Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Toss me a life preserver, please!

Yesterday I felt like I was treading water. It was all I could do to keep my head above the water of life (oooo - that's deep! Pun intended, of course). Why, you ask? Well, for one I'm missing my mom terribly. It's been almost a year! Can you believe it? April 9th, 2007, is the day my mom and my grandmother died and I can't believe it has been almost a year already. To me, and I'm sure the rest of my family, it seems like yesterday. Another reason I struggled yesterday is b/c of all this garden stuff. I have researched, read, researched, read and then researched and read again. There is SO much stuff to do just to get started! I'm tired just thinking about it all. The kids and I actually went to a greenhouse yesterday to look for seed. There's a greenhouse just down the street from us, so I walked and the kids rode their bikes. When we got there and I saw the seed display, I stood there and stared blankly. All of the seed packets looked alike to me! I could not distinguish carrots from turnips despite the pictures being RIGHT THERE! My head was swimming and I felt defeated before I could even begin.

You might be wondering why I want a garden so badly. Well, that leads into the next reason I feel like I'm in the deep blue struggling to breathe. All the foods we buy are so contaminated it's scary! That's one of the downfalls of research, I think. Sometimes you can have too much information. I think there's truth in the adage that "ignorance is bliss", you know? Anyway, I want to have a garden so that I know the food hasn't been exposed to pesticides and junk. We've also started buying beef and chickens from a friend who raises them grass-fed only (the cows) and free range (the chickens). We try to buy farm-fresh eggs (not always easy). All of this stuff is not cheap, but I feel it's best. Then again, part of me wonders if it is worth all the trouble. After all, we are living on this earth temporarily - why should it matter? And so on and on my mind goes... I'm drowning!


Tony M said...

Well, your body is the temple of God, and "the Lord cares about our bodies", so I don't necessarily think it's not worth all the trouble, especially if you are concerned about it.

I think that probably the majority of our illnesses (physical, mental, and emotional) are at least to some degree affected by our mental state (no, I'm not saying if you have appendicitis it's because you were afraid you are going to have it). If eating food that hasn't gone through our "modern industrialized growing process" make you think you are healthier, then most likely you will be healthier. Like when I drink Mt. Dew to get the extra Vitamin C from its orange juice concentrate when I feel a cold coming on... at that link above (Mt. Dew) you'll find some elaboration on that point, and the whole "think healthy" bit.

By the way - you will probably be proud/glad/something to hear this - Ninfa and I have decided to try to minimize our aspartame intake, as it seems that aspartame tends to slow metabolism, and that's not good for weight loss. Not sure about saccharin... that was thought in the past to cause cancer in lab rats, but it turns out the rats getting the cancer (bladder cancer) were predisposed to it anyway (male rats), and the saccharin does things in their bladders in a way that it doesn't work in humans, so the risk of human bladder cancer from saccharin really doesn't exist. Sucralose - most often sold under the brand name Splenda - doesn't seem to have any adverse effects on humans. Yes, technically the stuff could be considered a poison, but it isn't processed by the human digestive system - it comes out in the same form it goes in, so you get the sweet taste but no metabolic (to my knowledge) or other unhealthy effects from it.

Anyway, as far as the whole garden and eating naturally healthy thing, I say go for it, but don't let it stress you out (that's another cause of poor health, one with which I'm all too intimately familiar). Look at it as a learning and growing (no pun intended) experience. Ask questions at the greenhouse, do the research, don't look at it as "I have to do this" - look at it as "this is something I get to do" - and if it takes off slowly, then be glad for what you do get accomplished in only your first (?) year of gardening. Enjoy it. Get the kids involved (sounds like you already have). Make it a fun family thing! And remember - you're doing it because you want to and it's good for you, not because you have to.

Oh, and another tip, as far as allergies: a spoon full of local honey every morning. Since the bees make the honey locally, it'll have traces of the pollens that are likely causing your allergic symptoms, and you can build up a resistance to it (similar to my mom having to give herself ragweed shots because of her terrible allergies to ragweed). Ninfa has the number to a guy who sells locally produced honey, if you want it (you'll have to ask her, though; I don't have a clue where that number might be).

Good luck with your gardening! Sorry for the long comment...

Christy said...

Good advice, thanks, Tony! I do want the local bee guys number.

I am happy to hear you're gonna give up aspartame. As far as Splenda goes, my herbalist says that sugar is still better for you. What is the best for you, according to her, is a product called Stevia and a product called Xylitol. They are both produced from God-given plants, but they have 40% less calories than sugar. I use Xylitol now. You can buy the stuff at health food stores. Shop around, though, 'cause some are way more pricey than others. So far I haven't found anyone cheaper than the lady I use at Creative Healing. Madison Drugs is over the top pricey so don't go there! I noticed a new health food store near the church thrift store, but I haven't gone in there yet.

As far as the Mt. Dew giving you Vitamin C - you're killing me! Surely you jest!

As far as the "thinking healthy" thing goes (I know I've talked about these things out of order) I guess that's true to an extent. However, if our food is truly being exposed to as much as the information I've read indicates, it's no wonder people are sick and achey all the time.

Again, I appreciate your encouraging words. I do need to change my way of thinking towards this gardening experience. I suppose that's another area where I need to renew my mind.

Tony M said...

Well, Stevia and Xylitol haven't been thoroughly tested. Just because something's natural doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you... after all, arsenic is a natural substance, and even is used as medicine at times (recently approved by the FDA in 2000 for patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia). Sorry, a bit of a tangent there; the point is, just because it's natural, doesn't mean it's safe/good for you.

Since Xylitol & Stevia aren't sold as food additives, they aren't regulated by the FDA, thus they aren't required to undergo testing and aren't (to my knowledge) required to provide proof of any claims (I suppose they could be held responsible for false advertising if their testing claims aren't supportable with documentation, but there aren't any reviews or regulations regarding such testing).

And your health food lady is going to (naturally) be very excited about whatever she uses (or sells, although I won't push that point). For instance, if you talk to a chiropractor, you'll get one and only one view point of the practice. If you talk to an acupuncture practitioner, again, you'll get one and only one view of that practice. Many massage therapists, those who promote body wraps and the like, will discuss toxins in the blood. If you talk to an evolutionist, again, one viewpoint. The thing is, each will be convinced of their own point of view (even presuming it as fact, regardless of any lack of evidence or counter evidence, not even trying to defend it - just discussing the "good points" and benefits).

Note: I don't mean to dissuade you from your herbalist... by all means, there are certainly good things there for you. And if you're satisfied with Xylitol and Stevia, go for it! I hope you have supporting evidence of their safety as use for sugar substitutes.

And I'm sure sugar is better than other things... kept in moderation, of course. That's the issue I have... I drink way too many sodas, so I need to cut back on either soda intake or sugar intake within the sodas. I'm not sure I have the willpower for the former, hence the "switch" to sucralose as a sweetener. And it won't slow my metabolism like aspartame. And I'll also be going with more non-diet drinks as well, especially when the only diet alternatives are aspartame sweetened.

I hope this makes sense... I don't mean to dissuade you from what works for you, just trying to explain my thoughts. As always, it's important to do your own research and make up your own mind about things; sure, you may not be an expert in the category you're researching, but it's not hard (in today's online world) to find the information the experts provide to help you make up your mind.

That being said, yes, I actually do drink Mt. Dew (when available) when I feel a cold coming on. It makes me feel like I'm doing something positive, and I feel better (whether it actually shortens my cold, I don't know; but it makes be feel better while I still have it). That whole "mental health" thing - if you think you're getting better, you probably will be.

It looks like you've done plenty of research on our food, though... I'm expecting a blog post soon with all that info you've been collecting!

Again, good luck on your garden... I'm pretty good at growing weeds all over my yard, but that's about it.

Christy said...

Good point, well taken. I know what you mean about the 'natural' not necessarily being good for you. When Linda, my herbalist, said that about the Xylitol, I was tempted to say, "Well marijuana is a plant God made, too, but I'm not gonna be using that!". But I held my tongue. I have taken her word (although she is not the ONLY one who has recommended Xylitol and Stevia - I read about it in The Maker's Diet) on this Xylitol issue, though, which is against what I usually do. I guess I've done that b/c she's been right about everything else I'm taking. I think I will do some research on it, b/c, truthfully I'm not that crazy about the taste of Xylitol. The only time I ADD any sugar is in my coffee, which I have cut back on, so I don't know that the sugar thing will be such a big deal (I just need to lay off the cookies, soda, and ice cream). Your other examples: chiropractor, acupuncture so on, are other great alternatives to the medical profession that promptly urges us to pop a synthetic pill for every little thing. I do still use the occasional Aleve or whatever, but I'm not NEARLY as quick to use everything blindly like I used to be. I guess coming close to killing myself was a wake-up call (this was a side effect from Cymbalta - for me)!

Christy said...

So far the information I've read online has only positive things to say about Stevia and Xylitol. I read more than one site, but thought I'd mention wikipedia one since you use them a lot (I can't use the link for some reason). As far as the FDA goes, I don't really put much merit into their approval. Afterall, they approve of injecting 100's of antibiotics into cows and chickens (I'll e-mail you an article if you like. I can't use this link in this post, either).

You know, I hope you understand that I'm not being hateful or belittling your opinion. Sometimes I worry that I'm come across the wrong way through all this blogging stuff. I really do appreciate your input and respect your position.

Tony M said...

No, no; it's good to do research; that's my whole point - don't just blindly trust someone else (like most of the world does about "human impact on global warming"). Do the research, make up your own mind. Once you do that, be confident in your position and able to back it up; but also, of course, be open to listen to arguments for against your position (note: I'm not speaking here of our faith, as it can be dangerous to open up too much; but you also have to listen in order to be able to solidly refute opposing arguments, if that makes sense).

As far as links, here's the magic formula:

- go to the web page where you want to link, and copy the URL from your browser's address bar (the "http://something.com/page" part)

- enter the text you want as a link in your comment

- after the text, add </a>

- before the text, add <a href="">

- then go between the "" from the last step and paste the URL (from the browser address bar) between them.

As an example, if I want to post a link to my blog, the syntax I put in the comment (that creates the link above) is this:

<a href="http://lapsebraindead.blogspot.com/">my blog</a>

Anyway, I'll look up Xylitol & Stevia (if I recall, I think Stevia is presently used as an alternative sweetener in other countries, but I'll probably continue to use Splenda until they figure out something nasty it does... but since it's not processed by the body's digestive tract, I can't think of how it would adversely affect a human).

What I really find preposterous was the original supposed problem with Saccharin, the cancer thing: the FDA was going to ban it from use in the US, but congress (?!) stepped in and prevented the ban based on economic pressures... huh? Why is a lawmaking organization controlling health and safety issues? Anyway, it turns out they were ok in this instance (as the cancer scare turned out to be false, as I mentioned previously), but still preposterous that Congress would take such action.

Anyway, good luck in the gardening! I like cucumbers, so if you have some of those, I might buy one or two from you...

Tony M said...

Oh, I never quite said, no, I don't think you're being belittling or devaluating my opinion. It's all friendly, it's all good.