Monday, September 24, 2012

Elimination Diet 2.0

Those of you who have followed this blog for awhile may remember that I started it when I moved to Pittsburgh for a summer two years ago.  I was having health issues, and I wanted to work with a clinic that might be able to help me get my health under control.  It may have been one of the smartest decisions I've made.  After physical therapy, chiropractic, and the aid of a dietician, I went home feeling noticeably better.

One of the biggest things that helped me was going through an elimination diet.  I got rid of grains, corn, nuts, seafood, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, lettuce, a whole bunch of spices . . . and a lot of other foods.  It was hard, but because I was feeling better and gaining more energy, it was totally worth it.

In the months that followed, I reintroduced a few grains, a couple vegetables, and coffee.  The reintroductions seemed to go fine, and if they didn't go well, I permanently eliminated the food from my diet.  Recently, though, I've started feeling less well.  I'm not miserably sick--and I'm especially nowhere near the level of sick I was two years ago--but I'm not as well as I know I can be.

I'm going back and redoing the elimination diet.  My body may have changed, or perhaps I reintroduced something that my body wishes I hadn't.  Right now, I'm going through a three week period in which all I eat is basically meat, fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, and sunbutter (like peanut butter made with sunflower seeds).  The first time I did this, I was miserable.  I was sad, I was emotional, I missed food, and my body hated me for at least a week.  This time around, I decided that wouldn't be the case.  I mapped out a week's worth of meals in advance--picking foods that I knew would seem "special" and making sure that I'd get plenty to eat each day.  I also realized, after the first day, that if you make the food look good, you'll emotionally feel good about it!

I know that eating healthily is hard for many people.  So are allergies and food sensitivities.  I spent a lot of time being upset about the foods I couldn't have.  For the past two years, I've had practically no chocolate or garlic.  (Yes, I've cheated a few times, but I could count all the times I've cheated on any part of my diet on one--or maybe two--hands.)  I went a year without coffee.  Those who know me well know that those are probably my three all-time most favoritest foods.  I've decided, though, to intentionally shift my focus away from the food I can't eat toward enjoying the foods I can eat.  It doesn't work all the time, but I have to say that the past three days have been so much easier than the first week of my elimination diet the first time around.

Breakfast: bacon with peaches and cinnamon

Lunch: peaches, snap peas, and ham

Dinner: steak seasoned with lemon/lime juice and cilantro, onions and peppers, and greek yogurt

Friday, September 21, 2012

Seven Series of Doctor Who

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I keep putting it off because my thoughts on Doctor Who are vast and sometimes confusingly complicated.  A few days ago, though, I started talking about the current series with Tricia, and I promised her I'd write a post outlining my general thoughts about the past seven series of Doctor Who.  The thoughts won't be well organized, and they won't be comprehensive.  But I'll at least number them so that it deceptively looks like I'm organized:

1.  I suppose I should start off on a positive note by mentioning things I like without resevation.  So, the first thing I like: the actors who play the ninth, tenth, and eleventh doctors--Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith.  Each is a very strong actor who effectively portrays the doctor's complexity of character.  I wish Eccleston had done more than one series because I really did like him.  In fact, I was resistant to Tennant at first because I like Eccleston so much.  (I was also resistant to Tennant because it just seemed like the faddish, hipster thing to do to be obsessed with David Tennant.)  Tennant broke my resistance down pretty quickly, though.  He has a wonderfully expressive face.  It's less subtly nuanced than someone like Cumberbatch's, but it has this honest, transparent simplicity that I love.  I was much less resistant to Smith.  The eleventh doctor won me over quickly with fish sticks and custard.  I have to admit that I'm not sure how much of my adoration for the eleventh doctor depends upon Smith's ability as an actor and how much depends on the writing, but even if the writing takes a lot of credit, I think we can all admit that Smith embodies the character written for him brilliantly.

2.  Another thing I like without reservation: Amy and Rory.  Although I like each of the other companions, I have to qualify my statement by saying, "But the writing was sometimes so bad," or "But they didn't get the best episodes," or, "Sometimes she's just so annoying, though!"  (Yes, we'll get to that later.)  Amy and Rory's characters, though, I think are always well written.  I also think they're unique compared to the other companions--probably largely due to the fact that they were written more by Moffat than Davies.  Davies companions had some strengths, but they all shared mannerisms (does Davies just assume that all females automatically hug or tenderly touch everyone who's sad and crying?) and ways of speaking.  Even though there were differences, these difference seemed so intentional and obvious as to almost become heavy-handed.  To run into Amy, then, who was so different from any previous companion (sometimes she even shrinks away from people instead of automatically hugging/touching/leaning in toward them!) and to also get Rory--a MALE companion--was a relief.  I love their relationship with the Doctor, with each other, and with River.  I love how complex all these relationships are.  Previous companions' relationships to the Doctor were marked by a single, dominant characteristic.  Rose and the Doctor loved each other.  Martha love the Doctor but the Doctor didn't love her back.  (That way, at least.)  Donna and the Doctor were platonic friends.  Amy starts off in love with the Doctor.  Then, she's somewhat in love with the Doctor and somewhat in love with Rory.  Then, she's in love with Rory but Rory is jealous of the Doctor.  Then, Rory and Amy are crazy amazingly in love with each other and the Doctor is awesomely friends with both of them.  Oh!  Plus, Amy gets mad at the Doctor.  So mad!  Other characters might disapprove of the Doctor for parts of an episode, or even be a little angry with him for a full episode, but the anger is never deep, and the disapproval is generally resolved pretty quickly.  (Perhaps Martha is an exception, but she's no longer a companion once her disapproval becomes established.)  Amy, however, has some of the greatest reasons to be bitter with the Doctor.  Because of him, she loses her baby and misses out on years and years of River growing up.  Because of traveling with him, she can never have children again.  Plus, no other companion is as angry with the Doctor as Old Amy is in "The Girl Who Waited."  (I love that episode!)  And disapproval?  In her first full-on adventure with the Doctor, when the Doctor is caught in a moral dilemma, Amy makes the quick decision to force Liz to abdicate the throne.  Most recently, Amy keeps the Doctor from practically killing a man in the name of justice.  Amy and Rory side with River in "The Wedding of River Song" in trying to save the Doctor's life.  While I love the other companions, at a literary level, I can't help but appreciate that Amy is the most complex of them all.

3.  Have no fear.  I'll talk about the other companions.  I love Martha.  She ties with Amy as my favorite companion.  Since I talked about Amy so long, I'll keep this brief.  The thing I like most about Martha is that she's the only companion who truly chooses to leave the Doctor.  Amy and Rory take breaks from the Doctor, but that's partially their decision and partially his.  Martha intentionally rejects the offer to continue traveling with the Doctor because she knows that the Doctor will never love her and because she knows that she is needed on earth.  I like that.

4.  Okay, now I'll get into the things that I partially like and partially dislike as I discuss the other companions.  I like Donna, but sometimes she annoys me.  She's fun, but not very complexly written (somewhat predictable), and she's also loud.  I appreciate her a lot because we needed someone who was very different than Rose and Martha at this point.  As I mentioned before, though, her difference was so extreme that it was obviously intentional and sometimes awkward.

5.  I like Rose.  She's the first companion of the new show, and she and the Doctor have an amazing relationship.  The thing that bothers me, though, is that her key motivations as a character are "romantic love" and "a desire to travel."  These are fine motivations, but they're both somewhat selfish.  Yes, her love for the Doctor is centered on the Doctor, but it's also based in herself--she can't exist without the Doctor.  (She does for two series, I suppose, but she's eager to come back.)  I sympathize with her love for travel, but she travels for the sights and experiences more than she travels to be a part of the serving and helping and saving that the Doctor does.  I think this is at least a little bit of a problem with all of the companions, but I think it's highlighted in Rose.

6.  Problems with Martha?  I didn't mention any before, but the way that Martha's character is written--script, mannerisms, etc--is sometimes a little too much Rose 2.0.

7.  Issues with writing.  Davies write amazing series finales, but his individual episodes sometimes fall flat.  He also has an annoying habit of stating the obvious.  The most painful moment I can remember is when Martha watches the Doctor fall in love and says, "You had to go and fall in love with a human, and it isn't with me!"  Ug.  A 10 year old could have figured out that that's what she was feeling.  Moffat writes amazing story arcs and great stand alone episodes, but he's too ambitious in his series finales, and they often feel overly complicated and underdeveloped.  I really wish I could take the strengths of the first through fourth series and combine them with the strengths of the fifth through seventh and just get rid of all the stuff I don't like.

8.  Last problematic thing: The Doctor is a super old man who always travels with young, pretty women: being their guide, opening up a whole new world for them, teaching them, sometimes talking down to them.  While the problem is partially addressed by introducing Rory in series 5, it looks like the Doctor will soon have a single, pretty, woman companion again.  So . . . what are the gender politics of this?  Problematic, unfortunately.

9.  I'll end on a positive note since I really do like Doctor Who quite a bit.  So, I'll list my favorite two episodes from each series:

Series One: "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances"

Series Two: "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "Doomsday"

Series Three: "The Sound of the Drums" and "Last of the Timelords"

Series Four: "The Doctor's Daughter" and "Forest of the Dead"

Series Five: "Vincent and the Doctor" and "The Lodger"

Series Six: I have to list three--"The Impossible Astronaut," "A Good Man Goes to War," and "The Girl Who Waited."  And even limiting myself to three is hard.

There aren't enough for series seven to have favorites, but I do have to say that the Christmas special for series six made me cry.  A lot.  SO GOOD!  Also, "Pond Life" managed to make me cry a little bit, too, in only 5 minutes.

I've spent an hour writing this post and only said half of what I wanted to.  But it's enough for now.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


So I went to the doctor yesterday.  I really didn't like him.  He had horrible listening skills and seemed to think that when he couldn't notice anything wrong in a 2 minute examination, it meant I was perfectly healthy. After I pressed him and told him that keeping on living like this was not an option, though, he did suggest that I try an inhaler.  I tried it this morning, and now I'm breathing so much better!  Let's hope that this might be the end of my breathing-related problems.

Please be in prayer for the people I mention in my post a week ago.  It breaks my heart to have them hurting so much.  I also had two students with serious health/life issues this week, so it's a little overwhelming.  I'm trusting God, though, that he understands each and every one of their bodies and has all of these situations under his control.

Monday, September 3, 2012


So next time I want to make a statement like, "No one I love is allowed to get sick or injured in the near future," I'll just keep quiet.  Because I've learned my lesson.  Less than 24 hours after making that post, what do you think?  Of course I end up in the ER.

Everything's fine, it just took 4 hours for them to make sure everything was fine.  I'm glad tomorrow is Labor Day because I will be doing significantly less work than I was planning to do and will be sleeping the rest of the time!

Also, the title of this post leads me to share this The Oatmeal comic.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dear People I Love: No more of you are allowed to become sick or injured in the near future.

Those of you who are sick or injured better start healing quickly.

Too many people I care about are sick or hurt.  It seems like every few days I hear another story, and the last few have escalated in seriousness with each story.  It started a few weeks ago when a couple I knew in college had a baby girl undergo a very scary open heart surgery.  God carried her through the surgery, and she's home safely now.  Then, I found out about a family at church whose baby girl has leukemia.  She's undergoing chemo now, and I can't even imagine how hard that would be on a little baby body and soft baby skin!

Last week, my best friend found out that she has a mystery systemic infection, and it's been making her quite ill.  She's been out of work for almost two weeks, and she's still waiting for a specialist to see her.  Then, a few days ago, another close friend's brother--whom I've known his whole life--fell and lacerated his pancreas; he's had surgery and is looking at a week or two in the hospital recovering.  Today I found out that someone else I love needs to have an extremely invasive and potentially very dangerous surgery.

It's hard when people you love--and even just people you know about--undergo these kind of difficulties.  After a phone call today, I found myself asking God, "Why all the sickness?"  In my heart, I know that these "light and momentary afflictions" are preparing us for the glories of heaven and making us long to be with Jesus more.  But it still hurts when people around me suffer so much.