Book: “Body Respect” by Lindo Bacon and Lucy Aphramor

Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight is the follow up to Health at Every Size, a science-packed book about body size and weight loss. Body Respect is geared towards anyone interested in evidence-based healthcare and a more just world.

The reality is that diets don’t work. While many people may be able to lose weight in the short-term, the act of restricting calories (through diet, exercise, or both) results in complex biochemical changes that trigger profound negative effects on metabolism, stress levels, mental health, and many other important aspects of health in the long term. It’s not that people aren’t dieting properly (in fact, humans are really really good at it), it literally means that diets don’t work, and in fact backfire the vast majority of the time.

This book was empowering and an important read packed with science and a rational approach to what’s wrong with diet culture, the media, and current approaches to healthcare.

The messy world of supplements

A delayed celiac diagnosis means I struggle with adequate nutrition. I’m still combatting a lifetime of unabsorbed nutrients. It’s exhausting.

I have to rely on supplements in some cases, and supplements are the Wild West of the nutrition world. Little regulation goes into them, and it’s entirely possible that vitamin bottle doesn’t contain any vitamins at all, and the only way you’ll ever know is if someone tests it, or if it contains something risky and someone gets hurt.

I am allergic to lanolin, which is used to produce the majority of vitamin D3 supplements. D3 seems to be better absorbed by most people (especially those with gut problems) compared to non-lanolin derived D2. I took massive doses of D2 for months with no impact on my single-digit levels. I managed lanolin-derived D3 for awhile, but eventually the allergy symptoms got too severe. In the last several years, a vegetarian source of D3 has been discovered (lichen), which works well enough.

A new bottle of D3 I recently purchased caused me a lanolin-like reaction. I decided to write the company, because it seemed like the wrong D was in the bottle. I emailed the company with the lot number, explained the situation, and hoped they’d look into it.

They contract with a 3rd party QA service, which asked me to call them on the phone. I talk on the phone a lot for work and I’m exhausted. I asked if they would work by email. The email bounced back and there is no way to get a hold of them without calling on the phone.

I emailed the manufacturer again and explained I am tired and disabled. I’m happy to help you with this free labor, but please let me do it by email. They said they would.

I never heard back from them, and today I got an email reply, weeks later, claiming I gave them an invalid lot number so the case was being closed. I checked my sent mail, and the lot number they’re working on is different than the one in my original email.

Seems like working by email should prevent this, because everything is in writing, but the communication still got all bungled up.

I replied with the correct lot number, but who knows what’ll happen.

No one even offered a coupon for the two brand new bottles of D3, which are medically necessary but unsafe to take.

Celiac + allergies under capitalism is a dangerous existence.

Book: “Jennifer’s away” by Jennifer Esposito

I have been intrigued by Jennifer Esposito since she left a hit TV show due to celiac disease. She even wrote a book about it: Jennifer’s Way.

It turns out it was more complicated than that: her celiac disease is very severe (like mine), and her acting job was full-time hours at part-time pay without any accommodations for celiac. She became very ill and still got no accommodations.

It’s nice reading experiences of people with celiac as severe as mine. It’s validating and reassuring to know there are people who are as profoundly affected by this disease as I am. It’s important to hear people reiterate that this is an autoimmune disease, and it is serious. And it’s relevant to know that even thin and conventionally attractive women are not believed, or even committed to psych hospitals, before diagnosis (and sometimes after).

The first 2/3 of the book is her celiac story. It’s compelling and heartbreaking and infuriating and familiar. An illness so severe that it causes permanent damage, and takes an average of a decade to be diagnosed, with the simplest medical treatment in the world.

The rest of the book is about how to get diagnosed and adjust to post-celiac life. It’s the usual stuff about kitchen and bathroom products going to dumpsters, about missing nutrients, and navigating social situations. It wasn’t news, but it was interesting… until I read the part about lemon juice being alkaline and how important it is to make your body less acidic with foods like lemons and grapefruits.

It’s hard to take the rest of the science seriously when such a fundamental fact is mistaken.

Lemon juice has a pH of 2. It is unquestionably acidic. I believe this started when the Food Babe made these same claims.

I did learn (and confirmed elsewhere) that 90% of serotonin is produced in the small intestine… which explains a lot of mental health problems that pair well with celiac disease.

The lemon thing made me put down the book, though.

Bad covid science

Today a nurse tried to say “Damn China since the news has finally agreed it is a man-made virus from the Lab in Wuhan.” A quick search brought up Snopes’s take, and “all” the media outlets are right wing or known tabloids… hardly “all.”

I’ve had a lot of bad healthcare experiences in my life. It’s hard to trust any of them when you don’t know which ones are buying into this drivel.

It’a dangerous out there for patients.

I don’t do resolutions

But I think I’ve got some advice for myself in 2021:

  1. Put on my own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs.
  2. No one knows more about me than I do. Time to act like the expert I am.
  3. My story is worth telling.

things that are no more

i was trying to dig up an old post about my internet setup from when we first moved into the RV. I was using a “lollipop,” as part of a project I had worked on. Apparently the website for the project is now defunct, as tends to happen with projects that don’t go anywhere. I did find my original post about the technical aspects of my setup (where I also apparently learned Hugo once already, but I clearly forgot everything since it felt like new when I did it again most recently; but that’s okay because I moved GFRV over to WordPress ages ago)… not the post I’m looking for, but that’s okay. I haven’t used the Lollipop for over a year now anyway.

I also found where I posted here about Ginger’s passing. I understated my grief back then. Her death was heartbreaking. I miss her every day. She was the best kitty BFF a person could ask for. She was perfect in every way.

what to do now?

do i blog again? do i give up on any kind of public voice? i honestly have no idea. maybe let’s try again.

i’ve been seeing people touting the miracle that is oat milk, framed as an alternative to almond milk, which is currently being demonized for the perceived amount of resources required. however, almonds are still better than animal-based dairy, and subsidies are never factored into these calculations. Not only that, but almonds themselves grow on trees that don’t need replanting year after year, which is better for the air quality for local workers and residents, compared to fields replanted each season (and that’s not even addressing the less ethical practices of field burning as a means of turning it over for a new crop).

anyway… i wish that the oat bandwagon wasn’t shitting on people with celiac and wheat allergy. seems like the vast majority of gluten-free fad dieters are totes cool with oating the hell out of their lives, and since companies only care about selling product, they sure as shit don’t care about oat contamination for the small minority of the GF market who has to be GF for medical reasons.

yet another way the world isn’t made for people like me.

an update

It’s been awhile. I’ve given up on finding a job in tech. I am old, fat, disabled, and I don’t look good on tech companies’ websites. I’m okay with it.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with this blog… I don’t really have time or energy for blogging for fun, but I sometimes think about it.

Here is a bullet list:

  • Still working at same job, doing taxes. Still enjoying it. Can’t imagine that changing any time soon. I’m an IRS Annual Filing Season Program participant, and I’m working towards becoming an Enrolled Agent.
  • Still disabled and chronically ill. Worse in some ways, better in others. This and work are why I don’t really have time or energy for blogging.
  • I got an electric trike, so when I want to step away from the computer, I can tool around on that.
  • I sometimes blog at Gluten-Free RV to give updates to friends and family, although not as often as I’d like.
  • 2020 was an awful year, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll survive it.
  • I taught myself Hugo to make a couple tiny websites for fun, but this particular tiny website is still running WordPress

what it’s like looking for tech jobs when you’re someone like me

almost every tech job posting ever:

“we’re committed to diversity in tech….

….we’re looking for someone with 5+ years of experience….

….in very specific technologies….

….which have historically been extremely exclusive and prejudiced….

…and consequently only cis white males have experience in these technologies….

….so we’re going to hire an experienced tech bro, because business needs are business needs.”

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

new link blog format/location

a note for the four or five (or maybe zero or one) people who read this blog..

since i’m mostly posting links lately, and i’d really like to be able to tag and retrieve links at a later date, i decided to do a little upgrading:

i’ve installed Shaarli, a single-user bookmark organizing app, on my site here as my new Link Blog.

it has things like…

I tweaked the color scheme and added a few things to the layout (mostly to fix some editing and to add a link back to my main site), and maybe i’ll even submit a pull request when i clean up the code.

on a personal note (and I’m writing this here because the blog link is officially removed from my portfolio, even if it still exists for those who go looking for it), i’ve given up on tech work for now and maybe forever. i have a part-time job that’s going well, although it’s not very technical (though I did get to teach myself how to script in windows powershell in order to Get Some Shit Done, because i didn’t want to do it the old fashioned way). these people appreciate the work i do, they’re flexible when i need flexibility, and this seems to be turning into a long-term opportunity. it would be nice to have benefits and a steady paycheck, but in this gig economy, i’m just grateful i have a permanent, if irregular, job.

i’ll use this site/host for play for now (Shaarli was a good experiment tbh), and i’ll probably update the portfolio/resume/cv at some point in the near future… and it sure would be nice to get some fun wordpress gigs someday, but for right now?

for right now i’m going to focus less on trying to get into an industry that doesn’t want me, and focus a lot more on survival and self-care.