Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dr. Terry Wahls - A Prophet for Our Time

I have just watched the most amazing video I have seen in a long time.

A woman named Terry Wahls gave a talk at TEDxIowaCity, describing how she cured herself of secondary progressive MS. She's a physician - and after seven years of "the best treatment", including chemotherapy, was in a situation where she was in a reclining wheelchair all the time. Being a researcher, she started studying the actual causes of her illness (something modern medicine doesn't usually spend too much time on - making symptoms go away is the centrepiece) and adjusting her diet to support the myelin sheathing on her brain.

Within a month, she could walk with only one cane. Within six months, she was riding her bike. She looked strong and healthy as she gave her talk.

What is the magic medicine she used? A paleo, or hunter-gatherer diet. Greens, sulfur-containing vegetables, brightly-coloured fruit, grassfed meat and wild-caught fish. Nothing Big Pharma could make any money on. But she saved her own life, and she could save yours.

If you are diabetic or have any other kind of auto-immune disease, as I have, what are you waiting for? What am I waiting for? Watch this video and tell me what you are going to do to improve your own life today. Is the taste of bread worth the suffering of diabetes? Tell me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Flinch - An Amazing Book You Need to Read

The Flinch - used with permission.
I first learned about Julien Smith through Chris Brogan's blog. I bought their book, Trust Agents, through Audible (at that time I was still into audio books - now I have too many podcasts and audio books on my iPod and will never, in seven lifetimes, listen to them all, sigh). Julien, as I've mentioned before, is the one with the charming French Canadian accent, although he doesn't like my saying so ;-). I started reading his blog and kind of fell in love, although he's way too young for me ;-). If you hop over there (it's linked from his name above), you'll see what I mean. That's OK, I'll wait.

Back already? Isn't he cute? But he's not only cute, he's also got some painfully acute insights to share. I've been jabbering on about the Lizard Brain and the Resistance and all those words I've picked up from Seth Godin. I've been reading Seth's motivational words for years, and sometimes they even get me moving a little bit, but somehow Julien's little eBook, The Flinch, seems to hit that much harder home. Maybe because Seth doesn't usually swear, and Julien does, prolifically. Who knows?

Julien not only talks most eloquently about the flinch, the fear or resistance or lizard brain or whatever we want to call it, and how to conquer it. He concludes each chapter with a frightening homework assignment. Some are not so bad (I can talk to strangers on the street no problem, I'm in Winnipeg, not in Montreal!), but he also suggests dropping your Blackberry on a tiled floor just to experience the freedom. I don't think I'm ready for that just yet. Maybe one day. It did get me thinking about the worst consequences of all the things I seem to be afraid to do. As Julien points out,

Still feel like you’re in danger? Look at it this way. Early man’s lifespan was about 35 years. If you got injured, you were done. No modern medicine, so each encounter meant blood loss, infection, or death. You can’t relate to this. Your lifespan is double that. Science and technology mean you can survive almost anything. It may be expensive to do so, but that’s still a significant improvement over death from an infected cut. 

But despite this safety net, your flinch is still there, in the back of your brain—still a goalie, but a goalie for things that are nowhere near as dangerous as they used to be.

It makes me look at the fears and inertia that keep me from sticking my neck out and applying for work that I might be rejected for (I have a half-completed application at Elance and a half-filled resume at LinkedIn, among other steps I started to take and then shrank back from). I've been acing my tech comm courses at Red River College, why do I think I can't do the work people are offering? I'm sure I'm completely capable. So why am I afraid to throw my hat in the ring? It's the flinch.

The eBook is completely free (does it count as a bestseller if over 75,000 copies have been downloaded from the link above in the past two months?). Read it and come back and tell me what you think. It would be a great discussion, and maybe we can help each other get over ourselves already and get things done.

Oh, and if you get a chance, tell Julien I sent you. I still have a teeny little crush on him ;-).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Riding in the Paleo Rodeo

Rodeo USA

If this photo looks a little blurry, that's how I'm feeling right now. I've been accepted into a community called PaleoBloggers, and even had my previous post published in their Paleo Rodeo. So cool, but who am I to have my tentative little blog posts in there with Paleo blogging superstars like Whole9 or theclothesmakethegirl or Mark's Daily Apple? So exciting, and what an inclusive bunch.

So if you are even thinking of discussing Paleo on your blog (and I'm talkin' to you, Lynne, TraceyHolly, Polli and anyone else), jump in, the water's fine! There's nothing like a community to make you feel less alone on your journey.

How about you, are you looking to improve your life this year? Tell me how!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Paleo lunch

Time to come out of the closet - I'm a great admirer of the Paleo way of life. I think I adhere to it reasonably well, except for the small detail that I don't eat meat. I don't know if that disqualifies me from the Paleo community. I guess I'll find out, as I've applied to sign up to the PaleoBloggers email list. A new adventure ...

So, what is Paleo? I like ModernPaleo's version of the principles:

The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.

In fact, you might say it's not that different from the SCD. Of course, you can go further in your quest for a Primal lifestyle and learn about the dangers of Chronic Cardio and all the bad things it does to you ... in other words, how to turn upside down pretty much everything we thought we knew. I love it.

How about you, are you ready to make some changes in your life? It's January, after all. Want to do this with me?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gorgeous Kale Chips

Well, I'm not going to win any prizes for food photography, but I just had to share with you how my kale chips came out. They are glossy and luscious, salty and garlicky and fatty and crisp, just the way I like them. They aren't quite as good as the first batch I made, but I think that's because I used two bunches of kale and mixed them both up together. Next time I'll season them in batches.

So here's the recipe. I don't do measurements, so play with it.

1 or 2 bunches of kale - I used one of black kale and one of curly kale, but you can use anything you like.
Liberal quantities of olive oil - depending on how fatty you like your chips.
Ditto salt and garlic powder.

1. Preheat your dehydrator to 145F. I have the stupid cheap round kind, and it works just fine. Some day I'll buy myself an Excelsior, but right now it isn't in the budget.
2. Wash the kale and tear it off its stems. Some people say to use scissors but I don't bother.
3. Put it in a salad spinner and try to get it as dry as you can.
4. Tear it into little bits - the size you want your chips to be.
5. Put it in a big bowl and mix it up with your hands with the oil and spices. I like to make it very fatty, salty and garlicky. You'll make it the way you like it. Of course you could use different spices if you prefer. I'm not big on BBQ or paprika or whatever, but I bet it would work just fine.
6. Put the kale in the dehydrator, arranged nicely on the trays.
7. Let it sit at 145F for an hour or so, then bring it down to 115F.
 8. Let it dehydrate for as long as you like. I like them really crispy so I left them overnight. Just taste them periodically.

Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom to all!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A New Toy for GI sufferers

I've found a new toy - an online GI tracker. It's a little inflexible in terms of input, but it seems to work nicely to correlate foods and symptoms. You can have it send you reports in the form of PDFs that you can take to your doctor. It's kind of cool, in a medicalised kind of way.

One thing that shocked me is that you HAVE to input some kind of medication. The idea of having a condition like this and not taking medication appears to be outside the box. I put in one of the more innocuous things I've been prescribed (and that I do occasionally take), but it was pretty amazing that there was no "none" among the options!

I've also bought myself the latest version of Mark Sisson's book The Primal Blueprint. Not that I lead such a Primal life - for one thing, having had a kosher vegetarian kitchen since 1994, I'm not about to introduce meat into the house. Even if I were ready for such a major upheaval of my kitchen, I don't think grassfed kosher meat is available anywhere around here for a price I'm willing to pay (apparently it's available in Baltimore, but that doesn't help me). Right now my kids, vegetarian from birth, are revolted even at the idea of eating fish, so it's all baby steps. I did such a great job of raising them according to the ideas of the 90s, healthy whole grains and all ... sigh.

Still, being that I'm on the SCD, it's a lot closer to Primal than the Standard North American Diet. I do make the SCD yoghurt and eat cheese, and I also use honey on occasion. Legumes are also a major part of my diet, since I seem to tolerate them pretty well.

By the way, the kale chips came out great. I was going to take a picture of them, but I ate too many before I thought of it. Oh well. I'll make more later in the week. I do need to be a little careful, can't gobble too many of them or the fibre gets me. But they were crunchy, fatty, garlicky and salty, just what I like! I'll post the recipe when I make them again, along with a lovely picture.

What about you, what substitutions can you make to enjoy your favourite things without ruining your health?