Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Breaking Down Assumptions about AM Caffeine

So, last week I had that bout of food poisoning and because caffeine kills a recovering stomach, I didn't have morning coffee or English Breakfast tea for a couple days. The caffeine headache was soothed by sleeping in and Advil. So then this week I thought I'd see what happened if I didn't take the 10 minutes in the morning to make coffee/tea. You see, I do a flex schedule, so I need to be out of the house around 6:20 a.m. (and sometimes I'm at work until 9:00 p.m. and not home until almost 10 p.m.--yes, I'm going to figure out how not to have this crappy schedule for little pay soon). So, 10 minutes or five or whatever time I took to make coffee/tea in the morning can be replaced with sleep and if I need caffeine, I work on a campus and I can go buy coffee/tea at one of the two coffee shops on campus or the cafeteria (though I've only done that a couple times while working here). I had a cup of green tea Monday, diet soda (bad, gave me heart-burn--okay, I had like three diet cokes) Tuesday, and today nothing yet. This could be a really good thing--dependency bothers me and I think I made some assumptions about my "need" for caffeine based on cultural cues rather than self-generated desire. Now, this isn't a "I eschew all caffeine post" or a "coffee/tea is the devil post"--I still intend to enjoy these beverages/drugs on occasion, but the everydayedness, the routine, the stumbling in the dark hours of the morning, that's what's gone from the equation. I don't need it, sometimes I like it, but I don't want to get so stuck in a pattern that I don't actual listen to my body.


14 Healthy Snacks for Kids

Good Housekeeping list 14 Healthy Snacks for Kids. I feel these suggestions also work for dieting adults.

  1. Snikiddy Chocolate Chippers
  2. Peeled Snacks Fruit Picks
  3. Quaker Simple Harvest Chewy Granola Bars
  4. Breyers YoCrunch Yogurt
  5. Tribe Hummus Snackers
  6. Whole Foods Whole Treat Organic Fudge Bars
  7. Edy’s/Dreyer’s Fruit Bars
  8. Breyers Pure Fruit Bars
  9. Snikiddy Grilled Cheese Puffs
  10. Multigrain FoodShould TasteGood Tortilla Chips
  11. Funky Monkey Fruit That Crunches in JiveALime
  12. South Beach Living Snack Pack Delights Energy Mix
  13. Aunt Trudy’s Fillo Pocket Sandwiches

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Photos of Children

In this article, Photo of Spanish Prime Minister's daughters highlights privacy concerns for world leaders, they talk about the privacy of children. The gist of the article is that Spain has a law that political children not be photography under the age of 18. Well with the Internet age of the new White House. The Spanish Prime Minister family and the President Obama's family took a photo and uploaded it to the State Department's Flickr page.

Well some in the blogosphere have labeled the girls as goth in the photo.

I feel there are two issue here that should be evaluated.

1. The use of sharing on Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, ect.
We need to always be mindful of what we are putting out there. People can use our images in bad ways. Examples:

Photo of Woman’s Son Used in Online Adoption Scam

2. Judging children in public.
Words hurt. So don't be calling out children on their looks. They can't offer a rebuttal.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Confessional Art vs. Professional Self-Exploitation

I love me some confessional poetry--thank you Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton, Adrian Rich, et al. I also find confessional art to be interesting (though like confessional poetry, I'm not endorsing everything ever produced under the aegis of "confessional"). This week we've had a bit of a confessional overload which includes the following three stories:

1. Irresponsible coverage of Irene Vilar's upcoming memoir Impossible Motherhood which details her 15 abortions in 16 years (and later her two full-term and wanted pregnancies that resulted in her daughters, currently 3 & 5). Better coverage HERE.
2. Mackenzie Phillips' memoir High on Arrival that details her rape (by her father) and then a later, Stockholm Syndrome like "consensual" (I don't believe consensual is the right word here, but that's what she uses) sexual relationship that continued for several years until she became pregnant by him and had an abortion and was able to brake the chains of incest. Check out Jezebel's compelling, 10 reasons John Phillips was the worst papa ever for more information.
3. The story that confessional artist Tracy Emin's love-letters she wrote when she was 14 years old will be sold by the man she wrote them to (he was 22 and she was 14 during their "relationship"--as someone who was just on a grand jury and the grand jury refused to indict an adult man who raped by statuary rape a 13 year old girl, believe me it is hard to get people to consider indictment let alone conviction in these cases, if you were wondering why this was allowed to go on at the time--which was nearly 30 years ago at that). Emin has objected to this sale, but as a "confessional artists" many are not taking her complaints seriously. I do.

First of all, all three of these women have been critized for their confessional writing/art. I'll begin with Emin because her story is easiest to defend. As a confessional artist she takes memoir and personal experience seriously and she always frames her personal pieces in the greater political or social context. Selling her love-letters is base exploitation of what was an illegal and sexually abusive relationship to begin with (no 14 year old has the legal nor social capacity to consent for sex with an adult, male 22 year old man). Often times rape victims are defamed on the stand by defense attorneys because if they've consented to sex in the past, they're no longer "rapeable"--particularly sex workers, those who have been sexually assaulted in the past, and women who had been in sexual relationships with their rapists prior to the event of rape. Because she has put out, in an artful and specifically framed manner, issues from her personal life, some (this asshole) thinks that selling her 14 year old letters cannot be a violation, she's put so much out there, therefore can't be violated.

Next: Irene Vilar
Okay, first off the coverage has been horrible regarding this topic. The first link called her an "abortion addict." It is true that Ms. Vilar came to see her multiple abortions as a means of self-mutiliation, compulsive behavior. She comes from a seriously troubled family background with suicide, mental illness, terrorist attacks, and so forth across many generations. She was also married to an abusive, much older spouse when the abortion-as-self-mutiliation occured. Because abortion talk in our culture in general is such a flash-point issue, it is difficult to discuss the nuance of Ms. Vilar's individual circumstances and how this memoir fits into the social reality of abortion. Simply put, it is an extreme! It doesn't really offer much on abortion, as much as on how untreated mental illness, the impulse to self-mutilate, and abuse are interrealated. No where in the coverage did I see anyone mention, why didn't her husband take control of his fertility and try to help his avoid unwanted pregnancies (which afterall, he was most vehementally against having children)? Anyway, its a sad story and its being published.

Next: Mackenzie Phillips
She was on Oprah yesterday (and lets not forget that Oprah was an early champion for talking about sexual abuse opening, prior to Oprah, it was pretty much a universal taboo to discuss child sexual abuse in the media let alone in health-classes or even in our own living rooms). I don't want to go into much detail about the rape/abuse (go watch the clips at Jezebel), but I will say that the coverage seems hung-up on not calling waking up after your father shoots you up with drugs to find him "having sex with you" rape. It is rape. It is incest. Her sisters have confirmed that they knew something was up, her step-mother says she's nuts, her step-brother said that he could believe it but didn't know. The other criticism out there is "why now"--well, victims have their own timetable and sometimes that means that it comes out once they are safe from the perpetrator. In this case, after her father died. Some might say she's doing it for the money, that might be part of the equation, but when celebrities do talk about these things, it allows other victims to come out of the shadows and discuss it with their friends/family/shrinks and I think that that is a good thing. Believe me, incest happens--I work on behalf of abused children--it happens all the time and the power-dynmics of the parent/child relationship make it really difficult for the victims to process how bad/damaging a sexual relationship with a parent really is--to acknowledge that may mean the breakdown of the entire family and the break may end up with the child out on the street.

I think that all three of these cases are dealing with the confessional or the memoir seriously. However, with all of our boundary crossing due to maximized celebrity reality tv, this serious stuff is often eclipsed or marginalized. Paris Hilton's and Kim Kardashian's entire careers rest upon fake-reality, stupid antics, sex-tapes, and personal appearances that are actually carefully orchestrated--more fake than reality. Simply put, they do not work in the same genre, but I wish that when covering stories like the above vs. the trashloids general coverage, the media would catch a clue.


The Carpenter's Daughters: Big Girls Deserve Crazy, High-Fashion Choices Too

Below I've selected a few choice pieces from The Carpenter's Daughers a plus sized fashion house based out of New Zealand. The designers seem to be lovely, cheeky ladies who chose not only models from a variety of sizes, but ages and races as well. Some of the selections are very wearable, and some totally crazy in the vein of high-fashion (which is fine with me, big girls deserve to be as outrageous as skinny-minnies--here I'm not body-snarky the thin, just demanding equal opportunity high-jinks). I'll number the selections, so vote for your favorite in the comments.







Picture Show: Visions of Fast Food

Here is a link to an art show which features photos of fast food.

From the photos I would give up some of my favorites.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Serena Williams: Everyone Called Me Fat

Serena Williams has one of the best bodies in sports, but she has still been called fat.

"I went through a really tough stage that took place when I was No. 1 and I had surgery and fell to almost 200 in the ranking," she told Tyra Banks in an interview to air on her talk show on Thursday (watch video above). "Everyone called me fat, saying I was really unfit. Every [news]paper, the headline was 'fat, fat, fat.'"

The media can be so harsh. Serena Williams is awesome and her body does so much for her. She needs the muscle to kick but on the court. The media needs to learn the difference between muscle and fat.

Food Poisoning

I just spent the last twelve hours in bed, sleeping off food poisoning. It was left-over Japanese food, I should have known better. Now my body hurts--isn't that funny when you stay in bed for more than say 8-9 hours, how body-aching sedentary stasis can be? I don't tend to be a big sleeper-inner on the weekends, I get up around 7 a.m. instead of 5:45 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. if I was out the night before late (but even if I'm out until 3 a.m. my body rarely allows me to sleep past 9:00 a.m.--not fair!). So, the whole, staying in bed thing for extended periods of time makes me just feel limp and slightly achy.

I have a sensitive stomach in general, but food poisoning is so dramatic--it just takes over and you pray you'll reach the toilet. Once its over, dehydration headaches and an aversion to food (forever, in one's mind) sets in. I just had millet toast, so that "I'll never eat again" impulse has passed, but the headache lingers. I think I'll get some Sprite on the way to work (I have to teach tonight, so I might as well go into work now that the fireworks have stopped, its not contagious, and I slept and slept and slept).

Anyway, food poisoning sucks, but it also can serve as a reminder as to how fragile our bodies are. Just a couple germs in the wrong direction, microscopic and clever, can really take you down--and if I lived in a refugee camp or an Indian slum and I caught a slightly stronger case, I could die. So, be patient with your body--in healing, weight-loss, meeting exercise goals, etc. It all rests on a slender thread.


The Dangers of Detox Diets

Janelle Brown of Self describes the dangers of Detox Diets in this article. Here are the highlights:
  • Detoxes are bad if taken to extremes.
  • Detoxing is not an effective way to drop pounds for good.
  • A healthy "green" living diet should not be turned into a starving eating disorder.
  • Detox done the Hollywood way can cause dehydration and can compromise the immune system.
  • Repeated detoxing can lead to yo-yo dieting.
  • Raw food diets without guidance on how to get all nutrients can lead to malnutrition on other health problems.
  • Using supplements with no FDA approval during a Detox can magnify all the problems a detox can cause.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Do you have a theme song?

As a child, I always wanted to live my life in a musical. Well since I cannot do that, I decided to pick a theme song for myself. I play my theme song for myself during the following times:

  • Before interviews
  • Before possible stressful situations
  • To change my mood around
  • Before big projects at work

I suggest everyone get a theme song. It is a quick cheap way to try to change your life.

My theme song is Vanessa Williams' Happiness. Here is her video and here are the lyrics.

I don't believe what I'm hearin'
You can't impress me by what you show me
Don't think I'm goin' through changes
Or you might see me change for the last time

Having a bad day
Better deal with it
If you're playin' games
No time for it
If you're bringin' pain
Gonna run from it
Don't mess up my day

I'm the only one who's responsible
For me havin' fun
And you can't take my

Happiness is what my life's about
Happiness no I can't do without
Happiness nothing can stop me now
Through ups and downs I'm still happy

Life is good as I make it
I can't sit while you make it for me
I like those jewels you gave me
But I wanna buy some jewels for myself
To lose the ball and chain
Gotta reach for it
To realize my dreams
Gotta reach for it
Nothin' comes for free
Gotta reach for it
No I'm not gonna have to depend on you

I'm the only one
Who's responsible
For me havin' fun
And you can't my


I'm the only one
Who's responsible
For me havin' fun
And you can't my

[Chorus 2x]


Monday, September 21, 2009

Kat James

I love Kat James from Informed Beauty she wrote a wonderful memoir, The Truth About Beauty about her transformation from Binge-eater and make-up artist (exposed to lots of harsh chemicals) to natural health guru and writer. She's sincere.

I'd love to attend one of her five-day natural health make-overs in North Carolina, but I don't have $2,600. If I did, I'd first have to pay off some debt anyway :) but the point is that there are many yoga retreats and natural health adventure trips out there, but hers is the one I'd trust to be safe and genuinely filled with accurate information. Its scary out there and when you are trying to re-evaluate how your culture approaches health and well-being (let alone nutrition) you have to learn how to not only read-labels, but find out who underwrites studies as well.

There are a couple retreats I might like to try (once I'm more middle-class, I'll definitely try), but Kat James' retreat is on the top of my list. How about you, dear reader, any retreat or spa you would love to attend if you had the money/time-off/courage? If you do have the money/ability to take the time off, is there something else stopping you, like insecurity about "not being thin/pretty/confident" enough? Let me know in the comments!

On A Personal Note

Hey, by the way, I'm sorry I've MIA for a few days. I'll try to make sure that I have at least one post per day this week. Life had been kind of up in the air this week! I also want to get back to food blogging--I need to charge my camera batteries for that :)

I'm moving and I'm trying to figure out "what I'm going to be when I grow up," but after this week, the fitness regime needs to be recommitted. You only have one body in this life.


IDEA critical of Biggest Loser

I've mentioned before my trepidation regarding the Biggest Loser. I tried to watch it last season, but when a woman was puking on the treadmill on the first episode, I said "I'm out, this isn't ethical." Also, the show is on Tuesday nights, when I have a class so I'd have to go out of my way to watch it via the net. I will try to watch the first couple episodes over the next two weeks and see if I can do a regular review. I get that this has really inspired many viewers to either get a bit trimmer themselves or to understand the plight of the obese in a more compassionate way.

However, it is still a form of exploitation and recently the IDEA (an international organization dedicated to fitness and wellness) has published a report regarding the show's practices.

Some concerns include:

“There seems to be little concern for biomechanics, and many contestants who clearly have been avoiding even the simplest forms of activity for years are now doing explosive, full-body plyometric exercises. There is simply no sound reason for doing this."

"Speed is only appropriate when you’ve mastered the basics of movement. Many of the contestants on that show have no business jumping or doing explosive exercise."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

6 Surprising Reasons Why You're Exhausted

Yawning? 6 Surprising Reasons Why You're Exhausted

Below is the list of six.

1. A hidden UTI: In some cases, fatigue may be the only sign of a urinary tract infection, reports WebMD.

2. Your diet: If you're not eating enough, you will be tired.

3. Food allergies you didn't know you had: Some doctors believe that exhaustion could be a sign of hidden food allergies.

4. Caffeine overload: You probably reach for more coffee when you're tired, but experts say that too much caffeine can sometimes backfire, causing you to feel more fatigued.

5. Undetected thyroid problems: Fatigue is one symptom of a thyroid condition called hypothyroidism. Fortunately, this is such a treatable thing (I have it, and just pop a pill each day--no biggie).

6. Night Noise, such as your snoring man.

New Celeb Fit Club Contestants

TMZ has a Photo Gallery of an upcoming cast of Celeb Fit Club.

The Gallery includes the following:
Nicole Eggert from Baywatch
Michael Badalucco from The Practice
Casey Stroh
Bobby Brown From New Edition and Whitney's Houston First ex-husband
Shar Jackson from Moesha and she is K-Fed's first Baby Mama
Tanisha Thomas Bad Girls Club

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More To Love Dream Date Contest

Here is link to enter the More to Love Dream date contest.

Please note if you win you can bring your own date and don't have to go with the loser from the show.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is Fat Acceptance a Cop-Out?

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

In my opinion Fat Acceptance is not a cop-out if a size 12/14 refuses to try to become a size 00. I think the whole Fat Acceptance is about refusing to fit into an Advertisers mold.

I don't think people who advocate Fat Acceptance are looking for people who have high blood pressure and diabetes to continue to gain weight.

Faceless Marketing

Anybody else bothered by this faceless marketing campaign for Precious? The movie looks intense (and I'm definitely going to go see it--you can check out the trailers HERE) but the erasure of the actress, new-comer Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe makes me feel uncomfortable. Now, the poster is beautiful in its haunting, kind of early 20th Century Expressionist way, but I can't help but think that perhaps this faceless campaign has to do with our protagonist being fat. Sympathizing with the faceless, drawn fatty verses the real life young woman? Faceless-ness, can be symbolic for all the neglected girls she represents (neglected by her mother, the father who raped her, and the school system that didn't get her the services she needs in order to learn how to read). Yet, at the same time, this film is based on a specific memoir, but a specific human being and the actress who was brave enough to take this difficult role ought to be acknowledged.

Anyway, dear reader, let us know your thoughts in the comments. Am I crazy for feeling uncomfortable with this campaign or is there something there?

Walk Off 2 Sizes in 6 Weeks!

Workout At A Glance:

How It Works:

If anyone does this let me know how it works.

Elton John Cannot Adopt the Orphan Boy

The Ukrainian orphan Elton John wants to adopt will not go home with the singer and his longtime partner David Furnish, a Ukrainian family minister said Monday – citing a national law that prohibits unmarried couples from adopting, the Associated Press reports.

Ukrainian laws are very strict when it comes to adoption. Not only do the laws ban same-sex couples from adopting, they also state that the parents cannot be more than 45 years older than the child. Their only hope would be a presidential dispensation to take home 14-month-old Lev.

I am all for gay adoption. Kids need families so I think we should let family's be created. But I am down with the age law. I think a parent that is 45 years older then the kid is creating a situation of heartache. I don't think it is better to love and lose, then to never love at all.

Please note Elton John is 62.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Article Recommendation

Kath, she of KERF, has an interesting quick post up over at

Kath lost about 40lbs and has kept it off for several years and she is a well-regarded food blogger and is studying to become a nutrionist. She lost weight through calorie counting, exercise, and learning more about quality nutrition. She hasn't counted her daily calories in about a year, trying to eat intuitively. She reflects on her calorie counting and in a way, missing it:

Although I stopped counting calories over a year ago, I do miss it sometimes. I’m very happy not counting these days, but on occasion I do wish I had some numbers to track. Calorie counting gets such a bad rap, and people often use “counting calories” and “obsession” in the same sentence. But who has the authority to decide that counting anything is an obsession? Maybe you just like to count things! More power to you if you can enjoy counting something and get in control of your healthy habits at the same time. Counting calories teaches portion control and raises awareness and accountability too.

Check out here blog KERF here or the article HERE.

Personally, I think that calorie counting is honest, realistic, and yet also sometimes crazy making. It can be both, I know that it has been both a boon and a problem for me in the past. I'm trying to work through Beck's The Four Day Win to help me deal with my diet anxiety and nearly instant rebellion at trying to start anything restrictive or obsessive. Yet, I need to get some weight off, and calorie counting, particularly in making meal plans but not necessarily forcing myself to diary (other than food-blogging) in reasonable portions will help me. I'm trying to figure out how to be reasonable in all this, not obsessive. I think that personalities play a big part (and trauma with past diets) can contribute toward dysfunctional or disordered behaviors when it comes to losing weight, even if you are committed to the sensible route. One thing that really struck me about Half of Me by Jenna was that as a 300+ woman, she never really tried to diet before, she had lost weight through exercise, but not the kind of cult of the diet that so permeates our culture. She was successful on South Beach, which doesn't emphasize calorie counting or point tracking or similar. Also, Jenna did (does) tons of exercise.

Anyway, trying to find one's path toward greater wellness is difficult, let alone weight loss.

So, what about you dear reader? Is calorie counting triggering for you? A vital tool for you? Let us know.

Harrison Ford Cracks the Whip on Indy 5

Harrison Ford, 67, says he's already ready for the globe-trotting archaeologist's next adventure, only a year after one of history's most successful film franchises was revived – and that the next chapter is already well on its way.
I am ready to envoke agism. Harrison Ford is to damn old to play Indian Jones. If we age out James Bond. We have to age him out to.

I also don't want to see Angelina Jolie as Laura Croft at 50 either. So my vote is new Indy.

Kanye West is a Douchebag, but Beyonce Saves the Day by her Inherent Classiness

In the above video, Kanye West inexplicably decides to steal the spot-light from new-comer Taylor Swift in order to "praise" Beyonce. She just won her first award and Kanye decides to point out that Beyonce is somehow more deserving of praise at that particularly moment. Beyonce, in the audience, is of course horrified (because she's a classy lady). Kanye is an attention grabbing jerk. In the video below, during her award for best video, Beyonce invites Taylor back to accept her award. Unfortunately is always seems to take a woman to clean up a man's mess, but Beyonce inherent grace is more than up to the job.

Why do I mention this on a health and wellness blog? Well, number 1, Beyonce is a great example for women to withstand the pressures of sickly-skinny--she is a slender woman by any standards except the very narrow constraints of Hollywood. She has talked honestly about her struggles and how hard it is to maintain sanity in that environment. And I think that her healthy relationship to her body also contributes toward her grace and dignified presence in an industry where many narcissists and destructive personalities (yes, Kanye, that was a jab at you) must be dealt with on a constant basis. We all have to deal with these kinds of people on occasion, but rarely, dear reader do I suppose you have to deal with them in front of millions of viewers?

So, thank you Beyonce for your sane and talented presence in our collective popular culture.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Race, Gender and Exercise Benefits

According to a recent study the health benefits of exercise may differ by race and gender (of course, they are narrowly defining health benefits to mean cholesterol and triglycerides stats).

Researchers have been tracking exercise and cholesterol levels in 15,000 African American and Caucasian men and women since the late 1980s. In all groups, adding an hour of mild exercise or a half an hour of moderate exercise a week increased levels of 'good' cholesterol, the heart-healthy HDL kind. However, the increased activity lead to lower levels of LDL ('bad') cholesterol only in women, not men. Additionally, the only group to exhibit improvement in all cholesterol levels were African American women. Caucasians who exercised more saw a decrease in harmful triglycerides, but African Americans didn't show the same result.

Although the most benefits were found among women, both Caucasians and African Americans (though defined by differing results), this is not to dissuade male readers from exercising. The reason why I'm profiling this study to discuss health reporting. So often, health or lifestyle journalist pick up a story on the news-wires and then interpret the results themselves, and rather simplistically, in a way that does not necessarily reflect the data. So, this journalist laid out what he/she gleaned from the study. Then goes on to tell us this: the method of research -- questionnaires -- means the results might not be entirely accurate.

So this is a self-reported study! Yet, I only get that at the end. How research is conducted and who interprets that research is crucial. Especially when you throw race into the mix (which as defined by Anthropologists is "socially significant characteristics" --there really is no such thing as biological race--we can share organs, blood, make babies, etc. --but there is socially constructed and culturally significant factors at work in terms of how human beings group themselves and live/eat/work. Science may be ideally racially neutral, but Scientists are racist by virtue of living in a racist society. I'm racist, I don't want to be, but by continually working on questioning my assumptions and challenging my ideas, I can work on it. To do a scientifically rigorous study that involves race as a factor, the methodology has to be sound, the interpretative matrix must be examined, and the way that the information is disseminated must be responsible.

I guess I just want a better job of health reporting than we currently get by the mainstream media--okay, I want a better job of rigorous reporting from the MSM in general!!! But in terms of health-reporting, its especially important to realize that studies differing in quality significantly and that sweeping statements need to be examined.

Biggest Loesr Preview

The preview below is from


Run, fat cells, run! The weight-loss challenge is back and more urgent than ever. In fact, the elimination show’s eighth season hits the ground running a bit too furiously. In the two-hour premiere, host Alison Sweeney orders the 16 just-introduced contestants — including season-seven also-ran Daniel, a housewife who lost her family to a car accident and the heaviest contender yet (476-pound Shay) — to race a mile down a beach. Result? Two contestants end up in the hospital, which seems excessive for this normally health-cautious show. Meanwhile, trainer Jillian Michaels overdoes her tough-love shtick, screaming to one dangerously obese participant, "When I see you lying down, I see a dead father!" These moments of drama will fuel the next day's watercooler chat, but in private, viewers will find something more pure: motivation. Anyone who has been unsuccessful at taking off weight can relate to these ultimately inspiring players. (NBC, 8 P.M.)


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reason #6348 Why the American Health Care Industry Needs Reform

So, apparently, nine states allow domestic violence to be considered a "pre-existing condition" and thus to cancel or deny healthcare coverage. This is both disgusting and predictable. It is true that victims of domestic violence (which does escalate over time) are more likely to be in need of future care.

Amanda Marcotte sums it up best:

Besides the immediately obvious bad effects of this---particularly since a woman who has been abused before is in serious danger of getting severely hurt by the abuser, especially if she tries to leave---there are a number of unintended consequences. Obviously, the major one is that the fear of losing insurance coverage might drive victims to avoid reaching out for help, and it may even mean that they don’t get treatment for their injuries after an abusive incident. And of course, the less a woman reaches out for help, the less likely she is to get out of the situation.

Health insurance is not about saving or improving lives--its about profit. Healthcare, ideally, should be about saving and improving quality of life. Domestic violence victims shouldn't have YET ANOTHER thing to fear by reaching out for help, but the profit-driven system of care is in conflict with patient centered care.

So, here's another reason to contact your Representative or Senator and appeal for comprehensive healthcare reform.

Here are some of the most important points to remember when writing your public servants:

1. Non-discriminatory laws that would not allow insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of age, gender (women's health insurance is always more), pre-existing condition, weight, etc.
2. Demand a public option to provide real competition and a model of low-overhead in order to demand efficiency in private insurance companies.
3. Move toward salaries, rather than per-procedure payment models for doctors to bring down costs and make our system more efficient.
4. National standards for regulation of health-insurance rules and procedures.
5. Subsidize low-income and modest income households for their health insurance or in the public option or in local non-profit coops in order to relieve the burden. 13% of one's income for health insurance is TOO MUCH. Yet, that's where the average American will be very soon if nothing is done. (I should mention that one pays 1/3 in taxes and 13% in healthcare costs, one is being way over-burdened compared to say a French or Swedish citizen, whose excellent healthcare is covered by taxes alone).
6. Remind conservative or Blue-Dog Democrats that if a Healthcare reform bill fails, it will most likely be their districts that go Republican in the next election. Liberals are safe, but those muddy-middletons are the ones that need to deliver!!!

Lane Bryant Fall Collection

Above are images to some of Lane Bryant Fall 09 line. I think these outfits are whack. What do you guys think? Are any of you going to rock these out fits. Here is a link to all there new arrivals.

Friday, September 11, 2009

SNL's Casey Wilson Is 'Phat, Not Fat'

Casey Wilson is laughing off reports that she was fired from Saturday Night Live for being too fat. "

I had an amazing time on SNL, and these rumors are completely untrue," Wilson, 28, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. "And to clarify, the issue isn't that I'm too fat, it's that I'm too phat. Can I get a WHAT-WHAT!"

Well I am glad a clarification was made. Let us not joke with Fat discrimination. It is relay but not always the culprit in Hollywood.

Fat Loss with Cosmetic Surgery

For those who are out of control and the seceret behind many of the celebrity bodys. Her are list of fat loss cosmetic surgeries.

Laser Liposuction – a targeted and precise liposuction procedure that can get rid of excess fatty tissue around the waist, thighs, buttocks, arms or any other part of the body. Smart Lipo is one popular body contouring procedure, a treatment that gets rid of fat pockets by breaking up the fat cells and releasing them into the body. Smart Lipo treatments can be combined with other bodysculpting procedures for enhanced results.

Mesotherapy – a series of injections filled with medication and vitamins are designed to break down cellulite and fat cells. Mesotherapy is a popular fat loss treatment in Europe, and can be found in hundreds of medspas and cosmetic surgery centers in the United States. The injections can dissolve fatty tissue, and can be combined with massage therapy to improve lymph flow and drain the body of excess fluid.

LipoDissolve – another non-invasive procedure that treats fatty deposits with a series of injections, the chemicals in LipoDissolve may help to dissolve fat and improve the skin’s appearance. The broken down tissue is shuttled away through the body’s elimination system, and the treatment can be used to treat the thighs, upper and lower arms, abdomen, waist and even fat deposits on the back.

I don't recommend any surgeries. My goal is to try to improve the body I got with diet and exercise and live with the body that results from that. Surgery is not worth the risk of death for me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fat Loss in Your 30s – Ways to Jumpstart Your Success

John McCarthy, an exercise physiologist claisms about the aging process, explaining that people between 30 – 40 years of age are at the highest risk for a slow metabolism, lower bone density and gradual muscle loss.

Pamela Peeke, a nationally recognized physician and scientist in the fields of nutrition, metabolism, stress and fitness provides these tips for weight loss in your 30s:

1. Improve your workout routine – focus on a combination of cardio and resistance exercises.
2. Make the mind-body connection – learn how to manage stress without turning to food to relieve anxiety and discomfort.
3. Get enough sleep
4. Get creative with your workouts and eating plan – incorporate new physical activities into your lifestyle so you can challenge yourself and look forward to working out again.

Well, I feel encouraged that if I don't get thin in my 20s I still have a chance to make the connection in my 30s.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Poll: How much do you spen on Weight loss?

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5 Power Foods That Make Your Mind Younger

Here is a list of 5 Foods that make your mind younger.

1. Eggs
2. Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens
3. Blueberries
4. Walnuts and Fish
5. Mustard

I am going to add these things into my diet. Even if they don't make the mind younger, they are low in calories and on the cheaper side to add to the grocery list.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Urban Fruit Foraging

There's a great article up over at the New York Times Dining & Wine section regarding urban fruit foraging cooperatives. The woman in the picture above, Asiya Wadud, is the founder of the neighborhood fruit exchange Forage Oakland. In college she majored in Urban Sociology and she worked at Alice Waters' Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse--one of the most foundational enterprises for the locavore movement.

Ms. Wadud works to connect people with over-abundant Bay-Area Fruit trees and people willing to harvest them (and sometimes do pruning work). Generally, the harvest is split between the owners, the pickers, and local food banks.

"Supporters of this movement hold two basic principles. One, it’s a shame to let fruit go to waste. And two, neighborhood fruit tastes best when it’s free."

Its not just in the Bay Area that this movement has seen growth, Brooklyn, LA, Pennsylvania, and more have seen local coops develop around this idea of shared bounty.

All over the country, the underground fruit economy is growing. At new Web sites like and, fruit seekers can find public mulberry patches in Pennsylvania and neighbors willing to trade blackberries in Oklahoma.

In Royal Oak, Mich., a woman investigated how to start a fruit exchange modeled after Fallen Fruit (, an arts group that designs maps of accessible fruit growing in Los Angeles neighborhoods.

In Alaska, cooks used Facebook to find willing donors of backyard rhubarb, the first dessert crop that grows after the long winter. In Columbia, S.C., university students pulled spare peaches from orchards and donated them to a local food bank.

Its not been seemless, with some misunderstanding of foraging law, for example it is perfectly legal in California to pick fruit from a neighbor's tree over the fence but some fruit tree owners are unaware of that and in some cases foragers have crossed onto property without permission, misunderstanding the law or assuming a fruit tree listed on one of the maps indicates that the owner is open to anyone--its understandable that owners would want to screen foragers on their property, when and for how long, not at all. So, where the movement has some growing to do and some etiquette to establish, certainly.

I have a couple apple trees--they are in a bit of trouble right now and we're doing some serious pruning to repair from last winter's ice-storm and chilly spring which must have killed off the blossoms because only a couple apples appeared this year and quickly underdeveloped and fell to the ground. Last year, it was crazy harvest town and I ended up composting the majority on the ground (oops). So, something like this urban foraging movement, on a good year, I'd definitely be interested in pursuing. From what I understand, at least in Kentucky, is that good Samaritan Laws protect one from liability suits when it comes to urban picking, so that's good. Overall, I do agree that generally, fruit trees should be shared--you can only eat so many apples before you get completely tired of them and apple-butter is not an everyday staple. So why not share? In return, you often get a share of another neighbor's harvest of plums or peaches.

Check out the whole article!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Incredible Shrinking Black Women

Here Essence Magazine lists several black celebrity women slim down transformations.

They are:

  • Mo’Nique
  • Jordin Sparks
  • Queen Latifah
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Toccara Jones
  • Sherri Shepherd
  • Phylicia Rashad

Yike Bike

So, readers, what do you think about the Yike Bike--its a foldable, urban scooter/bike that goes about 12 mph and you sit up-right for full visability. It is about $5,500--steep in my estimation (and I didn't really see any place for grocery or other shopping storage). Apparently its also supposed to be good on downhills and not exceed the 12 mph (which would be my concern in San Francisco). I definitely get these new initiatives to combine walking and non-car motorized devices for extended mobility in major cities and I hope innovation, like that found in the development of the yike bike, continues this century. I just wonder how comfortable or feasible this particular design is. Although, before any real judgment can be made, I should try it out. Hey, yike bike, send me a freebie!

Sandwich Update

Okay, well, the official sandwich experiment is over. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was going to try to re-integrate some gluten into my life in the form of sandwiches. My work schedule sucks and sandwiches are really filling and easy things to make at work with the right ingredients, unfortunately, even though I might not officially be a celiac according to my blood panels, the gluten wreaked havoc on my system--it took a couple days to really manifest, but after two weeks (M-Th sandwich days), I was a goner.

So, I'm going to bring some Millet bread and toast it and make open faced sandwiches with some Pacific Soup (and bring a couple other prepared meals--like some Gluten Free Tuna Noodle Casserole) for this week. Making a fresh salad with protein is too hard, but I'll get salads on Wednesday when we go to Wacky Wednesday at the Uni Cafeteria and I can make salads for dinner on occasion. Hopefully I'll be able to break the diet coke habit I've picked up recently to compliment the sandwiches. I'm going to try to bring iced-green tea with juice.

Anyway, its been such a long time since I've had regular gluten that I forgot how much it sucks! Its good to remember this is how it used to be and that I don't have to live with a constant feeling of crappyness. I think that its good I'm not a celiac, that means that I can occasionally have birthday cake or similar, but I can't have gluten regularly or else it compounds and turns into gastro-catastro.

Alicia Silverstone: Eating Well Can Help the Planet

Alicia Silverstone has a profile up over at regarding her Vegan Diet and her upcoming book: The Kind Diet.

Alicia Silverstone has been a long-time Vegan. She presents her diet as primarily an ethical choice and as a matter of fact, she had something very interesting to say regarding diet recommendations as they relate to health:

"I didn't come at it, honestly, from a health point of view. I was 21 when I went vegan. And when anybody told me to be healthy, I thought people were just telling me [to lose weight] because I'm in this business. So I was like, 'Go F yourself!' [Laughs.] Yet when I look at those pictures from back then, I can see the puffiness in my eyes. It's weird to be 32 now and feel and look younger. . . . Right after I first made the switch to a plant-based diet, people were literally telling me, 'What have you done? You’re sparkling.'"

I think that it is rather interesting that talking about "health" in Hollywood, the assumption is: lose weight, get skinnier. This is one of the most honest interviews with a Hollywood star I've seen in a long time. One criticism, the author of the article seems to dwell on "naked gardening" as part of quirky, Vegan behavior. Silverstone is quirky and she owns up to stripping down naked while gardening to jump into the pool, which seems not too crazy to me, but I think that emphasizing this point tries to paint those crazy Vegans as "out there" to calm the minds of the "regular" people reading so that they can dis-associate the more logical, clear minded things Silverstone says regarding her concern for the environment and animal rights.

I leave you with one last, intelligent quote of Silverstone's:

On why she wrote the book: "Once you're informed, then you can be really gentle and kind to yourself, by giving yourself all the gifts life has to offer — like mental clarity and vitality — all while making the planet better."

Shoe Shopping: As Seen on TV

The above clip is from "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia"--Dee, is trying to live out a "Sex and the City" fantasy weekend. She blackmails some women (she only has male friends) into going out to a bar with her and she goes to an expensive shoe boutique in order to buy some extremely uncomfortable shoes that are way over priced, and of course her credit card gets rejected because $700 for a pair of shoes seems ridiculous to the credit card company considering her moderate spending prior to this fiscal suicide venture.

I'm posting it for a couple reasons: 1. its really funny, 2. its a comment on how ridiculous the as seen on tv single-woman behaves. Dee is a cocktail waitress trying to become an actor, incidentally, she doesn't have the cash for this Sex & the City crap--most women don't and even the women on SACT didn't (or at least, the main character Carrie Bradshaw would have made $70,000, yet lived a $380,000-$600,000 lifestyle according to some economists that have analyzed the show.

I love that in this clip, Dee can't even walk in the shoes, let alone escape the clerk when she tries to steal them.

Just to reiterate, the "as seen on tv" single gal is about as realistic as the average woman presented in Vogue or Elle--not representative in other words.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sometimes Raining on Somebody's Parade is the Kind Thing to Do

Okay, Tania, the woman featured in the video above is a 37 year old woman who "wants to start taking her modeling career seriously." Everything is officially staged in the "Real Housewives" franchise over at Bravo, let's just accept that as the "reality" behind these "reality" shows. So, if this 37 year old woman is actually trying to start a modeling career, I don't care. BUT, I do care how these faux-reality programs influence regular people's perceptions about what they can do realistically with their lives. For example, I work with at-risk youth and I've rarely met an at-risk youth suggesting a solid plan for him/her-self career wise. Everybody wants to be a professional athlete, singer, dancer, actor or simply aspired to be "rich." When I worked at a community college, I remember meeting a young woman (already a single mother) who could NOT manage to turn in her ENG 101 papers ontime, say she wanted to be a doctor. At the time, I would never have rained on anybody's parade and said, "why don't you consider nursing" because I was a young idealist. First of all, let me tell you, she flunked ENG 101, so she ain't a doctor today, let alone a Community College graduate. I think that we need to get realistic career planning instilled earlier in the curriculum of most middle-schools and high-schools. Not, tracks, where you can't change your mind and go onto something else, but the TEACHING OF MAKING PLANS. So, say you want to be a doctor, they need to learn how to make a plan for becoming a doctor, a nurse, an EMT, a research scientist, and a pharmacist. That's five plans with five solid steps--including learning the moment they need to apply to college, what semester they should take organic chemistry, how much debt they should expect to incur, etc. Because, in a world where a 37 year old woman thinks she can become a famous model because a kiss-ass agent agrees to meet with her on a reality show, you know ten fools at home are thinking they need to try to sneak onto the American Idol auditions and pretend to be under 29 so that their talent will just Susan Boyle us away. By 37, you should damn well be living with a bit of reality and accept your life. If you want to totally change careers, that can happen, but something like modeling, professional athletics, acting--that's just stupid and it serves as a bad role model for the rest of humanity, particularly young kids and desperate housewives who are more vulnerable to thinking stupid reality tv stunts like this are, well, reality.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Did You Know Muscle Mass Prevents Diabetes?

Well, now we have another reason to pick up the handweights--muscle mass helps prevent diabetes and the more you exercise those muscles, the better they get at processing blood sugar.

Doing arm weights and some squats is really good for you and even into old age, these simple weight-baring exercises reap some serious benefits.

So, why do I have a problem getting my toning regime in gear? Seriously, I do cardio really well, but the toning bit I always seem to do half-assed or I skip it. According to the Jillian Michaels book "Winning By Losing" one should warm up for five minutes doing cardio, then do the toning exercises and then do your cardio routine. Maybe that will help me. But here's part of my problem: getting an elliptical at the gym. I LOVE the elliptical and when I do go to the gym, getting one can be quite competitive. So giving it up after five minutes seems crazy-town. Especially at the beginning of the semester when everybody has new resolutions. Maybe walking to the gym from my office can be the warm-up, do the toning, then I'll try to get an elliptical machine. Regardless of how I accomplish this feat, I have to do toning because I'm a serious weakling. I hurt myself mowing the lawn a couple weeks ago because I didn't have the upper-body strength to push it at an angle up the hill. So regardless of appearance or looks or all that, I do need to work on my upper-body strength. I think that I am not particularly prone to gaining muscle easily and I need to work on it.

So, resolved for the 15th time: muscle good, me get muscles.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

HPV and Men

Here is a great article about the issue.

Here is the gist.

Definition of HPV.

1. There are proposals to get the HPV vaccine for men currently submitted to the FDA.
2. Men who get HPV in their throat have more complications if they develop HPV-associated oral carcinoma.
3. Since HPV is an STD, if we prevent it in men, the infection rate of women would go down also.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kathy Griffin: Plastic Surgery and Diet Pill Confessions

In this article, Kathy Griffin discusses the pressure for body modification working in Hollywood even as a comedian. She talks about how she has gone to extremes with plastic surgery as well as crash diets.

Yet, she finally concedes that diet and exercise got her in the bikini she is in now and not the botched liposuction.

Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock": Finding the Extras

According to THIS WAPO Article, one of the most difficult parts of filming "Taking Woodstock" for Ang Lee was finding extras who were thin, but not toned, and still had their pubic hair, for the iconic naked-hippie shots.

"When you think about it, that was really a generation of people who weren't fat, but who weren't staring at themselves in the mirror all the time," Schamus observed, "or shaving everything off down there. It encapsulates the difference in 40 years right there."

Schamus has a point. There's a lot of nudity in "Taking Woodstock." Hippie nudity. Which means hairy nudity. And some baby boomer parents -- sorry, grandparents -- may find themselves having to explain to younger viewers that there was a time long, long ago, when most young people let their nether regions grow wild.

It is true that average American weighs more now (though there have always been fat people) and that the natural look wasn't just for your tresses. Still ladies, do you really think that the porn-star look is necessary? I think that it is interesting to see how time has changed our grooming as well as our average bodies, due to cultural shifts, industrial food culture, car-culture, etc. I think that I will check out "Taking Woodstock." I really like Ang Lee and I think that his interest in what it means to be American and _____ is a continuing theme of his work. Brokeback explored what it meant to be American, gay, and masculine. That scene where Heath Ledger and his wife/children are at a 4th of July fireworks display and the men in front of them are being loud and vulgar, he ask them to stop talking so crassly in front of the women/children, they're rude in reply, and he kicks their ass while the fireworks and images of patriotism flare in the background is over-done, yet perfect. The American male, masculine and defending women/children, yet also gay and closeted. The tension, the mixed nature of those identities swimming in his conscious and unconscious mind. The taciturn male of the Great West, speaking with action. I can't wait to see what he does with that great festival of the Boomers, they of enternal self-absortion yet idealism, very American. Who better than a foreign-born director who has studied our pop-culture and high-culture to direct this film that not only explores this emblem of a generation, Woodstock, but its grounding in ideals of love, peace, and equality? Though of course, hopefully he also addresses the racism, sexism, and other worty details as well.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plastic Perfect? Stunning Demi Moore Denies Any Nip/Tucks

Demi Moore in 1996 in Striptease

Demi Moore in Charlies Angels: Full Throttle 2003

Here thighs are way smaller in 2003 versus 1996. I also feel her belly button has moved. Maybe she just worked out really hard, but I doubt it. If she was working out like crazy she would be in the Madonna zone. So my vote is plastic surgery.

No Way, Check Out this Vintage Sugar Ad

From Vintage Ads HERE in its full size, its an ad promoting sugar for WEIGHT LOSS! For reals!!! In some ways its actually true, it mention that it is the fastest way to get energy (calories) through your blood-stream and that artificial sweetners don't do that (true, and they, we now know, can interfere with your sense of satiety), but still no mention of blood rush, then collapse which then leads to more eating that is common with sugar. Oh, well, its just interesting to see how they've been trying to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge for generations now, thanks Mad Men!