Self-Unmedicating

A couple weeks ago the Alchemist and I decided to ditch Vitamin A(lcohol) except for special occasions. It’s amazing how much better we feel and we’re saving money to boot! I felt so good that I thought it was time to re-examine other aspects of my personal health. One of my favorite bloggers does periodic counter-evidence studies where he goes through certain ideological movements specifically to challenge his own convictions. This is kind of the same thing.

  • Alcohol. This is a clear win already. That said, if I could get a great IPA without the alcohol, I’d be in heaven. I always drank more for the taste than the chemical effects. My pocketbook is happier that the chemical effects cannot, largely speaking, be divorced from the taste.
  • SSRI anti-depressant. I’ve written about this periodically here as well as on my private journal elsewhere on the Net but I’ve struggled with depression on and off for a few years. Actually, I think I’m closer to bi-polar, but that’s never been officially diagnosed. All I know is I have both depressed and manic states. Anyways, I’ve been off my medication for about a week and feel solid. Based on my previous experience coming off of neurotransmitter affecting drugs, this will be a full-on win. Right now I’ll call it a probable win.
  • Probiotic. A couple years ago I was sick. Sick all the time. One of those sicknesses where you lose 60 pounds in a year when you’re NOT trying to lose weight (but I needed to, so it’s all good). I went on a couple variations of the elimination diet where you eat rice, some fruits, and that’s basically it for a couple weeks – and then slowly add possible trigger foods back in. That netted an undiagnosed peanut allergy and taught me I have to be very careful about my dairy intake. But I still needed to take the damn probiotics at $15/month even knowing this! The last time I tried going off, I felt awful immediately, but I’ve been off a few days and feel…okay. I won’t go TMI about my GI system, but things are different, yet within the realm of normal. I’m hoping this is a win, but it’s too early to tell.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. For all I know, the instant you stop one of your medications you’ll die or go batshit insane. Blah, blah, blah.

The past 10 months have dramatically questioned my lifestyle and outlook on the world. I never want to stop questioning. I love the mantra David Cain uses: “right now, at this moment, what is the best thing I can do?”

Life is a journey, and we’re self-assembling machines constantly adapting to new conditions.

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9 Comments on “Self-Unmedicating”

  1. Glad you are doing so well and hope it continues! I’ve gone the opposite way this month, but not by choice. I have “a touch of asthma” and it’s always dreadful in a new place. I can usually get by without a control medicine, but I was puffing albuterol AT LEAST three times a day (conventional wisdom: two puffs per week means you need to add or adjust your control medicine) and not always getting good results.

    So I called my old doctor from PA and had them call in some Flovent to a pharmacy where I was vacationing. Damn, it hurts to fork over two hundred dollars for medicine.* Two hundred! For a two-month supply! On the other hand, I was pretty clearly going to wheeze myself into the emergency room, which would have been a case of what the Victorians used to call “penny wise and pound foolish.” Sigh.

    *Currently have only catastrophic insurance. Our old insurance had a $250 prescription deductible anyway, so I still would have been out the two hundred.

    • David says:

      Yeowch!

      Are your allergies/asthma triggered primarily indoor or outdoor? I haven’t had asthma attacks since I was a kid, but I’ve definitely had indoor and outdoor allergies bother me. For indoors, a HEPA vacuum and a HEPA filter oversized for the bedroom at night works pretty damn well. Depending on the grade furnace filter you have, running the furnace fan 24/7 when the windows are closed can also help.

      For outdoors, some friends of mine swear by getting LOCAL honey at a farmer’s market (or a yuppie-hippie store). Take one tsp daily as “medicine”. This helps inoculate your body against the local pollen.

      • Allergies are mostly outdoor, but I just can’t stand to have the windows closed when the weather is nice. But the relationship between the asthma and the allergies seems complicated–controlling allergies doesn’t help the asthma much, and last year it was quite bad in the winter. I’ve heard that about local honey, though. We have a Groupon for the farmer’s market and I’ll have to see if I can find some–it can’t hurt!

  2. frugalwoods says:

    I’ve cut way back on the beer over the last couple of months. As much for cost as health, but still. My standard is now 1 beer on friday night, 1 on saturday night.

    I’m a huge fan of session IPAs. Founder’s All Day IPA is great, and won’t hit you in the face with alcohol.

    I’m going to sound like an old grump, but it really bothers me how tons of interesting specialty beers also seem to feel like they need 8% alcohol. In many cases, the alcohol covers up the interesting flavors!

    Anyway, good luck with the health stuff. Here’s to frugal, healthy living!

    • David says:

      Yup, I’m a huge fan of All-Day IPA, which of course is only a “session” beer by American standards :P. A true session beer is more like 3 or 3.5%.

      It will probably be my go-to for when we do want to consume – bonus because the Alchemist and I usually split a good beer about 70/30.

  3. Andrew says:

    Love your blog! We’ve been using your granola recipe a lot lately.

    Your story is similar to mine. I recently gave up alcohol completely. I went from quitting liquor, to only wine and beer (which I enjoy the best), to giving it up completely for two weeks. I certainly feel healthier and better overall. Even though I was only having about one beer per night, I certainly would crave it as a method of relaxation and enjoyment or release from stress – though ironically I feel less stressed overall not having it at all.

    Also a few years ago I had huge sudden weight losses and it turned out I was lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant. They had bothered me for years, but it seemed to culminate at a point. It also had a major impact on my environmental allergies after a couple years – way less stuffy nose during the spring/summer/fall.

    WRT pro-biotics, you could try yogurt. If you’re lactose sensitive, goat yogurt isn’t as harsh, or you can ferment at home for a long-period, then strain out the whey, which removes most of the lactose. Most of the live cultures you get from the pills are in the yogurt.

    • David says:

      Glad you like the granola recipe!

      It’s not gluten (thankfully, I love my dense wheat bread) and it’s not lactose (best as I can tell). I think it’s some other form of allergy/sensitivity to dairy protein. I do like yoghurt. I currently buy Mountain High, as it’s the closest I can come to what my Mom made growing up, but it’s on my list of foods to learn DIY. The grocery store I go to has a decent amount of goat products, maybe I’ll try the yoghurt.

      My current food DIY project is overhauling all of my baking recipes from 50/50 whole wheat/white to 100% whole wheat. Almost done. Tortillas (check), pancakes (check), sweet breads (check), pastry crusts (check) – and I’m probably only a couple iterations away from nailing my no-knead recipe as well.

      My food issues definitely had a HUGE sinus component. It was the severe sinus infections and the dizziness/nausea from them that contributed the worst weight loss.

  4. Dr. Doom says:

    Awesome that you are trying to cut the A out. Many people find that after a month or so they barely think about it. Although yeah, IPAs are nice. I barely drink myself nowadays but once in a while I crave the bite of a good hoppy brew.

  5. […] and she specifically requested “burgers and hot dogs”. We recently made the decision to limit alcohol to special occasions only, so beverage spending will continue to […]


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