7 week nutritarian

A quick update. Weight is 124 lbs, down from 135-140 at start. I had to take my watch band in a notch, and my size 6 jeans are now a bit loose (where before, my size 8s were tight). Blood pressure is down from a 7-day moving average of 140/88 (not infrequently above 150/90 and with some systolic readings above 160 and some diastolic 95 or higher) to a current 7-day moving average of 130/85 -- about a 10-point improvement in 7 weeks.

Generally, feeling pretty good. Once in a while I'll have a headachy evening where I'm not good for anything but lying down, but mostly, have plenty of energy. Oh, one more thing that's weird: I'm on my second period since starting the experiment and it's *really* light. I haven't used anything but pantiliners and it's day 6. I read a bit on the member forums and apparently it's not uncommon for healthy young women on a nutritarian diet to quit menstruating altogether, but they can still be ovulating even if so. (Update: This was just my body acting weird again. I spotted for a week, had a couple of days of bleeding, then spotted a couple more, finally finishing up on about the 19th.)

On a typical day I get about 1200 calories. This is with eating until quite full and usually being satisfied for 4+ hours after. Macronutrient ratio is about 66% carb, 21% fat, 13% protein. I have been experimenting with a 2 meal format (intermittent fasting style). It is no longer that hard to go for long periods without eating. On the plane back from Austin on Sunday I had lunch at 2pm Austin time (noon Seattle time) and didn't get home till 10pm to eat dinner; not hungry at all in the meantime. I do feel hunger sometimes, like now (just woke up and my stomach is cramping a little), but it is comparatively mild and tolerable. Mostly, when going for long periods between meals, I feel a strange kind of boredom not getting to eat, or sometimes a little mental panic that if I don't eat maybe something bad will happen to me.

I'm finding as I go along that I'm less and less interested in "cooking" elaborate soups and dishes for my meals. I'm gravitating toward 1-3 ingredients for soup (for example, split pea: peas, onions, garlic.) When I add things like spices it tends to come off as an affectation and a distraction. My dad gave me the book "Living the Good Life" by Helen and Scott Nearing, about checking out to rural Vermont and living off the land, and they ate mostly salad, soup, and fruit, too. Simple and easy.

Here's today's menu:
- Breakfast: fruit: 1 mango, 1 lb strawberries (400 calories)
- Lunch: 1/2 of a big salad with 1 head red leaf lettuce, 1 bunch dandelion greens, 1 leek, 3 radishes, 1 heirloom tomato. Topped with vinegar and eaten with 2 oz raw pistachios. (400 calories)
- Dinner: The other 1/2 of the salad with 1 cup adzuki beans. (400 calories)

This is not ideal because there is no cruciferous vegetable, and also no mushrooms or flax, but pretty good. I needed to pack a dinner today but otherwise I might have steamed some kale to go with the beans.

While I was in Austin on Saturday I attended a One-Day Immersion with Dr. Fuhrman. Here are my notes. I learned a few useful things:
  1. My vascular surgeon who placed my stent told me to take a baby aspirin for the rest of my life. I experienced some doubt when I read that Dr. F discourages taking a daily aspirin for heart patients because the healthy diet should be sufficient protection and the aspirin does increase risk of certain issues like macular degeneration. However, at the seminar he mentioned that people with stents have a nidus of inflammation that never goes away so he does recommend the daily aspirin in that case.
  2. It can take 3-5 months to feel "true hunger" due to the time it takes for excellent nutrition to build up body stores. He had a little martial arts analogy and 3-5 months was the Brown Belt stage.
  3. The reason why calorie restriction doesn't seem to extend life in humans as it does in animal models is apparently related to IGF-1. The typical human consumes 30% of calories from animal products and this is enough to keep IGF-1 high. Apparently the optimal IGF-1 levels couldn't be achieved unless calories were restricted AND the proportion of animal products dropped below 10%. I'd like to see the references on this but it is good to see a hypothesis.
  4. Nuts are crucial. He said the link between nut and seed consumption and health is one of the best established in medical literature. For a long time I was fat phobic and avoided them on general principles but this encouraged me to make a point of having 1-2 ounces a day.
There are a few things I'm still a bit skeptical about:
  1. He had lots of claims about studies showing intake of white rice and potatoes raised cancer risk, diabetes risk, etc., due to the high glycemic load causing AGEs and other badness. However what about the rural Chinese with brown rice, Okinawans and Kitavans with sweet potatoes, etc.? I suspect high glycemic load is not inherently bad and according to the research I'm familiar with it doesn't necessarily increase insulin resistance, actually it can improve insulin sensitivity.
  2. He claimed that humans are dependent on a particular element in cruciferous vegetables for our immune systems to work properly. I do think my immune system is positively affected on the diet, but this claim seems extreme. How did the indigenous Inuit live as long as they did then?
  3. Fuhrman says that dairy raises IGF-1 more than meat even, yet 2 of the longest lived cultures in the world -- the Hunza and the Ikarians -- consume cow and goat milk, respectively. Need to look into this. Were the amounts of dairy they used small by our standards (below the 10% threshold)?

    3.5 week nutritarian!

    24 days today. My body is freaking out. I have had back-to-back migraines, sore throat and fatigue, exacerbated eczema, an HSV outbreak. I am slogging through.

    Today's food diary: For breakfast a smoothie with 1 banana, 3/4 of one of those 5-oz plastic tubs of arugula, 1/2 a pint of blueberries, a heaping tablespoon of spirulina, 4 oz of pomegranate juice, and 1-2 tbsp of flax seed meal. Plus a little water. This produced about 24 oz of smoothie. I also made a big salad from 1 large head of red lettuce, the rest of the arugula, 4 sliced radishes, a beet, and a zucchini in small dice. Dressing: 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes blended with 1/2 an avocado and a splash of apple cider vinegar. This is divided into two 48-oz salad containers and these will be lunch and dinner. With lunch I've got a plum and an ounce of pistachios. With dinner I've got about a cup of chickpeas. Cronometer says this all adds up to 1153 calories (and in case anyone is wondering, it has 46 grams of protein, which according to the WHO and WebMD is adequate; in fact this gives 16% protein by calories, and of course human mother's milk is 5.5% protein). If I am hungry by nighttime I might have a 16 oz container of split pea soup which I have in my fridge, for another 250 calories or so. This menu is not quite representative as I usually have at least one cruciferous vegetable a day.

    I have stopped trying to gorge myself in an effort to eat enough. I stop when I'm full even if I would have used to think it isn't enough calories. I'm feeling hungry a lot less and a lot less often. For example after the above breakfast smoothie at around 8 am I didn't feel hungry again until noon. When I started I would have had massive stomach cramps after only 2 hours.

    I'm down to 127 pounds and I calculate that my "ideal" weight is around 120 (this would be BMI 20 and body fat percent around 22). But they also say that the only way to find out your "ideal" weight is to follow ETL and find out. It's impressive how fast I'm converging on that considering I started at 140. I calculate I'm losing 3.7 lbs a week.

    Saw a new "vegetarian friendly" primary care doc yesterday and he endorsed my plan of following this diet for 6 months to see if it is enough to lower my blood pressure. If I come back for my 6 month checkup in February and my BP is still high, then I will do a 1 week fast which he will supervise. If that still doesn't do it, then he and I will discuss meds. I'm glad to be getting blood work done (now and in 6 months) to help document the experiment.

    2 week nutritarian update

    In the name of science, thought I would post an update. Today I have been at it for 14 days.

    I'm hungry a lot less often now. Over the weekend I had very sore muscles all over my body, apropos of no actual exercise that I was aware of. That subsided after a couple of days. I also had a nasty migraine headache on Saturday, and another migraine aura this morning (which seems not to have developed into a headache). My cold is completely gone now, has been since about Sunday, which would be about the fastest I have ever recovered from a cold. 7 to 10 days is normal, but for me in the past it has usually been a couple of weeks.

    So the hunger and the aches are a bit better, but now I am getting into some new obstacles. One is that I am starting to feel a motivation slump, a bit of burnout on the diet. I have been asking myself "what's the point of all this hassle?" Part of me just wants a big bowl of rice. Is what I'm doing really so much better than a simple starch-based diet, followed by at least 2/3 of the Earth's population?

    The other obstacle is that my appetite does not seem equal to the amount of calories I think I need. At lunch maybe I just don't feel like eating the entire 500 calorie container of chili (it's a big container, 32 oz). So I don't, and I go about my day, and I get some transient hunger pangs that are easy to ignore, and I don't get another chance to eat until 6 or 7, and at that point I really have to force myself to eat the large raw salad I made myself for another measly 400 calories. I was lucky if I got to 1200 calories total yesterday. I know for a fact that is below my BMR. Part of me is worried that if I don't have an appetite, something is seriously wrong.

    Over the weekend I broke out my juicer and made a version of the "Famous Anti-Cancer Soup" which has a carrot juice base, and also features blended cashews. It is very flavorful and dense. However, from this I learned that my pressure cooker doesn't work right when the liquid is creamy (I cooked this soup in 3 stages in the pressure cooker, and before the 3rd stage I added the pureed cashews and that caused the cooker to go into a funky state where it did not come to pressure before it started counting down, very odd). I've been buying so much produce through Amazon Fresh that I reached "Big Radish" status.

    Still no sign of any change in my blood pressure per se.

    Update (8/7): Another migraine aura this morning, along with strong hunger pangs 3 hours after breakfast green smoothie.

    1 week nutritarian

    So as mentioned in my last update I am trying the "Eat to Live" diet as part of my reduce-blood-pressure trial. I figure I might as well go all out on the extreme health nut protocol because high potassium intake may be necessary for BP reduction as well as reducing sodium. So I've been at it for one week now.

    Finding #1: The food isn't that bad. Raw greens are pretty good if you chew them enough, and a low-calorie, high-vegetable meal is pretty satisfying, at least for an hour or two. Favorite recipe so far is Tabouli (with chickpeas instead of bulgur, and no oil).

    Finding #2: Not as hard to eat out as I feared. I have gotten very nice salads at a mall Japanese restaurant and at Calamity Jane's. At the Skillet restaurant I got a big bowl of steamed brussels sprouts.

    Finding #3: I came down with a cold on Friday. At the time I was dead certain it must be some kind of detox reaction from the diet. It's not clear what else is to blame since no one around me has been sick and it's the middle of the summer and after all I had just made this semi-major change. But still, who knows.

    Finding #4: So far I'm basically hungry all the time. 1-2 hours after each meal I start feeling a gnawing sensation in my stomach, and it comes and goes, but mostly is a dull ache all of the time. I started tracking my calorie intake in cronometer because I was worried that I was not getting enough calories. It turns out I am getting plenty -- at least 1500 calories every day that I have checked. So here is the controversial bit: Fuhrman says that stomach cramps are not real hunger. He says this is a manifestation of the body detoxifying during the respite from digestion between meals, and most people in the West avoid this sensation by eating heavily enough and frequently enough that they never go through such detoxification. So his advice is that if you stick with it, these sensations will go away, and eventually you will experience a neutral "throat hunger" when you need to eat. OK, so I'm ready to buy this, but what I want to know is, how long will it take? None of the material I've been able to find seems to say. Some of the testimonials just mention "a few days" of discomfort. One of the testimonials, for a girl with debilitating headaches, said that it took 3 full months for the headaches to resolve. So do I need to be prepared to put up with this hunger sensation for 3 months? As long as I'm getting enough calories and protein it doesn't seem like there's any danger, but I am dying to know what is going on here. Why do I feel weak (is it just the virus)? Why does the hunger kick in sooner if I have a green smoothie for breakfast instead of solid food like oatmeal? Is because of the lower overall carbohydrate intake? Is it related to the fact that a higher percentage of my total carbohydrate is now coming from fructose instead of starch? Is it related to the lower phytonutrient content in the oatmeal breakfast compared to the green smoothie? Is it related to the faster time to clear the stomach for a liquid meal, which brings on the detox process sooner? Some combination? Something else completely?

    Finding #5: Sleeping a bit less. I've been waking up after about 7 hours of sleep (although generally I try to snooze till my alarm). Also lost 5 pounds in the last week apparently.

    Finding #6: Blood pressure is not coming down yet. I've had two outlier readings with systolic in the 120s in the last two weeks, but still consistently getting in the 140s over 90s. This is discouraging (particularly since with this diet so far I am putting up with what amounts to constant pain) but I need to be more patient.

    Salt is a dirty trick

    Because of my blood pressure issue I cut out added salt. I expected a long and agonizing adaptation process. Actually I'm pretty okay with it after just a couple of days now.

    What I'm amazed about is how disappointing foods taste that I used to love.

    The bread I've been making from fresh home-milled flour? Tastes like cardboard with no salt. Potatoes? The same. I was cleaning out my fridge today and found two kinds of butter, salted and unsalted. The unsalted butter tasted like machine lubricant.

    But plenty of things do still taste good: Homemade tomato sauce. Chickpeas. Almonds.

    The reason I'm so dumbstruck by this is that I sort of knew it. In my raw animal food period about 15 years ago, I managed to obtain some unpasteurized salt-free cheese, which was recommended by a guru, and it was *unbelievably bad*. I mean the texture was perfectly fine for cheese but the flavor was so bland, the net effect was hideous. It was like eating rubber. Ever since then I sort of knew that any form of dairy without lactose was primarily pimped by the salt and/or sugar it was combined with, but I didn't let this sink in. I was happy in my innocence. I didn't really want to know.

    But now I am being forced to face it: Salt tricks you into thinking a food is nutritious when it's very likely not. Holy crap, people. No fricking wonder salt is in everything. Everything.

    These last few days I've been somewhat trying to follow the Joel Fuhrman "Eat to Live" protocol because as soon as I realized I needed to do this blood pressure experiment, I remembered that he had always said you need to cut out salt, but I had always thought that was too extreme. I always thought a McDougall starch-based approach was much more practical and perfectly sufficient. As soon as I came to accept, within the last week, that I needed to give up salt, I was all like "Damn, maybe Fuhrman is right after all. Maybe I should give his whole deal a fair shot." And what it seems like at this point is, all the starchy stuff I was afraid of having to cut down on isn't tasting very appealing without the cheat of salt anymore, anyway.

    But I am not sure how it's going to play out because Fuhrman-compatible food doesn't actually seem to satisfy hunger. The books say it's "toxic hunger" and not real. OK fine, but I still have stomach cramps, fatigue, and headaches that I didn't have before I started down this wacky road. And it's really distracting. But, I am hopeful it might work out if I stick with it, because I was a raw vegan once (about 13 years ago). I quit that because I got tired of playing the freak, but I did manage to live on nothing but raw vegetables for a month. So I do think the "toxic hunger" might eventually go away. And it might even be a result of "detoxifying" as Fuhrman says. If I hadn't had the experience myself, before, I'd think it was a pile of horseshit for sure.

    Also, today, I took a blood pressure reading with systolic in the 120s.

    Ode to silicone

    I just want to take a minute to draw everyone's attention to how amazing silicone is:

    • Hair ties that grip the hair and don't lose tension over many reuses

    • Caulk

    • Cookware that is heat-resistant, soft, grippy, and easy to clean including colanders, potholders, ice cube trays, muffin "pans", and utensils

    • Silicone lubricant -- it's not water based and does not degrade latex!

    • Drysuit neck seals that are stretchier than latex, and at the same time don't stretch out permanently and start leaking

    • Medical uses like implants, contact lenses, etc.

    • Neverwet


    High blood pressure

    For years my blood pressure was borderline, but I always thought it was just driven a little high by birth control estrogen, and I always observed that it would go to normal whenever I discontinued the BC. So I wasn't worried.

    Well, in my recent medical adventure getting an arterial stent put in (to fix an injury), they were measuring pretty high blood pressure. Like, as high as 150/90 and occasionally higher. I spent about 2 weeks in the hospital (and discontinued BC a few days after I arrived) so there was plenty of time to track this. Whenever it was really high, the nurses usually didn't believe it, got out a manual cuff to try again, and came up with a lower reading (and when they did this, I got the feeling they were fudging it to conform to their beliefs). I think I look younger than my 36 years, and I believe there is a bias against someone who looks young and healthy having something like hypertension. Plus there is the well known "white coat hypertension" syndrome, and also my dad insists that my BP is likely just "labile" meaning if I could relax more, it would go down. Maybe.

    Now that I've got all this hardware, I figure I should be extra careful with my health. I've already been trying to follow a low-fat, whole food diet with moderate salt. For a few years I've been avoiding getting a primary care doc but I should get one soon, and I'm pretty sure when I do, they are going to (a) take my birth control away (I love the convenience of the Ring, which has no progesterone-only alternative), and then they will (b) insist I go on BP medication, which I am very disinclined to do. So I have set about trying to solve the blood pressure issue on my own.

    I have become extremely disappointed with the apparent state of knowledge regarding hypertension. Witness: "the precise pathophysiological mechanisms of hypertension and its complications are still poorly understood" [some expert writing on the AHA site]. When you search around, pretty much all the information says: "if you have primary hypertension you will be asked to reduce salt and get more exercise, but you can safely assume that won't help enough, so get ready to take some drugs." Why? Because high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, that's why. But will the hypertension drugs reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, or just bring the numbers down and inflict side effects? In other words is the high blood pressure a contributing factor to heart attack and stroke, or merely a separate effect with a common cause? These questions are ignored.

    In Japan, they consume prodigious amounts of salt, like 10+ grams a day in some places, and they have had pretty high incidence of hemorrhagic stroke, which is the kind where blood vessels in the brain burst under the load. Apparently in the 1950s there was a public health campaign to reduce sodium intake in Japan, and this had the effect of reducing stroke mortality by 80%! [ref]. So clearly high blood pressure from excessive sodium consumption leads to hemorrhagic stroke. But when they talk about hypertension being a risk factor for heart attacks and stroke, they are talking about ischemic stroke, caused by blood clots. Heart attacks are caused by clots near the heart, and ischemic strokes are caused by clots in the brain; actually, they now know that it's usually a sudden rupture of plaque on the wall of the artery that causes the clot leading to the heart attack or stroke event. But OK, so what is the connection between hypertension and arterial plaque? My best inference from a bunch of reading is that they are not directly related. For starters, they actually don't know what causes hypertension. It's not caused by stiff artery walls, which would be the obvious explanation because maybe lots of plaque in the arteries makes them stiff. But even if stiff arteries did cause high blood pressure, then ostensibly high blood pressure would only be dangerous because it's a warning sign that you have lots of plaque (at least, up to the point at which the pressure is high enough to become "malignant" and start directly causing organ damage). Another possible explanation is that sodium intake has some effect on cardiovascular disease directly, and also happens to raise blood pressure. Either way, to me it would be incredibly irresponsible to administer drugs aimed solely at lowering blood pressure -- there are several kinds of drugs, but I'm particularly thinking of the diuretic kind which lowers blood volume which causes blood pressure to lower -- because this makes the numbers go down, but does nothing whatever to affect the root causes that lead to heart attack or stroke, does it?

    The jury seems to be out on this -- Dr. Fuhrman says that treating blood pressure has not lowered heart disease mortality, consistent with my conjecture, but this fellow claims that death rates have fallen, in part due to the treatment of hypertension. I was not able to trace any references for either claim.

    Furthermore, "overtreating" hypertension actually increases the risk of heart attack. This paper recommends not trying to lower diastolic below 84. This makes sense because if your blood vessels are partially occluded, then during the diastole (time between beats) when most of the blood flow to the heart muscle itself occurs, if the pressure is too low then the heart muscle could be inadequately nourished. Again the problem is the occlusion, not the blood pressure itself. Right?

    Now, I probably do want to get my blood pressure lower if I can, anyway, even if my arteries are squeaky clean, because I don't want to put more strain on my medical devices and their endothelial lining than necessary. Also I would rather not have to quibble with my doctor over medication. Better if it's just not an issue.

    Considering the work of Esselstyn etc. on eliminating atherosclerosis with a whole food plant based diet, I am committed to that path, so the thing I have yet to try is completely cutting out salt. I could also consume more potassium in the form of greens and sweet potatoes since I have been relatively lazy about vegetables. It is kind of rough not being able to eat out at restaurants (I mean I don't mind it, but it puts a damper on social activities) but I'll have to make it work. Searches for info on how long to expect it to take for sodium exclusion to bring blood pressure down have not been very productive, but I have seen reports of a few days to a few weeks, so I guess I should plan to do it for a few weeks. I can also finally get the discipline together to exercise regularly. I went on a 5 mile hike today, it's a start. I'd rather slam dunk it, then dial back to the minimum required.


    Emergent rigidity

    In the early days of the web, someone got the idea that they should indicate the required fields of their form with a star. Somehow that convention got so entrenched that you now regularly see forms where practically every field has a star. Like this one: Personally, I think the default on paper forms is for people to assume a field is required, so it might have made more sense to mark the optional fields? And certainly nowadays, in a form like this Evernote registration, that would be better? But today the required-star is the rule, and I'm not sure if it's because the people who make the forms no longer think it's "right" without doing it that way, or if it's because they think users would be uncomfortable if it weren't that way, or maybe both.

    A lot of Chinese and Indian restaurants have very uniform menus. With the exception of upscale or fusion type places, you can kind of expect to go into a Chinese restaurant and find Moo Shu Pork, Mongolian Beef, and General Tsao's Chicken. And you can expect Moo Shu to have cabbage in it and be served with a sweet sauce and thin pancakes. I'm sure traditional Chinese cuisine is as varied and nuanced as traditional American cuisine (when I went over to a friend's house as a kid, the American Chop Suey was always quite different than the way my mom made it). Yet, some early Chinese restaurant pioneers set up an original menu template, and ever since, there has been an expectation that new Chinese restaurants would follow that template. It's like the modern phenomenon of the chain restaurant -- which many people bemoan -- but, it happened organically. (Unless there is a secret Chinese restaurant bureau somewhere that coordinates it all.)

    Five to ten years ago, I would get political solicitation letters in the mail and marvel that they were done up in a monospace typewriter font, with underlining and highlighting for emphasis. To me this was meant to suggest that the letter had been cobbled together in someone's basement on a typewriter, photocopied and highlighted by hand, and then mailed out; my interpretation was that this format was supposed to evoke the freshness and energy of a rebel underground, with cutting edge information disseminated through a critical network that you had been fortunate enough to get in on, and which needs your donation to survive! Yet, five or ten years ago, monospace typewriters were long dead and gone. In fact, these letters in the mail frequently had curly quotes and took advantage of boldface on their monospace text. So this anachronism had become a deliberate affect, but what was it trying to communicate anymore, except the fact that it was a political solicitation letter (because that was now the way political solicitation letters were supposed to look)? And today, I am still getting these types of letters... in email! People are making solicitation letters that look just like some grass roots memo from the 80's, and sending them in email. As far as I can tell, the only possible effect of using this format now is that people will not read it because they know from the font that it's a solicitation.
    Autopilot is a powerful force.


    I feel the need to add: SINKS. So often, bathroom sinks have these tiny little stubby faucets that you can barely get your hands under because you are running into the back of the sink basin. I once read, but can no longer find any references for, the idea that this was originally done because the main use case for sinks was to fill them up with water in order to wash your hair or your underwear or whatever. Thus, you didn't need to get under the faucet at all, and on the contrary, if the faucet were too big, you'd hit your head on it. Today, 95% of the time we just rinse stuff under the running faucet, so having a stubby little neck on it is just a nuisance, and if it were really an issue, we have the technology now to make the faucets rotate out of the way like they do in the kitchen!


    Someone explain to me why it'd be a bad idea to buy this duplex page-feed scanner which makes searchable PDFs, and this stack paper cutter which can cut off book bindings, and to scan all my books, magazines, receipts, and paper files.

    I have about 500 books, none of which I can search, and all of which are large and heavy. This book-scanning service is kind of cool, but not economical, at ~$33 per 300-page book, or more like $36 with shipping. At that price, and with the above DIY equipment at $1039.98, the break-even point is about 30 books. If I factor in my time at $50/hr, and assume each book takes 15 minutes to strip, scan, and proof, the break-even point is more like 45 books. If I could do an average of 5 books a day, it would take about 3 months to scan them all. Hmm, maybe I could hire someone? At $5/book, labor for the entire project would cost $2500, which is probably the value of the whole library and therefore hard to justify, so I'd either do it myself or get rid of some of the books instead of scanning them. And honestly, part of the appeal is having a sheet-fed duplex scanner, so I don't have to have piles of paper around my desk. Ever. Again.


    I get colds about twice a year. This is average, though to me it seems too often. It usually starts with a sore throat, moves into body aches and fatigue and coughing, and ends with congestion and runny nose.
    In 2009, I read a bunch of information about the link between flu and Vitamin D, and started supplementing large amounts of vitamin D in the hope that this would decrease my frequency of illness. My vitamin D levels are now in the high-normal range, but my rate and severity of colds haven't changed.
    It turns out that a significant number of people infected with colds do not get symptoms, and cold symptoms themselves play no part in recovering from the infection; moreover, most healthy people will get infected if rhinovirus is dropped in their nose[1], so getting a cold is not necessarily a sign of a weak immune system. The more meaningful question is therefore how to combat or prevent the symptoms.

    From some cursory reading I pretty quickly ruled out vitamin C intake as well as vitamin D intake as factors. There are some resources that link cold incidence to decreased sleep / decreased quality of sleep or lack of regular exercise, but I find myself more convinced by the material implicating increased psychological stress, particularly chronic (> 1 month duration) stressors, because poor sleep can cause or be caused by stress, and exercise is a known stress mitigation technique.

    Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an effective antihistamine treatment for cold symptoms -- only the older, drowsy-making antihistamines even work on cold symptoms, and they knock me out so they're not real options.

    So perhaps the best approach would be prevention via a stress reduction campaign, such as regular meditation and exercise.


    [1] "99% who entered the trial without antibody (titer of <= 2) to the virus to which they were exposed were infected, whereas 69% of those with antibody (titer of >= 4) This resulted in a total infection rate of 84%. 58% of those without antibody developed  colds, whereas only 19% of those with antibody developed colds. This resulted in a total of 40% of participants with colds." -- Types of Stressors That Increase Susceptibility to the Common Cold in Healthy Adults