Thursday, May 29, 2008
I’m falling apart. Literally. Who knew that a person could “OD” on canned tuna.
I started 2008 on the right foot. After months of indulgence at the end of last year I decided this year would be all health and vibrancy, my body is my temple, warm fuzzy feeling type year.
Well think again before you embark on a health food diet. I had decided on the Candida diet which is meant to inhibit the growth of yeast in your body, but boils down to a typical sustainable diet like all the other mainstream ones – only healthier. Or so I thought.
The list of allowable foods is pretty limited, but includes all the things which we have come to believe are good for us. Lots of veggies - apart from the starchy ones, lots of seeds and nuts and fish of all sorts. Chicken, occasionally beef and a few fruits and beans. The amazing thing is that I managed to get into it, stick with it and find things I liked. No cheating – no fries, bread, desserts, not even caffeine. What could be bad in that?
Little did I know that the supposed ‘brain food’ I was consuming daily, sometimes twice daily for months in the form of fish, was slowly filling my body with a powerful neurotoxin. Mercury.
It’s not like there aren’t warnings about ocean fish consumption everywhere, especially with the sushi craze that’s hit North America over the past 5 years… but who can take these things seriously? I mean, you have to choose your demons. It’s safe to say that bleached white starches and processed sugars are bad. But fish??!!
It turns out that a diet including more than one can of tuna in 3 weeks can put you way over the danger limit. I am also convinced that the grade of tuna sold locally in Ghana (there is a Starkist factory here), is subjected to far fewer stringent regulations about what toxin levels can be...
How did I realize that this monster was accumulating in my body? About a month ago my hair started falling out in clumps. In the shower, dark brown furry animal-like balls of hair would cascade down my body and clog the drain. I was alarmed over the few weeks it continued persistently and then began my usual first step toward investigations: self diagnosis via the Internet!!! The first site I found, “Something’s fishy” came out of a random search about unexplained hair loss. Some scary stuff there. Then I read in deeper detail the technical side of what mercury does in the body. One of the points in that article mentioned that mercury poisoning causes tremors which commonly start as an eye twitch. So you can imagine my alarm when three days ago my right eye started a persistent twitch along with the hair loss.
So needless to say, I have stopped all consumption of fish. Which quite sadly for me, means NO MORE SUSHI!!! (That’s like taking away Christmas and birthdays to a child!)
It takes from a few months right up to 15 years for mercury to leave various parts of the body, once it’s attached itself to cells. It does not float in the bloodstream and is hence difficult to remove.
So now that I have polluted my body unknowingly or ignorantly over the past 5 months, on my “healthy” diet… I can look forward to further hair loss, and I shudder to think of the further complications…
So what do the experts suggest as a detox from Mercury? Aside from a controversial drug called DMPS that was commonly given to people who got mercury poisoning from amalgam teeth fillings a couple decades ago, they advocate another bloody diet….
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
So I thought I'd share her wisdom through posting some of the comics that hit home.
To be fair - I guess I should provide the link to her site: she's called Natalie Dee
Posted by The pale observer at 3:41 PM
Sunday, May 25, 2008
If you were a fish
You would be a doctor fish
Protected by gorgeous turquoise scales
Deflecting everyone from your secret world
If you were brown you would
Be smooth and varied and steady
And the mild earth itself
You would remember each footstep
That crossed your path
If you were memory itself
You would be immaculate in your intricacy
Not missing a single detail
But you are trapped in our mortal world
That topples you
My delicate one
The mundane routines
Banal in their irrelevance to you
Earth water and sky
The things that preoccupy you
Yet your skin your feet must walk
And carry you through…
If you were a bird
You would be an owl
You would perch above it all
your all seeing eyes
smiling at me and shrugging at the world.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Sometimes you meet a person who puts your life in perspective. Someone who challenges your beliefs with their smile and handshake and general existence.
There are times in life when you realize that you have been limited – boxed in by your experiences – to the point that you have not imagined beyond the invented boundaries.
Last weekend we left the chaotic reality of Africa – left the stench and pulsating rhythms - for the peaceful crisp cool of the Avon river. We followed the smooth highways and combed the fresh green paths, far outside the confines of grey grimy London, to the South coast of England.
We arrived at my cousin’s place – a distant relative tied to me in loose yet inexplicably binding ways. The whole plan was orchestrated by e-mails and reassurances from family members that this would be a wonderful reunion. And it was.
He greeted us at the gates of the old mansion – his smile resounding, the smell of nearby pastures permeable. I instantly felt welcome. Within minutes we were seated around the table on the back porch, overlooking the duck pond, in the late afternoon sun, sipping fresh raspberry daiquiris and champagne, discussing our extended family’s convoluted history.
This cousin of mine has made a point of asking and gathering information and is now quite a source of information about our shared grand-relatives’ lives. For some reason we all want to know as much as possible about where we came from, what has contributed to make us who we are – sinew for sinew, trait for trait. I guess I am no different. We drank up all the information he could share and soaked up the sun, the spirit, the delicious pink of his cashmere sweater and the soft, lulling voices of the gang seated around us.
This cousin of mine has left quite an impression on me. He is an inspiration. A life that keeps living, hopeful, alive, exciting. The first thing he told us was his age. We spent the next two days disbelieving this statement in every way.
My cousin is 69yrs old. He has recently married and is the typically giddy, goofy newlywed with the grin of a 21yr old. His dress sense is the sophisticated cool of a 40yr old who has learned enough but still takes chances to look young and hip. His smile has the genuine surety of a 12yr old boy. His zest for climbing and biking and exploring his world are the defiant ready for the universe edge of a 19yr old.
My cousin and his new bride defy all the notions I’ve blindly accepted about age and limits and life’s predetermined steps. By 69 memories are life. Daily routines involve soft cereal and teeth floating in murky water. Power over bodily functions is not guaranteed and neither is recognizing ones’ self in a mirror. Dressing involves polyester and elastene. There are special stores that cater for this sector – churning out man made monstrosities that make the statement – I am old and hunched and dull pastels keep me comfortable. There are no vacations – barring the adventurous who make it to Florida annually. Decisions are influenced by the proximity to a health facility and a public restroom.
This cousin of mine met his bride online. They travel globally –enjoying good wine and gorgeous sunsets, after completing challenging treks and trails. They climb mountains and plan for the future. They appreciate beauty and indulgence and they watch TV with limbs intertwined. They wake up and dress for the day – jumping up to the possibilities that lie ahead.
My cousin is maroon and fire in the face of oatmeal grey. He is a deep magenta with olive undertones. He answers life’s rules with a vitality unknown to me before now.
And I thank him from the heart for proving what I forgot I knew – that rules are limited and small minded. That life is immense and multicoloured. That every day and week and month and year we have are blank canvases we fill in whichever way we choose. Life continues as long as you want it to. If you keep loving and tasting and smelling and stepping forward into it – the mist yields a new experience every single day.
Maybe it was the cool sea air or the pungent gardens but I woke up last weekend a little more. I appreciate the colours around me. The soft hand of my lover, the bright deep eyes of my son.
I see just a bit more clearly what life holds in store.
Life is about love and self confidence and good friends. And that does not change at any age.