Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Where are the bees?

Do you ever think about that juicy apple and wonder how it came to be?  Sure it was grown on a tree and it needed sunlight and water. Do you think about the pollination of the apple tree’s bloom?  You probably think much about it.  Have you noticed you see a lot less bees floating from flower to flower in your yard?  I have. I have a love hate relationship with bees. I know they are the great pollinator and that I can thank them for my fruits and veggies but I am allergic too.  When we were kids we had a pool and the yard was covered in clover.  Each year, at least once, I would get stung while running barefoot through the yard after a pool toy. I would spend the next five days lying on the couch with a swollen foot covered in meat tenderizer or ice to reduce the swelling.  I am not upset about losing a few days of summer play to a bee sting each year.  That is just part of life.  No big deal.  Now that I am older I fight the suburbian urge to treat my lawn with chemicals creating a solid grass carpet.  I hate the smell of the pesticides the neighbors use. 
I had heard that it was the pesticides that were killing the bees.  So I have done a bit of research on the situation and I think it is a bit of everything, though the pesticides are making it worse.  It is like cancer in us.  It is typically not 1 thing that triggers cancer but a combination of diet, pollution, exercise and DNA that allows one person to develop cancer and the next to not.  I think it is the same for the bees.  The pesticides are definitely having the biggest impact but they are not the only thing that is killing them.  Mites, viruses, bacteria and modern industrial bee keeping are weakling the colonies.
There are reports that Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticides are killing off bees.  Neonicotinoid pesticides is a synthetic chemicals derived from nicotine.  It is reported that when a bee lands on and begins collecting pollen from plants sprayed with the pesticides they become disorganized, confused and often unable to fly off the plant.  The bees fall from the flower and die.  This is why in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) results in abandoned hives with just a few dead infant bees and a queen inside.  National Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, Europe and many others are working to ban these products.  We can’t rely on the government and organizations alone to stop the use of these products.  We must do our part to help our great pollinators.  Avoid using Bayer’s pesticides products and consider holistic garden practices, signing petitions and write  Bayer and your congressmen.
Take a look at Change.org’s petition

Vanishing of the Bees Documentary

Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Cat’s Diabetes: Research and Our Journey

So I noticed over a few weeks that our oldest and laziest cat, Iggy, was drinking a lot more water, crying to drink the water in my showers and looked as if he lost weight.  So a trip to the vet and I find the issue was diabetes.  Yup I had given or allowed my kitty to develop diabetes.  I can’t believe it.  I asked the vet what this means for him.  Basically it means regular visits to the vet for testing and increasing insulin shots.  We started at .5 units (3/10 a milliliter) once a day and today we are at 4 units twice a day.  Insulin runs at about $160-165 for 100 milliliters.  The costs were adding up and Iggy didn’t seem like himself. 
My Iggy
Iggy is about 8 years old and I hate the idea that this is cutting his life short.  So I turned to the web to research the diagnosis and what the best way to get him healthy, and possibly off the insulin.  There is a good deal of data out there on cat health and diabetes on a few great sites (listed below).  Basically type 2 diabetes occurs in cats and dogs for the same reason it does in humans, poor diet.  However, cats and dogs don’t have the same dietary need as humans do.  They are 100% carnivores.  Their digestive track is short to allow them to process and get the nutrition they need from the animals they eat quickly.  They need to flush the meat from their system quickly so it doesn’t rot within them.  They don’t have a need for many carbohydrates or fiber.  Humans on the other hand have much longer digestive tracks.  We use them to get as much nutrition out of our omnivore diets.  We need the fiber to help us process and push the unused food out of our bodies.  On a side note women have about 1 foot longer small intestine then men.  I hypothesis this is due to our hunter gather history.  As men went off on long hunting trips their bodies developed shorter intestines to process the animal meat they caught.  And as women stayed back in the village they foraged the land for vegetation and to get all of the nutrition from the vegetation they developed longer small intestines.
A little on cat’s nutrition: cats require a high protein, low fat, low carb diet and they get most of their water from their food.  They also require Taurine.  Taurine is an amino acid that is found in animal’s digestive systems and is essential for metabolizing fat.  It is found in many energy drinks for this very reason.  Because cats don’t often seek out and drink water, many people say they feed their pets wet food.  However, the dry food cleans their teeth better.  Even some people make their own pet food.  One lady I read about grinds up rabbit and chickens for her cats and freezes the meat for meals.  As a vegetarian I knew I would not be handling animal carcasses anytime soon.   The 3 articles from Cats.About are a really good read to help you understand what is and isn’t in cat food and what you want to look for and stay away from.  Stay away from the byproducts, the meat meal (chicken meal etc), fiber and corn and soy.  Also you want as much lean protein as possible.  I researched a ton of different foods.  I was feeding the cats Iams then the vet switched us to Hills Science Diet.  I found that both are loaded in fillers and animal products.  I compared all the name brands and those that advertise being healthier (Paul Newman and Blue Buffalo).  The product I found is to be best is Orijen.  It is food fit for people.  All free ranged, free from antibiotics and no fillers and is processed within days of slaughter.  It is a dry food that my local Jack’s carries at about $55.00 for 15lbs.  This is about $10 more than the Hills Science Diet and more than twice the cost of the Iams.  However, it should pay off in happy and healthy cats, reduced vet bills and, fingers crossed, no more need for insulin. 
Here are my cat’s starting weights. I believe that Mya could lose at least a lb.  She is sedentary and chunky.  Nero is lean and athletic but could stand to lose a few ounces.  
Weight 7-7-2013

Iggy is on insulin so I don’t want to make any dramatic changes to his diet.  We are slowly mixing in the new food for about a week.  Next week I take him to the vet to see if his numbers changed.  We will begin to test his blood at home instead of going to the vet regularly.  I know this is a bit more than what most people can handle.  However, there is no easy way to know exactly how much insulin Iggy will need each day without testing his blood sugar.  You can test your cat’s blood sugar with a home testing no different from the ones diabetic patient.  I researched many different devices.  The device is typically the cheapest part and the test strips tend to add up fast.  Look for one that has cheap test strips, high level of accuracy and doesn’t require much blood.   When looking at lancets you will want to find one that is not the largest gauge but not the smallest.  Key is it will be hard to keep your cat still for long enough to get the prick and the blood you need.  So below is what I found through my research.  I chose Target’s Up & Up.

I have high hopes that this diet change will help him and get him off insulin.  More to come!

Friday, June 21, 2013



I am tired…
I am tired of being tired
Tired of feeling my heart race while barely exerting myself
Tired of the stomach aches
Tired of the head aches
Tired of tossing and turning each night
Tired of pressing snooze even more each morning
Tired of thinking I feel better today but then feeling worse minutes later
Tired of unclogging the drain and losing my hair
Tired of watching the scale go up
Tired of being home on Monday and not playing soccer
Tired of watching my volleyball team play without me
Tired of breathing heavy walking the stairs
Tired of reading conflicting information
Tired of hearing “but at least you know”
Tired of food tasting different
Tired of needing a nap after 7 hours of sleep
Tired of weeding out food from my diet
Tired of not being able to drink a few beers and sleep through the night
Tired of feeling like holding my head up is just too much work
Tired of being the slowest hiker
Tired of having not energy to enjoy a sunny day
Tired of wasting the little energy I have on house chores
Tired of hearing myself complaining
Tired of being asked how do you feel today?
Tired of hearing ‘you lost your color’
Tired of feeling faint
Tired of my knees hurting
Tired of itching my scalp
Tired of dry skin and brittle nails
Tired of reading words I can’t pronounce
Tired of knowing that my efforts to stop a pill and start a child is what caused this whirlwind
Tired of being enraged just because I am tired
Tired of wanting to fix things but no energy to fix them
Tired of reading of the horrible things that can happen to me
Tired of telling people it is my body that created this
Tired of hearing ‘but you’re so healthy?’
Tired of the foggy mind and forgetting more than I use too
Tired of crying out of exhaustion, out of feeling alone, out of feeling like I have yet another battle
I am tired of seeing that unbelieving cynical look in people's eyes when I tell them how I feel      

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


So I guess you can see it has been awhile since I have blogged.  I really want to write once or twice a week but it has not been so easy lately.  In my last blog I was complaining about feeling run down and tired.  I had planned to extend my diet into juicing.  However, I got busy and felt like the life was drained out of me.  I had several symptoms and I could not identify what I had. 
My symptoms were:
Extreme fatigue
Itchy skin
Weight gain
Brittle nails
Brian Farts
Glands hurt
Can’t fall asleep
Can’t wake up
Intestinal discomfort
                I did some research and thought I was pregnant, I had mono or I was pregnant.  I continued to take pregnancy test after test and they each came back negative.  I thought for sure I was pregnant so I called my Dr. and asked about the 3 and if I could be tested for all or 2 of them.  I had a simple blood test done for thyroid and pregnancy.  Just over two weeks ago I got the results.  I found out that it was my thyroid.  I was heartbroken that I wasn’t pregnant because I thought all of these symptoms were similar to those pregnant women report.  Turns out Hypothyroidism have some of the same systems. So about 2 weeks ago I began researching like crazy this disorder and talking with my new primary care Dr.  I set up a meeting with a new Dr. that my friend who also has Hypothyroidism recommended.  She said that he is far better than her Endocrinologist.  (If you are on the west side of Cincinnati I totally recommend Dr. Siebert).  I had a ton of questions for my Dr. ranging from can I treat this with nutrition to the symptoms to can I get pregnant.  He was very helpful explaining what a hypo thyroid is.
 In most people it is when the autoimmune system identifies the thyroid as a threat and attacks it.  This damages it and prevents it from creating enough of a certain hormone active, T3 or triiodothyronine.  T3 is similar to a gas pedal for the body.  It tells your brain and there for the rest of your body to metabolize food and produce energy.  With low levels of T3 people report fatigued and weight gain. 
                To understand a bit about the value of your thyroid I copied this. I don’t think I can explain it any better than this.  It is a great summary which I read from several of the resources below.  This one is pulled from Live Strong
The thyroid is “area of the brain called the hypothalamus creates thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH, when levels of thyroid hormone in the blood become low. This stimulates the creation of thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, from a gland below the brain called the pituitary gland. This, in turn, stimulates the thyroid gland to create and release thyroid hormone. The thyroid produces two types of hormones: thyroxine, or T4, and T3. The thyroid gland produces mostly T4, which is considered the inactive form of thyroid hormone. T3 is considered the active form of thyroid hormone that the body uses. T4 is converted to T3 in tissues such as the liver.”
                Now back to my Dr. visit.  He said that there is no way to treat this with nutrition and that basically the damage was done.  So the best treatment is with medication that is a bacterium created T3 and it identical to the T3 your body produces.  I have been on this medication for 13 days.  The medication takes 4-6 weeks to build up and relieve the symptoms.  I can tell you that it has been a super long few weeks.  The symptoms are getting worse but I have noticed that some things I do minimize or maximize the symptoms. 

So as you can imagine there will be more to come on this topic in the future


Sunday, May 5, 2013

End of Vegan Challenge

                So I made it to week six.  I can’t believe I did this and it really was not that hard.  WOW.  It was hardest when we went out to dinner.  Other than that it was easy.  I have to admit that I was happy with the experience.  Only disappointing part was that I really didn’t lose anything.  I would have expected more.  I think it is more because of my life vs. the vegan challenge.  Going off birth control has totally wacked me out.  It has been rough.  Always tired and never getting a good night sleep.  I wish it didn’t interrupt my vegan challenge.  I think my results would be better. 
I hope you have the chance to try this challenge too!
So here are the numbers. 
My Start
Weight: Total
146.2 lb
Weight: Water
Weight: Fat
Measurement:  Height
5’ 6”
5’ 6”
Measurement:  Waist at naval
Measurement:  Bust
Measurement:  Hip
Measurement:  Booty
Measurement:  Thigh
L 22.5   R 22
L 22.5   R 22
Measurement:  Calf
L 14      R  14
L 14      R  14
Measurement:  Arm
L 11.5   R  12
L 11.5   R  12
Measurement:   Neck
Waist to Height
Heart Rate: Standing
72 bpm
68 bpm
Heart Rate: Exercise
132 bpm
132 bpm
Heart Rate: Rest
80 bpm
80 bpm
Hoxworth: Blood Pressure
Hoxworth: HCT
Hoxworth: Total Cholesterol

Crappie Fish Tacos

                So my hubby has become quite a big fisherman these days.  He has caught many Crappie in the lakes around or home.  So for his grandma birthday the family got together for a cinco-de-mayo birthday celebration.  So I combined a few different recipes to come up with fish tacos.  I was told it was pretty good and I have to take their opinion since I am a vegetarian.  I will share the recipe with you and you can decide
Crappie Fish Tacos
Serves 2 (About 5-6 tacos)
·       3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 limes, zested
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1 pound crappie fillets
  • 7-inch round tortillas or shells
  • 1 pack of Dole shredded red cabbage
  • Lime wedges
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 3 table spoon salsa
1/3 cup sour creamIn a medium bowl, mix the cilantro, cabbage and 1/4 cup salsa. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix sour cream and 3tblspn of salsa. Set aside.
Put the garlic, cilantro, lime zest, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small food processor bowl and pulse until combined, approximately 20 seconds. With the processor running, add the tequila.

Put the fillets into a 1 gallon resealable bag, add the garlic mixture and move around to coat each fillet. Set aside at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat an electric nonstick griddle to 375 degrees F.  Brush the griddle with the olive oil. Cook the fillets until just cooked through and opaque about 3 to 4 minutes per side. (Or you can broil if you prefer)

Break fillets into bite size pieces. Drizzle with lime juice if you like.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ohio Residents! Are you getting the best price on your Home Energy?

Ohio Residents!
Are you getting the best price on your Home Energy?
Thanks to a change in regulation, Ohio Residences are now able to shop around for their Electric and Natural Gas Provider.  This means you could be saving money on your monthly energy bill.  The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has created the “Apples to Apples” website to provide residential consumers with a snapshot comparison of current natural gas and electric supplier price options and contract terms. The PUCO updates the Apples to Apples charts on a regular basis and verifies each supplier offer to ensure accuracy. The charts list only the certified Natural Gas and Electric suppliers and aggregators that are actively enrolling new residential customers.
How to take advantage of this opportunity:
1.      Go to PUCO’s Apple to Apples website, http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/index.cfm/apples-to-apples/
2.      Select the Apples to Apples chart for your local electric distribution company from the list below.
·     AEP
·     DP&L
·     Duke
·     First Energy
3.      Compare the supplier offers contained in the chart with the “Price to Compare” shown on your electric bill.  Note the "Tariff" code referenced in some of the Offer Details can be found on your monthly electric bill, under the charges from the utility. 
4.      Choose the current offer and contract terms that work best for your personal situation.
5.      Then Enroll.  It is that easy

Watch outs:
·        As with all contracts, consumers should carefully read and understand all terms and conditions before signing any forms or agreeing to enroll with a supplier for natural gas or electric service.
·        The Energy Market is ever changing and the best rate today may not be the best rate tomorrow. However, locking in a rate will reduce the fluctuation of energy cost for the contract term.
·        Some Ohio communities have negotiated prices and terms with energy providers for their residents and allowed residence to ‘opt-in’ to the aggregation.   
·        Please be advised that if you are currently enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP PLUS), you are not eligible to enroll with or switch to an alternate supplier.
·        If you are currently enrolled with an alternate supplier, and want to enroll with a different supplier prior to the expiration of your current contract, you may be subject to an Early Termination Fee.