Later On

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Archive for November 24th, 2020

What happens to your body when you stop eating refined sugar (and foods that contain it)

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Kristin Limoges writes in Domino:

Sugar is a cruel, cruel mistress—it’s delicious and addictive, but it’s not doing you any favors. Aside from causing weight gain, increased consumption of refined sugar increases the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and can impact cognitive function and memory, says best-selling author Sara Gottfried, M.D.

It turns out your daily afternoon sugary treat not only gives you major brain fog—according to author David Wolfe, it also accelerates aging.

It may seem daunting, even impossible, to remove processed sugar from your diet, but understanding all the extraordinary things that happen when you cut it out can empower you to kick the habit. Keep reading.

After an Hour

Expect withdrawals, even after a few hours. “Sugar is addictive and activates a dopamine response in the reward center of the brain, like a drug,” says Wolfe. Depending on the amount of sugar you consume daily, you might experience varying drops in blood sugar levels, sweating, shaking, irritable moodiness, hunger, and sadness. Gottfried suggests fighting through these symptoms by consuming fresh vegetables with fiber, anti-inflammatory protein sources, and healthy fats.

After a Day

The days just after you’ve stopped consuming sugar are perhaps the hardest. “You may have withdrawal-like symptoms including headaches and a drop in energy levels,” says Gottfried. You’ll probably have some strong cravings for something sweet, too.

But already, your body is beginning to heal itself. According to Wolfe, sugar feeds harmful microorganisms, such as candida—which, when overgrown, can affect your gut health. Cutting out processed sugar helps keep those microorganisms in check.

After a Week

This is when the magic happens. Your body will quickly start to repair itself once sugar is out of the way, starting with improvements in insulin levels and inflammatory responses. According to Gottfreid, in just 72 hours, as your insulin levels begin to stabilize, other hormones (like those involved in fat storage) will also return to normal levels. Another noticeable difference? Skin clarity and less puffiness in the face, says Wolfe.

After a Month

“You’ll realize . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2020 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Landscape of fear: why we need the wolf

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Cal Flyn has an interesting article in the Guardian on the benefits of reintroducing wolves into Scotland. He mentions the benefits that were realized from reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone (and there are two excellent short videos on that: one poetic and one pragmatic, the latter pointing out, despite the clear success and benefits of the reintroduction, some continue the fight to kill off wolves. The fight in favor of conservation is always on-going because there are always those who oppose conservation, and they will never give up, regardless of the benefits and evidence in favor of conservation. (Oddly enough, these opponents of conservation often call themselves “conservatives.’)

Flyn’s article begins:

There’s a monument near Brora, 60 miles short of John o’Groats, that claims to mark the spot where the last wolf in Sutherland was killed. I pass it often in the car. The wolf, it says, was killed by the hunter Polson in or about the year 1700.

I know this story. Polson, so it goes, was standing watch outside the wolf’s lair while his sons laid waste to the pups inside. When the she-wolf returned from the hunt, racing to the aid of her young, she bounded past the hunter and, as she did, he grabbed her by the tail. From inside the den – now plunged into darkness as Polson and the wolf struggled at its entrance – came, in Gaelic, a shout of alarm: “Father! What’s blocking the light?” To which Polson replied: “If the tail comes away at the root, you’ll soon find out!”

It’s an unlikely story, even as such stories go. The history of wolves is saturated with this kind of machismo and mythmaking. Here are all its stock ingredients: the lupine villain, the plucky hunter, the lucky break. Did it really happen? Probably not. Still, whether Polson is to blame or not, there are no wild wolves left in Scotland. By 1700, they had also long been extirpated from England and from Wales – though their old territory is commemorated in the form of names: Ulthwaite, Wolfenden, Wolfheles, Wolvenfield. Their deaths, too: Woolpit, Wolfpit, Woolfall. All across Europe there were centuries of open warfare against the wolf – that universal antihero, folkloric villain, sharp-toothed grandmother with a glint in her eye – which saw it hunted relentlessly wherever people lived, persecuted across continents and cultures.

In Europe, those that survived retreated to rare enclaves, finding sanctuary on the high ground of the Apennines, or fleeing east into the debatable lands where Europe bleeds into Asia: Carpathia, the Balkans. There, the wolves in exile clung on, waiting for an opportunity, preparing for their victorious return.

If the trajectory of the European wolf is dispiriting, it is also familiar. We have become well acquainted with graphs that plot the advance of humans against the decline of all else. Everywhere we go, it seems, we wreak death and destruction, chipping away at the natural world. But over the last century, a different narrative has been writing itself into existence. In Europe, patterns of farming and land use have been changing on a grand scale, as marginal land – too steep or too depleted to be worth the effort of farming – falls into disuse. As the value of livestock has dropped, young people, too, have increasingly abandoned rural areas for cities. When they do, ever more land often goes unclaimed, unploughed, unrestrained. Some estimate that in the three decades leading to 2030, an area the size of Italy will have been abandoned within the EU alone.

While our attention has been elsewhere, nature has been expanding into the gaps left behind. As annual crops fade away without human input, shrubs and fast-spreading thorns take their place. Then tiny trees take root and the ground starts to bristle with new life as soft and hard woods, hoisted from the earth, spread a densely embroidered tapestry of life across the landscape. The still summer’s air is soon vibrating with the tiny wings of insects. Songbirds raise their voices, trail up and down the scales, an orchestra coming into tune. Rabbits, badgers and foxes dig their homes between the roots. Deer graze in shabby pastures, leap tumbledown gates. Along the rivers’ edges, otters dive and beavers build their dams – some reintroduced, many recolonising territory of their own accord. Mice nest in old barns. Wild boar rootle in new woods.

All this Arcadian plenty has tempted in the carnivores, who crept in quietly at first, testing the waters. Lynx: low to the ground, ear-tufted, slinking through the shadows, rarely seen. Some 9,000 of them or more are now thought to live on the continent, having been hunted to local extinction in western and central Europe by the middle of the 20th century. Brown bears: 17,000 of them, spread through Scandinavia, the Dinaric Alps, the Carpathian mountains, Bulgaria, Greece, Cantabria, the Alps.

And, of course, wolves.

There are an estimated 12,000 wolves in Europe now, far more than in the contiguous US – where the grey wolf was similarly persecuted, until legal protections came into force in the 70s – and they have now been documented in every single country on the European mainland. In 2017, . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2020 at 3:34 pm

Formerly homeless, this man is giving away 2,500 Thanksgiving meals this year

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A grocery box being filled for Thanksgiving’s Heroes in Utah last weekend.

It’s not all bad. And fWIW, I’d bet that this man is a Republican. So, for the holidays, a feel-good report by Cathy Free in the Washington Post:

Rob Adams is a successful real estate agent in Utah. But when he was 11, he and his family experienced homelessness and lived in the back of a pickup truck.

Adams’s parents had only enough money for him and his siblings to stay in a motel room one night a week, he said, so for the better part of 1982, they spent the other six nights in the covered bed of their pickup truck in Porter, Tex., just outside Houston.

“My big meal of the day was school lunch, and many nights, there was no dinner,” recalled Adams, now 49.

But just before Christmas that year, a local family from their church offered up their house for two weeks while they headed out of town for the holidays. They left presents under the tree for Adams’s family and filled the fridge with food, including a turkey and homemade pies.

“I cried when I opened that fridge,” said Adams, who now lives in Riverton, south of Salt Lake City, with a family of his own.

“Unless you’ve been hungry, you can’t imagine how I felt,” he said. “I told myself, ‘Someday, if I have money, I’m going to do this for somebody else.’ ”

Adams made good on that promise and started Thanksgiving’s Heroes, a nonprofit that this year gave away 2,500 boxes — each filled with a Thanksgiving feast weighing 53 pounds — to homes in the Salt Lake Valley.

Thanksgiving’s Heroes began in 2015 when Adams raised enough funds to give away turkeys and all the trimmings to 755 families in need. The initiative has grown each year since and, this year, even expanded outside Utah to Tampa, Dallas and Cleveland.

Adams’s wife and four daughters helped him deliver the food boxes in Utah last weekend, with assistance from about 800 volunteers.

“It’s important to make that personal connection,” he said. “There are some people who might feel embarrassed to stand in a line for a box, or maybe they don’t have transportation to get one. With covid this year, we knocked on the door and left everything on the porch, but we know that people are smiling when they unpack their boxes.”

The items in each Thanksgiving’s Heroes box this year. 

This year’s 53-pound box includes a 20-pound turkey, 10 pounds of potatoes, a package of butter, a gallon of milk, a veggie tray, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, gravy, olives, a pumpkin pie, whipped cream and ingredients for Adams’s favorite side dish: green bean casserole. It costs the nonprofit about $80 to make each box.

Adams spent his early years in Las Vegas and said that his family’s troubles started with his dad’s job as an air conditioning repairman in Texas. When his parents moved the family to Porter and bought a plot of land with the intention of building a new home, Adams’s father learned that his new job entailed selling customers parts they didn’t need, he said.

“So he ended up without a job, and during the recession of the ‘80s, it was hard to find another one,” Adams said. “My mom cleaned hotels, but there wasn’t enough money for rent. That’s when we parked on our property and camped out in the truck.”

Adams said his parents tried not to let on that the situation was bleak.

“They tried to make it like an adventure and were always looking on the positive side,” he said. “Now that I’m a father, I know the weight my father must have felt on his shoulders each day.”

The lunch ladies at his elementary school knew that he was hungry and always loaded his tray with extra food, Adams recalled.

“I was a growing boy with a big appetite, and those sweet southern ladies always made sure to fix me up,” he said. “I was very grateful.”

The two weeks he spent in a local family’s home over the Christmas holidays was one of the most memorable and happy times of his life, Adams said.

“We pulled up in front of their house, and there was this big Christmas tree shining in the front window,” he said. “And nobody told us, ‘Don’t do this,’ or ‘don’t do that.’ Instead, they handed us the keys, told us to enjoy the holidays, and they’d see us in two weeks.”

When he became successful in real estate in Utah (his family moved to the state during his senior year in high school), Adams put his Thanksgiving’s Heroes idea into motion after a conversation with his mother in 2014, shortly before she died of brain cancer.

“I told her that I’d wanted to give back for many years, and she told me, ‘Please, you need to do it,’ ” he said. “So my first year, I set out to feed 10 families, and it quickly grew. Everyone wanted to donate to help, and we ended up feeding hundreds.”

Continue reading. There’s more, and more photos as well.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2020 at 12:12 pm

“I Lived Through A Stupid Coup. America Is Having One Now”

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Indi Samarajiva writes in Medium:

1 | You’re being couped

As a recovering coup victim to another, let me tell you this. The first step is simply accepting that you’ve been coup’d. This is hard and your media or Wikipedia may never figure this out (WTF does constitutional crisis mean? Is murder a legal crisis?), but it’s nonetheless true. The US system is weird, but people voted for a change of power. One person is refusing to accept the people’s will. He’s taking power that doesn’t belong to him. That’s a coup.

Americans are so caught up with the idea that this can’t be happening to them that they’re missing the very obvious fact that it is.

What else do you call Donald Trump refusing to leave, consolidating control of the military, and spreading lies across the media? That, my friends, is just a coup. You take the power, you take the guns, and you lie about it. American commentators say “we’re like the third world now” as if our very existence is a pejorative. Ha ha, you assholes, stop calling us that. You’re no better than us. The third world from the Sun is Earth. You live here too.

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2020 at 10:56 am

What’s It Like to Live with Covid-19 for a Long Time?

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Michelle Frisco writes on Medium:

Michelle L. Frisco, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Sociology & Demography at Penn State University. She is also a research associate at Penn State’s Population Research Institute. Her research focuses on issues related to population health.

I was asked to do some research about people who live with Covid-19 symptoms for a long time by an amazing group of academic women who have joined together to develop “Dear Pandemic.” If you aren’t following them on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram, I highly recommend them! They asked me to see what we know about long-term Covid-19 symptoms. I dug into the very scarce research. I also interviewed a friend who is still unfortunately exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms 136 days after becoming infected.

Studies of individuals struggling with long-term Covid-19 are in short supply right now. I only found 1 report and one JAMA article. There are also a lot of interviews being published in news outlets right now that are easy to search using Google. What we can glean from the studies, which likely over-represent very ill Covid-19 patients, is still telling of how much we don’t understand about the disease. A survey of 640 people with symptoms lasting longer than 2 weeks found that the average recovery time from Covid-19 was 27 days and of those not yet recovered, the average number of days with symptoms was 40 days. One third of respondents were still managing symptoms 7 weeks after contracting Covid-19. In this sample, 82% of respondents were 20–59 years old and only 57.8% had a pre-existing condition. The just-released JAMA study of formerly hospitalized Italian Covid-19 survivors also found that roughly 2 months after Covid-19 onset, 87.4% of patients still reported symptoms and 44% reported a worsened quality of life.

What did I learn from my friend? I learned that I wouldn’t wish his experience on anyone. Here is my interview with him. I am grateful he was willing to share his story:

Me: Chris, thanks so much for agreeing to talk to me for Dear Pandemic. Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself?

Chris: I’m 45, have a wife and two kids and have no pre-existing conditions, but Covid-19 has had me sick for a very long time.

Me: When did you get sick?

Chris: February 26th.

Me: Where do you think you got sick?

Chris: I’m not sure. Either in the Geneva Airport or in the Alps in France just north of the center of the Italian outbreak.

Me: Do you know what your exposure was?

Chris: Not really. Maybe in a ski gondola? Maybe the airport? Maybe one of the restaurants my family and I ate at when we were in the Alps? I’m not sure. We were mostly outside and wearing masks while skiing. We flew before there were full precautions in place but we had just been hearing more about Covid so we wiped down our seats and area around us on the planes when we traveled.

Me: Were you the only person in your family who got sick?

Chris: I was the only one to have strong symptoms and to end up with long-term symptoms. My wife had mild symptoms.

Me: What about your two children?

Chris: I’m not sure. They didn’t have immediate symptoms.

Me: Today is July 9th. Are you still having symptoms? If so, what are they?

Chris: Yes I am still having symptoms. The big one is the feeling of pressure in my chest. This has been constant since February 26th. I also have a nice accompanying cough that won’t go away. Beyond that, it gets more complicated.

Me: Why? Tell me more. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2020 at 10:49 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical

Good example of a Plachutta in the wild

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A Plachutta is most often encountered in a problem, but here it occurs in a (famous) game:

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2020 at 10:45 am

Posted in Chess, Games

Another shaving-cream shave, with a superb razor

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This is a shaving cream that The Wife brought back from Paris as a little travel gift. I know nothing about it, but it’s a pleasant cream, and the Starcraft brush from Phoenix Artisan had no trouble in evoking a fine lather from it.

The wonderful Dorco PL602 did its usual outstanding job. That is such a satisfying razor to use. Once on eBay you could get a product display board full of them — 16 razors for $32. A friend who was in the military at the time said that the officer in charge bought one and gave a razor and a copy of the Guide to every man in the unit — a man I have to admire.

Three passes, a splash of barber Bay Rum, and the morning begins. It’s been a momentous couple of days: the presidential transition is at last officially underway, the Dow-Jones topped 30,000 for the first time, and The Eldest Grandson was notified that the graduate school to which he applied has offered him a place in the incoming class.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2020 at 10:32 am

Posted in Shaving

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