Category: Kate's Earlier Blogs
This blog is dedicated to my dad, who loves Harry Potter even more than I do. We started making some comparisons last week and since then my mind has continued in this vein. I must get this out in a blog so my brain has room for more important things… like anatomy.
Sometimes (OK, often) I feel like I am Harry Potter and I am going to “magic school”. Seriously, there are so many parallels here that it can’t just be coincidence, can it?
FYI, all quotes are from the Wikipedia entry about Hogwarts.
“there are about 1000 students at Hogwarts … [J.K. Rowling] later suggested around six hundred.”.
There are about 500 students at my school (Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine), a number that continues to increase! Amazing to see that even within the last decade, some graduating classes had only 10-15 students.
“There are a few other schools of magic mentioned by name in the Harry Potter novels: one, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, is located in France, while the Durmstrang Institute for Magical Study is probably based in the far north of Central or Eastern Europe.”.
There are also a few other schools of naturopathic medicine: Boucher, Bastyr, Southwest College, National College, University of Bridgeport. And that is just the ones I know of in North America…
“The school is enchanted to repel Muggles (non-magical people), to whom Hogwarts appears to be ‘a mouldering old ruin with a sign over the entrance saying DANGER, DO NOT ENTER, UNSAFE’. Electronic devices go haywire and do not work around Hogwarts because there is too much magic in the air.”
While my school is not so unfriendly to non-naturopathic folk, there are signs on the doors warning of the FRAGRANCE FREE ENVIRONMENT (to help out those people with MCS – multiple chemical sensitivities), which could surprise/turn off some people I guess… Also, electronic devices (wireless internet, cell phones) do not work in all parts of campus!
“First and second year students all learn the same subjects.”
First and second years at my school also learn many of the same subjects. In third year there is more practical education and students begin to spend more time in the clinic and fourth year students work primarily as interns in the clinic, under a supervising ND.
Many of my classes parallel the magical studies of Hogwarts students…
Herbology: “how to properly care for magical plants.” I am taking Botanical Medicine, although I still call it Herbology in my head… We even have a herb garden, from which we harvest herbs for tinctures, salves, tea, etc.
Potions: “making potions with magical effects.” Homeopathy is the parallel to this – potions with sometimes magical effects, and my current favourite subject.
Defence Against the Dark Arts: “how to properly defend themselves against the Dark Arts, including Dark wizards and creatures.” My version of this is Ethics and Jurisprudence – how to defend myself against lawyers…
History of Magic: “about historical events in the wizarding world.” Naturopathic History and Philosophy.
Arithmancy: “about the magical properties of numbers.” I’m going to compare this to Biochemistry, Physiology, and Immunology which are about the magical properties of enzymes, hormones, immune cells, etc.
Muggle Studies: “about the way of life of Muggles”. I’m stretching a bit here, but I’m going to say Public Health – the way of life of the public (ie: non-naturopathic folks).
Divination: “how to predict (or, some would say, attempt to predict) future events”. Also a stretch - Health Psychology, how to read and understand patients easier, faster, more accurately (some mind reading involved).
Hogwarts students also take Astronomy: “about stars, planets, etc. and their application in magic”, Care of Magical Creatures: “about magical creatures”, Ancient Runes: “about runic scripts and presumably dead magical languages”, Transfiguration: “changing the properties of objects”, Charms: “wide variety of spells such as making objects float”.
My other classes this year: Anatomy, Embryology, Massage, Hydrotherapy, Asian Medicine, Research, Histopathology, Clinical Nutrition, and Art and Practice. Anyone who can match these ones up somehow has my admiration...
“The day begins at Hogwarts with breakfast in the Great Hall. Students sit at their own House table and can eat, socialise, and finish homework at the last minute. At the High Table, at the far end of the hall, the headmaster eats with the professors.”
The equivalent location at my school is the cafeteria, where many students and professors gather before class for breakfast or in between classes for a quick lunch and last minute studying and homework.
“The food served at Hogwarts is, according to the students, very good. The house-elves at Hogwarts are skilled chefs, and cook a wide variety of dishes for every meal. The food served at the school is fresh and grown locally; the school has vegetable patches by the greenhouses.”
While opinions vary on the food served at our cafeteria, I have to admit it is definitely held to a higher standard than your average student eatery. Nearly every bakery item is made with spelt (wheat is minimized). Allergenic foods are minimized and there is a rule that dishes prepared on the same day will each not contain the same allergenic food (eg: if someone is allergic to eggs, there will be some hot meals that do not contain eggs). Lots of tofu is used. Brown rice instead of white. There are many fresh juices and smoothies available and you can buy pieces of fresh fruit.
“To qualify as a registered practitioner of magic, students must take the compulsory Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) examinations in their fifth year, and may proceed to the Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test (N.E.W.T.) level, a more advanced exam regimen covering fewer subjects but in more depth, in the seventh year.”
Naturopathic students are also required to take two sets of licensing exams, called NPLEX (Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations). The first set, Basic Sciences, is usually written after second year and the second set, Clinical Sciences, are written after 4th year.
So there you have it - both places are extremely challenging, but also extremely rewarding! I definitely feel like I am in a magical place everyday…
Everytime I try to start a new blog lately, I just can’t gather my thoughts cohesively enough to make sense, so please bear with me.
First, I wanted to say that I am still alive!
I started school full-time on September 5th and life has been non-stop since then. We had one day of class (9am to 7pm!), then left the next day on a class retreat where we pretended that we were 10 year olds at camp for 3 days – fun! Unfortunately over that time I managed to catch a cold and didn’t have enough down time over the weekend to mount a good immune response. So, I spent all of last week hacking and sniffing my way through classes until Friday night, when I ducked out of all plans to just nurse myself at home. Thankfully that seemed to be enough because I am now nearly completely well.
My classes are all amazing and I love what I am learning so far, but the workload is extreme. Long, long days followed by evenings trying to keep up with reading and learning.
Foodwise, I am fine. Probably too much fruit and Ezekiel buns (my growing brain is burning through calories like crazy!), but also getting lots of veggies and protein. Sleepwise, I am also (surprisingly) doing fine – 7 to 8 hours per night! I hope I can keep that up… Exercise is the weak area right now, but not entirely due to choice. I somehow hurt my back/pelvis earlier in the summer and have finally accepted that this is not something that is just going to heal itself – something is out of balance/out of place and needs manipulation. Until that is properly dealt with, most exercise exacerbates it, so I’m trying to be patient and lay off for awhile. Maybe a bike ride tomorrow morning, though…
Last week I got myself set up with an intern at the clinic and had my first (1.5 hours) appointment. So cool to spend that much time with someone who writes literally pages of notes… I’m excited to start working on my back issue and on the rest of my list of “complaints”, most of which are relatively minor, thankfully. My next appointment is this week, then another the following week and on a regular basis from then on. Oh, and did I mention that I don’t have to pay anything to go to the clinic at school? First visit is free for students, subsequent visits are very cheap, but also covered by my insurance!
Anyway, I’ll try to find some time to write a real blog sometime soon, so hang in there!
On my “to do” list today – write a blog!
I finished my last exam of my summer classes on Friday. I have been longing for this short time off before full-time school starts in September. I looked forward to being able to sleep in, read, lie on the couch and watch garbage on TV, and generally just have time to myself (something I have been lacking for months now). It is so silly that when I am busy, I dream about how nice it would be NOT to be busy. And then when I have nearly nothing that HAS to be done, I am anxious to start being busy again.
I am just generally feeling “off” since Friday. There are lots of reasons why – I’m catching up on lost sleep and getting back to better eating habits, my exercise routine has been less routine and more all or nothing than I like, I’m feeling the weight of obligation as a bridesmaid in a wedding this Saturday and some sadness over the state of that friendship, I’m feeling lonely because all my friends either left town or have a normal day job to go to while I have 2 weeks off… Saturn is square my moon (August 15-23) too, which heralds a “period of insecurity and self-doubt”. Astrologically, I am also looking at some tough angles starting mid-October: Saturn square Sun, Mercury, and Uranus. That’s what I get for having all my “eggs” (planets) in only a few “baskets” (signs/positions).
Having down time also means I have too much time to dwell on myself and my life (this is the curse of our prosperous society, really). A lot of changes have occurred in my life this year. I welcomed most of the changes, but I don’t adjust quickly. Some changes were quite hurtful to me, but ultimately for the best, I know. However, I also don’t get over hurt easily or quickly and I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.
In the 6 months since I quit my job and started school, I can honestly say I haven’t once regretted that decision. In fact, I was somewhat unsure (before the moment I actually quit, which was phenomenally enjoyable) if I was really making the right decision. Now I am sure.
I used to judge the way I look and the way other people look somewhat harshly. Maybe that is part of being a teenager or being female or reading demented fashion magazines… But I no longer look at people and think about whether they are “good looking” or not. The people that I love are gorgeous to me; the people I dislike can be repulsive. But most people are neutral because I don’t know them. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.
I work in a health food store and I attend naturopathic school. So, as one might expect, I am surrounded by people who are in better physical shape and healthier looking than the average population. Yet, these people still fall victim to the body image problems that are far too common in society. Within my class alone, it seems like everyone wants to lose weight, even if it is “just 5 pounds”. At work it is even worse – our customers (mostly women) are always looking for that next “magic” weight loss supplement, but most of them are not overweight! Maybe it’s because I am a triple Taurus (Sun, moon, mercury) and have many other planets in earth signs (more on astrology in another blog!), but I just think that most people aren’t patient enough with themselves, particularly when it comes to health.
I have found (after 4+ years of following the BTD) that I have not lost much weight (didn’t need to), but I have gained more muscle (which is why I weigh nearly the same, but look slimmer) and that the distribution of weight on my body has changed dramatically. I used to hate my legs and think my arms were too skinny, but now I am content with how I look. I feel light, strong, and energetic. There are limits to how much you can change your body shape, but I do believe (and I think I am walking proof) that you CAN change it quite a lot. But, it takes years of consistently eating right, exercising well, getting enough sleep, and dealing with stress healthily. In the short-term, your cells are the same cells you made when you were unhealthy. Or they are cells that don’t regenerate at all, so their health depends on your lifetime of health choices.
Red blood cells have a life cycle of 120 days, while bone (on the other end of the spectrum) takes 7 years to regenerate. Other cells (skin, liver, pancreas, muscle, etc) are in between. Some cells regenerate nicely (epidermis, mucus membranes, liver, fibrous connective tissues, bone), some don’t (kidney, skeletal muscle, cardiac tissue, nervous tissue).
Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissues and remove carbon dioxide. If you start exercising, you may notice improvement quickly, but imagine the results you might achieve after replacing ALL your red blood cells (120 days). Imagine how long you have to wait to see improvement in muscle function as muscle cells receive oxygen more efficiently and can therefore produce energy more efficiently. Imagine how long you have to wait to see improvement once all the cells of your body receive more oxygen more efficiently and regenerate themselves. And that is just from improved oxygenation. Imagine the changes possible for digestion and immune function once intestinal lining cells are healthier and you can break down and absorb everything you eat or drink better…
I’ve heard that 60% of how you look depends on your diet and that 40% depends on physical activity. Well, we already know that’s not quite right because there are other factors, such as sleep, stress, environmental toxins, etc that affect this. But even so, I think diet is much more important than 60%. We literally ARE what we EAT. Our bodies, all of the cells, are made from the materials that we ingest. For me, the best results did not appear even within the first YEAR of lifestyle change (much less overnight). I truly believe it takes years of consistently embracing a healthy lifestyle (rather than spurts of extreme compliance) to work “miracles”.
First, I want to give myself a little pat on the back for managing to combine studying for my midterm tomorrow with writing a blog entry…
It is so much fun to learn things in class that are not only interesting, but also helpful and informative in my life! Every day I am learning to understand the mechanisms behind health, which is a huge privilege. There is so much information available (on the internet, particularly) about health, but how many of us really UNDERSTAND how our bodies use the food and supplements we put in? Before starting school, I was aware that there was a lot for me to learn, but I did not realize that I would learn so much so quickly! I haven’t even started full-time yet! Imagine what I will know in 4 years… Watch out!
This is also a bit scary. Most people don’t have the time or interest to intimately understand the human body and so must rely upon trusted sources. What disturbs me is that many of these sources have an agenda other than just “health”, be it money or whatever. And many of these sources just aren’t credible because they are either opinion based or anecdotal. The human body is so complex and miraculous that I see more and more why it is so important to get GOOD information and not to rely on just one source or one type of bias. I’ve written about the importance of citing sources and using reliable sources on the forum quite a bit, and the more I learn, the more adamant I become about this.
I’ve never taken fish oil and I know that it is not recommended for type O. I think this is because of its blood-thinning effects (something type Os don’t usually need, if in good health). However, I don’t have my copy of LR4YT (as usual, this thing hasn’t been in my possession in over a year), so don’t quote me. In May, I started working part-time at a health food store and one thing that we sell A LOT of is fish oil. And I still didn’t really buy in, because there are lots of supplements that are pushed for everyone as “miracles” and I try to filter my opinions through more objective information (rather than relying on sales pitches, anecdotes, opinions, and hype).
So there’s the background. Now I’m going to get somewhat technical… Today I am studying for a Biochemistry midterm and one of the topics we covered was lipids. In one class we discussed omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet and their roles in the body. Here is what I learned. I must warn that this is very general, so I’m not going to pretend that it is perfectly, technically accurate – I’m just starting school, remember!
Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that are formed from unsaturated fatty acids. There are “good” prostaglandins, which do things like reduce inflammation/pain, BP, “bad” cholesterol, blood thickness, etc. The “bad” prostaglandins basically do the opposite.
In the body, omega-6 fats (found in vegetable oils, such as corn and sunflower) are converted to GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which is then converted to DHGLA (dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid). DHGLA is converted via 2 pathways: series 1 prostaglandins (good) OR arachidonic acid, which is converted to series 2 prostaglandins (bad).
Omega-3 fats (found in flax, hemp, walnuts, and fish) are converted to EPA (eicosapentanoic acid), which is then converted to DHA (docosahexanoic acid). EPA and DHA are converted to series 3 prostaglandins (good). While flax, hemp, walnuts, etc. all have omega-3 fatty acids in them, the conversion rate of omega-3 to EPA from these foods has been found to be only 0-12%. Fish, on the other hand, not only has omega-3 fatty acids, but also EPA and DHA and is considered (at least according to my professor) to be the only good source of these substances for the body.
Now for the connection… An enzyme called delta-5-desaturase works to convert omega-3 fatty acids to EPA, but ALSO converts DHGLA through its 2 pathways. When there are not enough omega-3 fatty acids to convert, this enzyme will preferably convert DHGLA to series 1 prostaglandins (good!), but will ALSO convert it to series 2 prostaglandins (bad!).
The key here is the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which is ideally 2:1 or 3:1 in the diet. However, because most people don’t eat enough fish to get enough omega-3 fatty acids AND most people easily get enough omega-6 fatty acids, fish oil supplements are recommended quite broadly.
Omega-3 fatty acids, therefore, are useful for reducing the formation of series 2 prostaglandins, but also for maintaining fluidity of cell membranes and for brain function. My professor is a big fan of fish oils and said that her patients can see positive results from taking fish oils within 1-2 weeks.
So, what does this mean to me? Type O people are recommended to get their fish oils through diet, rather than supplements. Realistically, I am probably never going to eat enough fish to get enough omega-3 that way… I rarely eat sushi and even more rarely eat any other fish dishes and I don’t see this changing in the foreseeable future. I plan to do some more research into this topic and look into EPA/DHA supplements not from fish oils. I may also do a little experiment on myself to see if I notice results from taking fish oils for a few weeks. There are some benefits I would like to see, and the best way to find out if something works is to try it!
For more info, here is some information (from a trusted source!) on omega-3 fatty acids.