- Math relearning – I started the week learning about literate programming just in case I wanted to succumb to the temptation to overdo things by using it, but by Thursday my project time had been taken over by diet planning, so I’m giving myself yet another week on math before I officially break for other projects.
- Diet – I had my blood test for lipids on Monday morning and got the results back in the evening, and the new verdict (drumroll): A low-carb, high-fat diet is (maybe) still bad for my health, with total cholesterol about the same, LDL slightly better but still bad, and triglycerides significantly worse than its earlier bad amount, though HDL was slightly better than its earlier good amount, but my HDL has been fine since way before I tried a LCHF diet. My doctor thinks the problem might be a side effect of my medications, which with Humira is possible (hypercholesterolemia common, hypertriglyceridemia rare, though hyperlipidemia is apparently common, and that covers both), and he wants me to continue the LCHF diet. But I’m a selective rebel, and I have something else in mind to try–the TLC diet (PDF) I mentioned a while back, which is a low-fat diet recommended by the government, so last week I gave LCHF its last hurrah while I planned my new diet (which included three hours of shopping, half of which I blame on my annoying gluten-free experiment), which I will track with the impressive MyNetDiary app and evaluate in 9 weeks with another lipids test using my home kit, which on my first trial gave numbers that were in the ballpark of the lab’s test but somewhat worse.
- Ulcerative colitis – 3 1/2 weeks left for my gluten-free experiment, then 1 1/2 weeks for a dairy-free experiment; and if both of those fail, as I mightily hope, I’ll talk to my gastroenterologist about Remicade. Yes, potentially expensive medical treatments that require visiting an office for two hours every two months sound better to me than cutting large categories of food out of my diet.
- Daily routine – On Wednesday I finally took the plunge and moved my exercise and devotions/meditation to the mornings so they’d happen more consistently and so my evenings would be simpler and easier to manage, so now my next scheduling problem to tackle is getting more sleep. The last straw that got me to switch my routine was my new TLC diet, which includes regular, moderate exercise, and I really want to give this diet a fair shot, which incidentally feels more possible for me now than it ever would have before, partly thanks to my time on the LCHF diet, I have to admit. I even tried jogging a couple of days, but it was miserable, so I’ve gone back to walking, and I’m looking into getting a bike, which I never thought I’d do.
- Spirituality – My morning routine now includes half an hour of meditation, which will be following the exercises in The Mind Illuminated, though I view this meditation as mental training rather than spiritual development, so I’m thinking of adding some actual devotional time somewhere in my schedule, probably centering on lectio divina. I finished listening to The Pursuit of God during my walks, and it was good, but the reader’s tone of voice was a little stern, and I felt like I was being scolded the whole time.
- Fringe theories – I’ve been binge listening to skeptical podcasts, specifically Exposing PseudoAstronomy and QuackCast, the latter of which was motivated by my frustration while reading the comments on an article that evaluated the GAPS diet, which some people use as a treatment for ulcerative colitis (but I won’t).
- Books – I’ve been impulse buying semi-pricey academic ebooks lately, and I only feel slightly bad about it because these topics are so important to me. Last week it was Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, and I’m eyeing a few others on related cognitive topics.
- Work – The interesting opportunity from last week was that I got a surprise email inviting me to speak about ebook production at a publishing conference. It didn’t end up working out, but I was pleased and grateful to be invited, and it gave me a little more insight into the kinds of circumstances that can lead to opportunities like that: relationships you’ve built with people who are doing important work in your field, especially if the work you’re involved with is also of interest to them. But I like authenticity, so I think it’s important to build these relationships for their own sake and not just for self-serving purposes, though I think there will be some degree of self-interest mixed in with any relationship.
- Worship team – Sunday our new worship minister caught me after church to ask if I’d be open to switching to his team to balance out the leadership between the teams better, to which I said yes, so that might be happening.
Do you think you’ll eventually speak at a conference? Would you want to?
If I end up in cognitive science, especially if it’s in academia, I’m sure I will, if only at academic conferences. Public speaking isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I do care about spreading ideas, and conference talks are a good avenue for that. I’ll have some interesting news about all this in the next update.