Monday, November 26, 2007

Secret Agent Penguin

Op is off on assignment... will be back soon...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hell In The Name Of Health

It’s been a while since I gave you an update on the various procedures I’ve been plunging into all in the name of improving my health, so here goes:

I’d been feeling kind of crappy for a while, with various digestive complaints, headaches, and a general uptick in the number of fibro flares I had been experiencing. So while I was at the swanky spa, I took the opportunity to have some blood tests done. Among other things, they revealed that I have a systemic yeast overgrowth. This is when the normally present candida takes over your system, crowding out the other good bacteria and causing all kinds of havoc, including digestive problems, skin problems, sinus infections, allergies of all stripes, and general annoyance. Also, it estimated that up to 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia have a yeast imbalance. It can be exacerbated by stress, antibiotic use, and steroid use, among other things. (hopefully this is not too much information for you guys, in fact, you guys can get this as well).

Treatment began with a regimen of various herbal concoctions and probiotics, which I was to stay on for four weeks and then report back to the doctor. I followed this down to the last crossed T and dotted I, e-mailed the results back to the doctor (which, I’m sorry to say, were little to none) and then I didn’t hear from him for three weeks. Finally as a result of my patented abilities to nag, I got his reply.

Now, in this interim period, I’d been doing some research, and learned through a variety of books (one recommended by Husband’s sister, thank you so much), web sites, and other doctors, that there is a special diet that I should have been following as well as taking the herbs.

Yes, the spa doctor told me, I should have been following this diet (which he failed to tell me about) and included it with his return e-mail.

On the web, and in the books, I’d seen some diets that were fairly…well, Spartan would be a generous term. All of them involved eliminating sugar in all forms, alcohol, fruit juices, and several other things, but none of them were as restrictive as this one. I thought I was eating healthfully before: no sugar, caffeine, fruit juice, alcohol, etc. I had brown rice, and organic cereal, and rice milk instead of dairy. That, I thought, (plus my daily dose of an apple or a few blueberries) would be enough.

But no.

The doctor’s diet consisted basically of vegetables and meat. I’m serious. For four weeks, I am encouraged to eat nothing but lean cuts of meat, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, a variety of nuts and seeds, and for fun, a daily cup of nonfat plain yogurt and a cup of beans of any kind, plus a spritz of lemon juice just to spice things up. Yippee!! I used to make fun of people who were on the South Beach and Atkins diets (you know who you are) but now I was developing a new sympathy with them. And how did you make that mashed cauliflower stuff that was supposed to taste like mashed potatoes? Oh, right. It was made with apples. Which I can’t have.

I’ve been at this for two days now, and it hasn’t been as much of the challenge as I thought (the promised cravings haven’t taken place yet; or perhaps I’m still in shock). It has, however, challenged what I’ve grown to think of as meals. For example, this morning I looked down at my breakfast plate and saw the following: two hard-boiled eggs and a stalk of celery stuffed with almond butter. And I thought, this is not breakfast. This is the money shot for “Snax: Erotica For Anorexic Celebrities.”

Fortunately, the sadists (I mean, people) who devised this minimalist diet also were kind enough to give me a few pages of recipes, including something called “Tofu Mash,” which I’m just dying to try (not).

The doctor also still wants me to take the same herbal concoctions as before, but with a twist. He suggested I take something called grapefruit seed extract. Just to throw a hand grenade at the little beasties, in case the bunker buster failed to work. Luckily, the friendly folks of my local health food are used to me asking for all kinds of bizarre things). I was supposed to take fifteen drops in 6 ounces of warm water twice a day between meals.

Now, I am used to swallowing all kinds of nasty substances (no off-color comments please), but this one… this one could take rust off a bicycle. It could peel paint from the hull of a ship. It could take the makeup off Hillary Clinton’s face. After I downed the first glass, I thought I could feel my teeth dissolving, and ran to brush my teeth to get that godawful taste out of my mouth.

But hey, maybe the diet will actually work. I’ll wrestle those little yeast beasts to the ground, and lose those last few pounds.

And the very least, I’ll have very clean teeth.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hey, It Could Be True...

The heck with the writers' strike! You can find all your fake TV news items right here...

Televangelist Performs Miracle.
When Rev. Pat Robertson gave his endorsement to Rudy Giuliani instead of a pro-life Republican, John McCain said he was “speechless.” It was reportedly the first time in recorded history that a politician had made that claim. The Vatican is investigating.

Drugs, Not Hugs:
Now that hugging other children is illegal in Alabama schools, teachers will be giving them Ritalin so they will focus on their work and keep their hands to themselves. If successful, Hillary Clinton will administer the drug to her husband.

Brewery’s Plan To “Go Green” Is Thwarted:
“If Nancy Pelosi can pollute with her private jet and get out of it by purchasing those energy credits,” a rep from Anheiser-Busch said, “why can’t we?” Al Gore called a press conference to clarify that he meant “carbon credits,” not “carbonated credits.”

Priest Was Only Trying To Be A Scab:
A Boston priest, arrested for stalking Conan O’Brien, claims he was only trying to give the late-night talk show host his writing samples, should he need extra staff during the strike. Conan said the jokes weren’t bad, except too many of them began, “A priest and a rabbi went into a bar…”

Hollywood Writers Strike!
When asked for his take on the situation, one of the writers on the picket line said, “________________”

VP Shoots Man:
During a hunting trip, an Iowa man was shot by his dog. The “dog” turned out to be Dick Cheney, who had forgotten to remove his Halloween costume while stumping for John McCain.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

"Oh, Brave New World..."

Just for fun, I've been rereading the classics that I was made to study in school. Hopefully now, without having to write essays about metaphors and such, I can simply sit back and enjoy them.

First up is "Brave New World." And it is sending chills up my spine. Almost seventy years later, the book not only still holds up, but is creepily prescient. The world that Huxley imagined is upon us. The cult of the automobile. Promiscuity. In-vitro fertilization. Genetic Engineering. Aromatherapy. There is even a drug named "Soma," (which muffles signals from the central nervous system) but it might as well have been reality shows. Or Starbucks. Or all the ways that society has engineered to keep us distracted and happy.

It's a vision of the future that, while arguably has come as true as 1984, is a little more spot on.

I'll let you know what's on the table next.

While not a classic, I just finished reading a little book titled "Conservatize Me," By John Moe. It's a bit of a spoof on the documentary from a few years ago, "Super Size Me," but in this version, Mr. Moe crafts his 30-day experiment as follows: a self-described liberal democrat who works for a public radio station in Seattle immerses himself into the "conservative" world, to see if he can make himself become conservative by osmosis. It's a bit stereotypical - meaning that in choosing his influences he shops at Wal-Mart, listens to Country/Western music, learns to shoot a gun, and changes his brand of beer, just for starters.

If you care to read it, I won't spoil the ending. But as he went upon his journey, actually talking to conservatives, reading their books, and living (his version) of their lives, he actually ended up in a less stereotypical place then I thought he would.

Overall, this was an amusing journey.