Wednesday, May 19, 2010

from your parasite, with love

I am fascinated with the idea that a parasite might help with autoimmune disorders. In the UK studies have been conducted researching the effect on MS and crohn's disease.

I know it is creepy to think about, but the kind of worms they are talking about here do NOT reproduce or significantly grow in the host. They happily latch on and enjoy the ride and if you live in a place with even the most basic sanitation, the parasites will eventually die out. Tragic.

One study found that when the parasite was present, the immune system responded measurably. It shifted the T cell production toward a type of defender that is less likely to damage the body but could still effectively fight infection. What a way to embrace a new guest.

Some autoimmune disorders strike suddenly and have devastating effects before you could respond with this kind of therapy. It seems type 1 diabetes (maybe even type 2) would fall into this group. This would be a case where you need to show a commitment in advance--not in sickness but in health.

When the UK studies were finished and the experimental group was offered the drug to kill off the parasites, some participants said no thanks... they wanted to affirm their relationship. I'm sure the worms felt the same way.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

For the record, my diet

A couple of family members have asked about what I'm doing with my diet. It is pretty sane really and I just want to put it down for the record.

I ran through a diet like the south beach diet and afterward wanted to maintain my weight. This is what I'm doing now to hold things steady. I've mostly tried to replace the worst things I was eating before with good stuff.

Doughnuts, cake, cookies
Wheat toast, sugar-free jam
Snacky foods, chips, etc
Apples, carrots, grapefruit
Juice, soda, sweet drinks
Water, low-sugar hot cocoa
Worst of the fast food... fries, soda, shake
Stick with a hamburger

One reason it was such a no-brainer to leave sweets out of my diet is after going through the south beach diet twice, I never want to do it again. It is a pretty miserable few weeks. Sugar is an addiction and eating it makes you want to eat more of it after the high passes. I felt a real feeling of withdrawal when I gave it up during the no-carb phase. If you try south beach or something like it, I'd suggest you get a friend to do it at the same time. Both times I had a pact with a coworker and had to show I could stay with it.

Juice may be derived from something "natural" like fruit, but it's just a slightly less refined form of sugar than the pure stuff. No one should argue with the idea that it's better to just get the good stuff direct from the fruit.

I discovered I need to take a multivitamin. The corners of my mouth get tender and painful if I don't keep that up, a vitamin B deficiency. I suspect I'm getting less fortified flour, possibly the only redeeming value in cake, etc. I miss out on now.

On exercise... exercise without fixing your diet isn't likely to work. While waiting to see dad finish the St. George marathon, I was amazed to see runner after runner cross the finish line who were clearly carrying an extra 30, 40, 50 pounds. It's quite possible to be fit and still overweight. I've started exercising recently but most of the weight loss was before I started that.