I’m sure there’s a more technical term, and I’m also quite sure the doctor employed the technical term at my appointment after my X-ray, but I don’t remember it.

It’s this one:

Which means that my foot hurts more than my toe hurts (although the toe looks like someone else’s, like a little sausage, and doesn’t match the other toes), and it has taken a ridiculously long time to heal. I wore an actual shoe on Saturday for the first time in 6 weeks (we won’t talk about the two weeks I was wearing shoes when I shouldn’t have been. What can I say? I’m an optimist.) I managed to walk ~ a mile with Husband each day over the weekend, and my foot is tight and sore afterwards, but at least I’m off my butt, finally. I did have a yoga Groupon which has now expired, and my plans to restart the couch-potato-to-5K thing has been a bust, but maybe I can start next week. . .

I also have started a new juicing plan. I’m hypothyroid, and, while I take Armour thyroid, it often feels like the only result of thyroid medication is that my blood tests show a normal TSH level; I still feel half asleep most of the time, and am always always cold (my temperature the other morning was 96˚). A side effect of hypothyroidism is slow metabolism (it just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?), and I have heard that drinking fruit and vegetable juices as meal replacements a few times a week helps give your digestive system a break and this is supposed to help fire it up, somehow.

So three days a week I’m drinking home-juiced carrot, carrot-apple, carrot-beet, carrot-cucumber-wheatgrass, apple-pineapple-ginger, cherry-pomegranate, etc. juice instead of eating breakfast and lunch. On the days I do so I still have a healthy dinner (although the temptation sometimes is to eat more for dinner than I would otherwise, because, hey, I haven’t eaten all day so I deserve it, right?). I tend to lose ~ .5 of a lb on juicing days and then gain .25-.4 of a lb on non-juicing days, so I’m not really seeing this as an effective diet strategy. Also, on the next mornings, the whites of my eyeballs seem orange. They’re probably not really orange, but they seem orange.

Oh, and I’ve stopped shampooing my hair. =:-O

I have read, on more than one occasion, how bad it is for hair to shampoo it — I mean, think about it! We wash it with this stuff full of chemicals, most of which have been demonstrated to cause cancer in rats (rats with particularly clean hair, but still) and which removes all of the healthy oils and nutrients from our scalp, and then instantly put goop called “conditioner” on it to undo the damage we just caused.

I did “wash” my hair this morning with baking soda paste and then “conditioned” it with some apple cider vinegar. Of course, I thoroughly rinsed the baking soda out first, as I was not 7 and trying to make a “volcano” in my shower. I think I might smell like a pickle, but my hair looks fantastic. (And isn’t the henna-ing still looking nice? I keep thinking maybe I should stop bothering, since I have to re-apply the green mud every month or so to cover my roots, but then I see a picture like this and think, “Fine. I’ll keep doing it.”)

If you haven’t noticed, I’m deliberately avoiding any discussion of the presidential election.

I am also trying really hard to avoid eating the cold sesame noodles in the fridge. Carrot and beet juice just doesn’t have the same zing.

Oh, and speaking of hair this is what we did over the weekend:

Despite my concerns, it seems to have turned out fine, I have earned “hundreds” (I think it should be thousands) of “Mom coolness points,” and she did not get sent home from school.

So there’s that, then.

15
Mar
12

Not a war?

Sez who? (Lots of people; mostly male Republicans, but whatever.)

Sigh.

Just when you think it can’t get more ridiculous.

Maybe this can be a sign of hope?

12
Mar
12

the battle over women’s reproductive rights

Diane Rehm had several women on today talking about women’s reproductive rights.

One of her guests was Phyllis Schlafly. This woman is an idiot, and should be completely ignored. Maybe we can send her and Rush off to some remote island somewhere and never have to hear from either one of them again. Seems like a match made in heaven: Mr. and Mrs. Misogynistic.

Her claims were many, and all equally ridiculous: single moms are all churning out babies out of wedlock so that they can solicit handouts from Obama’s government; feminists are all anti-men, anti-family; women WANT their reproductive rights to be limited which is why they keep voting for ultra-conservative Republican white men.

Diane did a poor job challenging any of these opinions. She must have been feeling under the weather. I’m very disappointed.

The comments on the website include bizarre, paradoxical claims such as that women want big government to protect their reproductive rights so that they can keep having babies and end up in poverty. Yeah. That makes sense. There also seems to be the belief that erectile disfunction is a “medical condition” but pregnancy (or ovarian cysts, or irregular or hemorragiac menstrual cycles) is/are not. Right.

I expect more from NPR and Diane. Ms. Schlafly shouldn’t have been given the opportunity to air such foolishness. I’m sure they could have found SOMEONE less ridiculous to support the claim that women’s reproductive rights are not under attack.

Or maybe not.

08
Mar
12

missing the point, again

A University of Rochester economics professor blogged in support of Rush Limbaugh’s comments regarding Sandra Fluke.

Quoting him directly:

While Ms. Fluke [the law student] herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover [sic]. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty. I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it,” wrote Steven Landsburg, the professor, on his blog, The Big Questions.

To his credit, Rush stepped in to provide the requisite mockery. To his far greater credit, he did so with a spot-on analogy: If I can reasonably be required to pay for someone else’s sex life (absent any argument about externalities or other market failures), then I can reasonably demand to share in the benefits. His dense and humorless critics notwithstanding, I am 99% sure that Rush doesn’t actually advocate mandatory on-line sex videos. What he advocates is logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry. So do I. Color me jealous for not having thought of this analogy myself.

Upon being sanctioned by his President, he has posted a follow-up, some of which I quote below:

The commenters [to my previous blog posts regarding this issue] have offered many bright and lively arguments and observations, some of which have led me to modify some of my views. This is a wonderful thing. It’s also the very opposite of Sandra Fluke’s approach, which amounts to a contemptuous dismissal of the very possibility of engaging these issues through intellectual discourse. I’d have expected a distinguished academic to feel the same way.

But he’s still missing the point. Or should I say points.

I’m curious as to whether Dr. Landsburg saw her testimony. It seems not.

Ms. Fluke DOES deserve respect, and was herself ridiculed, mocked, and jeered, quite appallingly so. Rush did not mock her position, he mocked her. This much is quite clear. It causes me to wonder whether Dr. Landsburg even saw or heard these himself, or was just reacting to the fray.

The concern regarding denial of oral contraception for women taking it for medical, non-contraceptive reasons is a real one.

And while Professor Landsburg congratulates himself on both his mastery of effective argumentative tactics and his open-mindedness, he does so in comparison to Ms. Fluke’s “approach” rather than to Mr. Limbaugh’s. As far as I can tell Sandra has been anything but contemptuous. One can certainly not say the same regarding Rush.

The fact that this clip is followed up with comments like these leave me very little hope:

This is just a few of them. Too early in the day for me to wallow around in such a misogynistic quagmire.

And it’s interesting how all of the “clueless” comments seem to come from men. Am I the only one who thinks that men should just stay out of this argument altogether? When you have ovaries, a uterus, and risk becoming pregnant every time you have sex, then you can talk about this.

Just sayin’.

 

29
Feb
12

men on women’s health

Hmmmm, an aspirin between the knees. Never thought of that.

Men on Women’s Health




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