Friday, October 29, 2010

Drugs Won't Do it

The FDA rejects yet another weight loss drug:

It seems that it caused suicidal thoughts, heart palpitations, memory lapses, and, oh yeah, birth defects.

The drugs just ain't worth it. Besides they don't get to the route cause of the problem. People are overweight because:

1) They eat shitty food

2) They consume too many calories and

3) They don't move enough.

If people just:

1) Ate healthy, "real" foods.

2) Ate primarily fruits and vegetables and whole grains,

3) Consumed fewer calories

4) Moved more.

They wouldn't need any drugs, because, THEY'D BE THIN (or at least thin for their body type).

It's that simple.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Now, this is Just Obnoxious

I don't believe in the so called "fat acceptance" movement. I believe that being overweight is not something you should accept about yourself because it carries serious health risks.

If you're severely overweight, you should be working on eating better and getting more exercise--not revelling in your fatness as you head off to Burger King for a Whopper with cheese.

That said, I also believe that you do have to be somewhat accepting of the fact that not everyone can be a size 0 without resorting to eating habits that are just as unhealthy as those of the overweight. Media projects unhealthy images as to what a normal healthy person should look like, and we need to realize that being 5 foot 2 and 130 pounds is not all that bad for a 50 year old woman.

I also think that mocking fat people is just plain WRONG. So I incredibly got pissed off when I read this column from Marie Claire:

Seriously, who the hell does this bitch think she is?

In this column, about a TV show showcasing two overweight people falling in love, the writer says things such as:

So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

Huh??? You can't stand to even watch fat people walking??? Here's some news lady, if you want fat people to not be fat, then WALKING is actually a good idea. Let's not make them self-conscience for engaging in an activity that might actually help them lose a few of those pounds you find so "gross."

BTW, check out the comments to the article. Apparently just about everyone who read it was as disgusted as I was.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Add this to the Bad Diet Hall of Fame

The ice cube diet:

They're ice cubes supposedly laced with Hoodia. I'd say this one is right up there with the cookie diet and Slim-fast.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another Reason To Watch Your Weight

Heavy women make less and are treated worse in the work-place:

I'm not saying that it's right, but it is reality.

Personally, I find it shocking that women are judged so harshly for having a few extra pounds, and rather disgusted by the poor treatment they receive. Even more shocking is that overweight men are not discriminated against in the same way overweight women are discriminated against.

In a society in which we are bombarded with images of women that are nothing but fantasy, I guess those in charge find the reality of women too jarring. Unfortunately, we can't photo-shop ourselves in the real world.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sometimes You're better Off with the Steak

I'm sorry but anything that contains upwards of 1,200 calories in a single serving should not be allowed to use the designation "salad."

These gut busting salads are just one reason why I want calorie counts on menus. When you're someone like me who can only eat 1,600 calories a day without gaining weight (I'm pretty small), then I sure as hell want to know if eating a "salad" will blow my entire caloric wad for the day.

And, frankly, I do not understand why the restaurant business has fought putting calorie counts on menus. I mean how the hell, fucking hard could it be to just list a few extra words and numbers on a freakin' menu. Many chain restaurants already list the calorie counts on their websites, so just take the information from there and post the god-damn numbers on the god-damn menu.

I've gone through the bother of checking calorie counts on-line, and have too often been appalled at what I've found. It would really help me out to know prior to ordering, and I really don't understand the problem from the restaurant side.

Is a Donut a Donut by any other Color?

Not really. Apparently food dyes potentially can have serious, negative health effects. Read about it here:

Here's the bottom line:

If you’re concerned, ditch the potentially dangerous synthetic dyes. Look for foods bearing the green-and-white USDA certified organic label, but be aware that foods labeled “made with organic ingredients” may still contain synthetic dyes. You can also check product ingredient lists for beet, carotenes, annatto, capsanthin (a paprika extract)—as all are natural colorants. Counterintuitively, the terms “artificial color,” “artificial color added” or “color added” also indicate that nature-derived pigments were used since synthetic dyes must be listed by their names.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fat Talk Free Week,8599,2025345,00.html#ixzz12vRi5toY

I think this is a worthy effort to get girls thinking about their dieting habits. While its been over 25 years since I was in college, I still remember some of the crazy diets that I and my girlfriends used to "slim down."

I remember the grapefruit diet, Slimfast and the cabbage soup diet. None of these crazy diets ever produced anything more then excessive gas and maybe a short-term drop of a few pounds.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I know that being thin is a natural consequence of eating healthy, eating appropriate portions, and exercising.

To lose fat weight (and not water or muscle), is a slow, laborious, time consuming process. You can't just swear off fast food for a few weeks.

Girls if you want to take off the pounds and keep them off for good, you have to promise yourself to never, ever set foot in a McDonalds or Burger King again, and make fast friends with whole grain bread.

You also have to make the commitment to MOVE MORE. Notice I don't say "exercise." Getting into a regular exercise habit is good, but it's even more important to learn to walk instead taking the bus or using the stairs instead of the elevator.

So, sisters, the road to lifetime thinness is not paved with quickie two or three week crash diets. The only way to get to thinsville is to commit yourself to eating right and moving more.


I buy a shocking amount of bulbs every Fall. This year alone I bought a few hundred Tulips, daffodil and Frittilia bulbs.

Daffodils, for the most part, come back year after year, so after 16 years of planting at least 50 or more daffodils a year, my yard is starting to look pretty spectacular in early Spring. I can look out just about any window of my house and see hundreds of yellow blooms lighting up the landscape every April and May (and in some warm years March).

I just love Tulips. I think I would have succombed to Tulipmania had I been alive in Holland in the 17th Century, but I have to admit they are a bit of a bother. First of all, they're pretty much annuals so they have to be replanted year after year. Sometimes you get a few additional years out of a particular single bulb, but you don't get the mass planting of tulips which is really what tulip planting is all about.

Deer are another problem were tulips are concerned. Tulips are apparently the equivalent to Easter Candy for the deer. Just as they are about to bloom into a glorious profusion of color, the deer will come along and wipe out every one. I have to start spraying my tulips with deer repellent every year as soon as they start to pop out of the ground.

Chipmunks are another problem. Tulip bulbs are to chipmunks what truffles are to pigs--underground morsels of delight. I have to spread copious amounts of garlic powder over all my tulip plantings to thwart the chipmunks from eating them.

But despite the extra work, I think tulips are worth the effort. I plant various shades of pink tulips every year in my main garden beds. In the area fronting the herb garden I plant red and white Rembrandt style tulips, and in the beds facing the walk to the house I plant alternative groupings of white and black tulips.

In addition to tulips and daffodils I also plant various other bulbs every year, including hyacinths, Frittillia, crocus, alliums and other major and minor bulbs.

What does this have to do with weight loss and maintenance? Well, as I've repeatedly said in this country we focus too much on exercise and not enough on just plain old moving.

I may not be working up a sweat gardening (although I still get plenty dirty), but I'm burning anywhere between 200 and 275 calories an hour, depending on how intense I'm doing it.

So, by spending approximately six hours every year planting bulbs, I'm burning anywhere between 1,200 and 1,650 calories.

And, I get a spectacular display every Spring for my efforts.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm Going to Hell

At least according to this guy:

This again shows how ignorant some of these "Christians" can be. Yoga is not Hinduism. Yoga is not a religion. Many yogis are Hindus, but some are also Buddhist, Muslim, etc.

Myself, I'm of no religion (although I was raised a Catholic.) It's a shame that idiots like Pastor Mark Driscoll spread misinformation and scare their followers away from something that could ultimately be beneficial to them.

In fact, I think many of the people sitting in this guy's audience would be better off in a yoga class then listening to this clown. Pastor Driscoll is probably more demonic and bad for people's souls then any yogi could be.

Indeed, in my lifetime I've met far more people of the "religious" bent who I found lacking in moral charactor then those I've met in my yogic journeys.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Are You an Industrial Food Addict?

A really good, must read article from over at HuffPo:

I thought this part was particularly interesting:

New discoveries in science prove that industrially processed, sugar-, fat- and salt-laden food -- food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say -- is biologically addictive.

Imagine a foot-high pile of broccoli, or a giant bowl of apple slices. Do you know anyone who would binge broccoli or apples? On other hand, imagine a mountain of potato chips or a whole bag of cookies, or a pint of ice cream. Those are easy to imagining vanishing in an unconscious, reptilian brain eating frenzy. Broccoli is not addictive, but cookies, chips, or soda absolutely can become addictive drugs.

The "just say no" approach to drug addiction hasn't fared to well, and it won't work for our industrial food addiction, either. Tell a cocaine or heroin addict or an alcoholic to "just say no" after that first snort, shot, or drink. It's not that simple. There are specific biological mechanisms that drive addictive behavior. Nobody chooses to be a heroin addict, cokehead, or drunk. Nobody chooses to be fat, either. The behaviors arise out of primitive neurochemical reward centers in the brain that override normal willpower and overwhelm our ordinary biological signals that control hunger. Consider:

•Why do cigarette smokers continue to smoke even though they know smoking will give them cancer and heart disease?

•Why do less than 20 percent of alcoholics successfully quit drinking?

•Why do most addicts continue to use cocaine and heroin despite their lives being destroyed?

•Why does quitting caffeine lead to irritability and headaches?

It is because these substances are all biologically addictive.

Well, Duh!! Any woman could Have Told you that!

Researchers find that the upper and lower body gain weight differently:

Friday, October 15, 2010

To Fat to Fight Continued

I've written before about the military having a hard time recruiting because kids are so fat these days, but saw this and thought I'd post it for you to read:

Some Good News on the Food Front

Wal-Mart plans on buying and selling more local produce:

As I wrote when I got back from Ireland, one of the things that amazed me in Ireland was that fruit was available everywhere. Every 24 hour convenience store, airport concession, snack bar etc. had fruit.

And, not only was the fruit there, it was delicious. The apples were crisp and tart, the bananas perfectly ripe, and packages of strawberries were plump and sweet.

When I got back to the states, I made a conscience effort to seek out fruit and buy it from places you normally don't find it.

First, it was hard to find. In one airport, I was only able to find a few, very old, bananas. If I found an apple (usually a red delicious) it was inevitably mealy tasting.

I came to the conclusion that it had to do with distances. In Europe, food is shipped from near-by, and quickly sold while its still fresh.

Here in the states, food is shipped over long distances and usually stored for long periods of time under less then optimal conditions.

So hopefully, more local produce will mean better tasting produce at Wal-Mart which will lead to more people eating fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Soda is Not Food

An interesting read:

No, soda is not food, and neither is iced tea nor any other flavored-sugar filled beverage.

And, when you're trying to lose weight--or simply maintain it--the absolute worst thing you can do is drink your calories. An average sized flavored-ice tea or soda contains over 200 calories in one 8 ounce serving.

When you can only consume 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day (that is the reality for most women), then 200 calories drunk as soda is a huge waste of your daily caloric intake. It won't satisfy your hunger, so you'll wind up eating more then your daily allotment.

No, soda is not food and should not be part of anyone's daily diet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Non-GMO Month!!!

I just found out that this is the first official Non-GMO month:

To fill you in, GMO stands for "Genetically Modified Organisms." GMOs are products of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering or GE), which creates new combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes by combining DNA from one species with DNA from another. The result: new organisms that do not occur in nature.

In short, GMOs are the ultimate processed foods. Beets and corn are two crops that have been compromised by genetic engineering, and now we have the threat of a Franken Salmon reaching our dinner plates.

Why should we care about eating GMO foods if we're trying to lose weight? Well, if any of you have gotten anywhere on your weight loss or weight maintenance journeys, you've probably figured out that the one and only way to truly lose weight and keep it off is to swear off processed food and eat as naturally as possible.

GMOs are, of course, as unnatural as you can get. No one at this point knows the long term effects of eating GMO foods, but if history is any clue, it can't be good.

Research has shown, for example, that eating foods with high-fructose corn syrups are likely to make you fatter than foods with the same calories containing plain old-fashioned sugar. HFCS is, of course, much more refined and processed then regular sugar, so it stands to reason that it's more likely that foods made with GMO ingredients are probably not good for your waistline.

Oh, and BTW, since corn is now a major GMO crop, alot of that HFCS is now made with GMO corn--just imagine how gut busting that must be!!

But there are other reasons to avoid GMOs as well.

First, there is virtually no research on the long term health effects of eating GMOs, although there are indications that GMOs are more allergenic, and possibly more toxic.

Second, GE crops are bad for the environment. One of the reasons why GMO crops are created are so that farmers can douse their crops with huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides without damaging the crops. The liberal use of pesticides and herbicides, however, does harm the environment, and has even led to the evolution of "superweeds" which can withstand the constant dousing with herbicides. There are also issues with GMOs escaping into the ecosystem and reeking havoc.

Avoiding GMOs, however, isn't easy. Needless to say the agribusiness lobby has been hard at work to keep any regulation of their industry at bay. There is almost no labeling on GMO foods.

One way to tell if a fruit of vegetable is GMO is to read those little stickers on fruits and vegetables. If the first number is 8 it means it's a GMO (remember "I hate eight.") If it's a 9, it means its organic, and if the first number is 4 it's conventionally grown.

Another is to look for products that tout they don't contain GMOs.

You might also want to check out the Non-GMO's shopping guide:

As I mentioned, since both beets and corns are now GMO crops, just about any non-organic product you buy that contains sugar has GMOs in it, as do many organic products.

So, the old dictum fits here--Let the buyer beware.

But more importantly--vote with your dollars.

If you demand and only buy non-GMO products, and convince others to do so as well, food producers will do what are limp willed politicians won't -- they'll make sure you are provided with non-GMO products that are labeled as such.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Banning Soda for Food Stamps Raises Tough Questions

As you all can imagine, I am all for NYC's Mayor Bloomberg's proposal for banning people from using food stamps to buy soda. Hell, I think soda should be taxed the same way alcohol and cigarettes are taxed.

Still I try to keep an open mind and this article presents both sides of the issue:

I have to say the "dignity" argument really doesn't persuade me at all. We don't allow food stamp recipients to use their food stamps to buy beer or alcohol, so why should we allow them to buy soda which is probably just as damaging to their health? Particularly since their health care costs are usually publicly subsidized as well.

I found Mr. Fisher's arguments that the food stamps program really amounts to nothing more then subsidies for the food industry persuasive.

I'd argue that if we really want people on food stamps to eat better, and support smaller farmers, then they should be given double points for buying their food at farmer's markets. We constantly hear that poor people can't afford to eat nutritional sound fresh fruits and vegetables because they're more expensive. So here's what you do--make fruits and vegetables cheaper for them by saying a $1 in food stamps is worth $2 if you buy fruits and vegetables at a farmer's market.

You support small businesses--not agribusiness--and help poor people eat better.

I'd call that a win, win.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Want to Burn More Fat? Go to bed.

An interesting study showing that those who slept more burned more fat than muscle on diets, while those who slept less burned more muscle than fat. Read it here:

Of course, knowing that extra sleep is helpful in losing fat and actually getting that extra hour of sleep are two completely different things. As someone who regularly rises at 5:30 am, I for one would love to get an extra hour or two of sleep a night. Hell, I would just like to be able to roll around in bed for fifteen or twenty minutes after waking up.

When you work, have kids, own a home and want to be able to fit in exercise into your schedule, however, getting enough sleep is tough. I do try to stay in bed as long as I can on the weekends, and it's not unusual for me to sometimes get to bed fairly early in the evenings when I can. I've also been known to take a nap mid-afternoon before the kids get home from school. Despite all that, however, I often find myself walking around in a state of perpetual tiredness, just looking for an opportunity to find a little time to get some sleep.

I don't think my situation is not all that unusual. Sleep has somewhat been de-prioritized in the last couple decades. With TV, computers etc, we all have far too many distractions to keep us up. Hell, we tend to get mocked (as I do), if you actually go to bed before 10 pm from time to time.

But, I do think we do need to prioritize sleep. Staying up to 11 pm to watch the latest episode Mad Men is not a really good idea if it cuts into your sleep time. I solved this issue myself by getting a DVR and record shows that are on late at night. What's more, the DVR is on the TV in front of my treadmill, so if I want to watch Mad Men then I have to get on the treadmill to do so.

And, instead of playing around on the computer when you have some time to kill mid-day, maybe it would be better to take a nap. I know I'm going to be thinking about taking more naps now that I've read about this study.

The truth is I always feel guilty about taking naps, even being somewhat embarrassed to admit that I do so. Napping, like wide shouldered suits, is something that just seems so unfashionable. People don't nap anymore, just like they prefer to stay awake late watching TV.

Maybe we should all get in the habit of taking more naps and going to bed a little earlier.

Apparently, it would be good for our BMIs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Tinkie Winkie, Now Yoga.

I've heard this before, but thought I'd muse about it a little bit here after I read this piece on how Christian leaders object to the practice of yoga:

As a yoga practitioner I have to admit that I'm not all that much into the whole Hindu/Buddhist undertones that many practices take on, but that's because I'm just an extremely non-religious person in general. After spending most of my childhood in church and Catholic schools, I tend to run in the opposite direction of anything that is remotely religious.
The bottom line is, however, that despite misconceptions, yoga is not in any way a religious practice.

Yoga is considered a science in India, and, in fact, I've been told that many of the gurus in India actually frown on their Western students "converting" to Hinduism or Buddhism. Gurus will tell you that you can practice yoga no matter what religion you are or even if you are an agnostic or atheist because yoga has nothing to do with religion.

The yoga/eastern religion connection most likely got mixed up here in the west because early western devotees to yoga adopted aspects of eastern religions or converted because their gurus were Hindu or Buddhist.

So, when I hear Christian leaders' objections to yoga, I know that the objections stem from nothing more than just pure ignorance. After all, it was just a few years ago that the Teletubbies were being accused of promoting the gay lifestyle by this same crowd.

On the other hand, yoga is not just a physical work-out (although it can be). The physical aspect of yoga, the asanas, are just one of the eight limbs of yoga. When you look at the other seven limbs, however, even those do not demand adherence to a particular religion. Meditation is not a religious practice, although you can meditate on a higher being. Chanting is also not a religious practice, nor is pranayama (breath work).

Yogis are supposed to follow a code of ethics, the yamas and niyamas, but even those have no reference to any gods.

So I think before Pat Robertson objects to yoga because it's "spooky" he should really put the research into finding out what the chanting is all about.

After all, there are many people in this country who could benefit from yoga. It would be a shame if they feared walking into a yoga studio just because they thought it would compromise their Christian faith.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are GMO foods More Allergenic?

As if there wasn't reason enough to avoid genetically modified foods. There's evidence they're more prone to cause allergic reactions. Read it here:

Here's the nut of it:

In order to understand the allergy tests, a bit of backstory on how AquAdvantage salmon are made is necessary. First, genetic engineers create a "diploid" fish, meaning like people, it has two sets of chromosomes. Then, to make the final market product, they add genetic material from other fish and breed a new salmon with three sets of chromosomes—a "triploid" female that can't reproduce. AquaBounty researchers compared the allergenicity—or potential to cause an allergic reaction—of a control group of salmon to both the genetically engineered diploids and triploids. They found (PDF, see page 102) that the diploid salmon were 40 percent more allergenic than the control, while the triploid group was 19 percent more allergenic.

AquaBounty says that the triploids' allergenicity level wasn't statistically significant, and although the diploids' level is significant, it doesn't matter because only triploids will be sold. But Hansen of the Consumers Union finds a few problems with this argument. For starters, the test wasn't double blind, meaning the researchers knew which fish were part of which test group. Second, the sample size of triploid fish was tiny—only six fish in all. Third, although AquaBounty is going to try to turn all its market-bound fish into triploid sterile females, the process isn't perfect, and some 5 percent could end up as the more allergenic diploid. Especially scary when you consider that unlike the triploids, the diploids aren't sterile. So if they escaped, they could breed with wild salmon.

Do You Really Want to Feed this to Your Kids??

If you're wondering what that disgusting looking gunk pictured is, you can read about it here:

If you don't want to follow the link, then you should know pictured above is the main ingredient in processed chicken nuggets AKA mechanically separated poultry.

To eek out of few more pennies from chickens, turkeys, hogs etc, meat processors pass the bones through mechanical scrapers then through a high pressure sieve, and the end result is the gross looking pink, foamy stuff you see above, which is then turned into chicken nuggets and other processed meat products.

It gets worse. The end result of the scraping and sieving is crawling with bacteria so it gets washed in ammonia, then because it tastes pretty awful at that point, it's artificially flavored.

And, it's not just chicken nuggets, any mass produced meat product can contain mechanically separated meat, including hot dogs, cold cuts or jerkie.

So the next time you're in the grocery store and want to pick up a package of processed chicken nuggets, hot dogs or cold cuts, think about this picture, then think again.

Monday, October 4, 2010

We Need this For Our Health

I hate to get all political, but the reality is that politics does affect our health. Our government has been woefully lax in creating and enforcing regulations to insure the safety of our food supply and making sure that corporations don't mislead us.

And, the reason for this is simple--MONEY. Big corporations have essentionally bought out our government.

A few years ago, some attempt was made to lessen corporate influence on elections by limiting the amount of money that big corporations can spend on campaigns.

But last year, even that minor reining in of corporate interests was overturned when the Supreme Court ruled that rules limiting what corporations could spend on elections violated the Free speech provisions of the First Amendment. The justices who were in the majority of this decision were all appointed by Presidents beholden more to corporate interests then the interests of the people.

The result of this decision has already been felt. Just this weekend, it was reported in the parent company of Fox News gave over $1 million to GOP candidates through a donation to the US Chamber of Commerce (anyone that believes that Fox News in anything but a right wing propaganda channel, is seriously delusional).

Now, a group is trying to do something about this decision. They are proposing a Constitutional amendment essentially declaring that corporations are not protected by the free speach clause of the First Amendment. You can read about it here:

The reality is, however, that this amendment will never come to fruition unless there is massive, grassroots response demanding it. If you don't know your Constitutional law, for something like this to get off the ground, 2/3rds of both the US House and Senate have to vote yes for it, then it has to go to the states for a vote.

Needless to say, with the majority of our legislators bought and paid for by big corporations, unless there is a huge public out cry for of support the amendment, politicians will not vote for it.

But, as I said above, we have to take our political system out of the hands of those who have the most money to spend back into our own hands. The current system is too corporate-friendly, which means it's bad for our health.

The Founding Fathers of this country wrote of government by the people for the people, but sadly we've strayed far away from that ideal.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's In it for Disney???

Disney is backing Michelle Obama's efforts to fight child-hood obesity:

So, beyond funding a few parks, I wonder if Disney will make some real changes to it's way of doing business. How about providing smaller portions and healthier foods at its theme parks, or banning ads for overly processed junk foods on its TV stations geared to children?

While I appreciate the "support" I can't help but wonder if Disney is actually going to do anything real to help.