Paying The Price.

Friday, November 29, 1996


hat heretofore unnoticed bulge just above your waistline and now blocking the view of your feet is the result of the copious Thanksgiving dinner you had yesterday. Mine too. I'm sure it was very, very good. But now you'll have to pay the price for your epicurean pleasure trip. And what a price it will be. Seltzer and Tagamet®, anyone?
Actually, there are many better things to take than prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Here's some simple, safe and inexpensive ways of quickly alleviating indigestion. Stop by Health World On-Line for an array of safe and natural ideas.
For stomach problems generally, a number of herbal remedies can help. Peppermint (mentha piperita) tea is wonderful for nausea, indigestion, and some cases of heartburn (but because it relaxes the sphincter where the esophagus joins the stomach, it can worsen esophageal reflux syndrome, in which stomach acid irritates the lower esophagus). In general, it soothes the lining of the digestive tract. Buy pure peppermint tea, brew it in a covered container to retain the volatile components, and drink it hot or iced. Chamomille is also excellent for heartburn and indigestion, and will not aggravate esophageal reflux. You can buy it in tea bags in a supermarket - steep in hot water in a covered container for 10 minutes, and then enjoy the tea. The smart thing to do first before you get indigestion, is to eliminate the causes: smoking, coffee, tea, soft drinks, dairy products, grease and people that give you agita or that you just plain dislike.

The Big Snooze.

Every Thanksgiving and every Christmas including yesterday I've fallen asleep after eating huge meals of turkey, filling, mashed potatos, gravy, breads, dozens of veggies, pies, cakes and very vintage vino, holy nectar of the gods (Bacchus, Latin god of wine and celebration). So when I saw this article at HotWired's Dr. Weil, it struck me right in the old gut:

I always find after eating a big turkey dinner that I'm sleepy. What is the natural substance found in turkey that aids the sleep process? And what, if anything, can I do about this?

You're thinking of L-tryptophan, a natural sedative. It's a normal constituent of turkey flesh, and often viewed as the cause of a certain sleepiness common to the post-turkey Thanksgiving crowd. This amino acid is a component of many plant and animal proteins, and a normal part of the diet that humans must get from outside sources. It is also the starting material from which the brain makes serotonin, which calms you down and makes you sleepy. L-tryptophan was a very popular sleeping aid in the United States until recently, and was also used for premenstrual syndrome and depression.

But the Food and Drug Administration pulled it off the market in 1990 because of a sudden outbreak of eosinophilic-myalgia syndrome among people who had taken the supplement. About 5,000 people got sick and 27 died. Eosinophilic-myalgia, which is characterized by muscle pain, weakness, and joint pain, is serious and sometimes fatal. An investigation into the connection with L-tryptophan traced the problem to a contaminated batch of the supplement made by a Japanese company, Showa Denko KK, which had changed its fermentation process to incorporate genetically engineered bacteria, and had also lessened the amount of charcoal it used to purify the product. Nevertheless, the FDA did not relax its ban, reasoning that it's still not clear whether manufacturers can make a product that isn't toxic. However, L-tryptophan is still available by prescription in Canada.

If you're looking for the sedative effect, though, it's unlikely you'll get it from eating meats like turkey. L-tryptophan doesn't act on the brain unless you take it on an empty stomach with no protein present.
So I don't think the amino acid is
to blame for the sudden lethargy that hits just about when it's time to do dishes. That's more likely due to drinking alcohol and overeating - not just turkey, but mashed potatoes, cranberries, yams, peas, carrots, bread, pies, and whipped cream - which pulls all the blood away from your brain as your stomach begins the arduous task of digesting an overload.

What can you do? Don't use the holidays as an excuse to binge. Don't use food or alcohol to cover up emotions (many of us are sad and lonely during the holidays). And, after a delicious dinner, take a good long walk and breathe.

And while we're talking turkey, I'd suggest getting an organic one for your Thanksgiving table. Most commercial turkeys contain growth hormones, antibiotics, and other additives incongruous with a healthy body.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Two Wheelers.

There are lots of way that each of us has to pay the piper, so to speak. Some more serious than others. Here's a cogent example.
When I used to work in the advertising industry in NYC during the 70s and 80s, the quickest way to get packages around Midtown Manhattan to other companies was a bicycle messenger. A whole new industry sprang up overnight, it seemed. Thousands of people were recklessly-riding and weaving through traffic, up on the sidewalks, right through intersections against the lights. Some got hit by cars and seriously injured, a few were whacked. That's a terrible price to pay for a $20 package. Here's "their" list of gripes as I remember them...

Pet Peeves Of
New York City Bicycle Messengers:

10.Ambulance drivers refuse to give right of way.

9.Getting poked in the eye by a cabbie flipping someone off.

8.Dennis Hopper always sneering, "Hey! Easy Rider!"

7.Arrogant hot dog vendors who think they own the sidewalk.

6.Most businesses just aren't impressed by the use of cards in the spokes.

5.Pedestrian blood is always mucking-up your gears.

4.JFK, Jr. constantly asking for fashion tips. 3.Can't take your Huffy on the Information Superhighway without getting flattened by some wise-ass driving a Pentium.

2.Robert Downey, Jr. taking a catnap on the sidewalk.

1.Any trip involving the invitro clinic.

Payment On A Grand Scale.

For every action we take, there is a concurrent reaction somewhere in the universe. What we think, say and especially, do, has an effect, somewhere. Good or bad.
In an age where the world population is approaching ten billion 10,000,000,000 the pale blue-green orb we inhabit is almost overloaded in its capacity to replenish its natural resources and reserves.
Soon, whole nations and then civilizations will go to war over rice in the 21st Century. Rice? Sure, it's a staple food of almost 60% of the world's peoples. North Korea, India and China are prime examples of nations currently experiencing weather patterns that are destroying crops on a scale never seen before in this lifetime. And because of the deterioration of the earth's ability to heal itself, the negative, natural changes will continue to accelerate. If everyone consciously tried to do a part in reducing stress on the earth, a measurable difference would be noticed and felt. However, we both know that won't happen in this lifetime.
What's we're leaving to the ensuing generations to deal with, and the resultant hell that the ecosystem will continue to go through, is a sad legacy this civilization will be leaving to a posterity yet unnamed. The next century will be an interesting time for those living in that period.

70 Years of Macy's Parades

Gowing up in the midwest, I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever seeing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live, but I watched all or some of it on TV every year. The floats look big on the tube, and from firsthand experience, I can tell you they are very, very damn big! When a gust of wind comes along, as often happens in those glass canyons, it's all those people on the guide wires can do to hold a 150-million-cubic-foot-of-helium-float from ending up in the stratosphere. I've seen some of those guys go for real short rides just before they let go of the rope. Wow! What a ride down! I'll stay down here, thanks.
It wasn't until I was actually working in The Big Apple that I had a chance to do that and attend many other events that are part of New York City's legacy to its residents and whomever wishes to participate. I saw about twn minutes of The Parade on TV yesterday, in between our family gathering and feast, football games, computer work and snoozing with my two housecats. They ate turkey like pigs too. Shame on them!

Feel Better.
Punch someone out! No, not just anyone: take aim ar Bill Gates, Wacko Jacko, John Tesh, Martha Stewart or William Shatner. Go visit Celebrity Punching Bag and have at it with those you love to hate.

Ed's Views.

I don't know how I find sites like this, but somehow I run across them. Visit Ed Anger and read all the rants he writes about. Many like capital punishment and what to do with criminals I agree with wholeheartedly. Screw the crybaby liberals; reform doesn't work. Simply, quickly and cheaply execute the criminal scum without any mercy.
There'll be some things you'll agree with and many you don't, but it's worth a read when you've nothing else in the email in-basket to answer. Now don't send me any email about some of the stuff; send it to Ed!

J o h nS h e l l e y

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