Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Opinion article states that the number of climate change skeptics is increasing. A lot of scientists worldwide disagree with the UN reports. Politicians worldwide are backing off expensive, economy changing policies until more proof is gathered. The EPA is not using current evidence, some say in order to promote the green initiatives. Interestingly, the 60s generation of "Question Authority" is swallowing Al Gore's science hook, line, and sinker.
"The collapse of the "consensus" has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon."
Dr. Ian Plimer, a well-known Australian geologist, earlier this year published "Heaven and Earth," a damning critique of the "evidence" underpinning man-made global warming. Paul Sheehan, a noted Australian columnist -- and ardent global warming believer -- in April humbly pronounced it "an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence." Australian polls have shown a sharp uptick in public skepticism; the press is back to questioning scientific dogma; blogs are having a field day.
Why has it changed from global warming to climate change anyway?
Friday, June 26, 2009
"The current health care crisis is the result of a lie. That lie is that you will be healthy if you get the right health care. The current crisis has developed because of the emphasis on treatment of disease and the lack of preventing disease. Ultimately, the most powerful, predictable, and cost-effective solutions for the current health care crisis won't come from a restructured health care delivery system; it will come from us taking responsibility for ourselves through practicing self-care.
Since health has no inherent value, the only manifest value associated with health comes from the utility of possessing good health. The degree that you possess health is the degree to which you are able to do and experience what you want in life. The quality of your health directly related to the quality of your life.
Being healthy is a sound financial investment. It keeps the money that you would otherwise spend on health care, surgery, and drugs in your pocket to spend. Ultimately, self-care leads to a greater overall effect on long-term health outcomes than health care, regardless of the quality, and at far less cost.
The author suggests that primary care should be free and easily accessible, connected to public health programs. This would lead to a decreased need for secondary care, although not eliminating it; private insurance would be used for secondary care.
For additional information on self-care, see the newsletter at http://www.theelementsofhealth.com/The_Elements_of_Health/Newsletter_files/Health_Care_in_Crisis_-_Part_III.pdf
There are two previous articles; this is Part III of a series but can be read alone.
The part of self-care that I think most of us should be doing and probably aren't is "being present and doing nothing." My PT asked me about six months ago to do this daily for 5 minutes, and it is very difficult to turn everything off and do this. This not the time to go through your mental to-do list! I continue trying to be....
Monday, June 22, 2009
I did not know this, but apparently these accidents happen due to the heat here in Phoenix causing the tubing to deteriorate on grill equipment. Check your equipment at least annually to prevent any accidents!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The author essentially raises the issue: why are we making food a political issue when so many worldwide (yes, even in the USA) are going hungry? We have reached 1 billion worldwide that are not getting enough to eat. We live in a great country where we have the resources and freedom to eat what and how much we want and many of us (okay, most of us!) choose to eat things that we know we "shouldn't." Having said that, I'm more concerned with the amount of food we throw away and waste, for various reasons, notably large portion sizes at restaurants and purchasing groceries with good intentions but no plan. Rather than politicizing food, maybe more effort could be spent on wellness plans as part of the "overhaul" of the health care system.
Since I personally can afford to eat what I want to eat, I feel it is somewhat my duty to eat better quality food to help bring the prices down for others over time. Yes, I am idealistic, but one person does make a difference. :)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Ill-informed celebs blame my cattle for climate change
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
After checking my organic sheep and cattle this morning, listening to curlews and skylarks wheeling over their nests in the pastures my livestock maintain and watching the bumblebees working over the hay meadows which provide their winter fodder, I opened my Independent and choked on my porridge ("McCartney urges 'meat-free days' to tackle climate change, 15 June)
Here were a bunch of ill-informed, gas-guzzling, jet-setting "celebrities", who probably fly more often to New York or LA than I drive my low-emissions car to the local market town, attacking what I do. What prize patsies they make for the coal, power and aviation industries in passing the blame for global warming from fossil fuels to the eating of beef and lamb. We should be more discerning about the quality and sourcing of all our food. It is fundamentally dishonest to take the world's most shocking examples of deforestation, factory farming and water and energy inputs, then to imply that all meat is produced by means of a hypothetical mix of all of these unacceptable methods.
In reality over half of the UK's farmland is unsuitable for cropping, so centuries of pastoral farming are to a huge degree responsible for our finest landscapes and for locking up millions of tons of carbon in our grassland.
It is the rapid acceleration of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels which poses a threat to the planet. In contrast, emissions from our cattle and sheep have been falling as their numbers have dwindled in recent decades.
I am serious about climate change, but because I am not a "celeb" I can only act locally by, for example, heating my home entirely with fallen wood I have cut myself, using a 100 per cent renewable electricity supplier and taking, at most, one (short-haul) flight per year. Whether through ignorance or cynicism, those promoting "Meat-free Monday" are abusing their high profiles while ignoring their own massive carbon footprints. They are reducing this critical issue to a dishonest farce.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
An article in the New York Post June 16, 2009 states:
PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk didn't always fight for animal rights. In "The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights," Newkirk writes: "There was nothing I loved more than my fur jacket. In my 20s, I was eating my way through the animal kingdom, and what I didn't eat I wore." She saw the light after visiting an animal shelter and eventually founded the animal rights' group, in 1980.
Best comment: The ex-smoker is always the most zealous foe of tobacco use.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
I left and went to get a Jamba Juice to help my upset stomach, then went home and went to sleep. I went scrapbooking; Heather drove since I'm popping Benadryls. I had welts everywhere, even my butt, but the itching finally subsided and I got some stuff done.
The researchers advised against going to any children's birthday parties for a while since my immune system was just rebooted. I should not eat sushi for a couple of months either. I hope my reboot works!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I woke up itching, bumps all over my arms, some on my torso, a good amount on the upper legs. I'm trying not to itch. I have some leftover anti-itch gel from the last time I was eaten by mosquitoes, so I'm trying to use it but the bottle is not cooperating very well. I don't think it's helping anyway. I'm waiting for the benadryl to kick in.
Today went fairly well, got done around 1. Since I didn't sleep well last night, I crashed and burned when I got home. I went to sleep for 2-3 hours. One more day!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The eye was a little inflamed but mostly normal by then. (Like when you get to the mechanic and your car won't make "that" sound.) She said that the coming and going of the eye symptoms is not consistent with Horner syndrome, but without seeing it, she can't say that it is something else. We discussed next time, not giving the eye drops so maybe it won't go away so quickly, and getting Cassi into an ophthalmologist.
Teka also went for her rabies and parvo shots. I took them by my office briefly to socialize while I sent a fax.
Notable things for today: they had more trouble drawing blood, still from the right arm, seem to be developing scar tissue on the "best" vein. The IV catheter is still holding open though. They increased the drip rate, so I was there from 9 to about 1:30.
I developed a rash around the time I went home. I documented it with the research staff and took a benadryl. It was like little welts or mosquito bites, on my arms, upper legs, chest and stomach. It is common and only causes concern if it turns into an allergic reaction--throat closing, unable to breathe. It went away now but I'm still a little itchy (that's how it started actually). The one benadryl I've been taking in the morning hasn't made me sleepy, but that second one did seem to hit me more. They will decrease my drip time tomorrow.
Today, I was given my care packet. It includes 2009 and 2010 calendars that are marked with all my follow up blood tests, doctor visits, and survey dates for ongoing monitoring. In addition, there was a patient guide discussing all of the potential side effects and resources and a family guide. We scanned in the family guide in case anyone wants to review it. There are some yucky photos on one side.
The research staff said I am not a guinea pig; they don't use that word--I am a participant. I have all kinds of holes and bruises, so I'm going with guinea pig. Is lab rat any better?!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
I was done around 4:00 and then they ran a little saline through. They left the needle in but disconnected me. Hopefully it can be used again tomorrow so they don't have to poke around again. They learned to take blood from the elbow pit where I have a better vein, but apparently I have small veins, and the elbow can't be used for IV because the arm can't be bent. I took some snacks for the day but really didn't eat lunch, so I tried to eat when I left but it tasted too weird. Also, I had a raging headache, probably about 2/3 of the day. I was trying to read for work, and it felt like that headache I get when I read in a car. When I got home, I went to bed with my headache and chills. I woke up a couple hours later feeling better and had a little dinner and talked to Christie.
Tomorrow should be slightly shorter as I don't have the doctor exam, but the rest is the same.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
The air quality inside your house is better than the air quality outside.
Using a VOC meter, they measured various parts of LA, CA. The best reading was behind a city bus. (LA has natural gas buses.) The worst reading was a nail salon. The average outdoor area (even with that visible smog) was about half the level in the houses they tested. Clean freaks actually had higher rates than others because of the spray products they use, so look for "no VOCs" on cleaners and avoid using sprays like air deodorants and personal products.
Cloth diapers (reusable cotton) are better for the environment than disposable diapers (DD).
The average kid uses 8,000 diapers. The diaper service they spoke with said "Would you wear paper diapers?" By laundering, save trees, crude oil, and space in landfills. The flip side is that DD account for just over 2% of the trash sent to landfills each year. A home that launders uses 27% more energy than those using DD. By sending out for service, diapers are recycled with others, which some may find distasteful. (Would you wear someone else's underwear?) The verdict on total environmental impact was a tie, depending on the location. Look at the specific area to see if landfills are busting at the seams or drought is the bigger problem.
Everyone should go out right now and buy a hybrid.
Hybrids have gas and electric motors and a nickel plated battery, including a fuse that can kill you if you touch it without proper safety training. The next generation is the electric propulsion car but the only commercially available brand is over $100k sports car, so it's not for everyone. It never sees a gas station and charges 3 hours, able to go up to 250 miles. The verdict was that everyone should use what they have and make it more efficient. If every car got 30-35 mpg (20% better mileage) we allegedly would need no fuel from the Middle East. So drive cars longer and smarter!
Organic food is better than conventional food in every way.
Grass fed cows do not typically receive growth hormones or antibiotics, and unlike factory farms, do not typically stand in their own waste, rather having more area to move around and graze. The verdict was that organic does taste better, but conventional was half the price, so most consumers should consider doing some of both. Produce with thick skins can be conventional--avocados, oranges, bananas.
(Side note: with careful shopping, a lot of organics can be purchased for about the same as conventional--check the ads, buy seasonally, and check out your local farmer's market.)
Shutting off your car's A/C (and rolling down windows) saves gasoline.
Using A/C reduces fuel efficiency about 1 mile per gallon or 4%. The difference is clearer on later model cars, made in the last 10 years. Older cars are less fuel efficient all around and it makes much less of a difference if the windows are up or down and the A/C is used.
(Side note: if you live in Phoenix, please use your A/C in the summer. Your co-workers do not want to be smelling that.)
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I am participating in a Phase III MS drug trial for Alemtuzumab (Campath). The standard MS treatment consists of self-injections, which I have been doing since 2005. By participating in the trial, I won't have to inject myself for the next two years; however, I have 5 days of IVs now with another 3 days next year. Previous phases of Alemtuzumab trials have shown very promising results relative to current treatments. This drug is already approved for use in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia and T-cell lymphoma, so this is kind of like an off-label use trial, i.e. using an FDA approved drug for a different use. I am very lucky to have very mild symptoms, though you probably wouldn't want to see pictures of my brain and spine. (Yes, I have a brain! I have MRI photos on CD to prove it!) Since this treatment essentially reboots the immune system, if you are sick, stay home or at least stay away from me.
I have an appointment each day next week at 9 a.m.
Quinoa (keen-wah) was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthful choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. (From Wikipedia)
Photos and recipes:
You can find quinoa in your grocery store, usually with the rice, and it cooks like (non-instant) rice. You can find it already cooked and seasoned at stores like Whole Foods.
When that didn't work for my schedule anymore, I started hitting the farmers markets. Unfortunately, most are on Friday, when I'm at work, or on Saturday, when I'm just too busy and/or tired. However, there is a FM on Wednesday's at lunchtime near my work at 20th St and Camelback. I love going but during the summer, a lot of the vendors pack it up, understandably.
Then I heard about Bountiful Basket, which is a similar concept to the CSA but the pickups are all on Saturday morning at various valley locations. Everyone that participates likes it. But as I mentioned, Saturday mornings are hard for me to commit to, and you have to "order" by Wednesday.
So, when I heard about a delivery service, I checked it out. Nature's Garden Delivered http://az.naturesgardendelivered.com/ delivers fresh organic fruits and vegetables, either weekly or every other week. My delivery comes before I wake up, so I unload my box before I head to work. They pick up the previous box and cold packs when they deliver the next one. The website allows me to put my preferences, and a few days before delivery, I can see what I'm getting and swap out if I don't want something. I can also add additional items from their list. I get the "tiny" box, which runs about $26, and in my opinion, is totally worth it. I know some people are looking for the best deal, but I'm looking for the best value. I want to support local (and local-ish) and organic farmers over industrial farming any chance I can, especially if the prices are competitive.
The "tiny" box I got this week included: 3 apples, 1 lb bananas, 1 lb carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 red leaf lettuce, one mango, 2 onions, 2 peaches, 2 plums, 3/4 lb red potatoes, and two tomatoes. If that doesn't sound like a lot, think about how much produce most people ACTUALLY eat (not what they buy) each week, and remember that I am the only person in my house that eats 90% of that. I find that I am really eating most of this in a week! I think I'm eating more produce than normal because I know another delivery is coming next week.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
In addition, I heard yesterday from a co-worker that I've become an interesting person to talk to about healthy food. He suggested that I should have a blog; I told him I have one but it's not just about that, it's all kinds of stuff. He thought it would only be dog stuff! Since our company blocks blogs and I don't know that I censor myself quite enough, I'm not sure whether this is something I should/can share with co-workers. When I explained that my blog is whatever I find interesting, primarily health, dogs, and news, he said that it sounded like a journal. I thought that was interesting because that is exactly why I started my blog. I was told by my Physical Therapist that I need to journal. (He's the one who also told me to do my breathing exercises without distractions like TV and that it counts as exercise.)
I think this has come about from a sum of: (I'll do another post for the *'d items to clarify)
- my owning, lending and discussing two of the Eat This, Not That! series
- my participation in and discussion of Community Sponsored Agriculture programs
- my taking several co-workers to the Wednesday lunchtime Farmer's Market at 20th St and Camelback (between Arby's and Trader Joe's)
- my current purchase of Nature's Garden Delivered services and products*
- my campaign against company sponsored soda and bottled water
- my eating quinoa salad at lunch and discussing it, following up with an email, which converted at least one person to try and like it*
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I'm so excited, I can't believe that I'm so giddy about more poking and prodding!
The factory in California that makes Grape Nuts makes bread loaves that are then made into Grape Nuts, so Grape Nuts are not grapes or nuts, but rather wheat bread!
The comments talked about uses for Grape Nuts, including the obvious cold cereal with fruit. (Strawberries and/or bananas are my favorites, thought someone suggested mixing with Cheerios.) Several people eat it hot like oatmeal. Eat with buttered toast and orange juice to drink. Use as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, or pudding. Use like breadcrumbs in meat loaf or in batters like pancakes. Try grinding it into a fine powder, saute with a little butter, add cinnamon and brown sugar and you got a topping, turning pancakes into crumbcake. Someone said saute with butter and vegetables; not sure I'll try that one.
Surprisingly, no one commented on Kashi's version of Grape Nuts, although several comments said the generic version is not as good--I agree. One mentioned that Grape Nuts may have lost consumers to the organics.
Although there is speculation about "grape sugar" and the nutty flavor involved in the origins of the name, this was my favorite comment:
When my daughter, now 31, was 3 or 4 years old, we shared Grape Nuts as our favorite cereal. She asked me why it was called Grape Nuts, & I responded I didn't know -- it didn't have grapes or nuts in its ingredients. She asked if she could ask "the cereal people." So we wrote them a letter (yes, that was before the Internet), & she checked the mail box every day, waiting for her answer. Someone from Post took the time to answer that little girl, & told her that the cereal inventor thought it tasted nutty & that the dough, as it was rising & baking, formed into "clusters" of bubbles on top that looked like clusters of grapes. Whether that was the true answer or not, it was certainly official, coming on the Post letterhead, & for many years, it was among my daughter's most prized letters. When her own children were young, she told them the story & they were suitably impressed! Hope Grape Nuts sticks around for their children, too.
As a Grape Nut lover, I also liked these comments:
I was happily eating my morning Grape Nuts when I came upon this article and could not help smiling. The real point is that you either are a Grape Nuts fan or you are not. Then I got to the end of the article where it was stated that the revenues are very low at $80M a year. Wow, have we gotten jaded re success of a product! The writer may have been hanging around GM folks too long. Imagine that someone can say a product is dying with a revenue of $80M! Clearly we Grape Nuts lovers need to stick together! :)
Grape Nuts are delicious, almost magically so.
My favorite Grape Nuts slogan from years past is "Are you good enough for Grape-Nuts?"
Grape Nuts hearken back to a day when simplicity rules.