American doctors, and medicating the effect rather than treating the cause

I recently went through a period where my blood pressure (BP) went up to 150/100 and stayed there. My normal BP is ~115/70, so I monitored it for a few days, and when it stayed there I made an appointment with my primary care physician (PCP). I explained everything to her, how I eat almost exclusively organic foods that I prepare at home, and I exercise harder than I have since 2011. I told her that I started feeling a little sick about two weeks ago, and that I was now feeling worse. I suggested that I probably had an infection, because that had been a recurring problem before we knew about the mast cell disease, and I had also just had a surgery in December. To me there was no logical reason that my BP should be that high unless I’m having an infection or some sort of heart issue.

Nonetheless, without doing any tests, her recommendation was that I should increase my Lisinopril dosage from 20mg to 40mg — which is the max you can take, and also has potentially severe side effects. My response was along the lines of, “Okay, whatev,” and after I left her office I made an appointment to see a specialist. I felt like she was just medicating the effect, and had little interest in understanding the cause.

The amino acids supplement chart from The Diet Cure

This is the amino acids supplement chart from the excellent book by Julia Ross, The Diet Cure. With this chart you look at the first two columns to find whatever “deficiency” problems you may be having, then look for the amino acid supplement(s) that are known to help with those problems.

I originally learned about this when my thyroid was failing in 2011. L-tyrosine was a major help in living through that problem.

My colectomy (colon resection) experience (recovery, diet)

“I’m going to have to resect the colon.”

~ pretty much every surgeon on M*A*S*H at some point

In late June, 2018, I had to have a colectomy surgery, which is also known as a colon resection. Here’s a diary of my experience.

How an 82-year-old woman with dementia improved significantly

From a story of how an 82-year-old woman with dementia improved significantly by changing her diet:

“A change in diet, which was comprised of high amounts of blueberries and walnuts, has proven to have had a strong impact on Sylvia’s condition that her recipes are now being shared by the Alzheimer’s Society ... Sylvia also began incorporating other health foods, including broccoli, kale, spinach, sunflower seeds, green tea, oats, sweet potatoes and even dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. All of these foods are known to be beneficial for brain health.”

“Mark and Sylvia devised to diet together after deciding that the medication on it’s own was not enough, they looked into the research showing that rates of dementia are much lower in Mediterranean countries and copied a lot of their eating habits.”

How far my diet has come

To show how far my diet has come, on May 13, 2013 I wrote this on Facebook: “Huh, the doctor was right. They do have vegetables at my grocery store.”

These days (May, 2017), 80-90% of my diet is organic vegetables.

Why am I always sick? (or, “Why are you always sick?”)

“Why am I always sick?” That’s a question I used to ask myself a lot. Other people asked it as well: “Al, why are you always sick?”

I remember one time I was in the same room as my wife while she was on the phone. She was taking to her sister, who was talking about her husband (my brother-in-law), and their conversation went on for quite some time. Afterwards I said, “Wow, I hope you guys don’t talk about me all the time like that.” My wife said, “No, we just say that you seem to get sick a lot.”

Mast cell disease, histamine intolerance diet, and a healthy weight

One good thing about mast cell disease: because I’ve had to follow a strict low-histamine diet I’ve lost almost twenty pounds in the last eighteen months, with most of that coming in the last six months. I’ll soon weigh what I weighed in high school (albeit it without the same muscle mass). This is a photo of my during my first year in college, where I was at roughly the same weight.

If you’re interested in a similar story, you can find before and after photos of the “Low Histamine Chef” (Yasmina Ykelenstam) at this link. For me the important thing is not getting down to a low weight, but a healthy, sustainable weight where I feel good.

Good to have my brain back after treating MCAS

When I was sick last summer I couldn’t even come close to thinking about a Map while programming. Feeling much better these days after radically altering my diet, I have used many maps over the last two days to solve programming problems elegantly:

Map<Tuple<Position,RatingType>, Spinner> positionRatingSpinnerMap = new HashMap<>();

That code gives me an easy way to lookup an Android Spinner widget based on a football player’s position (QB) and rating type (short passer, long passer, runner).

I have to say, it feels good to have my brain back.