Paleo is Just Bad Science

Renegade-Diet-Review-Paleo-ProtocolsIf one more person at work asks me if I am “On Paleo” I might scream. No, its not a drug, it is the newest Fad Diet. And everyone know that Fad Diets come with groupies. This diet is not different than the others in that it tells you that restricting certain foods will make you lose weight. No shit, Sherlock.

The Paleo diet maintains that healthiest way to eat is to avoid the ground grain products that were unavailable to our cave man ancestors. People all over the world are changing the way they eat because some dude name Dr. Loren Cordain. PhD, of course. I think he’s a total nut who is selling folks a bill of goods.

Author Laura Miller agrees with me. At least about the diet. She states that thinking the human species hasn’t evolved in billions of years is just plain silly. Humans (and animals) have been evolving and changing for a really long time. She also points out that many species evolve quite quickly (humans being one of them) so basing a diet on “science” of evolution doesn’t hold water. Think about it. Humans have been grinding grains for close to 40,000 years – that’s a really long time to not get used to something. There are a great deal of foods that are included on the Paleo Diet that were NOT around in the hunter gatherer time. Foods such as the Brussel Sprout are only a few hundred years old. They were first written about in 1587, around the time Mary Queen of Scots was executed. That’s a far cry from hunter gather time.

013c97cfaca511f81c14671acd036e88

Of course, people claim that the diet “works”. Yeah, maybe it does, but that doesn’t mean it is good for you. Bulimia “works” too, but I’m steering clear of that as well. The reason the “diet” works is because you are severely limiting your calorie intake. Anytime you put restraints on what you consume, you will lose weight. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that. Wanna lose weight and keep it off? Exercise  30 minutes 5x a week, and watch your calorie & sugar intake. Easy.

The Paleo concept is an idea with very little basis in fact. It’s a gimmick to get you to buy the book. If you follow his plan you’re cutting out low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt (calcium), lentils and black beans (some of the healthiest stuff around), whole-grain carbs and heart-healthy oils. Sure, our bodies weren’t originally designed to eat these foods, but we (and every other species that is still in existence) have evolved since then.

e76f12b58f27ebddca23ef9e2c51e9f9If you feel the need to lose weight, you don’t need to follow a diet that restricts carbs, or limits grains and legumes (both of which are healthy for humans to consume).  Here is my easy 5 Point Plan for weight-loss.

  • Decide that you are ready to make permanent changes in your life. Yep, life. Loosing weight should be about changing the habits that led you to lose weight in the first place. It’s not about “giving up” foods of any kind. If you think you are not ready to stop eating ice-cream out of the container, then you are not ready. You need to be in a head space of moving forward and of positive change.
  • Once you have decided that you are serious you may begin to make small changes. When I dropped a significant amount of weight I made 1 positive change per week until I got in the habit of just knowing how to make good choices. For example, the first week I cut out all soda. I switched to fizzy water with fruit. Next week I walked for at least 30 minutes daily. You get the picture. You don’t have to make yourself crazy, or into a cave person to see results.
  • Portion control. Do it. Food served and prepared in the states is so big, it could be used as two (sometimes three!) different meals. Eww. If you ordered fries, don’t eat them all. If you want dessert, share it with a buddy. If the plate is as big as your head, then don’t eat everything on it. At home, get smaller plates so you feel like you are eating more.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise! In order to loose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. It’s that simple. If you are not exercising you probably won’t lose much weight. You also need to lift weights, or do some sort of resistance training. Remember, there is no such thing as “spot reduction” so stop running the treadmill for an hour, doing crunches and walking out the door. You need to work your whole body.
  • Eat enough calories. I see women all of the time who think that by starving themselves they will loose weight. Yeah, you might. But you’ll also be loosing lean muscle mass, which is want you want to keep. Diets that severely restricts caloric intake result in loss of lean body weight as opposed to fat weight. This can result in a person who isn’t overweight, but has a high body fat composition. Not my idea of healthy. Just be mindful of what you eat, when you eat it and how you feel about it. Keep a food journal if it helps. I used an online food tracker at myfittnesspal.com to help me see my bad eating habits and take the necessary steps to 86 ’em.

I hope you enjoyed this little rant. And I hope that maybe you’ll do a little research of your own, if you are so inclined. The idea is balance, not restriction – with food and the rest of life.

And, in case you are wondering – I do know what I am talking about. I am studying to be a personal trainer which means I have read tons and tons of material about the human body and what it needs to perform, what it needs to drop weight, and what it takes to keep it in good condition. 

Advertisements

Austin, Texas: Not Weird, Just Mediocre

SN856703I have been in Austin for 10 months and I am unimpressed. Maybe my expectations were off, but I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. There is nothing weird about Austin, Texas. It looks and feels just like any other US city I have been to – save the BIG ones like New York or LA or SF. There isn’t anything you find in Austin that you can’t find anywhere else in the US. People here are the same. Food here is the same. Bars here are the same . It’s all pretty much the same.

There are however a few differences. Take public transportation, for instance. It sucks here. In order to get the times, or routes, or stops, or schedule you need to have a phone or computer. There are no signs at the actual bus stop that tells you what the next stop will be, and what time the next bus will come. There is only a phone number and website. I called the phone number when my bus was over 20 minutes late. I was on hold for fifteen minutes before someone got on the line to tell me they didn’t know where the bus was, but it was “out there”.  Gee thanks. Also, there are no transfers. That’s right – no transfers. If you ride occasionally and don’t need a pass you can pay $1 to ride the bus. And another when you have to transfer. Or you can pay $2 for a “day pass” – even if you only need to ride for 20 minutes. It is stupid. Adding to the confusion, they also have two busses with the same number that go opposite directions. Awesome. (The number 30 bus picks up outside my work. It picks up on the same side of the street for either direction. There is no sign telling you this.)

Another difference I have noticed is the fashion. I was told that the folks in Austin are fashion forward have great style. I was lied to. And from what I gather, pointing out fashion faux pas here makes you pretentious. That’s right, if you don’t embrace shorts and those hideous UT shirts, you are an asshole. Then I guess I’m an asshole because Austin is a city that has truly embraced the “casual” style. Or lack there of. Austin clothing culture can best be described as jeans & boots meets T-shirts & sweats. It’s a city that embraces its own mediocrity and celebrates it. Austin doesn’t try. If you walk around Austin (even downtown) you will see a majority of folks wearing a rust orange top with the long horns silhouette and a pair of jeans. (The school colors of UT. You cannot miss it here.) You might also see that same t-shirt with matching sweat pants. Or not matching. You might see a flock of college girls out for a night on the town in that same t-shirt, boots and jeans. Are you starting to see a theme here? In Austin Texas nobody cares about fashion. I seem “dressed up” if I put on make-up and a necklace. It’s sad, and even a little bit depressing. Caring about what you look like doesn’t make you pretentious. It is pretty normal. Or so I thought.

The cost of living here is also a lie. Sure, it’s cheaper than Portland, LA, SF, or NY. But those places have natural beauty and a barrage of cultural things to do. Austin has neither. Austin is not a beautiful city. It’s flat and brown. A river runs through it but so do a bunch of highways and freeways. Don’t ask me which is which because both highways and freeways here have stop lights. The drivers here are discourteous and stupid. And the traffic is as bad, if not worse than LA. Anyway, the scenery in Austin consists mostly of condo property and businesses. Some businesses are in office buildings, some are in remodeled houses. There are a couple of nice parks in Austin, (Zilker, Greenbelt, Barton Springs) but the rest are sad and barren. Austin is not a walkable city like SF, but as I already noted it isn’t a great city for driving or using public transit either. But I digress. The cost of living here isn’t worth what you get. Plain and simple. You’ll get more bang for your buck some place else. And don’t forget – they don’t want “YOU” here anyway.

The other thing you hear about Austin is of course, “the music scene here is amazing!” I beg to differ. Just because there are a shit ton of bands and musicians here doesn’t mean that it has a good music scene. In my opinion there are a handful of really good bands/musicians here in Austin. The rest are taking advantage of the fact that a lot of bars feature live music. If you are into that, then hey – maybe you’ll like it here. But I for one don’t like to pay a cover just to see a crappy band. People in Austin talk about the music here like it is special. It isn’t. It’s meh. Let me put it this way – Austin has a huge case of “Big Fish, Tiny Pond” syndrome. Just because you are “famous” in Austin doesn’t mean the rest of the world knows about you. You can dress the part, act the part, and even try to play the part but it won’t make up for a lack of talent. And SXSW? $300 bucks for a wristband? No thanks. (And no, I didn’t buy a wristband. I battled the 700 other people trying to see free shows in the park or bars.) SXSW really wasn’t that much different that any other music fest.

SN856685I think the thing I was most disappointed about was the food. People rave about the breakfast tacos here like they had invented them. Nope. Nothing special. I had cheaper (and tastier!) breakfast tacos in the East Bay. I had also been looking forward to  trying Tex-Mex – in Texas. I grew up in California so I know Mexican food. I lived in Mexico for a short time as well. I am a mexican food fanatic. Prague has a lot of great things, but mexican food isn’t one of them. The food here is no good. It’s blah. I found out that Tex-Mex means covered in cheese. If you order “Queso” at a restaurant in Texas you will get a bowl of hot Velveeta, sometimes mixed with chili. It is truly disgusting. There are a great deal of food trucks here but only a handful of them serve up worth while food. The trucks all have clever names and serve everything from tacos to Thai to donuts, but the food just doesn’t cut it. The prices are high but the food is mediocre at best. The food culture in Houston is one hundred times better than the one in Austin. Austin is full of fast food – be it truck or Whataburger. The mid level restaurants are plentiful but not worth the price, and the up scale dining (where I think Austin is actually alright) are so expensive that a girl like me can’t really afford to go there. The best parts of this city are reserved for the people with the most money.

Lastly, I was lied to about the weather. It might sound silly, but people told me the weather here was great. Really? Great? I was told “…the winter here is really nice…” The weather here is hot, hotter and OHMYGODITSSOHOTIMIGHTBURSTINTOFLAME. I knew it would be hot here, but 89 in winter is lame. It is pretty much summer year round with a side of intense (year round!) allergies. We didn’t really get a winter this year. I mean, we had two cold days where I had to put on a coat, but other than that, nada. And now it’s spring. But if I didn’t have a calendar telling me what month it was I wouldn’t know. What’s so great about this weather? At least in California you can get a nice range of climates. Here in Texas its just hot. Hot. Hot. Hot.

Austin is a city that is full of itself. It pats itself on the back for such things as SXSW and Willie Nelson (who was born in Abbot, Texas not Austin), and gives itself a high-five for The Alamo Drafthouse while driving a huge SVU to the river to “party”. It ignores problems like traffic and housing and blames anyone who had the nerve to be born someplace else. If you aren’t from here – get out. That’s Austin’s REAL motto. For a city that wants to be “weird” it really doesn’t embrace differences. It revels in its “glory days” without doing much to make the “now” better. Maybe Austin used to be super cool. Maybe. I don’t know. I’m here now, and it so isn’t.

Austin is pretty smug and self-righteous. It reminds me of the mom who thinks her child can do no wrong. This city has a lack of class, culture, respect, and style. It is long overdue a makeover. It’s a city that can’t decide what it is. Are you a Yuppie city or a bohemian city? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t drive that huge SUV and be “green” at the same time. Shopping at Whole Foods and riding your bike downtown on the weekends doesn’t make you “green”. The Austin vibe WANTS to be “Slacker Chic” but is actually “Lazy”. Most of the people I have talked to here have never lived outside of Texas. That could be part of the problem. There is a weird combination of lack of self-pride mixed with batshit crazy “Texas Pride”. Austin is under its own spell. It is a mass delusion. Let me put it this way: It’s a city that claims to be liberal and forward thinking yet won’t let you purchase alcohol on Sunday before noon. You know, because of god and stuff.

I won’t stay in Austin. It’s not for me. The bad far outweighs the good. For me, a good city is welcoming, walkable, full of free parks, culture, museums and good, easy to use public transit. Austin Texas just doesn’t cut the mustard.

5 Reasons Perfection is Overrated

tumblr_lyojqj0FA41qeqoxyo1_500_largeYou see it all the time. Silly people search of “perfection”. They want a perfect wedding, or perfect hair. They try to keep a perfect house or land the perfect job. It’s even worse when they try to have perfect kids. As if that is even a possibility! I hate when adults put all their bullshit baggage onto their little people. Kids are the opposite of perfection which is why they are so much fun to hang out with! But I digress. If you are chasing “perfection” you might as well try your hand at unicorn hunting. You’ll yield the same results: frustration and zero unicorns. When I hear people claim, “I am a perfectionist”, I immediately roll my eyes and say, “Why!” What a total waste of time! They might as well be saying, “I am deeply insecure. I use perfection as a shield against trying new things and making mistakes. I end up just being really stressed out and kind of depressed. I might as well be chasing unicorns.”

Just keep this in mind the next time you are searching for the perfect body, or the prefect cheesecake – there is no such thing as perfect. That’s right, I said it. Perfection doesn’t exist. Much like those elusive unicorns, perfection is all in your head. And my head. And your mom’s head. And your neighbor’s head. And even the annoying dude with the beer belly, the guy who still talks about college and wears his college T-shirt even though college was over three decades ago… he has an idea of perfection too. And that’s the point. It’s different for everyone, and everyone is different.

  1. Perfect is the enemy of good” –
    "Give Me Your Heart" by me

    “Give Me Your Heart” by me

    I adore this Voltaire quote. It means that insisting on perfection will often leave you with no improvement at all. That’s right, zero unicorns. Why not strive to do well? That way you still feel successful and you are not spending hours agonizing over tiny details that no one else would even notice. I recently started painting, and I have to just do it for fun. Sure, I see tons of “mistakes” in my work, but I keep going. It’s not a “mistake”, it’s just different. I post all of my art work to Facebook not because I think I am the next Picasso, but because I am proud of my efforts both good and not so good. 

  2. Bloopers! – I love a good blooper reel! I like seeing people who are supposed to be poised and together totally lose it. It makes me happy. Not in a Schadenfreude kind of way, but in a “I like to see people laughing and happy” kind of way. It’s fun to see news people and movie stars make mistakes, it makes them seem more human. If perfection was so awesome, we wouldn’t have bloopers. And I would take bloopers over so-called “perfection” any day. 
  3. Corn Flakes, Slinky and Potato Chips – What do these things have in common? Their very existence in the world is the result of a mistake, or an accident. I for one would not want to live in a world that did not include potato chips. And it’s even better! The dude who accidentally invented potato chips in 1853 did so trying to get back at an annoying patron who kept sending back the fried potatoes he had ordered claiming they were “too soggy”.
  4. DifferencesurlWhen there is a standard, or “perfection”, things that don’t fit get tossed aside. I think that sucks. I don’t have a perfect body, and I don’t know anyone who does. If you think of your body as more than a hanger for clothes, it gets easier. Your body has a heart in there that pumps blood all over and keeps you breathing. Are your insides “perfect”? I doubt it. If you drink, smoke, live in a city, wear heels, never exercise, or have ever eaten too much of anything – then you do not have a perfect body. Sorry to break it to you. For me, a perfect body is a healthy body – inside and out. Yes, that means watching what you eat and setting limits. That means exercising. That means knowing that a flat stomach isn’t going to last forever, so you’d better be happy on the inside. Personally, I like a curvy woman. I think super skinny ladies look hungry and sad. And funny. Bones sticking out is funny.
  5. Your “Way” isn’t the best way, or even the ONLY way – Ugh. I deal with this a lot in my line of work. Little kids and mothers. Two groups that like to have things their own way.  And not just their own way, oh no! It’s just “The right way”. Drives me fucking nuts. If you are focusing so much time and energy into making sure that – not only is the task getting done, but it is getting done the way you would have done it... wow. Just… wow. How sad for you. Wouldn’t you rather be doing something fun instead of nagging? Wouldn’t you like your child (or in some special cases, your HUSBAND!) to be happy and figure out their own way of doing something? No one likes to be micro managed. Not kids. Not adults. So back off. If you think that your way of doing the dishes, or feeding your child lunch is so perfect, then do everyone a favor and just do it yourself, and then keep it to yourself. A perfect person doesn’t need to constantly talk about how perfect they are, now do they? All you are really doing is annoying the people around you, working yourself up over nothing, and finding zero unicorns.

A Letter to Myself – age 16

Me in my teenage bedroom.

Me in my teenage bedroom.

Dear Me,

It’s me! (You!) I am writing to you from the future. Don’t get freaked out or anything, but the future looks a lot different than the world you are living in. I am writing to share with you (me) some things I have learned on this crazy ride. Maybe things would have turned out different. Or maybe not. We are one stubborn woman. Either way, you are a super cool teenager who grows up to be a strange, talented, smart woman. And yes, we still have Le Mutt, and we still like Bruce Willis. Even if he is a republican.

  1. Computers are your friend. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but computers will become a way of life for the whole world. Stop falling asleep in keyboarding class and know that in about ten years computers will be super cool. 
  2. Learn to speak spanish. This is going to sound crazy to you, but years from now you will be living in Texas, teaching spanish to little kids. You don’t speak spanish. You even lived in Mexico for 5 months! Do yourself a favor and use spanish as one of your electives. Oh, and while we are talking about electives – please, PLEASE when you are in Madrigal’s do NOT let Mr. Kelsey be an asshole. He picks out the ugliest dresses for you to wear on tour, and even tells you ladies that you should “wear more make-up”. Please!  Make sure you boycott, and tell HIM to wear the fucking lipstick.
  3. Stay Brave. You will hear this throughout your whole life: You are one of the bravest women I have ever known. It’s true. You are. At 16 you have already been through a lot, and you are going to go through even more. No sweat though. You blossom into a super badass, super YOU. Sure, you are still scared of a lot, but you don’t let it stop you from living life. Keep it up.
  4. Don’t sweat the bitches. I know you spend quite a bit of time wondering why those snooty, popular girls are so mean to you. I know it confuses you because half of you can’t stand them, (their matching outfits, and shinny cars that Daddy paid for – barf) while the other half just wants to be invited to the party. Well I have news for you – they don’t stay popular forever. In fact, years from now “The Internet” will give you a way to peek into their lives as grown ups. It’s awesome. I don’t want to give anything away here, but you totally win. Just remember, you don’t peak in high school like those bitchy girls. So just tough it out and you’ll end up feeling pretty good about the whole thing.
  5. Love your body. I know you think you are fat, but take it from me: You are the thinnest you will ever be RIGHT NOW. You are super cute and hot. Your tummy looks just fine. But you would do well to ditch the “Mauve on White” lipstick, and do me a favor –  DON’T GET THAT PERM!

I guess that’s all for now. You are doing pretty well at 16, and don’t need a lot of advice. I’d tell you to stay away from the assholes (in the dating department) but you won’t listen. Some lessons need to be lived in order to really learn from them. But don’t worry you end up with a super hot sweetheart who treats you with kindness and compassion. He also makes fart noises whenever someone bends over. You act mad, but inside you are all giggles.

Keep enjoying life kid-o, you deserve it.

-Me

Better Things

austinmoversI’ve made no secret of the fact that I have had a difficult time re-adjusting to life in America. I lived in Prague for close to seven years – longer than I have lived in any one city during my adulthood. I love Prague. For me it will always be my home. You don’t spend 6.5 years in a city you hate. At least I don’t.

But I don’t think I’ve been fair to Austin, or to Texas in general. I have found that its hard for me to say nice things about Austin because, as irrational as it might be, it feels like a betrayal of Prague. I know its silly, but it doesn’t change the emotion. Since my heart belongs to Prague, how can I possibly like a city in… Texas!?

You start by not comparing the two, a sin of which I am guilty on a daily basis. It’s hard not to. My life was there – it’s what I know. Sure, what passes for “public transportation” here is more akin to four horses and a wooden cart, but it’s not fair to keep reminding Austin of that. It’s not fair to me either. The more I think about, talk about, or use Prague as a comparison, the longer it will take for me to begin enjoying my life here.

And my life IS here. I am here. The man I love is here. My job is here. I owe it to my sweetie and to myself to try harder. What I left behind in Prague are lovely memories, people, and a shit load of badass kitchen wares. I don’t see myself living in Austin (or Texas for that matter) forever, but I should probably stop grousing around like someone ran over my new kitten. Nobody forced me to leave Prague, I made that choice. And it was the right one. I can’t forget that either. Genesis was right, it isn’t any fun being an illegal alien.

The plan is a simple one, in theory: Stop complaining about Austin. It’s not that bad. Sure, folks around here are super fat, its hot year round, and its full of college kids. But guess what? There is more to a city than the negative. And Prague had PLENTY of negative! For example, have you ever ridden a Prague bus in the summer? It stinks like old man, beer, and piss. And probably not from one person either. Or how about those super rude folks that work… um… everywhere in Prague? And if its hot in Austin year round, then its fucking cold in Prague for at least 6 months out of the year. I ain’t kidding. And it gets dark at about 4pm. It’s a bummer.

In short, I am going to do my darndest to give this city a fair shake. Or at least a fairer shake. I mean its “winter” here and I wore shorts today. Cool! It’s not a contest. I’m a traveler. And a traveler needs to be open and accepting of new cultures. Even if the new culture is in Texas.

Life Off-line

Hi there friends. I bet you have noticed a lack of witty and amusing posts from me lately. Heck, a lack of posts in general. And for this I am sorry. As you know I have recently relocated and have yet to get an internet connection in my flat, but I am told that it will happen by Monday. I have been able to get on line for about ten minutes a day – enough time for me to check my email and Facebook, and skim the news. I promise I will return with much awesomness ASAP. I am braving the coffee shop across the street to write this post. Here are my thoughts on whats going on in the world…

RNC – I am so happy that all of those republicans stood up in front of the entire world and said stupid things out loud. If anyone out there is even contemplating a vote for Romney, you haven’t really been paying attention. No thinking person would want to affiliate themselves with whats going on over there.

Speeches By Michelle & Bill – I hear these two speeches at the DNC were awesome and that I need a tissue handy to watch them. Clinton has always been a favorite of mine, and I still have a crush on him. Michelle Obama is by far the coolest, smartest, hottest, and most badass First Lady we have had since… ever. I can’t wait to watch! I even heard that a reporter on FOX news said that those two speeches pretty much won the election for Obama. As cool as that is, I don’t think calling a winner this far in advance is a good idea. But, it is FOX news, after all.

Starlettes – In brief, I think we should all leave Kristen, LiLo, Rihanna and the rest of them alone. If Rihanna is stupid enough to keep dating the untalented douchbag who beat her, and then kiss him on national television – then thats her bad. I don’t like her music anyway so I couldn’t give two shits. As for LiLo and Kristen, just back off. They are young American women which means they are going to make a ton of stupid mistakes – we all do. That’s what your twenties are for. The bummer for them is they have to do it in public. Think back to all the stupid stuff you did at 22 and then think about how great it would feel to have it plastered all over the internet. Give the dumb girls a break. At least until they are 26.

Texas  Many of you are wondering about Texas, and how I am doing here. Well, in brief I am happy, but that has nothing to do with being in Texas. I’m in Austin, which I keep being told is “The place to be in Texas” but I haven’t had much opportunity to see anything except freeways, fat people and my job. So far I have found Texans to be LOUD, overweight and bad dressers. If this is where “hipsters” are, then they are in hiding. Because the only hips I have seen were all on ONE woman. She had three sets all to herself. Texas makes me feel thin and pretty without doing anything. At all. And it’s fucking hot here. People keep telling me to wait for winter and it will get better. We’ll see about that. But, like I said – I am happy. I have a great flat, the best fella in the world and an actual bed to sleep on.

It doesn’t take much to make this little girl happy.

BIGGER! MORE! NOW!

I have a very unique vantage point from which to view the world around me. I am both foreign and native at the same time. Sure, I was born in the states, but I feel like an immigrant having lived in the Czech Republic for so long. And as anyone who has lived overseas – particularly in Prague – will tell you, it’s a little different over there.

The Czech Republic is a modern country with all the amenities one could hope for. Yet at the same time Czech culture is perpetually living in the 80’s. It’s hard to explain wi-fi and smart phones coexisting with mullets and a constant echo of “The Never Ending Story” on the radio. Prague is in this weird limbo of wanting to step into the same century as the rest of the world but in typical Czech fashion, refusing to do so. It’s weird and makes no sense at all, but it is what I am used to. America seems big, scary and greedy these days.

One of the biggest issues I am having back in the homeland is my adamant disgust for the American lifestyle. I can’t leave the house without wanting to vom at the amount of “stuff” American’s seem to need. And waste. And want. And feel they deserve just because it is avalible. I marveled at the oversized basket of chips placed on the table at a HUGE Tex-Mex restaurant, and gasped when another was brought to the table after the first was finished. “We don’t need this many chips”, I said. “We won’t finish them.” Yeah, but we CAN have them so why not? (barf) I watched a fat woman send her husband to the FREE SODA REFILL station 3x to get her more Black Cherry soda while she mindlessly ate one corn chip after another. Before her meal was even at her table she had consumed at least 500 calories.

Television is another thing I am amazed by. First off, they are everywhere. Honestly. I have seen them in every single restaurant I have been in, most drug stores and even at the movies. Needless to say they are always on. And perhaps this is why American’s have so much shit they don’t need. I watched an entire commercial breaks worth of ads, and not one was for a product anyone actually needs. Diet pills, creams, and exercise equipment promising to get rid of all the excess weight you put on eating that crap food you don’t need, followed by an ad for pizza hut stuffed pizza rollers. Dusting cloths that promise to pick up more dust than whatever you are using to pick up dust currently. Garbage bags that smell better than your current garbage bags. Laundry detergent that smells like what a happy family looks like. What?

And it’s worse for women. During the daytime shows already geared to the bored women of America you see ad after ad for shampoos, eye creams, make-up, hair removal systems, odor cover up or reduction soaps, and lots and lots of snack foods with reduced calories “just for you”. It’s absurd. How do women in this country deal with it? Or I guess a better question is, why? Women of America I implore you – turn off your televisions! Throw them out! You don’t need it. You’ll feel better about yourself without constantly being told that you are hairy, smelly, ugly, pale and fat.

I won’t claim to understand the American need to acquire more stuff just because we can. When I have brought this up in conversation I am met with glares and eye rolling. I see garages full of shit that has obviously been unused for years, if it was ever used at all. I see homes with more than one television (and computer), and most have TV’s that are bigger than me. I have seen cars with drink holders big enough for a big gulp. I have seen children sitting in front of adult sized portions of fast food.

The point is dear readers, that I don’t get it. Are we trying to show off? Have we become such mindless consumers that we honestly, truly believe we need that fucking Snuggie? Are you so stupid that you need a special blender to make a margarita? C’mon. I don’t buy it.

And neither should you.

Soda Ban?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently decided to ban super-sized sugary sodas. A decision that has left a lot of people angry. Personally I think his heart is in the right place, but the idea is absurd. Banning a certain size of just ONE of the many culprits in America’s race to an obesity induced heart attack is akin to banning lighters and keeping cigarettes. It’s just silly. Why attack sodas? Why not attack Doritos or french fries or mayonnaise? Or better yet…

Why not go to the source – High fructose Corn syrup. We need to treat HFC like we treat tobacco and tobacco products. Tax the shit of them and raise prices. People sometimes need a little help chosing things that are good for them – obviously. I’m not saying take away the choice to be a sick looking fat ass who eats in their car and serves food “nuggets” to their kids. Nope, not saying that at all. I am saying make the choice to be healthy and active more cost-effective than not.

For years the HFC people have had their money-grubbing paws in every aisle of the store – from sodas to chips to juice – you will find it in everything. It’s cheap and it keeps prices low for foods that use it. And foods that use it are inherently unhealthy. So why not turn the tables? Why not start paying MORE for the crap and less for the good stuff?

If Bloomberg wanted to really make a difference he would find a way to subsidise Farmer’s Markets or lower the cost of bottled water. He would start going in to public schools and removing the vending machines that sell crap and replace them with food that is good for you.  Higher prices reduce consumption, so government wisely taxes products it disfavors, such as tobacco. Anyone who watches Mad Men knows that tobacco wasn’t always the bad guy. But as America grew wiser public opinion changed.

We can make HFC the new tobacco. We can choose not to buy products that use it. We can choose to stop eating fast, fatty foods and replace them with healthy, fresh fruits and veggies. I stopped buying soda and went to flavored water. From there I went to fizzy water with lime. Now soda is a treat for me when I go out to eat. and don’t feel like drinking. Heck, I don’t really drink alcohol any more.

So let’s make a deal America – let’s chose to eat only foods that are HFC free and see how awesome we feel. Let’s choose to be active for at least 30 minutes every day rather than watch T.V. Let’s make people who drink those disgusting, huge sodas feel like assholes – you know, the way America ganged up on smokers once smoking became uncool. I know we can do it America! I have faith in you.

Shoot for the Stars

Once in a while I set a goal for myself that seems, when I set it,  totally doable. For example, I once decided that I would  go to the gym and work out at least 3x a week. That seemed like t totally attainable goal. But that didn’t last long. I was either too tired to go, or I thought the gym would be too busy, or maybe I just didn’t feel like going. Whatever the reason I lasted about 2 weeks and I was over it. It seemed vastly more important for me to watch The Biggest Loser than actually go and workout. I couldn’t find the motivation I needed to stick to it. Until now.

I accidentally stumbled upon the biggest motivator I could ever ask for by wasting time playing video games. See, over Christmas break I started playing Angry Birds. I loved it. Since then it became my mission to achieve three gold stars on every possible level. And I did it. I found everything that was on offer to find in that game and I did it to completion. I was super proud of myself. I still am actually.

About the same time that I was making Angry Birds my bitch, I signed up for the President’s Challenge – it is a lifestyle and fitness challenge aimed at lazy Americans. Basically you sign up for an 8 week lifestyle overhaul, committing to put in at least 30 minutes of exercise 5x per week + you make a small change to your diet each week. By the end of the 8 weeks you are supposed to look and feel great, and you get some sort of certificate from President Obama. As if that were not incentive enough, each week you complete you are awarded a big old GOLD STAR. I love it! I have three of them already and I am working toward my 4th, which means I am half way done. I am seeing awesome results like hottie toned legs, and the discovery of my abs. I had always figured they were in there somewhere.

I realized that I need more than just a goal for my efforts, I need a reward. I know that the gold stars I receive from Angry Birds, or the Presidential Challenge are not real in the tangible sense, but I still feel like I earned something and it makes me feel good. I like to be able to track my progress and see how far I have come. I also like to collect gold stars and feel like a total badass, which I do.

I guess the moral here is that if you want to get me to do something, offer me a Gold Star chart and a reward system.  So far I  found out that I am able to kill ALL OF the green pigs, that I can write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, and that I can work out 5x a week every week. Not bad. Who knows what else I can do? I’m shooting for the stars.

Bridalplasty?

Did you hear of this new show? It’s called Bridalplasty. The idea is to have women compete in various competitions and challenges (read: humiliations) in order to win the grand prize of FULL BODY PLASTIC SURGERY for an upcoming wedding. “Reality” TV has now sunk so low it has made pulp out of our collective souls. I remember the ill-fated, and equally disgusting program called “The Swan” where they took ugly women and gave them the gift of beauty through any means possible. This show makes “The Swan” look like Saturday morning cartoons.

I would like to think that the super geniuses behind this show had a deep level of parody and a concept of irony and satire when they came up with this gem. And maybe they did. But the fact remains that the contestants and the folks who WILL watch it do not. These women (some of whom are a size 0) are forced to live all together and compete for the “prize”. There will be the typical backstabbing, cat fighting and name calling that usually goes with shows like these. And if that weren’t enough, these “ladies” are all Brides, so we get to have the Bride-zilla stereotype thrown in for good measure. It is a nice mirror on the American fascination and financial backing of the wedding industry. That’s right INDUSTRY.

I am offended and mostly saddened that there are women out there who would go on a show like this. If it is purely for fame, then she is a moron. If it is because she feels the need to look “perfect” on her wedding day, then she is an idiot. If perfection really exists do you really think you can find it on a television game show? Probably not. I mean, I have come close to seeing perfection a couple of times on The Price is Right, but that show has a showcase showdown and Bob Barker.

I had braces as a kid to correct my over bite and for me, that’s as far as I ever want to go. I don’t think I am perfect – far from it – but I don’t think I am THAT flawed either. I don’t wear a lot of make-up (on those days that I actually DO wear make-up) and I don’t workout regularly (or at all). I dye my hair at home and I put moisturizer on my face in the winter. But, more important than my shoddy and half ass beauty regime is my mental regime. I write everyday. I read everyday. I go to work and support myself everyday, and I surround myself with people who think I am a pretty solid and awesome person. I have passions that I indulge regularly and that make me a better person and I strive to be better at everything I do – almost everyday.

I think there should be a show that has women compete for an awesome mental make-over. They live all together and do competitions. The lady who is a single mom gets tips from the lady who has three kids and lots of help. The overweight chick befriends the personal trainer and the personal trainer finally gets the balls to go finish that degree. They learn that make-up is not a part of WHO you are and they learn that scalpels are only tools of necessary surgery.

Unfortunately, Bridalplasy does not offer mental make-overs for life. Just superficial ones for silly women fantasising about big white dresses.