Monday, November 29, 2010

Royally Bad Coffee

We signed up for a cruise. I was a little concerned about finding allergy-safe food but with assurances from Royal Caribbean personnel and a choice of three restaurants on board, I felt that I could find adequate food. (However, I did bring a bag filled with snacks just to be sure. )

Since I recently started on a heartburn medication, I was looking forward to being able to drinking decaf coffee with meals. At the first dinner, I had a rude awakening.

My cup of decaf had a scorched, acrid smell. I asked the waiter if any other kind was available. "No madam," he informed me, "All the coffee on the ship is Shattle's Best." That's how he pronounced it, but I knew what he meant.

I asked if another restaurant would have a different brand. I don't care for Seattle coffee, and the so-called "Best" is actually the city's worst, at least in the decaffeinated version. Even if I could get past the odor, the taste is not pleasant and I'll always associate it with the severe chest pain I suffered after drinking it at Burger King.

But no, the entire ship serve's Seattle's Best exclusively. And not only do they not provide coffee makers in the staterooms, they don't allow passengers to bring their own. I imagine I could have got away with bringing in a French press but I did not pack one.

So there I was at the dinner table, horrified with the prospect of spending nine long days on a ship without decent coffee. And when my dinner arrived, it was mediocre. I ate part of it, trying not to look unhappy in front of the strangers we were seated with. But before dessert was served, I made an excuse and left. I made it back to our room before letting the tears of frustration flow.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lactose Intolerant? It's Normal.

Wow, 60% of adults can't digest milk! If your ancestry is not northern European, the odds are that you can't handle lactose.
"Somewhat less than 40% of people in the world retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood. The numbers are often given as close to 0% of Native Americans, 5% of Asians, 25% of African and Caribbean peoples, 50% of Mediterranean peoples and 90% of northern Europeans."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In a word: GERD

I got the results from a recent endoscopy: I have GERD. That's Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. The usual symptom is heartburn, which I get once in a while but not so often that I expected it to show up on the examination. And I thought I was controlling it through diet, but apparently not that successfully.

It turns out that there other symptoms of GERD. Ones that I often had were chest pain and coughing.

The gastroenterologist gave me samples of Nexium. It seems to be working and I have had decaf coffee several times in restaurants without getting chest pain, and I even had a meatloaf lunch that usually causes heartburn without experiencing it. So I'm happy that the medication is effective.

A nurse told me that it can actually cure the condition so I won't be on the pills forever. This is great news, but for now I'm thrilled to be able to eat out without getting sick.

See: NIH page on GERD

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Tap Water is Not Bad but ...

I had a lab test samples of our tap water just in case it was contributing to unresolved health issues. The results finally came back and in some ways they were good.

Our water is clean. No significant contaminants or e. coli bacteria were found.

The negative finding is that the water has a pH of 6.34 which is somewhat acid. It is quite low in minerals such as calcium which normally bring the pH up to a normal level which is between 6.5 and 8.5. (Low pH is acid, high pH is alkaline.)

Perhaps this is a temporary situation brought on my acid rainfall. I'll have to repeat the pH test to see.

Low pH in water can cause corrosion in pipes. Healthwise, the corresponding lack of minerals in the water might contribute to osteoporosis so I need get plenty of minerals by eating enough vegetables.

Related articles on the web: