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Wellness Wednesday for October 26, 2022

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Is there any truth to this remineralization stuff, like this thread: ?

Seems to say:

  • avoid Phytic acid and oxalic acid - aka avoid "Mainly vegetables that are not cooked in animal fats, grains that are not sprouted and no nuts or seeds (and obviously no nut butter or nut “milks”"

  • avoid Sodium fluoride - filter drinking water if fluoride is added, use toothpaste without fluoride, etc

  • avoid phosphoric acid - cokes, etc

  • "Avoid the consumption of too many acidic foods and beverages that are not naturally carbonated."

  • eat things high in calcium - "Foods high in calcium both neutralize the acid that harms enamel and can help add minerals back into tooth surfaces."

Any truth to this theory at all? Obviously cokes probably aren't good for you, but avoiding veggies not cooked in animal fats? Avoid nuts (I thought one of the reasons why we all need braces nowadays is because the foods we eat are too soft, which hard nuts would counteract).

Also fluoride was added to the water for teeth health, but actually works against teeth health? is that possible?

Cavity remineralization is a well-documented phenomenon, though fluoride assists in this process, rather than inhibiting it. Note that it's a fairly limited process; if you have substantial enamel loss, you can't rebuild it through remineralization.

Excessive fluoride intake can result in skeletal fluorosis, which can be severely debilitating in extreme cases, but it requires levels far in excess of those found in fluoridated water. The evidence that it prevents tooth decay is fairly strong, but if you're doing everything else right, you don't really need it.

The other advice is mostly okay, if excessive. The main things I would recommend are limiting refined carbohydrates and acidic drinks, brushing and flossing, and getting enough vitamin D and K2. Sugar is particularly bad; you know that sour taste you get in your mouth when you eat too much sugar? That's the acid produced by oral bacteria metabolizing the sugar.

Those anti nutrients absolutely reduce the absorption of nutrients, sometimes by 50% or more, but the foods that have them usually contain more of the nutrients anyway. Eating potatoes and spinach is still better than many alternatives. Vitamin C, garlic, and fermentation will enhance absorption. The only ones that substantively decrease absorption I think are some legumes that aren’t fermented or washed but don’t quote me on that.

Phosphoric acid and acidic foods leech calcium from the bones and are associated with worse bone health, and bone health is associated with things you wouldn’t think, like flight or fight reactions.

You probably only want calcium from natural sources because high artificial calcium intake may hurt your cardiovascular health, eg “Lactose and calcium in conjunction with homocysteine from consumption of
 non-fat milk may also contribute to calcification of the arteries (Grant
 1998)”. Notably, you want a calcium to magnesium ratio of around 1.6 to 2.0. High calcium in one sitting cannot be absorbed well, this is more than 400mg in an hour.

Fluoride negates the conversation of nitrates in vegetables into nitric oxide, which only occurs on the tongue. Studies have found mouthwash also to negate this conversion. This harms BP and general cardiovascular health. The amount in toothpaste would not have an effect.

I think avoiding acidic foods and drinks is probably a good idea. As far as I understand the reason that eg. sugar is bad for your teeth is that it feeds oral bacteria that produce an acidic waste product, and that is what harms your teeth. So consuming acidic food is basically skipping the middle man, although the acid from bacteria might adhere and stay on your teeth more than food that's washed out by some water. It would stand to reason that basic foods would then have the opposite effect, although I'm not sure being high in calcium makes something inherently basic.

Generally I find opposition to fluoride to be associated with kooks; maybe there is some shadows of doubt to be cast on it's safety for the rest of the body but as far as I can tell the dental benefits of (normal amounts of) fluoride are pretty firmly positive or at the very least not negative, so the fact that they're recommending to not consume fluoride seems like a red flag.

Similarly, I don't see what the point of delineating between "naturally" carbonated and "unnaturally" carbonated is if their main thesis is that acids are bad for your teeth. Seems like a sort of appeal to nature fallacy and indicates they aren't thinking entirely clearly about their prescriptions.

So, the thrust of the idea (avoid acid) seems good, but I'd take most of their points with a grain of salt.

This is backward - sugar is food for the bacteria, acid isn't. Acidic drink in itself doesn't do much. Combine it with sugar..

sugar is food for the bacteria

And bacteria is bad for your teeth because it creates acid... in addition to forming plaque which has the added effect of keeping the acid stuck to your teeth. From what I understand the dominant strains of bacteria that cause cavities also thrive in an acidic environment so acid would help them grow more too. Maybe consuming acidic food is too transitory to have an effect, but considering that's the same method of delivery as sugar I think it's likely it could; I'm having trouble finding the right keywords to find experimental data on that however and what articles I can find seem to just follow the same reasoning I've given.

Anyone have good recommendations for wide fitting barefoot style sneakers, preferably that don't look fucking horrendous?

I've been wearing these:

for years for workouts because I like the feel, but they look so fucking stupid and I hate having unitaskers. Some of the ones on Amazon look decent/minimalist in design, but I have no idea as to the quality or suitability for workouts. I have wide, flat feet, and I'm doing workouts in the lifting/crossfit range.

If you do lifting / crossfit enough, having "unitaskers" is probably fine, no? Have you looked into zero-drop lifting shoes, like Adidas' ?

Have you worn those? Do they fit pretty wide? I've generally found Adidas to be way too narrow, I haven't bought a pair in like a decade. But maybe their lifters are different?

I'm healing up from my first bout with COVID (vaxxed+boosted, had what felt like a mild flu for one day), and thinking about long-COVID. As somebody who has long had an anxiety disorder, the list of long COVID symptoms sounds pretty much like how I feel most of the time. And guess when my anxiety disorder got a lot worse!

I caught COVID on a work retreat to NYC and it was totally worth it. Getting to spend time talking to people, working with people, being immersed in a city where so much is happening, was amazing. There is nothing worse for our mental health than spending all our time in our houses on our computers.

I completely believe that there are people who have bad post-viral reactions. That's always been the case. But I also believe that much of this is uncontrolled anxiety and we need some kind of mass CBT/SSRI intervention.

some kind of mass CBT/SSRI intervention.

Doing strength training worked better for anxiety issues in studies on students, iirc.

One of the things I wonder about is how much anxiety / neuroticism in women is due to their physical inferiority to men.

E.g. were the shoe on the other foot and our species was like certain bird or lizard ones where females are bigger and stronger, would men be the more neurotic ones ? If you have a mostly personality matched group of powerlifters or such types, and say, runners, who has better mental health ´?

It’s important to realize the evidence for long Covid is pretty weak and limited to severe cases where hospitalization occurred and is likely secondary to delirium. Your chances of long Covid are very very low given your description

I think I got it too. Felt like in-between a cold and the flu. Sore throat for 4 days , some weird chills but not tired like a fever. Cleared up after 6 days. no vax, no obvious risk factors

I wouldn't worry about long COVID if all you got was a single day under the weather.

I had a similar experience after COVID Original Flavor. Every pre-existing psychiatric symptom seemed magnified.

The internet provided plenty of material to work myself up about possible neurological effects of the virus. But nah. It was a miserable winter full of weird stressors. All I needed was time outside and with people.

Best wishes for your anxiety subside as well!

On the unreasonable efficiency of the Potato Diet

I'm still absolutely amazed by how well the Potato Diet works.

I want to start with the amazing parts of this diet: I have terrible adherence compared to other diets and I'm still constantly lowering my weight. I got to a restaurant, eat whatever I want, no prep or "goody boy points" I'm accumulating that I'm cashing in like a cheat day. I just do it.

My variant on a perfect day is: Eat potatoes ad libitum and once a day I eat a regularly sized meal. Those are admittedly relatively healthy meals and good portion sizes, as I'm sourcing them from Hello Fresh recipes.

But I constantly don't have perfect days and I still lose weight over the long term.

If anyone has struggled with weight in the past and wants to try something that works different from any other diet (that I know of anyway) I can only recommend trying the potato variant. You can do it in the hardcore version that is bound to work (see link above) or a less hardcore version that allows one to have social meals once a day (per plan/system) or several times a day (in a vacation setting or something).

Not all is roses and something that is very new to my experience with the Potato diet but worth pointing out: I've had two days since May where I've had very little energy intake and those days felt REALLY weird. I'm usually happy-go-lucky but that energy slump turned my positive outlook quite negative. Pretty soon after eating I was back to my former self and had an evening full of productivity.

I've had to restrict my diet for health reasons over the last six months.

I eat soaked oats with fruit, brown rice with vegetables and eggs, and vegetable soup with occasionally a little meat. This isn't a particularly amazing diet, but it serves to keep the symptoms under control.

Over this time, I've also lost 5 kilos. It's not a huge amount of weight, but my diet isn't particularly varied. I think simply restricting yourself from eating a large variety of foods is enough to get weight loss going.

Just as another data point, I tried the potato diet briefly, ate more calories than usual, didn't enjoy the food, and felt terrible. If you're watching your weight, it's got to be worth a try, given all the positive reviews; personally though, I find a high-protein diet works much better.

Just wanted to say that I'm doing the potassium trial (conceived on the idea that potassium is why the potato diet works) and am around day 10. The first week was consistent losses (and I'm not a person who usually has a lot of spare glycogen) but I've now leveled out for three days and my appetite actually came back yesterday. My hangover from a non-enormous amount of wine was also brutal. I'm still stepping up the amount of potassium so hopefully I'll see a new low number in the next couple of days but I spent last week wondering if I'd finally found "that one weird trick" the internet is always promising us.

People are saying good things about Alan Moore's storytelling course on BBC Maestro, and one idea they quoted from it really triggered me in a good way.

To paraphrase, thinking about creating is much more pleasant than creating the same thing, and it's a very dangerous trap. Your story, song, statue or game is perfect in your mind's eye, and daydreaming about how groundbreaking it will be when you finally get down to making it, salivating over that frankly genius part of it you came up with will overpower your will to actually make anything if you don't fight it.

Take one of your ideas, a small, low-stakes one, and make it real.

It's interesting because I've never really had this problem. Every single time I get an idea, I want to make it immediately and to see it in the world even if the task is ridiculously big and completely outside the scope of my capabilities. While it's probably true that many people like the idea of creating but not the actual process of creation itself (and that's understandable since making anything worthwhile is often quite frustrating), I will say that it often gets easier with experience and there's a strange satisfaction to be found in attempting to restlessly optimise every aspect of your creation.

Realistically, I'd also say that enjoying the process is a necessity of being a creator especially considering the amount of grinding and effort and lack of expected payoff that inevitably comes with the territory - I genuinely think it would be an absolutely miserable task without it. Perhaps not everyone can get to a point where they can enjoy it, and that's fine, but it does mean that one might be limited to creating smaller-scale projects or that other endeavours might simply be better suited to their temperament.

I suspect this distaste comes from seeing many immaculate, unassailable ideas rapidly fracture into a thousand pieces on first contact with reality.

This is a very big reason why you'd want to get your ideas down as fast as possible, yeah. Your mental model of what something could be like is a few levels disconnected from how it'll actually come off in real life, and in my experience it's all too common to have an idea which conceptually seems great inside your head (many of which are of the "why hasn't anyone done this before?" variety) but turns out to be terrible. It's a good idea not to get too attached to ideas before you test out if they actually work or not.