grumpy about my immunities

Looks like I have another cold, or at least some sort of virus that’s making me feel blah. I’ve taken a minor beating this winter, probably to make up for the incredibly healthy handful of years I’ve had recently. Everyone in my household caught whatever took down half of our school district in December, and then we caught another round of cold-like sickness in January, and now I’ve got something new to usher in February. Or maybe it’s all the same virus up-cycling itself through my system. Or my thyroid.

Why oh why have I had such a tough winter and such weak immune responses this year? My immunities must be bunk. Otherwise I would never get sick. I keep hearing gurus tell me that my immunities would be amazing and I would never get sick if I followed their lifestyle prescriptions, or at least if I did get sick, my body would issue a cosmic HA-YAAAH! and do away with whatever bug was assaulting it in, like, an hour. AND I’d be horny as all get-out.

It’s probably the vaccines my parents gave me when I was a kid. And the boosters I get every 10 years or so for tetanus. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be catching all these viruses and getting sick all winter (assuming I made it this far in that alternative universe without dying of one of the diseases I’m vaccinated against). Those vaccines are also the reason why I’m OCD and ADHD and have a borderline personality. Also poor impulse control. And a problem with social cues.

That’s all self-diagnosis, by the way, because I don’t trust the medical and psychiatric community except to the extent they write the DSM and define the disorders that I would like to blame them for causing.

Could be I’ve gotten sick so much because I haven’t snuck over to the walk-in clinic and squeezed them for a dose of antibiotics. I hear taking a round of antibiotics every year or two really cleans up a system — gets out all those little infections that run through our bodies constantly — and gives it a chance to sort of reboot. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve taken any antibiotics. Maybe I should head over to the clinic soon.

Okay, okay, I admit that I just made that up. No one has ever told me to take antibiotics regularly, and I haven’t ever read that anywhere, not even on any big-pharm sites. Never mind. But I did have to give Nick a round of antibiotics last month because of a brutal ear infection that turned out not to be viral. Huh. Maybe my illness now is a karmic justice for doing that awful thing to Nick. I’d probably be feeling fine, except for I’d still be nursing him back to health right now.

Or it might be because I haven’t turned to eastern holistic medicinal ideas for managing my health, which I should do now to improve my immunities. Hm. I grew up in third-world South Korea from 1966 to 1976. Acupuncture and herbal medicine wasn’t an exciting new trend being laid on us by white people in nice offices. Acupuncture was something that slightly crazy old Korean men and women did to people in our living rooms using ancient Chinese secrets and, one can only hope, sterile needles. Herbal medicine was something you went to some stinky apothecary’s shop to pick up, mysterious powders that came folded in paper, or a humongous jar of pickled ginseng root sitting on a shelf in the living room for good health and good luck, looking an awful lot like an internal body part. I think I had plenty of eastern medicine in Korea. I’m good on that front. Also I find that I’m not so tempted by the highly processed, wrapped-in-plastic powders and pills that are being offered up as holistic and homeopathic alternatives to western medicine. To my ignorant eye, they look an AWFUL LOT like the samples available at the MD’s office. Nothing at all like the scary stuff I used to see and smell in Korea.

Maybe my poor immunities come from the poison in the water I drink out of the tap. I’m not sure what to do about that. For a time I used to buy bottled water, but that came in plastic containers and I know the BPAs – or is it PBAs? – leached into the water and hurt me in a whole different way. I probably need to stop drinking water altogether unless it falls from the sky into my ceramic bowls, unless it’s a high-pollution day. Maybe I can cure the water by boiling it with a mushroom/seaweed/copper/chamomile infusion I saw last week at Whole Foods.

Wait. I think that was for my feet. Never mind.

Maybe it’s the chemicals and nasty shit in the food I eat, all the processed and packaged and frozen foods that make up 90% of my diet, and all the fast food and soda filling my gut every day, the lack of good fat and excess of bad fat, all the chemicals in the conventional fruits and vegetables I eat. At least, that’s what I read last week, because if I changed that, my immunities would be GREAT.

Dang. I don’t eat like that already. Must be something else.

I don’t eat enough probiotics. I should drink pickle juice and unfiltered vinegar for breakfast. What’s that you say? Kimchi is a probiotic? Ooooh. Never mind. I guess I got the probiotics covered.

But let me set aside my inane reverie for a moment to say this passionate, long-winded and probably-offensive-to-someone thing: KIMCHI IS KOREAN FOOD. It is not “a probiotic.” It is not, as a person I don’t speak to anymore told me, paleo. I am not embracing the paleo lifestyle by eating kimchi. I am eating the food of my Korean ancestors.

In case I haven’t made my feelings clear: KIMCHI IS FOOD, AND IT IS KOREAN.

Also, if you brine a vegetable and then put some spice on it, that does not make it kimchi. Don’t call it kimchi. Kimchi is a very specific type of traditional Korean food. I’ve seen some of the stuff that’s hawked as kimchi in stores these days. One day a (not Korean) lady at Whole Foods offered me a kimchi sample. I don’t know what the f— it was, but it wasn’t kimchi. It was some weird-looking minced vegetable with with an all-wrong orange hue. I was appalled. Before I could stop myself, I made an “ew” face with my tongue hanging out and got the shivers and said something like, “that doesn’t look like any kimchi I know.” (see above re: impulse control and social cues.) The lady looked at me like something was wrong with me. The nerve. They shouldn’t have called it kimchi. It’s false labeling. Call it what it is, something like… “A pickled food inspired by kimchi that we are marketing to peeps interested in the paleo thingy.” Or better yet, “a poor imitation of kimchi.” Calling that shit kimchi is like mashing up a head of cauliflower and calling it “mashed potatoes” or “rice.” It’s not. You’re not fooling anyone.

This is what real cabbage kimchi looks like.


7 pounds of kimchi in one enormous, beautiful glass jar. I’ve got two of them in my fridge right now, because I just made a run down to Chicago to stock up. And yes, if you’re reading the label carefully, there’s a little bit of MSG in it. That’s just how H Mart’s kimchi rolls, and the kimchi is soooo gooood that I just let that MSG go. I’ve been too lazy and embarrassed to make my own kimchi for the last couple months, because it hasn’t been turning out so good.

Oh shit shit shit. It’s the MSG, isn’t it. I mean both things you might imagine: it’s the absence of MSG in my homemade kimchi that’s making it bad, and also it’s the presence of MSG in my diet, via the KIMCHI-THAT-IS-NOT-PALEO-FOOD, that’s weakening my immunities.

If my own ethnic food is poisoning me, there’s no hope.

I’ll go take a nap and see if that helps me feel better. Maybe I don’t have to blame any particular thing for this season’s sicknesses. Maybe it’s just life, and I can be thankful that I’m alive enough to get sick and be grumpy about it.

3 thoughts on “grumpy about my immunities

  1. It’s like you’re in my head, except for the kimchi. I have been trying to figure out what the hell is causing my inflammation for months now. I’ve tried everything I can think of (including acupuncture) and nothing seems to help. I actually am goinng to talk to my doctor this week about antibiotics. Also my thyroid, or perhaps Lyme Disease, though I don’t think I’ve ever been bitten by a tick. I just want to know, and be able to fix it, because my dream of living a life without constant pain is hanging above me, looking sparkley and so so good.

    I’m sorry you’re sick again. Probably lyme disease.

    • Ha maybe you should try kimchi therapy. No, seriously I’m so terribly sorry about your inflammation. It just sucks. I think Anthony basically lives in daily pain, though he tries not to complain. It’s mostly controlled by aggressive exercise and weight work, oddly enough, and core work and stretching. Antibiotics might help, eh?

      • Daily pain forever is just horrid to contemplate. I hope this doesn’t become the new normal. I sure hope Anthony can find some sort of relief. I found a book called the New Arthritis Cure, and they suggest antibiotics help a lot of people. I’m hesitant because it’s a long term treatment with side effects of its own. But want to talk to my doctor at least. Exercise and stretching does help some. I’ve not been doing weights or core work in MONTHS, ever since this started. But swimming and yoga are both good.

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