Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Rudi's Gluten Free Bread

I've been meaning to post on a bread I've tried, and I'm finally getting to do it.  In the spirit of curiosity, I tried out Rudi's Gluten-Free Bread after going to the natural foods store with my roommate, who promptly picked up their organic bread.  I tried it last week, and it tasted like really good multi-grain bread - I could see sunflower seeds and a few millet grains in the slices.  My one complaint is with the texture - while it was pretty good (better, in my opinion, then Food of Life's Millet Bread, by far), I prefer Udi's chewiness (which is about as spot on as you get).  The perfect gluten-free bread would use Rudi's flavor and Udi's texture - I'd be hoarding the stuff!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: The Clear Skin Diet (Logan, Treolar)

I received The Clear Skin Diet from Inter-library Loan Wednesday and read it through in a night (now if only I could do that in my research!).  It's comprehensive, clearly written for a lay person, thoroughly researched (not that this is a good measure, but just to give you an idea, the bibliography is 18 pages long).  The authors explain acne as a skin process aggravated by other problems in the body, particularly nutritional deficiencies and how to rectify them.  They treat acne as something to be concerned about beyond pure vanity, citing correlations (sometimes anecdotal, sometimes drawn out of logical extrapolation, sometimes supported by hard science) between acne severity and digestive problems while young, and disease in old age.  They also explore the link between acne and stress - validating the link and providing stategies to help.  While I don't want to rewrite the book here (it's an easy-to-follow argument and that would be breaking copyright law), it's an interesting read.  The suggestions made are well in line with the diet I imposed upon myself (and have been writing about since):  I will be adding a regular probiotic supplement (to be taken before each main meal), fish oil capsules (since good fish isn't readily available where I live, with each main meal), and a Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin A supplement to my regimen (temporarily, once a day).

Monday, September 27, 2010

FDA GMO Labeling Update

According to the Washington Post, the genetically modified salmon up for approval will not have to be labeled as genetically modified.  If this goes to market (and given the FDA's track record, it probably will), I will not eat salmon I can't verify is GMO-free.  Essentially, I'm going to make my own wild-caught salmon sushi and, when eating sushi out, not eat the salmon.  Also, I will have to verify any fish oil supplements I may want to take.  It's extra-ordinarily frustrating - regardless of what you think about GMO's environmental impact.  Consumers should still be given enough information that they can make a choice about whether or not they want to ingest GM food.  Extra labeling is only confusing if you make it confusing (see the high fructose corn syrup naming controversy and you'll see what I mean).

Review: Coconut Aminos

I'm a huge fan of all things soy sauce, so it was really hard to think that I wouldn't be able to dip my sushi in soy sauce on dates with my boyfriend, or make my Thai-inspired peanut butter sauce when I'm in a hurry and want something yummy, or have some of Dad's stir fry.  I tried tamari and that didn't work so well (it just helped open the flood gates for more rule breaking), so I was at a loss.  Then I saw Coconut Secret's Coconut Aminos in the grocery store.  At first, I was wary and just avoided soy substitutes altogether, having read that there really aren't any good soy substitutes on the market.  After missing soy quite a bit, I thought I would give it a try.  I whipped up some Thai-inspired peanut butter sauce this after noon to put on some me-friendly noodles and yum!  Although I've not run it by my flavor discerning boyfriend (he won't touch my green juice, let alone my substitutes), it's close enough to keep me happy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Followup #2 to Doctor Drama!

I got word back from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine folks I contacted.  I was initially worried that they would just ignore me (having not being quite as prompt as Dr. Cordain and some messing with getting my email to the right email address), but they did get back to me, and they gave me several names with contact information, including a person at a semi-local Mayo Clinic.

That point caught my attention because my dad actually brought up the idea of going to a Mayo Clinic around the holidays today.  Yes, it would be a grueling and most likely a rather unpleasant day, but I could learn a lot in a relatively quick amount of time (allergy battery, hormone tests, tests for digestive issues, etc.).  Then again, everything could also come back normal and we'd be back to the "well, this diet-regimen works, but we don't know why," stage again.  Not only that, but a Mayo Clinic visit is probably pretty pricey.  Then again, going to the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine is going to be pricey (got quoted at $350 for the initial consultation and $250/follow-up).  That wouldn't be an issue if our health insurance covered that kind of thing.

Furthermore, there are travel costs involved.  I have friends who most likely wouldn't mind hosting me, but travel is expensive, time-consuming, and a general pain - compound that with whatever medical testing they may do - and it sounds like it could be quite a project.  Then again, trying to cure this particularly stubborn case of acne has become at least a part-time job (fussing over food, cooking, research, tweaking, planning, etc.), and is always in the back of my mind while I'm doing my actual job - being a music theory grad student.  Maybe it would be worth whatever money my family and I have to fork over to get my skin issues resolved once and for all.  Acne does significant emotional as well as physical damage (and yes, though I don't let it on much, oh Lordy is it there), and I have had enough.

What would you do, dear readers?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Followup #1 to Doctor Drama!

So there was a part of the whole doctor drama story that I left out yesterday due to the fact that I needed to sleep.  In the Doctor Drama post, I said I emailed the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine to see what they say.  What I didn't say was that I also emailed Dr. Loren Cordain, professor, exercise scientist, and co-creator of the Paleo diet (which I'm a bit leary of still - cutting out all grains doesn't make sense to me), and asked him if he knew of any dermatologists in my state who would be open to working with me and my diet.  Unfortunately, he didn't know of anyone in my state (go figure), but he directed me to Dr. Valori Treloar - a certified dermatologist and nutritionist and co-author of The Clear Skin Diet (with naturopath and M.D. Dr. Alan C. Logan).  I'll email her and see what she recommends.  I've also requested her book (Hurray for Interlibrary Loan!) just to see what she and Dr. Logan say in the book and speed the process along(No redundancy!), but I must say that from what I can tell from the previews (Hurray for that too!), it'll be an interesting and potentially edifying read. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Doctor Drama!

A brief summary of what has transpired since making the doctor's appointment.

I went to the health center to see one of their dermatologists yesterday morning.  I told her about what I did and that, when I stuck to it, it worked (and that my face shows that I've been needing to do better).  She was very supportive, and wrote me a referral to the local allergist to test for food allergies.  Sounds great!

After the appointment, I called the local allergist to make an appointment.  First, they wouldn't be able to get me in until November (well, okay . . .), and then, when I told the receptionists that I was testing because of acne issues, they insisted I go to the local independent dermatologist (also the allergist's wife!).  Thinking, "well okay, maybe they just don't trust the university doctors", I relented and made an appointment with the second dermatologist for today, in the process messing with my office hours and my research schedule, to convince the allergist that I, in fact, needed his services.

Every time I see a dermatologist, I mentally prepare for an argument.  My experience runs counter to the standard Western medicine explanation that diet has nothing to do with acne, and I know that, when people are presented with fundamental challenges like that, they get . . . funny.  I was ready with the first dermatologist, and I was ready for the second.  I went in with my stack of papers, was very polite (if my teeth were clenched a bit because of the redundancy of this dermatologist visit), presented my situation, and asked for help.  This second dermatologist recommended that I drop everything I was doing and try another antibiotic and another suite of washes/creams because the people who had prescribed my biomedical interventions in the past had prescribed the wrong stuff.  I would just have to give her regimen two months of perfect adherence - including dropping my way of doing things.  I said (as politely as I could, I might add) that I couldn't give her those two months and I wouldn't give up the diet.

And then she got defensive.  She said that because I couldn't trust her (a doctor from a branch of medicine that has failed me for 10 + years who I'd just met and implied that my diet/regimen was bunk), I needed professional mental help.  She said she would call the allergist (but I didn't see her do this because she walked away before I could insist that she do it in front of me) and that she wouldn't charge me (for what amounted to a mutual waste of time, I might add), but I have a feeling that all she did was rant to her husband about some [insert your derogatory term of choice for young women here] refusing to just do what she said without question - she's the one with the MD in dermatology, after all.  What is more mentally - even spiritually - unhealthy?  Doing something just because an expert in the arena says so - even if your experience AND some legit research suggests that what that expert recommends may not hold as much water as they would like to think?  Call me a heretic (which I am - especially in my field of expertise), but I'll go with someone calling me crazy and going with my gut than doing anything that doesn't make sense to me - especially when we're talking about my body!

Anyway, I wrote back to the first dermatologist this afternoon, explaining the situation, and she recommended I contact the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine - the institute Dr. Andrew Weil founded to do research in to doing medicine in a way that makes the patient a partner, rather than another body, and is open to dietary intervention and other more "natural" ways of healing.  I sent their resident allergist an email explaining the situation so far and asking his advice.  He redirected me to their senior director - who I just emailed a copy of what I wrote to the allergist.

We shall see what happens.  I'll keep you posted, dear readers.