Thistle Dew Nutrition

Ramblings from a "Simpler" and perpertual student of natural health, with a strong focus on how to eat well to prevent chronic diseases.

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Location: Saugatuck, Michigan, United States


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I miss my Vernors

A while ago I ranted about how the potassium in soda is bad for you. I didn’t look it up, but I think I specifically stated that the phosphorus replaces the calcium in bones, making them weak. I actually didn't know that only colas had phosphoric acid, as explained below. Here is a study that I found at that helps to prove my point:

10/6/2006 - Women who drink four or more cola beverages per week have a higher risk of developing the bone disease osteoporosis, finds a new study, landing another blow on fizzy drinks makers.Regular cola consumption was linked to lower bone mineral density in all women studied, regardless of other factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and calcium intake, researchers found.
Low bone mineral density increases the risk of osteoperosis, also known as brittle bone disease.
The news is another hammer blow to soft drinks makers, already struggling against falling fizzy drinks sales as consumers shift to healthier, non-carbonated beverages.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used dietary questionnaires from more than 2,500 people who were part of an osteoporosis study in the US. Their average age was around 60 years.
The results were similar for regular, diet and decaffeinated colas. “The more cola women drank, the lower their bone mineral density was,” said Katherine Tucker, the lead researcher and from Tufts University.
Men appeared to be unaffected, despite drinking slightly more cola per week on average.
Suspicions on what may cause cola to damage bone density initially rested on an ingredient called phosphoric acid. Tucker called for more controlled studies on this.
“Physiologically, a diet low in calcium and high in phosphorus may promote bone loss, tipping the balance of bone remodeling toward calcium loss from the bone. Although, some studies have countered that the amount of phosphoric acid in cola is negligible compared to other dietary sources such as chicken or cheese."
Another reason researchers suspected phosphoric acid was because it is not generally present in non-cola beverages. Other fizzy drinks that were not cola-based did not appear to affect bone density, the study found.
Cola drinks Coca-Cola and Pepsi remain two of the biggest-selling soft drink brands in the world. Cola made up more than 70 per cent of fizzy drinks consumed by those taking part in the recent osteoporosis study. Consumption of carbonated soft drinks, although now stagnating in mature markets, rose by 300 per cent in the US alone between 1960 and 1990.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pumpkin Update

So I cleaned out the litter box this morning to get a good read on the status of poor Pumpkin’s bladder. Last night I could only find a bunch of little clumps that were made up of 2-3 drops of urine in the clumping kitty litter. Pumpkin’s little drops were very easy to tell apart from the almost half cup size balls that Scootie makes.

This morning’s “Pumpkin clumps” were now quarter sized, but not very deep: They were flat like pancakes (or quarters I suppose) instead of round like balls. Still! I’m delighted to get quarters out of her!

I’ll be keeping a close eye on her all weekend and let you know what happens. If everything turns out OK I would like to write it down in a letter and mail it to my vet for his reference in the future.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Animals Amaze Me

I just am amazed at animals. Again. Last night I noticed my almost 17 year old female cat, Pumpkin, going in and out of the cat box. After studying this for about 10 minutes I realized that she had to pee, but only a few drops were coming out each time. I assumed she had a bladder infection.

By then it was 6:30 at night and my Vet’s office is only open late on Tuesdays, so I called their number to get the number of the vet on-call, then I called that number which had an answering service that took what seemed like an hour to tell me everything I didn’t need to know, and finally gave me the cell phone number of the Vet on-call. So I called that number and got a very nice man who I swear was cooking something that sizzled in a skillet and probably smelled very good, and I told him that I was a client at the Animal Clinic, that I had a 17 year old female cat that was frequently using the litter box with only scant water, and should I bring her in or could it wait until morning? We decided that since her kidneys weren’t sore (I massaged her back around where her kidney were and she didn’t hiss or anything) and I couldn’t find her bladder, so it must be fairly empty, and she simply had an “irritated bladder” and it could wait until morning.

I called my Vet this morning and spoke with an intern or nurse about it and they suggested that I either bring her in overnight to try to get a urine sample from her, or I bring home a tin pan and some black plastic pellets for her to use as a litter box and I lock her in a small room until she pees in it to get a urine sample. People, I’ve tried this before and it don’t work. And why would I want to put an already sick old cat in a cage at the vets overnight, or in a closet for hours or days (because I’m tellin’ ya they never use that stupid fake litter box, they would rather hold it in for days)?

So I asked if we confirmed that it was a bladder infection would they treat her with antibiotics? Yes, they would. Well, the last two times I gave Pumpkin antibiotics she was cured of the first infection, but came down with a secondary infection that was worse. I decided that as long as it’s true that female cats almost never have a complete blockage, which both vets confirmed, I would try something else for a few days first.

So I fell back upon my herbal roots (pun intended). I looked up every herb that might help and wrote down a list compiled from three books that I keep in my office/office (not my home/office):
* Marshmallow
* Uva Ursi (a.k.a. Bearberry, I have some growing in my flower garden)
* Horsetail
* Asparagus (yes, the vegetable, and specifically the water left over after cooking it)
* Barley tea
* Corn Silk (yes, it actually is the silky tops of an ear of corn)
* Dandelion (Good for so many things)
* Catnip, but not very strong
* Couch grass (This is the thick clumps of grass that you pull out of your nice thin Kentucky Blue lawn)
* Parsley (I have this in my herb garden)
* Juniper (I can't imagine a cat eating something that tasted like Gin: yuck!)
* Chamomile

Also listed:
* Vitamin A and other antioxidants (Cat’s and dogs love Vitamin A soft gels because they are usually in fish liver oil. I'll give her some when I get home tonight; I snip a slit in one end of the softgel and she licks it as I squeeze it out. Don't give them too much, it is possible to overdose on Vitamin A)
* Magnesium and potassium

Next I went through our sample stock here at work and “borrowed” a sample of Uva Ursi and of Corn Silk powder, and I took them home at lunch time. I got home and first went outside to snip some catnip, parsley, and Uva Ursi leaves. I left these on the floor near the front door, but she wasn’t interested in any of them: even the catnip! Next I put some leftover onion and artichoke pizza in the toaster oven to warm up for ME, and ground up an old cranberry tablet one of the girls at work gave me, and put a pinch of it in their drinking water. I then opened up the bag of Uva Ursi and Pumpkin sniffed at it for a few seconds and turned away. Then I opened up the bag of Corn Silk powder and she lit right up! She actually licked it off of my finger! I sprinkled some next to her food dish and she licked it off of the surface until the dryness of it made her make funny faces as she licked the roof of her mouth. Even Scootie, my other cat, liked it and ate a little of it.

Woo hoo! Isn’t it amazing how animals know what is good for them and what they need? I’m so stoked! I’ll keep giving it to her as long as she’ll take it, and I’ll watch her cat-box habits very closely for the next week or so. If it works out very well I might write my vet and give him the suggestion of Corn Silk for urinary tract relief.