Sunday, October 23, 2011

Falling Off the Wagon

I had a cup of coffee today.  And.  I.  loved. it.   Don't judge me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Science Experiment, the actual experiment

Ok, so the part you've all been waiting for.

Well after doing my preliminary research on Saturday, I decided to immediately cut out coffee.  I couldn't pull the caffeine plug all at once though and so I switched to tea until yesterday, when I realized that black tea is just as bad as coffee.  I also promptly ordered some ph test strips so that I could try to determine how acidic I am.  Well these weren't coming in until Wednesday, and I had to go grocery shopping before then because we were out of food.  So as I wandered the aisles (because I went shopping without a list, which I do not advise), I kept thinking ooohhh, that's got a low pral value, etc. etc.  I ended up buying 3 bags of spinach, apricots, prunes, and chocolate covered plum bites impulsively.  I also decided that I was going to try to eat spinach and some dried fruit every day.  I don't particularly like dried fruit, but the kids like apricots and I can make the babies eat the prunes, so that's what I went for.  I am afraid to try a date for some reason, but my mother and another friend both love them, so I'm working up the nerve.  At any rate, I grocery shopped emotionally.

So I spent the next couple of days reading on some more foods and just kept getting lots of conflicting info but I finally came to some conclusions as far as what I myself am going to do.  I couldn't do anything too radical, because I am after all still nursing twins.  I have to eat a whole lot to be able to do this (nurse, that is).  I'm unfortunately not one of those people who can nurse and not eat much and just have pound after pound fall off.  I have to eat and eat and eat or I won't produce milk, and well, the weight just sort of takes it's sweet time coming off.  This is an aside here, but I remember when my cousin nursed her twins and almost whittled away down to nothing.  She had to safety pin all of her pants to even keep them up.  Somehow, I had visions of grandeur that this would be me.  It was not.  So, all of that to say, I can't cut out anything too radical in my experiment.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for my test strips to come in, trying to decide what dietary changes I'm going to make, and thoroughly enjoying my chocolate covered plums.  I went so far as to ask hubby to look up the pral value for chocolate, which he graciously did.  Then I asked him to look it up for plums.  I was so excited to discover that the plums are more negative than the chocolate is positive, so I'm satisfied that the net is negative.  I even went so far as to pick the chocolate off of a few plums to try and determine the chocolate to plum ratio.  I was pleasantly surprised that it seems to be almost equal.  Finally after reading numerous lists and wondering what waffeolo cereal is because it's one of the worst offenders, I decide to go for the big numbers - dried fruit and spinach (since it's the only leafy green that I really enjoy eating).  I'm going to eat spinach daily, and add a serving of dried fruit.  And maybe another serving covered in chocolate.  I'm also cutting out coffee and tea daily. I only have one soda a week - it's a little guilty pleasure.  I haven't decided if I'm giving that up yet.  I'm also cutting back on my milk consumption.  I realized that I probably drink between 4 and 5 cups (8 oz) of milk daily.  This is excessive.  I drink two at breakfast, two with dinner, and usually at least one more during the day.  All of the reading I've been doing (before this even, when I got fixated on sheeps milk a few weeks ago), suggests that all of the real nutrition in milk is in the cream of non pasteurized and non homogenized milk.  So I'm also going to start getting 2% milk from my local farmer people and drinking a little of that every week.  Incidentally, I'm cutting down to 3 cups a day. I also am going to measure out my water for the day in a little sports bottle - I need to drink 2 full ones.  Because I know I don't drink enough water.  Finally, I'm going to try to cut my portion size down for meats at all meals, and if I feel like I need to eat more make it up with veggies (except corn).

So, satisfied that I am changing the daily pral values of my diet sufficiently, the ph strips came in and I started testing.  I combined a bunch of different suggestions into my own, which is what I do with most things I do in life.  One suggestion was that you test for 5 days, then average it.  I am going to do this.  The other was that you test in the morning and at night, because the morning one will tell you what your body's baseline is, and the evening one should tell you how what you've eaten that day affects your numbers.  So I'm doing that, too.  Then another place said that any dietary changes needed to be made for 6 weeks in order to affect your baseline, and then retest.  So I think I'm going to do that.  I really only want to do it for 5 weeks, because unfortunately for me Thanksgiving falls on day one of week six.  Now, for the past 8 years, we have spent Thanksgiving day with my in-laws, and then the day after Thanksgiving at my Uncle's house with my cousins and more recently parents and siblings.  This means I enjoy two straight days of pure gluttony because there is just no other word to describe it.  My m-i-l normally smokes or brines her turkey, my Uncle fries his.  They are both wonderful.  And I love stuffing, and sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes, and the cheesy corn that one of my cousins makes.... and the desserts.  You get the picture.  I'm not sure how that's going to affect my experiment.  So I am wondering if 5 weeks will be enough?  I guess even if I stop at the 5 week mark, I'd have to test over Thanksgiving, so either way, Thanksgiving is going to be a most inconvenient wrench in my experiment here because I might have to show some restraint. Well, I'll just cross that bridge when I get to it.

At any rate, I'm on day 3 of my testing. This was initially just a little frustrating because I couldn't find any consistent opinion on where these numbers should be coming in.  Regardless, I think my urine (which I also tested, and of course the kids had to get in on it, so I tested theirs, too) is normal.  My saliva may or may not be normal.  I *think* my baseline for my saliva is around a 6.75 which is either slightly acidic or on the low end of normal.  My strips came in Wednesday night, so I tested then, and then twice yesterday, and twice today.  Yesterday morning and today I had a 6.75 reading.  Wednesday night I also had a 6.75 reading.  Last night I had a 7.25, and tonight I had a 7.25.  At this point, the only conclusion I've drawn is that Zaxby's is probably not helping the acidity in my body at all.

So, I'll be interested to see how this turns out.  After I do my initial testing, there should be a long enough span  of time to where I would normally have a break out.  I am ending one right now - the remains of one of the whoppers are still in there, but almost gone.  So, if this works, I'll just plan on skipping out on dental school and just writing my dissertation.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Science Experiment Part 2 - The Research

So, to continue my previous post, I have been a faithful student at the University of Google for some time now.  I really ramped up my hours while I was in the hospital, and have tried to maintain my full time status since.  So while researching acidic foods I made all sorts of important discoveries.

One has to do with the ph content of foods and your own body.  Well, I am not a scientist at all and so I'm not going to try to explain in detail what I don't fully understand. Not to mention there are a host of inconsistent articles out there on the topic.  However, here is what seems to be simple and consistent:  The ph scale goes from 0 to 14, 7 being neutral.  Values greater than 7 are base (alkaline) and less than 7 are acidic. Your body and its fluids all have a reading.  The foods you eat are considered one or the other based on what your body does with the food after consumption.  Being acidic is bad in a whole lot of ways.  It can cause mouth ulcers, kidney problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer to name a few.

The inconsistencies come when trying to determine what the normal ph reading should be (you are generally testing urine and saliva), and the values of foods. I also stumbled across something called a PRAL value for food which is some number that's supposed to tell you the alkaline or acid load of a food.  It gets a little confusing here because using these numbers, the lower number is alkaline and the higher number is acid.

And then there is this one website called quackwatch which basically discards the whole theory.

SO, you could really spend all day on the internet looking up this sort of thing and you just have to draw the line somewhere.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go brush my teeth.  I'll tell you about the actual experiment in Part 3.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Science Experiment - Part 1, Back Story

So many things happen during the course of my day that I think would make wonderful blog entries, but since I don't even have time to brush my teeth most days, you guys are just going to have to miss out on most of these little gems.  However, this was one thing I had to document for posterity.  It may take me a few days to write it, but the public must know about this.

So, back story:   Most of you who know me very well, and some of you who don't know me well at all but just happened to catch me on a day when I was telling my life story know that I get these nasty ulcers in my mouth from time to time.  I've had them my entire life - as long as I can remember anyway.  My mom gets them, my brother and sister also get them, and alas, my kids get them.  I think given all of that it must be hereditary to some degree, but I get them worse than anyone else I know.  I have asked every dentist and doctor about it for years because I suffer with these things.  I mean suffer.  I have dubbed them my "thorn in the flesh".  Most people who get them get one, maybe two or three at a time, and they are fairly small.  When I have an outbreak, I will get at least 5, usually around 10 or so, but at time upwards of 20 in my mouth at the same time.  Some of them are the size of my thumb nail, and at least half of them are all over my tongue making it near impossible for me to talk or eat without being in excruciating pain.  If I've ever been rude to you, there's a good chance that it's because I was at the time afflicted with these things.  I normally just clench my jaw for about 3 weeks because that's typically how long it takes for them to run their course.  Sometimes I'll have a week or two off before I get another outbreak.  They make me very tired, and irritable to say the least.

I have stopped eating tomatoes for the most part, because I thought the acid in the tomato was causing some of the outbreaks.  Then I did a little research myself and found that SLS, which is found in almost all toothpastes can irritate, so I buy this expensive toothpaste online called squiggle, which hasn't reduced the outbreaks, but at least when I have the sores it doesn't feel like I'm scraping the inside of my mouth with razor blades when I brush my teeth.  So I keep using it.  Then a few years back I got my wisdom teeth out.  The doctor prescribed me a steroid afterwards, which I guess is routine, and every sore in my mouth went away almost overnight.  Unfortunately, I cannot convince anyone to prescribe me a steroid just whenever I feel like it.  I went to see a doctor who did give me a special mouth rinse that has some steroid in it, but you can't get it at a pharmacy.  It's some concoction that I have to get from a lab that mixes chemicals and medicines for animals.  This costs about $50 a bottle, and although it helps, it doesn't prevent the sores.  It makes them go away in about a week rather than 3 weeks. Oh, and the bottle lasts a couple months.

Ok, so it's taken me three paragraphs and two days just to tell the back story, but it's important to understand the monster that is being dealt with here. So my dad was here last week and he just happens to mention that he  has cut back on his coffee consumption to 3 cups per day because coffee is acidic and he has acid reflux. Never in my life had I heard or considered that coffee was acidic.  I love coffee.  Things start to click... I seem to have a mild reprieve when I'm pregnant, don't drink coffee when I'm pregnant (don't worry, I get my caffeine elsewhere I just lose the taste for coffee for some reason ).  So I think to myself, I need to look up which foods are acidic because I clearly don't know.  End back story.

By the way, I know some of you are wondering how I have time to write this if I don't have time to brush my teeth.  Let me just assure everyone that on the days I type, I also have time to brush my teeth.