Monday, December 26, 2016


One of the first foods which was dropped in January 2012 when the gastroentrologist recommended the FODMAPS diet for a change after almost 4 years of digestive problem was wheat. That was the last time I ate wheat outside a few time as food experiments which turned out disasterous.

What we did was to shrink my diet to the minimum foods I knew I could eat and see what happened. It's a minimalluy balanced diet with a little of each food group and with health supplements I have a healthy diet. Everything else, FODMAPS and many more foods were off-limits for the next 4-plus years.

When it comes to new foods I use the three-strikes, rule. I give a food two tries to be ok with the digestive system, forgetting the taste buds which often loves those foods, and the third time it's off the list. I will occasionally go back to foods on the no-eat list but they only get one chance and they're effectively permanently censored.

That has been my food regimen for the last 4-plus years, so when I got through the 10-day regimen of antibiotics this last fall and waited a few weeks, I tried wheat again, a croissant, which didn't go well, so I thought I had lost wheat for good. I tried it again twice more, different things, such as cornbread and crackers, but the same thing happened.

Then for some reason about a month ago I tried a baguette bread and nothing happened. There are 4 Seattle or Tacoma bakeries which makes great fresh bread, three solely bakeries and one in Metropolitan Market (Seattle-Tacoma chain of about 6 stores).

When that went well I tried the other three brands with no problem. Then croissants, agains no problems. Then cornbread, minor problems but nothing significant. And then a favorite junk food, Ritz Crackers, no problems.

So I thought wheat was back. Or so I thought, but biscuits, doughnut and muffins didn't go well. Why those I don't know, but probably something else in it or the type of wheat. Who knows, but I got some wheat back and now baguette bread is a mainstay of my diet with occasional cornbread or croissant.

And Ritz Crackers are the occasional snack food with something on it. I'll take it for now. I haven't tried other wheat products yet because I don't eat enough wheat everyday to buy the quantity bread, rolls, etc. come in where baguette fits the size and the 5-7 days I take to eat a loaf.

I haven't tried other grains or similar foods, mostly because I don't see a need so far and all of them produced adverse reactions in the digestive system. I'll take what I have for now, a little wheat in a few products, locally made and fresh, except Ritz Crackers.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


I had my final appointment of the year with my Primary Care Physician (PCP) as a followup to the work with the naturopath and to talk about some concerns I've had from all the recent blood tests and other tests which left questions.

The end result of it was getting complete blood tests for two things and a blood test for a followup. The first was the complete tests for my thyroid gland. Some of the previous values showed some questions because I get periods where I'm cold (shivering) and my body can't seem to generate enough heat.

I noticed this a little last winter but it wasn't frequent or prolonged, but this winter it's frequent and sometimes prolonged. The problem is I don't have all the symptoms for thyroid problems, but enough to suggest something isn't right, at least enough to check it.

The second was a complete iron test. My iron levels are just above the halfway level of the normal range, but my ferritin levels are almost below normal, indicating something isn't working, so a more complete blood test is necessary.

In addition we added the hereditary hemochromatosis tests. My Dad had the disease, diagnosed almost too late to save his liver. The signs suggested he was an alcoholic but the tests revealed hemochromatosis, meaning I'm at least half susceptible for it.

The question is if I'm just a carrier or predisposed for the disease. This is key if I want to add an iron supplement to raise my ferritin level. I've always avoided iron supplements (alone or in anything) out of fear to trigger the disease if I'm prone to it.

This is key with these is that the thyroid and iron problems are indicative of anemia and fatigue which I've been feeling a lot of this winter, but it's been lost in bacteria problem and now resolved, it became obvious, especially adding the last blood test.

The last blood test was a followup of my previous hemoglobin test, which showed I'm pre-diabetic, meaning I'm above normal but not in the type 2 diabetes range. This is something my Dad also had, again diagnosed almost too late before it worsened in to type 1.

All of this leaves me knowing I have risk factors I have to watch the rest of my life. I'm over the bacteria problems, except if I have to take antibiotics again, but I know what to do then. I'm still sorting out the dynamic balance in my digestive system with supplements, probiotics and food.

But it's working reasonably as I can expect. The key is to keep walking, watch the diet, and take all my health supplements, half essential, and half choice. The plan is to walk about 20 days during the winter months, the cold help burn more calories (fat too) and see where I'm at by March.

Right now I'm down to 139 pound, plus or minus half a pound with about 3-4 pounds of obvious fat left to lose, but it's the fat my body is genetically predisposed to keep, so it's harder to lose and easier to regain if I don't walk, hence finding the balance for the number of walks per month.

That's it for the winter. I'll see what happens by March.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cold Weather

Well, it's obvious winter has long arrived everywhere, including the Pacific Northwest, namely the south Puget Sound area where I live and walk 6 miles most days a month (usually 20 or more days but sometimes fewer days for reasons). It arrived more so the last week or so.

Normally winter in the Puget Sound lowland is cool with respect to the mid-west, with the long winter with seasonal snow, and often the east coast, with their winter snowstorms causing all sorts of problems.

Here's it's mostly rain and cool, lots of cloudy to overcast days, often continuous for days on end and even a 2-3 weeks with just a peek of sunshine, and temperatures in the 40's most days, occasionally the mid-to upper 30's. But rarely snow below 500-1,000 foot elevation.

Over the 3 of the last 4 winters of walking in the early mornings my body and immune system has generally been very robust against the cold, and fighting colds, flu, etc. bugs, meaning weather didn't have much of an effect on me, just add warmer clothes and I was good to go.

Beginning last winter with the bacteria overgrowths (long story written about on this blog ad naseum) I began to be more sensitive to cold, flu, etc. bugs, but not so much the weather. Fast forward to this winter now free of the bacteria problem, thanks to an excellent naturopath, but things have dramatically changed.

I've become less sensitive to cold, flu, etc. bugs, except to be mildly sick for a day or so and then am back to normal, but I've become more sensitive to cold temperatures, which is what I learned this week when the cold snap hovered over the region with temperatures in the 20's.

I learned my body, or really my metabolism, is good keeping my warm while walking down to the low 30's, but I feel slightly cold into the upper 20's and especially with a 5-10 degree wind chill, common during our cold snaps with artic winds from the north.

I learned my body quits keeping me warm below the upper 20's, and all the winter clothing doesn't help. This happened this morning with temperatures in the mid-20's (24-26 degrees) and shortly into my walk it was evident my body couldn't keep up with the cold, even with no wind to speak of.

The question is if this is from age, now 67, the weight loss, now under 140 lbs, or a combination of those and other factors where my body just can't generate the heat to stay warm even while walking. This is new to me, something I now have to get used to during winters.

I'm ok when it's in the 30's whether it's raining or snowing, and only when it gets below 30 degrees will I know my body won't stay warm, but not enough to feel cold, just not warm. Below that though, it's going to be a day to day decision for walks.

I have enough good winter clothes to the upper 20's (wool, fleece, down, GoreTex, etc.), but I learned that's the limit my clothes will keep me warm and below that the body just can't keep up with the temperature, unless I went for a full winter set of clothes common for the upper elevations or the mid-west.

Anyway, that's the story today. No walk, or a short one with a quick u-turn into it. Lesson learned about being older and lighter and weather. The good news is these periods are brief, mostly 1-3 days before it warms back into the 30's when I can walk.