RTT: The Halfway Point, Trolls, Star Trek and The World Versus Breakfast

I’m running a little late today, and it’s been awhile since I’ve participated, so today we’ll join in on all things random with Stacy.

Random Tuesday Thoughts

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Today marks the halfway point of the Whole30.  How am I doing?  Pretty well, actually.  I’m a little surprised, since I’ve tried twice before and failed miserably.  I don’t know, really, what’s different this time – maybe I just can’t bear the thought of the razzing I’d get from my Young Diabetic Friend if I wimp out. 🙂

As promised, I’ve cut back on the dried fruit, nuts and fried foods (the one exception being the fried green tomatoes Beloved made for breakfast on Sunday), and I’m still exercising every day.  My mood has evened out (well, somewhat) without the, um, expected conclusion.  I’m not particularly tempted by things forbidden on the plan (see yesterday’s note about the chocolate cake) – in fact, I’m pretty happy with the diet so far.  Yesterday I had scrambled eggs and coffee with coconut milk for breakfast, leftover chili dogs and some watermelon for lunch, and roast chicken and sweet potatoes and leftover melon salad for dinner.  Tonight we’re having pot roast.

I’ve noticed some positive things happening, but I think I’ll leave documenting those for when it’s all said and done.  Except for this – about three weeks ago, I bought a new pair of shorts. Today, they’re loose on me.  Very loose.

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I was beginning to feel kind of lonely in my little corner of the internet, but it seems I’ve finally arrived:  I was trolled by a vegan the other day.  Normally, I don’t have problems with other diets – different things just work for different people – but please, don’t take me to task for a post that is 1) almost a year old and B) you didn’t even bother to fully read.

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I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I collect Precious Moments figurines.  In my defense, they are all “relevant” to me or my interests and none (that I’ve personally chosen, anyway) are overtly religious in nature.  I haven’t bought one in awhile – so much of our time and money is devoted to the purchase and preparation of food these days – but I could hardly turn this down:

Kirk

Yes, that would be James Tiberius Kirk, and he is the first in a series that will include Spock, Uhura and who knows what all else.  To say I’m giddy is an understatement.

Beloved says I need two of any red shirts that come, since one of them is sure to break.

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There are two bits of ludicrous news out there concerning everyone’s favorite breakfast foods:  eggs and bacon.

Eggs:  According to a study conducted by Western University in Canada, eggs are almost as bad for you as smoking.

The Toronto SUN reports, “The Western researchers studied 1,231 patients, using ultrasound to measure the plaque build-up on the inside walls of their arteries…Patients in the study filled out questionnaires about their lifestyle and medications, including their consumption of egg yolks and cigarettes.

“While the build-up of plaque was a straight-line increase for people after age 40, it rose exponentially for smokers and regular egg-yolk eaters.  Researchers also found people eating three or more egg yolks a week had significantly more plaque on their artery walls than those eating two or fewer yolks a week.

“Eating yolks triggered plaque build-up at two thirds the rate for people who are smokers.”

There are so many things wrong with this, it’s hard to know where to begin.  But for starters, this is an observational study with a tiny demographic dependent on food questionnaires – they might as well have pulled the results right out of their asses.  They may have, for all we know – when the researcher in charge published the results of a similar study in 2010 linking eggs to health problems, a major donor pulled funding from the university where he is employed (his house was also, amusingly, egged).

As for bacon, the president of Paul Quinn, a small, private university in Dallas with a predominately African-American student body, has banned “all pork and pork related products” – yes, including bacon – from the menus of every eating establishment located on campus “in an effort to steer his student body into more mindful food choices.”

I guess “mindful choices” excludes exercising both your mind and your choice.  Since the president of the university has also cut the football program and turned the football field into a huge garden, donating its crops to those in need and using the surplus in the school’s cafeteria, one wonders how long it will be before leaving the campus for a bacon cheeseburger will be grounds for expulsion.

Between news like this and the mud-slinging presidential candidates, life is never boring.  Frustrating as shit, but never, ever boring.

Eat Mor Toona

I have to admit – I’ve been amused and bemused by the brouhaha over the whole Jim Henson Co./Chick-Fil-A thing.

Don’t get me wrong:  I absolutely, positively support same sex marriage 1000%.  I see no reason why gays shouldn’t have the opportunity to meet the wrong person, marry them despite the warnings of family and friends, spend years being miserable, pay a blood-sucking divorce lawyer thousands of dollars, spend more years trying to squeeze child-support out of a deadbeat non-custodial parent and complain bitterly about their ex to their family, friends, coworkers and that weird lady at the corner liquor store just like everyone else.

I also admire and support the Jim Henson Company’s decision to end their business partnership with the Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A – bully for them.  But I also feel a little sorry for the people who are very likely stuck in the middle:  the owner/operators of the Chick-Fil-A franchises.

Like McDonalds, the majority of Chick-Fil-A restaurants are owned and operated by individuals with a franchise license, not the corporation.  I can’t help but wonder how many of these were some poor schlep with $5,000 who thought that owning a fast food restaurant sounded like a great idea, but still wanted Sundays off.  I can’t help but wonder how many of those infamous signs about the toy recall were posted by someone too embarrassed to say, “I’m sorry you can’t get a Muppet toy here any longer, but I’m an idiot who chose to do business with an intolerant asswipe and there’s nothing I can do about it now if I don’t want to file for bankruptcy next month.”

But more than any of this, I have one question for those who have chosen to boycott Chick-Fil-A due to their stance on same-sex marriage:

What the blue hell are you doing eating there in the first place?!?!?  Don’t you know that shit will KILL YOU?  If you’re that set on cheap, fast and easy, go home and eat some tuna salad.

Sheesh.

This is all very tongue-in-cheek, of course.  I do support same-sex marriage and feel nothing but pain and sorrow for Sally Ride’s partner of 30 years, who will not receive her federal benefits because of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Scooter’s Raw Food Diet

I was going to put off this post until next week and instead do a huge political rant, but this isn’t a political blog, as Beloved has repeatedly pointed out.  So let’s just suffice to say that yes, I’ve read the entire thing, I understand the context perfectly well, thank you very much, and it’s still insulting as shit.  There must be something very comforting in the idea that if you’re not responsible for your successes, you must not be responsible for your failures, and that someone will come along and bail you out – but everyone will get a trophy anyway.  Just remember that when someone comes along and takes away everything you thought was yours because “you didn’t build that,” you gave them permission to do so.

I’m sure the Chinese – who are funding the massive, crushing debt we’re passing on to future generations and expecting someone else to take care of (basically anyone with more money than us) – will appreciate it.**

Moving forward.

About a year ago, I wrote about Scooter – our little beagle/dachshund mix – and the autoimmune disease centered in his anal glands that he developed after years of eating commercial dog food (Kibble and Bits Beefy Bits, to be exact).  The ingredients are horrible:

Corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fat (bha used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, beef, water sufficient for processing, animal digest, propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, caramel color, potassium chloride, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, titanium dioxide, calcium sulfate, red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, BHA (used as a preservative), potassium sorbate, dl methionine.

You have no idea the guilt I feel because I let my sweet little dog eat that garbage for so many years.

When Scooter began having his problems, they were accompanied by terrible inflammation and infections.  I was pretty sure that much of this could be mitigated by diet, but when I spoke to the vet about it, he said I should keep him on commercial dog food, because if I fed him anything else he would run the risk of nutritional deficiencies.  In fact, his only solution to the problem was to put Scooter on steroids for the inflammation and give him antibiotics for the infections.  So we did, and the minute his course of steroids ended the inflammation returned, and eventually the infection did as well.  This happened three time before the vet decided that he was just going to have to be on steroids permanently – he could even end up on low levels of the antibiotic for the rest of his life, as well.

In the meantime, Scooter was miserable.  The inflammation was somewhat better, but he was still constantly licking his backside and dragging it across the carpet.  Because of the steroids, he was constantly, ravenously hungry and even though I wasn’t feeding him any more than usual, he was still gaining weight – at his heaviest, he was 24 pounds.  That may not seem like a lot, but for a dog that’s only supposed to weigh 16 or 17 pounds, that’s a lot of weight gain, especially in a very short period of time.  He also lost all of his spunk; he’s always been a happy, active dog – even at 10 years old, he’s more than happy to play fetch, or zoom around the house if he can get you to chase him, or run around the yard or take a walk.  But no longer; all he wanted to do was eat and lay on the sofa.  It was breaking my heart.

Now, as soon as he became ill and the vet told us to keep him on commercial food (and tried to sell us a brand that cost almost as much per week as we spent on groceries for the three of us), I began  to make Scooter’s food myself.  After doing a little research on what was in most home-prepared pet foods, he went on a mixture of cooked beef, rice and vegetables, mostly peas, carrots and green beans.  He loved it at first – he’d always preferred “people food” over kibble – but when those initial courses of steroids were over, he began to lose his appetite and often refused it, which worried me a great deal – Scooter NEVER left food in his bowl.  By the time the vet said he needed to be on steroids permanently, I decided it was time to get drastic – so I put him on a raw food diet.

When I told the vet this, he said that was unsafe; it was simply not a “balanced diet” for a dog.  But the more I thought about it, the sillier that statement seemed and when I began researching raw food diets for dogs, it became even sillier.  So Scooter began eating raw meat – mostly beef and pork, with some chicken thrown in every now and then and liver or other organ meats about once a week.  (We do give him bones from time to time, but even before he became ill bones messed with his digestive system – when we give him one, we have to confine him to areas of the house that are tiled because there will be a mess.)

Scooter loved the raw food diet – he ate it enthusiastically, and it wasn’t long until we began to see some improvements.  He continued to gain weight, because that’s just the nature of the Prednisone beast, but he regained some of his spunk and began acting more like the dog we all love so much.  And after much deliberation, we decided that when it was time to get the steroid prescription refilled, we’d wait a bit and see what happened.

What happened was astounding…or maybe not.  The inflammation not only didn’t return, it became better.  Not entirely better – it may never go fully into remission – but remarkably better.  The lingering infection, which the vet said might not ever entirely go away, even with long term antibiotic use, cleared up almost immediately.  He immediately began to lose weight and is now back down to 17 pounds.  More importantly, he is his old self again – active and happy and feeling pretty good for a 10-year-old dog with what amounts to nagging case of hemorrhoids.

Now, we’re not going to fire the vet – we’ll continue to take Scooter for his immunizations and we’ll take him in case of another serious illness or accident.  But if you think I’m going to listen to another blessed thing that man says about diet for my dog…well, you’re as crazy as you’d be if you think I’d listen to my doctor about my diet.

**I have a lot more to say about the subject, and will be glad to take the discussion respectfully into the comments section if you want.  However, I may not be able to get back to you immediately; we have a busy day in front of us – it’s Jolly’s birthday and we’re spending much of the afternoon/evening with her, and I will be busy at work this morning so I can do that.  But before you begin making any assumptions about why I feel the way I do, let me say right now that I am NOT a Republican and can’t stand Mitt Romney.  And I don’t particularly care that Ayn Rand collected Social Security; I’m not an Objectivist either.

This, That and The Other

Only Brother and his family are arriving tonight for an extended weekend visit; we’ve been pretty busy preparing for that and I have no real post planned.  So I thought I’d give you a few links to some interesting tidbits floating around the interwebz.

The folks over at Whole9 have a new book coming out – It Starts With Food (clicking the link will give you a synopsis of the book and an opportunity to pre-order).  To celebrate, they’re giving away a prize-pack that includes extra-virgin coconut oil and grass-fed ghee.  My first reaction was, “Why would you want to buy ghee when it’s so darn easy to make??”  Then it occurred to me that not everyone may have access to the grass-fed butter needed to make it.  And some of theirs has been spiced (yum).  And it’s, well, free.

You might remember when I reviewed and gave away a couple of copies of Eat Like A Dinosaur a couple of months ago, the paleo cookbook for kids.  Stacy, the extraordinary mom of the extraordinary family that is responsible for the book, has been featured in Woman’s World magazine!  It is in the issue on the stands now, and she talks about reclaiming her health, the health of her family, and her amazing 130 pound weight loss eating a paleo diet.

Richard Nikoley of Free The Animal has an interesting conversation going on in the comments section of his most recent post, where he posits the question, “Why are Italians so lean when they eat all that pasta and pizza?”  It’s well worth the read.

Disney announced Tuesday that “all products advertised on its child-focused television channels, radio stations and Web sites must comply with a strict new set of nutritional standards. ”  Yes, you can kiss those CapriSun, Lunchables and Froot By The Foot ads goodbye by 2015.  And while this may seem like a good thing, trust me – it’s not.  Why?  It’s happened before, and all it accomplished was the that the manufacturers of these industrial non-foods reformulated their products to conform to the “strict new set of nutritional standards” without making them anything close to healthful, real foods.  They’ll merely reduce the salt content (and replace it with MSG), strip any iota of remaining saturated fat (and replace it with “healthy” industrial oils), and remove some of the sugar only to replace it with artificial sweeteners.  That’ll make your kids good and healthy, won’t it?

And then there’s New York City’s Mayor Bloomgerg.  Yeah, he’s up to it again – now he wants to ban the sale of sodas over 16 fluid ounces in restaurants, movie theatres and convenience stores.  This is so stupid I don’t even know where to begin.  What’s to prevent someone from purchasing two sodas?  Or three?  And I don’t know about where you live, but in most restaurants I visit, they already bring you a 16-ounce glass of soda when you order one – and give you refills for free.  By the way, while I agree with most of the article I’ve linked to here, I absolutely do NOT agree with his tacit approval of the recent ban on Happy Meal toys in San Francisco.  “Nor is this, as others have suggested, analogous to San Francisco’s ban on Happy Meals. Children are vulnerable and not yet mature. The state has a compelling interest in protecting them from exploitation.”  You know, I’ve been a parent for 29 years (as of yesterday), and I have yet to see a five-year-old child drive himself to McDonald’s, order and pay for a Happy Meal on his own.

Finally, Reason Magazine has a short film about why government intervention is NOT the answer to the growing problem of obesity in this country.  The narrator is irritating, but it’s definitely worth the watch.

Have a great weekend, y’all.