Posts Tagged ‘sex’

Why do you try so hard? You want to have S E X.

“Hi.  My name is Pepper.  I try way too fucking hard at everything I do.  Nice to meet you.”

Sound familiar?

I wouldn’t be surprised.  We’re all in a bit of a rat race, caught up in lessons and appointments and hobbies and 40 hour work weeks… and I’m honestly a bit blown away by it all.  We’re our own worst enemies. We’ve got things like society and bills and self worth and relationships and work and religion and duty and norms and millions of other things to blame it on.  But it’s all a bit ridiculous, and the fact of the matter is that each and every one of these components of our motivations boils down to a single motivator.

You, my friend, want to have sex.

Lots and lots and lots of sex.

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I kid you not.  As paleo dieters, we pay great attention to the ways in which we are wired to function.  We find that our health and happiness are optimized when aligned with genetic programming, so we do things like eat lots of animals and leap around barefoot and avoid contemporary poisons (what up, Kool Aid!).  Some of us take that a bit further and look at ancestral lives, and try and see how contemporary interpersonal problems and mental problems may be caused by discrepancies.  Very cool.  I recommend the seminal book Sex at Dawn for a fantastic introduction to some of those ideas.

An evolutionary perspective demands one more query, however.  Why do you feel the way you feel?  Why do you do what you do?  Why, why, why, why?

An honest look at everything I do in my life boils down to reproductive success.  Did I sell my happiness in high school to get into an Ivy Leaguer?  Sure did.  Did I go through my first two years of college with eight million too many extra curricular activities and an over-loaded course schedule?  Absolutely.  Have I read thousands of books and texts and learned a bunch of languages for no apparent applicable reasons?  You betcha.  And I can point to the world’s best motivations for all of these.  I worked really hard in high school because I didn’t want to live in Detroit anymore.  I did a lot of things in college because they were fun and I met a lot of really awesome people.  I worked so hard there because diligence is important, and I enjoy feeling productive.  And I’ve been studying and travelling so hard since I was 17 because the world is one giant adventure, and I want it all, all, all.

At the root of those motivations lies my self respect.   While going through life I make choices in order to very deliberately craft who I am.   I act in ways that I believe are moral so that I can love myself.  I have ambitions and try to help people because I believe that this is what good people do, and I want to be a good person.  I try damn hard to live well and do right by others because I will never feel at peace with myself if I do otherwise.   These are all very important things, and I cherish and respect and guard them above all others.

But if I dig real deep in my psyche, and look at why I want to love myself in the first place, what do I find?  I find that I try so hard to be excellent because I want to be loved. In order to be loved, I must first be loveable.  That requires all sorts of achievements.  Continually I am striving to be better so that better and more people will want me.  Prettier, smarter, faster, stronger, nicer, funnier, more independent, better travelled… the ways in which I am constantly trying to grow are infinite. And mindblowing. It’s a compulsion, and I’m pretty sure we’ve all got it, even if it’s manifested in different ways.  We are always itching for social prowess, and jiving for better spots in the social hierarchy, always so we can achieve greater status and admiration and reproductive success.

The best way for our genes to make us have babies is to give us insatiable cravings for sex and for love.   I think a good, hard look at everything we do helps us to put this desire in context.  Can we find  need for validation rooted in all of our activities?  Yeah, I think so.   For real.  And-- hell no, I’m not disregarding experiences and friendship and all the other cool things about exploring the world.   But I know that sexual/interpersonal validation is an inherent part of each of them.  And big components of everything.  Everything! Why do I do what I do?  Because I want three things: I want to love myself, I want to be loved by others, and, above all, I want to be loved by someone I deem adequate enough to father my children.

This means that I want to lose weight because it’s good for me, but also because it makes me hot and healthy, two attractive qualities for a mate.  This means that I study Chinese because it’s fascinating, but also because knowing Chinese turns me into a fascinating human being, which is an attractive quality in a mate.  This means that the name of the game is reproductive success, and we’re all playing it as best we can.  An attractive quality in a mate.

So play it!  But acknowledge its power.  Look sexual validation straight in the face and say “fuck you!” once in a while.  Take a vacation from trying to be impressive.  Stop trying to please others.  Be alone and UGLY or FRUMPY or UNSHOWERED and OKAY with it.  Own yourself exactly as you are.  Personal betterment and health and adventure and all that are so important, but why are they so important?  Ask yourself that question, and then tell your answer to leave you the hell alone.  Because you are happy and comfortable with yourself exactly as you are.

Think about the role sexual selection plays in your life, and allow this mindfulness to help you make decisions and step more carefully into the future.  I think you’ll find (huzzah!) that this contemplation brings about a whole lot of liberation and acceptance and change.

Huzzah!

02

03 2011

PCOS, cancer, pregnancy and more: Why taking Iodine may save your life

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog was about my experience with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  That was just three weeks ago, but I’ve had some relevant experiences since then that I think are worth sharing.

I was beginning to take estrogen pills the last we talked.  The idea was, since my estrogen was a bit low, these pills would bring my male/female hormones into balance and would help me menstruate.   They worked. The medical community knows their stuff, and if they want to make us fertile, they can do it.  What’s more, the pills helped clear up my acne a bit.  However, the pills also added 12 pounds of body fat to my 5’2 frame!  I legitimately stopped fitting into all my clothes, and in just three weeks.  For someone so acutely aware of body image and weight issues, this was startling.

So I had a period (my first in 15 months, huzzah!), but then stopped taking the estrogen pills (I was on Sprintec, a classic birth control pill) and ordered Yasmin, a birth control pill that’s supposed to be better for acne and for maintaining body weight than the rest on the market.  This should be a better fix than my last birth control pill.   However, I am not going to take it right away.  Instead, I have discovered a new treatment for PCOS, and I am going to experiment with this first.  Birth control pills are clearly just a band-aid over a larger issue, and I want to have the greatest holistic and true health possible.

Onwards, then!  Onwards, I say!

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I was staring out the window on a bus ride down the western coast of Taiwan when, listening to a Robb Wolf interview on the Livin La Vida Low Carb Show, the two of them discussed the perils of iodine deficiency.  I know that my thyroid activity is a little low.  I know, too, that the other women I’ve talked to who have started experiencing PCOS since losing weight also have relatively low thyroid levels.  Robb said that he often sees many women experience PCOS and then normalize once supplementing with iodine.  Fascinating.  I decided to do some research.  This is what I found:

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Only iodine and chlorine, of the four halogens–(iodine, chlorine, bromine and fluoride)–are necessary to the body. We need iodine in many of our organs, including the skin, muscle, and reproductive tissues.  We need chlorine in the stomach for secretion of hydrochloric acid. Chloride is also an important part of the blood’s regulation of its acid-base balance, so we need chlorine to breathe.  We consume bromine and fluoride in higher quantities than either iodine or chlorine.  Yikes.

Much like we’ve seen before with other elements, each of these halogens attaches to the same receptors in our cells.  Therefore, if we take in excessive bromine (which we do) or fluoride (which we do), we inhibit our ability to take up and use iodine.   Receptors may fill up with bromine, which is common in grains, bleached flour, sodas, nuts and oils as well as several plant foods. Fluorine from sources such as toothpaste, certain teas, and fluoridated water will also take up important spots in halogen receptors.

This information is important because iodine deficiency is not only caused by reduced iodine intake, but also by increased bromine and fluorine intake.  One researcher in particular, Dr. Flechas, has looked into trends in halogen intake over time, with specific emphasis on women’s health.   I found an interview with Dr. Flechas online, at the website www.iodine4health.com, which is maintained by health care professionals aware of the dangers of iodine deficiency.  It’s a pretty cool site.  I went ahead and listened to the interview with Dr. Flechas.  What follows is a summary of what I thought were the most relevant points:
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* 84% of women have some kind of cyclical breast pain, which is related to fibrocystic breast disease and linked to iodine deficiency.  84 percent… that’s so many people. Dr. Flechas reports that breast tissues uses as much iodine as the thyroid gland.  The New England Journal of Medicine, on July 24, 2005 reported that women with fibrocystic breast disease have elevated rates of cancer.

* Iodine deficiency in the ovaries leads to ovarian cysts, ie, PCOS.

* A women with hypothyroidism has a 6% chance of developing breast cancer. Once she starts taking thyroid hormone, it doubles her chances. Once she’s been on thyroid hormone replacement for 15 years, it more than triples it – she now has a 19.6% chance of developing breast cancer.  Thyroid hormone inhibits the body’s ability to take up iodine.  Clearly, thyroid hormone is not the ideal fix for this problem.  What’s more, those put on thyroid hormone may still suffer with 90% of their symptoms. For many, they have enough of the thyroid hormone already.  The problem is with the receptors.

* Dr. Flechas argues that the RDA of iodine is too low.  (Surprise!)  The RDA recommends an enough to prevent goiter, but not enough for optimal health.

* Iodine in the body is used as follows: 3% by the thyroid, 70% by muscles and fat, 20% by the skin, and 7% by the ovaries.  I am sure that this has implications for my ovaries and my thyroid and my weight loss, but how is totally beyond me.

* Absence of iodine in tissue allows cysts to grow.  This would explain why iodine deficiency leads to both fibrocystic breast disease and poly cystic ovarian syndrome. In his practice, Dr. Flechas has put women with PCOS on iodine supplementation and has seen their cycles not just return, but become regular.

* Iodine is also important for pregnancy. Absence of iodine in early pregnancy = ADD type symptoms in children.  Adequate amounts of iodine in early pregnancy and early childhood improves intelligence.  In China, where there is fluoride in the water and the iodine levels are marginal, many babies born are cretin.  Yikes.

*Bromine is evil. In the U.S., iodine used to be in bread – 160 mcg of iodine per slice of bread. Now manufacturers use bromide because it helps create a “beautiful” bread shape.  Not long after this change occurred, the incidence of breast cancer rose dramatically.  Another interesting Bromine phenomenon: Back in the 20′s, Bromo-Seltzer was used to cure headaches and hangovers.   Yet too much Bromo-Seltzer caused a buildup of bromide in the brain which resulted in paranoia and schizophrenia, which the doctors termed “Bromomania.”  The New England Journal of Medicine reported that from 1920 to 1960, 20% of the people admitted into psychiatric hospitals had acute paranoid psychosis (Bromomania) because of Bromo-Seltzer.  In 1964, the FDA finally caught wind of this, so Bromo-Seltzer left the market. But, that same year, bromide was included in another produce in the form of brominated vegetable oil – Mountain Dew. They use it to disperse the citric acid in citrus- flavored drinks.  Bromide depresses the central nervous system, however, so Mountain Dew is loaded with caffeine to make up for that effect.  Finally, bromide is injected into soil and sprayed on some fruits and vegetables since it makes a great pesticide. Fluoride is also used as an insecticide and pesticide.  In China they have found that no geniuses come from areas with fluoridated water.  Many are of substandard intelligence.

* Iodine also used to be fortified in milk, but is no longer.

* 50% of American women cook with salt that has no iodine. The Journal for the AMA recommends all physicians decrease their patients salt intake by 50%. Where are these patients supposed to get iodine?

* 20% iodine sits in the skin – it helps the body sweat. If you don’t sweat, you may be iodine deficient.  (I don’t sweat!!!)

* Japan has the lowest amount of cancer in the world, even though they’ve been bombed twice with nuclear bombs. Because they eat so much seaweed, they get the highest doses of iodine of any country.  This is a correlation, but one that I think is perhaps relevant, currently, in my own life.  More on that later.

* FSH/LH receptors (important hormones in the menstrual cycle) are also helped by iodine. Dr. Flechas mentions again that patients who aren’t having periods began having regular cycles again.

* Neuro-hormones in the brain also benefit from iodine. Within days, some people with depression find relief.

* Dr. Flechas has been supplementing with iodine for a number of years now. It took him a year to come off his thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism.

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So that’s the interview.  Pretty powerful stuff, huh?   I have yet to fact check anything Dr. Flechas said, nor to perform further research on the matter.  I was just too excited about the possibilities for this treatment to wait to post it.

I lived at home with my family in Detroit for the last five months before I came to Taiwan.  While home, my symptoms with PCOS skyrocketed.  I had been infertile and experiencing acne before, but once home it got much worse.  I tried everything with my diet, and nothing was working.  However, I now know that we did not use iodized salt in my home, and I also know that Detroit fluorinates it’s water.  I also drank enormous amounts of tea, some of which may have had excess fluoride in it.  I never sweat, I have low thyroid, I have cystic ovaries, and I have dry skin.

Since coming to Taiwan, I have stopped drinking tea, I drink a decent amount of my water out of bottles, and I have made sure to eat two servings of seaweed every day.   Now, I know that I was on the birth control when I got here, so that might account for my improved acne and skin conditions, but while I was in the states and on the birth control I was still having breakouts.  Since coming to Taiwan, I haven’t had any.   At all.  And my vaginal health has stabilized some, even since coming off of the birth control.  Lots of things have changed in my life here–lots and lots of factors could be at work.  But I think I am on to something, and I am excited.

In addition to having Yasmin shipped to me, my mother is shipping my kelp tablets along as well.  I am going to supplement with them for a few weeks without any birth control, and see what happens.  I will keep doing research into thyroid activity, cystic tissues, and iodine levels.  And I will keep you posted both on my own progress and on what I find.  We seem to be on the right track (duh), with the paleo diet by eschewing foods that are manufactured and contain bromide, but sometimes things fall through the cracks.  I am plugging up those cracks one at a time, and I hope that in your pursuit of optimal health, you get to do the same.

The light of the future is bright and beckoning!

Huzzah!

19

02 2011

PETA pros are PETA cons

After reading Johnathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, I became a PETA Vegan.   For about a week.  I couldn’t live without yogurt.   But I started exploring the PETA world, and what I learned surprised me.  Yes, PETA is extreme.  Yes, PETA is a cult.  Yes, PETA is a bit too compulsive and compelled by emotions for my tastes.  But PETA is nothing but driven, and I can’t help but admire that.

The thing about PETA members is that they are so passionate about animal welfare that they’re not afraid of being ridiculed or ridiculing others for their end goals.  Many have pointed out that this makes PETA dehumanizing.  It does.   Decreasing a given human being’s quality of life by, say, publicly smearing them into shameful hiding, elevates the needs of the animal over that of the humans.  It’s not fair.  But, again– ends are justifying means all over the place, and while this is a very dangerous road to start walking down, it also demonstrates passion of astronomical proportions.

I consider this to be PETA’s one redeeming value.  It has made them successful in some arenas I’m very happy about, such as animal testing.  Go after your goals with audacity!  Change is good.  However, PETA’s methods SUCK, and their latest affront to human dignity demonstrates just how manipulative, base, and demeaning they can be.

Observe:

Vegetable Casting

Its worth the watch.  The video depicts casting for a vegetable porn video.  There exists no discretion or subtlety.  The theme is clear: men are filming (and laughing at!) lingerie-clad women playing around second and third base with various vegetables. The video contains commands to “rotate” and exclamations such as “but it seems so big!”

This is so blatantly manipulative (and, not to mention, not about animal rights at all) that I might start channeling disenfranchised leprechauns again.   I like that PETA gets the job done.  Gumption is important.  But stop dehumanizing people in the process.  There are ways to achieve your goals without being so destructive.  Say, by using data and being reasonable in peaceable human dialogue.

04

02 2011

Three reasons that Italy sucks, and three that almost redeem it

This past summer, I lived in a small Italian village sandwiched between Venice and the Alps.  Sound ideal to you?  It did to me, too, when I bought my plane ticket last March.  But rude awakenings abounded.   How could Italy possibly suck?  Let me count the ways.

1.  Italians eat pasta like it’s their job.  What’s worse, they never listen to counter arguments.  Nutrition is a science best left to people without hundreds of years of food history.  We might look to Mediterranean-type diets as paragons of health, but pasta, and especially the processed pastas and grains that are marching through Italy like the Norman armies of 1022, is as much of a staple as staples can get.

2.  Italians care about shoes.  And dresses.  And bags.  A lot.  I read an interesting article in the Economist while I was there.  It discussed how Italians had the finest quality shoes and clothes in the world, but Italy was suffering for it because no other countries were willing to pay their ridiculous prices.    Hah.  The high premiums paid for fashion manifested themselves in other ugly ways.  For example, I was almost always summarily scorned on the street for wearing Tevas, and given the world’s heaviest incredulity for going out onto my driveway barefoot.  That crazy American!  Moreover, Italian girls and boys themselves live in a perpetual rat race for the newest, greatest, most-expensive products.  I hate it.  Italy is all about glamour, and I will never understand how that can make a human being happy.

3.  Italy is more misogynistic than any other “developed” place I’ve yet been.  Some aspects of it are subtle, but they are all related, and a bit horrific, and make my skin itch in unusual fashions.

First, that idyllic, big-family, big-event Italian tradition we all known and love is built off of the backs of Italian women.  It is the women who cook, the women who perform the ridiculous laundry rituals, the women who shop, and the women who coddle their male children at home until they move out  in their mid thirties.   I learned, from an Italian podcast, no less, that, “mothers adore their sons so much that they insist on performing all of their chores, providing them meals, and taking care of them in their own homes,” well into adulthood.  The average age of men leaving their mothers’ homes is in fact 36.   This would be acceptable if they were contributing members of the household until that point, but Italians seem almost proud of the true case being exactly the opposite.   These sorts of relationships endure in husband-wife situations as well.   Moreover, as a nanny, I witnessed very serious coddling of young boys, and more responsible behavior expected of young girls.  For example, washing their own dishes after their meals.  Why can’t both boys and girls clean up after themselves?

Second, there exists a bit of a presumption about sex.  “You have come into my restaurant?  You must want to have my babies.”  My experience of Italian men was fairly lecherous–and I do not want to generalize in any way: I know that there are many respectful Italian men out there–but I never felt like an object my entire life until I went to Italy.   I bit tongues and pushed shoulders and kneed groins like never before.   Having lived among the world’s most shy and awkward college students, I have a healthy respect for persistence, but this was ridiculous.

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All that said, there exist gems in Italian culture.   My three favorites, in no particular order:

1.  You can eat cheese like this:

2.  You can cliff dive in waters like this:

Mare

3.  You can hike to places like this:

Cinque Terre

03

02 2011