December 30, 2008

Going Natural with Osteoporosis Management

For a good part of the last year I have had a terrible metallic taste in my mouth, not all the time, but at what seems to be important times, with no chance to even stick a breath mint in my mouth. I have been trying to figure out what is different, was it the new night guard, a new food, a vitamin? Then, last month I noticed that my stomach hurt every week after I took my Fosamax and realized it has been hurting for a few months. I mentioned it to my doctor, and she put two and two together. So now I am going to stop taking the Fosamax for a few months and go on a natural program. That is going to require a lot more diligence on my part and eating foods that are normally on my "yuck" list. But hey, if it keeps my bones healthy without these side effects, I think I can muster enough self control to do it.

When I was first diagnosed, the doctor gave me a list of do’s and don’ts. The do’s to build bone and the don’ts to keep from losing calcium. The do's were mainly exercise, walk, jog, or tennis for 30 minutes every day. One of my knees sounds like there is a handful of gravel grinding together every time I climb stairs so I will admit I've been lax on the exercise part of the regimen. But I did call a local tennis organization to see if they have anything for the older set, and am waiting on a call back from them. And I can walk, it's just not much fun walking alone or on a treadmill.

There were actually more don’ts than do’s. Along with cutting caffeine and limiting fat, one don’t was limiting red meats because of the protein, but no more explanation than that. Since then I have learned the reason for limiting protein. Basically, a high protein diet makes the body more acidic and the body compensates by pulling calcium and other alkaline minerals from the bones, flushing them through the kidneys which often results in kidney stones.

However, “plant-based proteins, like that found in soy, lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL (the good) cholesterol. This prevents the build up of arterial plaque which leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease, thus reducing the risk heart attack and stroke. The amount and type of protein in your diet also has an important impact on calcium absorption and excretion. Vegetable-protein diets enhance calcium retention in the body and results in less excretion of calcium in the urine. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.” – from Feminist Women’s Heath Center. WebMD holds the opposite view, that a high protein diet, either meat or plant-based will raise calcium levels and reverse osteoporosis. The meat-based proponents are a minority however.

My doctor’s solution was to put me on Fosamax and calcium supplements, and assured me Fosamax was safe in spite of the pending lawsuits over jaw deterioration. Taking calcium supplements does not seem to be the only answer, as most websites agree that too much calcium is worse than not enough. Too much calcium and Vitamin D can be toxic and usually comes from supplements rather than from foods. As important as calcium intake is, the key is getting enough magnesium to absorb the needed amount of calcium. From Well Being Journal:

Despite all the calcium hype, ... in general people who consume about half as much as the RDA’s of 1,000 and 1,200 for adults actually have fewer bone fractures and better health than those who follow the RDA, and that high calcium consumption may actually interfere with calcium absorption, result in weaker bones, and cause calcium to be deposited where it is not wanted.

This unwanted calcium results in muscle spasms and bone spurs, both of which I have also developed in the last two years since starting Fosamax and increasing my calcium supplements to 1200mg per day.

And this from Nutrition ATC.

Excessively high calcium intake over time may lead to kidney problems. Kidney stones are associated with both low and high calcium intake. Very high intake can cause kidney failure. Too much calcium can interfere with the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium.

Also, supplements in the form of calcium carbonate can neutralize stomach acids which, in turn, can impair the absorption of vitamin B-12 from natural food sources.

Another website which cites many of the same concerns but is concise and easy to read is Natural Calm. However, it is promoting a product so let the reader beware.

An article on The University of Washington website shows that not all calcium supplements are absorbed equally and their conclusion, along with mine is that if a supplement is taken, a chewable is the best choice. After taking a calcium tablet for the last two years, I am now wondering how much, if any, was absorbed. From, calcium citrate is preferable to calcium carbonate because it doesn’t cause as much acidity, and any kind should be taken in doses of 500mg throughout the day because that is all the body can absorb at one time. The optimum time for taking calcium citrate is at bedtime also, because most bone loss occurs at night. This website goes on to say that a Vitamin D deficiency accelerates bone loss, so even taking 1200mg of calcium a day is useless if there is no Vitamin D also. After reading these additional sources, and assuming they are correct, I have been wasting at least 700mg of calcium per day because I took my supplements at once, first thing in the morning.

So instead of relying on supplements alone to correct my calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium deficiencies, I am going to supply it mainly the way God intended, with food. Then the body can deal with it better.

As Dr. McDougal says, “The only way to have more calcium entering the body than is leaving it is to eat foods low in protein content (especially those low in animal proteins).” He cites nations of the world with high rates of osteoporosis are the nations with rich diets. I thought his opinion of osteoporosis was interesting:
Approximately 65% of women over 40 years-old living in Western cultures are told they have "diseased bones" (osteoporosis and osteopenia) and are in need of drugs. Of course, this is not true, but it is a great way to sell medications and tests. Naturally, with the demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding, women require large stores of calcium in their bones. After menopause there is no need for these large deposits of calcium and the bones appear less dense upon testing (BMD) – this is normal, not sickness. There are a few women who do have seriously diseased bones, but drug therapy provides minimal benefits with the potential for very serious side effects.

Dr. McDougall does not agree with BMD test results and thinks that the bone-building drugs actually make bones brittle and more susceptible to fracture, and he is not alone in that opinion. One of the reasons I am not upset about stopping Fosamax are the many lawsuits.

Dr. McDougall promotes the vegan diet, and I could do that if it weren’t for the Hubster. I tried it several years ago when a lot of my friends were (and are) eating that way. However, Hubby put his foot down and flatly refused to eat brown rice or to stop eating meat. I’ll admit brown rice takes some getting used to, and it helps if it is smothered with something yummy like a bean and tomato sauce.

Before I close, just a little osteoporosis trivia. Did you know that short, thin, white women are the group of women most likely to get osteoporosis? I’m short and white, but certainly not thin, how is that fair? Did you know that the Alaskan Eskimo is the group of people by location most likely to get osteoporsis? Did you know that remote cultures who eat mostly whole grains and a little fish are least likely to get osteoporosis? Ok, that one is logical.

Foods rich in calcium- the major component of bones
Milk pudding
Swiss cheese: 1oz = 250-270 mg
Parmesan cheese:
(both swiss and parmesan need to be eaten with foods high in potassium to counteract the sodium)
Raw hazelnuts
Dry carob powder
Brewers yeast
Raw almonds
Garbanzo beans aka chick peas
Fortified orange juice

Foods high in potassium:
Dried apricots
Raw sunflower seeds

Foods containing magnesium:
Dry raw wheat germ and bran
Natural raw almonds
Raw Brazil nuts
Raw peanuts
Lima beans
Rolled oats

B complex foods:
Green vegetables
Egg yolks
Whole grains

Foods containing B5 – pantothenic acid:

Foods containing B6 – pyridoxine which is destroyed by cooking

Herbs that contain both calcium and magnesium:
Red raspberry leaves

Foods rich in Vitamin D – which allows calcium to leave the intestines so it can be absorbed by bones
Fortified milk
Egg yolks
Fish oils

Foods to avoid – interferes with calcium
Excessive protein – causes calcium loss from bones
Sodium – ditto
Caffeine – ditto
*Spinach – bind calcium and make it unavailable
*Rhubarb – ditto
*Chard – ditto
*Almonds – ditto
*Pinto beans – blocks calcium, but soaking several hours, rinsing & cook in new water helps neutralize
*Navy beans – ditto
^Peas – ditto

* = National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends eating one hour before or two hours after calcium rich foods


December 29, 2008

Looking Forward to 2009

The holidays usually leave me drained, but this year I am actually excited about starting the new year. We had a nice Christmas. The girls came in from school and my mom and Hubby's parents drove down together, taking turns on the driving, and only getting lost once in Fort Worth. If you've ever driven in on I35W and have to get over to the Hwy 287 exit in rush hour, you know how easy it is to be in the wrong lane at the wrong time and end up going the wrong direction. When they left to go home, Hubby drove their van and I followed in his car and we drove them to Rhome so they could miss all the Fort Worth traffic, although Saturday morning traffic was light.

On Christmas Day we went to Brother Bear's house for lunch, and Lil, Hubby and I went to the range for some practice shooting. Hubby had a new gun he wanted us to try but I still prefer my little revolver.

Hubby and I sat down today and went over our goals for the coming year. These are really my goals for the most part, but some of them can't be done without it being a team effort, so I am including both mine and ours here. I also got my company sales taxes filed today, so I can start the year fresh.

Health Goals
Eliminate (Hubby says cut down on) desserts
Eliminate sodas
Eliminate fried foods
Add more vegetables
Add more fruits
Prepare rounded meals
Eat lighter dinner
Walk daily 30 minutes
Bicycle daily 30 minutes
Exercises for the back daily
Look into tennis or golf

Financial Goals
Put 15% of Hubby's salary toward mortgage payoff
Hold off house addition until mortgage paid and economy is stable
Bump emergency fund to $20K
Add identity theft insurance
No eating out (Hubby says Less eating out)
Cook from scratch
Get part time job to speed mortgage payoff
Keep better budget accounting

Personal Goals
Clear the clutter
Have a place for everything
Clean out garage and office
Move office to den and closet
Finish projects in garage
Use up fabric stash
Keep the house clean (There has to be one impossible goal)
Get more sleep
Find a church home and not just a place to go

Build Habits
Put up everything after using
Make copies of paper records that are sent anywhere
Deal with mail immediately
Write down money spent every day

Some of these overlap categories, especially in the finance and health areas. Funny how the unhealthy food is also the most expensive in the budget.

Until next time, may you have blessings and achievement,

December 17, 2008

Life Without a Purse?

I don't see how men manage without a purse. Actually, I did see a man with a purse the other day but I figured his wife must have been around somewhere. On the few occasions I go somewhere with Hubby and leave my purse behind, I always need something. But the chiropractor told me to lighten my load and get rid of the weight on my shoulder. He's had me wearing a lift in my left shoe for a month and my spine is still misaligned.

I just weighed my purse and it weighs in at 5.5 pounds. In it I have my wallet with loaded coin purse (maybe that's why most men dump their coins every night), folding money, cards, and checkbook; pen; calculator; some kind of little broken part I need to replace; house keys; car keys; sunglasses; pepper spray and other heavy item for protection; cell phone; multicompartment pillbox; kleenex; handlotion (actually 2 tubes of handlotion because one is almost empty); lipstick; sunscreen lip balm; little tape measure; dental floss; earplugs; sunvisor; tire air pressure gauge (why, I have no idea); nail clippers; nail file; several packages of hand sanitizer wipes; shout wipes; folding scissors; hair brush; notebook; and camera.

Gee, no wonder my back hurts. I can see leaving most of this junk in the car and not lugging it around with me everywhere, but when I start thinking of the absolute minimum I need to carry, it gets longer and longer. And it's easier to leave such things as lipstick in the car in winter and quite another in summer when it would melt, and it doesn't do any good to leave a hairbrush in the car when the purpose is to fix hair that wind messed up.

I'd like to know how other women manage without a purse.


December 16, 2008

So This is the Dining Room



Actually, this is the living room, but we have been using it as the dining room because we have no dining room after we enlarged the kitchen. Someday we still hope to add on a real dining room. It seems like this project has taken years, and Hubby and I can't remember the exact date I ripped out the carpet.

Since taking out the carpet, we moved the exterior door beside the fireplace, put another door from the dining room into the kitchen - in front of the new back door, put a window in place of the old back/side door, and put wood flooring in the dining room and hall.

Before installing the flooring, I cleaned the hearth. I had cleaned it when we moved in without much success, but this time I pulled out the big guns.

The reason for all this work was because of the way our Moe built the patio and this side door. The door faces north with no porch over it, and the patio in front of the door is about six inches lower than the nearby driveway. It also doesn't help that our lot is about two feet lower than the lot north of us, and it in turn is about two feet lower than the lot north of it. The result is that this patio became a wading pool with each rain and no amount of weatherstripping around the door could keep out the water.

Since the doors have been changed, we have had a good rain and for the first time in years, we stayed completely dry in the house. Adding a dry stream by the patio will keep the water from becoming a wading pool when it rains.

Having finished rooms is great, but having a finished floor is awesome. No matter how often they are swept or mopped, concrete floors are just gritty. And our floors were worse because the original painters had spilled paint on the floor, and we had taken up tile and the gritty thinset was impossible to completely remove, or at least it was for us. The best part is having the carpet at the bedroom doors tucked in evenly across the doorway. When I ripped out the carpet, I cut at least four extra inches of jagged carpet so there would be plenty to curl around a tack bar.

Draw leaf inlaid table, $150 at auction. Ten parsons chairs $2.50 each at auction. Yes, that's right, two dollars and fifty cents each. They needed to be reupholstered but as messy as teenagers are, I thought I'd wait until they were grown. Now I'm not sure if I even want to keep them. While it was really handy to have a big table when groups of hungry teenagers come over, it's a little big for us now.

I get up every morning surprised and pleased all over again that we are actually living like normal, civilized people. Ahhhhhh. It's amazing how living in an unfinished house can wear on your nerves.

Until next time, may you have blessings and clean socks,

December 07, 2008

We Built a New Garage

We built the garage in 2003. We hired a guy from our church to do the framing and dry in the garage. In retrospect, that wasn't a good idea. He had done jobs for other people we knew and they were pleased. After the slab was poured, the lumber was delivered, but he didn't show up. Hubby, being the impatient sort, started framing the walls himself, and we had three up before the framer and his helper arrived. They quickly had the fourth wall up and started on the roof. When Hubby got home from work that day, he saw that the trusses weren't set evenly. Evidently the helper didn't know how to measure and on his side of the garage, the trusses were anywhere from four to six inches off the mark. So Hubby spent the evening moving those trusses, and the next morning he pointed it out to the framer and the rest of the trusses went up without incident and moved on to the plywood sheathing and decking. And then we didn't see them for almost a week. After a day or two, Hubby called and the framer said he got called back to another job but would be out the next day. The next day, no framer. Finally Hubby and I started roofing and on the evening of the fourth day, the framer and helper finally came and helped us finish the roofing.

The next three days they only came in the late afternoon and they began putting up the hardiplank siding. The doors and window probably made it slower but they only got one side done, and then we didn't see them again for a week. During that week, Hubby and I worked on the siding on the back and both gables in the evenings. And then it rained. After the rain, the plywood on the last side was warped and wavy. Still no framer and he wasn't returning phone calls. Hubby spent a day repairing plywood and then we finished the siding. When we finally heard from the contractor, we paid him for the work he had done and told him we didn't need him anymore. He never offered to replace the warped plywood or even acknowledge that it was warped.

We bought the insulation and sheetrock through a contractor. I insulated the garage and then the contractor's guys came out to put up the sheetrock. They were amazing, each one could lift those twelve foot sheets over their head and with one hand screw them in place.

After the drywall crew finished the walls and texture, Hubby sprayed the paint and we were ready for doors, trim, cabinets, and plumbing. We put a full bathroom in the garage both for convenience and to keep from tracking so much dirt into the house. We also thought it would be convenient if we ever had to turn the garage into an apartment for one of our parents. We put in a short counter and kitchen sink at the back of the garage for that reason also, and to make it easier for Hubby to clean fish and game.

Until next time, may you have blessings and easy building,

December 05, 2008

I Turned Around and My Baby Grew Up

Wasn't it just yesterday that she was four years old and insisting to wear an Indian headband everywhere we went, or six years old and climbing to the top of the play fort? Not just climbing the ladder into the fort but climbing to the very top rail of the tent roof. I tried not to act terrified when I told her calmly to come down. She looked at me and laughed.

We used to laugh at the way she mispronounced breakfast when she was little. For the first few years she pronounced it bre-fakst, and when she started spelling, it was just as bad. She hated reading and writing and would do almost anything to avoid it. But she was a whiz at math and no one ever noticed any real problems. It wasn't until she was a freshman in high school that we began to suspect she might have dyslexia, but when we talked about getting her tested so she could get help, she refused because she didn't want it on her school record.

She was so competitive, she forced herself to keep up in honors classes, even though it took her twice as long to read the material and sometimes couldn't finish the tests. But she never gave in or gave up, and managed to graduate in the top ten percent of her class.

Now she is a senior in college. The classes are hard, the reading still takes her twice as long as everyone else, and she still doesn't finish every test, but she has been on Dean's List every semester. This is the time of year that engineering students interview for jobs, sometimes an interview will last all day and she has to give a presentation over a project she has done. She loves being recruited, even though it takes more of her time. Her Thanksgiving was spent working on a project in the car as we drove to Grandmas and back.

She had an all day interview again today with a company, and they paid for her travel and hotel. My mother's heart worried about her staying alone in a hotel and driving into a strange city at night, but she wanted to do it alone.

She stopped by on the way home this afternoon to spend time with me even though she has a paper due and finals coming up. After a few hours, she left to go back to college, which she now calls home, because she has meetings tomorrow. That stubborn, wonderful child has grown up. I've been mothering for twenty-six years. What am I now?

Until next time, may you have blessings and joy in your children,

Doctors Offices Drive Me Nuts!

Some weeks ago I got up one morning with a stiff ankle. Every day it was worse than before until finally I could barely walk and decided to go to the doctor. Since I also needed some lab work done, I decided to go my family doctor and get everything done at the same time. This is the same office that once forgot about me completely and left me sitting in the waiting room for an hour before I could get their attention.

So on this day, I went in the door and was relieved to see that the waiting room was empty. I hobbled up to the admittance window and tapped on the frosted glass. After a few minutes I tapped again and someone opened the window and said no one was at that desk and asked me to go to another window in an adjoining office. So I hobbled over to the other window and tapped on the glass there.

While I stood waiting, a young man walked in the front door and knocked on the first window. The same woman opened it and told him to sign in at the window where I was now standing. As he walked up, I knocked again and he stood behind me.

While we stood waiting, an older couple walked in the front door, he hobbling worse than me and leaning on his wife for support. They walked up to the first window and in turn were directed to the second window. As they approached, I told them I had already knocked twice. Then the same woman who had opened the first window finally opened this second window and told us to go back to the first window. Can't you check us in here the older woman asked? No, this computer has been turned off.

So I led the line back to the first window, hobbling as fast as I could. There, the same woman opened the window again and asked for my name. She couldn't find my name in the appointment list. I told her when I called and who I talked to. She told me to sit down and she would find it and I sat in a chair directly across from the window so they couldn't forget me again. Meanwhile, everyone else was called into the office and I waited. Finally, I got up and hobbled over to the window, tapped on it, and when the girl came to the window I asked if she had found my appointment. Oops, she had forgotten to look, but she would do that now if I would have a seat. So I hobbled back to my chair and had just settled in when she called my name.

Once called, I saw the doctor and was in and out quickly. A few days later the office called with the results of my lab culture and I asked if they would send me a copy of it. Sure, she said, we can fax it to you, but you need to come in and sign a release for it. Why bother faxing it if I have to come in anyway? So I told her I could come by the next time I was out that way. That day was today, and guess what? They couldn't find it.

Now I like the doctors at this office, but the staff has a lot to be desired. It was the same with the last group of doctors I had gone to, only with them, it was never billing correctly. I guess it's time to find a new doctor but I wonder what the odds are of finding a good doctor with a good staff.

Until next time, may you have blessings and no need for doctors,

December 03, 2008


I have decided that menopause is Mother Nature's way of putting her thumbs in her ears and waggling her fingers while sticking out her tongue and taunting: "What was that about growing old gracefully?"


December 01, 2008

It's Not Ratatouille

Ben, maybe, or Willard. Every fall we see a few mice, but this is the first year we have seen rats, and not just a couple. Unlike mice, these have been found outside only. With the help of the Victor power kill rat trap, we have filled a small rat cemetery. We haven't caught any in a couple of weeks and I thought the fall rush was over. Not so.

Today, I heard a thud as something hit the front door and then the doorbell rang. I got to the door in time to see the UPS man sprinting back to his truck. Since this is his usual MO, I didn't think too much about it until I opened the door to get the package his dropped on the porch, and I do mean dropped. That's when I saw the rat, a dead white rat, sprawled across the sidewalk.

This is our first white rat, the others have been the usual brownish color. I don't know if this was someone's pet or how it became dead on my front walk, but I do understand the UPS man's desire to get back in his truck.

Until next time, may you have blessings and be vermin free,

I Want to Know

1. Why it is possible to stick to a diet over Thanksgiving, but impossible when you have a cold?
2. When, EXACTLY, do you stop worrying about your children?
3. When, EXACTLY again, is menopause actually over?
4. When did Thanksgiving become just a convenient weekend to decorate and shop for Christmas?
5. When is middle age? (two friends in their early fifties died last week - does that make middle age 26?)
6. Why grass that was dead all summer is greening now that temps have hit the low 30's?
7. Why no one will eat the last piece of bread, or the last banana?
8. Why recipes in magazines have ingredients that can't be found?
9. Why no one ever knows who spilled something sticky on the kitchen floor?
10. Why the just purchased item is ALWAYS the one to be discontinued so you can't buy replacement parts?
11. Why do decorating people tell you to put what you love in your home and then they tell you your house looks dated or needs a new look?
12. Why do architects and builders put a door so close to the corner that there is one inch or less of wall space between the door frame and the wall so they are next to impossible to paint?