Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tuna Melt Patties

So as a quick update, I've lost about 12 pounds on the "I just had my wisdom teeth pulled and eating hurts and is gross" diet.  I had some complications that made eating solid food even worse than it would have been, although lately I've been doing pretty good.

My blood pressure has been at a reasonable-for-now 135/85.  Not down to my goal yet, but getting there.

I thought I'd put up an recipe I made for something soft.  I took the picture back in January but I'll probably make a salmon version tonight (because I've recently learned tuna makes me feel awful).

Tuna Melt Patties

  • 2 cans of tuna (I've done this with solid albacore as well as chunk light; the former is higher in omega-3 fatty acids)
  • About a half cup of shredded cheddar cheese (you can omit this if you'd like but it'll be more a tuna burger than a tuna melt patty)
  • 1 egg
  • Friendly oil (butter, ghee, coconut oil, etc) for frying
Put the tuna and egg in a mixing bowl.  Mix it up good with a hand mixer so it's nice and smooth, almost like a mousse.  Add the cheese.

Oil the pan and heat it to medium-high.  Form the batter into patties... it can be difficult to get it to stay together, perseverance is key.  Lay them out on the pan.  I cooked them for about three minutes on each side.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Like my recipes/resources? Please consider donating to my medical bills fund.

I've been updating this blog pretty regularly about my New Year Resolution, which was to get my dental care back to a reasonably adequate level.  I had my wisdom teeth removed on Friday the 6th, and although I've had some annoying-as-hell complications (notably a big old hole between my mouth and my sinus cavity due to the root of an upper tooth being long enough to reach into it), I'm recovering reasonably well and hopefully will be eating more solid food soon (I managed some chicken and broccoli today).

The thing is, the wisdom teeth were only step one.  My teeth have been neglected for years, and as such there is loads more work to be done.  Because of this, I'm sincerely asking for your help.

I've opened a campaign on YouCaring called "Help Save Jackson's Smile."  If you are able to in any way, please consider donating a few dollars to help me get cavities filled and other odds and ends that need to be dealt with.  If I by some miracle make the original amount, anything extra will go to helping pay off my wisdom tooth extraction as well as the other medical bills I have to pay.

Not a fan of YouCaring?  My PayPal donate button is also a great option, as pretty much any money I make anywhere is going to be eventually paying for my teeth anyway.

Can't donate?  I understand!  Please consider sharing the YouCaring page (or this one).  This would be extremely appreciated!

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Hypertension and Dental Health Update

I wrote already in A Tale of Medical Woo and Woe, which talks about how there was an extended period of time where I refused basic medical care under the impression that anything pharmaceutical was automatically just Big Pharma trying to make a buck off things that are harmless, cosmetic, etc.  As an update, I have oral surgery scheduled for this Friday to get all four wisdom teeth removed.  Right now I'm looking for some reasonably paleo foods to eat during the recovery period after.  For some clarity, I've been having a rough time keeping paleo at all due to finances, stress, food addiction, etc... but I'm hoping to get back on that train.

I have a feeling it's mostly going to be mashed potatoes, gravy, smoothies, and soup.  Yeah, mashed potatoes aren't the greatest choice for somebody my size, but they're better than what I've been eating lately.  According to the oral surgeon it'll only be a few days and I should be back reasonably solid food, and I should be back at work the following Monday, if achy.

Before going to the oral surgeon, I went to a regular dentist.  I know that I have at least two or three cavities, but since I was a vegan for three years without ever once visiting a dentist I have a feeling there are many more than that lurking in my teeth.  I have a comprehensive dental exam about a week after the wisdom tooth removal. So that's my dental health update.  My New Year resolution is to get my teeth back to a healthy state so I can once again focus on prevention.  So far it's going well!

I've been trying different hypertension medications.  I don't know if these are going to wind up being a "forever drug" like testosterone typically is and am still hoping that I'll be able to get off them in the future.  But regardless, it's a much better option that dying of a heart attack before I'm 35.  I know I wrote something about it and then recalled it as a draft due to some problems I was having with the med.  The first med I tried lowered my blood pressure so fast and so effectively that I was excited and wrote this essay about how relieved I was.  Then the side effects came and I thought "Maybe I jumped the gun, here."  So this is where I'm at now:

First Drug: Lisinopril HCTZ
This is actually two drugs, the lisinopril (an ACE inhibitor) and HCTZ (a diuretic).  This brought me down to a normal blood pressure very rapidly, but the side effects were just too damn much.  I started getting a weird sinus pressure in my face that felt like somebody was pinching the bridge of my nose, and it floated all around the sinus area (under the eyes, by the brows, all around the nose, sometimes it felt like it was behind my eyes).  It was almost constant.  I wound up with chills and went to the ER super dehydrated.  The worst, though, was that my limbs randomly started to stop working properly.  I'd get pins and needles, legs falling asleep, and crushing weakness.  I had to talk to my doctor about this because I was just about to start a new job, and that sort of weakness would impair me just too much.

Second Drug: Losartan
Losartan is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, although I'm not entirely sure what that means.  Like ACE inhibitors I think it relaxes or widens your blood vessels.  Losartan was so much better than lisinopril as far as the side effects.  Everything went away except for the occasional sinus pressure, usually when I lay down and not for very long.  The main problem was that it hardly lowered my blood pressure at all.  Due to the side effect my doctor had me change again.

Third Drug: Metoprolol Succinate
This is a drug that I believe actually slows your heart rate.  I've only been on it a couple of days.  The sinus pressure is beginning to fade (with doctor supervision I did an experiment with the lisinopril HCTZ where I went off it for a week and started it again, and it took almost the week for it to go away, so we'll see how it goes).  Because I don't tolerate blood pressure medication very well, I'm starting on a low dose, so it's unlikely I'll reach my goal blood pressure on this dose.  I hear from the Internets that it'll take about a week to see the maximum effect, so fingers crossed I don't need a whole lot of it.

It's important that I start really working on my diet so that I can avoid sabotaging my medication and maybe even go off it in the future.  I've been working with a hypertension counselor from my insurance, but there's a problem:  She's really into standard dietary advice.  She insists I try things that I already know from experience don't work for me, like lowering sodium (although doing so while also increasing potassium certainly does help; it's shocking to me how none of the doctors talking to me about hypertension ever bring up potassium!), and will basically not let go of her irrational fear of saturated fat.  It's not her fault specifically, this is what all of us were taught in school, after all.  One of the great parts of this is that talking to her really does motivate me to do things that I do know work.

Which brings me to my last blood pressure update, and it's a scary one for me.  Due to work I've been walking for miles daily, up stairs, down stairs, down halls, for hours at a time.  This in the past has brought my blood pressure down a lot.  Back when I was trying harder to stay off blood pressure medication than I was trying to keep my blood pressure down, it used to be a sure thing to go for a good five mile walk daily for a couple days prior to a doctor appointment, which would bring it down enough to squeak by.  It's not doing anything this time, which suggests either that it's way worse than it was last year or the walking doesn't work anymore.  Whatever the case, I do need to start using my gym membership, whether it helps my blood pressure or not.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Have A Non-Paleo But Grain-Free Meatless-Monday Recipe

Well that was a lot of hyphens.  Anyway, I moved to a different city a few weeks ago, to a beautiful neighborhood with lots of opportunities for good food and self-improvement, which was one of the points of moving anyway.  My last living situation was one that practically guaranteed I'd have a hard time eating good food, because the building itself was depressing, living there was wasteful, I was isolated from friends due to distance, and my father was constantly pressuring me to eat things that I'm addicted to but was trying to avoid.  Obviously things are still really difficult for me, but the move has made things a hell of a lot better.

Anyway, I probably have mentioned before (if not here then definitely elsewhere) that I try to keep on hand the ingredients and knowledge necessary to throw a vegetarian dish together that won't make me feel like I've swallowed a key at three in the morning*.  They're not always paleo or primal but they're also not terrible and meet the requirements of any vegetarian or vegan friends I may have over.

I've also just been trying to eat less meat in general, which is a sin among some paleo enthusiasts but which I have chosen to do for the environmental benefits, as getting meat with a lower environmental footprint is difficult and expensive.

This recipe is one I've done a lot of times before when I don't want to spend a lot of time cooking but I nonetheless would like something resembling curry.  Alright: I didn't do very well at all capturing the measurements used for this recipe.  But it's really something that I probably vary from day to day anyway.

Tofu and Broccoli Quick Curry

  • 1 pound frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 pound firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • about a teaspoon or two curry powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • coconut milk
  • cayenne pepper
  • black pepper
  • coconut oil, ghee, or a mix of both
  • salt
Melt the oil and/or ghee in a frying pan and add the tofu.  Add the curry powder and brown on at least two sides (all sides would be preferable but I'm often lazy).  When I cook tofu I tend to leave it on the heat for a really long time, like I'll go do some cleaning if I'm impatient, because I do not like the taste of raw tofu.  This will depend on your personal tastes.

Add the broccoli, stir a bit, and then add coconut milk until you get a ratio of solid-to-liquid that strikes you as appropriate (One of the reasons I've never gotten an accurate measurement here is because for me that varies from meal to meal.  Sometimes I want a lot of liquid, sometimes I don't.).  Add curry paste in the same manner (taste it periodically until you get an amount that doesn't taste bland) and a few sprinkles of black and cayenne pepper.

At this point, since all of the stuff in the dish was already cooked, you really only need to warm the coconut milk.  If you want to cook it longer so the flavors all marry together, that's certainly fine.  Add the salt at the end, to taste.

Some Recipe Notes and Variations
  • You could un-vegetarianize this recipe by replacing the tofu with chicken or pork.
  • If you want it to stay vegetarian but want it to be paleo, you can omit the tofu entirely.
  • You can put practically any vegetables in this.  California blend vegetables--with carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli florets--work great.
  • You can also use red curry paste, I just typically use green.

* - I know I mentioned that I am allergic to wheat, but I don't think I mentioned that the weirdest fucking symptom ever that I get from eating wheat is that I wake up at unnatural hours convinced I have swallowed something that isn't food, like a pen or a fork or a key.  One time I was convinced I swallowed my cell phone.  Fucking weird.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Paleo Diet: The Worst Diet? Well, no.

It's that time of year again.  People are getting into their (likely short lived) New Year Resolutions, and for a significant amount of the population that means attempts at weight loss.  It's also the time of year that people keep passing around this list of "top rated diets" on which paleo consistently ranks near the bottom.  Much like the appalling article claiming gluten-free diets are dangerous if you don't have celiac disease, this gets tossed around by people who have vendettas against specific diets for whatever reason.

This year the paleo diet ranked #35--dead last.  Diets that this list inexplicably thinks are better than paleo include the raw food diet and the macrobiotic diet.  Wait... paleo is worse than the raw food diet?  I might have snorted when I read that.  Anyway, because anybody who actually takes even half a second to look at what a paleo eater actually eats--perhaps without putting the label "paleo" on it--will recognize that it's a diet rich in whole, real foods... I couldn't fathom why paleo was somehow beaten out by the raw food diet of all things.  So I decided to look at the standards they're using for ranking these diets as well as what they specifically say about paleo.

And unshockingly, this is a pretty goddamn useless list.

Weight Loss, Short Term and Long Term

I should reiterate that for many people paleo is not a weight loss diet.  In my own case, although I want to lose weight, I'm largely satisfied if I even so much as eliminate the symptoms of my wheat allergy and odd reactions to brown rice.  Still, weight loss is a huge factor in why people diet, so it's important to look at.  They gave paleo a score of 2.1 for short-term weight loss and 1.7 for long-term weight loss.  With such specific figures you know they must have a reason, right?

Looking at the dedicated page for the paleo diet on the site, though, you learn that research on both short- and long-term weight loss among paleo dieters is practically non-existent.  This is extremely disconcerting, because until you look at the data and specifically click on these diets it's pretty much marketed as a definitive list of good vs. bad diets.  To quote the website's "Will You Lose Weight" header:

No way to tell. Paleo diets haven’t yet drawn the attention of many researchers. One tiny study that looked at weight loss found that 14 participants lost an average of about 5 pounds after three weeks on a Paleo regimen. (But even the researchers called their study “underpowered.”) Still, if you build a “calorie deficit” into your Paleo plan – eating fewer calories than your daily recommended max, or burning off extra by exercising – you should shed some pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you.
I think it's perfectly reasonable to state that the paleo diet doesn't have enough empirical data supporting whether or not it's really a good weight-loss diet.  The problem is that not knowing if a diet is effective isn't the same as the diet being documentedly ineffective.  So basically, two of the criteria they use are already useless.

My favorite part is their "no shit Sherlock" statement that a calorie deficit will help you lose weight.


They give paleo a score of 2.0.   For some context, they give the vegan diet--a diet that if unsupplemented is life-threatening--a 2.8.  Looking again at the specific page for the paleo diet, it's easy to see why they gave it such a low score, which is that they are using USDA guidelines as their only standard.  This is actually a flaw in the entire idea of being able to rank diets on a simple scale and not just with the people who created the list.  They needed a simple way of gauging whether or not the diets are nutritionally adequate and used the RDA guidelines because, well, it seems pretty obvious... without mentioning even once on their whole page that practically every major paleo advocate has issues with these guidelines.

Their issues with paleo are the same ones you'll see trotted out by anybody else who hasn't really looked into the subject.  "There's too much fat!"  "There's too much protein!"  "Carbs!  You need more caaaarbs!"  I think it would be reasonable for a site like this to mention that paleo does not meet these guidelines, but it's disingenuous to do that without also explaining that we have arguments for why this is.

Some nutrients they mention as possibly being lacking include calcium and vitamin D.  I've found that calcium in the paleo diet is a highly variable thing, especially considering how many of us consume dairy products.  The problem is that calcium is only one of the minerals responsible for bone health, and it's greatly overemphasized.  Paleo in some respects does better due to these other minerals.  And vitamin D is something hard to get on most diets.

They also make a big deal about giving up grains.  This is in the same vein of thought as those articles making a fuss about how giving up gluten is "dangerous" if you don't have celiac disease... look at the lack of some token nutrients found in wheat products--usually in fortified or enriched forms, not whole forms--and then ignore the other sources of those nutrients.

Cardiovascular Health

They give a 2.0 for heart health, because of the fat levels.  This is the second lowest score after the Dukan diet, even though they mention there are studies showing improved cardiovascular markers like blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.  They don't mention any studies that show lowered cardiovascular health, they are basing the score entirely on fat.


The page says that we don't know whether or not paleo is good for diabetes, yet they still gave it a score of 2.1.  Based on what?

Ease of Use

They gave paleo a score of 1.7 for ease... and then entirely contradicted that on the page.   This score is based entirely on the fact that paleo cuts out some food groups, but they acknowledged that it has a high satiety level and that there is a really high support level through cookbooks and Internet communities.

I actually take some issue with this category, though, because so much of "ease of use" has to do with lack of proper accommodation.  Eating well should be easy, but food corporations and people you associate with can make it difficult with false advertising, stubbornness, addition of weird-ass filler foods, and so forth.  The word "paleo" can now be found emblazoned on stuff with soy, sugar, and other non-paleo ingredients.  A lot of the difficulty is due to this.

A big chunk of the rest of the difficulty has to do with things like addiction, habit, and ubiquity.  In cases like mine, it's legitimately difficult to avoid wheat--despite a confirmed allergy and a lot of horrible side effects--because eating a little sends me into an addicted haze where I eat every cookie in a five mile radius.

Paleo eaters a lot of times croon about how easy paleo is.  I disagree.  I also disagree that it has to be easy to be worthwhile.


How nice of them, they added a whole category just to tell us if our diets are dangerous.  Paleo got a 2.3.  Veganism--which again I must mention has a life-threatening vitamin deficit if unsupplemented, something paleo does not have--got a 3.0.

We were beat out by... raw foodism?!

Raw foodism beat out paleo, largely because on a raw food diet you are heavily likely to get too few calories.

I've been picking on their vegan page a bit, but there's a reason for that:  I'm an ex-vegan and have a pretty good idea of what veganism entails.  You know what's really interesting is what doesn't show up on the vegan page.

It doesn't mention that you have to supplement B-12.  It says you can rely on fortified foods.  This isn't true and that's like the first thing any vegan learns.

It says that you might need to supplement vitamin D if you don't get enough sun, because vitamin D is found mostly in animal foods.  But didn't it say on the paleo page that paleo eaters will get little to none?  Even though most of us eat fatty fish.  Hmmm.

Their remarks that veganism is satiety-inducing, but being hungry all-the-fucking-time is a pretty well-known problem among vegans (when I was a vegan I felt hungry even when I was packed full of food).

It also says it should be easy for vegans to stay under 2300 milligrams of sodium, which is a serious fucking joke.  Whoever wrote that has probably never been vegan, or if so is some sort of vegan superhero.


People diet for a lot of reasons and as far as I'm concerned if you want to try any of these that's entirely up to you.  That doesn't change the fact that this list is extremely shady, assigns numeric values contrary to what evidence we have or more likely in the absence of evidence, and oversimplifies human nutrition.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Worst-Cooks Knockoff Dish

I have been obsessed with the show "Worst Cooks in America" lately.  I don't actually believe these are real people.  They are robots programmed to be terrible at cooking.  But anyway, last night I watched an episode that had a really goddamn good looking rib eye and I decided to rip it off using what I already had in my fridge.

Alright, for some transparency, this isn't even close to pure paleo.  It could easily be morphed into something much more purely paleo, though, if you desire.  Its main "paleo sins" are the use of dairy and some added sugar from in the pre-made spice mix I used.  If you don't do tubers you can replace the sweet potato with butternut squash, the butter can be omitted, the milk can be replaced with cream or coconut milk, and you can certainly omit the maple syrup.

I mean, obviously you can do all those things.  I'm merely giving some suggestions should you choose to go this path.

Buttered Chuck Eye Steak with Sweet Potato Puree

Steak Ingredients (per steak):
  • 1 chuck eye steak
  • Grill Mates Fiery 5 Pepper Seasoning or a comparable dry rub
  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil (you can go with unrefined if you don't mind everything tasting like coconut)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • salt (I used Fleur de Sel because I'm a hipster like that) to taste
Puree Ingredients:
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • maple syrup to taste
  • salt to taste

Steak Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put a cast iron pan on the stove and put the coconut oil in it.  Allow it to heat so it's very hot (I have an induction stovetop and a cast iron pan, I set it on the highest setting).  While the pan is heating, coat each side of the steak with the spice mix and really push it in.  Sear each side until the spice mix is crusted onto it.  The steak itself will still be raw; that's fine, it's supposed to be like that.

Take the pan off the heat so the oil doesn't start to burn and take the steak out of the pan (if you're using cast iron per my instructions it'll stay pretty hot anyway).  Slice it at 3/4 inch to 1 inch intervals depending on what you're into.  Put it back into the pan, place the rosemary sprig on top, and put the tablespoon of butter over that (the butter should sink between the slices of steak, the rosemary will get crispy and serve as both a garnish and something tasty to nibble on).  Put it in the oven for about ten minutes.  This is a good time to make the sweet potato puree described below (unless you decide to be fancy and not use the microwave; in this case you would pre-make it).  Plate the puree by spooning it onto a plate in an area about the size of your steak (unless you decide to be fancy again and use a piping bag or something).

Avoid touching the pan with your bare hands when you take it out (I only remind you of this because I burned myself pretty awful while cooking this because I biffed it and tried grabbing the handle).  Using a chef's knife or flipper, pick the steak up as a whole unit and place it on the puree.

Put a fancy-looking salt on it, like I said I used Fleur de Sel which is a particularly salty variety of salt that looks pretty.  It's hard to see it in the picture but it really added to the plating.

Puree Instructions

I should mention that I made the sweet potato as kind of an afterthought while the steak was cooking.  I just peeled it, sliced it, and microwaved it on high for about six minutes to soften it.  Take an electric hand mixer and puree together the sweet potato, milk, butter, syrup, and salt.  This is really easy stuff.  No worries.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Tale of Medical Woo and Woe

Several months ago I wrote a post called "Natural Transitioning is a Crock," explaining why using herbs and supplements instead of hormone replacement is not an effective method for most trans men.  This system (and many of the reasons people try it) falls into the category of medical woo, which is an umbrella term for health and medical decisions that go against conventional medicine with little evidence to support its efficacy.  The shining star of medical woo right now is the anti-vaccine/"antivaxxer" movement which has made parents terrified of vaccinating their kids under the erroneous assumption that influenza isn't nearly as bad as the scientifically inaccurate and downright ableist "threat" of autism.  Medical woo is hugely popular among alternative diet communities, including veganism and paleo.  In fact, many of the high-profile deaths of vegan children people bring up involve much more than just veganism... that French vegan couple whose baby died of malnutrition because the mother's breast milk was lacking in nutrients commonly found in animal products didn't just eat vegan, they ignored doctors' advice and tried treating her with cabbage, mustard, and clay.

I love the paleo lifestyle.  I love it because I've found it works well for my body.  In fact, there are plenty of other aspects of my lifestyle that are largely considered "woo."  I love Vibram FiveFingers shoes.  I use herbal tea when I'm mildly ill.  Hell, I practice Witchcraft.  In many respects, though, I'm recovering from a period of Peak Woo.  This period encompassed almost the entire time I was a vegan and a big chunk of time I wasn't, and involved:
  • Refusal to get vaccines.
  • Refusal to take over-the-counter painkillers or other medicines.
  • Refusal to use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Refusal to get my wisdom teeth taken out.
  • Attempts to do a lot of self-care including pelvic exams that I wasn't even close to qualified to do.
Before I continue, it should be mentioned that the "refusal" in these cases was to a large extent due to a lack of health and dental insurance.  These were ways I mitigated my lack of formal healthcare, although as time went by I began stubbornly believing the things my woo woo community were insisting to be true.

It was actually pretty hellish from the start.  There were multiple times I could be found standing post at the door of the convenience store waiting for it to open so I could finally buy some Excedrin after a two-day-long pounding headache I'd have been trying to treat with coconut oil and lavender.

The most regrettable decision, though, was to keep my wisdom teeth.  I tell you this as I sit at home with an ice pack on my face, going through a round of penicillin and ibuprofen--prescribed by an E.R. doctor--to keep the infection down until I can get to a dentist.  They're bad.  Really bad.  And they've been bad for my whole adult life... but I still insisted on keeping them when my last dentist insisted I shouldn't.

Recently all these memories came flooding back to me as I looked desperately for ways to keep the pain down.  Getting these teeth removed is on my list of New Year resolutions, and has been since before the current infection.  I even have dental insurance starting in January.  It's just bad timing.  My search was not intended to convince me that my wisdom teeth are harmless, just to find ways to mitigate the pain... but rationalizations and anti-medical conspiracy was the main dish on the menu during that search, as I'm sure you can imagine.  There are scores of blog posts from people talking about using clove oil and garlic to heal abscesses... a dangerous tooth condition that can be life threatening if not treated with antibiotics.  "If God didn't intend me to have wisdom teeth he wouldn't have given them to me!" is a hilarious one from people who don't understand how dentition forms.  There are people implying that oil pulling--squishing sesame, olive, or coconut oil in your mouth for a half hour daily--will heal every dental condition.  "I just have a little puffiness every once in a while, but otherwise I'm fine!" is another common one.  Some actually do want their wisdom teeth removed, but either can't afford to (as you can imagine I can relate to that) or are refusing on principle because it costs more than getting other teeth taken out.

Each of these blog posts is punctuated, by the way, with comments from people who were the exact same way and who are now in my predicament:  Swollen, in massive pain, awaiting extremely expensive dental surgeries for things that could have been fixed as kids or teens if we hadn't drunk the natural blog Kool-Aid.

Why am I mentioning this on a paleo blog?  Because I see the seeds of this shit in you.  I see bloggers valiantly refusing to have fillings, opting instead to remineralize teeth with their diets.  I see bloggers keeping impacted and problematic wisdom teeth.  And I know that there are going to be plenty of people desperate to be told that they don't need expensive medical care experiencing loads of undeserved relief because Some Guy On The Internet did it and seems fine.

I'm writing this as a counter to that.  If I can get even one person using Google or Bing to stop trying to talk themselves out of getting necessary medical care--whether that care is dental work, hormone therapy, vaccines, or any other common target of medical conspiracy theories--then I will be happy for that.

It's OK to try to do things a little differently, to try a non-typical diet or use herbal medicine to mitigate non-life-threatening symptoms, or even to use unconventional methods alongside conventional ones.  It's an entirely different animal to just assume that well-documentedly life-saving treatments are a waste of money.

And for fuck's sake, if you're going to drown in woo, don't subject your kids to it.