Sunday, January 30, 2011

Not all Cows are alike; New L'Etape DVD and Nerve damage?

Eat To Live ImageNot all cows are alike
I've recently read a book that my old friend Roger bought us as a gift (well, actually, he first attempted to bring us an orchid that unfortunately didn't survive the car ride up from the city, so the book was sent as a replacement).  The book, "The 150 Healthiest Food on Earth" by Jonny Bowden, was a quick read.  Bowden, a respected Nutritionist, basically tells the same tale as my favorite book in this genre of books- "Eat to Live", by Joel Furhman (a MUST have for anyone looking to live a healthier disease free life.  Furhman's the guy that Dr. Oz goes to for nutritional guidance.  I actually once visited Furhman at his medical office in New Jersey.  Nice guy and incredibly knowledgeable on all things related to diet and nutrition).

The one chapter in Bowden's book that I found completely fascinating was the chapter on Dairy. (But for my Achilles heal called Ice Cream, I swore off dairy many years ago.)  As crazy as this may sound, my hypothesis was this- humans are the only animals that consume dairy after the babies grow up.  (I can't think of any other animal that drinks its mother's milk after they're weened.) Thus, I thought that it wasn't natural to consume milk. On top of that, I wasn't into the consistency of milk.  Bowden, a guy who's into raw foods, gets into the benefits of raw, organic, unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk from grass-fed cows. As it turns out, the "pasteurization" process destroys, enzymes, vitamins, milk proteins and kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens.  I was amazed at several things: the deficiency of nutrients in grain fed cows (i.e., nearly ALL milk products you purchase in a supermarket come from grain fed cows); and the amount of growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics consumed by those cows.  Bowden points out the many benefits to consuming products from cows that are fed grass: beneficial fats like Omega-3's (which are absent from grain fed animals), high quality whey protein, highest quality calcium, conjugated linolenic acid, a healthy fat that has anti-cancer properties, etc.  All this said, I'm putting aside my long-standing hypothesis about milk and it's consumption by adults (and the few dangers that exist in consuming unpasteurized milk products- pregnancy isn't one that I have to worry about) and have decided to add several raw grass-fed dairy products to my diet: raw milk (in place of soy milk for my morning shakes), plain raw yogurt and raw unpasteurized cheeses. Whole Foods Market is great for finding many of these products.  We'll see how it goes but almost 2 weeks into the experiment and I'm feeling good (i.e., bodily functions haven't changed nor has my weight).

L'Etape DVD
This is an image from the DVD
 As for my training, I'd say it was another "good" training week.  For the most part, I kept to the right food choices, more P90X sessions, and more importantly, more time on the bike.  I've found 2 additional videos (one I could download and one that's arriving as a DVD) that will really add to the training time on the stationary bike. The first is from Epic Rides. I downloaded the "Bear Tooth Pass" climbing video. (Bear Tooth Pass is a famous 11,000 ft pass in Wyoming that's absolutely beautiful.)  Great workout. The DVD I'm really waiting to receive is from called L'ETAPE DU TOUR 2011 - THE RECON.  So these guys went out and recorded the actual ride that I will be doing this July, made an instructional/workout video and put it up for sale. (I love the Internet...) How cool that I get to preview my ride? Very.  If you get a chance, click on the link and watch the video. Once I get the DVD and watch it, I'll be sure to post my impressions of the video, and more importantly, the 205km ride that awaits.

Nerve damage?
Since my surgery I've had this odd sensitivity on my elbow (you know, the bone you call the funny bone) and on the back side of the forearm (neither are near the incision area). It's so sensitive that the touch of a shirt provokes a burning sensation on the skin. In addition, a small section of my skin in this area (again, away from the incision area) feels "dull" or numb, as if not all my nerves are firing.  Called the Dr. and he indicated that this "sometimes" happens as there's a nerve that can get damaged or cut during the procedure I had. My condition "usually" goes away, but it can take months.  In the meantime, he's prescribed Lyrica (generic name is Pregabalin).  Here's the official word on what it's used for:

Pregabalin is used to relieve neuropathic pain (pain from damaged nerves) that can occur in your arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, or toes if you have diabetes or in the area of your rash if you have had shingles (a painful rash that occurs after infection with herpes zoster). It is also used to treat fibromyalgia (a long-lasting condition that may cause pain, muscle stiffness and tenderness, tiredness, and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). Pregabalin is used with other medications to treat certain types of seizures in people with epilepsy. Pregabalin is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing the number of pain signals that are sent out by damaged nerves in the body.

Of the gazillion side effects, the one I like the best is: "Lyrica may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a small number of people, about 1 in 500".  I don't know about you, but 1 in 500 seems like a lot.  How about this one: "If you have suicidal thoughts or actions, do not stop Lyrica without first talking to a healthcare provider."  Are they for real? No suicidal thoughts or actions (or other side effects) just yet, but I've put Melisa suicide watch just in case.

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