Friday, November 24, 2006


In light of the recent study done on chocolate, I decided to post my new favorite treat.

I use ChocoPerfection dark chocolate, as no additional sweetener is needed.

It's really easy:

Chocolate Pecan Patty:
1 (1.8oz) bar dark ChocoPerfection
1 T butter
1 oz (1/4c) pecan halves.

In small pan, melt butter and then add pecans.
Cook pecans 5-10 min over very low heat, making sure nothing burns. Stir frequently.
Add the ChocoPerfection bar and stir until all chocolate is melted and nuts/butter is well mixed.

Remove from heat and let the choclate mixture cool a bit. While chocolate is cooling, line a small bowl with aluminum foil. Pour chocolate mixture into foil lined bowl and let cool. Be sure to scrape the pan well to be sure no chocolate is left behind. Be sure to use a metal or silicone scraper to prevent melting!! (the first time I tried this my spatula melted!)

Entire recipe:
Calories: 496
Fat: 50g (Sat: 21g, Poly: 7g, Mono: 15g)
Carbs: 21 (Fiber: 17g, Sugar alcohols: ?2g from Erythritol)
Protein: 5g

Give the ChocoPerfection a try. They have free shipping within the US! You can also buy SweetPerfection, which ic oligofructose (made from chicory and mung beans), which contains 5 net carbs per cup (127g total carbs, 122 are fiber).

Doesn't this look good?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dare I hope?

Just got off the phone with my sister. She's 65 yrs old and in pretty good health. But, she's diabetic and has high blood sugars and high BP.

Here are her meds: "Meds are Glyburide, 5 mg each tablet, 2 in the AM, one in the PM and Metformin HCL 500 mg tabletsan, 2 in AM, 2 in PM" I'm not sure what her BP meds are, but last I heard she was taking 2 different ones.

And here is her most recent A1c: "my last Ac1 or A1C (can never remember proper letters.........was 6.2 or 3 lat April, also they did a finer prick the 18th of October when I was there and that was very good"

I have (gently) tried to talk to her in the past about her levels, but today I said the hell with it and told her that I was concerned about her meds.....what's next? Another med? or insulin? She (finally) admitted that this was also worrying to her.

FINALLY she asked me what I would recommend, and without hesitation, I said LOW CARB!!! We talked for almost 2hrs, which is amazing with conversations with my sister....and I really feel she listened to me! (I'm the little sister, and even at 52 I think she often thinks of me as being just 13yrs old! LOL)

My sister is overweight, but not that much. According to BMI calculators, she's "officially" obese, but to me she's just overweight.....but, she carries almost all her weight in her belly!!! And she always has.....even when she was much younger, she always had a big belly!!! Classic sign of insulin resistance and/or diabetes!!! And also a sign of higher risk for heart disease!!

My sister is also trying.....she's trying to follow her diet as recommended by her doc....and she gets her exercise. But over the years her meds continue to increase (she's been diabetic over 15yrs). So far, however, she has no evidence of heart disease, vascular problems (other than high BP), or kidney disease....the usually complications of diabetes. I guess even with the family history of diabetes, we're pretty lucky as so far there is NO heart disease in the diabetics in the family, and most live well into their 80s.

She seems to be very lucky, in that she's not showing any signs of complications of her diabetes, although I think now she may have gastroparesis, as she says she's rarely hungry. My sister has always had a healthy appetite! She's also lost a little weight recently, which concerns me. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that her recent improvement in her weight and blood sugars is due to her lack of appetite, not better diet choices. (2 summers ago she visited and her blood sugars were running in the 160's, but now they're in the 140's)

Now, let me tell you a little about my sister. She's my "big sister", 13yrs older than me. She was almost a second mother to me growing up. She married fairly young and had her first child with that marriage, a daughter. She then divorced and lived on her own.....struggled on her own....for about 8 years before meeting and marrying her second husband. They have 2 more children, another girl and a boy. All 3 are now adults with kids of their own.

About 15-20 yrs ago my sister started having problems with sore throats and was eventually diagnosed with cancer of the epiglottis. She was treated with radiation and was actually overdosed, but she survived (her voice is quite hoarse sounding even to this day). Several years later she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had a hysterectomy as treatment. Since then she's been cancer free....oh! almost, she's had several skin cancers removed and is watched for that.

My sister is no shrinking violet!!! She's a formidable and very intelligent woman!!! She has pretty much raised 3 children on her own (i don't think her hubby wasn't much help there, but I'm sure she'd disagree), and she's worked hard all her life. Currently she's retired, but still works as a union rep. She's a writer, and keeps saying she's going to write more now that she's retired, but so far I haven't seen any evidence that she's done much. My sister can pretty much do what she sets her mind to!!!

I have only 1 sister.....and actually I really only have 1 sibling. My sister and I are 1/2 siblings, but I've never considered her anything other than my big sister! I also have/had 2 brothers. My other 1/2 sibling died at the age of 24 (he was 11 yrs older) from an accident, and left behind 4 young children. I never really knew him. My other brother, a "full" sibling, has divorced himself from the family and won't have anything to do with me or my sister. He's 3yrs older than me, and I really miss him. Last time I went home to visit, I tried to contact him, but according to his wife (who I don't trust or believe), he was away. I haven't seen or talked to him since my mom's death over 12yrs ago. His loss, I know, but I still miss him!!!

I am praying my sister takes my advice and talks to her doc about changing to a low carb diet!!! I was very careful to tell her (repeatedly) to talk to her doc before doing anything on her own, as the diet will likely require her to cut back on her meds and she needs him to help her there....I just hope he doesn't talk her out of it!!!

I've got together a list of websites and bloggers for her to read up on.....I hope it works!!!

I want my sister to live a LONG life!!! She's currently financially comfortable and seems to be enjoying her "retirement". I know in my heart that a low carb diet can help her.....and I just hope she follows my advice and gives it a try.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Millions face risk from drug-coated stents

This is just too important to ignore!!! All of us depend on our doctors to do the right thing. And we depend on the FDA to make sure that drugs and devices are properly tested prior to being introduced for use in the general public. Apparently, the FDA is not doing there job!!

This is from MSN, quoted verbatim:

Potentially lethal heart devices a frightening problem for patients, doctors

Millions of Americans could be walking around with tiny time bombs in their hearts.

The concern centers on devices called drug-eluting stents. Doctors implant them in the hearts of about a million Americans a year to treat coronary artery disease. They generate some $5 billion a year in sales for the two companies that make them. But they may be doing more harm than good.

Next month a panel of experts will try to advise the Food and Drug Administration on what to do about it. But many top doctors and scientists admit they are in uncharted waters with a frightening problem that was largely unanticipated. By one estimate the devices already kill 2,000 Americans a year — and no one knows what the long-term danger will be.

To understand the potential hazard, it helps to look at the history of efforts to open the arteries to the heart when they get clogged with cholesterol-containing plaque. That blockage leads to shortness of breath and the chest pains called angina. If the artery closes completely the result is a heart attack with destruction of heart muscle and often death.

Beginning around 1980, doctors started using tiny balloons inserted on wires through the veins and guided by X-rays to push open the clogged arteries. This procedure, called angioplasty, often worked — but with a problem. In about half the cases the artery would close up again within a few weeks or months, an outcome called restenosis. The re-shutting of the arteries occurs because the blood vessels respond to the treatment as if they suffered a slight wound. They try to heal by growing more cells which can clog the artery again.

Thwarting the body's own healing process
To solve the problem, starting in 1994, cardiologists put tiny pieces of wire mesh called stents around the balloons. These stay in place as a piece of scaffolding to try to keep the arteries open.

These helped, but not enough.

Cells still grew over the wire, and in 20 percent to 30 percent of the cases, the vessel clogged again.

Drug-eluting stents (DES) appeared as the next solution. These give off a drug that prevents cell growth, and for that, they work well. The restenosis rate fell to about 5 percent. In 2003, soon after the FDA approved them, drug-eluting stents captured most of the market, even though they cost about $2,000 compared to $800 for the bare metal version.

Then a new hazard started to appear.

Doctors began seeing patients suffer from heart attacks that seemed to be triggered by the new stents. Because the drug-eluting stents are so effective at stopping the cell proliferation inside the arteries, the DES's end up as a piece of metal sticking out in the artery. That creates a perfect place for a blood clot to form and instantly block the artery. The result? A potentially fatal heart attack.

Dr. Jeffrey Moses of Columbia University, who conducted some of the original studies of the DES's, estimates the danger of a blood clot at 1 in 500 patients a year. For every million of the devices implanted, that would add up to 2,000 clots a year — although not all of them would be fatal.

But an estimate from Drs. Sanjay Kaul and George Diamond from Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, published on the Web site of the American College of Cardiology, estimates that deaths from the new devices exceed 2,000 a year. Studies from Europe regard the danger to be many times higher. Because the devices are so new no one knows how long the hazard persists.

Already, many cardiologists are cutting back from using the devices. Sales are dropping dramatically. The FDA panel may well recommend they not be used at all.

Companies are searching for alternatives, including balloons that give off the drugs and would be removed at the time of the procedure, as well as stents that dissolve a few weeks after they are implanted.

What's next?
The big question now facing the FDA is: What should the estimated 4 million patients who already have a DES do?

The devices cannot be removed safely or easily. One preventive measure is to keep the patient on the blood-clotting medication Plavix for months or even indefinitely. But that medicine can cause severe bleeding, including a type of deadly stroke, and it costs more than $1,200 a year.

DES manufacturers Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson could end up rivaling Vioxx maker Merck as targets of lawsuits from people who suffer heart attacks.

The origin of this terrifying problem is that medical devices, like drugs, get tested for a few months in a few hundred or at most a few thousand of people before the FDA approves them.

Many experts are clamoring for better methods of assuring safety before devices like these go into millions of people for a lifetime.

Please note the lines about the Europe saying failure rates are much higher than US estimates!!!

Also, note that these "complication" didn't show up until after approval? Why is that? Is it because the manufacturer gave incomplete or incorrect data to the FDA? It certainly wouldn't be the first time!!!

What ever happened to "First, do no harm"? I guess that should be removed from they Hippocratic oath?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Catching up

Short Term Goal:

And my NEW Short Term Goal:

It's been a while since I've posted my weights, so here goes.

I went on a mini binge, not tooooooo bad, just a couple of days of eating high carb and not eating good, natural foods.

I know what caused it.....taking advantage of the intermittent fasting!!! After a day of fasting I decided to have something that is not on plan.....then something else.....then the cravings kicked in!!! I ended up breaking the binge by doing a 24h fast, then getting back on plan.

Now, the reason I haven't posted isn't because of falling off the wagon, but because things have been crazy!!! Work has been very busy, I've visited my daughter, and had a friend with a personal crisis. you can see, not only have I reached my 20 pounds in 20 weeks goal, I've surpassed it!

There's been sooooo much good news lately too!!

If you follow politics, heck if you aren't living under a rock, you'll know that the election is over and finally the system of checks and balances are back in place in our government!!! Yep, the Democrats have taken back control of the House of Representatives AND the Senate!!! Additionally, several states got rid of Republican governors and have elected Democratic ones.

And the BEST NEWS in politics? Donald Rumsfeld has not only been shown the door, but now I hear once he leaves office he could be sued for war crimes, for authorizing the torture at Abu Ghraib.

There's a lot of talk about inpeachment, reinvestigating the reason we went to war and whether our government decieved us, and hopefully more. The President is now open to reconsidering what we're doing in Iraq, so hopefully that will mean our wonderful, incredibly brave service men and women will be returning home soon.

I have a "adopted son" that is there now. I am incredibly proud of him, and I'm also terrified that he's going to get hurt or worse. He's only 24, and I've known him since he was about 5. His mom and I are best friends, and I know she's suffering and sick with worry! We don't know where he is, just that he's in Iraq. This is his second tour of duty. The bravery and integrity of these men and women just amazes me! There is no way I could do what they do!!!

Now for health issues in the news!!!

This is probably the best news:
Low-Carb Diet Can Be Heart-Healthy. This study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, after looking at the diets of 82,000 women over a 20 year period, found that low carb wasn't dangerous after all. Of course, the media put some spin on it, but check out Regina's blog for the REAL details of the study! She also posted a follow up with more information a couple of days later.

And here's probably the worst news:
Children with risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and diabetes, are showing signs of narrowing and hardening of the arteries. Now this is bad enough, but not at all surprising, considering the "foods" that our children are being fed, but the conclusions are horrendous!!! They are recomending that if diet and lifestyle changes don't lower cholesterol levels, the children should be put on statins!!! Never mind that the levels are unreasonably low, and do we even know what is "optimal" for children, but to put children on drugs that change the way their livers work, drugs associated with all kinds of severe and sometimes even permanant side effects is just unbelievable!!! Once again, check out Regina's take on the issue. (Aside from the fact that these children could potentially be on these dangerous drugs for 40, 50, and more years, these drugs are also found to cause severe birth defects in animal studies!!)

Also in the news:
Experts are recomending increased use of statins, for anyone with just a 1% risk of heart disease! A ONE percent "risk"???? Again, these are powerful drugs, with no real evidence of being helpful in primary prevention!!!

More to come soon!!!

Long Term Goal: