Friday, August 24, 2007

Desperate Times... for Desperate Measures.

Sadly, with my long commute each day for the new job and limited time at home in the evenings, blogging just isn't doable for me right now. So it is with great fondness that I wish you all goodbye for now.

I hope to get "Waisted" resurrected for New Year's. I hope you'll remember to check back then--I'll try to get word around when I'm able to get it going again.

Best of luck to you all on your low-carb journeys!

In the meantime, if any of you need to reach me, you can always email me at:

Bye for now!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This is Your Brain...on Food

Trying to play catchup in the evenings these days, and came across an interesting piece from Scientific American about food addiction.

It's not an addiction, you say? Then just don't stand between me and a pint of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla when I have a craving going on. And ignore the blissful look on my face when the craving is satisfied.

So, anyway, this scientist who specializes in addictive behaviors has been able to use magnetic resonance imaging to compare responses in dopamine (pleasure-seeking) receptors between compulsive eaters and drug addicts. Bingo. Same image, different "drug."

It doesn't really change anything, except to provide perhaps some reassurance to dieters that, yes, it really is harder than just "saying no."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Without a Plan

Boy, am I out of it!

So here I am, in a new town, with a new job. I'm living in a friend's guest room thanks to her generosity, along with my two "varmints" Shane and Tanker, commuting about 50 miles each way to work in yet another new town. My mom has been packed off to stay with her Alzheimer's-riddled sister in yet another third town.

Can you say "in flux?"

I've always heard, and I believe it's true, that to stick with a weight-loss program you have to find a plan and stick to it.

So the fact that I am currently planless and a bit out of control (of everything) doesn't bode well. It's only my second day on the new job. Things WILL settle down.

Anyway, sorry for the long absence. Moving is a bitch! Wish I could say it was over, but half my stuff's in storage and the other half is in my house in New Orleans. So whenever the house sells (pleeeeeeeze sell, little house) then there will be the "real" move to do.

Oh well, this too shall pass. Hope to be blogging regularly again now on this site.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

She's Baaaccckkkk

But barely....

I'm still living out of a suitcase and can barely remember my name. But I AM back. I noticed Blogger is about to have a scheduled outage, so I'll be back this evening. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Temporarily Out of Service

I'm at the peak of getting ready to move, so I'm afraid both blogs will have to go on hiatus until August 20. Come back and visit then!

Monday, August 6, 2007

100-Calorie Mania

I'm not sure who started it, but the 100-calories portion snack-food business has gotten to be HUGE. Weight Watchers touts these little treasures as "only 2 points."

But these little babies are coming out with no regard whatsoever to nutritional value, the theory being that no food is verboten in small enough quantities.

But for those of us struggling with weight issues and watching carb intake [not to mention keeping little friends named Bingey at bay], these little missiles are deadly. If we can't trust ourselves around Lorna Doones in a large package, why would we subject ourselves to a box with eight small packages of Lorna Doones?

And now--wasn't it inevitable?--fast food is getting in on the act. First out of the gate: Burger King, who will be rolling out 100-calorie packs of "Ketchup & Fries Flavored Potato Snacks" and "Flame Broiled Burger Flavored Potato Snacks" this fall. Basically, whatever they're called, they're potato chips, so you'll find them in your local Wal-Mart alongside the 100-calorie packs of Doritos and cookies.

Better yet, skip them. Who needs another "potato snack?"

More Cheers for Chocolate

Ah, bless the humble lab rat. The sacrifices they make for us.

Take, for example, the recent study out of Spain confirming that diets rich in cocoa resulted in significant increases in the total antioxidant capacity in all body tissue but particularly in the thymus. It all makes for a much stronger immune system.

This all fits hand-in-glove with most of the previous studies of cocoa that have focused on benefits to cardiovascular health.

It's all good. And there are some terrific low-carb, sugar-free chocolates out there these days. My favorite is still the maltitol-free, sugar-free chocolate bark from Maine Cottage Foods.

(And, for the record, no, I don't have any affiliation with them, make no money if you click on their link, etc. This is a 100% non-commercial site. I just like 'em!)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ruminations Friday

This is something I do on my New Orleans blog, and since I'm so far behind in cleaning out my "idea" file, here's a rundown of "functional food" and other headlines from recent days. Doesn't it just make your head spin?

Here goes (deep breath):

  • According to the Social Contagion factor, overweight people have overweight friends. Well, duh. How else can we borrow clothes?
  • Drinking coffee reduces your chance of liver cancer. Presumably that doesn't hold for Kahlua, alas.
  • Blue corn tortillas are higher in protein and lower in carbs than regular corn tortillas. Note to self: low-carb wraps are even better.
  • High-fructose corn syrup was shown to be no worse for our bodies, ourselves than sucrose. Darn. I do so want to blame someone besides myself.
  • Eating more broccoli/cruciferous veggies can lead to a reduction in aggressive prostate cancer. What does that say about non-aggressive prostate cancer?
  • Researchers have discovered a metabolic defect in the liver that can help explain why some people become obese and others do not. Seems the defect involves the ability--or, in this case, inability--of the liver to dispose of excess fat. See, I told you there was something else to blame.
  • How low should your cholesterol go? These researchers say that very low cholesterol levels such as those achieved by taking those evil statin drugs, is linked with cancer. Just toss it into the "great cholesterol myth" pile.
  • Hmph. Now both diet and regular sodas are linked with an increase in heart disease. Not that either one of them actually causes heart disease, the researchers say. Just that cretins such as myself who consume diet sodas are more likely to have poorer diets than fine, upstanding folks who drink only water. Bah.
  • According to researchers in Texas, fat chicks are less likely to go to college than skinny girls. What about fat guys, I ask? Oh, I forgot. Fat is a feminist issue.
  • Let your spare tire off the hook. Scientists have figured out that muscular insulin resistance is to blame for Metabolic Syndrome, not abdominal fat.
  • Now here's a study to sink your teeth into and goes along with some things I've been thinking about. Basically, embrace your inner binger. Study shows people who experience food cravings are responding to calorie restriction more than anything and people should accept food cravings and factor them into their weightloss plan. Well. How a box of pralines exactly fits into any food plan, I am not sure.
  • Obesity is a strong indicator of the tendency to develop multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood cells. How much more good news can we stand?
  • If you're trying to lose weight, a team of researchers tell us, it's healthier to eat foods such as lentils than foods such as white bread. And, let me get this straight, said researchers are actually PAID to come up with earth-shattering results like this?
Oh well, there's more but I need to pack some boxes. Ciaou for now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Sit on This, Soft and Flashy

Waaa-haaa-haaa. This is just what I need--a chair to change colors to announce to the world that the person sitting on it is overweight.

The furniture is called fuwa pica, which means soft and flashy. It changes colors to reflect emotions--think of it as a mood ring for your butt--and if you're overweight it changes to red "as if the blood pressure was rising," says the designer.

Of course, the designer also says that all furniture breathes and talks--we just can't hear it.

Me: "Okay, desk chair. What have you to say for yourself? You've been pretty darn quiet for the past 13 years."

Chair: "Hell, am I that old? Good grief. I need to be put out in the dumpster."

Me: "Good thought. My last day at work is next week. Want me to roll you out there on my way out the door?"

Chair: "Yeah, and don't let the door hit you on the backside as you leave."

Me: "Wait! You're turning red! Oh no, darn, that was nail polish."

The Center Cannot Hold

Sorry I've been a bit absent lately--I've been walking around in something of a daze, as the time to move fast approaches and I don't seem to be any closer to being ready to even get my house on the market, much less physically move. My brother has been hospitalized in Atlanta with atrial fibrillation. The aunt I was named after has been rushed to ICU in Alabama with a recurrence of lung cancer or worsening of emphysema--take your pick. My mom is in freakout mode over the move. I feel battered. Wouldn't sugar help?

I've been drawn back to one of my all-time favorite poems, WB Yeats' "The Second Coming."

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.…

Oh well. Bear with me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bringing Home the Bacon

I love bacon. Who doesn't love bacon? But I have been concerned about bacon in recent years because of all the hoo-ha about nitrates. As I understand it (but I'm no scientist), nitrates are salts (NO3) used as preservatives and to lend color to cured meats. Once ingested, they are converted by the gastric system to nitrites. The nitrites then react with amino acids and form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Whew! Chemistry lesson over.

Anyway, I've been pleased to see bacon showing up in the grocery stories marked "nitrate free" and "naturally cured." I've even bought some sugar-free, nitrate-free stuff a couple of times.

So it was interesting to read this article by a food industry executive about how -- what a surprise! -- consumers are once again being misled by loopholes in packaging requirements.

Turns out if the nitrates are not added directly to the food in question, but secondarily in another ingredient, they do not "count" as far as food labeling is concerned. So something can claim to be "nitrate free" yet still contain nitrates.

So, to heck with it. I'll just eat my occasional piece of bacon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Forgetting to Eat

I tried to brace myself but it was still a shock as I pulled into the driveway of my Aunt Grace's house and saw her coming out to meet us. She's my mom's younger sister, and has always been strong-willing and resourceful. She raised two kids alone after a bad marriage, had taken care of my grandmother through her latter years and still managed to own her home in a small suburb of Birmingham, Alabama.

But everything is run down now. Her kids are gone--one dead and the other living in a state of denial and far away. The suburb is shabby and sliding down the socioeconomic scale at a rapid pace. The house is showing its age. The neighborhood is no longer safe. And Grace is a walking shadow of her former self as dementia ravages her mind and she struggles to maintain enough of a grip to keep herself going, which she does only through the frequent intervention of scattered family members who try to explain that she still has to pay her bills and that she shouldn't be driving her car.

But the state of what her life has become is complicated by her weakening ability to recognize what she needs to survive. And here we come to the shock of seeing her again for the first time since March. She comes out to greet us wearing a loose-fitting top that only hints at what a quick hug confirms: she is starving herself to death not because she wants to lose weight but because she forgets to eat and no longer recognizes signals of hunger.

Now, I must admit the whole concept of forgetting to eat is foreign to me. But it does make me thing about the whole notion of food and quality of life. A standard of veterinary practice is to watch the appetites of our pets; once they lose interest in food it signals that the end of their lives is near, that a certain quality of life is something we can no longer provide. Others of us suffer from too much interest, such a great fixation on the pleasures of food not only to sustain our physical selves but to provide that quality of life.

I don't know where all that's going, just something to ponder on a quiet Tuesday morning. And it's all very sad.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Well, back at least.

I had a terrific week in Nashville--thanks for all the well-wishes! Somewhere between prayer and Xanax I lost my speaking fear--it was a comfortable room, and I had lots of PowerPoint slides.

I had some terrific meals. At Mambu, there were lobster rolls and Chicken Joan of Arc, which featured feta cheese, olives, and tomato over a grilled chicken breast, all topped with a fresh date. At Sambucca, it was an amazing filet topped with gorgonzola. The Vanderbilt campus was beautiful, and the weather was less humid than expected. It was a nice week. I wasn't a serious low-carber but I got LOTS of exercise just walking, walking, walking.

Now, back to reality. My last day at work is August 8, so I'll be trying to finish up a lot of projects and not leave things in bad shape. At night, it'll be paint, clean, pack, ad nauseum. I'd feel better about everything if I had a little crystal ball and could see where things were going as far as selling the house and actually making the move, but I guess that's where faith comes in, yes?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Heart Palpitations

Yep, I'm having heart palpitations--that's how stressed I am these days. I leave tomorrow for a conference in Nashville where I have to teach a class--mmmmm, how I love that public speaking (not)! And it comes at the worst possible time because...

After I return from Nashville I'll have about two weeks to get my house ready to sell (while still working full-time), put it on the market, get packed up, leave my job at Tulane University, move my mom to temporary lodgings in Birmingham, Alabama, and then move myself and my two furkids to temporary lodgings in Montgomery, Alabama. I'll start work at Auburn University in late August but will need to sell my house in New Orleans before I can find a place in Auburn. (Woo-hoo--waving at Bamagal!)

So, yes, I am leaving New Orleans. It has been a long and bumpy two years since Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures laid waste to my adopted hometown. I don't really know how to explain people's feelings about New Orleans except to say you either hate it and leave or you love it just as you would love a person. I'm in the latter group, and leaving breaks my heart and makes me feel as if I'm abandoning someone I care about. But changes in my job, coupled with crime, corruption, lack of adequate health care, and rapidly escalating living costs, have convinced me this is a city that needs to be rebuilt and repeopled by younger, wealthier or at least more optimistic people than I. I'm excited about my new job and home, yet I'm already homesick for New Orleans and I haven't left yet.

So, big stressful life changes are coming in the next month. I'll try to keep my online blog-complaining limited. And try to keep the stress eating in check!

And I'll try to blog "from the road" next week but may be spotty--keep checking back.

Now, if you know anyone who might want a nice little Victorian cottage in New Orleans, built in 1901, here she is!

Much Ado About Kimkins

A reader asked me to comment on the big controversy swirling around the Kimkins low-carb diet plan. The backstory is this: Kimkins, a plan created by a woman who I know only as "Kimmer," has been getting a lot of publicity lately because of an article in Woman's World magazine calling the program "better than gastric bypass." Then low-carb blogworld guru Jimmy Moore started the Kimkins program and has been having a lot of success with it.

But the controversy swirls both about the diet and about Kimmer herself. Kimmer keeps a low profile--she doesn't do interviews, for example, and the "self-portrait" photos on the Kimkins website are of what appears to be completely different people. So, she's a bit of a mystery. I don't know what her reasons are for staying hidden and using photos that may not even be her. Frankly, I don't care.

The issue for me is the diet.

Does Kimkins work? Yes, it does. Absolutely. The basic Kimkins diet is not very different from Atkins induction, except with low fat as well as low carbs, and keeping up with your calorie intake. You eat 20 or fewer grams of carbs (and don't subtract fiber grams), no sugar alcohols or other special "low carb food," lean protein, a couple of cups of salad or a cup of a green veggies and "enough fat" to make it palatable. That's it. There's also a "quick start" version that is a bit more spare.

The thing that turned me off the program -- for me, as a personal decision -- was not the program itself. Like Atkins induction, if you follow the program and pay attention to how you follow it, you can keep it pretty healthy.

But if you really get involved in the Kimkins website community, you'll see where the controversy comes in.

First, fiber consumption is not recommended because it "bulks you up"; taking a half-dose or so of Milk of Magnesia daily is encouraged to "clear things out" and is something Kimmer says she does.

Most folks on the Kimkins discussion boards are eating about 700-800 calories a day and obsessing over it if they "slip up" and eat "too much." If you find yourself losing less than 5-7 pounds a week and e-mail Kimmer about it, she will examine your food logs for the previous week and point out where you're going wrong. I did this a couple of times. I was eating about 900 calories a day and only losing 1-2 pounds a week, so I sent Kimmer my menus--she suggested I reduce the fat that my mushrooms were sauteed in and just use water or Pam, that I cut all cheese from the diet because of the fat, and make sure my protein was the leanest possible. So I did that, and I still, at about 800 calories a day, was losing about 2 pounds a week on the scale. But the scale wasn't telling the story because I developed a whole lot of saggy skin and felt weird. I'm not sure how to describe how I felt but I think the word is "empty." I didn't want to eat--a "desirable" state the Kimkins folks call "SNATT" (slightly nauseous all the time). When I finally broke ranks for Christmas and started eating a bit more, I was ravenous. It was like part of my five senses had shut down and suddenly had awakened.

It finally occurred to me, away from the seduction of the scale, that I had been starving myself. Had I started out from a thinner weight, there would have been little difference between my own diet and that of one of the pro-anorexia proponents.

So, does Kimkins (the diet) promote eating disorders? For me the answer is that, in the long run, you have to take responsibility for your own health regardless of what eating plan you follow. Personally, I could never see that avoiding fiber and taking laxatives made sense from a health standpoint, so I didn't lose weight at the "better than gastric bypass" rate. Unless he's changed his methods, I think Jimmy Moore is also adding fiber into his diet. If you follow the program, use your brain, and don't get sucked into the online community too deeply, Kimkins can be a fairly healthy, very low carb diet. As I said, pretty much very strict Atkins induction as it was originally devised (as opposed to the later version where the good doctor relaxed a bit on the sugar alcohols and other low-carb processed foods).

So, with that, here's my final take on Kimkins. Like any eating program, you have to be responsible in how you interpret it. You could technically adhere to the Weight Watchers "points" program while eating only junk food--but you know that isn't healthy. You can technically adhere to Kimkins while cutting fiber from your diet and cutting your calories down to nothing, but you know that isn't healthy either. I had stalled on Kimkins but when I cycled back to Atkins and started adding more calories and fat into my diet, I started losing again.

I had thought I wanted to lose the weight very quickly and then worry about learning how to eat in the real world. If that's you, then Kimkins works--not as a lifelong plan but as a measure to take weight off quickly.

But what I learned about myself is that I couldn't sustain that level of deprivation for a long-term weightloss period. I learned that I'd rather lose it more slowly and have a little more flexibility in my life.

Bottom line: know yourself, what you need, how things work for you, and use your common sense. Would I go on Kimkins again? It's unlikely--I'm more likely to restart Atkins induction.

But if you have further questions, just ask!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In the Public Interest

If you've been following the lawsuits about the highly carcinogenic benzene being found at alarming levels in soft drinks, you'll be relieved to know that Pepsi has finally joined Coca-Cola and others in agreeing to reformulate their soft drinks to take benzene-containing ingredients out of their beverages.

Information on this latest development can be found on the Beverage Daily website.

The settlement involves PepsiCo, Sunny Delight Beverages Co., Rockstar Inc., Polar Beverages Inc. and Shasta Beverages Inc., according to Forbes magazine.

Coca-Cola settled a couple of months ago and has already reformulated its products.

Duh, I say, and what took so long? I suspect the answer is $$$$$.

As it currently stands, the following products (prior to last week's settlement) had higher-than-acceptable levels of benzene, as determined by the EPA. These are the worst offenders; a complete list can be found here.

Sunkist Orange Soda
Diet Safeway Select Orange
Fanta Pineapple
Bellywashers Blackberry Blast Juice Drink
Sunny D Citrus Punch
Tropicana Orangeade
Kool-Aid Jammers Juice Drink Cherry
Diet Pepsi Twist
Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Ocean Spray Cranberry Blend
Ocean Spray Diet Orange Citrus Spray
Apple & Eve Light Cranberry
Shur Fine Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Harvest Classic Cranberry Juice
Giant Light Fruity Punch Cooler
Giant Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail

Monday, July 16, 2007

Stress Tests

How do you handle stress? I've talked on this blog about my discovery during my Hurricane Katrina exile that I was a stress eater. You'd think I would have known that already but I guess I needed some extreme stress to figure it out.

It occurred to me yesterday that maybe we learn to be stress eaters at an early age and take it with us like a pacifier wherever we go in life. I had a stressful day yesterday. I should preface this by explaining that my mom, who's in her early 80s, moved in with me a couple of years ago. Which has been overall a good experience, though she's so low-fat-hotwired that it makes low carbing a challenge. And a weight nag, but that's a whole other topic.

Anyway, I was pretty well verbally dissed and treated badly by a longterm coworker yesterday. I won't say now what it was about--maybe in a day or two--but I got my little feelings hurt. Then I was angry. Then I was hurt again. After a little crying jag, my mom--bless her--came and offered me an ice cream sandwich.

Ding ding ding.

Bells went off in my head. I don't remember sweets being offered as consolation when I was a child and was upset but I bet they were. And no, I'm not blaming my mom for my weight problems. It's just natural to try and comfort someone when they're in mental anguish.

I opted for some low-carb chocolate--still using food as comfort but less damaging.

What do "normal" people do to console themselves--exercise? Or do "normal" people get upset without ever feeling the need for consolation from something outside themselves? Or do they eat an ice cream sandwich, never fearing it will send them into a binging spiral?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Free Stigma Brochure

With all our discussions in recent days about the stigma and prejudice attached to being overweight, I thought you might be interested in a site I found recently that has a free brochure on what it calls "Obesity Stigma."

I admit I haven't fully explored the site of this organization, called the Obesity Action Council. It is a nonprofit group that seems on the surface at least to be about education resources about weight issues.

But anyway, if you click here, they claim to have lots of free literature you can request. More specifically, if you click here you can download or order their "Obesity Stigma" brochure.

As I said, I can't really endorse the organization without knowing more about it, but the weight stigma brochure is cosponsored by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, which is a great organization. Which gives me hope that it will provide an interesting read about weight stigma in our society and how to combat it. A quick glance through it offers some sobering statistics.

Let me know what YOU think!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Fat Tax

Well, just in case we're not indoctrinated enough on the low-fat regime, here's an idea out of the UK: the fat tax.

There's already a "sin tax" in many areas placed on cigarettes. Theory being, if you want to save money you'll quit smoking or, if you want to continue smoking, you'll pay a little extra that will be rolled back into healthcare to take care of you when your lungs give out.

So, I figure, they'll tack on a few cents to the Twinkies and Krispy Kremes and Big Macs of the world--since only fat people eat those things, don't you know--and the assumption is that people won't buy them and therefore won't be overweight.

In the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers conclude that taxing certain foodstuffs in the UK could prevent up to 3,200 deaths from heart attacks and stroke every year.

They looked at three different taxation scenarios: first, taxing dairy products with high levels of saturated fats--cheese, butter, whole milk. Second, they looked at rating foods on a "healthy scale"--spinach would be a -12, while chocolate cookies a +29. Anything over +9 would be taxed. The third scenario would target fat, salt and sugar intake.

Uh huh. You see where this will go, should something like this be done. Food manufacturers will concoct even more high carb/low fat foodstuffs to get around the taxation rules, creating a glut of even more cheap, nutritionally empty crap for us to eat.

And it isn't just the UK. Here is a site just for you to vote on an American fat tax.


If you haven't been keeping up with the discussion in the comments section here and especially here, you should.

I have almost called a halt to it a couple of times when it looked as if it was getting too personal. But if you want to read the passionate writings of a group of smart, articulate, beautiful women, please take a look.

I think the amount of passion in these discussions really underscores what a loaded subject is obesity and our society's response to it.

ALL of us agree that it is wrong to ridicule or categorize or show bias toward a person because of his or her weight.

Where we disagree--and at this stage I think we just have to agree to disagree--is to what extent people who are obese should "be okay with it." That has different meanings to different people. To some, it means saying "to heck with dieting" and moving on with life. And that is their right.

To me--and, I suspect, to most readers of this blog--it means that while I still continue to work on weight issues, I am not going to put my life on hold until I'm a size 6. I'm not going to hate myself because of my size. I'm not going to accept being ridiculed or blamed for global warming.

Will I reach my goal weight? I sure hope so, and I plan to keep working at it. But I don't think that is at cross-purposes with living my life to the fullest and liking who I am, at whatever size I am at any moment in time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cleaning Out the Bookmarks

It's time for my periodic purge of the stuff cluttering up my inbox and bookmarks--you know, kind of All the News That Wasn't Quite Fit to Print. In no particular order...

• It's Harry Potter month! I love the HP books, even if JK Rowling doesn't need any more money. Today's the release of the fifth movie, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"--not my favorite of the books, but I'm still anxious to see it. And on the 21st comes the release of the seventh and final book. How much do I love Harry? Well, my big souvenir when I went to London a couple of years ago was a boxed set of the original Brit version of the first four books, which weighed a ton and I had to schlep them all the way from Picadilly to my little Kensington hotel, then through Heathrow and JFK and all the way back to New Orleans. Anyhow, if you're a fan of the books, you know the kids are--what a surprise--always eating sweets of such notoriety as Bertie Bott's Every-Flavored jellybeans and Cockroach Clusters. So in honor of Harry, here's a set of recipes for your Potter party. Not a low-carb option among them. Oh well.

• Speaking of Harry Potter, there was an an interesting article recently out of Worcester about how overweight children are portrayed in literature. Think about it. If you read the Potter books, you know the horrendous cousin Dudley Dursley, who's such a little porker that one of the first acts of magic in book 1 was to fit him with a pig's tail. Is it any wonder kids grow up to objectify and ridicule fat people? (And, no, let's not start that discussion again!)

• Now here's some shaky science. A group of Edinburgh researchers have concluded that--gasp--sugar is not only not bad for you, it's downright helpful in losing weight. (Excuse me while I finish choking.) Yes, sugar was deemed to help dieters feel more satisfied on their diets and stay on them longer. Oh, and that's only when combined with 60 minutes of brisk exercise per day. Oh, never mind. That one's just too stupid to take on.

• A group of pointy-headed scientists at Yale have spent the better part of a week discussing whether or not people really do have food addictions. It's actually pretty interesting in terms of how people with severe food dysfunction describe their eating in the same terms used by drug or alcohol addicts. Yet it also differs from "traditional" addictions in that it does not accelerate in the same way. Now, I know that when I've been eating low carb for a while and I eat some sugary thing, it sets off an out-of-control craving and it takes a lot of self-control to resist diving headfirst into a vat of Ho-Hos. Would that make me a Ho-Ho 'Ho? But I digress.

• Last, but not least, this interesting piece about high-carb (also read: low-fat) diets increasing the risk of people developing cardiac disease--particularly overweight people...who are the most likely to be on high-carb, low-fat diets. Particularly true of carbs coming from processed foods. I swear, I think all these processed foods are killing us but who has freakin' time to cook? I leave the house at around 7:30 a.m. and get home about 6 p.m. Yeah, I know, plan ahead. Cook on weekends for the whole week. Guess the real truth is, I don't enjoy cooking. I'd rather read Harry Potter books and eat cockroach clusters.

Life Lessons

Ever wonder why we do things to ourselves that make us miserable? I do (this) and I have (done it again) and I am (miserable).

No, I haven't gorged myself on Blue Bell ice cream, although if I thought it would help I might consider it.

It's that public speaking thing again. Why do people keep asking me? Why do I keep accepting?

So here I am again, trying to prepare in about 10 days' time, to head to Nashville to teach a class on magazine production. I don't teach. I don't stand in front of rooms of people thinking I have anything of interest to impart to them. I was insane for ever saying I'd do this. Why did I?

It's that Puritan ethic thing, I think. "It's good for me." To stray outside my comfort zone, to get experience in something new, to meet people.

"If I were only thinner," I think, "I wouldn't mind parading in front of a roomful of strangers who've paid umpteen dollars to hear me say something enlightening, when I have nothing enlightening to say."

"If I were younger/prettier/smarter/not such a freaking panic-stricken basketcase, I'd enjoy this."

But, really, even if I were thinner, would it make me a more authoritative speaker? More comfortable speaking in front of a crowd? Give me hair that would actually do something besides lay flat or stick out, Alfalfa-like, depending on the humidity?

No, probably not. And eating a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream won't help any, either. At least I've learned that much.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Message to Katherine, and Others

A reader named Katherine has been posting some pretty outrageous comments the last couple of days. I started out responding in a comment, but decided it needed a post of its own. I'm glad Katherine has posted her comments, as it drives home some of the points I've tried in my own way to make the past few postings.

No, Katherine, I'm not saying obesity is "good." I am not happy that I struggle with weight issues. I am not saying that I won't continue with my own weight-loss program. I am not saying that we should throw in the towel.


What I AM saying is this:
• People should be treated with respect regardless of their size.
• It should be no more acceptable to ridicule a person for his or her weight than to ridicule a person for ethnicity, religious preference, or sexual preference. "But they're born with that--it's not a choice," you might say, especially for ethnicity. Neither is being fat. Anyone who thinks being overweight is a simple matter of "lack of willpower" needs to wake up and smell the DaVinci Syrup because...
• People who have never dealt with a weight problem have no right to spew judgment on those who know firsthand that losing weight is not a matter of "calories in, calories out." Genetics, medical conditions and--yes--lifestyle all contribute.
• It is not acceptable to "blame" the overweight for 1) poverty; 2) crime; 3) war atrocities; or 4) global warming. It's ludicrous on all four counts.

So there. It's my blog and you can comment if you want to.

Save the Whales

Apparently fat people are responsible not only for the loss of proper aesthetics in the Western world and the decline of civilization in general, but also the rapid spread of global warming, the decline of the polar bear, and other sorts of impending global disasters.

Are we bad, or what?

This is the report coming from London public health professor Ian Roberts, writing in the latest issue of New Scientist in an article titled "Say No to Global Guzzling."

There is, says Roberts, a clear link between the world obesity "epidemic" and the rise of global warming.

Gee, and I thought it had something to do with ozone and carbon emissions. Oh no! Wait! We're like cows emitting vast amounts of methane, perhaps? Oh, no, I was wrong. It's because fat people drive cars and use other "labor-saving devices." Americans are particularly at fault, says the veddy British prof, because we are such a fat nation that we drive even more cars and use even more labor-saving devices.

Overweight people also ratchet up the global warming effect by eating more food, which results in more food production, which requires more of those labour-saving devices and manufacturing process.

Then after we eat all that extra food, we, uh, create more "organic waste," so to speak, producing the dreaded methane.

And we take up more room and get hotter and run our air conditioning more, so we're using up more fuel, too.

So, let me get this straight. ONLY fat people drive cars and use "labor-saving devices." And since overweight people are bigger they must eat much more food and create more manufacturing--because, of course, that food wouldn't be produced if there were no fat people in the world.

The worst part of it is, says Dr. Roberts, is that -- heaven forbid -- the militant American fat people are actually "changing public policy and perceptions about obesity." Egads.

That would be disastrous, for fat people to receive equal treatment and acceptance, he says. "The social stigma attached to obesity is one of the few forces slowing the epidemic...How long before there are calls for energy-guzzling escalators, moving sidewalks and motorized mobility aids?"

We bad.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Activity That Belies My Girth

There are some things that women of a certain age and size should not be doing, which is why I am here blogging at 8 a.m. on a hot, steamy Saturday instead of being where I need to be: namely, perched atop an 8-foot fiberglass ladder holding a bucket of paint while said ladder is placed precariously inside a 1930s-era cast-iron bathtub.

Yep, today is bathroom-painting day.

Now, you might say that even if you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig. So putting a fresh coat of paint on an 80-year-old bathroom (which is the "new" part of my little cottage built in 1901) will not make it a spiffy oasis of modernity. But it is long overdue, since I've owned the house for 13 years and never painted it. Fresh paint won't make me forget the 1930s light fixtures that were surely the height of chic in their day. They still look pretty cool but don't work. And I might not notice the noisy, rattling original fan if it was surrounded by fresh, mocha-colored paint.

But de pain, boss, de pain.

Oh well, enough procrastinating. I'm off to put some lipstick on that pig.

Friday, July 6, 2007

H•A•T•E is a Four-Letter Word

I'm pretty much aghast at a recent editorial by writer Jaime O'Neill that ran in a Sacramento newspaper.

Just when I start to think weight-related bigotry is isolated and rare, I come across something like this that makes my jaw drop.

Here are a few excerpts from "Fat Bastards: Today's Americans Have As Much Lard Between Their Ears As On Their Flabby Butts"--and, yes, that's the real title.

"[Fat people are] everywhere these days, people of a size once found only in tents where yokels paid a quarter to gawk at them. You’re not just fat; you’re huge, ponderous, beyond jumbo, a vast and undulating formidability of flesh, an avalanche of avoirdupois, a devolution of the species back to a future of protoplasmic balloon creatures. You’re becoming a living metaphor for the way the United States is viewed by much of the rest of the planet: a rapacious, gluttonous, insatiable nation of swine, the Pig People of North America, the fat neighbors who are fouling the whole neighborhood, consuming everything in sight, and strewing waste in your wake."

Or how about this:

"In Body Snatcher: 2007, the aliens have snatched the bodies of normal Americans and made them unable to wedge themselves into most public seating or, if able to sit, completely unable to extract their bloated butts from those no-longer-adequately-sized seats once their full weight has spread and settled."

Or here's a good one:

"Fat, dumb and ugly: We’re fat because we’re either too dumb or too lazy to either watch what we put in our mouths or take the trouble to inform ourselves of the high-fructose corn syrup added to nearly everything marketed as “convenience” food."

So who is this jerkoid? He makes some interesting points about American consumerism and the environment. But such hatred he spews!

Hope his hair falls out and he develops a pot belly from choking on his own venom, and his wife--should anyone be stupid enough to marry him--spikes all his food with HFCS until he bloats up to the size of a large land mammal.

Not that I'm spiteful or anything.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Declaration of Independence

Happy belated 4th of July! I had a lovely time with friends, sitting around and reminiscing about my friend Debbie's beloved Greyhound Chevy, who had to be put to sleep the day before. And we were served traditional Fourth of July fare, and I did partake. I honestly thought about having the burger without the bun, and bringing my own side dishes, perhaps some faux-tato salad.

But for the day, at least, I had my own Declaration of Independence.

What does that mean? Maybe this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal regardless of their weight, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness, and the freedom to participate in social activities without feeling deprived or ostracized.

Of course, now I am paying the price for my Independence. Why does it have to be so hard?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Fat Rant


Just in case you are one of the three people left in the universe who haven't seen Joy Nash's "fant rant" YouTube video, here it is. I finally watched it and it made me howl. It has gotten enough attention that Joy has been doing a lot of media appearances, even starting her own blog.

Wish I had more of her attitude and less of mine!

Back on the Straight and Narrow

Okay, no more lollygagging. I finally reached some critical mass--ugh, poor choice of words, after regaining 10 lbs--on Saturday and restarted my dedicated low-carb regime. I'm not doing induction, just keeping net carbs about 30-30g per day and not really counting calories.

I thought about doing Kimkins again, but I'm not mentally prepared for that level of deprivation. I know my palJimmy Moore has been having a raging debate over at the LLVLC website about his success on Kimkins, and Kimkins does work. I lost 65 pounds on it last year.

And if you haven't done so, go on over to Jimmy's site (link above) and read some of the debate that's gone on over the past two or three weeks since he started the low-carb, lower-fat, low-calorie Kimkins program. I was particularly interested in Calianna's comments wondering where the difference lies in a Kimkins follower eating 800 calories a day and an anorexic eating 800 calories a day. When is starvation not starvation? And, to complicate matters, I know from my earlier stint on Kimkins--though this might have changed--that fiber was discouraged as being "too bulky" and the taking of Phillips Milk of Magnesia, a mini-dose, on a daily basis was encouraged for those for whom things weren't "moving," so to speak. The Kimkins philosophy is do what you need to do to get the weight off quickly, then you can get on with the rest of your life in a healthier way.

But for me, at this stage and given my current stress level (more on that later this week) I think a simpler, more generous low carb option is better.

Stay tuned.

I don't have any answers there, but it's an interesting discussion.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Eat Like an Egyptian

I've been fascinated this week by the identification of an ancient Egyptian mummy as being that of Queen Hatshepsut, a powerful pharaoh -- the most powerful Egyptian queen -- who ruled in the 15th century B.C. She apparently was known for dressing like a man and wearing a false beard. Did they call it cross-dressing back then? I want my mummy!

Anyway, this mummy that was discovered back in 1903 was removed from its site in the Valley of the Kings two months ago and taken to Cairo for examination, at which time it was discovered that the mummy was missing a tooth--leaving a space that matches a tooth known to be from the queen.

So, besides being dentally challenged, what do we know about Hatshepsut? Interestingly, she was obese and had diabetes and, possibly, liver cancer. Whoa here. Didn't all Egyptian queens look like Liz Taylor in her Cleopatra gear?

Well, probably not. A little research into the dietary habits of ancient Egyptians shows that only the rich were able to have meat, and had it at every meal. Dairy products were also available for the wealthy. But the ancient Egyptians were major fans of bread--plain bread and sourdough bread. They had quite the sweet tooth, and used copious amounts of honey and dates to sweeten their breads and make cakes, particularly the wealthy. Beer was the beverage of choice; the wealthy could generally afford wine as well.

So Old Hatsy was a bread-eating, beer-guzzling rich lady with a weight issue. Or was it revered back this, a great weight a sign of wealth and power? Ironic considering too often today it's found among the least wealthy and least powerful.

To quote King Solomon, I guess there's really nothing new under the sun.

The Diet Plate--Revised

Thanks to PJ of the excellent blog The Divine Low Carb for the idea. After I posted yesterday about the new Diet Plate being touted by the low-cal community, she wondered what a low-carb plate might look like.

Well that, of course, sent me into gales of laughter and a whole new project to test my Quark XPress and Photoshop skills.

So here's the result of my Low-Carb Plate project. Think this looks about right?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Home Plate

According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, people have problems with portion sizes, and all that's needed is a bit of guidance.

Enter the Diet Plate, available in sizes for women, men and kids. There's even a Diet Bowl.

The Diet Plate folks claim it is "probably the truest product to ever come to market to help in combating and preventing obesity," which sounds like quite the hype. The plates are made in England by Royal Stafford Tableware and come with an eight-week weight management plan plus online support. The plate for women, they say, will allow you to eat your regular foods and lose 1-4 pounds a week for women who have fewer than 60 lbs to lose. If you need to lose more than 60 lbs, I'd imagine the rate of weight loss is greater.

It's an interesting idea, actually, once you get around the hype. Similar in idea to the fake foods you can buy to show you what a real portion should look like. If you're like me and have been known to "sneak" an extra bite or two of something, particularly something bad for you, or who can "eyeball" a one-cup measurement and really get something like three cups, it's an interesting idea.

But the written recommendations are the same old-same old:
Breakfast: 2 pieces of fruit and bowl of any cereal using The Diet Plate Calorie Controlled Breakfast Bowl, or 2 pieces of fruit, boiled egg and 1 slice of wholemeal toast.

Lunch (Female & Child): Choose any 300 - 400 calorie option. A small fun size banana or two small portions of fruit (not a kilo of grapes!) Drink water, tea, coffee or calorie free soda.

Dinner: Your own preference but served on The Diet Plate!

Aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day and include 400ml - 1/2 a pint of skimmed milk in your diet. Use a low calorie vegetable soup as a tummy filler for those hungry moments. Cut bread down to only two slices a day maximum. So if you’re having a sandwich at lunch this is your allowance.

Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday.

So the Diet Plate is basically a gimmick to get you to follow a "balanced," very low calorie diet. Although, to give them credit, they recommend you avoid "puddings, sweets and sugary foods."

Aw, and I was just wondering how big the portion size for Krispy Kreme donuts was.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What a Sicko?

So, filmmaking rabble-rouser Michael Moore is out on the interview circuit, talking about his new healthcare system expose, "Sicko." And while he's at it, he's sharing diet tips to share the wisdom he's learned in recently losing 30 pounds.

You have to exercise about 40 minutes a day, he says. You have to get lots of sleep. You have to eat lots of fiber. You have to not "diet" per se, but eat "heavy foods" that fill you up on fewer calories.


So did Mr Moore lose the weight doing these things? Yes--that, plus a $3,800-per-week stay at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, complete with a personal trainer. And we know what that means: super-low fat, to the tune of 10% of calories per day.

Wow indeed. Talk about doing it the hard way! (Although at least he did it, which is more than I can say for my wide and happy butt these days.)

Message in a Bottle

I sit here this morning, typing and drinking a Diet Coke. Yes, I know. Horror of horrors. I'm a soda junkie. Not only am I a soda junkie, but I hated the Coke with Splenda, which I thought had a strange citrus-y taste, and am addicted to plain old Diet Coke with--eek--aspartame.

I've studiously avoided all the proclamations about the poisonous effects of aspartame, being old enough to remember the huge public outcry against the carcinogenic effects of saccharine in the 1970s. Which makes me old indeed, but that's another story for another day.

So now here's this new study from Environmental Health Perspectives, where the group of Italian researchers who did the initial damning study of aspartame--irritated that the FDA and European food regulatory agencies say aspartame is safe regardless of how much cancer their little aspartame-fed rats developed--have repeated their study. Results confirm an increase in lymphoma and breast cancer among rats fed a daily aspartame ration equivalent to average human ingestion.

Jeez Louise.

So, what's a girl to do? Well, right now, this girl has a meeting to go to. But I do think I'm gonna have to find a new soda to drink. What do you folks drink? (And if you say "water is all you need," well poo to you. I need SODA!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Supplemental Income Needed

So, what's your view on supplements?

I get spam e-mails occasionally from Prevention, king of the low-fat health magazines, and am always seduced a bit by their professionalism. Being in publishing myself, I've always found their books -- expensive books, by the way -- very attractive and fun to look through.

Today's e-mail blast, in large blue and green type: "Want to Lose 20-60 Pounds or More? You need help from the world's most effective "weight loss wonders"! You'll find them all in your free-preview copy of The Natural Fat-Loss Pharmacy!"

It's all about supplements. Dietary supplements -- I think today's buzzword is "nutraceuticals" -- you can take to "speed up the fat-burning process." Supplements that cost so much you practically need a "supplemental income," so to speak, to pay for them.

The late great Dr. Atkins got into dietary supplements as well--particularly his own brand of them--and I always wondered if they really made any difference or if it was just a clever money-making scheme. I note that Atkins Nutritionals stopped making them once the Atkins craze cooled off.

One of my favorite low-carb books is Jonny Bowden's Living the Low Carb Life, a most rational exploration of all the major low-carb or controlled carb eating plans.

He also highly advocates a number of supplements. Once, just to see what it would involve, I made a list of the recommended supplements and looked them up on the Vitacost website, and it totaled well over $100 for a month's worth of these "beneficial" food supplements. The list contained: GLAAlpha Lipoic AcidGTF Chromiuma B-Complex, a separate B5 supplementOmega 3L-Carnitine5-HTPMagnesiumGreen Tea Extract and L-Glutamine. I ended up buying a bottle of Centrum for $10 and leaving it at that except for a milk thistle/dandelion root combo for liver health that I started taking after having slightly elevated liver enzymes turn up on blood tests for a couple of years running.

But I wonder..... What do you take besides a multivitamin? And what does it do for you?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Wacky World of Weight Loss

A recent issue of Newsweek said it all: "The Dieter's Dilemma: People Will Try Almost Anything to Lose Weight. Really."

It was a lighthearted look at some of the currently fashionable fad diets--and, believe it or not, Atkins and Low-Carb didn't make the list, which means some small inroad into acceptability, I guess.

So, since I'm lollygagging around the last few months, are there any of these to capture my interest and get me back on track?

The Astrology Diet. In which your diet and exercise type are dictated by your astrological sign. I'm a Taurus, so, according to diet developers Ellen Barrett (a trainer) and Barrie Dolnick (an astrologer), I find great pleasure in eating so a restrictive diet will not work with me, and I thrive on "gentle but thorough" workouts, preferably at home. Yeah, well, okay.

The Blood Type Diet. Peter D'Amato's theory that what you eat should be dictated by your blood type. The popularity, Newsweek surmises, is that it makes people think it's more personalized. Which is all fine and good, I say, until you realize that 72% of Americans and Europeans have either O+ or A+ blood types, so how personalized can it be, really?

Single Food Diets are making a comeback. Grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet, pineapple diet, popcorn diet. Been there, done that.

Detox Diets, popular these days, theorize that cleansing out your system is good for you and good for your weight. But, really. "Cleansing with Colonics," called for by diets like 21 Pounds in 21 Days, means, quite simply, enemas. Let 'em stick that diet where the sun don't shine.

The Maple-Syrup Diet, made famous by Beyonce, who used it to trim down for "Dreamgirls." Dieters drink 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a cup of water, several times a day. Uh, no.

Remember? I'm Taurus. I find great pleasure in eating.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Onion Rings & Carrots

I'm still not too keen on Hilary Clinton, and thankfully this isn't a political blog so I don't have to make my mind up and make any kind of endorsement yet!

But you have to admit her video sendup of the Sopranos finale is pretty funny. Of course, Bill steals the show.

He joins Hilary at a diner full of common folk--just the sort of place the Clintons probably eat every day (snort snort)--and as Bill is seated, the waitress plops down a plate of carrot sticks.

Dejected, Bill asks why he can't have onion rings, and he munches sadly on a crispy carrot stick while Hilary tells him she's looking out for him.

I feel his pain.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happiness is Egg Shaped

Those of us who have eaten low-carb for any amount of time at all have eaten our share of eggs. Boiled, scrambled, fried, cooked in an omelet with just about anything, in a crustless quiche...well, you get the picture. Eggs are our friends.

So in a typical bit of stupidity, we have a story from CalorieLab that the Egg Information Service in the UK was all set to re-release this 1950s TV ad about the perfect protein of eggs when they were blocked from doing so by the "Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre," which regulates advertising standards.

The BACC was concerned that the 50-year-old ad celebrating the egg with classic comedian Tony Hancock would send unsuspecting Brits into a dangerous way of eating. BACC spokesman Kristoffer Hammer said it was not a question of whether an egg a day would cause any harm, but that it should be served with fruit juice and toast. Fruit juice and toast! Heck, might as well add a Snickers Bar as well.

Anyway, enjoy the classic ad that won't be running on TV in the UK anytime soon.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Let Us Entertain You

I know this has nothing to do with anything I usually do on this blog--it's a cross-post from my New Orleans post-Katrina blog. But I thought I'd share...

Here is the trailer for the new Fox drama about post-Katrina New Orleans. It made me cry. I don't think that's the reaction they're going for and I'm sure it will be entertaining for the rest of the world and I know New Orleans needs the revenue filming this here will bring, but I don't think I'm ready for it. What do you think?


Left Behind

There's an interesting correlation between a couple of news stories out today.

The first is the results of three large national database studies showing that between 1971 and 2000 the death rate of men with diabetes has dropped significantly and is in line with the overall rate of decline in death rate among all Americans. The same is not true, however, of women with diabetes, whose death rate did not decline at all.

One of the researchers concluded: "The improvements seen in men suggest that the improvements in diabetes care are working on longevity as well. But the finding in women is concerning and means we may need to explore whether different approaches are needed to improve health outcomes for women with diabetes."

One answer -- one very big, systemic answer -- might be found by reading between the lines of health guidelines being given to women. Take, for example, the recent eating guidelines from the American Heart Association, which one of my favorite blogs, Junkfood Science, rips apart at the seams. Go and read author Sandy Szwarc's breakdown of the AHA recommendations.

In short, though, she points out that:

1) The AHA Guidelines state that to prevent heart disease and premature death, women should maintain or lose weight and maintain a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 with a waist circumference of 35 inches. However, when the studies to support this recommendation are examined, there are ZERO clinical studies cited to support that women who lose weight live longer or decrease their chances of cardiac disease.

2) The AHA recommends that women consume no more than one alcoholic drink daily. However, an examination of their 54 pieces of "evidence" shows that few were actually clinical trials, and most were conducted only on men. And the AHA expert committee even noted that the results "are not applicable to women."

3) The AHA says to prevent heart disease and increase longevity, women should consume ample fruits and vegetables; eat whole-grain, high-fiber foods; consume fish at least twice a week; limit saturated fat to less than 10% of calories (7% is preferred), and limit sodium to approximately 1 teaspoon of salt a day. Trans fats should make up less than 1% of calories.

To support these recommendations, the AHA cites a whopping 94 studies. However, as Sandy of Junkfood Science discovered, 36 of the studies included no women and the AHA committee noted they were not applicable to women. Another 8 studies were not applicable because they were studies of previous cardiac patients, not prevention studies related to the guidelines. Forty-eight of the studies were observational and could not point conclusively to causal relationships between diet and disease. Only one study was a clinical intervention trial.

Sandy's conclusion: "Not one observational study was able to credibly support the AHA heart healthy eating recommendations for women to prevent heart disease or premature death. The only observational study specifically looking at Healthy Eating in accordance with our government’s dietary guidelines found no benefit. And finally, the strongest evidence — an actual clinical trial of the heart healthy diet on the primary prevention of heart disease in women, that went on for more than 8 years — found it had no effect on heart disease."

So, let's go back to the first data about how women with diabetes aren't experiencing the decline in mortality enjoyed by their male counterparts and non-diabetic Americans as a whole. Is it apples and oranges? I really don't think so. Until and unless we develop a body of clinical work specifically studying the effects of diet and disease on women, we're going to lag behind on more than just pay rates.

Okay. Off the soapbox now. Jeez. I sound like a feminazi. I'm not. Really.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Poop on Poopy Pants

Well, that got your attention, didn't it?

Actually, I'm talking about a bit of an advertising war between GlaxoSmithKline's new OTC diet drug, Alli, and the OTC weight-loss drug Leptopril from Generix Labs.

Seems Generix created an ad for Leptopril based on its lacking some of the ugly side effects of Alli, a lower-strength form of the diet drug Orlistat. The side effect in question? Poopy pants.

Alli basically forces you to eat a very low-fat diet while taking it by causing uncontrolled diarrhea and, well, poopy pants if you eat too much fat. Leptopril is the drug with the obnoxious commercials that say "don't buy this product unless you're significantly overweight because it works too well for the casual dieter," or some such nonsense.

But anyway, when CBS, NBC and ABC all rejected the Poopy Pants commercial, saying it was in bad taste, Generix placed their ad on YouTube and other video spots. And you gotta admit, it is pretty funny.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Yeah, Well, At Least I Don't Have a Square Head

Which is pretty much my response to American Medical Association president William Plested, who spoke recently to a civic group about what he thinks is ailing American healthcare.

Is it obesity? No.
Is it the aging of the giant Baby Boom generation?
Is it a shortage of nurses?


It's the legal system and the fact that people can actually--gasp--sue their physicians if they do a poor job and cause more problems than they help.

Now, I admit this has become an overly litigious society, and everyone's answer to everything is "sue the bas..uh...bad guys."

But to blame every healthcare system ailment and, by association, every health problem society faces, to physicians' fear of lawsuits seems a bit over the top.

And, yes, part of my gripe with Dr. Spongebill Squarehead, pictured above, is that he said the result of all these lawsuits-in-the-making is that "we're going to pay for this with a generation of fatso's with every disease you can imagine."

Gasp. Not FATSO'S!!

Sheesh. Maybe I will sue the bas...bombastic boxhead.