Saturday, January 28, 2017

OzNotes And Inquiring Minds

Mehmet Oz had a good show on Friday, 1/27. 

It was about worry and anxiety and how they can be the symptom of low B12.

This was of great interest to me because, when I was in my 30's, I worried A LOT.  I would lie awake at night, worrying about anything and everything.  I was told all KINDS of things.  I was told that studies have shown that 99% of the things we worry about, never happen.  I was told to meditate, or to pray.  I was told by my MIL, "You could stop that worrying if you wanted to".  I never felt like she liked me very well and seemed like every time she opened her mouth, some jewel like that usually fell out.  I mean, I have to hand it to my MIL.  She lived a hard life and she made it through.  She was married at the age of 13 to a man who was old enough to be her father.  By the time she was 14, she was a mother.  She had 12 live births and 1 miscarriage.  So she made it clear she thought I was a whiner.  She didn't think much of my housekeeping skills, either.  That was back in the days when a lot of women didn't work outside the home, and those who did usually didn't have a spotless house if you just dropped in on them, uninvited and unexpected.

But anyway.

I really think that SOMEDAY, the first thing the doctor will do when you go to them for ANY reason, they will do a complete, and I mean COMPLETE analysis of your blood and urine, because they will have learned that almost every malady we deal with has its roots in nutrition.  We're not quite there yet, but they are beginning to learn that many, many things can be discovered if your blood is tested in the right way, including what vitamins you are deficient in.  I think it's expensive to have it done and that insurance won't pay for it.  They'd rather have you be ill for the rest of your life and pay for the expenses of just dealing with the side-effects.  Isn't that sad?  And no, a CBC, which stands for "Complete Blood Count", is not the same thing as a complete analysis.  Here is a link to WebMD's explanation of what a CBC is and what information it provides:
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/complete-blood-count-cbc#1

Here is the website of a blood testing lab that explains about the many ways in which the blood can be tested and tells the cost they charge for each test.  Here I should point out that I don't know anything about these people except for what's there on the website.  You'd want to talk to your doctor about how seriously the medical community would consider the test results and whether you'd be getting good value for your money. 
http://www.healthtestingcenters.com/vitamin-testing.aspx
There's a sidebar on the left that has other categories, such as comprehensive test panels and testing categories.

Now.  Back to the Oz show segment on B12 deficiency:

Dr. Oz asked six questions.  If you answered more than two or three with "yes", then you need to go ask your doctor to check your B12 levels.  Easier than that is just to start taking a B12 supplement (I think he said 25 to 100 mcg, sublingually, but check that out before you do) and see if you feel better.  Or better yet, you can do it nutritionally by eating more protein, including lean meats, eggs, fish, chicken, dairy.  Cranberries boost your rate of absorption (if you drink the juice, be sure to read the ingredients label on the back, most of it might be apple juice and therefore lots of fructose).  Antacids, alcohol, and some meds interfere with absorption.  He chewed up a cranberry, not enough information here as he didn't make clear whether one cranberry a day was enough or WHAT, but if one a day is all you need, not sure why you couldn't just cut a berry in fourths and swallow the pieces, like pills.  I think you might have to eat more than just one but I can't find any information on how many you SHOULD eat.  Wikihow says one pound of cranberries equals a quart of juice.  So if you think you should drink 8 oz (one cup) of juice a day that's a few more than one cranberry.  Oh, and I saw on WebMD that you shouldn't drink cranberry juice if you're taking Warfarin, just so you know. 

Here are the questions Dr. Oz asked:
Do you feel more sluggish than normal?
Do you feel dizzy or wobbly?
Are you forgetful?
Do you experience pins and needles or numbness?
Do you have digestive issues?
Do you have headaches more frequently than usual?

Here is a link to The Dr. Oz Show
http://www.doctoroz.com/

And here is a link to the blog
http://blog.doctoroz.com/directory#topics

He also had a segment on this same day about hair care and they mixed plain clay kitty litter with some other ingredients and painted it into the hair.  I've seen kitty litter mixed with water and used as a face mask and some people really like it.  You have to be really careful that you get the kind with nothing in it but bentonite clay.  No fragrance, deodorizers, etc.  Usually it's the really cheap stuff.  For sure you don't want the kind that clumps.  That's kind of funny to think about, though....  And for sure, I'd go outside and hose it off, or collect the rinse water in a bucket, because I'd think it would clog drains and maybe even create a problem in a septic tank.  If you let it dry on your hair, I don't see being able to brush it out without having a lot of hair breakage as a result, plus it might make a mess of your brush.  See, there just aren't enough details here.  But here's the recipe for the hair treatment:
http://www.doctoroz.com/recipe/mud-hair-mask

While I was dinking around on the Oz Show website, I found a thing on anti-aging by Pina Logiudice, N.D., citing consuming brewer's yeast to make insulin more efficient, citrus (plus peel and pith) for reducing varicose veins, and black currants for thinning hair.  Of course there are supplements, respectively, GTF Chromium, 500 mcg once or twice a day, Herperidin, 50 mg, and Gamma linolinic acid (GLA), 500 mg twice a day.  Now I'm starting to feel uncomfortable, with this on the heels of the cranberry thing.  I'm feeling like they're saying, "yeah, you can get all this good stuff from food," but it's a LOT of food and some of it's kinda nasty.  So, who wouldn't opt for pill form?  It doesn't take very much before you're spending all your money on pills!  Ms. Logiudice's video is here:
 http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/anti-aging-miracles-bottle

Just about every show, Dr. Oz does a quick little blurb at the end, sometimes it's a helpful hint, such as how, if you're breast feeding, weigh the baby before and after so you can tell how much they're getting, things like that.  I thought that was a great idea, in fact.  I tried to breastfeed, and the baby kept falling asleep at the bar, so to speak.  Colic and fussy as hell ALLLLLLL the time.  I gave up, put her on formula.  She didn't like the bottle very well, either, but at least I knew how much she was getting.  Anyway, It was during one of these end-of-the-show blurbs that he mentioned that scientists have discovered a new organ in the body, called the Mesentery.  Here is the article from Times Magazine about that:
http://time.com/4621074/mesentery-organ-human-body/

This reminds me of something else I learned when my daughter had gastric bypass surgery.  There is a layer of fat under the stomach called the Omentum, which, in normal-weight people, is thin like lace and holds things together like the mesentery does.  In cases where there is obesity, the omentum can become filled with fat, be extremely thick and it can be very hard to lose.  Here is more information about the omentum: 
http://www.med-health.net/Omentum.html
I wonder if the omentum is connected to the mesentery??  And that brings me to another question about something I read somewhere about the gut and how, when you are having constant digestive issues, it will form a sort of a "crust" on the inside lining and that this is what is evident when there is a "beer belly" that is firm to the touch.  Looks like the same place where the omentum is, to me.  It appears to hang like an apron and can be firm to the touch. 

There are many things to learn about our bodies, and the awesome miracles that they are.  Being healthy and attaining / maintaining a healthy weight is so much more complicated than just pushing away from the table.  I am still struggling, trying to get below 200 pounds.  I am up, down, up, down.  It's frustrating me.  Beginning to think that I need to focus on being healthy and eating right, and stay off the scales for awhile.

My kefir grains woke up just fine from their long stay in the freezer.  I'm having about a cup of kefir each day with a chopped banana and a spoon of homemade strawberry jam.  It's very much like yogurt that way.  The Kombucha, I'm still not sure about.  I mixed some blackberry juice, from the freezer, with some of the liquid I poured off, and according to information that I had, the extra sugar should be making it fizzy.  Nope.  But it seems to be making another "mushroom".  So.... not sure what's going on there.  At least, so far, no mold.

I hope this gets your wheels turning and gives you some stuff to think about.  Till next time, Rock On...  Hugs xoxoxo


Monday, January 23, 2017

We Got Here From There (Warning: Political)

This post is going to be political, just so you know. I can stand it no longer.

For anyone interested, there is plenty of advice on The Internet for how we can keep our friends that have political beliefs with which we don't agree. It's my opinion that if you know your friend has different political beliefs from you, you probably shouldn't send them emails bragging on your Politician Of Choice (POC). Neither should you be hurling insults at their POC. It has nothing to do with whether you have respect for said POC's or not. It's about whether you have understanding and respect for your friend. We all have our reasons for why we feel the way we do. And this time, more than ANY other time in recent history, people's feelings are running very strong and sharp.

I admit, I have myself to work on, on this one. I have a hard time understanding why anybody who has heard the things that have fallen out of a certain politician's mouth can still think so highly of him. But mostly, I have a hard time understanding, at a time when we have shown clearly that we have the ability to count the vote of each and every voter (AKA: The Popular Vote), why we need The Electoral College. Because, in case you haven't noticed, in the USA we cannot say, “One Person, One Vote”. And I think, considering all, The Electoral College is just a way to cheat us out of our vote.

In our early history, it was very difficult to count the vote. Of course, there were less people IN the US then. And they didn't allow women, people of color, and people who didn't own land, to vote. But it made sense for each state to count their votes and then send their chosen one to vote the choice of the majority. Or did it?

I didn't really understand how all this works and so I decided to do some research. So often I just had to walk away from the computer because I got so confused and mired down in all the Pomp And Circumstance, and thus disgusted and annoyed. It seems like, whenever men band together, they develop all these rules and they write down what their purpose is for gathering together in some formal document and they start fancy traditions that makes the process look more like a game than anything. They've all got to dress alike, whether it's a uniform or suits and ties, whether it's hats with tassels or special aprons, whether it's medals or some ceremonial thing they carry around. They have special speeches and songs they memorize for use at prescribed times and under certain conditions.

On the other hand, when you get a bunch of women together, they sit down and talk, and they decide what ought to be done, and then they get up and go do it. No pomp. No circumstance. No special uniform. Botta Bing.

But anyway.

There are several “weak points” where our election system fails us. The first one is that the rules that say who can run for president are different from state to state. In most states, the candidate must already hold some political office, or he must be an attorney. I think this is an attempt at getting candidates who have some political experience, or who have, at least, been smart enough to pass a tough test on the laws that govern our country, which we call “The Bar Exam”. Unfortunately, there are some states that are less particular and this is how we get doctors, pizza parlor owners, real-estate tycoons and other kinds of rich guys, mixed in. Each potential candidate should be selected more carefully. Don't waste our time and don't bring out The Clown Car.

The next weak point is in how the candidates get narrowed down to one per party. It seems like, to me, it's a little like those contests on “Big Brother”, except that it's not so much their endurance as it is the amount of money they have to draw from that's the major factor. If the candidate runs out of money or sources of it, he drops out. But sometimes, if one turns to the other and says, “I can go on like this forever”, that may make the rest of them drop out, too. What is supposed to happen is that the candidate that will run for office from a particular party is chosen by the members OF that party. However, if all but one have dropped out, that's just moot, now, isn't it? So, in a way, you might say the choice is narrowed to one person per party based on who has the most money.

Are you beginning to see how we got to where we are today?


The next weak point is where logistical thinking can give a candidate an edge. What they do is figure out which states have the most Electoral College votes and they go out and campaign the hell out of those states. And mostly, what a campaign is, is seeing which candidate can figure out what the people want to hear and then spread that all out like vomit on the Tilt-A-Whirl. Apparently, we're not smart enough to see through all that. We're not able to look into their past and see what they stood for BEFORE they decided to run for office. When it's presented to us, we just shrug and let bygones be bygones because they've promised us stuff we want and it's something we want soooooo bad that we'll vote for anyone that says we can have it. What we never seem to learn is that promises are made to be broken. What it all comes down to is, does the candidate have the motivation, the intelligence, the morals, the temperament, if you wish, to be able to perform his or her duties while in office, to make good on their promises, to represent us honorably, and to forge good relationships with the leaders of other countries?

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I don't think we, as a populace, have high enough expectations of men as a species. I mean, we have all these expectations of women. They need to have good morals. They need to know how to “act like a lady”. They need to be deserving of respect. On the other hand, we don't expect much of men. They can be womanizers, or hard drinkers, or cruel and heartless, or selfish and thoughtless, or devoid of manners, or morals, or what we would call “Bitchy” if they were women, and we just roll our eyes and say, “That's a man for you”. Well, What The Hell???? Don't men realize what an INSULT this is to them, that we don't even EXPECT them to be worthy of respect? Are we supposed to just HAND them our respect on a silver platter because they have a lot of money or hold a high office??? And yet, we require a woman to EARN our respect. *Sigh*. The reason why women even have to struggle to hold a status job in corporations in the US always comes down to the fact that most men do not want to work under the supervision or control of a woman. Yet they forget that their first boss was their mother. “They're ruled by their hormones”, they say. “They're too bitchy”, they say. Oh, PUH-leeeeeeeeeeeeze. What a bunch of weenies.

But I digress.

The next weak spot is that, after the votes have been counted, each state has one or more Electoral College voters that then elect the President. This is all well and good for those states where the Electoral College voter is required to vote the same percentage of votes as his or her state voted in their precincts, which is still not One Person, One Vote, but is, apparently, as close as we can get. This is referred to as “Proportional”, and it's not, really, because if there's votes left over during the math process, the candidate who got the majority of the votes gets to have the left-overs. Unfortunately, most states give their Electoral College voters instructions to vote all their votes for whatever the state's MAJORITY was, which is called “Winner Take All”. Here's a link where you can see how many Electoral College votes each state is allowed to have.


And here's a link explaining Proportional vs. Winner Take All.


As you can see, this is where the numbers get manipulated and this is where The Will Of The People starts getting ignored. The Electoral College voters are then instructed to vote the way the numbers are manipulated to show, and if they don't vote the way they're told to vote, they can be fined and I think in some states they are then disqualified and replaced. What I never realized till I started researching this is that all the states want the candidates to come there and campaign because the states want that shot-in-the-arm that the money that's generated by the process brings them, so they want as many Electoral College voters allocated to them as they can get, and they'll do Winner Take All because they know the candidates won't spend much time, if any, campaigning in a state that has few Electoral College votes and then divides them proportionally.

And this is how Hillary lost. This is how Al Gore lost. This is how Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden and Grover Cleveland lost. How many times does this have to happen????

Our Constitution doesn't read, “We The Electoral College”. It reads, “We The People”. We cannot represent ourselves as a true Democracy any other way. We cannot hold our form of government up to other countries as the model to which they should aspire if it is not representing every citizen of our country that makes the effort to vote and BE represented. I heard someone say that Vladimir Putin would be happy to see our Democracy fail. That would only be true if we really HAD a democracy.

And no, lest you be thinking it, I wasn't exactly crazy about Hillary, either. Left with her against one of two or three other possible Republican candidates before they all started dropping off, I'd have voted Republican. It's just that Hillary doesn't quite scare me as spitless as Trump does.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

PS:  Women's Marchers:  Great job.  Classy, except for all the profanity.  But yeah, it's OK for men to be profane, so I guess it ought to be OK for women too.  Especially since Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned.       Hugs

Saturday, January 21, 2017

More Rambling

I'm just going to ramble this time, you know that's a problem for me when I'm trying not to, so let's see how this goes.

I saw on TV Tuesday morning about how birdwatching is becoming THE GREATEST ACTIVITY for America's Millennials.  And truly, I think that's wonderful.  One of the young birdwatchers, binoculars in hand, looked happily into the camera and said it was "like a video game".  Heh.  They say the pendulum swings out from one extreme to the other and we've been in a mindless extreme for much too long, if you ask me.  So I'm all for this change.  It gets them away from all their electronic stuff, out into the fresh air and sunshine and in the presence of other people.  Plus they're not killing anything, real or otherwise.  I think when people sit at a game console and kill all day, it desensitizes them to violence in real life.  Almost like they are granted permission to do it because it's "normal behavior".  But then again, a sense of boredom can set in once something loses it's shock value.  I don't think killing will ever lose its shock value for many of us and as long as we older people are alive, we'll always register and express that.  But there are other things that are no longer shocking.  And once that happens, not only are all the older folks not shocked and repulsed by it, but they're doing it.  My mother was born in 1912.  She had contempt for people who broke the Victorian rules that she lived by and tried to raise her children under, as well.  She was incredibly shocked by the "F" word. It's just a word, for heaven's sake.  It doesn't blaspheme God.  Now, it's used so much, by people young and old, that it's just tiresome.  An interjected, useless, wasted-energy word.  Boring.  Makes people seem undereducated or unintelligent.  Lame, if you will. So I think we older people all need to band together and start doing drugs, alcohol, technology, recreational shopping and sex without love as a public service to our next generation.  The Millennials will look at us and see how lame it is.  They will be motivated to be better than we are.  Maybe then they can live their adult lives the way we tried to teach them to when they were kids, and failed because they thought the way we lived was so uncool.  Oh, but seriously, I don't WANT to do some of that stuff.....

Dr. Oz, on Monday, had a pair of identical twin young women on his show and it was so very sad.  One of them had weighed a little over 600 pounds and the other about 585.  He had footage of how one of them almost died during or immediately after her gastric bypass procedure.  They had weighed 200 pounds when in elementary school and 300 pounds when in high school.  This has got to be what Hell is like.  And sometimes I think that maybe there really IS no such place as Hell, unless it's the tough times during our life on this earth.  Most of us have experienced that, right?  It ended on a hopeful note, as I think they had both lost some of the weight already, but not such that I could see much of a difference yet.  So far yet to go.  I wish them all the best. 

And, y'all might as well know, I'm pretty hacked off at IHOP because of their new commercial.  They show a stack of five fat pancakes smothered in syrup and butter and they say, "Go put on your stretchy pants and come see how many pancakes you can eat".  Just as the advertisers of alcohol say, "Drink Responsibly", the purveyors of carb-rich foods should have to say, "EAT Responsibly", considering that one in three Americans is obese and obesity is a huge health problem in America.  I find this commercial highly offensive.  Anybody who has ever had to lose weight knows that ONE pancake is AT LEAST equal to one slice of bread, sometimes more, and we haven't even considered how much sugar is in all that syrup.  That's a TERRIBLE way to start your day. 

McDonald's has come out with two new sizes of their Big Mac hamburger.  Business Insider did a comparison and they said the new smaller Big Mac is really the same size of a regular hamburger.  Yet they went on to say that it's "hardly filling" and "might be good for a quick snack on the go".  What the hell?  Back in the 1960's, this size hamburger was plenty for most people!  PLUS it came with fries and a drink.  Certain guys with big appetites would order two hamburgers because they'd been out on the hay truck all day or some other strenuous activity.  But NOBODY ever really considered a regular hamburger to be "a snack".  So the Big Mac we all know about has been part of the menu for awhile.  That was bad enough.  Now there's "The Grand Mac" which comes in a box that has "You're Gonna Need Two Hands" printed on the box.  Might be even more truthful if it said "You're Gonna Need A Larger Casket".  And here's something weird: the price difference between a Mac Jr. and a Big Mac is two dollars.  The price difference between a Big Mac and a Grand Mac is only sixty cents.  What the hell!!!!  It makes it look like it's a better value to get a Grand Mac and they know how we all love to get more for our money.  In fact, if you bought two Mac Jr's instead of a Grand Mac, you'd spend about a dollar more.  So save yourself some money, if you MUST have a hamburger, buy a Grand Mac and cut it in half, feed two people the same amount as if you got two Mac Jr's.  If there's just one person to feed, then save your two dollars and get the Mac Jr.  I think really if they priced the Grand two dollars higher than the Big, nobody would buy it.  So they're, like, discounting the bigger size.  Then they can say how well the Grand is selling and how poorly the Jr. is selling and eventually they'll phase out the Jr. because, well, it's just, "not selling".  As for myself, I have become somewhat of a "bread snob" and I find what passes for bread on take-out hamburgers to be rather......  ....slimy.  There are 550 calories, 30 grams of fat and 47 grams of carbs in a Big Mac, by the way.  I haven't been able to find any numbers on the new sizes but I'd bet half again as much for the Grand (775-45-70?) and maybe half the calories, etc., of a Grand (388-23-35?) for a Jr.  Some of those carbs will be the bread, but not THAT much.  So, must be some sugar in that "special sauce". 

Several months ago, my microwave died.  This was a catastrophic thing, because my microwave and oven are built-in appliances, and they are a matched set, together in one unit. 
(This is a picture I found from when we did all that painting and cabinetry in 2010 or 2011.) 

Hubs took the microwave out and temporarily put the microwave we still had from when we lived in The Ponca House in the space that resulted.  I thought I might start thinking about waiting to replace the oven when it died, too, but seriously, I started thinking about that the moment I saw the date on the back of the microwave.

It was 36 years old.  Of course the oven, then, is the same age. 

Yikes.  Lots of improvements have been made in oven technology since then.  I'm sure these were state-of-the-art 36 years ago.  But then, so was I.  Heh.

I have developed a healthy hatred for that oven.  It's small inside.  There are two shelves, but anything baked on the bottom shelf burns on the bottom.  So if I bake bread in this oven, I have to do one pan at a time.  Usually I just take both pans of bread dough to the convection oven that's in the used stove we bought to keep in the garage as a "canning stove".  It is a Whirlpool Gold, and it has worked flawlessly up to now.  It 's easy to use without needing a user's manual.  Appliances that work flawlessly are the best advertisement I know of, don't you agree?  Plus, canning or running the oven in the garage has paid for itself because these functions deliver sooooo many BTUs of heat into the house that it overworks the cooling system.  And I just fell in love with convection baking because it makes the bread rise better. 

I decided I didn't really want a fancy built-in microwave oven this go-round.  They are 'way more expensive than buying a decent brand at Walmart.  And I think, really, since they can leak radiation, they need to be replaced a little oftener than every 36 years or so.  So I decided to spend the money on getting a really good replacement for the oven and Hubs agreed to build in a shelf for the microwave we already had from when we lived at The Ponca House.
He used wood he already had in his "wood stash" and I'll paint and spiff it up the next time I have my gear out.

The oven that I ended up buying was --- wait for it --- a Whirlpool Gold convection.

It feels like it is soooo much larger inside than the old one (it was a GE), though, in fact, it's only about 4" wider.  That's quite a bit considering that it was only an inch wider than the old oven on the outside.  And the the WHOLE DOOR is the window, where the old one just had a bitty window in the middle of the door that I could never see through well enough for it to be of any help, whatsoever, to me.  It took a little shopping to find one that would fit the built-in and in fact Hubs had to trim away half an inch from the vertical trim on the front right and left sides of the cabinet, but he did that in pretty short order.  There is still plenty of extra room between the oven and the inside of the cabinet, and the outsides of the oven don't get hot so I wouldn't worry, even if the fit was tighter. 

Joe came over and did the electric part for us, and I baked bread in it on Tuesday.  I noticed on the reviews for this oven, some people complained about the noise the fan made when it ran and oh good grief, it's not bad at all.  Others complained about a whistling noise and all that is, is the fan moving the air around inside the oven and it's not even as loud as the sounds my dishwasher makes when it's running.  If that's all they have to complain about they should really count their blessings.  No complaints so far from me.  None at all.  And you know I'd tell you if I had any. 

We are all-electric here.  Could have propane if we wanted it, but I don't, because it's expensive, and if you have a leak, it's dangerous.  One of our new neighbors brought in a propane tank, I don't know if their kitchen is gas or if it's just for backup when their electricity goes out.  I never thought I'd like cooking with electric appliances.  One of the things that I had heard was that cooking doesn't stop when you "turn the fire off".  Those coils cool off so quickly that it's really not a problem.  I've also been canning on a ceramic-top stove.  So far that's worked out OK but I would rather can on coils.  It's just that I couldn't find a used stove that had them at the time.  I saved the old cooktop with coils from the kitchen, though, and if something happens to the ceramic top, I can have Hubs and Joe install it in the garage.  My canner was easy to modify for electric canning by buying a "rocker" that lets out the pressure that is beyond what it's set for.  In fact, I wish I'd discovered those 'way long ago.  Would've saved me hours and hours of standing there in front of my canner, watching the gauge and adjusting the heat under the pot. 

We have gotten so we go to the workout center at different times of the day, depending on what we're in the middle of doing or what the weather's like.  While we were there today, somebody had tuned the TV that was over my recumbent bicycle to the HGTV channel and I got to watch a show I hadn't seen before while I went four miles into nowhere.  It was called "Good Bones", and it's about someone buying a real eyesore that's got real possibilities once you get past the crap.  That's what I always look for when I look at a house.  It seems like a lot of people look at the paint colors and what's on the floor and they get turned off or on.  Listen, all that can easily be changed.  They don't seem to notice that there's no yard, or there's a highway right out front, or the rooms are all real little, or there's a horrible place next door with about twenty dogs in the back yard.  These are all things that can NOT be changed.  Neighbors told me that they watched lots of potential buyers come into this house before we did, and turn right around and go out.  Might've been that orange dining room that socked them right in the eye when they first walked in.  Or the ugly carpet, especially where it was stained or otherwise damaged.  Or the Hershey brown walls in the living room.  Those things hit me, for sure, but I knew they could be changed.  And what's up with having this much land, and hardly anything planted on it?  Beats me....

Our "cold snap" is about over for a little while.  The high for the day is expected to be in the 60's for several days, and lows in the 40's for several nights.  I have some sweet potato plants growing in small pots and they have developed those little gnat-looking things.  I think they're called white flies but not sure.  I tried the sticky paper and that didn't do it.  Tried a spray bottle with water, some cooking oil and some dish soap, and that helped but didn't last.  Then I saw a tip about just taking the plants outside and letting them fly off to more interesting things.  This may or may not work.  But I have the sweet potato plants out in the cold frame today and will leave them there till nights start to get below freezing again.  I have some sweet potato cuttings in a glass of water in the kitchen, and they have made roots.  I wanted to find some way to keep plants going for the next year's garden and these are experiments.  Most of these are from little pieces of root that I found in the bed when I dug the bigger potatoes out.  I'm also trying to keep other kinds of potatoes healthy so I can plant them in the spring when it's time.  I've seen so many demonstrations about how they can be held over the winter and none of them have worked for me.  I cannot leave potatoes in the ground under the best of winter weather, because the grubworms are down there.  Waiting.  Grrrrr.  Aldi had a special price on some cute little red, white and blue potatoes.  They were sold for eating but I bought mine with intentions of planting.  Prior to that they had a special on Yukon Gold potatoes so I bought some of them for planting as well.  The prices were better than what I'd have to pay for seed potatoes.  Of course there's that stuff they put on the potatoes to keep them from sprouting, and this works to my benefit because it slows that process down, but doesn't prevent it.

So far they have not sprouted but other potatoes from the grocery store have and I hope I can keep them going till I can plant them.  The grubworm problem is making me think about planting them in big planters, or totes, or bags though. 

I think I mentioned before that this year I'm doing my seedlings differently than in prior years.  I'm still doing Wintersowing for those plants that like a little cold, or that need winter stratification.  I'm not totally finished, but so far I have these seeds sown:

Giant Winter Spinach
Dwarf Blue Curled kale
Green Globe Artichoke
Angel Wings Rose
Canton Bok
Cos Romaine
Wading Pool Romaine
Troutback Lettuce
Jericho Lettuce
Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach
Orach, Rose and Aurora
Kale, Blue Vates
Spigarello Liscia
Petunias
Virginia Mountain Mint
Orange Scented Thyme
Root Beer Hyssop
Fireweed 
Nodding Onion
Joseph's Coat Amaranth
Siberian Wallflower
But what is different this year is that I'm "mass sowing" many of the seeds that are warmth-lovers.

Artichoke, Green Globe Improved
Roselle
Brussels Sprouts, Roodnerf
Cabbage, Copenhagen Market
Tomatoes:
Cherokee Purple
Thessaloniki
Merveille
Striped German
Rutger's Select
German Giant
Bush Beefsteak
Purple Smudge
Yellow Cherry

 
I use those Folgers containers to set the plants on and thus get them closer to the light.  It's just faster and easier than adjusting the height of the lamp, though that was the way the plant stand was engineered.  Having a bit of a problem, since Folgers has been making their "3 Pound Canister" smaller and smaller.  I find now I have them in three different heights.  (And they think we don't notice.  *smirk*)
 
I'm not finished, but ran out of milk jugs in which to Wintersow, and waiting on more time to pass before I start some of the warm-weather seeds.  We have so many voracious birds that I think it's not wise to scatter seeds without putting some kind of cover over them.
 

I'm not quite sure exactly what this bird IS (is that a red spot on the back of its head, and a black bow-tie on its throat?  Could they be mates to those Dickcissels that have yellow bellies?), but they, and the crows, and many other bird varieties are out in huge numbers and they're in seed-eating mode.  They land together and it's kind of a treat to watch how they take flight in unison when they're startled.  It's like choreography.  As long as they eat weed seeds, I'm happy.  Otherwise, not so much.  They poop whenever they fly off, so I'm getting free fertilizer and probably some undigested "seed gifts" from where they were before they came here.  That could be good, could be bad.  I cast the last of my Crimson Clover along the outside of The Rock Wall during the fall and I can only hope that the seeds got rained in well enough so as not to be a bird attractant.  Time will tell.  I have yet to cast my poppy seed.  I would really like to get some perennial poppies started, I thought I had some but they did not come back up last spring.  So, not sure what happened.  My Hopi Red Dye Amaranth always flings out so many seed that I have found plenty of new plants every spring.  Not always where I want them, but oh, well.  Same for Morning Glories, Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate, Calendula, Dame's Rocket, Four O'Clocks, Jasmine Tobacco, Datura Moonflower, Hollyhock, Marigolds and Red Russian Kale.  I don't think my Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth made any seed so I'll try again to get that started.  Amaranth just does not like to come up if it's being watched, apparently.  I've been trying to get Love Lies Bleeding and Golden Giant to grow for years without much success.  Amaranth, as a grain, is very high in protein and I love how shiny black the seeds are.  The leaves can be eaten as a vegetable and I'm going to do that this spring.  But Hubs will back off from it, I'm sure.  This is the first winter for my rhubarb plants.  They made it fine through the summer in afternoon shade.  I sure hope to see them again in spring.
 

Well, this is now the day after Inauguration Day and we have a new president in The White House.  I have to say that it's been very hard to be a Democrat lately.  I may have become over-sensitive but I've found myself trying very hard to be careful what I say.  In a country where one is used to having free speech, this is very difficult.  Yet still all Democrats have been lumped into one category as a bunch of mindless sore losers.  Of course I know, and you know, there would've been mindless sore losers in the Republican camp had the election gone the other way.  The other side of "mindless sore losers" is "mindless ungracious winners".  And if you grew up under Victorian rules as I did, you know very well what that is and how to spot it when it happens.  It has much to do with getting in the face of the losers, gloating, and goading, and yes, even bullying.  There are lots of those in both camps, as well.  I cannot say that I was surprised by, and unexpectedly proud of, Barack and Michelle for the way they conducted themselves during the "transfer of power", because I expected nothing less from them.  Bless their gracious hearts.  They have truly lived a motto that I believe I heard Michelle say was advice given to her by Laura Bush (but I could've gotten that wrong -- not sure), which is, "When they go low, we go high".  Wherever it originated, it is good advice for all of us.

I would say that most of the people that came to fight and tear things up during the inauguration did not really care, one way or the other, WHO was being inaugurated.  It's just that they thought they had an excuse.  Isn't THAT sad.  If the election had gone the other way, we probably would've seen many of those same faces out there.  Those people who chose not to attend the inauguration had every right to do so, just as both Bush presidents, the losing candidate, Mitt Romney, and plenty of others, did when Obama was inaugurated.  We "THINKING Americans" must go on.  We must set the bar for The Mindless Ones on both sides.  We stand, we wait, we watch, we hope.  We pray, and ask for prayer across the world, that only good will come out of this.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

May you all be blessed.  May you know good health, safety, peace, love, and joy.  Hugs xoxoxo

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Watching Dr. Oz And Rocking On...

Dr. Oz had a good show on January 18.  It was about the liver.

I think I had some information about the liver on my last post about weight loss, and how it, along with the pancreas, may or may not process the sugar and fat that you eat, depending on how healthy it is and whether it has been damaged by poor eating habits.  So if you've been reading right along, you're about on the same page that I was on the 18th. 

He presented Kristin Kirkpatrick to us on that day.  She's written a book called "Skinny Liver" and Dr. Oz apparently quoted Dr. Mark Hyman, who has been on Dr. Oz's show recently, and who was one of the reviewers of this book, in saying that Fatty Liver Disease, caused by too much sugar and fat, is a silent epidemic in America, affecting some 30% of our population.  I found this interesting because that's the same percentage of Americans who are obese.  Dr. Oz said that the liver is our biggest organ, and is the only organ that can regenerate.  Its job is to reduce inflammation, break down and/or convert sugars, alcohol, and fats.  Red flags are mostly silent till you're at the point of no return, at which time tests will show elevated liver enzymes.  Then, lucky you, you can have a liver ultrasound and/or a liver biopsy.

I mentioned earlier how doctors tend to treat our symptoms when they should be looking at the underlying cause.  And I think the liver is a good place to start, whether you are having a problem or not, because it is SO important to our good health.  And you know, if you're having trouble with arthritis, or dry eye, or any other inflammation-induced conditions, or if you're overweight, it's a pretty safe bet your liver isn't working as well as it should.

Dr. Oz's mention of a "flush out" for the liver seemed pretty vague to me, maybe my brain was busy processing something else at the time, not sure.  About all I got from that is that you should have, each day, eight glasses of water with lemon juice in it.  Questions that occurred to me were, "How much lemon juice in each glass?"  "How many ounces of water in the glass?"  "With food or not?"  He made no mention of using vinegar in place of the lemon but I think that it would work.  However, I think first thing in the morning and then, if you want to, again before bedtime, is enough of that.  I drink green tea all the rest of the day and I think that's plenty of liquids.  You can, actually, drink TOO MUCH water, overwork your kidneys, flush out all the electrolytes from the blood, and, in fact, die.  He also said, have probiotics and dark berries for breakfast, protein and dandelion greens for lunch, lean protein and green vegetables for dinner.  Beets, he said, are a super liver food because they are so high in choline.  Choline helps with fat metabolism and improves sleep.  We all know that the important repair work that's done in our body is done when we sleep.  So.  Then he started talking about Matcha Green Tea and had a woman of Japanese descent there to show how to make it.  I kind of glazed over on the green tea, since he specified that it should be "from Japan, and ceremonial grade".  Well, I know what that translates out to: expensive.  And that's the trouble with a lot of things Dr. Oz recommends.  It's almost like, if you don't have a big bank account, you're not going to be able to have good health because you won't be able to afford to buy the foods and products that are required.  The woman said that "Matcha" means "powder".  And this tea WAS in a fine powder.  The tea was brewed with hot, not boiling water, and it was whisked with special bamboo whisks till it was frothy.  It was not strained as tea usually is.  They sipped some, and made a smoothie with it, but I'm sure the traditional way to consume it is just to drink it.  I've done a little research on the Internet about this and some have said that Matcha tea is healthier for you than tea leaves only because you are consuming the leaves.  So, why couldn't you buy a good-quality green tea and whir it around in the blender or a coffee bean grinder till it was in a powder, and go from there?  And what's up with the whisking when you could just dump it into the blender?  Oz said something about how it MUST be emerald green, not tan or brown, once it's prepared, and that tea that was too old, or poorly stored, or brewed with boiling water, would not have the catechins that Japanese ceremonial Matcha green tea has.  What are catechins, I wondered??  Apparently water-soluble flavonoids and antioxidants that WebMD says is in ALL tea, and the longer you brew the tea, the stronger they are.  This morning when I brewed my Gunpowder Green Tea, I looked at those tea leaves and I thought how maybe I ought to be saving them and putting them in my salad, or whirring them around in the blender with some other stuff and making a smoothie.  You know what my opinion is.  I believe God put everything we need in all parts of the world.  It's just when we migrated, we didn't know what we could use instead of the stuff we were used to, or where it grew.  So when I saw the green color of Matcha, I thought immediately of wheatgrass.  Apparently other people have, too, because I found on the internet where someone asked about a comparison between green tea and wheat grass, and maybe you'll find that as interesting as I did.

https://www.quora.com/Which-is-a-healthier-drink-between-Green-tea-Wheat-grass

Be sure to read the comments, too.  It just sounds to me like it's all about the chlorophyll.  That would explain why leafy greens are so good for us.  But wait!  LiveStrong says there are even more things high in catechins: dark-colored berries and grapes, dark chocolate, and young, raw fava beans.  I also wondered if they're in that white fuzzy lining that's in the fava bean pod, but I don't know that anyone's ever asked that question of anyone who would know.  Inquiring Minds Want To Know!!  Heh. 

It's like I said before: Dr. Oz is good to watch, but let him give you ideas, and send you on research "journeys" rather than dictate to you what expensive product to buy when you might have something that does the same thing either already in your pantry or growing between the cracks of your back yard sidewalk. 

Dr. Oz's comments might go a long way towards giving sales of canned beets a shot in the arm, but it's not fair to single out one thing because there are lots of other foods that contain choline.  Here's additional information, be sure to read the comments.
http://blog.radiantlifecatalog.com/bid/63690/5-Ways-to-Get-More-Choline-in-Your-Diet-Secret-of-Radiant-Living
I really like beets so it's not at all hard to get me to eat them.  But they have a pretty high sugar content. 

Dandelion greens are so good for the liver because they are what is referred to as "bitters".  They can be easily found in America though you do have to make sure you harvest them from areas that are not contaminated with chemical fertilizers or weed killers, or auto exhaust fumes.  They are a pain to pick unless you use a long-handled hoe with the blade sharpened, and just cut the plant off at ground level.  Once you get your harvest inside, you can strip off the leaves and flowers.  Don't eat the stems.  You don't want to try to dig the plant up, that's hard to do but I've done it both when intending to and when not.  If you want the plant to come back up from the root for another picking, you want to leave the root undisturbed.  Bitters used to be a part of the evening meal for our ancestors, and they knew it was "for the liver".  How people knew that they were so good for us is testament to my belief that there was a time when people were a lot smarter about food and how it was good for us and we have just "dumbed down" since then, mostly because of doctors who literally rolled in the floor if you said you were treating a health problem WITH FOOD.  You can find out a lot about bitters with just a query.  I found these two.  I didn't like the pop-ups that I had to "X" out of before I could see the content, but the content was very good.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/why-bitter-foods-are-good-for-the-body/

http://beforeitsnews.com/health/2012/08/17-bitter-foods-for-cleansing-2444780.html

And that brings me to something that was mentioned towards the end of the show. You can get the bitter "bloom" off grapes by sprinkling them with baking soda or with cornstarch and then rinsing well. This is the stuff that's also in the skin of Aronia berries called "tannins" and they are in teas and other things which play a part in the role of antioxidants and liver cleansers.  It's a byproduct of wine that collects in wine barrels.  This gets sold as Cream of Tartar and we use it when we want our whipped eggwhites to hold their peaks.  So while I do rinse off my grapes, and sometimes I spritz with vinegar and then rinse if I'm concerned about whether the water rinse is good enough, I wouldn't sprinkle them with baking soda or cornstarch.  There IS such a thing as TOO clean.

I think you will remember, if you come here regularly, that I found out the Kombucha SCOBY is edible and I wanted to be sure to tell you how my experiment went.  I took out my oldest SCOBY, which was kind of a fat one, and sliced it thinly.  That's better done with a very sharp knife or maybe even scissors.  Then I stored these slices in a jar with some Kombucha to cover, and kept the jar, covered, on my kitchen counter. 

Yesterday I had missed breakfast and so I decided to make a smoothie.  I put several SCOBY slices in the blender with a tablespoon of freshly-ground golden flax seeds, a cut-up frozen banana, a cup of water, one scoop of 100% whey protein (it's artificially sweetened and flavored "vanilla cream"  -- kind of goes against my quest for "real food", I suspect, but anyway....) and about half a cup of small ice cubes or crushed ice.  I really whirred that around, because I wanted the SCOBY to be thoroughly processed.  I noticed the SCOBY had a nice light grapefruity-floral scent.  And just a touch of sweetness, probably from the new tea I'd put in a day or two earlier.  Well, it became a very pleasant drink, about the consistency of cream, and I enjoyed it because of that and also because I knew I was doing something good for my liver and other inner workings.  No chunks, by the way.  Well, I didn't die last night, or have any bad experiences at all, so today, I made another one.  This time I left out the banana and put in a tablespoon of cocoa.

I liked the banana one better.  This one felt like it was missing something and I can't quite put my finger on what it was....  ...maybe the banana?

Oh, and by the way, I saw a blender review that was done by one of the women from Cook's Country.  She and the others on the show had rated Vitamix first, then Ninja, and all the others they put in one category and said they were just so-so.  I got a Vitamix at an estate sale once, and I think they are highly over-rated.  SOOOO noisy!  But I swore I could hear my electric meter spinning wildly outside in spite of the noise.  Considering what you have to pay for a new one, I say, "Meh....".  I've never had a Ninja but I've read reviews that say they break really easy.  My blender is a 14-speed Oster and it does everything I expect it to.  Plus the base that screws into the tempered glass pitcher also fits on a canning jar.  Very, very handy for grinding herbs and spices right in the jars they'll be stored in, and doing other small, but messy, jobs.  Osters are not cheap, but they're not anywhere near as expensive as the Vitamix is.  I would not have a blender that had a plastic pitcher, either.  Just my 2 cents.  I bought my Oster at Walmart, spent just over $40.  Then, a few months later, found one at a garage sale for $3.  What the hell.  I might need another blade.  Or another glass pitcher.  So I bought it.  If it's still on the shelf when my heirs clear out the house, they can sell it at a garage sale and probably make a profit.  Which is what I did with the Vitamix I had.

So far, I think the things I'm doing are helping.  I was at 206, the first week of January, and then I jumped up to 211 in just one week after trying Tim Tebow's high fat diet.  I'm kind of glad it didn't work because I didn't enjoy eating fatty things at all.  So this morning, 208.  Another thing is that since November I've been being better about going to the workout center, and while I'm there I do mostly bicycle and walking.  That's different muscles, and bigger ones, than what gets exercised when I work in the garden.  So could be I'm building muscle.  It's hard to know.  But I think I'm on the right track if I just remember that calories still DO count and it doesn't matter how healthy what I eat is, if I'm eating more calories than I burn.

I heard on TV today, several times, of course, because that's what happens when you watch more than an hour of news, they just keep running the same stuff past you for as long as you're willing to sit there.  They are good actors because they can pretend it's new each time they say it.  Oh, I lost my train of thought.....  What I heard was if you sit a lot your cells will age faster....  Something about how you'll be, at the cellular level, eight years older than someone that's not sitting all the time.  Here's a link:
http://time.com/4637898/sitting-aging-sedentary/

Sometimes I'm not sure where they come up with all this stuff and I wonder how it is they were able to hit upon this eight year thing.  Somebody said, 'way back in the 60's, that by the time seven years pass, every cell in your body has replaced itself, so in a way, you're a whole new you.  Maybe this has something to do with why marriages go to hell about every seven years, but I don't know how that would work, actually.  When they did this study, did they let the person ever get out of their chair or did they make them sit there without a break, that's what I want to know.  Because I get up and go upstairs or outside, or up three steps to the kitchen to fill my cup or down three steps to the bathroom, and I have to stand up to make the ending meal, sometimes down three steps to the pantry and go out to the garden to bury the compost and at the end of the day I climb ten steps to have my bath and climb in the bed.  If I had to sit in one place for twelve hours it'd make me so jittery I'd be making crazy cells. 

Some places where people typically sit at a desk all day are installing taller desks so the employees have to stand in place at their desks and I don't think this is quite the answer, because it can lead to foot and knee problems.  Hubs was a welder and he stood up all the time.  His feet would hurt a lot.  Some employers actually install treadmills where their people walk while they're working and this is OK if they are the type of people who are good at multi-tasking.  But not everyone is.  I am, usually, but not sure I could write and walk at the same time.  I sat at a desk most of my working life, and I had a lot of trouble with my feet and legs swelling all through my career, and with my back for about the last 7 or 8 years. I'd go to the fitness center and walk on the treadmill on the lunch hour and then I developed plantar fasciitis.  NOT FUN.  But the process of making a living does take its toll on our health.  It's been said, when we're young, we spend our health to make money, and then when we're old, we spend that money to try to get back our health. 

So they say you have to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to counteract this cellular aging.  There must be a point at which it's too much.  When I was young, I knew a few old people who walked with canes because of knee or hip problems but it wasn't practically half the population, like it seems to be if you go by the numbers of people who have joints replaced now.  I think you really CAN wear out your joints if you do too much.  Back in those days, though, adults walked to get somewhere.  If they saw someone they knew, they stopped to talk.  And if they ran, they were being chased.

They've got those big inflatable balls you can sit on at your desk now, so you'll expend some energy trying to keep your balance.  I heard this is sometimes used in schools for ADD kids and helps them pay attention better.  I think my ADD kid would've been rolling herself all over the classroom, and out into the hall, trying to stand on it, then falling off and needing first aid, and oh, most anything else in the realm of possibilities, until it would get lost somehow, somewhere. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Further Data, Thoughts and Update On Weight Loss

Since my last post on weight loss and how fat is burned, I have learned some additional things and found some additional resources, so I thought I'd share some of that here. (Plus I'm going to ramble on and on, you know me.)

I've started drinking a glass of filtered water with a tablespoon of good apple cider vinegar every morning.  Here's a YouTube done by Dr. Josh Axe about how good it is for you.  It's not expensive so what have you got to lose?  But get the good stuff that comes in a glass bottle.  Walmart has it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zib2y5sPgI0
Here's another:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_37DCHEE8k
and be sure to watch this one, which is about drug interactions with vinegar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhWleU0l5jM

I made this small change in my diet about a month ago.  I also started being better about taking vitamins.  Dr. Jeff has been nagging me about taking Ocuvite with Lutein for my eyes.  So, OK, I got some of those.  And a bottle of Centrum Silver.  And since Dr. Oz said that the thing that puts out inflammation in the body is fish oil, I started at the same time taking two enteric capsules of that a day.  Those are almost gone and CVS had a "buy one, get one free" sale on their brand of MegaReds that have Astaxanthin in it.  Don't ask me how to pronounce it.  This is krill oil, Dr. Mercola says it's more effective than fish oil.  Apparently the Astaxanthin component gives it a longer shelf life.  Prior to making these changes, I had noticed that I was finding an awful lot of hair in my hairbrush every day.  I used to have very thick hair, which was a good thing because my hair is also very fine.  Anyway, that's what every beautician I've ever gone to has told me.  One time, LOL, I got an appointment with a new girl and I was wearing a long, rather straight cut at the time.  I went in there after having washed my hair and the girl just started running her fingers through my almost-dry hair and saying things like, "Oh, this feeeeels sooooo good!"  I was in fact starting to feel a little creepy and get a little scared.  But then she invited the others to come and feel my hair and they did and then somehow it just got funny and we all laughed till I had to get up and go pee.  But anyway, when I start losing hair, it's a scary thing because if it thins out, I start to be able to see my scalp!!  During the last couple of weeks, I've noticed I'm not losing hair anymore.  Well, maybe it's the vitamins.  Maybe it's the vinegar.  Or maybe it was just my time to shed, and it's over now.  I don't know.  But I feel like those were healthy choices for me to make.  It won't be hard to make them a part of my life.  And it keeps Dr. Jeff from being hacked off at me so what the hell. 

It is my strong belief that if you want to change your life, you start with little changes.  As each change becomes second-nature to you, you add another. 

Of course many of you know that during January, Dr. Mehmet Oz has been interviewing different people on their methods of fat loss and better health and he has had some interesting people on.  On the last post I mentioned Tim Tebow, whom he had on one day during the first week of January.  When I watch Dr. Oz's show, I have to remind myself that what he is doing is offering us resources for further research.  Sometimes, after I've looked into some of the ideas he presents, I decide they are just not for me and the way I live my life.  Other times, it leads me to other ideas as I research it.  On any given day, he might be featuring someone who completely contradicts what was said by someone he interviewed the day before, so it's hard to know exactly where it is Dr. Oz stands.  I've thought about this a lot, and what stands out is that we're all different, so something that works for some of us might not work for others.  I fully believe that God put everything that we need to be healthy, on this earth.  The problem is that over the generations, many of us have migrated away from it.  There's also the possibility that people of one ethnic group might require certain things for good health that others don't, and we have intermixed so much that we don't even really know WHO we are or WHERE we're from. 

Whether it is one's heritage or a physical issue such as losing weight, or anything, really, where there are several options available, I think it's important to consider thoughtfully whatever is presented, with an open mind.  I'm always griping about how I think no one cares about people who are prone to overweight and yeah, I still think there are people and corporations who take advantage of us and our plight and do us more damage than good.  But if you look around, there are many things about obesity that are being learned, and I, for one, have just been floored at some of the things they are finding out. 

This morning, for example, as I wrote the previous paragraphs, I was reminded that I had some interest in genomic testing that is offered by "23 And Me".  Ancestry has been doing DNA testing for several years now but I don't think it offers all the same information as 23 And Me does.  I've done a little research on this and it seems like most people think they get more for their money with 23 And Me.  Ancestry will provide all the services 23 And Me does, but some of them are in "add-ons" that cost extra, and you might get additional stuff for that extra money, such as a year's membership and access to all their stored information such as census and other people's family tree data and so on.  This might be the better value if you want to also do some genealogy research.

I've had membership to Ancestry before and I've done years and years of research so I already have a great deal of information collected from their records.  The last time I had membership, I became very frustrated with the lack of accuracy in other people's records.  So many people just linking themselves to anyone else's data that they can find, capturing pictures submitted by someone else, who got them from someone else, and somewhere along the way some of them got mis-identified.  This sort of thing just develops a life of it's own, where people start thinking it's accurate because they see it in so many places.  And that's just nearly impossible to stamp out once it starts growing. 

But there would be several possible advantages to having genomic testing done.  It might fill in some blanks in my research.  Those of you that have read my post about my research on who my grandmother's father REALLY was, know that the information I have is handed down and there's recorded information that makes it look like what I was told was true (and why would anyone make that sort of thing up...), but there are some unanswered questions involved.  If DNA testing found a connection to people descended from this man's known descendants, that would be all the proof I'd need, one way or another.  Even the information about what countries my ancestors came from might provide a clue, as the man in question had an Irish surname.  I admit, I'm really curious.

I am the mother of an adopted adult child whose "sperm donor", a man who denied parentage before and after this child's birth, now finds himself in old age and without any family members who will have anything to do with him, due to some bad behavior and poor choices in his past.  So he has made an attempt in recent years to "bond" with my son.  My son is a good man, a Christian, and so he has been torn as to whether he wants to get involved or not, because, mostly we just all wish this man was "a better man", if you know what I mean, and his motives are suspect, seeing as how my son has told me that all this man wants to talk about is me, and the things he has said to my son about me have not been very flattering or accurate.  I think he's trying to make himself look like "the better parental choice".  But my son knows me very well, and he is comfortable with being able to ask me anything and he knows that I will be as honest with him as I know how to be.  Plus he has his own memories and all of his half-siblings on his biological mother's side are older than him and some of them have told him their memories.  Allowing him, early on, to catch this man in a lie without my being involved in it.  His half-siblings love me and I love them as I loved their mother when she was alive.  Some people who are adopted have a need to know where they come from, and I certainly can understand that.  So I would love for my son to have proof, one way or another, of whether he carries this man's DNA, if he wants it.  This man is my blood relative, so if my son turns out to be related to some of the same people I am, then that is the only pathway.  And no, my son does not look anything like this man or me or any member of our family.  He looks very much like his biological mother and his half-sibs.  He has been my son since he was five months old and is now "on the back-side of 40".  You'd think if there was any glimmer of a similarity to me or my family, I would've seen it by now. 

I look too much like my dad's side of the family for there to be any doubt.  Now that I'm older, I look in the mirror and see my mother.  My new driver's license picture looks like HER mother.  Hubs is the same way.  Sometimes, I can see his dad in his face.  In his body type and the way he walks.  Other times, I see his mother.  And I think, for most of us, this is true.  And yeah, I do hope my son is not biologically related to me.  My family carries genes for bi-polar and depression.

I understand, also, that certain cancer treatment centers are doing genomic analysis on their patients because it gives them clues as to how best to fight their cancer.  If that's possible then there might be many other types of genetic information available that could be shared with our doctors so that they could help us have better health, in general.  23AndMe reveals traits and what diseases you might carry, from what I understand from some YouTube videos I've watched.  And they both allow you to download your raw data, which might save a lot of time if you needed medical treatment that required that information later on.

On the other hand, there are those who fear that genomic testing is merely a ruse for the government to collect our DNA information.  I can't think why this would be useful to our government, but if it is, it's kind of rude to expect us to pay for it, wouldn't you think?  Although I understand the cost HAS gone down dramatically from what it was at first.  So I'm still trying to decide whether I want to do it, and whether I should do it through Ancestry or 23AndMe.  I talked to my son, and he told me he probably won't be interested in it because he doesn't really feel like he needs to know.  But I would still like to have my information "out there" so that if he ever changed his mind, he could still do it. 

You might be interested in this.  It's called "The Nine Months That Made You".  It's here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g9HUtT3baw

It's about a doctor, David Barker, who claims that low birth weight is related to insulin resistance, osteoporosis, heart disease and other diseases in later life.  The Barker Theory.  It seems that babies with low birth weights have as much adiposal fat (brown fat) as babies with higher birth weights.  They have less white fat, though.  During a study that was done in India, they started calling these low birth-weight babies "thin-fat babies". 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I had a comment on my last weight-loss post recommending a book called "The Secret Life Of Fat" by Sylvia Tara.  I went on Amazon to read the reviews and noticed there are other resources offered in the "what others who viewed this item also looked at" category.  All this led me to more curiosity about white fat / brown fat and how they work, so after I read a review where the person said he was working on "activating his brown fat", I wondered how the hell you do that.  So I went on YouTube and did a search on "how to activate brown fat".  That led to some interesting choices.  I'll leave that up to you to research, but I would caution those who might latch onto the idea of going out in the cold and exercising in order to activate their brown fat to keep in mind that when your body gets TOO cold you can go into hypothermia and especially if you're in poor health or older than 65 or so you're more sensitive to it.  There have been instances of people dying from heart attacks and such if they are within the ages that are referred to as "elderly", and simply trying to live with less warmth in their homes, such as when they can't afford to pay a high heating bill, etc.  I don't like to be cold and I get cold quite easily.  Once I'm cold, it's really hard for me to warm up.  So I think I'm best being careful about doing things such as going out for walks in freezing weather or taking cold showers, etc. I am led to the opinion that I was pretty much on the right track in not eating processed foods AKA "empty calories", and now I may have set myself back by tinkering with Tim Tebow's methods, which I mentioned on the last weight-loss post I published.  

Tim Tebow's methods don't do anything good for me because a) he's a guy, and we all know they lose weight better, faster and more efficiently than we do.  It's because women have to carry the fetus and so they have a lot more stuff going on to protect them and their fetus or lack of one.  This is why women who run every day have more trouble conceiving.  Their bodies think they're being chased by predators.  It's pretty much a waste of time for nature to allow a woman that's being chased to make a baby.  The process will slow the woman down and make her easier to catch.  Plus, you don't want to be bringing a baby into that kind of situation.  All that said, you'd think once we go through menopause, there wouldn't be the need for all those bells and whistles and maybe we could lose weight easier.  But, NOOOOOO.  It gets even worse.  What the hell???  Maybe it's because predators will like us better if we're fat, thus catching us and sparing the women of child-bearing age.  That's just my guess so let's don't get paranoid or anything.

......And b) Tim Tebow spends a lot of time doing "fitness training".  So he's able to burn off all that extra fat he's consuming in order to open the gates to the stored fat.  Yes, I could throw myself into that.  I have before.  But now, as then, I wouldn't be able to do that as a way of life.  I remember how I used to dread going to the gym.  I'd sigh and say, "I'll just put one foot in front of the other, and I'll get through it one more time".  You know, I'm not sure it's worth it to do things that'll help me live longer if I hate every moment that I'm doing them.  I tried to get addicted to the gym.  But it didn't happen.  Plus there was that sleazy guy that came to the workout center sometimes, in an overcoat, and he'd position himself where he could watch the women while they worked out.  ~~ shiver ~~ 

So now I have almost come full circle about how best to get myself off this plateau I'm on.  And yes, I did end up eating more one day (though not intentionally), which they say sometimes will reset things, and I paid the price in a hung-over feeling the next day and a bad case of bloat.  I gained a pound that I've been keeping off since July, overnight.  It's back down now, but not into "new territory pounds" and I still feel kind of draggy. 

One of the YouTubes about vinegar was done by Dr. Eric Berg, and he explained why it works so well that I was just really impressed, so I went to his YouTube channel.  Lots of information there.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3w193M5tYPJqF0Hi-7U-2g

One of his videos is about how Insulin Resistance happens.  It seems, if I have this right, that the liver and the pancreas are the "middlemen" for the handling of sugar and other carbs.  The pancreas works while you are eating and the liver works when you aren't.  If you overwhelm either or both, they just up and quit.  So it's important to keep your liver and pancreas in good shape.  And what does that?  Probiotics. 

I find it strange that most of the doctors that know a lot about alternative healthcare are chiropractors, or in some field other than MD.  I wonder why that is.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that their licenses do not allow them to write prescriptions and so they are not tied to the drug industry.  So they search for other answers to problems.  We all know, don't we, that many of the maladies that give us the most trouble are the symptoms of something else.  Doctors treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause.  Inflammation is one of those problems that creates a wide array of symptoms, such as insulin resistance, arthritis and even dry eye.  One of the big causes of inflammation in the body is stress.  The fact that stress is hard on your body is not new information to me.  They were saying that at work in the 1980's.  But how is it possible to eliminate stress from your life??  All that stress causes your body to make a certain hormone and that is what Cortisol is.  They were pushing the use of meditation and that's all well and good, but when you open your eyes and quit saying "Ohmmmm", your damned problems, and the people that drive you nuts, are still there.

I remember the 1980's well.  Hubs and I were both working 40 hours a week.  We had young teenagers at home.  I was trying to go to college at night so that I could get a better job and be able to afford to send my teenagers to college when it came time.  My job during the day was very busy and demanding.  My parents were still alive and they thought they were being neglected and put on a big guilt trip if they didn't see me Every. Single. Weekend.  And Hubs and I weren't getting along very well because we were stressed out by all of the above.  To say that my back was against the wall would be an understatement.  It's not like you can just pack a bag, jump in the car and drive off from that, but don't think I didn't think about it.  A LOT.  If your life has ended up like that, what can you do?  No matter what it is, everything's dumped in your lap.  And when you can't make everything OK again, it's because you're a bad (daughter / wife / mother / employee / student -- take your pick).  So the stress causes your body to make a hormone called Cortisol and everything you eat gets stored as fat.  Then you get even more stressed because your whole family thinks you're a glutton.

I remember the first time I heard about Cortisol and Insulin Resistance, it was a woman in a commercial for a product called "Relacor".  I just rolled my eyes and said, "What NEXT?"  Well, I shouldn't have done that, because it seems that Cortisol and Insulin Resistance are real things.  Not sure about the "Relacor", though.

So I go to Google and ask, "How to Stop Making Cortisol".  Some of the things I find are, drink tea, not coffee.  Laugh more.  Smile more.  Have friendships.  Avoid people that drive you nuts or drag you down.  Sleep well.  Eliminate processed foods.  Reduce consumption of sugar.  Dance, do Zumba, learn Tai Chi, anything that involves movement of the body that you enjoy.  Other advice was to do things to build up your liver and improve the fauna and flora in your gut, which involves probiotics. 

Dr. Oz had a show about probiotics recently, which reminded me that I have Kefir grains stored in my freezer.  I got the little jar out and looked at the date on the lid, it was 2010.  So I was not sure they would revive.  I heated about a cup of whole milk to kill any unwanted bacteria that might be in it and dropped the frozen Kefir grains into it after it cooled.  That was three days ago, and I think everything's OK.  It smells like buttermilk and has thickened just fine. 



Of course if you can't get Kefir grains you can buy yogurt made with live cultures and Dr. Oz is careful to specify Greek yogurt but I find he gets a little too specific sometimes.  I don't know why any yogurt wouldn't be ok as long as it says on the package it's made with live cultures.  Sauerkraut is probiotic but it's so salty.  Anything that's fermented, it seems, is good.  No mention is ever made of buttermilk or cottage cheese.  And they don't mention alcoholic beverages, either.

Dr. Oz had some of the audience try several kinds of food that were made with probiotics added.  One, in particular, was a chocolate bar.  Dr. Oz liked that best and so did the people from his audience.  They have them on Amazon here
https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B01DC8GCDK/ref=acr_search_see_all?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=avp_only_reviews&showViewpoints=1
and the reviews are pretty good. 

Lots of people recommend drinking Kombucha tea.  Here's something by Dr. Axe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MowuMSwZkqg

I still have Kombucha mother in a jar in the pantry, it has been there for years.  I guess it's time to make some tea and see if I can revive it, as well.


It smells and looks OK, too.  I think I only had one SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), maybe two, when I put it away and forgot about it.  Probably a good thing to get it out and see if I can revive it and find people to share the extras with, then if I decide not to make more Kombucha maybe I can just store it away again.  I had a terrible time finding a source when I was trying to get my first SCOBY.  They say you can buy a bottle of unflavored Kombucha at a health food store, and store the bottle away, and that it will develop it's own SCOBY after some time has passed.

There are at least ten SCOBYs in this jar.  Maybe even twenty because the ones up top are thin.  Yikes.  I looked for advice about how best to use all those extra SCOBYs, and guess what, they are edible, though most people found them not very appetizing.  Some people were slicing them and adding to salads.  Others were slicing and dehydrating them and rolling them in honey and chopped nuts and they said their kids were eating them up.  Some suggested cutting the scoby in small pieces and adding a little bit to each smoothie they made.  But the thought occurs, why couldn't you make a chocolate bar?  Chop it up, add walnuts, shredded coconut, maybe some flaxseed meal, and then dip in dark semi-sweet chocolate??  Not sure about the dehydration thing.  Seems like the heat might kill all that good bacteria.

If you are interested in learning more about Kombucha, you might watch Jon Kohler on this YouTube where he goes to a Kombucha factory.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYnpjQQ6WtU


Well, that's about it for this time.  I hope this hasn't been so disorganized and wonky that it's hard to follow.  My brain's kind of in overload today.  Our ice storm is over, warmer weather on it's way.  No problems here.  Didn't even lose power this time.  Praise God and PSO.  Hugs xoxoxo

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rants And Rambles

We've had a bit of an ice storm here, not nearly as bad as what was projected, but very slick outside the house so Hubs and I have not ventured out at all.  We DO NOT need to fall.  Of course Hubs has his TV on all the time and I have been dinking around on the computer with an occasional foray to the kitchen for a cup of coffee or green tea, and I may stop to see what he's watching, and so I have things to rant about. 

NBC Saturday morning news has a new segment called Rosson Reports.  There was a good piece about how best to get out if you fall through the ice on a pond.  Second best advice only to staying off the ice to begin with, but yeah, dogs and little children can't be expected to have the skills to know this, UNLIKE WHAT WE WOULD EXPECT FOR ADULTS.  Just sayin.....  There was one piece of advice about carrying ice picks with us to help pull ourselves out of the ice once we're in frozen water, but if we're not even smart enough to stay off the ice, then we're not going to pack ice picks beforehand.  Even if we do, then hospitals all over the country will start having to treat people for ice pick puncture wounds.

I'm trying very hard not to talk politics on the blog.  I'm having a lot of trouble keeping my mouth shut around certain friends and family members who have the attitude that gloating to their Democrat friends and relatives is OK.  And I've given up on watching Fox and Friends, which is incredibly biased.  News program hosts should put their personal opinions aside and present both sides, that's what good reporting IS.  If they don't mind losing over half the viewing audience then I guess it's OK to ignore the fact that if you're hosting a news program you're not supposed to tell the public what they're supposed to think, or let it be known that you think people who do NOT think like you do are stupid.  I'm offended by their nasty remarks and their Better Than You attitudes.  It seems like they only have people on their show that have different opinions than they do so they can be hostile and rude to them during the interview.  They're so upset about how PEOTUS is being treated and I guess they were still in high school and didn't notice how Republicans acted towards The Obamas.  I was sent an e-mail that depicted Michelle as an orangutan.  So don't talk to me about unfair or crude.  They so often say "The People have spoken, so get over it", and yes, The People DID speak, by the popular vote.  And what they said was ignored because of the outdated way that votes are counted and then manipulated. 

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't in love with Hillary, either.  My vote was based on a decision of who would be likely to do us the least damage.  Isn't that a sad way to have to vote, when there should be so many GOOD, QUALIFIED people running for the office here in the good old U S of A that it would be hard to choose because they are so good rather than so bad????  What does THAT say about us, as a country?  If you ask me, Making America Great Again should start right then and there.

I do so hope Mr. Trump does a good job, I think he's motivated to do so because he wants to go down in history as unarguably Making America Great Again, and more power to him if he can truly do that.  However, when he really does "know things other people don't know", I think he'll find his new job to be bigger and more difficult than he ever imagined.  We will all find out what Mr. Trump is really made of, and maybe we'll get beyond the bullying and petty crap and see a man underneath it all that we can respect.  I hope, for the sake of all Americans and The World, this will happen.  And just as Republicans did when Mr. Obama was the president, I will pray for our government and the safety of our people and the world.  And that's all I'm going to say about that, even if I have to get up out of my chair and go do something else for awhile.

........

........

A new documentary has been put out by The Department of Transportation called "Stop. Trains Can't."  It's a pity we need this.  And a testament to The Dumbing Down Of America.  You can find out more information about whether that's really "a thing" by using those five words as a search term.  A lot of people think it's an intentional thing.  But seriously.  When I was a kid, everybody knew better than to cross the tracks with a train coming.  Duh.

Dish Network keeps sending me emails that say they're giving me a gift on the subject line.  And then, turns out to be a temporary lower price for some channel we don't have.  When the time is up, you have to tell them to take it off or they start charging you The Big Price for it, which is how they sneak extra channels into your package, because people now tend to have poor memories and short attention spans.  Hellooooo, aren't GIFTS supposed to be free??  They've taken off one of our local channels because they haven't been able to bully them into paying a higher price to be part of our subscription, and why should they have to pay anything at all?  This station is advertising on the radio that we should call and request a credit on our account for the missing channel that is part of the package we've paid for but are not getting.  Our local channels are free when we have antenna.  And so are lots of other digital channels.  If not for Hubs, I would've discontinued Dish a long time ago.  If your house does not have an antenna, you can get those things they call "keys", that I thought till just now are new-fangled rabbit ears.  But I've done some checking and apparently they require an internet connection.  We have a big antenna in our attic and our upstairs TV is connected to it.  No internet connection up there, just plain old antenna like "in the old days", in fact, it was there when we bought the house, and the installer from Dish got into the connection boxes that are in nearly every room of our house and made them unusable.  We had to call and tell them what he did and that he did so without our consent.  Boy, was he mad when they sent him back here to undo what he did.  I made Hubs go and follow him around and make sure he fixed everything.  Antenna reception is digital now, very clear, and many more channels other than the locals and the educational station, like we used to have.  But even so, how spoiled rotten can we BE?  Four channels was plenty back then and could be again today if we weren't, like, sitting in front of it ALL. DAY. LONG.  One of the things I like about it is that when our Dish reception goes out, like during a storm, antenna TV is rocking right along.  Amazon has a PicTek set of rabbit ears that I don't think requires an internet connection. 

https://www.amazon.com/Pictek-Amplified-Antenna-Amplifier-Adjustable/dp/B01KWTQLAQ/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1484405510&sr=8-9&keywords=pictek+antenna

TVs that have been made in the past 10 years or so are required to have the antenna option for HD reception built in.  All you have to do is change your settings to antenna and be connected physically to the antenna through a port in the back of the TV.  You can easily find out how to change your reception settings by Googling.

And when you do, you might find this guy who made his own antenna:
http://www.abcactionnews.com/money/consumer/dont-waste-your-money/how-to-get-hd-channels-with-a-2-homemade-antenna

Bless his heart.

I noticed some birds unlike any I'd ever seen today in the front yard. Hubs looked them up and he thinks they are Dickcissels.  Black bibs.  Yellow bellies.  Striped crowns.  Bigger than a sparrow, smaller than a robin but not by very much.  I never even heard of that bird.  And I thought Titmouse was a weird name for a bird.  LOL  Who makes up these names, anyway? 

Here is what Cornell has to say about them:
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Dickcissel/id

Oklahoma Gardening had a good show today, it was a repeat from August, and was done in Antlers, OK.  It's about the Choctaw Indians and how they used certain plants that most of us around here consider to be weeds.  That's here:
 http://www.oklahomagardening.okstate.edu/full-shows/full-show-2016/081316-fs

I really do like how I can find nearly anything I'm interested in reading on the Internet.  One day, several weeks ago, while I was at the workout center, I grabbed a magazine to read while I was on the bicycle, and it was an old Southern Living. Southern Living magazine is popular here in Oklahoma because a lot of people here have roots in the South and were raised on Southern food. I'm told true Southern people don't eat much beef. It's pork for them. And I imagine, being closer to the coast than we are out here in the middle of the prairie, they like their shrimp and other types of seafood. Seems like their grain of choice is rice and corn. 

If you were raised on the prairie, then your grain of choice is wheat AND corn.  We're not big on grits, we prefer our corn in fragrant sweet cornbread or still on the cob, hot, salty and buttery.  And we eat a lot of potatoes.  Rice has become an acquired taste for Hubs and me, as we just didn't see much of it on our plates when we were kids. Regional stuff is what we're all about, stuff we grew up on, stuff that came out of the home garden or at least local gardens. My mother's grandparents came from the South. My dad's grandparents were German descendants who migrated from Germany to Pennsylvania to Maryland to Indiana and Ohio and then to Kansas. His dad's parents were from England.  They had a farm near Alliance, NE and dad said when he was a boy and visiting there, his job was digging potatoes.  Mom's mother was not a very good cook and so she wasn't able to teach her daughters much.  After Mom married Dad, she was taught "home-cookin'" by Dad's grandmother, Martha Elizabeth Hufferd Dalton Stimpson.  So Mom's cooking was what you'd call "eclectic".  She made some simple things that she had eaten growing up, but mostly she made the dishes Dad knew from his childhood. We didn't get much fish and seafood, because it just wasn't available in Kansas and Oklahoma unless somebody fished in local streams and lakes, and nobody in our family did. So I never learned to like fish much, and shrimp look like little embryos to me and just make my skin crawl to have a plate of them put in front of me. Plus there's just something disgusting about having to tear off a shell with legs on it.  Then there's that "mud vein", which is an awfully nice term for it, considering it's not so much a vein as it is an entrail. Hubs, the son of poor Oklahoma sharecroppers who had roots in Missouri and Tennessee, learned to love shrimp while he was in the navy and I have fixed them for him now and then. I always remove that "vein" but I understand some people just don't go to the trouble to do that, and that's why I never order shrimp when we go out to eat.

But anyway, while I was looking through the magazine, Hubs was on a treadmill a few machines down from my recumbent bike. I held up a page that had a dessert called Cherry Pie Bars on it and asked him how it looked. He said, "Delicious!" I turned to the page that was supposed to hold the recipe and it had been TORN OUT!!!! Sheesh. So I found it on the Internet by doing a search on "Southern Living Cherry Pie Bars".    And then I realized how many other recipes were on this website.  Wowsers!  This particular dessert is not something I could eat and get away with it.  One of these days, I'll make it for Hubs, though.  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cherry-pie-bars

Oh, and I also found a really good rice side dish on Allrecipes.  I don't like bread stuffing because it's soggy.  And I don't like stuffings when they're baked inside the bird because they're too greasy.  This dish is prepared in a casserole and would be good with poultry or pork, almost any time of the year.  It freezes well, too, so good to keep on hand for whipping up a quick meal.  Just do pay attention to what a reviewer says, as follows: "It should read: 'Cook 1 cup of wild rice in 1 1/2 cup of water AND 1 1/2 cup of broth, for a total of 3 cups of liquid'."  She also adds that she makes it without the bacon and it's still delicious. 
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/43769/rice-stuffing-with-apples-herbs-and-bacon/ 

Well, I think that's enough of my ranting to make you so glad you're not MY neighbor that you'll go out and kiss your REAL neighbors RIGHT ON THE MOUTH!!  (yes, Paula, even you.) Heh.  I'm working on another Weight Loss post, but not finished with it yet, will probably post it in a few days. 

Y'all Rock On, Hubs and I will do the same.  Stay safe and well.  Hugs xoxoxo