Archive for February, 2011

I was recently contacted by a famous vampire (the subject of a book and later a movie) who told me he wanted to update his story. Somewhat hesitantly, I agreed to meet with him last night at a local pub. Here’s our interview: 

Fat Head:  I appreciate you agreeing to meet in a crowded public place.

Vampire:  I thought you’d feel more at ease if we weren’t alone.

Fat Head:  I do. I’d feel even more at ease if they served True Blood here.

Vampire:  Unfortunately, that’s pure fiction. There is no True Blood or any other synthetic blood we can drink, although I like the TV show very much. It’s nice to be portrayed as the good guys for a change.

Fat Head:  Good guys, yes, but also good guys who happen to be muscular and attractive, which I’m sure doesn’t hurt the ratings any. In fact, in pretty much all the TV shows and movies I’ve seen about vampires, you’re portrayed as these sleek, strong, sexy creatures. Which … uh … well, never mind.

Vampire:  Go ahead, ask me the question.

Fat Head:  I’m not sure how to put this …

Vampire:  Don’t be afrrraid.

Fat Head:  Cool accent! Very Bela Lugosi.

Vampire:  I’ve had a lot of time to practice. Now ask me the question.

Fat Head:  Well … you’re not exactly what I envisioned. I mean, I expected the pale complexion. But frankly, the pot belly, the bad posture, the sunken eyes, the missing teeth, the limp hair … you don’t exactly fit the Hollywood image.

Vampire:  Not anymore, no. The truth is, I’m sick. A lot of us are sick. That’s really why I wanted to meet with you: to ask you to convince the humans to stop making us sick.

Fat Head:  But you’re a vampire! You can’t get sick. I could jam a poison-tipped knife in your belly, and all you’d have to do is go drink some human’s blood, and … oh, I see.

Vampire:  Exactly. Most human blood these days is just awful. You people have completely screwed up our food supply. And like I said, there’s no such thing as True Blood.

Fat Head:  So with all the diabetics and pre-diabetics walking around these days, it’s hard to find –

Vampire:  Hey, we used to love finding diabetics with all that sweet, sugary blood. But they were rare, so we saved them for desserts and special occasions. Now they’re everywhere, so the sugar content in our diets has gone through the roof.  And it’s not like we chose to do this ourselves, you know.

Fat Head:  I had no idea high blood sugar could harm a vampire.

Vampire:  Neither did we, until we had to start living on the stuff.

Fat Head:  So I guess you could say feeding on modern humans really sucks, huh?

Vampire:  What are you, a comedian?

Fat Head:  Well, actually –

Vampire:  It isn’t funny being sick when you’re immortal. At least you humans can die and be out of your misery. If I lose my toes, I’ll be limping around for eternity.

Fat Head:  I’m sorry, I didn’t know. What kind of ailments are we talking about here?

Vampire:  You can pretty much guess, since you write about the effects of high blood sugar all the time. Organ failure, obesity, tooth decay.

Fat Head:  Tooth decay? I can see where that would present quite a problem.

Vampire:  Yeah, not to mention it’s embarrassing. I have a friend who jumped some woman outside a singles bar a few weeks ago, and when he tried to sink his last two remaining teeth into her neck, they popped out.

Fat Head:  So he wasn’t able to feed on her?

Vampire:  Naw, the poor schmuck ended up gumming her on the neck. All he got out of it was her phone number.

Fat Head:  Pity.

Vampire:  There’s even a booming market for vampire dentures now. How pathetic is that?

Fat Head:  And you’re telling me a vampire’s organs can fail too?

Vampire:  Are you kidding me? Lousy blood is lousy blood, period. We’ve even got vampires going blind.

Fat Head:  So you could say they’re –

Vampire:  And if you make any “blind as a bat” jokes, I’ll tear your heart out. And I don’t mean in a bad love-song sort of way.

Fat Head:  Uh … right. But here’s what I don’t understand: why don’t you and your kind just limit yourselves to feeding on the more nutrient-dense humans?

Vampire:  You think that never occurred to us? Most of us left the country for awhile and lived near people who ate more traditional diets. Unfortunately, the idiots in your government got together with the idiots in your sugar and grain industries and figured out how to export your food all over the world. There’s no escaping it.

Fat Head:  If I’m understanding you correctly, then, you’d like me to help convince humans to eat better food so you can eat better humans?

Vampire:  We don’t eat humans! What kind of animals do you think we are?

Fat Head:  Okay, drink from better humans. The point is –

Vampire:  Look, we’re going to feed on you either way. There’s no reason we shouldn’t all be healthier. And think about this: you’re only one bite away from being one of us. If you don’t want to end up as a sick vampire, then don’t be a sick human.

Fat Head:  Can’t you spot the sick humans and just avoid eating — er, drinking from them?

Vampire:  We tried that. Sure, you can stay away from the obviously obese people. We’ve always done that anyway, except during the holiday season. The trouble is, even skinny people are walking around with high blood sugar these days. And half of them are taking some damned statin drug. Let me tell you, that’ll turn good blood into bad blood faster than anything.

Fat Head:  I hadn’t thought of that. Do statins cause you the same kind of muscle pain and weakness they cause in humans?

Vampire:  You know how strong vampires are supposed to be, right?

Fat Head:  Sure. Like super-humans.

Vampire:  Well, one of my progeny sucked up so many doses of Lipitor over the years, he went hunting one night and got his ass kicked by a teenage girl. Then she went to Hollywood and wrote a TV show about a teenage vampire slayer. Man, that really pissed us off. It wasn’t a fair fight.

Fat Head:  No, of course not.

Vampire:  Then you’ve got the cognitive side effects. I personally know two vampires who suffered from episodes of transient amnesia. One even forgot he was a vampire and decided to take a little stroll in the afternoon sun. Two minutes later he was rolling around on the sidewalk, sizzling like a steak and screaming, “Al Gore was right! Al Gore was right!”

Fat Head:  That must’ve been terrible.  In so many ways.

Vampire:  Indeed. So please, I’m just asking for one small favor here. You and the other health bloggers do whatever you can to help us return to our natural diet. Keep spreading the word. I mean, you felt better when you got off the grains and went back to meat and eggs, didn’t you?

Fat Head:  Much better. I feel stronger and healthier now than I did 20 years ago.

Vampire:  And you actually practice what you preach? No sugar, no grains, no rancid vegetable oils?

Fat Head:  Yes, that’s right. I’m pretty strict these days.

Vampire:  Hmm. Your blood must be exquisite.

Fat Head:  Well, I don’t want to brag, but the last time I had a checkup, the doctor said … Uh, excuse me, are you licking your lips?

Vampire:  Me? No.

Fat Head:  Good, because … you just did it again.

Vampire:  Nervous habit. Think nothing of it.

Fat Head:  Because I’m not really a bling-bling sort of guy, but I did take the precaution of wearing a silver necklace. See, under the t-shirt here?

Vampire:  Chill. I have no interest in attacking you. I want you to go home and tell everyone what I said.  A lot of living-dead people’s lives depend on it.

Fat Head:  I will. Thank you for your time.

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Sort of a good news/bad news day.  The bad news is that I’ve spent most of the afternoon trying to remove a nasty Trojan Horse from my wife’s computer.  I think it may be gone now, but we’ll see.

The good news is that Fat Head finally showed up on Netflix as an instant-play option.  I’ve already received emails from people who had never heard of it before, but found it and enjoyed it.  I suspect I’ll also soon receive another round of nasty reviews from Spurlock’s diehard fans … happens every time the film finds a new market.  Fortunately, there are always plenty of good reviews to offset them.

Here’s a link to the Netflix page.  I’m not sure if the instant play version is available outside the U.S., but my guess would be no.  If the film turns out to be popular here, perhaps we can fix that.

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I watched a PBS documentary titled The Medicated Child a couple of nights ago.  It made me want to reach into the TV and strangle some of the doctors who are pumping kids full of drugs.  I don’t doubt that some people are born with true chemical imbalances that require medication, but when we’ve got literally millions of children being diagnosed as bipolar or suffering from ADHD and put on drug therapy, something is very, very wrong.

If you have a Netflix account that includes streaming and an internet-enabled TV, you can find the documentary there and watch it on the big screen.  If not, you can watch it below.  You’ll hear the word “nutrition” mentioned only once, if memory serves.  Meanwhile, you’ll see kids consuming ice cream, cookies, battered corn dogs, and Gatorade.  No wonder they have brain issues.

Watching shows like this, I’m thankful I’ve learned so much about nutrition.  My daughter Sara is highly intelligent, but also bouncy and energetic.  Put her on a lousy diet, and I can easily imagine her behavior changing enough that some well-meaning teacher would tell us she’s hyperactive or suffering from ADD and may need medication. 

As Dr. Barry Sears once wrote, every time you eat, you’re drugging yourself.  I can’t help but think most of these kids are taking prescription drugs to offset the effects of the “drugs” they eat.

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My daughters like watching science and technology shows on TV, and of course I’m happy about that. Their favorite is Mythbusters, but they also enjoy a few others, including How It’s Made.

Sara, my seven-year-old, ran into my office a couple of nights ago to tell me How It’s Made was about to explain where canola oil comes from. Canola oil, as you probably know, is the current “It Girl” among the lipophobes because it’s mostly monosaturated, like olive oil. You can buy it in bottles for cooking, but you’ll also find it in several brands of mayonnaise and margarines, always with some kind of logo advertising it as heart-healthy. 

When I went looking for the segment about canola oil on YouTube, I found that How It’s Made had already done a segment on butter. Take a look:

Sure, it’s industrial butter-making … big machines and all that. But the big machines are making butter pretty much like your great-grandmother did: taking cream and churning it with some salt. The end result is real food.

Now take a look at how canola oil is made:

Chemical solvents, industrial steaming, de-waxing, bleaching, and de-odorizing. Yummy. Have you ever heard of anyone having to de-odorize butter?

Real food on one hand, chemically processed industrial food on the other. And yet we’re supposed to believe it’s the real food that’s bad for us.

Your great-grandmother knew better.

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You can’t make this stuff up: an online article from SELF magazine claims that women are unhappier today than they’ve been for the past 35 years, and considerably less happy than men. The article offers some explanations for the “happiness gap,” including this one:

We talked to life coach Kiki Weingarten, co-founder of DLC Executive Coaching and Consulting in New York City, to get to the bottom of what’s making women sad, and what we can do to protect our own happiness.

“As women expect more from themselves and spread themselves thinner, they become overwhelmed and exhausted by it all,” she says. “You’re supposed to look stunning, work out and be physically in shape, have a wonderful relationship and family, be psychologically in the best shape at all times no matter what’s going on, then head off to work and succeed there and come home and be a perfect mate, cook and parent and on and on… it’s impossible.” Damn straight it is!

I agree. The “you can have it all” pitch has done women a disservice – especially that “look stunning” part, since stunning looks have more to do with genes than anything else.

Like many online articles, this one includes links to related topics. So after telling women they’re unhappy because they expect too much of themselves, what did the editors decide would serve as useful related topic? Why, a video of a supermodel on a cover shoot, of course. No, I’m not kidding. Follow the link, and this is what you get (after the ad):

So there you have it, ladies … you’re unhappy because you put too much pressure on yourselves to have it all. And speaking of having it all, how about this supermodel! Don’t you wish you were just like her?!

Sheesh …

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I’ve been meaning for awhile now to put together a list of sites that offer good recipes. After all, it’s much easier to keep the carbs in check if you can enjoy your meals while doing it. Here are a few suggested by readers, as well as some I’d already found:

Linda’s Low Carb Menus

Jan’s Sushi Bar

Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Atkins Recipes

Hold the Toast Recipes (by Dana Carpender, who also wrote a low-carb cookbook we use all the time)

Atkins Diet Recipe Videos from Atkins Diet Geek

If you check the Helpful Links section on the left side of the page, you’ll find a few more.

Since readers regularly ask what we feed our girls, I’ve been threatening to start a recurring feature called Chareva’s Kitchen or something like that, with recipes for meals and snacks that are kid-approved.  I’ll get to that eventually, but in the meantime I think it’s important to mention that some kids enjoy coming up with their own concoctions.  Here are two videos with my five-year-old demonstrating her kitchen skills.  The first recipe was actually pretty good.  I didn’t try the second, but I’ll leave that up to you.

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