Friday, May 29, 2009

Sanity meets dieting at The Diet Blog

While I don't like the concept of "dieting" I have to say that one of the best blogs about people, eating, and food is The Diet Blog. It's written not by industry types touting a particular diet but by writers with real interest in researching and explaining issues around eating, exercise, and weight — sometimes, but not always, in terms of their own experiences.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Smile when you eat that

And take a picture.

The blog This Is Why You're Fat is a collection of photos (cheesy, oily, sugary — you get the idea) of the kind of food that explains the research results I blogged about last week.

Fat (on people) is a touchy subject. Somehow the fat is much funnier in its original, non-ingested state. I love this picture of french fry shaped donuts with raspberry jelly and Bavarian cream dipping sauces. If the dip had been cinnamon sugar I'd have been forced to take the temptation more seriously!

The This Is Why You're Fat people just got a book deal and are inviting photo submissions. I think it would be hard to top the deep-fried guacamole.

I have an evil fantasy of asking Susan Powter to review the book!

(Thanks to Eric Pratum for Tweeting about this site.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Food for thought, preferably at home

An Australian study presented at the 2009 European Congress on Obesity was about neither Australia nor Europe. It was about America, and it said that Americans are fat because they eat too much.

Analysis of data on American food consumption from 1970 to 2002, correlated with increases in weight, found that the new obesity epidemic among American children was pretty much entirely explained by increased calorie intake, with decreased physical activity level playing a less significant role than previously thought.

The role of over-eating among American adults accounted for most of the increase in adult obesity; a lower level physical activity (documented in many earlier studies) was a secondary factor.

A spokesman for the American College of Cardiology, reacting to the Australian study, put a lot of the blame on eating out, saying that people eat significantly more — as much as 500 calories more — when eating out than when eating at home.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's not easy being green

Relax. I'm not about to add my voice to the "we just discovered the environment and act like we invented it" bandwagon.

When I talk about green, I'm talking, like Kermit, about skin color.

My story starts with a fence.

I was on the fence. It was close to midnight. The fence was on the ground. So was I. It had fallen over. And, not seeing it in there the dark when I went out to chase down my recalcitrant cat, I fell over it.

I don't remember tripping. I was running across my patio and the next thing I knew I was flat on the ground — well, on the fence — sobbing for help.

No one heard me.

Somehow, I got into the house, grabbed a towel in the bathroom, filled the towel with ice cubes, put the towel over my face, and used my other hand to punch numbers on my iPhone (it was flat on the coffee table) to call Tom. When he answered, I was able to say that it wasn't life threatening, but I'd fallen and it was messy. Fortunately, Tom is used to emergencies (he does safety for large community events) and he said "I'll be right there."

I lay face down on the kitchen floor, face in the ice, and waited.

By the time Tom arrived, my teeth were chattering from all the adrenaline. He looked at my face, said I'd be all right, and talked me into looking at myself in the mirror. What I saw wasn't reassuring, and I opted to go to the emergency room.

The folks at the ER took me in immediately and by the time they sent me off for a CAT scan, I'd relaxed enough to be as puzzled as everyone else was about how I'd managed to smash my nose without injuring any other part of my body. There was a tiny scrape on one hand, but it wasn't even bleeding. The conclusion was that my body had decided it was doing yoga and had somehow caught itself and lowered itself to the ground. My nose, unfortunately, hit a piece of the fence. And the bone at the tip was broken.

They sent me home with prescriptions for pain killers, which I didn't fill. I took a bath, iced my nose, swalled my usual Ibuprofen, and went to bed. When I got up in the morning I felt fine.

Until I looked in the mirror. That was pretty horrible; I'll spare you the description.

I had been very much looking forward to going to a formal event Thursday evening, and it seemed unlikely I'd be able to attend. But on Wednesday — by which time I resembled a dark purple racoon — Tom suggested that I alter one of my Steampunk hats so that there would be a double veil in the front. I took a heavy veil from one hat, doubled it over, and pinned it on to a more subtle hat.

Thus began the adventure of the mysterious veiled woman.

The event we were attending was the opening of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. The invitation had suggested formal wear and costuming, so I was sure I'd blend right in. But it turned out that most of the other outfits were all about definition or exposure. My veil (worn with a plain black evening top, black chiffon pants, and very high heels) was just the opposite. And turned out to be a real attention-getter; people literally stopped and stared. Particularly when the women hand-feeding guests chocolate-dipped jalapeno peppers had to lift the veil to feed me.

I won't be able to employ the veil this coming Wednesday, when I am supposed to be filmed for a video on small businesses owners. So it was off to a local salon yesterday to find out what they could do for me in terms of makeup. The makeup artists raised their eyebrows — by this time, the purple smudges looked like football player's anti-glare makeup — and dove for the concealer. What they came up with was great and allowed me to walk down the street without getting alarmed looks, or having to explain to people that I'd been in an accident.

This morning the purple smudges were smaller, but now the skin around my eyes is turning pond-scum green! (Yes, everyone has given me arnica, and maybe that's working.)

I continue to be grateful for the luck and the yoga that prevented damage to things like kneecaps, wrists, and cheekbones. The offending fence has been safely sidelined, and the cat seems suitably sorry.

The experience of feeling fine and "just like myself" while looking both hideous and misfortunate — and seeing those readings in other people's eyes — is certainly food for thought. I'd been working on some mystery fiction with a female protagonist, a detective, who suffered facial disfiguration and has to overcome a fear of going out in public in order to take on an investigation for a dying friend. I think I can bring a great deal more to that story now.

And I may do some writing about — and experimenting with — being veiled.