Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Drink the water?

(See my update below after calling EPA)

 Check out this great article written by Ken Ward, entitled How do they know water's safe at 1ppm?http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401130090

The above article led me to give American Water a call last night to ask them if they think  my water is safe to drink now that I've done the flush per their instructions. They said it is, and I asked how they know that, and the guy said he doesn't know, hasn't been given the current concentration of MCHM in our water. He gave me the number for the EPA. I called them and they don't open 'till 10AM today. I'm calling them back at 10. 

It's just, there isn't any research out there that explains why 1ppm is a safe level for this particular chemical. The only research on it was done by the company who produces the chemical, and wasn't published in any peer-reviewed journal. Research that isn't peer-reviewed should never be used to make decisions on human health; that's just a no brainer. 

As it is, we are using the water right now for some things... used it to wash some towels... I guess I'm going to take a shower in it, because I can't imagine an alternative. Don't want to use it on my dishes just yet. I think I'll wash them with the clean jug of water we brought home from Bryan's mom's tap. We're brushing our teeth with and drinking bottled water, using purchased ice. 

We ordered a new filter for our fridge last night (they're sold out in all stores around here), and when that comes in I guess we'll consider the filtered water drinkable? I'm still not sure. 

Seeing that Cincinnati stopped sucking in Ohio River water for the next few days due to our flush so far upstream from them of course doesn't help my confidence in our water here about 2 miles from the affected water plant. They said the concentration in Huntington in the Ohio River is close to 1 part per BILLION, and I can only imagine how low it is in Cincinnati--probably undetectable. I would do the same thing if I were responsible for water down there though. Just wish I didn't have to deal with being expected to DRINK it at ~1 part per million.

**update after calling EPA hotline**

Waited about 20 minutes to reach an operator on the EPA hotline, which is neither surprising nor bothersome to me. When I got an operator, I stated that I live in Charleston, West Virginia, and would like to know if my water is safe to drink now that I've gone through the proper flushing procedures recommended by American Water. They said they are a national hotline and do not have local data. They further stated that they're surprised that American Water would recommend I call them for this information, as they do not provide local water quality data. After checking with others around the office, the operator stated that if American Water told us it's safe to drink then it must be at the 1ppm level.

So I asked how they arrived at the conclusion that 1ppm is safe for drinking. They said it's based on their standard. I asked if their standard is based on the one lethal dose study that was conducted by Eastman and apparently never published in a peer-reviewed journal. And if this is the case, how do I really know my water is safe to drink?

They took my phone number and email address and said they would “Reach out to the subject matter” and call me back. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hot coffee: yum!

I've been annoyed by my annoying posts lately. Here's an anicdotal one... there should be a lot more of these, proportionately. I'll work on that.

A few days ago at work in the morning I was feeling groggy and in need of coffee. Got out my cup, put creamer in it, and went across the hall. Found a nice full pot of coffee there, and filled my cup. As I walked away, wondered briefly why my cup didn't feel hot. I figured it was just because it takes a few seconds for coffee to heat up a ceramic cup.

Went back to my desk, sat down, took a sip, and it was COLD, from the day before! I spit it back in the cup. Me and my office mate laughed. Since then when I hold a hot cup of coffee I laugh at myself; how could I have ever not realized I had cold coffee?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Goonies Never Say Die.

So, it's like I forgot--or forgot to mention--that I had a pretty major vacation coming up in October. We went on our annual fling to Universal Studios, staying at Hard Rock Hotel. We have a great time there, and eat things like popcorn, beer, pizza, beer, free cookies, free breakfast, and free evening "snacks" accompanied by free beer. Somehow, even though you walk for miles at an amusement park, mysteriously you never lose weight while there. I can't figure it out (did I mention "free beer")?

I don't know how I thought I was going to eat basically Zero Sugar through the month of October with that on the horizon. Needless to say, I ate sugar--lots of it. And when I got back, I didn't stop. I was feeling pretty durn bad about myself a couple of days ago, starting to think things like "maybe I'm just a fat person at heart... maybe this is just who I am and I should stop fighting it... maybe I'm happier this way."

But of course, I wasn't happy at all. After a long, difficult, stressful day at work, my natural tendency has become to come home and either 1. lay down on the couch, 2. lay down in bed for an actual nap, or 3. start drinking beer. Seriously, are these the actions of a happy person? Somehow I had convinced myself that since this was the path of least resistance, it was the best I could do.

What I had forgotten about was momentum. Now, momentum is caused a little bit by eating right (which I've been doing off and on for months), but what really gets momentum going is exercise. I had decided that I needed to get to eating right consistently before I would add exercise, because that's what I did such a long time ago when I succeeded in losing 70 pounds. Turns out that's not the best idea, because I wasn't getting the momentum--physical momentum caused by endorphins that charge up your psyche and leave you wanting more--and emotional momentum caused by knowing for sure that you can physically achieve something.

When I woke up yesterday morning I decided the only way I would definitely get to the gym is if I asked somebody to make me go there. There's a guy at work who goes to the gym every day at lunch (free gym in our building), so I asked him to drag me along. Didn't care when it was, but when he came to tell me to go I would go. And I did. It was awesome, and it changed my whole day. I sweated, became exhausted, ate lunch, had energy, and kept having energy all the way until it was time to go to bed. At home, I did dishes, played drums (haven't done that in months), joked with the kids, folded laundry, and had a great evening with Bryan. At around 10 o'clock I could feel my legs and my whole body being really tired--for all the right reasons.

Now, I know I will continue to ebb and flow, and sometimes I'll ebb all the way down to complete misery, but... the difference between me and a truly miserable person is that I will never stop trying. I won't give up. I don't quit. I might go a week where all I eat is Twix and I hate myself, but that week will come to an end, I will come to my senses, and I will get back on the right track. Goonies never say die.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Going Strong

One week into Brain Enema Fall 2013, and I am going strong...

I've stuck to my rules very well except for one or three teensy things here and there, which I think is a huge win! I find that if you don't have teensy things here and there that take you out of Diet Perefction, then you are either:

  1. lying, or 
  2. being too strict.

My teensy things were: 

    a.   some homemade croutons made with white bread on an otherwise perfect-choice chicken salad
    b.   few bites of a Chocolate Pot du Creme practice batch
    c.   a Diet Coke at a sub shop where I did not order a sub; rather a chef salad
    d.   a large biscuit perched atop my Chicken Pot Biscuit dinner Saturday (but that's cheat meal anyway)

And then of course I had my planned "cheat" on Saturday, which was half of a Chocolate Pot du Creme, which was absolutely heavenly. I even avoided eating the rest of it the next day, since it was no longer my "cheat meal." 

I'm feeling great about this plan. Of course, I have had a few moments when I wanted to throw the tv out the window for showing me the new Papa John's chocolate chip cookie pizza (totally evil), or people eating pie (dastardly). But, it's all good. The tv and I both survived.

I had plain strawberries with whipped cream on them for dessert last night. Nominal sugar, some fat, and it made me feel full and happy. 

Oh, and I'm down from hovering at 205 for quite awhile now to 201 this morning. And my pants are a little loose. Woot!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brain Enema

"This town needs an enema." 

This Laura needs an enema--of my brain more than anything. I've had a lot of blockages in there, not necessarily related to problem-solving and critical thinking, but along the neural pathways that cause me to make good decisions for me. One of my newest motto's is "be kind to yourself," because I certainly haven't been for at least a year now. I'm going to change that.

I've decided to accomplish this clean-out of my neural area by laying down some good old-fashioned diet rules... I tried this a couple months ago, and it went great. I lost something like 7ish pounds in the week that I stuck to it really well. I'm going back to it, and I'm committing to do it for ONE MONTH. For the month of October, I'm following the following rules:


  1. No calorie counting and/or logging food into a food-logging app (I find this distracting, time-consuming, and lately just a recipe for failure). 
  2. No sugar in greater than 5-gram quantities per serving (which allows creamer in coffee, Silk on cereal, etc), except once on Saturdays
  3. No white flour products (stick to whole grains, the more fiber the better)
  4. No sugar substitutes (aspartame, sucralose, etc)
  5. Acception: FRUIT. Unlimited on fruit intake, but staying away from super high carb fruits like bananas.
For now, I'm not incorporating any required exercise to go along with this. I've had a hard enough time starting one thing and finishing it, so I'm just going to focus on this for now. 

In order to accomplish this I'm going to focus on protein-rich snacks, as well as vegetables and fruits. When I feel a craving, I will have a piece of cheese or handful of fiber-rich crackers, or grab a piece of fruit. Even if I get hungry at night... because eating after a certain time is totally allowed on this plan. 

Who's with me?? Who's up for a brain enema?!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Toxins are a bitch

Alright, here's the deal. I have spent the last 4+ days in varying states of misery going from my neck to my nose to throughout my entire head, shoulders, inside my head... Woke up Saturday morning with pain in my neck, went about my normal activities, then all of a sudden my shoulder/neck area just seized up. Spent the rest of the weekend trying to keep it from freaking out more, resting, icing, etc. It was terrible; I mean, I got LAUNDRY to do, man! Sunday I decided maybe I had something terrible like meningitis, so I set out to go to Med Express. On the way there, I thought "what the heck am I doing? what do i want? pain meds?" After seeing the parking lot and how many sick people were waiting to see a doctor, I decided this can't be the place for me. Went to the drug store instead and bought a new icey bag for my neck and two packs of chocolate for my brain.

Monday I went to the chiropractor (Dr Grose of Grose Chiropractic, check them out if you're anywhere close to here). He is awesome, by the way. I love him and his whole practice. Having a massage every time I go does give them bonus points, but in general it's just a nice community place where everybody talks about what they're doing to get better. It's not all private like doctors' offices usually are. People are there to do exercises, talk to health experts, and get better.

Anyway, they straightened me out, and Doc told me I'd feel much better the next day.

Instead, yesterday I felt HORRIBLE. I had an important meeting at work where I was supposed to present this entirely new concept to a bunch of skeptical folks who were apt to buck the new system. I was supposed to sell it. It didn't happen. I let somebody else take over, and sat there feeling like I might pass out or throw up. Considered walking out and going home in the middle of the meeting, but sat there till it was done and then did just that. I didn't know what the heck was up, because it felt like I was going to DIE, like I had the flu.

Went back to the chiro today, talked to them about everything, and realized--you know what, Laura, you're just screwing yourself. Screwing myself with the food I eat, the caffeine I take in, the aspartame, the grease, the TOXINS. When they straightened me out on Monday it released all these toxins that had been pent up in my head/neck/back, and I simply didn't drink enough water to flush them out! Simple as that. They were right, I had barely drank any water, and I had no other excuse to feel "flulike" yesterday.

When I left there I thought I just can't do this anymore. I can't put my body and mind through this kind of treatment. I'm going back to my "no white stuff" diet: no sugar except in a serving of 5g or less (like cereal) or in fruit, no white flour. I'm going to focus on eating mostly vegetables and fruit, with plenty of protein. I just have to do it.

Please if you read this, help keep me honest. Ask me how it's going. I need you! Thanks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Red Letter Evening

The kids and I had an awesome evening yesterday. Bryan is out of town this week for work, so our family is definitely out of balance. But we manage, and yesterday we thrived!

I had one of those really long days at work--the kind that leaves my eyes hot and burning and tired, and my nerves frayed. Upon arriving home, Tayan and I decided to hit the basketball hoop right away. It was awesome. I love not only that I am one of the very few moms who will legitimately play basketball with their 8 year old, but that Tayan is aware of that rarity and doesn't mind it. It means so much to me that memories of his childhood will include playing ball, running with, and laughing at fart jokes with his mother.

After hoops, I rousted Zene off the couch, and the three of us took Lupin to the dog park. Lupin was so happy. I mean, like seriously so happy. Anybody who has an old dog who no longer chews up furniture and meekly stays inside for 9 hours a day by himself, then is content to pretty much sleep all evening and night knows what I mean. The dog was downright thankful.

Zene whined pretty much the whole time we were there, but he does that. The kid doesn't like exercise or outside very much.

Back at home, I made dinner while the kids chilled. Also, the highlight of my evening: I read Tayan's report card, which is a narrative and a list of skills for many of which he earned a "Distinguished" mark. The narrative was just amazing. His teacher is so proud of him, and she wrote an extensive essay of his progress in each area, how he leads his group and is very kind and always does his work and takes constructive criticism while striving for perfection... I read much of it to Tayan, and by the end I had a hard time keeping my voice steady. He laughed and asked if I was crying (which he could totally tell I was), and I vehemently denied.

We had dinner, learned how to sign in to their math website so they can both get better at earning "skills," then got ready for bed. It was a red-letter evening.

And this morning I did 30 burpees, some regular and sideways crunches, plank, and Zene taught me to do the Too dee tah, which is ridiculous.