Healthy Obsessions The Adventures of a Mild Obsessive Compulsive

Dining Out, That is the Question…

Heading off to the Cheesecake Factory for a friend’s birthday dinner, and all I can think is… do they have a gluten free menu? do they even know what gluten is? what are the odds of cross contamination (high). Do I dare risk it?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’m tempted to eat a muffin now (I love you, Udi’s!) and not eat when I get there. Or maybe order a float. A float should be safe, right? Soda and ice cream. But wait, ice cream sometimes has gluten in it. Or is contaminated. Or maybe they didn’t clean the ice cream scoop well enough after scooping out some cookies ‘n cream (man, I miss that).

Such is the daily life of a celiac. I’d say it made me OCD and neurotic, except I was already OCD long before my diagnosis.

10 Effective Sleep Aids

There are tons of different sleep aids out there. Some work, some are complete snake oil. Expensive snake oil, at that. Lord knows many of us have bought plenty of it. Here are some things that do work. Not all of these items actually help you get to sleep. Some help you wake up at the right time or in the right way, which kinda goes hand in hand with that whole trouble sleeping thing.

  1. Melatonin Sublingual 3mg – 60 – Tablet Gluten free sublingual melatonin from Douglas Labs. It’s a small, small tab that you place under your tongue about a half hour before bedtime. It will dissolve slowly. This is by far the most effective melatonin I’ve found out of the many that I’ve tried. The only thing more effective than this, for me, is Ambien. For some reason, this brand is only distributed through “healthcare practitioners” and, apparently,  Amazon. If you’re like me, and you have trouble falling asleep at night, it might well be from a lack of sufficient melatonin, and this may well be worth trying. Read more →

Sleep Tracking: Looking at the Zeo

If your goal is accurately tracking your sleep, the Zeo is your best bet. Let’s look at why.

The Tech

The tech on the Zeo is completely different from the actigraphy of the fitbit and Sleep Cycle. Instead of focusing on movement, and then deducing sleep phases from that (which is helpful, but has a greater margin of error), the Zeo focuses on brainwaves. Based on the same tech as EEGs, it tracks the phases of your brain activity. Well, it tracks the electrical impulses of your brain activity and then deduces from that your sleep phases. This is also not *perfectly* accurate, but neither is an EEG. As my ENT told me today (hi, Robson!) there are several different phases that can look like REM.

In a sleep lab, it takes more than just monitoring, it takes interpretation. You’ll have sleep specialists looking at your EEG read outs and making their own analysis of your brain activity during sleep. EEG is probably more accurate than the Zeo, but it’s also a lot more cumbersome. Witness:

EEG

Zeo

Read more →

Sleep Cycle Messes Up

Sleep Cycle woke me at exactly the wrong moment this morning. I was in the middle of a dream (which the Zeo was quite aware of) when Sleep Cycle went off. Which just goes to show that Sleep Cycle really is  quite imprecise. It’s better than nothing, but not better than the Zeo.

Gluten Free Mall Coupon

I can’t make use of this, but perhaps you can; Gluten Free Mall has a coupon for 10% Off –  Order made by 12/17/10. One use per customer, so anyone should be able to use the code.

Coupon Code: dc88f1

Sleep Tracking: Looking at Fitbit

Of all the sleep tracking devices, my fitbit is the one I’ve used longest. Unless you count the CPAP.

To use the fitbit for sleep tracking, you slip it into a wrist band, worn on your non-dominant hand, press the button (there is only one button) until the fitbit blinks START at you, and go to sleep. Pretty simple.

It uses the same tech as Sleep Cycle: accelerometer. As we already know, that’s a standard measuring device for sleep tracking. There are two major things that fitbit does better than Sleep Cycle.

Read more →

Sleep Tracking: Looking at Sleep Cycle

As mentioned before, I’ve been using the fitbit, the Zeo, and Sleep Cycle all together for over a month now. Honestly, I like all three.

With the combined data, I’m getting a good picture of my sleep. However, most people are not going to be as gadget happy as I am, and will only go for one of these sleep trackers. Maybe two at the outside. So I’ve been trying to figure out which of the three I’d pick if I could only pick one. And the answer is: it depends…

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle is the one I expect will be most commonly used, simply because of the price point. It costs .99 cents. That’s pretty damned hard to beat. However,  Sleep Cycle is the weakest of the three trackers.

(This is going to be long; skip to the bottom if you just want the bullet points).

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Gluten Free is Such a Fad

I’m standing at the checkout at WholePaycheck with my usual basket of gluten free items, and the checker looks at my basket and then smirks and says, “That’s such a fad right now.”

Anyone else ever get this kind of reaction?

On a very personal level, I find it frustrating. Not the fad itself, not precisely. But… Celiac disease is a pain in the butt. Particularly when I was first adapting to the lifestyle, I resented it. No cookies, no kitkats, no pasta, no flour tortillas, no easy shopping anymore. And getting that kind of smirk and snark just made it worse. Like ladling a cup full of condescension sauce over schadenfreude pie. No one likes being the on the receiving end of schadenfreude.

Read more →

Fitbit vs. Zeo vs. Sleep Cycle: Accuracy

I’ve been using all three for at least a month now, so I feel like I can give them a fair shake. Let’s do a quick recap of what each one does.

  • Fitbit – Accelerometer, used both as a pedometer during the day and as a sleep monitor at night when strapped to your non-dominant wrist (I still don’t know why non-dominant, but I’m willing to go with it). Conventional sleep labs also make use of an accelerometer.
  • Sleep Cycle – There’s an app for that! (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist). This app for the iPhone uses roughly the same tech as the Fitbit. Accelerometer based monitoring. You place your phone on your bed, near – but not under – your pillow. It tracks movement via the mattress.
  • Zeo – Completely different tech. Instead of monitoring movement, the Zeo focuses on brain wave activity to track sleep phases. The monitor comes on a headband that you wear to bed. As tech goes, this is most akin to the EEGs used in sleep labs.

Read more →

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

gluten free thanksgivingSim and I took over making the Thanksgiving meal this year, since my mom is still sick after the chemo. It was an herculean task, but we managed to pull it off.

It was also nearly gluten free. My mother did make some gluten-full stuffing, which she very carefully kept segregated away from everything Sim and I were making so as to avoid contamination.

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