Sunday, January 22, 2012

Who knew cookies could be good for you?

The war on food continues with new ammo! I just found an advertisement in my Sunday paper for Whuno Cookies ( and they appear to be the latest thing since sliced bread.

These cookies, which suspiciously resemble Oreos and Chips Ahoy, are packed with fiber, calcium and vitamin C. The ad, in fact, tells us three cookies can provide "as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, as much calcium and vitamin D as an 8 oz glass of milk and as much vitamin C as a cup of blueberries." Isn't that fantastic?

Now, rather than eat oatmeal and blueberries and drink a glass of milk, you can scarf down three delicious cookies and be good to go, because we all know eating nutrition packed cookies is better for you than eating real food. It's so much easier to grab a couple of cookies than to sit down to a bowl of oatmeal and blueberries.

Of course, these nutritious cookies are aimed at kids, or parents of kids who want better nurtition for their children. We all know kids prefer cookies to spinach or oatmeal, in fact I know a lot of adults who prefer cookies to spinach and oatmeal, but does it really make sense to replace those foods with specially designed cookies?

The ingredients list for the cookies is suspiciously missing from the website, so I can't be sure, but I have an inkling there will be a lot of things in the cookies you won't find in the natural foods they replace.

The food industry constantly bombards us with replacements, things we can consume instead of real food that will supposedly act like real food where it counts [nutrition, taste] and not act like real food in the areas we fear [calories, fat]. I understand the concept of wanting to replace some of the junk kids like to eat with better choices - hey, if your kids are going to be eating cookies anyway, why not give them more nutirtious cookies, right? The only down side is, you're fostering a taste for cookies when learning to like real food will serve them better in the long run.

Have the milk and the oatmeal and the blueberries instead of a designer cookie. Who knows, maybe you'll be better off.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

History rewritten

There's an iconic picture circulating around the web of a group of female firefighters at Pearl Harbor, supposedly taken on December 7, 1941. [It wasn't and here's an article about that.] Nevertheless, the picture, shown below, strikes me as amazing for a couple of reasons.

First, it's of female firefighters at a time when women were still considered the fairer sex. Sure the war changed things, and women who had to step into traditionally male roles proved they could do more than bake cookies and make babies. Nevertheless, it's humbling to see these courageous women at work doing something so few women even do today.

Second, the ethnic diversity strikes me. There is a black woman, a Hawaiin woman and several Caucasian women, all working together during a time when diversity wasn't embraced or mandated as it is today. There's another new perspective for me of a time when I thought things were a certain way, and it turns out maybe they really weren't.

The third thing I notice about the picture also tells me that some of the historical facts we're bombarded with today, just may not be true. The 'fact' I question is that all those years ago people were slim and healthy because they ate fresh whole foods and exercised more. I look at these women, and I see courage and strength, but I don't see bony physiques and slim silhouettes. They're not supermodel shaped, thus evidencing the fact that back before the standard "American diet" took effect and began making everyone fat, women still weren't skinny.

In this related photo you can see it clearly. None of these women is slender. At a time when the fashion was the cinched waist and flouncy hips, these women didn't have an hourglass shape. I wonder how Dr. Oz or all the other weight loss and "health" gurus would deal with them. Eat less and exercise more? Who's got time for that when you're busy protecting the country? Seriously.

I have no doubt there are plenty of photos from this time of the ideal woman with perfect measurements, but I have the feeling she was no more 'average' than the size 0 supermodel is today. This picture shows women living life as it should be lived, not munching rice cakes and sweating on a treadmill or dancersizing. That's how to stay healthy and be real - do what needs to be done. Stop counting calories and fat grams and striving for the perfect BMI and go put out some fires. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are you ready...


I mean Thanksgiving?

I've been a fan of Black Friday for years, but not because I'm one of those people who gets up at 4:00 AM to go stand in line at the mall and spend the day hunting bargains and trying to get all my holiday shopping done in one day. In fact, between Thanksgiving Thursday and Christmas Eve [whatever day of the week] I don't go near any of the malls in the area. And that's not easy to do where I live since there's a major shopping mall within five miles in any direction.

I like Black Friday because it's a non-holiday. Most offices and schools are closed, yet there's no federal or religious reason for it. It started out as just a nice way to get a much needed four-day weekend. Now it's a thing. It's become a day of sanctioned insanity, one that I avoid by purposely staying home.

But in case, like me, you opt out of Black Friday shopping hysteria, you can now particiapte in
Small Business Saturday for those of us who hate the mall any day of the year, and after Exhaustion Sunday [my own creation] you can enjoy Cyber Monday, the official on-line shopping holiday.

While all these special days are cute and quirky and they probably offer a much needed boost to the retail economy, I think they're mostly a symptom of our society's love affair with material wealth. We've venerated shopping to a holiday experience [holiday coming from the concept of holy day] - and turned days for shopping into traditions - and the beginning of a new type of holy week dedicated to that which we are cleverly manipulated in worshipping, money.

However you spend Retail Weekend, have a good one and I hope you enjoy your Turkey Day or whatever you plan to do with the next five days.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Eating Plan, plan to eat!

Part III of my Trouble losing weight? Lose weight series

I went to the dietician yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to speak to someone who was intelligent and knowledgeable. It’s funny how what a supposed doctor can tell you about weight loss while they’re looking at your blood work is very different from what a dietician can tell you about how to take better care of yourself.

Here’s some of the differences between doctor/PA and dietician:

PA: Cut bread out of your diet

Dietician: Eat two slices of whole grain bread with breakfast and lunch. You need carbs in your diet.

PA: Insulin resistance will turn into diabetes, you must lose weight.

Dietician: Insulin resistance doesn’t always turn into diabetes. You can improve insulin resistance.

PA: Keep a food diary.

Dietician: You don’t need to keep a food diary.

PA: Cut out snacks between meals.

Dietician: You must eat a morning, afternoon and evening snack.

PA: Avoid cheese.

Dietician: With your low cholesterol you can certainly have cheese.

PA: Switch to skim milk.

Dietician: Drink 1% milk, it has less sugar than skim milk.

PA: Change your life to accommodate your diet.

Dietician: Let’s create a food plan that fits into your life.

Now, armed with some sensible and doable ideas to tweak my eating habits, I hope to improve my health, not just drop pounds while I starve myself in order to fit into an ‘ideal’ weight category.

My ultimate advice: Trouble losing weight? Lose your doctor, and find a medical professional who understands health.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Evil Avocados

This is part II of my Trouble Losing Weight? Lose Weight – Series

Yesterday in the mail I got my follow-up paperwork from my farce of a doctor visit this week. Included with my test results was the ubiquitous DIETARY MANAGEMENT PAGE.

The notation at the bottom of the page tells me this list was printed up in 2001 – or maybe 1901. I can’t really tell.

Below the GOALS, which include the specific and intelligently worded: Reduce weight to ideal body weight [because everyone must be IDEAL at all times], is an exhaustive list of BAD FOODS to be avoided.

As expected, I’m to stay away from things like Whole Milk [how’s 40 years away from it, good enough?], Butter, Lard [cause I love a could scoop of lard now and then], Organ meats, [brains anyone?], Fish Roe [cause I can afford caviar], Honey, Candy, Chocolate [never giving that up!] and of course, the dreaded, evil Avocado!

Yes, to lower our fat intake we need to cut out that nasty avocados, which we find scandalously slipped inside dozens of different health food sandwiches. It’s heartening to realize the horrifying obesity epidemic could be solved if only we lowered our intake of avocados, those high fat fruits! I think I may go to the food store today and slap the avocados out of everyone’s hand and tell them how bad, bad, bad avocados are for us. We’re a nation of guacamole guzzlers, and it’s starting to show. We need to stop this frightening dependence on fatty fruits and get out there and start drinking more diet soda!

Stay tuned for Part II of Trouble Losing Weight? Lose Weight, where I plan to document my visit to dietician. Let’s see if she can tell me something I don’t already know about ‘healthy lifestyle changes’.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Trouble losing weight?

Doctor solution: Lose weight

I'm disgusted right now, having just come from a follow-up visit with my psuedo-doctor, [a physician's assistant, since, as a woman, I don't rate seeing an actual doctor].

I visited three weeks ago with a couple of concerns: a feeling of generalized anxiety, a fluttering in my chest at times that made me anxious, a tiredness, a feeling of being overwhelmed, an inability to lose weight despite numerous 'healthy lifestyle changes', and just a general not well feeling.

Psuedo-doctor's first step was to prescribe vitamins, calcium supplements and Claritan [for a mild sinus irritation.] She then ordered blood and urine work, which I went for and today I went back for the results.

Well, my bad cholesterol is amazingly low!
My good cholesterol is also low. [How do you fix that? More exercise!]
My blood sugar is a little high [egads, I'm pre-diabetic - so now no other symptoms or concerns are of any importance. I could have had a broken leg and it wouldn't matter - I'm overweight and I have high sugar [9 points above normal] so therefore nothing else is of any value other than I LOSE WEIGHT!

Hold on, wasn't an inability to lose weight despite years of dieting and lifetsyle changes ONE OF MY COMPLAINTS?

Why, yes, it was.

What does the psuedo-doctor say? Here's a brief, disheartening transcript between me and the skinny little medical robot:

Her: You should cut out starches, pastas, sweets, white bread, white rice etc,.

Me: I explained to you already that I've done that. It made no difference.

Her: I'm sending you to Weight Watchers, people have lost 70 or 80 pounds on that. You should go with someone for moral support.

Me: I've been on diets since I was 17. They DO NOT work. I've counted points, calories, fat grams, etc. I've cut soda, white bread, salt etc. out of my diet and seen no weight loss.

Her: It's not just for weight loss, it's for a healthy lifestyle.

Me: I'm doing healthy lifestyle changes. They're not making a difference.

Her: How often do you exercise?

Me: I was doing it every day, it made no difference.

Her: But how about now?

Me: I'm TOO TIRED to excercise. That's my problem!

Her: Well, you can't just give up.

Me: Why not? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting diffrerent results is the definition of insanity.

Her: I can send you to a dietician. Maybe they can tell you something you're not doing.

Me: Fine. Whatever.

Her: I'd like to see you in three months and let's see if we can get that weight down, because we don't want you to become diabetic.

Me: I thought it wasn't about weight, it was about a healthy lifestyle.

Her: I'll see you in three months.

Me: No. You won't.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And Gays can't marry?

My husband told me this morning, there’s been a new measure of time established. It’s called the Kardash. Definition: a period of 72 days.

All the jokes at the expense of celebutante Kim Kardashian and her apparently unemployed basketball star soon-to-be-ex husband Kris Humphries are well-deserved, but I think there’s a darker side to this celebrity-marriage-go-round.

There’s so much debate and animosity about the issue of same-sex marriage. States that allow it are applauded, states that don’t are trying to say the people don’t want it. Religious groups want to convince us that same-sex unions somehow undermine the institution of marriage and family – and yet when celebrities spend millions on highly publicized nuptials, then months, weeks or even hours later decide they made the wrong decision and want out [or decide they haven’t gotten enough publicity miles on the wedding and need more attention] we’re supposed to just laugh it off.

I have to be honest. It’s not funny. If we’re supposed to care about the integrity of marriage so much that we need to stop any given set of two people who are in love and committed to one another from getting married just because they have matching chromosomes, why should we just blithely accept the uber-rich and dubiously famous will marry for fun and profit and divorce for the same reason even before the magazines bearing their wedding photos have been taken off newsstand shelves?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten canned mechanical phone calls polling me about my stance on same-sex marriage. Should marriage be between one man and one woman?

No, I always say, but they never leave me space to add: Marriage should be between one grown up and one grown up [or two or three even – we can discuss plural marriage another time], but the operative words should be ‘mature individual’ and ‘mature individual’ – and not ‘Botox glory hound’ or ‘talentless publicity seeker’.

Maybe all those activists out there campaigning to deny same sex marriage should focus their efforts on something that does need to be stopped instead – ‘same celebrity marriage’. Two famous people shouldn’t be allowed to get married in any state of the union. Clearly they can’t handle it, and the effect on the institution of marriage is too devastating for us all to have to witness. Over and over and over again.

They should put that to a vote – in a Kardash and every Kardash from now on until we can change the laws and make marriage a safe and sanctimonious haven for people who are truly committed to more than having their airbrushed images plastered underneath the headlines.