Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bacon, Bacon, and More Bacon

By Diana Hsieh

Horror of all horrors, I think that I'm out of bacon at the moment. However, this flow chart tells me exactly what to do:



(Click for a larger version.)

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Utility of Utensils

By Diana Hsieh

For some reason that I can't quite fathom, many people seem to think that you simply cannot eat certain foods without a carbohydrate delivery device such as chips, crackers, tortillas, bread, and the like. Usually, such carbohydrate delivery devices offer little to nothing in the way of taste. They certainly aren't healthy, particularly not if fried in vegetable oil. And they often produce that nasty "ugh, I'm so full" feeling that most people consider to be a normal part of eating.

In contrast, I find that silverware of various kinds -- and even my fingers on occasion -- is a wonderful method of transporting the yummy, healthy food from plate to mouth without the intervention of needless carbohydrates. For example:

  • Guacamole. I often serve myself a large spoonful or two with a meal, particularly with eggs or steak. It's delicious to eat on its own, just from a spoon or fork. The brand Wholly Guacamole is delicious, and it's made with nothing but good ingredients. Also, I'll eat pico de gallo salsa as a side with steak or eggs.

  • Cheese. I will cut cheese into slices or squares, then eat it as a snack or as part of a meal. Silverware is optional. I recently bought a rich, creamy, sharp, spreadable raw cheddar, made by Fayette Creamery and found at Whole Foods, that I eat with relish -- from a spoon.

  • Hamburger. Paul and I eat hamburgers once or twice per week, pan fried or grilled. Unlike ordinary grocery store beef, the meat is so fantastic that neither bun nor condiment is necessary to conceal only tolerable taste.

  • Nut butters. I haven't eaten nut butters in a while, but I will eat a large spoonful with a glass of milk as a snack.

  • Ham and cheese. For lunch, I love to eat cut up chunks of uncured ham and raw emmenthaler (swiss) cheese. Bread is neither required nor desired.

  • Fajitas. At Mexican restaurants, I usually order fajitas. I eat the food with my fork, skipping the tortillas. It's delicious!
Somewhat to my surprise, I've found that I much prefer to eat these foods solo than with anything else. I could use some vegetable as a delivery device, but I rarely do that. I like the full blast of unadulterated taste of something yummy -- unless additional foods further accentuate the flavors. Raspberries and good blue cheese together, for example, is divine.

So for those of you who have switched to a paleo or paleo-ish diet, what do you like to eat solo that you used to eat with some carbohydrate delivery device?

Update #1: My server is having some strange problems with file permissions that prevent anyone from viewing the individual post page. (I've submitted a ticket, but it might take a few hours to fix.) So if you want to read the comments or post a comment, please use this page.

Update #2: Nevermind. My file permissions for all my comment scripts have been screwed up too. My web host says that they've turned off access to chmod due to a security problem with the new linux kernel. Hopefully, that will be fixed soon.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Diana on Steroids

By Diana Hsieh

As I mentioned, I had oral surgery last Tuesday, July 28th. For a full week, I felt pretty miserable. After the first day, I wasn't in pain. Yet I was dour, grumpy, and miserable -- as poor Paul can attest! I was also easily tired. I didn't dare drive myself anywhere, and the simple act of walking down the driveway wore me out. I couldn't figure out what the problem was, but I suspected that I was in more pain than I realized, that my body was in a bit of shock, that the medication was affecting me, and/or that I was aggravated by my diet of soft foods.

Six days after my surgery, that changed for the better. I woke up on Monday (August 3rd) feeling like my old self again. I was happy and chipper. I took pleasure in eating. I was able to drive down to Colorado Springs to pick up the raw milk for our co-op in Castle Rock -- over two hours high stress driving due to the delicate timing and iffy traffic -- without feeling tired afterward.

Given that radical change, I began to suspect that I was pretty seriously affected by the drugs I had been taking -- particularly the steroids. (I've never had any kind of response to antibiotics before.) The steroid I took was methylprednisolone (a.k.a. medrol) for six days, starting with six doses and tapering down to just one. I took my last dose on Sunday morning. So the timing made sense.

My periodontist confirmed that such mood changes are fairly common on the steroids. He told me that some people feel much better on them -- namely people who have arthritis or other orthopedic problems. However, people without such problems tend to feel crappy on them, as I did.

All in all, I'm rather surprised that I reacted so strongly to the steroids. I'm not surprised that they made me tired, but their effects on my mood were downright alarming. I didn't feel like myself that week -- and truly, I wasn't myself! I don't think I've ever taken a mood-altering drug before, and I don't think I want to repeat the experience!

This experience surely has some profound implications for philosophic questions about personal identity and philosophy of mind. I'll leave that for you to discuss in the comments.

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