Tuesday, September 8, 2015

if you watch only one documentary this year, let it be this one. why the rich are rich and getting richer and the poor have very little chance at advancement

Monday, August 18, 2014

candida, you suck so hard! dealing with recurring systemic candida (yeast) imbalance

so, i've been a sugar addict my entire life. somewhere at my mom's house in Virginia exists a photograph of me somewhere around age 2, sitting in a drawer i had climbed into from a chair i had pushed over to it, eating a lollipop. i will climb the highest mountains (or drawers) for my beloved sugar. i also remember, as a child, opening the brown sugar canister and eating handfuls of the stuff. those bad habits didn't die away, nor could i reason them away, as an adult. i once nearly killed my body with Ben & Jerry's and Cadbury Creme Eggs. true story, like actually true. 

so, it was no surprise (unless you count the bitter surprise of denial realized) when, in the late '90s (in my late 20's), i discovered that i had systemic candidiasis (an internal yeast infection).

if you're unfamiliar with that beast, here are some of the symptoms, taken from http://www.womentowomen.com/digestive-health/digestive-problems-or-systemic-yeast/

What are some of the symptoms of Candida or dysbiosis?
While many of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions than candidiasis, a woman suffering from systemic yeast will typically experience a number of the following symptoms:
Generalized: fatigue, lethargy, migraine headaches, weakness, dizziness, sensory disturbances, hypoglycemia, muscle pain, respiratory problems, and chemical sensitivities.
Gastrointestinal: Oral thrush, diarrhea, constipation, rectal itching, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), flatulence, food sensitivities.
Genito-Urinary: Yeast vaginitis, menstrual and premenstrual problems, bladder inflammation, chronic urinary tract infections (UTI), bladder inflammation, cystitis, PMS.
Dermatological: Eczema, acne, hives.
Mental and Emotional: Confusion, irritability, memory loss, inability to concentrate, depression, insomnia, learning disability, short attention span.
Autoimmune: Multiple sclerosis, arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, myasthenia gravis, scleroderma, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, thrombocytopenic purpura.
i had a number of those, plus more. i wasn't digesting much, if any, of my food, so my weight plummeted to 80 lbs! i was terrified. my doctor said i couldn't take difulcan (an anti-fungal) because my liver was already too congested from the toxins produced by the yeast, so i was screwed. all my favorite foods caused the yeast to proliferate. from the above-mentioned website, here are the foods that enable and encourage the yeast to grow even stronger inside the body:

Avoid yeast-containing foods:
  •  Beer, wine and all other forms of alcohol
  •  Breads, rolls, pretzels, pastries, cookies, sweet rolls
  •  B-complex vitamins and selenium products unless labeled “yeast-free”
  •  Vinegar or foods containing vinegar, such as mustard, salad dressings, pickles, barbeque sauce,  and mayonnaise
  •  Commercially prepared foods such as soups, dry roasted nuts, potato chips, soy sauce, cider,  natural root beer, olives, sauerkraut (my note: unless raw)
Avoid mold-containing or mold-supporting foods:
  •  Pickled, smoked or dried meats, fish or poultry
  •  Cured pork bacon
  •  All cheese, aged or fresh
  •  Mushrooms, tempeh, miso, tamari sauce
  •  Peanuts, peanut products and pistachios
  •  Herbs or teas that may be moldy
  •  Malt or foods containing malt
  •  Canned or prepared tomatoes (fresh tomatoes are fine)
Avoid all concentrated sugars:
  •  Honey, maple syrup, brown sugar
  •  Fruit juices (canned, bottled or frozen)
  •  Dried fruits
  •  All processed sugar
  •  Anything containing high-fructose corn syrup
  •  High glycemic index foods
so yeah. LIFE WAS HELL. i thought i was going to die. my doctor was clueless about what to do next, and it looked like the next step would be hospitalization. i was very, very bad off.

i was working (or trying to; it was impossible to get out of bed some days) at Whole Foods market, in the nutrition department. i had already tried every remedy we had there, to no avail. one day, though, i met a customer (who has become a life-long friend) who was also battling candida, and she told me about the raw food diet and fasting to heal from candida.

long story short, i contacted a fasting facilitator and started a slow transition to an all raw-food diet. within a few days of the diet, i was already feeling better (the tunnel vision was expanding to near-normal vision and i had a little more energy). by the end of the month-long transition, i was headed 5 hours north to the fasting retreat. i didn't actually fast, since i was already 80 lbs and was terrified (literally) of dropping any lower, but i continued on a 100% raw diet and did a 3-day liquid-only diet (one day of coconut milk, fresh from the coconuts; one day of just fruit juices, also fresh-made; one day of fruit and veggie juices). by the time i left the retreat 2 weeks later, i had gained a couple lbs and was seeing and feeling better than i had in almost a year.

once home, i remained on the raw-food diet for a few more months, then slowly slipped back into the carnal world of yummy foods. pizza was my first naughty return. i just don't have the will to continue primarily on raw food. i'm too weak. i feel as thought i'm missing out on a significant amount of pleasure by not having these things. could i learn to partake in moderation? maybe. thus far, i've been unsuccessful.

so, in the nearly 2 decades since i first went to war with yeast, i've had a few flair-ups and the monster returned, feeling like cotton balls in my stomach and itching deep in my ears, along with weird vision, intense acne, bad digestion, depression, itchy skin and an itchy vag (oh, tmi alert, by the way). i'm in the midst of another flair up right now, hence the blog post.

i'm on a regimen of very low-carb foods, lots of probiotics (Renew Life are my faves), Candidase (enzymes that destroy the yeasts' cell wall, then digest the toxins for less of a die-off reaction), and Lonicera Complex from my acupuncturist.

the sad part of all this? i can't wait to get it in check so i can have a chocolate chip cookie and a beer. :o\

so yeah, that's my sad state of affairs. whining about it publicly helps, so thanks for being here.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Depression and Demons

well, goodness, it's been a while since i've posted, eh? i shared something on my photography blog today that's got me feeling really really really really really really really vulnerable. it's about my struggles with depression and PTSD. if you wanna read it, it's here:


Sunday, April 28, 2013

i could watch you forever

i could watch you for a lifetime; you're my favorite movie
a thousand endings, you mean everything to me
i never know what's coming, forever fascinated
i hope you don't stop running to me, 'cause i'll always be waiting

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Would You be Angry if You Found Out the Truth on Your Deathbed?

a question's been haunting me lately, probably because i'm middle aged and health issues are popping up left and right. ha! the question, though, is this:

if you'd believed in something your whole life--something that affected every choice you made, something that required you to do some things you really didn't want to do, and forbade you to do some things you really did want to do, and this thing you believed in took a LOT of your time and money and often frustrated you, and yet...you continued on, trudged forward in belief because you really truly did think it was true (and you really wanted it to be true)...and then, at the end of your long and devoted life, you found out through undeniable evidence that it wasn't true, had never been true, and you had lived a life based on lies, would you be angry?

i would be. i would be angry. beyond angry, even. i don't think anyone likes being lied to and deceived, but to have spent an entire lifetime choosing to be against ideas and groups of people just because someone told you to be, or to have not even had the simple pleasure of a cup of coffee in the morning (which is proven to help depression, by the way) or a glass of wine with dinner, or thought that wearing a tank top on a hot summer day would tempt you down "satan's" path, or that my eternity would have to be spent in forced polygamy, would be more than i could bear. i would want to know NOW.

and so, to my friends and family who still believe the LDS church is true, ask yourself that question. what if it isn't? what if it really doesn't stand up to scrutiny and is actually quite easily proven a fraud? would you want to know? because if you do want to know, if you want to live YOUR life (and guess what...surprise! you'll still be a good person without someone scaring you into it), the information is out there. if you want help finding it, ask. i'll help you. and if you don't want it, that's okay, too. i still love you and i understand how scary it can feel when you consider that it may not be true. it won't have been a wasted life if it was what really made you happy.

if i die tomorrow, i go knowing this was MY life. i owned it. i lived it how i wanted to live it. i'm a volunteer, a contributor to charities (ones that actually help people indiscriminatorily--i made that word up), a loving wife and mother, a thinker and a kind person. no one had to scare me into it or threaten to take away my family. i love my life.

No more mind-numbing, cruel, and insulting beliefs like this one:

Mormon Infographics

Spencer Kimball, General Conference Report, October 1960; Improvement Era, December 1960, pp. 922–923.

"I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today .... The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter we represent, the little member girl—sixteen—sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents—on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather.... These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated."

from Steve Pinker:

"I find a naturalistic understanding of human nature to be indispensable to leading a wise and mature life, and it is often exhilarating. Wisdom consists in appreciating the preciousness and finiteness of our ow
n existence, and therefore not squandering it; of being cognizant of what makes people everywhere tick, and therefore enhancing happiness and minimizing suffering; of being alert to limitations and flaws in our own judgments and decisions and passions, and thereby doing our best to circumvent them. The exhilaration comes from understanding that we are a part of natural world; that deep mysteries can be explained; and that the world -- including our own mental lives -- can be intelligible, rather than a source of superstition and ignorance. Yes, mortality sucks, but given that it exists, I'd rather know that than be kept in a childlike state of delusion."

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Episode With the Facial Depilatory Fiasco

Kayso, i have the furriest face of any girl i know. Serrrsly. Bright platinum peach fuzz so fluffy you almost want to pet it. Okay, i do. I do pet it. I've been tired of it for quite some time, though. Last summer after our annual trip to VA, i actually had it waxed, which was a very bad idea for me. My face apparently doesn't enjoy having it's fuzz ripped violently from its follicles, and it let me know that by breaking out in about 14 million tiny white-headed zits.

So, several months later, i decided that it was, perhaps, the wax that irritated my face, so i used my epilator (a little electric shaver-looking dealy that isn't a shaver at all, but an evil tweezing device that yanks hairs out by the root) on about an inch of jawline/cheek, with exactly the same results as with the wax. Zit farmville.

Still unhappy with the white fur on my face, i decided (as a last-ditch effort) to try a facial depilatory, you know, like Nair, but the Sally Hansen face version of it. The patch test went well. I spread a thick layer of the cream on my cheek and waited 3 or 4 minutes, then wiped it off. All the fuzz in that area came off with it. The next day, there was still no irritation, so i decided to go ahead and do the rest of my cheeks/jawline.

This time i was a little lazy about it and didn't bother to time the event. So, apparently, when you don't leave a depilatory on for long enough, it singes most of the hair off, but leaves some crispy stubble. I've gone from feeling like a soft, fuzzy bunny to feeling like a kiwi fruit. Ah well, you live, you learn, right? Even with its tiny white afro, i still like my face better with less hair.


Friday, July 27, 2012

This One Time at Whole Foods

Back in the late '90's, right before delving into my photography business, i was working at the Whole Foods in Charlottesville, VA, in the nutrition department. I was the herbal remedy buyer, but of course, knew all the other products as well--especially the make-up. Gawd, i love make-up. I could roll around in it.

But anyway....

So, one Saturday afternoon, an older gentleman came into the department and was looking with great wonder at the lipstick. I approached him with a smile and asked him if he was looking for something for his wife (which was my societally influenced, assumption-dripping first thought).

"No," he said, "My wife has passed on. I'm actually looking for something for me. I've always wanted to wear lipstick and thought I better do it before it's too late."

"Okay, great! Let me look at your skin tone and see what color i would recommend for you," i responded, and so i found a lovely shade for him, and he purchased his lipstick and we both went about our days, hopefully both a little better off than when we woke that morning. He, for finally giving himself permission to be himself, and me for having assisted and validated another human being. Sure, it was just lipstick, but really it felt like so much more.

I've had a lot of -isms and -ites on my mind and in my life in the past year. I think there's a reason for that, and so i'm starting a big, important project soon. I'm very excited about it, but can't tell you about it just yet.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Oh, Those Crazy Fundies

I have no idea who wrote this, but to them i say "cheers!"

You Know You're a Fundamentalist Christian If...

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.