Saturday, May 22, 2010

Health and Stuff (and More Stuff)

So, after getting sick twice (my fault for waiting 6 hrs to have a meal), I'm sitting down with a mint tea; I figured it's be a perfect opportunity to update you on health stuff (should you want to know).

I've noticed taking the probiotics makes a difference.  When I'm not taking them, I get sick more often.  They somehow balance intestinal flora (like they're supposed to), sugar levels, reactions to food, etc.  Increasing them safely is the key.  I don't want to react like I did before.  Hives are not fun.

I had a doc app't last week and discussed my concern for my latest (what I think are) glycemic episodes.  She said some people just have hypoglycemic episodes (indicating that's normal for them) but we'll do more testing just in case.  I went yesterday morning and had to get a fasting and glucose test done.  Initial walk into the lab was for drawing blood.  I took their orange drink full 'o sugar and had to come back in an hour.  I saved the bottle just for you, Bix (I'll go into these details after).  I was feeling pretty groggy and blah at this point - no food, no coffee, off sleep.  Went back after an hour for my second blood test.  It was a different person who poked me and she couldn't find my veins; thankfully she knew to back off instead of poking around (and got the original phlebotomist).  But while she was poking, a funny (read sarcasm) conversation occurred...

Her, "How's baby?"
Me, "Hmm?"
"How's baby?"
"How's my what?"
"Um.. WHAT baby? Do y'all know something I don't?!" (I wake up at this point)
...she leaves to get my form to confirm my last name. Confirmed.
"You're not pregnant?" *looking at me hesitantly*
"Uh, no!  I can tell you for sure I'm not."
"Oh. This is the test they usually give to pregnant women. Maybe she just wanted to check your sugar."
*trying not to react by smacking myself on the forehead (or her for that matter), at the idiocy of that comment*

Wow.  That was special.  It was followed by a more special conversation with one of my doctors receptionists (which I apologize I can't divulge because it deals with a test I had that I'm not discussing publicly.  I wish I could - it was irritating as all hell).  Anyways, it must have been similar to a test they do for gestational diabetes?  I'm guessing at this point.

Here's the bottle they give you for the glucose test...

It's an orange carbonated beverage, resembling the taste of orange pop (so if you like that you're okay).  50g Dextrose.  Ingredients as follows... Active: 5.0g glucose per fl. oz (29.6ml). Contains: water, dextrose (d-glucose; source: corn), natural flavouring, citric acid, sodium benzoate, FD&C Yellow No. 6 and FD&C Red No. 40 as colour additives.

How many problems do you see with that?  Food dyes, corn as a source, sodium benzoate.  What if I maintain a mostly-organic or whole foods way of eating?  Is that test accurate?  Of course I would react to it (but then if I maintained that lifestyle, maybe I wouldn't have these problems to begin with).

I didn't know much about sodium benzoate, so I decided to look it up.  Ugh.  Some paraphrased notes: it's a preservative used to extend the shelf life of already-long lasting foods (i.e acidic foods).  Also used in alcohol-based mouthwashes, silver polish, cough syrups and fireworks (to name a few).  When mixed with ascorbic acid it forms benzene - a carcinogen (often done with soft drinks).  Some state sodium benzoate can harm on its own damaging DNA in a cell's mitochondria.

This is what started the whole thought process about what we're feeding our bodies, how it's given me more reason to sustain an organic (when possible) or whole-foods lifestyle.  Can't we just buy what we need to, eat when we need to eat it and eliminate the need for 'shelving' food long-term?  I don't think that's realistically possible as a Western society.  We don't know how.  Sorry, I don't think it's impossible, just very difficult.  It would take discipline.  Planning.  Did I say discipline?  You'd have to make your own items like mayonnaise (which I was given a recipe for, btw, from a patient a while back, just haven't tried it yet), your own jam (already there), your own pickles.. wait.. I do most of these already!  Okay, so maybe I'm closer than I thought.  Besides the planning, it takes time.

Although my doctor said some people just have hypoglycemic episodes out of normality, I disagree with this statement.  I don't think it *should* be normal.  If a body is well-balanced, it shouldn't be reacting so harshly to so many things.  So even though I love her for many things and she's better than most doctors I've seen in this city, her thinking may be conventional that "bad things are O.K"... and I just can't conform to that.  Is this what they're teaching doctors these days?  Are they not trained to understand some people know how to read their body and its signs and express there are things wrong...instead of thinking it's a case of hypochondia?

The battle ensues.....


bambi said...

Your blogs are fascinating. After so many months, I may now understand better what to do about my IBS. The doc's sure don't get it!

Bix said...

That's so great about the probiotic helping. I'm curious what kind it is ... the brand, the medium (capsule or liquid), types of bacteria, and number of live organisms. I know, I know, I ask a lot of questions :|

I'm used to a 75 gram dose. The 50 gram is sometimes used for gestational, as you said. It's still odd to me that she didn't order a 75g. Maybe because it's cheaper? For a 50g, you only test blood after 1 hour instead of testing several times up to 2 hours. Maybe some other symptoms you told her led her to believe?

The drinks are tooooo sweet! Yuk. I'd never drink this stuff regularly. What we don't do for tests. But if they find something, it's worth it (did they find anything?)

I agree with you, low blood glucose, especially when it results in symptoms, is not normal. I think you'd want to understand why it's happening.

I hear you about cooking, planning, ugh. Honestly, to eat well you have to cook. Even if it's just rice, rice takes time. Vegetables take time.

Perovskia said...

Bambi - You're sweet :) I don't think I'm that fascinating, but it's nice to know someone else thinks so. We'll figure this IBS thing out together, girl.

Perovskia said...

Bix - The probiotics I use is here.. I get the strawberry one :) I drink half a bottle a day, in the morning, between breakfast and coffee :)

It's odd to me, too, so I'll have to ask why she didn't use the 75g. Heh, no, she knows I'm not preg, so your guess is as good as mine.

Won't know anything until 2 weeks with follow-up appointment to discuss (but I will be obtaining my blood work results before then).

While I was writing about how things (cooking, planning, etc) take time, I wondered how different cultures do it, i.e Mediterranean. Food is such a part of their life. Do they plan life around food, or do they plan food around life (like we do)?

Perovskia said...

P.S - I don't mind you asking questions :)

Bix said...

It looks like a bottle contains 50 billion live organisms. So if you drink half, you take in 25 billion. If our intestines have on the order of 100 trillion, 25 or 50 million is a drop in a large bucket. And many of those may die before they even reach our colon.

It's actually more than the amount I've seen in some capsules.

I like that it's organic, and nondairy. I may seek it out and try it. I just like to try things, use myself as a guinea pig.

Perovskia said...

Yeah, nothing under the 50 million has any (noticeable) effect. 10 billion just didn't do it for me.

I wasn't aware our intestines hold 100 trillion. Interesting. Can you think of, then, why I would have gotten hives by doubling up on my dose? (presuming that's what caused it)

Try it; I'd be interested to see how a "normal" person reacts to it :)

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