Welcome back, everyone! How has your week been going? I hope
everyone is staying warm -- or cool -- depending on where you
Actually, "Spring" has sprung around here and the weather went
from cold-ish, to hot -- overnight. The temperature the last couple
of days has been over 80º. What? It's true. That's what happens.
Typically around the end of February it turns to Summer and stays
that way until December when it gets chilly again. It's as if a
switch was thrown and everything is different overnight.
Before I lurch into the lamentations of what's going on in my
life right now, I want to congratulate my classmates that just
returned from NCLC (National Chiropractic Leadership Conference).
Each year, members of our faculty and students go to Washington,
D.C. and talk with members of Congress about the future of
chiropractic and health care in America.
Now, to my lamentations. I'm feverishly working on a paper.
Writing is a pretty bizarre process for me. We all have our
methods. I'll randomly collect research for a while, think about
the topic, try to formulate some semblance of sanity within the
information, and then sit with it for way too long. The temptation
for me is always to collect more and more information. Maybe I
should read one more article? Maybe I should review a few more
journals just in case I find THE article that poses some new idea
that brings it all together. And at some point I realize when the
Then the frantic insanity sets in. I'm now faced with the
prospect of taking 10-20 journal articles and whatever notes and
thoughts I've taken from them and putting it into just a few pages.
(OK, we all know that I can't write just a few pages -- but you get
my drift). It's a grueling process that drives me crazy, and I love
it. I learn SO much from this. I hate the procrastination and I
hate the deadlines, but I love what comes out of it.
Right now I'm working on a paper about vitamin D and metabolic
syndrome -- with an aside on the psychology of eating. I've learned
that there are 4 variations in receptor genes that mediate how the
body handles vitamin D, that there's a huge controversy in what the
dosage of vitamin D should be, and that there's a HUGE link between
metabolic syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and vitamin D. No one
seems to fully know how all of it works together -- but it does,
and therapies with vitamin D show great promise at preventing and
treating all kinds of problems.
So, I'm going to get back to my forced lack of procrastination
and self-loathing and feverish typing, and leave you all with good
wishes for the week.
Have a great one, everybody!
It has rained, literally every day for over a week. It's Summer
time in Florida. I guess that's to be expected. Personally, I find
the rain a little bit depressing. BUT, the temperature has dropped
and that has been absolutely lovely. Autumn in Florida is always a
little touch and go. I say we have 2 seasons here: Summer, and not
quite Summer. While the leaves don't change, sometimes the
temperature does shift, and it eventually stops raining.
Sunrise in the middle of the showers - Coffee Pot
We're getting back into the swing of things after boards, and
settling into the tri. It's so weird not having classes. Part of me
feels like I must be skipping things, or somehow not showing up --
that I should be studying for a quiz or doing a project or
presentation -- but I don't have any to do. It's just bizarre.
Of course I still have work to do for the Master's program, but
that's a lot less involved than going to classes all day, every
day. Speaking of the Master's...I just finished finals for another
quarter there. I have only 2 left; 2 quarters left, and less than 2
trimesters left here. I honestly can't believe it. I'm not sure
whether I believed it would never happen, or that it just seemed so
far away that it was out of my realm of comprehension.
Our 10th trimester mentor, Jen, is making plans for graduation.
Yesterday we were talking about hotels and plane tickets and how
soon graduation is. It was a bit of a wake-up call.
A bunch of us have been doing some outreach with the clinic. SPC
has had a blood pressure initiative going. They're installing
automated blood pressure cuffs in many of their facilities. It's
helpful for people to keep track of their blood pressure. We've
been explaining normal ranges and what people can do to not only
keep track, but also to improve.
Julia, Dave, Ricky, Leslie, and Jen have gone, some twice, and
given a talk and been on hand to help. I'm excited. I get to go in
2 weeks. We'll see what happens. There's been some good
Everyone is talking about where we go from here. People are
making plans for shadowing, extra seminars, special licensure
requirements, etc. Events are taking place. It's really
Have a great week Everybody!
Do you have your costume yet? Are you going trick or
It's that time of year again and my mind wanders back to the
smell of fallen leaves and the colors of the trees. It's a time of
pumpkins, little kids wearing plastic masks (at least when I was
growing up), and hyperactivity from too much sugar. Many of the
neighborhoods around here do a TON of decorating for Halloween.
You'd think it was Christmas, with all the lights and
Someday I'll do all of this stuff again. I used to go all out
with decorations for every holiday. There's one house in the
Crescent Lake neighborhood (where these pictures were taken) that
gives away polished stones and wishes. It's pretty cool.
Tell me the truth. How much candy have you eaten already? I
always try to make it through the season without eating any
Halloween candy. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. There's
been candy floating around at school already. I think this year
qualifies as a failed evasion. I'll try to keep it from going
further downhill. It might not be that bad. Of course, trying to
combat it with the gym and some otherwise healthy eating will be a
definite must. I'm on it!
The temperature has dropped temporarily, which makes it "chilly"
(upper 50s-60s) at night and not quite as hot during the day. I
understand that it's only temporary, as it's supposed to be in the
mid-80s by the middle of the week. This is the time of year when I
realize I have absolutely no "warm" clothes. None whatsoever. I
have to stop myself from going shopping to buy these things--as the
cold snaps are USUALLY only temporary and don't "stick" until late
December/January and stop by mid-February. Layering is helpful. I
must admit that seeing my fellow students in the interactive
sessions in Lombard walk into class in their coats and sweaters
makes me both sad and glad that I'm someplace warm.
How did midterms go? We have one more on Wednesday and I think
we're done for a couple of weeks. We have several right before
Thanksgiving again--big projects and exams. I can't believe how
quickly it's all gone by! It'll be Christmas before we know it. I'm
not going to lie--last week was tough. I think it might have been
one of the toughest midterm weeks I remember having. Three
radiology exams in one week do not make for a low-stress life. This
week should be more low key.
So, if you were trick or treating in Crescent Lake, and stopped
by the Fairy's house--what would your wish be? Think about it, and
get back to me.
Experimental Pumpkin Brain Surgery
Have an amazing, responsible candy-eating Halloween Week. And if
you dress up, send me a picture. Maybe I'll dress up and post
one--or maybe not.
I walked into the store this weekend and saw Christmas
decorations. Can you believe it? Christmas decorations?!?! I never
know whether I should be excited and festive or mortified at the
consumerism of having things out 3 months in advance. Seriously.
Who starts buying and decorating for Christmas 3 months before the
holiday? I guess it's just a reminder, though, that the end of the
trimester will be here before we know it. We're already looking at
midterms. My first one, in lab diagnosis, is this coming
Banyan Tree on Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete
I hear that the rest of the world is starting to cool off in
honor of the season--but here in Florida we're still averaging
upper 80s or lower 90s. It's. Been. Hot. I find I'm a little
envious of my friends and loved ones that are donning sweaters and
complaining about it being chilly. I haven't owned a sweater in
nearly 8 years. The closest to needing one has been dealing with
crazy air conditioning issues in the Annex. Sometimes it gets
downright chilly in there! We're threatening to bring teapots and
mittens. I can see it happening. It might start cooling off by the
end of October. For now, even though we're technically in Autumn,
it still feels like Summer--rain, heat, and all.
I'm getting into the Marketing project with planning my future
clinic. I spend a little bit of time every day, it seems, pondering
how things will be--how I want them. I know I need to do a lot more
research on my geographic regions and desired demographics, etc.
It's actually a pretty big project--but I think it will help me
tremendously when the time comes. I've even been working on putting
a logo together. I have no idea if that's what it will end up
as--but I think it's a good start.
I've started clearing the yard for a fall garden. I'm wondering
how long the growing season will be. I've never had a fall garden
before--having grown up in the Midwest. I will let all of you know
how that works out. If all works well, I could have fresh herbs and
veggies around Christmas. Maybe I'll decorate with them instead of
glitz and glitter from the store.
I'm still working on some pretty intense research topics. My
Pubmed list grows just about every day. Here is a listing of my
topics: oxytocin, C reactive protein, eicosanoids,
anti-inflammatory diet, food allergy, gluten, celiac, botanical,
functional medicine, vitamin D and asthma, stress, and naturopathic
medicine. There may be a couple of others--ones that I don't get
search returns on daily. There's amazing research that comes
through every day. Pieces of the puzzle come together. I'm learning
things about bloodwork that I never knew, how biochemistry is
affected by nearly everything, and what we can do (and what we're
doing and not doing) to fix it all. Fascinating.
Banyan Tree in Crescent Lake
One of the biggest I've ever seen (a little bit like the
"Tree of Life" from Disney)
Since I'm boycotting Christmas trees for at least another two
months, here are some Banyan tree pictures. Banyans are actually
fig trees and sometimes known as strangler figs. In some places
they're considered invasives. Here in this part of Florida, we've
got some Banyan trees that are OLD--REALLY, REALLY old. There are
several places around town where Banyan trees can be seen--there's
even a "Banyan Tree Motel"--although the only Banyan tree there is
on the sign. I've always found them to be majestic, spirited trees
that are absolutely beautiful.
Have a great week everybody!
Well, you wouldn't know it by looking outside. We've had a few
really nice days, but it's expected to be in the 50s one day this
week. It's almost April! What is going on? I know everybody up in
the Midwest has had snow. I just keep looking out the door
bewildered and checking the Weather Channel on my phone. I never
know what it's going to be! Bundle-up or flip-flops, or my personal
favorite, blue toes in flip-flops? We just take it day by
I thought for sure that I'd make it outside for something this
weekend, but it didn't happen. I did, however, make a cameo at the
Gluten Free Expo at the St. Petersburg Coliseum. Grey and I showed
up about an hour before it was over, wondering if they'd have some
great speaker at the last minute or some new revolutionary
products. There were, of course, TONS of giveaways and coupons and
brochures. I did grab a few business cards from vendors and talked
to a health coach while I was there.
I must say, though, that I was disappointed. While I'm grateful
that I now have free snack fodder for the boys' lunches for the
next month plus, I'm not sure how healthy it all is. There's just
so much processing going into gluten-free products these days.
Nothing they were giving away or selling was anywhere near simple
or resembling anything homemade.
I talked to a baker about Paleo cooking. She said that the
biggest problem for them was cutting out the sugar. She wanted to
substitute Stevia--which in some Paleo circles is forbidden (no
artificial sugars or regular sugars). Although I'm not sure what
other ingredients she was going to substitute, the sugar, I think,
was the least of their worries.
In Diet and Nutrition, Dr. S has been teaching us all the
pathways and extolling the dangers of grains, sugars, and
indirectly, processing. We've linked all these starches, Omega 6s,
and sugars to everything from heart disease to Alzheimer's. Of
course that doesn't make it all so easy to give up, but the
argument is getting more and more persuasive. So I have to
think--just because something is gluten-free, that doesn't make it
healthy. Whether it's the canola oil, the high fructose corn syrup,
or the ingredient that I can only dissect with a piece of paper and
a chemistry textbook, it may still be gluten-free, but it's also a
science/health experiment. I know for a fact, that gluten-free can
still be simple. The more ingredients, the more likely that there
might be a problem, and that doesn't work for anyone.
I'm beginning to explore the ins and outs of the Paleo diet and
trying to marry it with my own sense of nutrition. I suspect I'll
be more restrictive in many ways than what the standards are. I
still can't see/justify eating huge amounts of bacon. Something
just doesn't seem right about that. I'm not sure whether it's the
huge amounts of fat, the salt, or the nitrates. Yes, I know that
all of those are available nitrate-free, but last time I
checked--we were all students, yes?--I also know that I will never
eat beef or eggs again. I think there has got to be a way to
balance nutrition and our evolutionary developments with the limbic
system. Otherwise, we'll all end up eating only 35 cups of Romaine
lettuce with steaks wrapped in bacon. And between you and me, none
of that sounds all that appetizing.
Last but certainly not least, I want to congratulate everyone on
making it through midterms. We finally had our last one on
Thursday. I'll spare you all the drama involved, but I know we are
all extremely glad that that is over. I want to offer Dr. Ott my
undying gratitude for being, perhaps, the coolest-headed professor
I've ever come across. I must find for you, Dr, Ott, 5 million gold
toilet stickers. You deserve them. (And if you want to know the
story about the gold toilet stickers, you can email me).
Everyone also deserves congratulations for making it through
Mercury retrograde. Thankfully, Mercury went direct on St. Patty's
Day--and not a moment too soon. I was tired of fixing everything,
fighting and mediating fights, and just generally being in a
Happy First Full Week of Spring to everyone and Happy Easter,
Ostara and a Blessed Passover to all who celebrate.
This week's pictures are from Lake Maggiore--which is not far
from my house. I was hoping to get some gators in there, but it was
a bit too cloudy. If you enter through Boyd Hill and take the
trails, I PROMISE you'll see some BIG gators. To my classmate
Lauren, here's where you (don't) want to go. :)
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
• First Week in Student Clinic
To read older blog posts, scroll to the bottom and click the "Older Posts" button.