Archive for August, 2007

Health and Cholesterol

Posted in Health on August 20th, 2007

As previously mentioned, I just got the results of some blood work I had done. For the most part I was completely healthy; no blood born diseases or abnormal vitamin/mineral levels. The one area of slight concern was that of my cholesterol. I eat a relatively healthy diet, most particularly one that contains no meat or poultry and a very low level of refined grains and sugars. However I did eat, as of last October, a fairly high level of dairy and seafood products, both known for being high in cholesterol.

My bloodwork seemed to reflect this diet. My HDL cholesterol level (that’s the good stuff) was up over 60 mg/L. My triglycerides were down under 60 mg/L. Both of those are considered heart-positive conditions (triglycerides block arteries and HDL cholesterol cleans them, so having the first low and the second high means no plaque building up). My overall cholesterol was under 200, which is considered the danger level. “The China Study” mentions that people should really be under 150 to be truly healthy and given the history of heart issues in my family, I agree with that. So that worried me a little. The only red flag that came up was the fact that my LDL cholesterol was over 120, which was marked as being HIGH.

However the ratio of HDL to LDL and the ratio of HDL to overall cholesterol were both in the healthy range. I did some more research online and came to the conclusion that I am somewhat unique. Most people who have high cholesterol have high levels of LDL cholesterol, usually over 150, but also have lower levels of HDL. The large amounts of soy and fish in my diet, combined with the lack of meat keep my LDL fairly low and boost my HDL.

After I read “The China Study”, I set out to change my diet, cutting back to eating seafood twice a week and dairy once, at most. These are not set in stone–I appreciate the flexibility to occasionally exceed those limits, especially when eating out in groups or when traveling and dining options are restricted–but act as strong guidelines. The biggest change has been that I no longer eat seafood or dairy at home and that I avoid it whenever possible when eating out.

I will be getting another round of bloodwork done this fall (assuming I’m actually in one place long enough to go to the doctor). It will be interested to see how the results change based upon my dietary changes. I predict that the biggest change will be a decrease in my LDL levels. As I substantially decrease my intake of dairy products, that should remove the largest source of LDL from my diet. I should also see a slight decrease in my levels of HDL, considering I am now eating less fish. I am still getting essential omega fatty acids from the large amounts of soy I eat, which I think contributes to HDL levels. My triglycerides should fall even farther. If I get the results I predict, it will be fairly convincing to me that the correlation between heart problems and the consumption of animal products described in “The China Study” is real and that my dietary changes are working towards avoiding the problems that my father and grandfathers experienced.

Acquiring my test results

Posted in Health on August 13th, 2007

I recently acquired the results of some blood work that I had done in October of last year. The fact that it took me this long is more a reflection on the family practice that drew my blood rather than on me. While I did like my doctor there, the experience of dealing with them turned me off enough that I will not be returning. To wit, I had to make two separate appointments for my physical and for bloodwork: apparently having me in an office filled with needles and vials was not enough for them to take my blood.

Instead I had to return to the exact same office on a different day. Inconvenient for me, but also financially wasteful, since they were then able to charge me two co-pays and double bill the insurance company. It’s a nice scam, but I wasn’t impressed. Then there was the fact that they would not mail me my test results, instead requiring that I come in to get them. Two reasons for this, I’d assume. One is that they wanted me to make another’s doctor’s appointment (mmm, co-pays) to go over the results (before they even knew if there was anything in the results worth talking about). The other was that they charge one dollar per-page for PRINTING my test results. Standard laser printing, one dollar per page. They almost charged me for three pages, even though the third page has nothing on it, but I guess common sense overrode greed for a moment.

I have issues with healthcare compensation in this country in general, but a family care practice that seems structured to extract the most possible money from patients and insurance companies really rubs me the wrong way. They managed to get an extra twenty-two dollars out of me, but they won’t be getting any more.


Posted in Mobile on August 4th, 2007

And then Bonds goes and hits number 755. Couldn’t watch it. Bunch of fuckers at DirectTV and MLB.

Damn Blackout Rules

Posted in Mobile on August 4th, 2007

I’m in a hotel in San Francisco waiting to fly down to Siggraph tomorrow in San Diego. And I want to watch Bonds take his whacks at the home run record. And of course, I can’t. Because DirectTV has the game blacked out. Why? Most likely because the game is on a local station out here. But due to some quirk of DirectTV and my hotel, I’m not getting the local station that has the rights to the game. I think. I’ve got no idea if my theory is actually right. But whatever the situation is, it sucks. This is just one more example of why people hate content providers. When you take actions that make it hard for people to get content that they want, they are going to resentful. And resentful customers are never customers long (if at all). Situations like this just increase the bias I have against getting DirectTV, even though cable is more expensive.

A Responsible Return to Blogging

Posted in The Blog on August 4th, 2007

The last few months have been much too silent on this blog. I have been consumed by the demands of the actual world, forcing me to neglect the care and feeding of my digital world. This is not a promise of a continued flow of posts; rather it is a tentative step towards finding a better balance between doing the work that gets me paid and spending a few moments jotting down some thoughts for all two or so of my readers.
Given how zealously I guard my free time, blogging has recently become something of an enemy. As long as I regard blogging as something that takes away from my time, rather than something that I do with my time, it will exist in this perilous limbo state. Hopefully a gradual return will end up moving this space up my list of priorities.
I have also just added the ability to post to my blog by email. Hopefully the convenience of this format will encourage more posting. We shall see.

Testing postie

Posted in Mobile on August 3rd, 2007

Now testing postie

Test Post

Posted in Mobile on August 3rd, 2007

Testing post by email functionality.