Don’ Count Your Calories Before They’re Whacked

Lots of good ideas and information here. I was pleased that Abby Langer endorsed my one new habit about calories — looking at the calorie estimate on the packet. I did not know, however, that the estimate could be as much as 20% off and still be legal (awk!). Also, a very well-articulated rejection of the notion that, if you exercise your glutes off, you can eat as much as you want.  “…with some apps it appears that you can negate your whole day of eating with a trip to the gym. Nope.” I wasted oceans of sweat for years after all the exercise-machine sellers pushed that notion.

(I will note that, for the first time in years, my blood pressure reading was ideal during my general check-up two weeks ago.)

LSD at Harvard in Space and Time

Dr. Andrew Weil wrote some of the most exciting books about drugs and mind liberation I ever read.

The Natural Mind was a coherent manifesto without dropout drapery that argued many cultures used psychedelic drugs to shape young minds and the upsides were notable. Included original research into native-culture ceremonies and many insights. I have not read this completely revised version. But to be blunt I would say his original expression, warts and all, beats it.

The thing that weirded me out about his followup — The Marriage of the Sun and Moon — is that he had obviously figured cashing in on New Age vibes would pay off more than a lonely crusade to make acid experimentation a more normal and controlled part of American psychology research. Like they say, the beginning of the end.

Now he turns up every few years like a wind-up interview toy and gives the same spiel, with modifications, over and over. It’s not incorrect, though misleading I think in parts, just such a sad step-down from the potent message on mind liberation he once articulated.

But then, there was the Harvard Drug Scandal. Here’s Weil’s self-serving version.  And here’s a more balanced look back.

Fat ‘n’ Sugar ‘n’ Fat ‘n’ Sugar ‘n’ Fat ‘n’ Sugar? Don’t Despair!

I’m basically behind this article and agree the books sound too clickbaited. But two points —

The fat-phobia era did make a lot of food less savory. That the sugar industry was behind propaganda is a damned big story — simply because they knew fat-free remakes would require added sugar to taste decent at all. And checking on added sugar is well worthwhile (pretty easy to tell if it’s outta control).

Next, I think the common-sense council at the end of the essay is undeniable, but also not enough. For years and years I read similar advice, knew I was trying to be as common-sensical as I could and remained 30+ pounds overweight.

I would advise a visit or three with a pro nutritionist (now, thing is, I know they are like physical therapists — not all created equal or right for everybody; the one for you is the one where you get serious results following the advice). I found some fundamental things I considered common sense were not — e.g., pure OJ is a harmless thirst-quencher; intense exercise, as much as you can manage, is what will keep the weight off. And some essential affirmations: keep getting on those scales every week, dammit! Nothing becomes automatic — you will have to be mindful about your eating for the rest of your life. It is way too easy to chow too much when you work down the hall from your kitchen.

Visit a nutritionist.



Perfect: “An Endless Celebration of Nothing”

Charlie Pierce nails the ideal phrase for the mode that will take over the United States tomorrow —   “an endless celebration of nothing.”

I’m going to take my final afternoon walk, covered by Medicare as I have known it, able to write about art and issues I care about (if not as often as I would like), able to enjoy a little while as what I once would have called an old guy in a joyous, long-term marriage.

But all the previous worlds I looked at this month are ending at sunrise Friday. The only new crime that will matter is pointing out the Nothing is Nothing.

Likely My Only Exercise Tip in the New(ish) Year Period…

… and it’s weird.

I was trying to put some upbeats into a very discouraging chore — filling the gas can so I can start pouring it into the snow-blower for the first time this year.

When I first learned to drive, it was SOP to have a gas can in the truck in case you ran out on those endless MT roads. I can’t remember any of them blowing up cars, but there’s no question it was a lot more dangerous practice than almost anybody understood back in the day.

So I checked out all the cautionary online about filling gas cans and realized that nearly all of the hazard came from carrying the can in the car to and from the pump.

So happens, I can walk to a gas station — about 18 blocks round trip. Zingo — how I get my healthy walk in today and still do the essential chore.

Thought I might get a stream of weird looks — you really don’t see people hiking around the streets here with gas cans — but I didn’t register a single glance.

So walk your can to the gas station! Do it!

Yes, I’m Going to Buy a “Childrens” Book

— for the first time in a long time. El Deafo by Cece Bell. 

The excerpt we read in the Best Comics 2016 (which includes some titles that appeared in 2014) was so touching, astute, expertly paced and beautifully drawn that it became a must. Gifted artists have distinct awareness — Bell selected the perfect detail from her memories to explain the difference after she got her hearing aids: “I can hear myself eating this lollipop.”