First-World Problems: My Trip to the Dermatologist

Perhaps it’s a vanity that comes with being 30-something. I’ve noticed some scarring (hyper-pigmentation) on my chin and neck from years of cystic acne. It only flares up once every few months, and when it does, it’s painful. What I went to see the dermatologist about, a week ago, was to get a cream to make these scars a little less noticeable.

I hadn’t been to this particular dermatologists office before. The last time I saw a dermatologist, it was to get an annual mole screening, since I’ve been taught to keep an eye on them. I’ve not been to a dermatologist for cosmetic reasons since I was a teenager, and I don’t remember getting anything that particularly worked.

From the moment I stepped into the waiting room, I felt inadequate. Surrounding me were ads, brochures, lists of options for letting me know that though SOME women were OK with wrinkles, brown spots, discoloration, etc, I didn’t have to be. WHAT A RELIEF! Wait – I think I was OK with some of these things before… HUH? I could tell that this was going to be an interesting visit.
Continue reading “First-World Problems: My Trip to the Dermatologist”

“no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease”

My husband has been telling me this for years. This is contrary to everything that has been shoved down our throats as Americans.

In March the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis—which combines data from several studies—that compared the reported daily food intake of nearly 350,000 people against their risk of developing cardiovascular disease over a period of five to 23 years. The analysis, overseen by Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, found no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease.

This has come up time and time again over the past few years. Dietary intake of fat does not equal fat/cholesterol in the blood and body. Instead, our consumption of carbohydrates seems to be the problem.

I’ve been trying to lose weight through one system or another for at least 20 years. This means that this goes back to middle school, if not grade school. I remember once my mother took me to a dietition. I had to be in middle school, and I remember it well. I sat in the office while this woman gave me an incomprehensible plan. She tried to tell me it was really easy, and what I remembered from her during that time (and what I remember now) was that she told me that it was the amount of FAT in the foods I was to watch out for.

I was ecstatic to realize that Entenmenns made a FAT FREE coffee cake. After all, zero plus zero plus zero equals zero, right? Never mind the fact that it might have 12 servings per cake, and each serving was probably about 200 calories. I could sit and eat the whole cake for ZERO fat.

A month later (I think) was my first weigh in, and I gained a pound or two. She was flustered, if I remember correctly, and rather perturbed. I told her that I did just as she said, watched my fat intake. Apparently, I had missed something in her magical equation.

I’m not the only one. If you look around, there’s fat free and reduced fat products everywhere, and they’re also loaded with carbs. Another problem is that portion control is out the window. No one really knows what a portion looks like, or what satiation feels like – well, except for a few, perhaps. I would never advocate for a carb-free lifestyle, or even extreme carb restriction.

However, I did lose a majority of my weight thanks to making decisions to pass on the bread basket or tortilla chips at restaurants, and make a choice of what carbs I really want vs. other foods I really want. I ended up eating a lower carb diet by accident.

We don’t entirely understand how the body works. We have many researchers looking at this question, but there are many unanswered ones. What we eat doesn’t get instantly transferred into energy, fat, muscle. There’s a process. Some people’s bodies metabolize differently. Some medications throw this process for a loop. It’s not just scientists that have a problem with understanding how we metabolize things, it’s also people in the holistic healing industry (which I’m honestly a fan of, though with that industry the science is sometimes questionable.

I come back to the basics. Eat real food. If you eat meat and dairy, you’re eating the suffering of the animal. (I say this not to convince you to be a vegetarian, because I’m not – but that the stress hormones that build up in stressed animals make for untasty animal products, not to mention, unhealthy and requiring more antibiotics and that doesn’t sound like something I want to eat.) You eat the nutrition that the plants are grown in. Good soil makes a difference. Eat mostly plants and foods with very little processing. Try not to eat a single food that has more than 5 ingredients. (This is more a fun challenge.)

There is no magic pill, but that’s my next post.

Decadent Dinner

Jon and I just happened to be on Capitol Hill last night to rent movies. Given the later hour, and not having anything at home readily available to cook for dinner, we decided to eat out. We ended up at Quinn’s, which is in the Pike/Pine area of the Hill.

Immediately, I was blissed out to find they had Dogfish Head’s Black and Blue on tap, a delicious beer to start with! Then, I was even more thrilled when our server replied to our question of a peculiar name of a starter (devils on four horses). The answer: Dates stuffed with blue cheese wrapped in bacon. SOLD! We additionally ordered the artichoke skewers special, I ordered the crispy chicken and Jon had the fish and chips.

The dates were toe-curling heavenly, and just about as perfect as possible. The artichoke skewers were deliciously surprising, especially with that lingering sweetness you get after eating a few. Our order was taking awhile due to a large party that came in before us, so we got comped the rabbit pate, which was pretty stellar. At that point, I ordered Russian River’s Damnation, which was a beer style I’ve been craving all week. I wasn’t disappointed. (I’m slacking, no tasting notes for you!) Jon’s fish and chips looked fried and delicious (and they were!), and my crispy chicken (as promised, with greens and cheese grits), was not exactly what I expected.

It was a small chicken breast with a crisped skin on top, layered on bacon-y kale, then layered on the cheese grits. Restaurant chicken usually underwhelms me, but this? This was amazing. The first thought in my head was that it tasted like duck. (I found out later it was braised in duck fat, then crisped in butter). The greens were equal to what Jon makes (which is PRETTY DAMN GOOD) and the grits were just absolutely delicious.

When our waitress returned to us to ask if we wanted dessert, we had to decline just because we had enough richness for the evening.

We were treated well, the wait wasn’t too long, and I’m always happy to find a good beer selection coupled with good food. I look forward to eating there again.

ETA: I failed to mention that our food was running late due to the kitchen getting a large order in ahead of us. We got comped some rabbit pate, which was delicious. It was very, very awesome. Yes.

Drink Tap Water

Plastic Trash in Cozumel

We are fortunate, in the US, to have access to safe drinking water from our taps. Often, our tap water exceeds the safety of bottled water and tastes better than bottled water.

Bottled water is bad for us. From the manufacturing of the plastic bottles (petroleum based), to the waste management (including “recycling” which just ships the bottles to be some poorer country’s problem), not to mention the outrageous cost, there is just no reason to choose bottled water when we have access to potable water from a faucet.

Not even to mention how disgusting and sad it is to walk on a beach, like in Bermuda or Cozumel, and see plastic stuff littering the shore, washing up on the beaches.

Out in the Pacific, there’s a trash island that is twice the size of Texas. Seriously – we need to take advantage of the luxury we have. Drink tap water.

Threadless has me addicted…

When Threadless had their $9/shirt post-T-day sale, I bought two. Then, after making some holiday purchases, seeing that they still had a fantastic sale on, I bought two more. I’m wearing a Threadless shirt *right now.* I can’t imagine needing more t-shirts, but they have me addicted.

I realized that all but one shirt has to do with water, and even that shirt has at least rain involved.

Here’s the ones I’ve bought so far:
Art Is My Weapon - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Lysergsäurediethylamid - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Loch Ness Imposter - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Star-cross'd Lovers - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever