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Friday, February 8, 2013

49

Birch Stripping for the Uninitiated

"What is a toxin? It may surprise you to learn how many toxins we come in contact with during the course of an ordinary day: Sitting, computers, materialism, smelling, desserts (Japanese), metal, not saying yes to yourself, hesitation, textiles, cooking, recession, texting, chewing, desserts (Western), low self-esteem, tight hamstrings, suffering, parents, yoga (non-Bikram), yoga (all other kinds), shoes, vaccines, doctors, books, driving, cooking, shameful sex dreams, exciting sex dreams, and folding."
—Mallory Ortberg takes us beyond the Blueprint Cleanse. If you're not into cleanses, please enjoy Wikipedia's list of sandwiches. They are all a source of toxins. If that phrase terrifies you, you may have chemophobia.

49 Comments / Post A Comment

area@twitter

This is perfect because I have been really concerned about my slow antler and hoof growth.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@area@twitter My hooves have just looked so dull lately, you know? Maybe I need more pondweed.

area@twitter

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Mud + blue-green algae antler mask, girl. Promotes healthy velvet growth.

Emily Jane McTavish@twitter

I'm so glad you linked to the chemophobia post! NYT, I had expected better from you.

Mandalas

@Emily Jane McTavish@twitter I took methotrexate for the same condition that little boy has (Juvenile idiopathic arthritis) when I was a teenager. I can fully understand why she doesn't want her 3 year old on it. It's a really harsh drug (look it up, it was originally developed as a form of chemotherapy and can be used in abortions). I've also found over the last 20 years since I was diagnosed that diet does actually affect rheumatoid arthritis, at least for me. I don't particularly think that avoiding medical treatment is the best answer because it is helpful but knowing your body and knowing what you put into it has an effect on your immune system isn't something to scoff at.

area@twitter

@Mandalas I get you; I think it's always important to be aware of the side effects of any medications you're taking. But I think swapping a well-investigated medication with a long treatment history and set methods of followup for an underregulated drug treatment with unknown complications and unclear dosing guidelines is a dangerous idea at best.
I had to be put on low-dose chemotherapy as a teen. I've also been on steroids and immunosuppressants for 15 years. They're certainly dangerous medications; some of them cause birth defects, they increase my risk of developing cancer, diabetes, glaucoma...oh, take your pick. But since there's a body of research on these drugs, my doctors (and I) know how to minimize the possibility of side effects, and also how to decide at what point a drug's risks outweigh its benefits. When you try that with something unregulated, you introduce a lot of uncertainty into the equation.
tl;dr: skepticism and careful decision-making processes should be applied to all medical treatments, and absence of data doesn't mean absence of risk.

Mandalas

@area@twitter I get that completely! I don't think that giving up on medical treatment is a smart thing to do at all. Medicine helps. Medicine saves lives. Medicine stopped me from having to deal with the pain and twisty-jointed misery of arthritis from the time I was 19 until about 6 months ago (that's about 13 years). I also don't think that loading up on "natural" supplements is really any different from visiting a western doctor and being prescribed treatment (other than the meds typically works better). I am actually ok with medicine and slightly wary of supplements. I've had a lot of people recommend glucosamine chondroitin sulfate over the years and I've always been wary of it because it's not "real medicine" and it's not something that I would ingest on the regular in my day to day life. Aleve, I pop like candy at times though because while it does tear my stomach up (which is something I'm finding out happens more now that I'm getting older), it works.

I guess what I was trying to get across is that a. methotrexate sucks and I understand the mom in the article being upset about her son being put on such a harsh drug and b. diet, what you eat on a daily basis, has an effect on autoimmune diseases.

Treating symptoms of a disease is obviously a good thing to do but lots of times the cause is ignored, at least with this disease. Since the cause is unknown and it's not something that can be cured, only put into remission, speculative changes like diet and supplements are going to continue to be prevalent.

area@twitter

@Mandalas Yes, that's very true! I also have a bias, I think, because I have a high-risk illness that's responded well to traditional Western medicine. The risks of my medications are- to me- much less scary than the risks of going on dialysis or having another autoimmune flare, and I know my meds have worked (so far!) and have side effects I can live with (so far!) Even then, I wish there was a little more recognition of the subtleties of disease processes, and more investigation of and support for "alternative" treatments. I'm very interested to see how gut immunology and microbiology becomes better understood over the next few decades- it does seem to be a large area with a lot of possibilities that hasn't been well investigated in western medicine.
Best of luck with your RA.

Mandalas

@area@twitter Thanks, and best of luck to you too with your condition.

Truth be told, as much as I hated mtx, I'd probably be back on it if I had insurance right now. As I don't, I'm having to seriously dedicate myself to researching and applying myself to alternative methods to fix my body. I can't afford the constant doctor visits, blood work, let alone the prescriptions that go along with how I "should" be treating my body. I guess that's why I have so much to say about this.

Pseudo Pseudonym

@Mandalas You know this is perhaps most reasonable conversation about "alternative medicine" vs. "western" approaches I've heard people with autoimmune problems engage in. I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease and people get really crazy and disordered about food. It's obviously important for IBD patients to pay attention to how diet affects them and I'm glad that there is more emphasis on this now.
I'm fortunate to be able to take a biologic medicine that works great (a big improvement over what methotrexate would likely do) and I've had to talk so many people off the "it's a drug known to increase cancer risk" ledge. Inflammation also increases cancer risks in IBD patients but that isn't listed on any prescription label. Most people are just really anxious about being ill and I hate that a certain segment of alternative medicine preys upon people's fears and often drowns out the good alternative medicine.

area@twitter

@Mandalas Oy. Yes. Friggin' insurance. Again, I'm ridiculously fortunate to have an excellent health care plan, and to have a job where I can afford my necessary medical care. (So far.) I have a friend with Crohn's and we absolutely rage together about how medical care is broken in the US.

@Pseudo Pseudonym I love the Hairpin because we can have discussions like this. <3 In my dream world, medication driven Western-style treatment and "alternative" practices (including diet, lifestyle management, acupunture, other less-recognized therapies) would co-exist in a way where everyone- patients, doctors, insurers- could recognize that there are advantages and disadvantages to each, and that ideally you would put them together to develop the most effective approach to managing individual care. Someday.

Lyssachelle

LIST OF SANDWICHES?? Hairpin, what are you doing to me...

While I object to their listing of cinnamon toast as part of the sandwich oeuvre, I do appreciate them including the Dagwood.

fondue with cheddar

@Lyssachelle Spread peanut butter on your cinnamon toast, then put another piece of cinnamon toast on top of it. CINNAMON TOAST SANDWICH.

LeafySeaDragon

@Lyssachelle omg i want a ban mih so bad.

Lyssachelle

@fondue with cheddar SEE? THAT is a damn SANDWICH.

You should be in charge of all the sandwiches. Forever.

fondue with cheddar

@Lyssachelle I'm not actually a big sandwich person! I've got some throat/swallowing issues so too much bread is kind of difficult to eat sometimes. :( I tend to put stuff on a single slice and eat it like a pizza. My mom used to make what she called "peanut butter pizzas" for us, which is basically peanut butter on bread in the toaster oven so it gets all melty, which I eventually modified by sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top. It's amazing.

fondue with cheddar

@Lyssachelle You could also use cream cheese instead of peanut butter!

oh! valencia

@fondue with cheddar OMG

Ham Snadwich

@Lyssachelle - You all want The Scooch.

LeafySeaDragon

@Ham Snadwich yes, yes i do!

Lyssachelle

@fondue with cheddar I'm instituting peanut butter pizzas with cinnamon sugar as a lunchtime staple for me kid. As soon as he has teeth. Meantime, MORE FOR ME!!!

@Ham Snadwich I find your presence in this thread kismet. Also, the Snooch would make my tummy so happy...until the heartburn. But it'd be worth it.

LeafySeaDragon

ugh, way back when my kids were tiny i was *trying out* playgroups. AP groups, natural parenting groups, la leche league, etc. i got in this argument so many times. NATURAL REMEDIES ARE STILL DRUGS YO!

(needless to say i never stayed in any of the groups - trufax - the one time i tried a non-hippie parenting group they met at KRISpY KREME wat?)

ghechr

@LeafySeaDragon It's because Krispy Kreme donuts are god damn delicious.

fondue with cheddar

@LeafySeaDragon I guess they don't know where drugs come from, then.

LeafySeaDragon

@ghechr now i want a donut.

sunfastrose

Life goal - eating through all the sandwiches on the wiki list? It does come with it's own set of challenges, including the changing nature of the list, but I am willing to give my all for science.

iceberg

(no more falling down!)

sign me up!

wee_ramekin

@iceberg #wanderingthymus

oh! valencia

"moose rarely journal"

highfivesforall

Oh man the comments - "How do you know this isn't a prankster article?" Melis, have you been prankstering us this whole time??

newglasses

"For those of you who work in an office and can't very well drag a deciduous forest into the break room with you..."

so true! and it is so annoying when co-workers ignore the difficulty and then fill the breakroom with discarded wood chips.

iceberg

also, re: sandwich list - please enjoy fairy bread at your next child's party, Australia represent!!

wee_ramekin

"And of course, don't forget to hydrate. Sometimes people do forget, and then they die of dehydration."

What a perfect tie-in to your humble beginnings!

Blushingflwr

Damn you, I had never heard of a Blueprint Cleanse so I googled it (I find the whole cleanse thing fascinating, but I'm pretty sure if I did it it would end in migraines and rage), and now I am reading about how you should get a colonic before and after your cleanse, and the "Nope Nope Nope" octopus is running through my head.

Nicole Cliffe

I've done most of the world's cleanses, including the less-popular "nope, that fish should have gotten tossed yesterday" cleanse, and I can state that they are all terrible and pointless and counter-productive and make you want to kill people. I mean, except for "eat nothing from a package for a month," etc.

Bittersweet

@Blushingflwr I read an article in the most recent Elle magazine about a diet in which you fast on alternate days. It was not satire. Made me long for a new round of Edith's letters to women's magazines. And the moose cleanse, of course.

Faintly Macabre

@Bittersweet The French mom whose kids I babysit for, who is already quite thin, has a half page from Elle (I think) taped above the stove about a "cleansing" diet that allows you ONE WHOLE SOLID MEAL A DAY! And if you are good, eventually you get two! The solid meal is, of course, vegetables, steamed fish, and brown rice. Throughout, any cravings must be met with a few almonds and maybe half an apple. And you should drink so much water that you need to pee ten times a day.

I read this as I was making potatoes and cordon bleu (chicken stuffed with ham and cheese, then fried) for the kids, and it struck fear into my heart.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Sidenote: we have a lot of moose where I live, and those things will just pop up in a lake while you're hiking along side it, like a furry submarine. They are huge and terrifying.

Nicole Cliffe

YES. We routinely have moose in our backyard, and I was always terrified our dog's "DIE MOOSE" barking would cause the moose to get mad and plow through our glass patio doors.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Nicole Cliffe The problem is they are not super bright and have really bad eyesight, so they'll charge pretty much anything they're scared of. I'm more afraid of startling a moose than happening upon a bear while on a hike.

melis

I bet those moose looked fit, though!

Nicole Cliffe

Lean. Clean. Distilled to their essence.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Their coats are lustrous, dripping with the water melted from the glaciers nearby. Their mouths, full of wild greens, constantly working to chew and silently ponder the wonders of the forest. Their legs, too long to let their short necks reach food while on flat ground thus forcing them to eat while partially submerged, dance underwater.

Claire Zulkey@twitter

I read an article in Harpers about the fear of vaccines and the author looked back at the history of the term "filth" and basically concluded that "toxins" are the new "filth" as a catchall phrase to mean invisible things privileged people are afraid of that poor people just subject themselves too because they don't know better/don't care.

melis

ding ding ding

Ham Snadwich

@Claire Zulkey@twitter - Not to mention that "toxin" has a fairly specific meaning, it doesn't mean "chemicals and other weird man-made stuff". It's basically a biologically produced poisonous substance.

queenofbithynia

@Claire Zulkey@twitter oh yeah -- I don't know when exactly it was that everybody started talking about "toxic" people and relationships (about the same time everybody started amateur-diagnosing their and other people's mothers as narcissistic borderlines I think) but I am sure that it goes along with this same mass urge to flush everything dirty and polluting from your pores and inner parts as well.

telling_everyone

"list of sandwiches" is my favorite wikipedia rabbit hole to get sucked into. who knew there were so many?

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