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Friday, June 21, 2013

Unconventional Wisdom

Sometimes when I hear about conventional wisdom, readily accepted ideas about various subjects that often are unproven, the rebel in me kicks into high gear. I want to hear some unconventional wisdom, darn it! An example of conventional wisdom is the old saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." If I were to apply what I call unconventional wisdom to this saying, I would say that I have had a tendency toward being a night person all of my life. I was born at 4:14 in the morning (up all night), and I am sure I probably slept all day after that. And does the body really know what time it goes to sleep, or does it just rely on the amount of rest the brain has provided? And as far as the wealthy part, I'm guessing Mr. Franklin never heard the golden words shift differential. So there, Ben.

Here's another bit of conventional wisdom I grew up with: eat your vegetables, they are good for you. I'm not going to get into anything about nutrition, diet plans, or even pesticides and GMOs, although all of those are important. My experience with unconventional wisdom is this - my doctor has specifically, and repeatedly, told me to avoid eating green vegetables. So while the rest of you are treating your bodies to dark leafy greens and the cruciferous vegetables I dearly love, I need to just sit and watch jealously. What you may not know about these beautiful veggies is that these plants get their lovely green color from an abundance of chlorophyll. Oh, all right, you all already knew that! I just wanted to prove to myself that I could type the word chlorophyll. What you may not know is that chlorophyll is the liquid form of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is helpful in clotting the blood. This is particularly inconvenient if you have a problem with your blood being an overachiever in the clotting department. And when you take medicine to help with that, you have to watch the foods you eat.

Last month, I temporarily forgot about the Vitamin K effect the night before having my blood tested to make sure I wasn't clotting too much. Our friends took us out to dinner, and I ate a whole lot of edamame before my entree was served. And to top it off, my entree was garnished with a quinoa/edamame based dish, along with some lovely green zucchini. It was all delicious. And when I went for my test the next morning, I failed it. I kicked into full smartypants mode and told the lab tech she should tell Dr. Mike that I had forgotten and eaten green stuff, and that my dose didn't need adjusting, nor did I need to come back soon for a followup diagnostic. Mike walked over to the lab and tried to act both exasperated and patient when he told me for the umpteenth time not to eat green stuff. After he walked away, I laughed and said to the tech, "Does that include boogies?" "I heard that!" Mike called from across the clinic. He came back and told me he had pretty good hearing, and that boogies were safe since they had no chlorophyll, but nothing darker green than iceberg or pale romaine lettuce for me. Boy, was I embarrassed!

Another old piece of conventional wisdom: starve a cold, feed a fever. Well, Katrina's unconventional wisdom says that is downright ridiculous. First off, fasting or force-feeding while you are sick and weak is probably pretty bad timing. Your body is at a low point, so it doesn't need to be strained by going wacky with food. My idea is this: if you are able to produce an appetite while you're sick, by all means eat. Fuel your body sensibly so that you have energy to get better. If you're too sick or worn out to eat, try to drink lots of healthy fluids. I put in the word healthy so you couldn't use me as an excuse and say, "But Katrina says if you can't eat, you should indulge in heavy drinking!" Nice try! 

Some more bits of unconventional wisdom for you. You probably won't drown if you go in the pool half an hour after eating. You might barf, but you probably won't drown. Chewing foods like celery and carrots does not provide enough of a calorie burn to make them "negative-calorie" foods. If you wake up a dog when they're having a bad dream, they are not going to kill you. They're more likely to be relieved that the horrible nightmare is over. And if you wake someone while they are sleepwalking, they will not drop dead. And you may have saved them the embarrassment of finding out the next day that they were outside in the darkness of night, peeing in the neighbor's flowerbed. Oh! You can eat pork chops without applesauce and not die! I will, however agree with one piece of conventional wisdom: look both ways before you cross the street. And it's not a bad idea to also hold hands. That's something that's even true in unconventional wisdom!