Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings

Pet peeve time: warning, rant ahead! 

The other women in my department have all recently converted to a new belief system.  It is based on the writings found in a recently-discovered book, and as far as I can tell, it has something to do with the sin of belly fat, and the evil that is known as Carbs.

I haven't stopped to remember the title or learn the author's name, because I hate the whole concept of people turning to a Book to learn how to feed themselves.  Granted, this is some specific program for reducing belly fat in women (can you say marketing genius?), but as the saying goes, there is nothing new here under the sun!

For example, did you know that belly fat has been connected to higher rates of many forms of cancer?  Yes, I read that at least 15 years ago.

Did you know that carbs (evil, bad, horrible carbs!), not just sugar, are a factor in developing diabetes?  Yes, I believe I learned that about 20 years ago.

I try to hold my tongue when I hear all these women talking about grams of this and servings of that, what they're "allowed" to eat and what's "not allowed."  Every morning they quiz each other about what they had for dinner, what they've brought for lunch.  But when one stopped by my cubicle during my lunch break, while I was clearly deep into my novel, to lecture me about carbs, not sugar, causing diabetes, I nearly lost it.

Say it after me, folks: sugar IS a carbohydrate!

Ok, never mind, you don't have to repeat that.  I just had to get it out.  I think there are two major reasons this really pushes my buttons.  First, I was raised by two biochemists, who met while working at Rockefeller University, where they rubbed elbows with multiple Nobel Prize winners.  Not that that makes ME a Nobel-winning scientist, but I have science in my blood, as well as my brain.  I took advanced chemistry in high school and spent my first year in college as a zoology major.  So being lectured by someone with a degree in computer science who's only just now learning from a fad diet book about the link between carbs and health, and doesn't seem to know the terms "simple carb" and "complex carb," is particularly irritating.

Second, it just astounds me that, in the interest of eating healthier, these women are going out to buy the specifically-mentioned brands of artificial "all-natural" sweeteners mentioned permitted by The Book.  Really?  Filling your body with chemically re-mixed sugars is better than pure sucrose?  And spraying neon-yellow 0% trans-fat butter substitute on your whole-grain, chemically preserved English muffin is good for you?

Me, I sat there this morning spreading my locally made, preservative-free multigrain bread with my homemade jam, and ate it with my locally-grown hard-boiled egg.  'Cause, you know, carbs plus protein is the best way to fuel up for the day.  I probably looked a little piggy, 'cause I was stuffing my mouth to try to keep it too busy to talk while my coworkers spread the word about the evils of carbs.

Now I have to admit, I am being a bit hypocritical.  First, these women are not following this diet to the letter.  They recognize that there are extremes to which they will never hold themselves, so they are not being completely brainless.  And as for me, I am definitely overweight, nor do all of my meals boast all that great local, whole food I was just bragging about.  I did have a package of ramen noodles with my lunch. (Shhh, don't tell Miss Chef!)  But, in general, I'd rather be overweight and know what I'm putting into my body and why, rather than be thin following someone else's formula that encourages you to buy chemically-engineered "food."

My diet formula was developed by Michael Pollan: Eat  food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.

As I texted to another, non-dieting coworker, how did our ancestors ever manage to feed themselves without a bookful of directions?

~~~ φ~~~

Still...I sure could go for a nice cold Coke right now.   : )

~~~ φ~~~

Speaking of healthy and unhealthy food, did you hear about the giant egg recall?  (Not recalling giant eggs, just recalling a lot of regular-sized ones--sorry for any confusion).  Once again, a factory farm has sent contaminated food across the entire country, resulting in hundreds of thousands of packages being pulled off the shelf and no doubt tossed.

And once again, I rest secure in the knowledge that my eggs are safe, without even having to check brand names or lot numbers.  Because my eggs were hand-gathered by Elie and Levi Mullis, children of Dean and Jennifer, owners of Laughing Owl Farm.  I'm sure Jennifer would let us know if they had any problems, but chances of their free-range flock being contaminated are slim.

What do you picture when you think of where you eggs came from?  Me, I think of the market two weeks ago, when Jennifer just had to join in with the squash decorating kids.  She was pretty intense about it, but she can make a damn good squash girl, complete with flower-petal skirt.

Yeah, I'd trust her kids' eggs any day.

~~~ φ~~~

To balance my Food Superiority Rant above, I now have to confess that I've fallen off the exercise wagon.  It's not entirely my fault (it never is, is it?)  You see, the ankle I twisted in the rafting celebration of Miss Chef's birthday is still bothering me.  I was going to give it a few days off before I did yoga again, but that turned into a full week.

And then I was tired.  Work has been ridiculously slow!  Can you believe it??  After all those months of back-to-back jobs, I now spend half my work day trying to look busy.  And I'm learning that doing nothing creates its own kind of fatigue.  So, by the end of last week, my total lack of activity had landed me back in a not-so-great place.  It left me feeling tired, which makes me want to not do anything at all.

And then my Very Special Aunt came for a visit.  Ugh.

It's crazy how much an effect this lack of exercise has on me.  Now that I'm back to Lazyville, all kinds of stupid little chores are piling up, stressing me out and not getting done.  Phone calls I just don't want to make, chores I'll "do later," organizational stuff I just am not motivated to do.  If I were working two jobs still, it all would have been done last week.  But now it just lingers, from one day to the next.

But I'm fighting back.  I did pull out my yoga dvd today and do part of the workout.  Only about 20 mins, until my ankle started complaining, but it's a start.  And just knowing I started is a really good thing.

Oh, and another good thing I did for my health...finally visited my special Lady Doctor earlier this month, after 3 years.  And have made an appointment for my very first mammogram.  No, please, don't tell me what it's like, I'd like to remain blissfully ignorant for now!


  1. Why do some people get on a new fad diet and become like some kind of over-zealous religious cult and try to "convert" everyone else? Rant away, I enjoyed reading it and I totally agree!

    PS Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I answered your comment over there on my blog. when you get your farm you just can NOT forgo a good dairy goat. Think of all the goat cheese Miss Chef could make! :)

  2. LOL Sounds just like the Adkins and then there was what the 40-30-30 (myriads of others). Folks just looking to be unhealthy in the name of image. Hated that about the military; I never could 'measure down' to the ideal female standard.

    Good morning,

  3. Too funny! I had forgotten that aspect of the work place - you brought it back with a good laugh!

  4. I get a mammogram every year, no big deal, but the Lady Doctor, hate it, hate it.

    Speaking of eating food that is bad for ya, I want your Mother's German Potato Salad recipe, please.

  5. There's nothing worse than a recent convert to any belief system. I'd say a big box of doughnuts in the break room is in order.

  6. Jennifer, I have already decided that dwarf Nigerians are my faves. If we kept any goats, though, they would probably be strictly pets.

    Joanna, I've heard you, I've heard you, lol! Mom just got back from a 2-week vacation yesterday, so I'm gonna give her some time to unpack before I hit her up for her recipe.

    Betty, LOL! You're a genius!!

  7. Now, that was a good rant! I can relate... I frequently hear the same conversations! It really makes you wonder, doesn't it? :)

  8. Mammogram war stories are usually way worse than the actual experience. I think we made a big deal out of it just to have something to complain about. But really-- not so bad and over in a few seconds.

    And the diet-- I love they "not following it to a tea" approach. That means they really do eat carbs but don't tell anyone :-)

    Your diet makes perfect sense to me.

    Happy weekend, jj

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  10. Rant away my friend. But you're just singing to the choir. I'm singing right there with ya.

    Seriously, I refuse to micro manage my diet. Life is meant to be enjoyed and lived to it's fullest. Life is way too short. Oh yeh, if you eat poorly, you can die from diseases, but you can also die from crossing the street tomorrow or by getting kicked in the head by a horse.

    Counting every carb is for sissies. The best diet advice is "Everything in Moderation" and that's what I live by.

    I always shake my head when I see folks who go to those all you can eat buffets and stuff their overflowing plates with mountains of food and bread...and desserts...and maybe a leaf of lettuce for good measure.
    But they insist on drinking a diet they watch their sguar intake. WHAT THE HECK?
    If they really want to watch their sugar intake they'd be better off with smaller portions of dessert, and huge glass of ice water with lemon. How is stuffing your body with cancer causing artificial sweeteners better?

    I've started using Stevia in my hot tea because I realized that I was using way too much sugar every day...more than 8 teaspoons each day just from tea.
    The nice thing about the stevia is that it's so sweet that I use less than one packet and sometimes don't feel a need for sugar at all. So I'm weaning myself off sugar in my tea this way and am very happy about that.

    I still enjoy a coke now and then, though, but I don't buy them by the case anymore. I only enjoy them when we go out to eat as a treat.

    Oh yeh...and I'm so grateful for our flock of chickens. I've been thinking about the crazy salmonella scare a lot and am so grateful that we don't have to worry about any recalls around here.

    I love the name of your friend's farm, by the way. Owl instead of Orca! Very cute!

    Have you ever seen an owl laugh?


  11. I'm all bout a good rant! But now feel compelled to admit that I've recently gone gluten free and am so pleased w/unintended weight loss benefit despite pigging out on cheese n chocolate. ;-P Love that you admit to ramen noodles - snuck those in the cart for hubby this week as it's an easy out for me some days. (I mix in fresh eggs n veggies n call it Chinese soup for my kids!) A chef I am NOT. Congrats on your Dr appts ~ just don't tell me the details as I'm next...

  12. I'm late to the party here (I've been busy with my visiting sister) but good for you for making that doctor's appointment! Mammograms are not the most pleasant thing in the world, but just think of the alternative. I have one every year, and always think of my mom taking us kids for a milkshake after a trip to the dentist, as a reward. So start thinking of what YOUR reward is going to be! And if nothing else, consider that mammogram as tangible evidence of how much you love Miss Chef.

  13. Wag that tail, Rosie!

    "How did our ancestors ever manage to feed themselves without a bookful of directions?" - tee hee hee

    Thanks for the giggle! I'll be back for more (I hope).

  14. Love this RANT! I've felt the same way so many times. And most of the time, it's because I see people I care about making crazy choices that aren't healthy and that are focused on a short term goal and they use extreme measures that can't possibly be maintained to get there!!


    You know that I've been on my journey to get healthier. But I want it to be because I love food, you know? Because I do! I love food and not preservatives and chemicals and nasty stuff. I love so many of the intense flavors and depths that real food brings.

    And I totally feel you on the exercise thing. I'm back to running very soon after a break since that 5K... I miss it for all those reasons you talked about.


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