February 29th, 2012 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (2 Comments)

In which I’ve quit smoking. Yet again.


hen you get a lung infection severe enough your doctor gives you an asthma treatment five minutes after you present with what you think is just a bad cold, you pretty much quit smoking on the spot.

Quitting is pretty easy, really. You just screw up your self discipline and you ignore every single cell in your brain when it suggests a smoke. You avoid all your normal behaviors entirely. You pretend you’re someone else, someone who doesn’t smoke. Easy peasy!

For awhile.

Actually staying quit is the hard part, if you’re me, because you associate smoking with everything enjoyable: drinking, gigging, even reading. Having great conversations with friends. Road trips, coffee breaks, picnics. Good things, fun things. Happiness in general.

I can not-smoke on my lunch hour for awhile, sure. But eventually I’m so exhausted by not smoking that I just buy a damn pack already and have a cigarette. I can not-smoke at the wine bar for a few weeks, but then I just bum a few smokes off of people because it’s so much easier than constantly fighting the urge to smoke. I can not-smoke at gigs, I can not-smoke at home, I can not-smoke for months and months on end. I can not-smoke under a lot of circumstances, but it’s just so relentlessly, endlessly uncomfortable I just… give in, after awhile.


Fuck yeah Albuterol.

February 24th, 2012 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (6 Comments)

In which there’s a trip to the clinic.


hursday night at the gig, someone asked me if I had walking pneumonia.

Today I googled it, and yeah, I have all the symptoms — but it was already Friday afternoon and I didn’t get the impression I was going to drop dead from it and sure, I should probably see a doctor but it’s not like I’ve been so sick I couldn’t work, I mean, I worked over 40 hours this week and did a gig and even went out a couple of times –

– but after spending a couple more hours coughing constantly, I called the Family Medical Center to see if there was an appointment I could have. I explained I was on Day 7 of a cold that wasn’t getting any better, that I was waking myself up at night coughing, and that my cold symptoms weren’t going away.

She scheduled me at 7 o’clock. I got off work at six after a long, busy afternoon full of weird support problems I couldn’t solve and rode my bike down Rose street to the clinic.

My nose ran and I coughed like I was dying during check-in, while sitting in the lobby, and while being led to the exam room. My nose ran and I coughed like I was dying while I sat there waiting for the nurse.


Obligatory winter cold.

January 12th, 2012 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (2 Comments)

In which I have one.


caught a winter cold a couple of weeks ago. Missed a day of work, even. Now just suffering residual snot.

This post is stupid. I love the Internet.

On why people get fat.

December 16th, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (0 Comments)

In which this was originally posted elsewhere, but I’m moving a copy over here because I wrote it and I can.

Overweight is a metabolic issue and not a behavioral one.

It’s currently the fashion to believe that overweight people suffer from sloth and gluttony; however, adipose tissue is not the result of character defects but rather of metabolic function. Most of what you know about diet and exercise and health, it turns out, is completely wrong. (more…)

Yesterday, at the nail salon.

November 21st, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (1 Comments)

In which there’s a post of no interest to anyone who does not wear acrylic nails.

Sunday I went to my favorite nail salon, LT Nails, over on Issacs street, for a fill.

“A fill” is the procedure in which, after your nails have been growing out for two or three weeks, they “fill” the part closest to the cuticle with new acrylic. Accomplishing this requires polish remover, a Dremel, two kinds of filing and buffering devices, an anti-fungal, and new acrylic, which is applied with a paint brush.

The guy who did my nails observed a discoloration about the size of the tip of a ball point pen on my left thumbnail. This is interesting, because my acrylic nails are fairly discolored due to the fact that I’ve had them on for quite awhile and they age; even though you get fresh acrylic every couple of weeks, the stuff on the tips is always many weeks old, and becomes stained by contact with food and heat. This tiny little dot of discoloration concerned him enough that he just went right ahead and removed the entire acrylic overcoat from my nail, and then tried for a while to buff the discoloration off my very thin natural nail. (more…)

Dietary fat.

October 18th, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (2 Comments)

In which I basically just link to a bunch of research.

At the Peony the other day, I was discussing my weight loss with a couple of women who were asking me how I’d done it. I gave them my blood sugar/insulin/refined carbs spiel, during which I said, “Honestly, dietary fat needn’t be avoided. You can eat brie all you want, you just can’t eat the baguette.”

One of the women I was talking to said, “Oh, we can’t eat fat at my house. My husband has been diagnosed with heart disease, so we’ve seen a nutritionist and aren’t allowed to eat any fat.”

And I thought, That can’t be right. They can’t possibly still be telling people that, with all the research to the contrary. But they are. Every day. I have an uncle with high cholesterol who eats very little fat.

Here’s just some of the research:

Effects of a Plant-Based High-Carbohydrate/High-Fiber Diet Versus High–Monounsaturated Fat/Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Postprandial Lipids in Type 2 Diabetic Patients
A diet rich in carbohydrate and fiber, essentially based on legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole cereals, may be particularly useful for treating diabetic patients because of its multiple effects on different cardiovascular risk factors, including postprandial lipids abnormalities.

Randomized comparison of reduced fat and reduced carbohydrate hypocaloric diets on intrahepatic fat in overweight and obese human subjects.
A prolonged hypocaloric diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat has the same beneficial effects on intrahepatic lipid accumulation as the traditional low-fat hypocaloric diet.


In which I tell you all about my avoidance of refined carbohydrates.

As you may remember, I went on a traditional low-calorie, low-fat, semi-starvation diet on January 5th. I did this because I was so fat I could barely cut my own toenails and I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I was twenty pounds shy of obesity, and at the rate I was gaining I’d have been clinically obese in a year or two.

I lost both weight – mostly water, at first – and inches for about five weeks. The experience, after the third or fourth week, was nothing short of miserable (save the pride I felt in my accomplishment): near the end of the diet I was obsessed with food and calories, and I literally spent most of my time planning my next meal.

By the end of the diet, my body was buying and consuming entire bags of potato chips without my consent. I was hungry all the time.

Then I read Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease, more or less by accident (someone must have recommended it to me, because I found the sample on my Kindle). It was astonishing, this book. Game-changing. Mind-blowing. It challenged every single thing I knew about diet and weight loss, and it did it with actual science. I decided that although a lot of the author’s conclusions were, by his own admission, anecdotal or theoretical at best, and needed more studies, I could do some experiments in my own lab: my body.


Quitting sucks.

April 14th, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (5 Comments)

In which Day 2 is summarized.

Fuck this! Quitting is hard, and I don’t want it to be this hard, and I hate nicotine, and I hate my fucking neuroreceptors, and I hate dopamine, and the nicotine patch is weird, and this entire process sucks rocks.

I quit! Again.

April 12th, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Health - (5 Comments)

In which I tackle the old nicotine addiction. Again.

I quit smoking two or three times last year, and each time I was really ready to succeed… but failed because I just had one cigarette. Or three. Or five. Which, of course, led to smoking full-time soon after.

The first time I quit, I quit cold turkey. It worked for a few weeks, but then I broke down and bummed a smoke at a gig and bought a pack within the week. The second time, I used nicotine gum. It worked for awhile, but the gum tastes bad and the whole park-and-suck routine made my gums sore. The third time, I used lozenges, but those gave me mouth ulcers and made my already rapid dental tartar build-up even worse because of the sugary, chalky gunk they’re made of.

I failed to stay on the recommended dosages with both products because they were mildly uncomfortable to use. When in a high-risk circumstance I’d just go ahead and smoke because, let’s face it, that’s what my neuroreceptors wanted me to do: smoke the damn cigarette and ease the annoying cravings. There’s no better way than inhalation to get nicotine into the brain. Mmm, smoking. (more…)

In which I share some of my research about diet and overweight. It turns out dietary fat is fine; it’s the refined carbohydrates – white flour, white sugar – and the HFCS that are fucking killing you and making all those children fat and sedentary.

On January 5th, I started a weight-loss contest with a group of online friends. I weighed 160 pounds. I’m 5’4″ tall, so my ideal weight range is 122 – 150 lbs. I was officially overweight. My gut stuck out farther than my boobs, I was shaped like an old person, and I was tired and lazy.

I tracked my caloric intake, and pretended to be enthusiastic about exercise even though I’ve never particularly liked it. I hit the dietary target of 20% protein, 30% fat, and 50% carbohydrates pretty regularly, although if you’re a vegetarian on a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet it’s really hard to get enough protein.

I limited my fat intake brutally. I drank fat-free milk, bought low-fat cottage cheese and yogurt, cooked with spray oil, ate lots of beans and legumes, and had huge salads just like they tell us to. After all, “everybody knows” that to lose weight, one must restrict calories and exercise more. And that’s what I did.

The only problem is that, as logical as they seem, both of those medical theories have been disproven in study after study. Low-fat diets do not lower disease risk or help in weight loss. Exercise does not help with weight loss because it universally increases hunger, in study after study, making semi-starvation diets impossible to stick to and any weight loss achieved temporary and useless.

And you don’t know that these low-fat/exercise theories of health have been overturned because 1.) the AMA just, you know, hasn’t gotten around to admitting that they accidentally backed the wrong theories for seventy years; 2.) giant corporations who sell tons of low-fat foods don’t want you to know about it; and 3.) the media tends to be conservative about diet recommendations that don’t make their advertisers money.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I learned all that, I successfully followed my semi-starvation diet for eight weeks before I totally fucking lost control of it and found myself eating an entire bag of potato chips without conscious thought and arriving at Mexican restaurants before I even knew I’d decided to go out to eat. I’d lost 14 pounds, but found myself hungry all the time and obsessed with food. (more…)