Monday, April 28, 2008

Morning Smoothie 2

I've made a few changes to my morning smoothie. A gentleman at the Natural Food Pantry in Kanata suggested that I try Shelled Hemp Seed (aka hemp hearts, hemp nuts, etc), and Salvia (aka Chia seeds, Salba, etc), to go along with the Flax (which is still important for women). I also thought I'd give Goat's Milk Yogurt a try, since I don't get along very well with cows.

So here's my attempt at a super omega packed smoothie...

1/2 cup Goat's Milk Natural Yogurt
5 Tablespoons Hemp Nuts
2 Tablespoons Salvia
2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Seed Oil
1/2 cup Juice (whatever tickles your fancy)
~1 cup Frozen Fruit (enough to thicken the smoothie)

The end result was very... healthy... tasting, and quite grainy. Without raspberries to add some pizazz, it was a bit like yogurt with a heap of porridge. Not very appetizing. Next time, I'll make sure to add a 1/4 cup of frozen raspberries to pick up the colour, and maybe a touch of honey to sweeten it up. Perhaps Stevia, or Cocoa, or a Banana would help improve the taste.

I'm wondering if it would be easier to just choke down the stuff with a bit of yogurt -- forget trying to make it a smoothie. Spooned over a ripe banana, fresh berries or a baked apple might be a better idea. My gag reflex can't quite adjust to the texture as a "smoothie", but it might be able to overlook it as a "granola-type fruit topping".

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"Diet has nothing to do with IBS"

I should seriously write a book called "'Diet has Nothing to do with IBS'... and other lies Doctors tell you..."

I saw a GI specialist on Tuesday, who tried telling me that IBS is a muscle disorder, and cannot be regulated by what you eat. He did, however, admit that some people find success in avoiding coffee and chocolate, and that Metamucil *might* be beneficial. He said he could prescribe me some medications, but there is limited success with drugs. In essence, IBS is a "Nuisance Disorder" caused by stress, and it's something I'll just have to live with. He added that most people find the symptoms subside as they age, whether that was from reduced symptoms or an increased discomfort tolerance, he couldn't say.

I have a theory... it goes something like these:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a symptom of improper diet (food allergies/intolerances, bacterial growth, too much insoluble fiber, too little soluble fiber, etc), and is compounded by stress. As people get older, they learn (either consciously or subconsciously) which foods trigger GI problems. By avoiding these foods, their symptoms are reduced. For me, these foods would be beef(!), ice cream (*sigh*), granola, dried fruit, etc.. If IBS is not triggered by diet, why is it that I can predict how my body will react to these foods? Why is it that by eliminating these problem foods, my GI problems are likewise eliminated?

Obviously, it has nothing to do with diet... /rollseyes

Honestly, if alternative healers are the only ones who've made the connection between the food you eat and the way your GI tract functions... I seriously have to question what's being taught in medical schools.

Friday, April 04, 2008

WoW is Eating my Husband -- UPDATE

Read the backstory first

I installed a blog logger that shows me all the searches which have lead people to click on this blog. One of the most popular searches was "Husband addicted to WoW". This really doesn't surprise me, since I know first hand how enticing the game is. It really is fun, but it's one enormous time-sink; it's designed to compel you to keep playing. I thought I should post an update to our WoW situation

Last Christmas, after not playing for several months, I was drawn back into WoW when the xpansion came out. Unfortunately, this also encouraged my Husband to begin playing as well. We were doing great... I was studying cabinetmaking at Algonquin, and he was actively looking for better jobs. I thought "I can handle it... I'll just play a couple hours each night instead of browse the internet."

Yeah... right.

Our household is not comprised of casual players. We wanted to experience the end-game, and that meant at least 4 hours every night either raiding or farming for the mats required to upgrade gear, or pay for repairs. We were quickly sucked back into the WoW pit.

I didn't emerge until the following year, when Christmas dinners kept me SO busy I wasn't able to raid. Immediately following Christmas, I had our Guatemala trip to prepare for -- instead of farming online, I was gleaning the internet for all the information I could find on traveling below the equator. I hopped online a total of 3 times to help my Husband and flatmate's raid when they were short healer, but I found myself muting Vent on trash pulls and listening to my Spanish cds. I really didn't care about the success of the raid -- I had bigger things to do.

While we were in Guatemala, I didn't think of WoW once. I could honestly say I had broken the addiction cycle. It was no longer foremost in my mind; I wasn't thinking about the gear I still needed to upgrade my bear tanking gear, or what instances I had to farm for gems to upgrade my Spirit, or the Vent conversation I overheard between Whisperblade and Optics... I was done.

Returning home, I tried convincing my Husband that he, too, was done with WoW. Unfortunately, he hadn't come to the same conclusion, and continued playing for a while. Thankfully, several events worked together to make consistent raiding more difficult, and he finally decided he was bored with WoW. He canceled his subscription, and now only hops on from time to time in order to sort through his mail, sell off his bank, and help our flatmate if the raid is really struggling. His account ends soon (next week, I think), and he's finding more time to play Settlers of Catan with me (fun but non-addicting), apply for jobs, and cook decent meals.

The best advice I can give to those struggling with WoW addiction is to pray -- ask God to help you, your spouse, your child, your parent, your friend -- God really does answer prayers -- and keep busy.

Update Nov/09: It's been over a year since we both quit WoW. Our old flatmate still plays (I had to keep reminding him to not talk to me about WoW), but it's been so much easier since we moved out. DH found a good career, and we moved 2 hours away and bought a house (yay!). I think about WoW every so often -- new XPack times are hard... our old flatmate showed me the new feral skins... *sigh* -- but I remind myself that playing sucks the life right out of me; I'm not a casual player, and I can't try to convince myself otherwise. It's definitely been easier since our contact with our old flatmate has been greatly reduced.Writing this update has required more thoughts about WoW than I've had in the last year combined.

DH still plays other video games -- Warcraft (DotA) & FPSs -- but he has no interest in returning to WoW. I am so thankful for that. As for me... I don't play RPGs anymore -- I can't. Once you know your nature... *shrug* The only online game I play is AsoBrain's Xplorers (Settlers of Catan knockoff), and I usually play against bots (or DH). I knit. I'm working with a career counselor to find a cabinetmaking company willing to take on an apprentice. I'm attending regular bible studies. Most importantly, I'm praying and singing to God more. We've found a good church and we're regularly attending (as regular as possible with DH's schedule). God has been forgiving, kind, generous and patient toward us.

Green Home Building Ideas

I'm back to looking into the cost of building a eco-friendly, low impact, sustainable house. Last year, I was inspired by the book "Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods Earth Plaster * Straw Bale * Cordwood * Cob , by Clarke Snell

It's a FANTASTIC book with detailed instructions and tonnes of pictures for all 4 building systems. Not only does it include insightful tips based on the author's hands-on experience, but also, it deals with siting, foundation, water run-off, post & beam construction, passive solar heating/cooling, AND living/green roofs.

The biggest problem I have with all the "Natural" home building books out there is that they seem to be designed for California. There's lots of talk about hurricane tie-downs and earthquake safety protocols, but very little about snow. California might be the king-pin of the environmental movement... all those hemp clad, granola crunching, vegan PETA activists... but what about us northern eco-freaks? Igloos might be low-impact and sustainable, but they're really not practical in the summer. Would it really be that difficult to include some information on how to protect plaster walls from snow, or the feasibility of a low-sloping green roof with near-record breaking snowfall *cough*417cm*cough*?

Thankfully, I've found Serious Straw Bale: A Construction Guide for All Climates, by Paul Lacinski. I had to laugh at some of the reviews I've read -- people are complaining that there's too much information about building for wet or snowy weather, and not enough about dry, hot climates... .... Seriously. EVERY OTHER straw bale book is geared towards the southwest. Can't we have ONE book tailored to OUR needs? Anyway, I just ordered this from Chapters, and it should be here in a couple days along with Strawbale Home Plans, by Wayne J. Bingham. My excuse for buying 2 straw bale design books is I needed to go over $39 for free shipping >.>

So here's the plan so far (prior to reading Serious Straw Bale)

- no info yet

Frost Protected Shallow Foundation
- minimal impact
- lower cost than traditional cement footings due to reduced labour and materials
- lower imbued energy due to reduced Portland Cement
- lower heating costs due to insulated foundation

Post & Beam Framing
- I *think* I can cut all the joints myself... we'll see
- fast raising
- might require a crane, or significant help

Straw Bale Insulation
- lower cost than common insulations
- sustainable product (making use of agricultural "waste")
- locally harvested materials
- high insulation factor
- non toxic, biodegradable
- utmost care must be taken to keep bales dry, dry, dry.
- bottom row would have to be sealed in home wrap

Lime Plaster
- sticks to straw bale better than cement stucco (chicken wire not required)
- retards mould growth
- vapour permeable
- lower imbued energy than Portland cement

- Green would be cool, but snow loads are a major concern (more info needed)
- I wonder if thatch would work...
- metal would probably work best in our climate

- solar power would be great, but I don't think we get enough solar hours to make it worth the high cost
- wind power?
- electricity lines are already running to the lot
- signing up for Bullfrog Power, and using energy efficient appliances seems to be the best solution

- I'm pretty sure a well is our only option... really hope the water tastes and smells good

- looking into grey water system (how they work in winter, green house applications)
- looking into sawdust toilets (just received The Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins)

Furnace / Hot Water Heater
- geothermal heat pump
- renewable energy
- non-polluting
- most efficient heating/cooling system available
- can be combined with well to reduce excavation costs

- radiant floor heating (Warmboard subfloor with 1/2" PEX Aluminum PEX tubing)
- very efficient heating method with great distribution (no cold areas)
- runs at lower temperature than other systems
- less tubing required due to higher heat transfer efficiency (1 ft tubing / sq. ft.)
- higher initial cost than other radiant floor methods, but lower operating costs due to lower temperature
- $8 / sq. ft for Warmboard alone

- large overhanding eaves, good ventilation
- hoping to not need air-conditioning
- save on ducts

- haven't looked too far into this
- Triple-glazed with High-Solar-Gain Low-E, Argon/Krypton Gas, Insulated Vinyl or Fiberglass, (double glazed on south facing wall with large overhang)
- large bank of south facing windows, restricted windows on north face

- Cork: nice, but I've heard it's not durable
- Bamboo: durable, renewable, but the joints make it very busy
- Tile: high cost & labour
- hardwood: look for FSC certified, expensive, but 'softer' than tile
- Wide plank hardwood: beautiful but expensive, old-growth trees or recycled old floors, need care when installed over radiant floor heating
- Linoleum: durable, renewable, available in a multitude of colours... cheap looking?

Green house
- attached to house on south facing wall
- create grey water filtering soil beds
- black lined thermal pond can assist heating in winter

Floor Plan
- still working on this
- large south face
- preferably easily expandable so we can add-on as we get money

Main floor
- master bedroom on main floor
- master bathroom with shower, connecting to entry powder room with sawdust toilet
- walk-in closet or large bank of wardrobes

- kitchen with island bar overlooking large, long harvest table (ie. the Mains')
- induction cooktop
- wall oven
- appliance garage for mixmaster, blender, juicer, etc
- compost bin

- large family room along the south bank of windows

- an "away" room for children to play or adults to escape to, down a hall
- a water play station and train tracks

2nd floor or walk out basement
- extra bedrooms
- full bath

- dormer or clerestory windows

Still working through ideas...