So I was flipping through Hulu the other night trying to watch something so I could fall asleep. There was this movie called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I thought that looked interesting, as it was an apt description of how I felt some of the time. I am not sure why, but the movie was really cool. I thought for sure I would not finish it, but I watched it all the way through. Joe is a likeable enough guy, a good natured Aussie who was fat. He decided to live off of nothing but fresh made juice for 60 days. I happen to love fresh made juice, and I have an old Champion juicer I bought used off of eBay several years ago.
But the really interesting thing was he was suffering from a rare immune deficiency that manifested itself with skin problems. I could relate to that too, as the psoriasis has spread while I was in China. I thought I would get it under control once I was back in the U.S., but I cannot seem to beat it back, and this has worried me.
In an odd twist I was already juicing carrots and tomatoes for the last 3 weeks. I had noticed that I was able to skip some evening meals without it really bothering me. I eliminated all red meat over a week ago. Since returning to the U.S. on 5/20 I have lost 5 lbs, and I have been moving pretty consistently with a daily loss of .2 lbs for the last week. But I would like to lose more than 1.4 lbs a week, so I have ramped up my exercise program.
I wanted to do the full juice fast but I was not certain I could pull it off. I love food. I love everything about the preparation, the presentation, the sharing experience with people I like to be around. So I started juicing just a couple of times a day, but still preparing a meal, or having shredded wheat for breakfast. I made this killer dish with cauliflower, leeks and riccotta cheese. You run it all through the food processor and it comes out just like mashed potatoes. It is ridiculously good. But after thinking about it I believe I can do the full tilt, juice only diet. I know I can do it for a while, and the incentive to do it long term is pretty big. These guys were dropping 50+ pounds in 60 days. And if I am going to do it I need to do it now, because I cannot do it in China. The logistics of getting fresh, safe produce, and being able to wash that much produce in purified water, would be impossible. But here it is easy.
The payoff is huge in other ways. If I could get the psoriasis under control or even make it go away. If I could reduce my blood sugar so that I do not have to take medication... these things are very big. Just to see the look on Annie's face if I could walk up to her weighing 200 lbs in some nice clothes, that would be worth anything to me. I do not think it is impossible, I would just have to get through the first 10 days and I think it would get much easier after that.
Ever wonder what the sun would look like from the surface of Venus? Beijing in the afternoon - no cloud cover.
The AQI in Beijing is hanging around 460 for the second day in a row. It is really tough to deal with the constant feeling of sickness. Last night I completely skipped dinner because I just felt too strung out to even go outside for food. These types of days are dangerous and your best bet is to stay inside and run the air purifier full blast in your room. Today I had to go out to get food for dinner tonight and to take care of a few things before the Spring Festival. This last trip back to the U.S. I picked up a serious N100 breathing mask from 3M. It makes a huge difference, and while it is still not good to go outside at least I can mitigate some of the damage by wearing this between buildings.
I have lapsed on working on this blog for a couple of weeks but I should have some additional things posted over the next few days. My wife's cousin fell ill with a respiratory infection and was hospitalized for 9 days but luckily she is better now. That experience, plus my own bout with illness has made me determined to finish up my posts describing life in China so that expats can have a better understanding of what they are getting into when moving here. There are some other changes I want to make to keep this place fun and useful. This week should be a good one to get a few things completed. Mainly because for the last 5 days the air pollution has been very bad and going outside is not a very good idea.
Today is especially bad with the AQI being around 380 as of 2pm this afternoon. Even inside with the IQAir unit running on 5 the effects for me are pretty bad. What happens to me is my chest aches and generally I get slightly nauseous and very, very tired. It is important to take good care of yourself because what happens is a weakening of your system from getting hit with things back-to-back or simultaneously. Thats when you can get nailed with a really nasty problem that requires being put in a hospital (like what happened to Bella). It is a brutal, toxic environment and you really cannot afford to let your guard down.
I have been wrecked for 3 days with a double bout of giardia frosted with the common cold. Its been a nasty time and has brought back memories of May 2010. Back then I managed to contract a black fungus in my ear and it took until August before I was finally able to get that cured back in the U.S.
People are always asking me what the air pollution is like and saying "like living on Venus" doesn't really give much detail. So I put some things together to better describe some of the aspects of it. Everybody is different, I can only describe what it is like for me. But a picture is - as they say - worth a 1000 words.