Sunday, November 12

More Random (And Awful) Historical Facts

Apparently, for the better part of a century, the British Navy thought it would be a good plan to flog people for getting scurvy. Even after they knew it was an illness, and still later when they figured out it was a deficiency disease of some kind, the practice carried on. I have not yet figured out the logic behind taking someone who is already not functional and flogging them... it's clearly not going to improve their ability to work, no matter what you think the root cause is.

Lack of logic remained rampant, however. They later decided that a great solution to beriberi (another deficiency disease) would be giving people arsenic. Or strychnine... just for variety. (*Cringe.*)

Again, some days I wonder how the human race has lasted as long as we have. On the bright side, our bizarre insistence on self-delusion and penchant for making matters worse as often and drastically as possible makes for great reading!! : p

Tuesday, November 7

What's In A Carb?

This morning at work I had a customer order a breakfast sandwich and ask what she could get it on that was “low carb”. Unfortunately, the honest answer was “not much”, but I did explain that we could always put her eggs and cheese just on a plate or in a bowl if she didn't want the bread. I also started to offer to add a few of the free extras people tend to like when they take that option – tomatoes or spinach, for example. Then I corrected myself, since I couldn't remember off the top of my head if spinach qualified as low carb. (Turns out it does at about 1g of carbs per cup of fresh spinach, if anybody cares.)
Corn. Grows above ground. Not low carb.

The woman looked at me, smiled cheerily, and said “Oh, it is. Everything that grows above ground is low carb.”

Umm.... say what now? 

(Picture here an absolutely blank stare, as I ran that sentence through my head six times in an effort to figure out if I misheard it, or possibly misunderstood what she was trying to say, before I resigned myself to the fact that she was completely serious.)

I politely finished cashing her out and (barely) resisted the urge to go bang my head against the nearest wall.

Obviously, she was repeating a rule of thumb given to her by someone (probably a professional) she trusted to know these things. And I concede I can sort of see what they were getting at… potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables tend to be much higher in carbs than your (above-ground) leafy greens.

But for Force sake!! Wheat grows above ground, and flour is (or should be) just ground wheat. Apples, bananas, corn, pumpkins – last I checked, they all grew above ground and are definitely not low in carbs!!

If you're on a 'trendy' low carb diet, it might not matter that much. But that kind of grossly inaccurate, misleading rule of thumb could practically kill someone who's trying to go low carb to control diabetes, epilepsy, or other medical conditions particularly sensitive to that. 

This is the level of common knowledge about our food supply and dietary practices that permeates the country, and yet you have to pay out of pocket for any and all education on the subject. Almost no insurance will pay for more than one or two sessions with a Registered Dietician, and then only if you have diabetes, essentially. It's positively appalling. 

Anyway, I'll stop ranting now, but please consider this your friendly neighborhood PSA that GROWING ABOVE GROUND DOES NOT MAKE SOMETHING LOW CARB.  Thank you. 

Saturday, November 4

Appallingly True Random Fact

In the immediate post-Civil War era, heroin was introduced as a "wonder drug"... to treat diabetes.

Despite being a heavily refined variant of morphine, which they knew was addictive, professional chemists and physicians of the time were quite confident that heroin wouldn't be addictive at all.

Does anyone else read world history and occasionally wonder how we haven't killed ourselves off as a species yet?

Wednesday, November 1

It's Good Not To Be A Manager

Yesterday at work, there were two different repair guys in: one was working on the rethermalizer (essentially a giant box of hot water that we use to heat bags of soup) and the other was working on the walk-in freezer. The entire freezer/cooler area smelled like burning metal, which wasn't encouraging, but was apparently the least of our worries.

The guy working on the rethermalizer shut the whole thing down, informed my General Manager that the plug and outlet it was connected to were charred, and he really had no idea how we hadn't burned the entire cafe to the ground yet. Yikes!

So the GM goes to grab our back-up portable unit from storage. While he's gone, the cafe gets a call that someone was drilling just down the street and hit a gas line... which they thought was connected to our (giant) rack oven. So the manager on duty had to run out and tell the day bakers to shut the ovens off until further notice - because we're only a bakery cafe and don't need those or anything.

All I could think as I headed out to my truck (finally) was that it was a really, really good day not to be a manager. The manager who counted my drawer ended up working 13 hours yesterday... and I went home on time, and left all the drama behind. I don't miss being in her shoes at all.

Tomorrow we have piles of regional corporate company. My GM dared me to throw a brioche roll at the District Manager's head. It's an unreasonably tempting offer, but I think I'll probably be good. (Probably.)

Hope everyone else is having a less dramatic week than where I work!

Tuesday, October 31

Hydration Challenge

Hydration has always been a struggle for me. Some people can down water like it's nothing or at least have no trouble consistently tipping back a glass of water until they've reached a daily goal... but not me. It was an absolute revelation during my NTP training to discover that my reluctance (and sometimes outright revulsion) to drink water was related to an ongoing mineral imbalance situation.

While I've made huge strides towards sorting that out, and drinking water has gotten somewhat easier, it's still a conscious daily effort to make sure I drink enough. I am aware every day of something else I learned in my classes: it can (and usually does) take at least six months to completely rehydrate a body after long-term dehydration.

Our bodies have a pretty strict hierarchy of critical vs. non-critical organs and systems. When we're missing something we need, they raid the bottom rungs of the totem pole and strip them of stored resources. It can take a long time to resupply those less-critical areas when if/when we finally start taking in what we need again.

Considering that water is absolutely essential to transport nutrients, flush toxins, deliver oxygen, regulate body temperature, cushion joints, keep the electrical functions of our cells in working order, and about a dozen other super-important tasks,  it's kind of scary to think what I'm doing to those less-than-uber-critical areas of my body in the meantime!

So I've set myself a challenge: drink the bare minimum amount of water my body needs (based on body weight) every day for six months straight. In keeping with best practices, I'm not waiting until New Year's to start - I'm starting tomorrow, November first!

I've got a solid tracking system worked out, as well as several different habits/systems/tricks established to help me reach my daily goal amount. Now I'm ready to escalate to making those daily goals happen consistently long term.

I'm very curious to see what changes I recognize in myself and how I feel by the end of this experiment. Even if I don't noticeably feel different, I consider it a worthwhile endeavor for my health. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 29

Global Entertainment

Saw this on tumblr and it was too funny not to share:

  But it gets better:

Tuesday, October 24

Finishing the Stairwell

Theoretically, this hasn't been a big year for house projects. We've focused our time and energy other places more in 2017 than we have since before we bought the house! That said, there have been a few projects and they've definitely made a difference. One of them was the stairwell we had put in out front.

Back in June, I posted about getting the stairs put in. They looked like this:

We knew at some point before winter they'd need to be stained, but they needed to settle in and fully dry out first. Then things got busy and there was traveling, and time lapsed. This past week, aware that the end of October approaches and time is short, we made time to finish them. My Prince did the hard stuff - the big, sweeping areas where it would be really noticeable if it were uneven, etc., as he's by far the more talented of the two of us when it comes to such things. The next day, I carved out time to do all the little spindles and other odd spots. Now, they look like this:

They pretty much perfectly match our front porch. Combined with the stone walkway we built to connect them, they give the front yard a coordinated, rusticly lovely look that is lightyears away from the haphazard weirdness that existed when we bought the place.

For all that we're prone to looking at things through the eyes of homeowners (always looking ahead to the next project, or aware of how much *could* be done), it is really nice to step back once in a while and genuinely appreciate the massive ways we've reshaped our property and give ourselves proper credit for work well done.