Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Video: My First Month on the Carnivore Diet

Lots of people have been asking me about the new carnivore diet I began on January 2 (with a gradual move toward it in the two weeks before that). This has helped me to finally get chronic yeast/candida overgrowth (often a part of ME/CFS) under control, which has resulted in huge improvements for me. My immune symptoms (flu-like aches and exhaustion) cleared up and my energy has been really good for most of the past month (with a few rundown days this past week but today was better).

As I explain in the video, I am not a medical professional and am not recommending other people do this. I'm just trying to share my experiences and what I've learned so far, so you and your doctor can make informed decisions, based on your own medical needs.

In this video, I explain what a carnivore diet is & why I'm trying it, why it's supposed to be helpful for those with immune disorders, what we eat, and my results so far (spoiler: great!), with explanation of alternatives like Paleo & Keto. You can watch the video on YouTube or here:

If you watch it here, I will include the list of notes & links (that I mention in the video) that are below the video on YouTube:

Chronic Illness Vlog 1-8-24: Much Better! The Diet That's Helping

A good place to start on improving diet and helping yeast overgrowth is a Paleo diet. This post explains what it is, the modified Paleo diet we were eating, and how it helped us (note that if I'd stuck to strict Paleo, without the modifications, I might not have gotten as bad as I did!).

 Beginner's Guide to Keto Diet

Effective Treatments for Yeast Overgrowth/Candida

Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) in ME/CFS, Long-COVID, Lyme, and other illnesses

OI video

Harvard Carnivore Diet Study

Article I mentioned on Anti-Candida Diet

Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid Dysfunction

Let me know if you have any questions.

Have you found any special diet that helps with your chronic illness?

Please leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Summaries of 2023 ME/CFS & Long-COVID Research and More

It's somehow the end of January already, and I'm way behind on my planned 2023 wrap-ups, so I wanted to get this one up before any more time passes. There are two excellent summaries, looking back at 2023 for ME/CFS and Long-COVID patients, that I want to share with you.

2023: Looking Back on Back on a Year of ME/CFS Research

This post, written by the blog ME/CFS Skeptic: a Critical View into ME/CFS Research, provides an easy-to-understand, patient-centered summary of about 15 different ME/CFS and long-COVID research studies that the authors deemed "most interesting." They've already done the work of explaining each study in simple terms, so you can just scroll through their summary. Some interesting things I noted while reading it:

  • Some aspects of ME/CFS that have long been accepted--like low NK cell function--were not confirmed by the studies cited here. I suspect that is mostly due to differences between patients, how we are all so different, as well as some studies focusing on small groups and differences between short-timers and those who've been ill for much longer.
  • Virus studies failed to find any specific viruses causing ME/CFS and concluded that we likely have dysfunctional immune responses ... which we already know! But it's good that researchers are beginning to zero in on that.
  • New population studies seemed interesting at first but were definitely flawed. One relied on asking people if they'd been diagnosed with ME/CFS by a medical professional--we all know how rarely that happens! Some were surprised the number seemed so much higher than before COVID, but I suspect it is actually much higher.
  • Good news that researchers continue to dig into genetics and the gut. Now, I'd like to see more research focused on immune dysfunction!

Looking Back at 2023 in ME/CFS, Long-COVID, and FM - the Most, Best, Cleverest, and Strangest

As usual, Cort Johnson of the Health Rising website (highly recommended!) has pulled together a lot of complex information into a very easy-to-read, even entertaining format, with all kinds of creative "best of" and "worst of" categories. While some reference the same studies as the above summary, there is a lot here that is new. Some highlights:

  • Encouraging findings in the field of mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • Lots of interesting findings in the growing field of long-COVID research, including high serotonin levels.
  • Call-backs to research from decades ago that noted that clotting could be a factor in the blood of ME/CFS patients (I remember these studies and took them to my doctor), now in the forefront again, thanks to the study of micro-clotting in long-COVID.
  • New funding for "long Lyme" (previously called chronic Lyme), which is long overdue.
  • New "long cold" research on another coronavirus that causes colds and can lead to ME/CFS. The more researchers expand this concept of "long" infections (i.e. post-infection ME/CFS), the more it will help all of us.
  • Plus, a new study on lasting illness after the COVID vaccines. I experienced this, as did many others, and patients have long reported that vaccines can trigger ME/CFS--another step forward in awareness among the medical profession!
  • New clinical trials for treatments.
  • The Mayo Clinic's massive turn-around from the worst place to go for ME/CFS in the US to actually listening to patient advocates and updating their protocols.
  • There's a whole lot more here to peruse, all written in short, snappy (even fun) blurbs - scroll through.

 OK, time for some dinner! I hope you find all of that as interesting as I did.

As for me, my months-long severe relapse that ended 2023 has mostly stayed in 2023. I'm pleased to report that I am doing much, much better, mostly due to a new diet that finally got my yeast overgrowth under control and all the work my doctor and I did last year to normalize my thyroid function. The first few weeks of the new year, I felt better than I have in years! I'll write about it here as soon as I can. In the meantime, this Chronic Illness Vlog 1/8/24: I'm Back, Baby! The Diet That's Helping explains some of it, and I'll be posting a new video all about the diet I'm trying next week.

I hope you find all this research news as encouraging as I do!

Friday, January 19, 2024

Favorite TV Shows Watched in 2023

It's time for my annual wrap-up of my favorite TV shows reviewed in the past year! These are not necessarily new shows, but they are shows that we enjoyed last year, enough that I took the time to write a review. They run the gamut, covering all kinds of genres, so there's something for everyone.

Listed down at the bottom of this post are all of the shows that I reviewed here on my blog in 2023. I have also added all of these to my TV Reviews tab on the blog, so you can come back anytime to see ALL of the shows I have ever reviewed (note that where to find shows may have changed over the years). And check out my 2022 TV Favorites, too - they're all still available.

I only review shows I like, so anything listed here or on the TV Reviews tab is worth trying. 


Best of TV   

First a few superlatives--my favorite shows reviewed last year in each genre, plus some categories I made up! Links are to my reviews, including trailers and details on where to find each show (subject to change).


Best Drama

And Just Like That ... (HBO Max)

I never watched Sex and the City but enjoyed this reboot about women in their 50's (a rarity on TV!) 


Best Dramedy (both comedy and drama)

Somebody Somewhere (HBO Max)

My husband and I loved this warm, funny, wonderfully written show.

Best Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Will Trent (ABC)

 Our new favorite crime show, with great characters and a sense of humor. Returning February 20!

Best Sci Fi 

Silo (Apple)
An excellent adaptation of the Silo book trilogy that starts with Wool, a favorite of both of us.

Best TV Show That Crosses Genres
The Diplomat (Netflix) 
One of our top shows of the entire year, this absolutely hilarious drama starring Keri Russell, about a no-nonsense woman appointed as new US ambassador to the UK when a crisis happens is also suspenseful, with political intrigue, plus the drama of a marriage breaking up.

Best Character on a New Show

Poker Face (Peacock)
Natasha Lyonne is fabulous as Charlie, a woman on the run, crossing America, who can tell when people are lying and solves mysteries along the way. Drama, mystery, and lots of laughs. We can't wait for season 2! 

Best Drama Musical
I felt this wonderful adaptation of the best-selling novel deserved a mention for its unique combination of drama plus a fabulous fictional rock band you will believe is real.


Funniest Show With a Potentially Depressing Premise
Best TV Role by a Movie Actor

Shrinking (Apple)
 This deserves a mention because it's about grief but is laugh-out-loud funny, starring TV star Jason Segel and the great Harrison Ford (who is surprisingly funny). Another one we are waiting for season 2!

All TV Shows Reviewed in 2023

These were all great! Good enough that I took the time to write a review. Click the links to read my short review (never any spoilers), watch the trailer, and see where they were available when I reviewed them (subject to change). I indicate below where the show originated, though most shows are now available from many services.


And Just Like That ... (HBO Max)

Daisy Jones and the Six (Amazon Prime)


Dramedy (both comedy and drama) 

The Diplomat (Netflix)

Shrinking (Apple)

Somebody Somewhere (HBO Max)

Togetherness (HBO Max)


The Company You Keep (ABC)

The Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix)

Poker Face (Peacock)

Who Is Erin Carter? (Netflix)

Will Trent (ABC)


Sci Fi 

Silo (Apple) 


What were YOUR favorite TV shows watched last year? 

Please leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.


Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Favorite Movies Watched in 2023

Once again, I reviewed just 9 movies in 2023, in part because there is so much great TV to watch now. I only review movies that I really enjoy, so any movies on my entire 2023 list (below) are worth watching, not just my top picks. These are now all available on streaming.

As in years past, you can see my full list of movies reviewed last year further down, and my top picks in each genre just below. To see all of the movies I have reviewed on my blog (a considerable list), check out the Movies tab, where they are listed by genre, though it's getting harder to categorize a movie into just one genre as there's so much cross-over now. Links go to my reviews, with a trailer. Note that where each movie is available might have changed over the years, since I first reviewed it, so double-check to see where you can watch it now.

Best of the Best Movies Watched in 2023:

(Three categories only included one movie each, so not much of a choice!)

Best Action/Suspense/Thriller

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny 

Why movies were invented! 

Nonstop action and adventure, lots of suspense, plenty of humor, and just a whole lot of fun.

Best Drama


Warm, funny drama about a teen girl whose deaf family relies on her, though she has dreams of her own.

Best Comedy

A Man Called Otto

Excellent adaptation of the best-selling novel, about a grumpy, lonely old man discovering a reason to live. (and really both drama and comedy).

Best Sci Fi

Leave the World Behind

A tense sci fi thriller, as two families grapple with a mysterious crisis.

Best Musical


Super clever, funny, surprisingly thoughtful musical drama with some great music and eye-popping visuals. 

All Movies Reviewed in 2023:

All of these are worth watching! It was hard to pick just one favorite in the first two categories. See the Movies tab for more great movies.


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny





Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.


Flora and Son 


A Man Called Otto


Sci Fi 

 Leave the World Behind





What were YOUR favorite movies watched last year? 

Please leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Chronic Illness Vlog: I'm Back, Baby!

After months of a very bad relapse of my ME/CFS, I had a wonderful week! I felt really good, had good energy, and was active and productive. In this video, you can see me out and about, coming back to life after months on the couch, and I explain how I figured out what was behind my bad crash (in short, still yeast overgrowth!), and the radical diet change I made that resulted in such a stunning turn-around.

You can watch the video on YouTube (there are additional notes below the video - click on "...more") or here:

You will see a very big change from my last chronic illness vlog, a few weeks ago, which was almost entirely from a horizontal position on my couch.

That's all I have time for today - a quick update. My husband and I are going out of town for a few days - just a quick trip to a town about an hour away. They have a wonderful independent bookstore that is hosting a book event for me and my book! I'll have a chance to tell my chronic illness story, read a bit of the book, meet people, and sign books. This has been scheduled for months, so I am very relieved to be feeling well enough to manage it!


How was YOUR week?
How are you doing?

Please leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Join Me to Notice & Enjoy Nature More in 2024!

In 2023, I created #sky365 to use on social media, and I posted a photo of the sky (almost) every day. Last year was a rough one for me health-wise, but this very simple habit helped me to get outside at least once a day, reminded me to look up, and inspired me to find beauty and joy, even on my worst days.

This year, I am using #nature365 for the same reasons, and I would love for you to join me! You don't have to be a great photographer. The idea is simply to snap a quick photo each day of anything in the natural world: a tree, flowers, birds, or yes, the sky! Then share it on social media using #nature365, so the rest of us can enjoy it, too. Even photos taken from your window--or even of a houseplant--count. It's very flexible, but the purpose is to help us all pay more attention to the outside world and notice and appreciate nature wherever we find it.

Research shows that nature has amazing positive effects on both our physical and mental health, even with just 5 minutes of time or even just looking at pictures of nature. I explain all this in more detail and provide lots of easy tips for enjoying nature, even when you are severely limited, in my book and in this video, Get Out! Nature Improves Health.

So join me and post your #nature365 pics!

You can connect with me on Facebook and Twitter, where I will try to post a nature photo everyday, and you can reply with your own. 

Or post on whatever social media platform you prefer (I am determined to finally get on Instagram this year)

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite #sky365 photos from last year - remember even just looking at these photos improves your health! Click on them to enlarge:

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

What Do YOU Want in My Monthly Newsletter?

If you subscribe to my e-mail list,  then you receive each of my blog posts in your e-mail inbox, plus a monthly newsletter that I write, with exclusive content just for subscribers.

I've been sending out monthly newsletters to the mailing list for the past 15 months now, and to kick off the new year, I'd like to hear your feedback on what YOU want to see in the newsletter ... or if you don't read it at all. Whether you are a current subscriber who gets the newsletter or are just signing up for the e-mail list for the first time, I want to hear from you!

Currently, I usually include the following topics in the newsletter that gets emailed at the start of each new month:

  • Life - an update of what is going on in my life
  • Quote of the Month - a quote from a book I read that relates to chronic illness life
  • Blog of the Month - a link to someone else's chronic illness blog and what I like about it
  • YouTube Channel/Podcast of the Month - my recommendation for a chronic illness video channel or podcast (not included every month)
  • From My Book - an excerpt from my own book (and sometimes a sale on my book)
  • A Look Back on the Blog - an older post from my blog that is still relevant
  • My Recent Videos - new videos posted in the last month
  • My Recent Blog Posts - in case you missed anything the past month

Please let me know what you think:

Do you read the monthly newsletter at all or just delete it?

Which features do/would you enjoy?

Which features do/would you skip?

What would YOU like to see in the newsletter?


I spend a lot of time each month writing the newsletter, and I want it to reflect what YOU want to get in your inbox. Please tell me your thoughts!

You can leave a comment on this blog post (click on "Post a Comment") or e-mail me at with your feedback.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.


Monday, January 01, 2024

Movie Monday: Flora and Son

On New Year's Eve, my husband and I watched a wonderful, uplifting movie, Flora and Son. A great way to end the year!

In Dublin, a young woman named Flora, played by Eve Hewson, is raising her son, Max (played by Oren Kinlan), with some occasional help from her ex-husband, Ian (played by Jack Reynor) who is a bass player, though not currently in a band. Flora had Max when she was only 17 years old, and he's now 14, so she's still quite young and was caring for a baby while her friends were out partying. She blows off steam by going to clubs and dancing with her best friend. Max is at an age now where he and Flora are always fighting, he gets in trouble a lot, and he doesn't want to spend much time with her. Flora sees a beat-up old guitar in the trash one day, pulls it out, and gets it fixed by a local music shop. She tries to give it to Max, but when he's uninterested, she searches online until she finds someone offering guitar lessons whom she feels a connection with. She hires Jeff, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, for a cheap price to give her online lessons. Jeff lives in Los Angeles and seems to be at loose ends in his own life, too. Over the course of many lessons, they get to know each other better, and Flora gradually transitions from bitter and derisive to engaged and committed to learning the guitar. Meanwhile, she realizes that Max is also interested in music, though he's focused more on synthesizer music and rap. Music just might be the thing to mend their relationship and bring them closer together, while changing both their lives for the better.

This is just a delightful movie. Flora, Max, and even Jeff are all in bad shape when we first meet them, each struggling with their own demons and challenges. Flora is especially rough at the start, smoking, drinking too much, and yelling and swearing at Max and anyone else who gets in her way. Seeing the way that music--and human connection--changes each of them is wonderfully inspiring. As you might expect, there is plenty of music integrated into the movie, from the electronic dance music in the clubs where Flora goes to the rap and hip hop Max loves to the beautiful harmonies and ballads Jeff is teaching Flora. All of the actors are excellent here, and it is a joy to see their characters' transformations. This heartwarming, funny movie is elevating and delightful, with an ending that will leave you with a smile on your face. 

Flora and Son is playing exclusively on Apple TV+.

And if you like this kind of uplifting, musical movie, I also highly recommend Sing Street (my review at the link), from the same writer/director, and Begin Again, currently available on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu.