Self-evident

It’s humbling to think about how little I know, and disturbing to ponder how much I’ve learned and forgotten, or how often I learned, retained, and applied wrong information.

The information was sometimes wrong because we thought that’s how things worked back when we learned it. Then, later, you discovered, “Oh, shit, that works for everyone else, but it doesn’t work for me.”

Yes, this is another Big Lie rant. The Big Lie is that we’re all the same. Eat these foods, gain these nutrients, do these exercises, and you should be good to go.

Yeah, they then admit — you know they, the great aggregate of society, social media, medical professions, governments, you know, they — well, they admit, there are some exceptions. Like, you may be diabetic because your body rejects the insulin it makes. So you’re like, whaat?

Maybe you’re allergic to things. Or you may have problems because your body doesn’t process certain vitamins and minerals well, rejecting them. Maybe you hear things different. Perhaps you hear shapes, or you taste something because you hear a sound.

Whacked, right?

I grew up learning that people that talked to themselves were most likely not right in the head in some way. Now we’ve learned, no, they’re probably fine. Their personality is different from your personality. Conversely, telling me to come out of my shell and socialize more works on the assumption that I’ve made a choice to stay in my shell and not socialize, and not because of the components at work inside me.

Not all people we called slow were slow thinkers, but they didn’t benefit from the learning environment. Too bad for them, back then, because we didn’t know.

We keep learning that there’s a lot that we don’t know, and that what we thought we knew and pushed as truth was wrong. This was sometimes done deliberately to further someone’s wealth — remember how they told us for years that smoking cigarettes aren’t bad? — or to achieve a political advantage.

That takes me to food shopping. Oh, lawdy. I’ve decided to cut down on processed foods and reduce my sugar intake, so I’m reading labels more intently than before. A correlation often exists; if a food is low-fat or non-fat, it’ll be loaded with sugar. If it’s sugar-free, it has a lot of fat.

They say — now — that supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals probably doesn’t do anything for you, if you’re healthy. You really can’t tell that from the advertising and commercials that abound, can you?

If you’re not healthy, too much of one mineral or vitamin can cause greater problems. All this comes with that caveat, for some people. You need to learn early that you may be some people. You learn by observing your body and reactions to different inputs, studying those differences, and consulting experts when necessary.

And these deficiencies can have profound effects. Constipated, tired, and depressed? You might have a potassium deficiency. Or something else. Just saying.

Consulting experts — or the Internet — doesn’t always work out. Some experts dismiss study results. Reasons vary for why they dismiss the results, or skew them. It could be from ignorance, religion, or false information that they acquired. It could be because they’re being paid to dismiss the evidence, or they’re pathological liars, or protecting someone or something else. This spectrum about why is as broad as humanity.

Even when you find your flaws and shortcomings and address your patterns to cope, it ain’t over. Your body and brain, and our society, are dynamic. Our body is changing, sometimes from aging, sometimes from abuse. Sometimes, it’s just a slow shift because of habits.

As a society, we’re always learning new information, or revealing old frauds, or finding something new about the human body. Our food security gets exposed in unimaginable ways. Consider from this week:

Cocaine in shrimp

Cocaine in salmon

Blood absorbs sunscreens

In each case, these findings surprised scientists and investigators because it wasn’t expected. The sunscreen lotions were most interesting to me. They’ve been around back to a time before governments, industries, or individuals worried about the active ingredients in sunscreens, so they were never tested. That was partly propagated by the good ol’ common sense approach that sunscreen is rubbed on your skin; how the heck would it get into your blood? (That’s typically followed by mocking chortles because doesn’t that seem so self-evident?)

Yeah, there’s a lot that isn’t self-evident, isn’t there?

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Floofaroni

Floofaroni (floofinition) – 1. A housepet that features long, tubular bodies that remind people of macaroni; 2. Housepets that seem as loose and pliable as cooked macaroni noodles; 3. Macaroni covered in pet fur; 4. The macaroni that a pet starts eating.

In use: “After making mac and cheese for herself, set it on the table to go back and get pepper and a glass of wine. When she came back, the lab was standing on his hind legs, eating her meal. When she shouted, “Hey,” he looked at her like he was saying, “I thought this was floofaroni. This isn’t for me?””

Food Choices

My friend nan referred me to Mary Roach’s book, Gulp, when I wrote about how my urine tastes, and I’m in her debt. After working down through my book piles, I started reading it on Saturday. It’s one of those books that forces me to set it down to think and conduct research. I’m still reading Gulp, but it’s a fascinating read. Ostensibly about the alimentary canal, it includes much about animals and humans’ eating habits, and some of the psychology behind our food choices.

One of the early facts that she stated is that most people only eat about forty flavors. When I shared that with my wife, she asked, “Is cheese one flavor?”

Good question, right? Is an IPA the same as a porter, stout, and lager? Why, no. I drink each for the different flavors they share with me. My choices also depend on what I’m doing and eating. So, do I put down beer as one flavor choice, delineate between the different beverages, or go more deeply into what makes it all up?

These are important distinctions because my wife and I immediately set out attempting to catalog our flavors. We quickly became trapped in a ball of mud about what parts of what flavors we like. We like dark chocolate but I don’t like it overly bitter, like past seventy-two percent. She likes it a little sweeter. Is dark chocolate a flavor, or is it chocolate with sugar, with whatever else is in there?

Those of you who eat gluten-free foods probably understand what I mean, along with the folks that eat sugar-free and fat-free offerings. They taste different. They’re a different experience in my mouth and on my tongue. Some of that may be psychological. In taste tests done with white and red wine, being able to see the color makes a difference in how the flavor is interpreted and described. Likewise, tests have shown that frequently, most of the differences observed between ten dollar bottle of wine and more expensive ones are often about perceptions of quality and expense; the more that something costs, the better it’s supposed to be, right?

It’s a knotty question. The whole thing about pet food was pretty mind-blowing. According to Mary’s research and writing, most cat food tastes about the same to the animals, regardless of what the flavor is supposed to be. To which I respond, say whaaat? My cats seem to show definite preferences, preferring to eat fishy stuff — which smells fishy to me — over the chicken, and chicken over beef. None of them are impressed with “Supper Super”. Gulp claims that these preferences are mostly about my perceptions, and not the animals.

It could be that I’m reading the whole thing wrong, or mis-interpreting the data. It does explain the waffle and fried chicken cat treats that have arrived. It’s not that the animals like waffles and chicken, but we, their owners, think that they’ll enjoy them.

The book fascinates me, too, because of the connections between tasting food and smell, and our brains’ acceptance about what is not good for us. I’m often smelling things and trying to analyze what I’m smelling, a process that I call, “What the hell is that smell?” My wife does the same. This leads to a game at our household that goes like this:

Her: “Do you smell that?”

Me: “You need to tell me what you mean. I smell many things.”

“That smell.”

“Again…”

“It smells like cat piss.”

“No, I don’t smell that.”

Sniffing the air, furniture, and carpet, we start looking around the area to see if it looks like a cat has pissed where they shouldn’t.

Me: “Maybe it’s the litter box.”

“It smells too strong. It smells like it’s right beside me.”

“Maybe a cat peed on your clothes. Are they wet?”

“I think I’m going to go change.”

Me: “I don’t smell cat piss, but I do smell someone’s marijuana crop. Or maybe it’s a skunk. Do you smell a skunk?”

The game goes on forever, it seems like.

I’ll keep reading Gulp. If more is explained, than I’ll come back and read another post.

That’s just the way it goes.

 

 

Floofdude

Floofdude (floofinition) – animal lover.

In use: “The floofdude kept food and treats in his bag so that he could feed any cats and dogs that he met, and carried nuts and seeds for crows and squirrels. They all started looking for him. It was like Mr. Doolittle was walking down the street on some days.”

Foodiefloof

Foodiefloof (floofinition) – a housepet who displays loyalty to whoever has the food; a housepet who is fond of food and eating.

In use: “Titus is sometimes a dudefloof, but when I’m cooking, he becomes a foodiefloof, and then, he’s all mine!”

Dandelions

I was eating some dandelions the other day. It wasn’t quite a whim. It’d begun with yard work.

We have lawns. We don’t pesticides or fertilizers on them, except some fertilizer from our compost barrels. We compost a lot of kitchen waste.

I used to pull the weeds from my lawn. We stopped doing that as we read about the bee decline and witnessed how the bees enjoyed our dandelions. Butterflies, too. But, for fire reasons, we cut the grass back to four inches high. That height also protects the roots so watering the lawn isn’t required often. In the even of drought or water shortages, of course, the first thing I do to save water is to stop watering the grass.

While I was doing the back yard cutting the other day, I was taking stock of all the dandelions we had. I knew that people used to eat dandelions as part of a basic diet and wondered about dandelions’ health impact and their taste. To the Google! Sites claim that dandelions are tremendously healthy. Here’s an excerpt from Nutrition-and-You.com:

  • Certain chemical compounds in fresh dandelion greens, flower tops, and roots are known to have antioxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
  • Fresh dandelion leaves carry 10,161 IU of vitamin-A per 100 g (about 338% of daily recommended intake), one of the highest source of vitamin-A among culinary herbs. Vitamin-A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant, required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin.
  • Its leaves packed with numerous health benefiting flavonoids such as carotene-ß, carotene-α, lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids (carotenes) help the human body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Zeaxanthin supposed to possess photo-filtering functions and therefore, may help protect the retina from harmful UV rays.
  • The herb is an ideal source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production.The human body uses manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • It is also rich in many vital vitamins including folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, vitamin-E and vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Dandelion greens provide 58% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C.
  • Dandelion is probably the richest herbal sources of vitamin-K; provides about 650% of DRI. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone strengthening by promoting osteoblastic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

Sounds impressive. Curious about how they taste, I went out in the morning, harvested some fresh dandelions from the yard, and chowed down on the raw leaves and flowers.

Turns out that they taste like mildly-bitter Romaine lettuce to me. Super, I thought. I liked being able to eat it because. It’s a great added bonus to helping the bees, and it helps reduce our yard waste. I guess I have a new pastime this year, harvesting dandelions and trying new recipes. Bet they’d be pretty tasty on a grilled pizza.

I’ll let you know.

Hibble

Hibble (floofinition) – term housepets use for the foods that people eat.

In use: “Hearing the plastic bag rustle in the other room, the cat and dog recognized that she was getting one of her favorite hibbles, corn chips, out, and prepared themselves to beg for a few themselves, as the salty snack was one of their favorite hibbles, too.”

Daily Goals

“What are your goals today?”

It was the female without an accent asking. Accents and the apparent sexes their voices displayed were the only way of identifying the daily taskmasters. Identifying was a weak expression, as they remained nameless and without form.

He scratched and swallowed. He needed to get up and drink water but also pee. Was that ironic? No, coincident.

Goals. “I want to get up and pee.” That would get him no points but they didn’t remonstrate him. Still, sharp past responses made him moderate his approach.

“Write, of course,” he said.

“You always do that,” she said.

Did he imagine that she sighed? “Still counts,” he said.

Silence answered. They weren’t pleased.

He said, “Wash, vacuum, and gas the cars.”

A male overseer said, “Good,” with boredom as thick as flies on shit.

“Yard work.”

“Hmmm.”

“Finish reading a book.”

“Oh.” The female. “What book?”

“Donna Leon, The Waters of Eternal Youth”. 

“Very good.” Happiness seemed to shower him. “That’s a good goal. Good luck.”

He was released. Opening his eyes, he sat up. Of all that he’d said, what would most count was reading the book. That was his number one priority. He was hungry and needed enough points to get a decent meal. He sensed that if he failed to read the book,  they’d punish him.

Draining his bladder in the water closet, he snorted and chortled. His mind was a strange overseer.

Floofzing

Floofzing (floofinition) – napping in a semi-somnolent state, with senses alert for intrusions, threats, or someone eating something.

In use: “The floofzing cats’ ears turned when he drew a bag of granola from the cupboard, tuning into the sound as they napped and waiting to see what developed.”

 

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