December 26, 2012

Making cents of those New Years Diets

The post-Saturnalia excesses and Holiday good cheer soon to fade into another year of snapshots and warm memories (one hopes), the next season quickly approaches.
I speak of the Diet Season, ushered in by the snug-waistbanded New Year's Resolution to Lose Weight before Summer, dammit!! Whether disguised as a pious vow of "Healthy Eating" or an ill-advised goal to lose 50lb in the next 3 months - January is the Season of the Diet.

This is the busy season for Gyms and Health Clubs, everybody has a book to sell or a program with a great incentive to join. And the countless "medical" weight loss clinics overflow with the hopeful.
So many different plans and so many different "scientific" explanations for why each diet plan works and is better than all the others.

Some claim to burn your fat off selectively, or more efficiently, or while you sleep, or if you eat certain food combinations, or if you take certain supplements...etc.
Others claim to suppress your appetite or provide a feeling of fullness or satisfaction without calories being consumed, again via some product they can provide.
Some have written books to explain how certain foods "make you fat" and should be avoided, or certain food combinations will burn fat faster, increase your metabolism, suppress your appetite, improve your energy, cure cancer, etc.

Red Flags of Quackery from

There is even a book out there that claims to hold the secret to calling grey aliens who will come and insert probes while you sleep and abduct only your fat! (I hope to find a publisher soon)
The secret of all these products is to make nutrition, and how the body processes food seem so mysterious and complex that your simple mind will need someone (them) to explain it to you - and to sell you the secret key to weight loss.

So over the next few blog posts, I intend to offer some actual information on how your body works - processes, stores, burns, and eliminates, as well as links to some good (and free) sources of reliable information.
Fair warning - the tl;dr is going to be unexciting and decidedly Not New. Burn more than you eat.

December 14, 2012

Fixing what is Broken

Looking at social media today, seeing a lot of the same conversations going on that have gone on before when we have had horrific tragedies occur that involve someone going on a rampage and killing a lot of people.

People at their best, offering love and support to each other.
Hurting people reaching out for support.
Frightened people asking for reassurance.
Angry people demanding justice.

And a lot of folks who are once again using a tragedy being heavily covered by the media (and We are the Media) to promote their own personal agendas.
Christian extremists claiming some sort of retribution for sin as the cause.
Gun control advocates claiming that abundance of guns is the cause.
Gun ownership advocates claiming that an inadequately armed/educated populace is the cause.
People standing up and pointing to bullying, the economy, lack of mental health care, chemicals in the environment, you name it.

And all this before anyone has released the actual name, or any official information about who did a crime and why. Because that doesn't really matter. Getting that spotlight for a moment to plug your POV is what counts. For the Greater Good, of course.

We all have our prejudices and experiences that influence how we view the world - and these determine how we react to situations and what sort of assumptions we make.
But the fact is, that the problems that lead to this kind of horrific culmination do not have one simple cause that can be easily fixed. It takes a lot of failures to produce the kind of chain reaction that leads to this sort of bloodshed, which is why it happens so rarely. Too damned often, certainly, but within the population still pretty rarely.

I have my own prejudices too, and tend to go right to lack of mental healthcare - but I have no more idea than anybody else if that is a contributing factor in this case. And to use something so horrible and tragic - to see it as an "opportunity"- is beyond icky.

So the short version? STFU and just be supportive. Save the soapbox for a respectful time after the funerals. Show some class.